In other billionaire news today, a controversial and ostentatious Australian is supposedly planning a real-life Jurassic Park, complete with cloned dinosaurs. Clive Palmer, who also wants to build a modern-day Titanic replica, has held talks with the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep, reports Australia’s Sunshine Coast Daily.
Dinosaur fans have barely recovered from the revelation that some dinosaurs were not scaly, but feathered. Now it looks like those fans will have to update their mental imagery once more: several of the same researchers who brought us vivid images of colorfully feathered velociraptors two years ago have come out with a paper today in Science offering conclusive evidence of the first known iridescent dinosaur.
A cache of feathers preserved in amber, dating from around 70 to 85 million years ago, was just found in Canada, showing that border between winged dinosaurs and the earliest avians. The study indicates that these feathers, relatively modern, were already appearing even before the non-avian dinosaurs were extinct.
Click to see some amazing photos of feathers trapped in amber.
How does one build a dinosaur? There’s the much-celebrated Crichton/Spielberg method, in which you extract dino DNA from a preserved prehistoric mosquito. But there are problems with this approach, says paleontologist Jack Horner in a recent TED Talk, and besides: there are plenty of spare dinosaur parts laying around our modern world from which to build a dinosaur. We just need to find the right ones.
A new study demonstrates how high hydrocarbons could be formed from methane deep within the Earth, aside from the compression and heating of ancient animal remains over the eons. Fused-methane oil would be far less common than your typical petroleum, of course, but the study shows abiogenic hydrocarbons could conceivably occur in some of the planet’s high-pressure and high-temperature zones.