Archive for Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Major discovery for KU researchers: 1st venomous raptor

KU and chinese researchers have discovered a venomous, birdlike raptor that lived about 128 million years ago in China. A reconstruction of the turkey-sized raptor is here shown hunting.

KU and chinese researchers have discovered a venomous, birdlike raptor that lived about 128 million years ago in China. A reconstruction of the turkey-sized raptor is here shown hunting.

December 22, 2009

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KU and Chinese researchers have discovered a venomous, birdlike raptor that lived about 128 million years ago in China. The fossil of the raptor’s head is shown here.

KU and Chinese researchers have discovered a venomous, birdlike raptor that lived about 128 million years ago in China. The fossil of the raptor’s head is shown here.

Venomous raptor discovered in China

David Burnham, a KU paleontologist, describes how the Sinornithosaurus is related to -- but very different from -- the Velociraptor as depicted in the popular movie "Jurassic Park."

David Burnham may not know the strength of its bite, the potency of its venom or the precise duration of the combination’s resulting debilitation, but the Kansas University paleontologist can pinpoint at least one inescapable scientific fact with absolute certainty.

Falling prey to a Sinornithosaurus wouldn’t be a pleasant way to go.

“You’re in the forest,” says Burnham, part of a team that recently documented the beast’s venomous abilities. “You can’t really see what’s behind you. … You may hear something in the leaves, but by the time you turn around it’s too late.

“It jumps on your back, embeds its teeth in your tissues and within a minute you’re into toxic shock, and just lay helpless as this thing devours you.”

While the end result is quite lethal — “pretty nasty,” Burnham says — the only shock-inducing effects these four-winged raptors can impart these days comes in the scientific world.

Thanks to a joint team of KU and Chinese researchers, the Sinornithosaurus — a feathered, turkey-sized dinosaur that hung around in trees and clamped onto birds some 128 million years ago — is documented as the earliest known bird-like creature to use such poison.

The findings are to be published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Larry Martin, another team member who is a KU professor and curator of vertebrate paleontology at KU’s Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute, described the findings as the most significant since his arrival on campus 40 years ago.

Comments

Jack Martin 5 years, 6 months ago

In addition to the video clips linked above, you can watch a short video on the discovery featuring researcher Larry Martin (no relation) at http://youtube.com/KU:

Venomous prehistoric raptor discovery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kURPt...

christy kennedy 5 years, 6 months ago

The youtube.com/ku link didn't work for me but I searched and it can be seen here:

christy kennedy 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey wait, this is Kansas. How many think Satan made Sinornithosaurus just to confuse Larry Martin?

somedude20 5 years, 6 months ago

for a second I thought he was describing my ex-wife now I just think she evolved from a Sinornithosaurus

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 6 months ago

"“You’re in the forest,” says Burnham,..."

Correction. You are in the garden of Eden, 6000 years ago.

devobrun 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow, changed my life. I'm still sorting out the meaning of this, but I know that I'll have to incorporate this new information into my sense of self and the meaning of life.

Or maybe not. Yawn, story time makes me sleepy.

BrianR 5 years, 6 months ago

If you discover one of these things living under your shed, don't try to get rid of you yourself, call Animal Control.

RoeDapple 5 years, 6 months ago

Hot dang! Bring 'em back from extinction so's we kin killz 'em!!

Chris Golledge 5 years, 6 months ago

More details here

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221212630.htm

Lewis Black: Whenever someone says they believe the earth was created in 7 days, I grab a fossil and say, "Fossil." And if they keep talking, I throw it just over their heads.

Mel Briscoe 5 years, 6 months ago

ret, what's that you wrote? the prelude to your last date?

somedude, LOL as usual :)

RoeDapple 5 years, 6 months ago

Oh good! First we breed them, then we killz them! Can they bring back the T-Rex too?

RoeDapple 5 years, 6 months ago

Hmmm...

Just occurred to me...

Any prairie dog towns near multi or autie that need "culled"?

Tom McCune 5 years, 6 months ago

"...four-winged raptors..."

Sorry, I don't understand. Did they have 6 appendages? (4 wings and 2 legs?)

gr 5 years, 6 months ago

"Imagineering"

You mean such as, "David Burnham may not know the strength of its bite, the potency of its venom or the precise duration of the combination’s resulting debilitation," which suddenly turns into, "and within a minute you’re into toxic shock, and just lay helpless as this thing devours you”?

From not knowing its poison potency or duration to knowing its toxicity speed, behavior, and attitude of attack.

Or perhaps you mean from the sciencedaily link, "It was almost certainly feathered." Or, "The genus had special depressions on the side of its face thought by the investigators to have housed a poison gland, "

Lots of "thought" goes into these things, you know. As in the fully fledge picture of feathered beast all from a head? It would be a sad day if it was discovered it was a plant eater.

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