First dinosaur fossils from Saudi Arabia discovered

  • This abelisaur tooth is evidence of the first carnivorous theropod dinosaur from Saudi Arabia. (MAXIM LEONOV (PALAEONTOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, MOSCOW))

A plant-eating titanosaur and a sharp-toothed theropod are the first confirmed dinosaur fossils ever found in Saudi Arabia, scientists reported Dec. 26 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Dinosaur fossils are rare in the Arabian Peninsula; previous finds mainly include teeth and bone fragments of similar species from Jordan, Oman and Lebanon, the researchers report.

"This discovery is important not only because of where the remains were found, but also because of the fact that we can actually identify them," Benjamin Kear, lead study author, said in a statement. "These are the first taxonomically recognizable dinosaurs reported from the Arabian Peninsula," said Kear, a paleobiologist at Uppsala University in Sweden. [Photos: Amazing Dinosaur Fossils]

The 72-million-year-old fossils were discovered in the Adaffa formation, a pile of sandstone and conglomerates (pebble-rich rocks) deposited by streams and rivers during the Late Cretaceous Period. During this time, Arabia had not yet separated from Africa and was bounded on the east by the Tethys Ocean. Parts of Arabia were underwater when the bones were buried in the sand. (On earlier fossil hunts, Kear found Cretaceous marine fossils in Saudi Arabia, such as plesiosaurs and mosasaurs, sharks and turtles.)

Kear and his colleagues carefully excavated a sandstone outcrop of the Adaffa formation about 7 miles northeast of Al Khuraybah in Saudi Arabia. There, they discovered two theropod teeth and several vertebrae.

Distinctive patterns on the teeth helped the team link the chompers to carnivorous abelisaurs, a dinosaur family common in northern Africa at the time. Abelisaurs were bipedal, like T. rex, and grew to about 20 feet tall.

The vertebrae looked similar to those from titanosaurs, massive sauropods that lived on many continents, including Africa and South America. The species grew up to 65 feet long. 

1970 gift still giving on Father's Day

Father's Day is just around the corner, and I am not looking at ties. Or golf shirts.

I am looking at a score sheet. I am closing my eyes. I am 7 years old, the very best age to fall for this game of baseball, and I am in old Tiger Stadium, one of the very best museums there ever was.

"That was a grand old stadium," Roger Craig, Tigers pitching coach from 1980-1984, reminisced the other day. Yes. Sniff. And that doesn't even cover the half of it.

It is a hot Saturday afternoon. Eighty-five degrees, according to my score sheet. It is July 11, 1970. It is the first time my father took me to a major-league game. Do you remember your first one? Some gifts, they stay with you a lifetime.

Brooks Robinson is here. Boog Powell, Al Kaline and Willie Horton, too. And Mike Cuellar and Bill Freehan and Gates Brown.

"I remember that game, vaguely," Nationals manager Davey Johnson, the Orioles' second baseman that day, told me this spring.Memory is such a tricky proposition, especially from 43 years down the baseline. It can be your friend. And just when you think you're sure about something ... it can turn two and kill the rally.

For example, I know my mother was with us. I think, but I can't be sure, that my brother was with us. Two things, though, have stayed with me from that afternoon: the way it started, and the way it ended. One thing about going to a game with my father, bless him, is that he's always made it a point to get to the ballpark early for batting practice. You learn so much from the great teachers, don't you?

But on this day, BP ended early because of the Tigers' annual fathers-sons game. Which was utterly confusing to me, at 7, because when we walked into Tiger Stadium and saw all of those kids on the field, my overwhelming thought was: Am I supposed to be out there? Can I go out there? Was some sort of invitation issued and missed? I chomped on that mystery for a long time, far longer than any stick of cardboard-tasting gum out of a Topps baseball card pack, which my parents never would let me chew anyway.

To this day, whenever I see players' children running around on the field before or after a game, sometimes, for a second or two, it is 1970 all over again. Plymouth Valiants for everyone! The other end of the afternoon, though, is why Johnson still has even a vague memory of the game. The Orioles were leading 6-5 with two out and none on in the ninth when Kaline absolutely crushed a Pete Richert pitch that sent Paul Blair all the way back to the center-field fence. Blair climbed that wall like Spider-Man, reached over ... and the crowd of 27,295 erupted in an ovation like I'd never heard before. Kaline just tied the game! Or did he?

"When I looked up after I landed on the track, all of a sudden here came the ball, and I made a basket catch," Blair said. He remembers the umpires taking their time making the call "because I was on the fence, and I fell off and they couldn't tell if I had the ball."

Flipping back through 43 years' worth of memories yellowing like pages of an old newspaper, and still seeing this vague picture from our box seats somewhere many rows behind first base, I could swear Blair fell over the fence into the stands.

But here he is explaining he actually fell off the fence and back onto the field. "I will never forget it as long as I live," he said. Nor will I.

Who knows why certain childhood moments live forever, even if the edges become a little fuzzy over time, while others disappear forever like foul balls into a field of tall weeds? What I do know is this: If you're fortunate, the hot dogs and ballgames early on with Dad soon enough become dinners and graduations and grandkids. One Father's Day blends into the next, and the new memories fit right into the treasure chest with the old ones.

The score sheet from that afternoon sits in a frame in my home office. It is an absolute work of art. Sometimes, when I need a little inspiration, I will scan those magical names and think back to that afternoon. And sometimes, when I need a little guidance and wisdom, I'll still dial the guy who took me to that game back when life was a tantalizing collection of summer days, ice cream cones and guys named Boog and Gates.

Thing is, each year you do your best to take care of Dad on Father's Day. But for many of us, it's always a losing proposition. Because whatever you find, you already know that nothing will ever match all those gifts your father has already given to you.
Especially the unwrapped ones, like a box seat and a Saturday afternoon.

Scott Miller
 CBS Sports:

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Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in March or May.

The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. She then began a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States. Jarvis' holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world. In this tradition, each person offers a gift, card, or remembrance toward their mothers, grandmothers, and/ or maternal figure on mother's day.

Mother's Day Article!

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The Dorchester Dinosaur Museum

Atlanta's sporty spirit is up as the age old rivalry of Mets Vs. Braves kicks off this weekend! What are you doing? Who do you think will win this one?

Take the Dino Challenge! 

Q: Besides its weapons, what made Troodon a good hunter? 


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Enjoying the View from One World Trade center 


photo credit: dkshots via photopin cc 

Happy Dino's looking forward to flowers and foraging!

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Find Dinotalk and Unibind at IAAPA 2012!


Dinotalk is attending IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012!


Meet our Jeff atBooth 2871 and mention this message for a free coffee!

November 13, 2012

Look who I found floating around NASA'S images?


Check out this awesome blog road mapping one man's journey to "show the world how free a person with a severe disability can be if he gets the right support." It's an amazing story trying to give young people with disability a "platform on which they can tell the world how strong they feel"(Breaking Boundaries).