Stunning dinosaur discovery: Experts may have unearthed a baby Tyrannosaur fossil in Montana

Paleontologists in Montana have unearthed a fossil that may be the remains of a baby Tyrannosaurus rex.

Researchers and students from the University of Kansas recently excavated the fossil from the Hell Creek Formation in central Montana. The remains include a complete section of the upper jaw with all of the teeth intact, as well as parts of the dinosaur’s skull, foot, hips and backbones, according to the University of Kansas.

The remains likely belong to a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex that lived 66.5 million years ago, according to researchers, but could also belong to another species of small, carnivorous dinosaur.

“The teeth suggest it’s a Tyrannosaurus rex; however, there is still more work to be done,” said David Burnham, preparator of vertebrate paleontology at Kansas University’s Biodiversity Institute. “Because a young T. rex is so rare, there are only a few that have been found over the years, so it’s difficult to discern what are changes due to growth or if the differences in the bones reflect different species.”

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University of Kansas researchers found the fossil glowed under a black light  (David Burnham)

Burnham noted that the University of Kansas is fortunate that it has an older T. rex to use as comparison with the latest find, as well another young T. rex on loan.

University of Kansas paleontologists are now analyzing their find and are planning to return to Hell Creek Formation. “We’re going to go back out this summer — we’re going right to that spot,” said Burnham. “We think and hope there’s more there.”

The researchers hope to publish their results in the coming months.

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The University of Kansas excavation crew at work  (David Burnham)

Paleontologists are shedding new light on the time of the dinosaurs. An incredible dinosaur path, for example, which even shows the tracks of a baby dinosaur, has been discovered at NASA’s Space Flight Center. Experts also recently announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur in Egypt, marking an important prehistoric link between prehistoric Africa and Europe. The fossilized remains of Mansourasaurus shahinae, a school-bus sized dinosaur, were found in the Sahara desert.

Other finds include the fossilized remains of a tiny duck-sized dinosaur with rainbow feathers were recently discovered in China. Experts also found the remains of a turkey-sized dinosaur in south Eastern Australia, while the 150-million-year-old fossil remains of a bird-like dinosaur were found in Germany.

WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGE: Python gets stomach pumped after swallowing slipper whole

A wild coastal carpet python slithered into an elderly Australian couple’s house this week and found what it believed to be a tasty snack: a fuzzy slipper.

The pair called Norman Hill with N&S Snake Catcher to remove the large python from their home. They saw a large lump under the snake’s skin and realized one of their slippers was missing.

“I’ve got a silly question, but do you think the snake’s eaten a slipper?’” the female homeowner asked Hill, according to Australia’s Courier Mail.

Hill has been in the reptile business for nearly 30 years, but he’d never seen anything quite like this.

“You could see the outline of some foreign material in the stomach,” Josh Llinas, a veterinarian with Greencross Vets in Queensland, told Courier Mail.

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A professional snake catcher brought the nearly 7-foot long creature into the Australian clinic.  (HerpVet)

Llinas said the professional snake catcher brought the nearly 7-foot long python into the clinic. The vet took several X-rays to confirm the snake had indeed ingested the shoe.

“This made for one of the most impressive radiographs I have seen,” HerpVet, a reptile department within the Greencross Jindalee Veterinary Clinic, wrote in a Facebook post that contained several graphic images. “You can’t make this stuff up folks.”

The shoe was too large and lodged too far into the snake’s body to come out naturally, so Llinas prepared for surgery.

“Sometimes you can remove the foreign bodies by helping them after they’ve been relaxed … by helping them move it up the digestive tract and out of the mouth,” Llinas said. “This was just way too big and it wasn’t going to come out.”

HerpVet said the reptile was under general anaesthesia while the vet performed a coeliotomy and gastrotomy – the opening of the stomach with an incision. With a 17-inch opening, the doctor was able to extract the object from the snake’s body in about an hour.

