Bambiraptor is one of the most important fossils found in North America. This little bird-like dinosaur was a very quick hunter, and it may have been an important step in dinosaurs' evolution into birds. Scientists believe that feathers and fuzz covered its body. The fuzz would have been like the downy covering on baby birds.
Bambiraptor had quite a few features in common with modern birds. It had a wishbone, something all modern birds have that allow them to flap their wings, and its arms and hands were very long for its body size. In fact, the length of its arms and hands approached the lengths needed for flight. It also had an ossified sternum, a bone that is essential for birds to be able to move their wings for flying. Even with these similarities, however, there is no doubt that Bambiraptor was still a dinosaur from the raptor family. It had the killer claw on its foot like Velociraptor, and it had a mouth full of sharp teeth. It is considered by many to be the North American version of Archaeopteryx. Clearly a short step away from its European relative, this specimen is an exceptionally important piece of the bird/dinosaur puzzle. With more than 90 percent of the animal discovered, along with the remains of what may be a second individual, this specimen will continue to provide insight into the evolution of birds.
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Dippy, the famous Diplodocus skeleton cast currently being displayed at the Natural History Museum in London, will soon be replaced. The dinosaur icon is to be replaced with the skeleton of a blue whale in 2017. A BBC News report can be found here.
New studies into mass extinction events have determined that plants were more resilient against natural disasters than animals. The Cretaceous extinction event saw devastating consequences for animals but plant life was barely phased. A ScienceDaily report can be found here.
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