Wednesday, December 17, 2008


According to Science Daily, two new species of prehistoric animals were found in the Sahara this week, a pterosaur and a sauropod (the long-necked dinosaurs). Scientists believe that the Sahara used to be an expansive grassland dotted with lakes and ponds like a prehistoric Shire. Perfect stomping grounds for a sauropod (and sauropods did an awful lot of stomping).
This marks the most exciting find to come out of Africa in nearly fifty years and some great news for us sauropod fans. Finding a new dinosaur on a dig is quite a feat, finding two entirely new species is astounding!

Nizar Ibrahim (pictured above), the palaeontologist leading the study, will spend the next six months examining all of the fossils and writing about them for his thesis. I thought we were lucky at CalArts to be able to make films for our thesis, but studying new dinosaur species to earn your PhD might be even cooler.
Thanks to by brother, Andy, and Michelle for sending me the article!
In other, even more exciting news, scientists at Penn State lead by Webb Miller and Stephan C. Schuster have made a genetic break-through mapping the first genome of a prehistoric animal--the woolly mammoth! Schuster says, "Our dataset is 100 times more extensive than any other published dataset for an extinct species, demonstrating that ancient DNA studies can be brought up to the same level as modern genome projects."

A lot of people may question whether or not we should be playing God, and we've certainly seen the effects of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, but who doesn't want to ride a woolly mammoth? Read more about the break-through in the article here. What do you guys think? Should we bring back prehistoric animals or leave 'em alone?


Victor said...

I'll probably regret saying this as soon as our ecosystem breaks down and we're swept away by some primordial dino-plague, but I really want to see some dinosaurs in my lifetime.

Moro Rogers said...

Yeah, I don't see how conjuring up a wooly mammoth would violate anyone's human rights...