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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A fascinating theory regarding some dinosaurs

Bird-like dinosaur was 'venomous'

Drawing of the dinosaur's reconstructed skull (Image: National Academy of Sciences)

A bird-like dinosaur that prowled an ancient forest 125 million years ago used venom to subdue its prey, according to a new theory.
Sinornithosaurus's upper teeth resemble those of "rear-fanged" snakes which bite their prey and channel venom into the wound.
The dinosaur probably fed on the abundant birds which inhabited what is now north-east China.
The work appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
Rear-fanged snakes are considered less dangerous than other venomous snakes.
The fangs in these snakes do not inject venom, but instead channel the poison along a groove on the outer surface of teeth that pierce their prey's flesh.
Sinornithosaurus had upper teeth that were similarly long, grooved and fang-like.
David Burnham, from the University of Kansas, US, and colleagues, say the dinosaur's upper jaw also contained a pocket that could have housed a venom gland.
This is connected to the base of the teeth by a long groove.
Like rear-fanged snakes, the venom Sinornithosaurus used was probably not lethal. The researchers suggest it instead caused rapid shock, allowing the dinosaur to subdue its prey.
The researchers propose that the length of the dinosaur's fangs allowed it to penetrate the thick plumage of birds that populated the forests of north-east China during the early Cretaceous period.

The birdlike raptor Sinornithosaurus was venomous.” By Enpu Gonga, Larry D. Martin, David A. Burnham, and Amanda R. Falk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 106 No. 51, December 22, 2009.

The scientific name "Sinornithosaurus was derived from a combination of Latin and Gree and means 'Chinese.bird-lizard') These dinosaurs lived during the Lower Cretaceous Period (late Barremian) of the Yixan Formation in what is now China.The Yixian Formation (Chinese: 义县组; Pinyin: yì xiān zǔ) is a geological formation in Jinzhou, Liaoning, People's Republic of China, that spans 11 million years during the early Cretaceous period. It is known for its fossils, and is mainly composed of basalts interspersed with siliciclastic sediments.

Images of what  the skeleton of Sinornithosaurus might have looked like can be viewed at the following website:

This is an image of what the feathered Sinornithosaurus might have looked like in reality...Yikes I am glad I was not around when
it was living on the Earth!:

 Source of image:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.