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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Squawking With Dinosaurs
9 August 2011 7:02 pm
What was toothless, may have been the size of an ostrich, and lived alongside the dinosaurs? According to a paper published today in Biology Letters, the answer is Samrukia nessovi—an enormous bird discovered in the 83-million to 70-million-year old strata of southern Kazakhstan. Very little is known about the creature. Paleontologists have only a pair of lower jaw fragments to go on, the larger of which (pictured above) is almost 11 inches long. Nevertheless, the size and anatomy of the bones identify Samrukia as a unique species of archaic bird which would have weighed at least 25 pounds—far larger than any of its known contemporaries. That overturns the previously held idea that birds stayed small until the nonavian dinosaurs died out. In life, Samrukia may have resembled an albatross if it could fly, and an ostrich if it was flightless (two possibilities envisioned in silhouette in this speculative restoration) though paleontologists have a few more bones to pick before they can be sure.
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