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Mike Lee

Senior Research Scientist (joint appointment with South Australian Museum) at University of Adelaide
A 9-metre-long early relative of T rex that stalked the Early Cretaceous of northern China was the first truly terrifying feathered dinosaur discovered. Brian Choo

Book review: Flying Dinosaurs – How fearsome reptiles became birds

While a week can be a long time in politics, palaeontology typically moves more sedately, in keeping with its subject matter (the slow progression of the aeons). But one area of fossil research is seeing…
A flock of early birds (Longirostravis) preen one of their large dinosaurian relatives (Yutyrannus). Brian Choo

How small birds evolved from giant meat eating dinosaurs

Spectacular transitional fossils, many from northern China, provide overwhelming evidence that dinosaurs evolved into birds and thus didn’t all perish when the deadly meteorite struck at the end of the…
Marine life during the Cambrian explosion. A giant Anomalocaris investigates a trilobite, while Opabinia looks on from the right, and the ‘walking cactus’ Diania crawls underneath. Katrina Kenny & Nobumichi Tamura

Evolution’s ‘big bang’ explained (and it’s slower than predicted)

The sudden appearance of a range of modern animals about half a billion years ago, during evolution’s “big bang”, has intrigued and puzzled generations of biologists from Charles Darwin onwards. A new…
The prevailing picture of dinosaurs as dull, lumbering creatures may be wrong. FlickrDelusions

Some dinosaurs were birdbrains (and that’s a good thing)

Birds are some of the brainiest creatures on earth, while their direct ancestors - the dinosaurs - are often stereotyped as dull and doomed. But a new study published today in Nature challenges this notion…
Was Tyrannosaurus rex a deadly predator or a scavenger? http://www.flickr.com/photos/landahlauts

Stuck tooth reveals T. rex’s predatory past

Tyrannosaurux rex was a terrifying predator and not primarily a scavenger after all, according to researchers who analysed…
Reconstruction of Aurornis xui, a new basal avialan theropod from the Middle/Late Jurassic of China. Masato Hattori

Cheep thrills: new dinobird puts Archaeopteryx back on its perch

A new feathered fossil, Aurornis – introduced in today’s Nature – has the potential to resolve a debate about bird evolution that’s had evolutionary biologists in a bit of a flap in recent years. The origin…
What use are Vulcan salutes when other life-forms see you as bacteria? Gage Skidmore

Meeting aliens will be nothing like Star Trek – fact

The latest Star Trek movie, opening tomorrow, raises an eternal question: why are the Klingons (or Cylons or Daleks) always at roughly our technological level? For any sense of drama, interplanetary protagonists…
Illustration of the High Arctic camel on Ellesmere Island during the Pliocene warm period, about 3.5 million years ago. The camels lived in a boreal-type forest. The habitat includes larch trees and the depiction is based on records of plant fossils found at nearby fossil deposits. Julius Csotonyi

Fossil suggests giant ancient camels roamed Canada’s Arctic north

Ancient camels up to 29% larger than their modern-day cousins may have roamed the High Arctic of Canada around 3.5 million…
The giant river lizard Pannoniasaurus inexpectus (top) was roughly six metres long. In life, the animal would have resembled the smaller, related Aigialosaurus (bottom). FunkMonk/Wikimedia Commons

‘Aquatic Komodo dragon’ was the ultimate river monster

An aquatic lizard twice the length of a Komodo dragon once lurked in rivers during the age of dinosaurs, according to a team of Hungarian-Canadian researchers. The 85 million-year-old Pannoniasaurus is…
A 240 million-year-old dinosaur was the size of a golden retriever with a very long tail. Natural History Museum Mark Witton

Dog-sized reptile extends the dinosaur age by 10 million years

Before this week, palaeontologists believed the earliest known dinosaurs were small bipedal creatures that lived 230 million years ago in South America. This “oldest known dinosaur” floor proved quite…
Artist’s impression of an individual Yutyrannus. Dr Brian Choo

Dinosaurs of a feather: meet T-Rex’s fluffy cousin

It’s taken a century of debate, but in the past two decades we’re finally understanding where birds came from. Now, with a new study published in the journal Nature, Chinese and Canadian researchers have…