That riddle has baffled scientists since 1965, when a Polish researcher unearthed a pair of gigantic dinosaur arms in the Gobi Desert. Some experts thought the arms belonged to a fearsome carnivorous dinosaur, while others argued for an oversized sloth-like creature.
I am not sure why the article didn't name the Polish researcher. After doing some digging, I have identified her as Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, a Polish paleobiologist and author of Hunting for Dinosaurs. Read more about her here, including some interesting claims such as the fact that she and her team shipped over 20 tons of fossils from Mongolia back to Warsaw, in 1965 alone. http://www.strangescience.net/zofia.htm
Her wiki page - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zofia_Kielan-Jaworowska
Now the mystery has been solved at last, and the truth is even weirder than anyone had envisioned. It's a beast called Deniocheirus that lived 70 million years ago and belonged to an ostrich-like family of dinosaurs. At 14,000 pounds, it was 10 times heavier than its next-biggest relatives. When it walked on its hind legs, as it usually did, it stood 16 feet high, taller than an elephant.
So, this massive dinosaur which they are obviously attempting to use as another weak link to bird-evolution theory stood 16 feet high, weighed 14,000 pounds and has never been discovered until now? Despite the fact that Time Magazine wrote about the 35-tons of fossils her team found back then? All other expeditions by paleontologists all over the world has never uncovered this massive beast until now? Is it realistic that this animal would usually walk on its hind legs, at 14,000 pounds? Also, I must ask ... we've gone from not knowing anything about this fossil to being able to not only identify it and its characteristics overnight but to also identify with certainty that it belonged to an ostrich-like family of dinosaurs? So, a few incomplete remains and pieces of an arm suddenly turns into an entire family?
Scientists report in this week's Nature that the long-armed dinosaur had lanky back legs like an ostrich's, a toothless bill, an enormous hump on its back and probably a fan of long feathers on the end of its tail. It ate both plants and fish, making it perhaps the biggest omnivorous dinosaur. It's like nothing seen before, and it raises a host of new questions, such as why it was so big and why it resorted to a diet normally reserved for smaller creatures.
Wait a second, I don't remember reading anything about these scientists finding fossils of the leg, back or much more than the arm? How can they possibly know that this alleged dinosaur had lanky back legs, a toothless bill and a hump on its back????
Again, we can note the attempt to link this dinosaur to an ostrich while insinuating that it had a hump on its back and "probably" a fan of long feathers on the end of its tail. But do they provide skeletal evidence of the hump on its back or any sort of scientific evidence that this animal had feathers on the end of its tail? From what I can tell, the answer is no, and this just seems to be another example of scientists engaging in artistic theater and speculation. Again, the feathers are used to try to link dinosaurs to birds. In what real world scenario would a reptile ever have feathers?
"For the last half-century, people have been going out to the Gobi Desert trying to find the rest of this animal," says Stephen Brusatte, a University of Edinburgh paleontologist who is not connected to the new study. "Thankfully, the reality of this thing turns out to be even crazier than what people were dreaming up."
"None of us suspected it looked like a duck-billed ostrich camel," says paleontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland, who wasn't a part of the research team either.
Why is the article quoting paleontologists who aren't part of the research team? What are the names of the paleontologists who made this discovery? Why were they not interviewed for this story? Duck-billed ostrich camel?
The sleuthing to discover the dinosaur's true identity is itself worthy of a detective yarn. In 2006, scientists digging in the Gobi found a strange, partial skeleton, its hands and skull stripped by poachers. In 2009, they found a very similar fossil. It too was mutilated by poachers, but they'd left behind a telltale arm.
That arm told the researchers that the 2006 and 2009 dinosaurs were Deinocheirus mirificus, or "unusual horrible hand," the species known only from an enormous pair of arms dug up some 45 years earlier.
"I was totally stunned and thrilled," study co-author Yuoung-Nam Lee of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources says via email. "I had found what I had always been looking for in the Gobi."
So, up until now, everytime this dinosaur has been found, with mostly only the arm(s) remaining? What are the odds?
In another extraordinary stroke of luck, a colleague told the scientists about a Deinocheirus skeleton in the European laboratory of a private fossil dealer. The researchers quickly realized that those bones were a perfect match to the skeleton they'd unearthed in 2009. The poached bones may have left Mongolia on a coal truck bound for China, says study co-author Philip Currie of the University of Alberta, passing through dealers in Japan and Europe before the scientists caught up with it.
Who is this colleague that told the scientists about the skeleton in the European laboratory of a private fossil dealer? What is the name of this private fossil dealer? Why can't we get any names of the people involved in all of this? The researchers "quickly realized that those bones were a perfect match to the skeleton they'd unearthed in 2009?" How quickly? Did they travel to the European laboratory of this unnamed private fossil dealer? Did these researchers have no idea that this fossil existed, but for the sheer luck of a colleague who just happened to mention it to them? The poached bones may have left Mongolia on a coal truck bound for China? How large was this coal truck and how were these fossils not noticed?
Scales in the fossil's belly show that it probably ate fish, while its broad bill would've been good for cropping soft plants. Deinocheirus is the biggest dinosaur that was clearly omnivorous, Brusatte says, making it something of a mystery, as omnivorous dinosaurs tend to be small. Nor do scientists understand why Deniocheirus is so enormous compared to the rest of its family.
Fish scales that have survived and remained intact for 70 million years, poachers and transport?
"I've been really lucky over the years to find many, many good specimens, but there's no question this is one of the high points," Currie says. "It's such an incredible thing to solve a mystery and find a dinosaur at the end of it that's so bizarre."
Yes, quite the luck all paleontologists seem to have when making their "discoveries" ... there seems to always be some sort of tall tale or lucky circumstance involved in these silly stories!
Full Article: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati ... /17860261/
They report the discovery of two nearly complete 70 million-year-old Deinocheirus skeletons, pieced together from fossils unearthed in Mongolia, along with a skull and hand that had been poached and sold on to private collectors.
With the new remains, the researchers built the first accurate reconstruction of the dinosaur. The creature stood tall on its back legs, but sported long, clawed forearms. Neural spines formed an impressive sail on its back and its long, toothless snout flared out to both sides. The duck-like bill may have helped Deinocheirus forage for food at the bottom of streams, while blunt, flattened bones under its claws prevented it from sinking on wet ground.
Pieced together, indeed. I can't think of any other science that is so full of assumption, speculation and "reconstruction".