The last thing one might expect to see near Las Vegas, Nevada would be 190 million year old dinosaur footprints. So, when paleontologists recently discovered tracks in the Red Rock Canyon, they were shocked! These ancient findings bring a new light to “a city where decades-old casinos are treated as relics,” according to an article from the Los Angeles Times. Being that the tracks are off of a difficult two-hour hike and look like nothing more than just ripples and scuffs, it is no wonder that they were never noticed. However, the finding is certainly important and monumental for the state of Nevada.
The Gobi Desert is a tough place to raise a family. For this Protoceratops family, it seems the searing hot weather and monstrous dunes could not be braved by their young. Fifteen-year-old dinosaurs were uncovered in Mongolia, revealing that these particular dinosaurs, which were cousins of the Triceratops, may have been overrun by sandbanks during a harsh storm. These findings show that the 70-million-year-old Protoceratops andrewsi parents may have nurtured their young during the early stages of development, and that mortality rates may have been high, judging by the surprisingly large number of juvenile specimen in the nest. This is the first definitive Protoceratops nest uncovered to date.
Researchers made an unbelievable find last week in Argentina when they discovered a previously unknown species of saber-toothed squirrel, called Cronopio dentiacutus, similar to the ever-popular “Scrat” character from the “Ice Age” movies. The small animal, measuring no more than 6 inches long, was from the late Cretaceous period, making it the first creature of the Mesozoic era to ever be found in South America. The discovery uncovered two partial skulls and jaws of the creature, which, according to scientist Christian de Muizon from the Paris Museum of Natural History, “can be more relevant to [their] understanding of mammalian evolution and biogeography than hundreds of isolated teeth.”