Snake Shoe

HerpVet said the reptile was under general anaesthesia while the vet performed coeliotomy and gastrotomy.  (HerpVet)

“After removal of the slipper … the stomach was closed in two layers, the body wall muscle was closed and surgical staples were used for the skin,” HerpVet explains.

The python was given fluids and pain killers and will rest for up to eight weeks. Llinas did not elaborate on where the snake will go next when it fully recovers.

“He woke up well and is off to for rehabilitation in a couple of days,” HerpVet said on Monday.

It’s not unusual for snakes to eat random objects. They’ll pretty much devour anything that they think looks tasty, Llinis said.

“I had a pillow case removed from a black-headed python, and just a few months ago, I had a tennis ball removed from a snake,“ Llinis said. “This was probably one of the more unusual things I’ve removed. I’ve heard of others swallowing thongs, stuffed toys. You name it, they will eat it.”

Interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua’ never should have left home, theories say

An interstellar object that whizzed through our solar system last year is confounding astronomers trying to understand how planets, comets and asteroids form.

The object, called ‘Oumuamua, has a composition that suggests it should have formed close to its parent star. But in a twist, astronomers said it’s hard to imagine how the object left its parent solar system, because it’s hard to eject an object orbiting so close to a star

After looking at ‘Oumuamua’s high speed and highly inclined path through the solar system, scientists at the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center concluded the object was interstellar. The discovery of ‘Oumuamua marks the first time an interstellar object was confirmed in our solar system.

“This object was likely ejected from a distant star system,” said Elisa Quintana, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in a NASA statement.

“What’s interesting is that just this one object flying by so quickly can help us constrain some of our planet-formation models,” added Quintana, who is a co-author of a new paper in the journal the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The paper, released today (March 27), describes what ‘Oumuamua observations are revealing about the formation of planetesimals, which are small, rocky objects that could come together under gravity’s pull to form planets.

Icy mystery

Observations of ‘Oumuamua suggest that the object was probably pretty dry. Before its discovery, ‘Oumuamua zoomed past the sun at about 196,000 mph (315,400 km/h). While the object was traveling fast enough to escape our solar system, its speed was somewhat similar to that of a comet passing by the sun, NASA said.

Comets are loose collections of ice and rock. As they draw near the sun, their surface warms, and this loosens gas and dust to escape into space. ‘Oumuamua didn’t leave behind such a trail.

Some scientists have suggested that in its own solar system, ‘Oumuamua likely formed in a different region than comets formed in our own neighborhood. But the new paper has a counterargument.

Solar systems such as our sun and its planets form out of vast clouds of gas, dust and ice. Objects, such as comets, that form far away from their parent sun can remain icy. If the objects are close to the sun, it’s too hot for ice to remain, so they coalesce into objects such as asteroids.

But if ‘Oumuamua formed as close to its star as an asteroid, it’s difficult to imagine how it was ejected away from that zone, the new paper suggests.

“The total real estate that’s hot enough for that is almost zero,” said lead author Sean Raymond, an astrophysicist at the French National Center for Scientific Research and the University of Bordeaux, in the same statement. “It’s these tiny, little, circular regions around stars. It’s harder for that stuff to get ejected, because it’s more gravitationally bound to the star. It’s hard to imagine how ‘Oumuamua could have gotten kicked out of its system if it started off as an asteroid.”

“If we understand planet formation correctly, ejected material like ‘Oumuamua should be predominantly icy,” added Thomas Barclay, an astrophysicist at Goddard and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “If we see populations of these objects that are predominantly rocky, it tells us we’ve got something wrong in our models.”

How ‘Oumuamua’s journey began

While researchers are further investigating where ‘Oumuamua formed, they have come up with a plausible scenario for how it was ejected. Based on simulations from other work, they suggest a gas giant planet — something similar to a Jupiter — flung ‘Oumuamua into interstellar exile.

