Huffington Department of Earth Sciences

New Texas Native: 96-million-year-old crocodile Terminonaris makes its first appearance in Texas, switches origins

Gharial-snout-400x300.jpgMaking its first appearance in Texas, a prehistoric crocodile thought to have originated in Europe now appears to have been a native of the Lone Star State.

The switch in origins for the genus known as Terminonaris is based on the identification of a well-preserved, narrow fossil snout that was discovered along the shoreline of a lake near Dallas. SMU paleontologist Thomas L. Adams identified the reptile.
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Oil & Gas: Geothermal in the oil field, the next emerging market

energy-geothermal-energy-california_Natl%20Geo.jpgOne of the petroleum industry’s major sources for industry news has covered the emergence of geothermal energy from existing oil and gas fields as a potential source of power generation.

The June 20 article “Geothermal in the oil field, the next emerging market” provides context for the emerging technology that is making geothermal production possible. The article cites SMU’s annual geothermal conference as a source of more information about geothermal production.

The SMU Geothermal Laboratory hosted its fifth international conference dedicated to “Geothermal Energy Utilization Associated with Oil & Gas Development” in mid-June on the SMU campus.
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Youtube: Trailer of Projecto PaleoAngola documentary

Angola%20006a.jpgSMU paleontologists Louis L. Jacobs and Michael J. Polcyn appear in a new documentary about Projecto PaleoAngola, a collaborative international scientific research program focused on the ancient life of Angola.

“The results of our fieldwork in the Cretaceous of Angola have been extraordinarily spectacular,” says Jacobs. Besides the discovery of the first dinosaur of Angola the team has uncovered mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, turtles and other Cretaceous marine animals. Continue reading

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Tiny teeth discovered from Inner Mongolia are new species of today’s birch mouse, rare “living fossil”

Sicista_betulina%2Ccredit%20Dodoni%20400x300.jpgTiny fossil teeth discovered in Inner Mongolia are a new species of birch mouse, indicating its ancestors are much older than previously reported, says SMU paleontologist Yuri Kimura.

The fossils were discovered in sediments that are 17 million years old, says Kimura, who identified and named the species Sicista primus. This adds millions of years to the rodent family Sicista, she said.
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Earth magazine: “Mapping Dino Footprints in 3-D”

Earth%2C%20TAdams%2C%203D%2C%20May%202011.jpgThe May 2011 issue of Earth Magazine reports on the research of SMU paleontologists in the SMU Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.

In a project led by SMU paleontologist Thomas L. Adams, the scientists used portable laser scanning technology to capture field data of a huge 110 million-year-old Texas dinosaur track and then create to scale an exact 3D facsimile.

They have shared their protocol and findings with the public — as well as their downloadable 145-megabyte model — in the online scientific journal Palaeontologia Electronica. The model duplicates an actual dinosaur footprint fossil that is slowly being destroyed by weathering because it’s on permanent outdoor display, says Adams.
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National Geographic: Volcano Pictures: First Descent Into a Magma Chamber

06-into-icelands-volcano_34292_600x450.jpgScience journalist Ker Than writes on the April 8 Daily News blog of National Geographic about the first-ever scientific expedition into a volcanic magma chamber, citing analysis from SMU volcanologist James E. Quick, a professor in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.

Quick, who was not part of the expedition, said, the magma channels the team discovered appear to be “beautiful textbook examples of how magma can be transported laterally in the Earth’s surface and stored in shallow chambers.”

“Magma chambers supply the molten rock that oozes or bursts onto the Earth’s surface during an eruption,” wrote Than.
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Associated Press: Projecto PaleoAngola discovers Angola’s first dinosaur

Karen_Carr_Angolatitan%2C%20300x200.jpegThe research of an international team co-led by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs is receiving worldwide coverage for discovery of the first fossil of a dinosaur from Angola.

A paper published in the “Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Science” described the long-necked, plant-eating sauropod based on a fossilized forelimb with unique skeletal characteristics that indicates it’s from a previously unknown dinosaur. Continue reading

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WFAA: North Texan finds dinosaurs in our backyards

0317dinoman03.jpgWFAA-TV reporter Jonathan Betz covered the flying reptile research of SMU’s Timothy S. Myers and the rare discovery of the bones by amateur fossil hunter Gary Byrd.

Myers identified fossilized bones discovered in Texas from a flying reptile that died 89 million years ago. The bones may be the world’s earliest occurrence of the prehistoric creature known as Pteranodon, Myers says. Continue reading

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Discovery News: Mystery Pterosaur in Texas Takes Flight

6a00d8341bf67c53ef014e866bf695970d-800wi.jpgScience journalist Tim Wall has covered the flying reptile research of SMU’s Timothy S. Myers on his popular Discovery News Online blog. Wall’s March 2 entry aptly warns “Don’t mess with Texas Pterosaurs!”

Fossilized bones discovered in Texas from a flying reptile that died 89 million years ago may be the earliest occurrence of the prehistoric creature known as Pteranodon.
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