As a gas giant plows by small objects such as asteroids, the planet exerts intense gravitational forces on the objects. In some cases, gravity breaks the objects apart. In the case of ‘Oumuamua, the planet’s gravity exerted pressure on the object, forcing it into the cigar-like shape observed today.

“The researchers calculated the number of interstellar objects we should see, based on estimates that a star system likely ejects a couple of Earth-masses of material during planet formation,” NASA said. “They estimated that a few large planetesimals will hold most of that mass but will be outnumbered by smaller fragments like ‘Oumuamua.”

7-foot alligator, who mistakenly thinks it’s ‘mating season,’ caught roaming around Tampa home

Raw video: Florida family calls cops after 7-foot alligator banging on their gate wakes them up.

Homeowners in a Tampa neighborhood were surprised to find out the banging they kept hearing early Friday morning was the work of a 7-foot alligator roaming around their property.

Residents inside a home on Yellow Clover Road called police after hearing a banging on their gate for about 45 minutes.

When officers arrived, they found a 7-foot female alligator roaming around the home. It ducked under the family’s car before going back to the gate.

After a few close calls and a lot of snarling from the reptile, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation trapper was able to wrangle her into the bed of his truck.

Robb Upgrove, the trapper, told FOX13 it appeared the gator was trying to bust through the gate to go into the family’s backyard – possibly searching for a body of water or even a date.

He said mating season typically begins in May, but the warm temperatures may have some of the reptiles confused.

“It’s starting to warm up,” Upgrove said. “So that triggers them to move into mating season.”

He said he expects alligator nuisance calls to increase as the season begins.

The captured alligator will be taken to a wildlife sanctuary.

Florida beachgoers discover ‘holy grail of shipwrecks’ after remains of 18th century ship wash ashore

The wreckage was later determined to be a well-preserved section of a wooden ship's hull.

Part of a centuries-old old sailing ship washed ashore on Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida overnight Tuesday, local officials said.

Julie Turner and her 8-year-old son Patrick first came across the ship early Wednesday, Tonya Creamer of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum told Fox News. Initially, the two thought it was a part of a fence, but realized soon after it was “a historical piece of an artifact,” Turner told CBS47.

“They’ve been so fantastic — they’ve been watching it all unfold,” Creamer said of Turner and her son.

Archaeologists with the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, along with other organizations, have been investigating the wreckage and suspect that it is a well-preserved section of a wooden ship’s hull, Creamer said.

Researchers with the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum have been documenting the artifact. Creamer said archaeologists on her team believe the ship could date back as far as the 1700s, but “statistics show that it might be from the 1800s,” because of the amount of ship traffic around St. Augustine during that time.

As of now, archaeologists don’t have a definitive date and are continuously working to find out where the ship is from originally, Creamer said. Finding a piece of wreckage like the one on Ponte Vedra beach is “unprecedented,” she said, adding that it is one of the largest to wash up in the area in a little over a decade.

“To actually see this survive and come ashore. This is very, very rare. This is the holy grail of shipwrecks,” Marc Anthony, the owner of Spanish Main Antiques in St. Augustine, told CBS47.

Anthony, who has spent more than 20 years searching for shipwreck artifacts and treasure coins, among other historical items, said the wreckage appeared to be from the 18th century.

What will happen to the wreckage next is not entirely clear.

Creamer said the ship washed ashore on state land, so Florida officials will ultimately decide what to do with the artifact. And while researchers “made a valiant effort” earlier this week to move the wreckage out of the way of the high-tide, they were unsuccessful. As a last resort, they used rope and stakes to try to keep the ship in place so they can continue to study it. For now, that method seems to be working, she said.

However, there’s still a chance the sea could reclaim the 48-foot section of the ship. That’s part of the reason why researchers from the museum and the Florida Public Archaeology Network have taken photos and measured the vessel to create a 3D model of it, Creamer said.

Creamer said she’s encouraging members of the public to check out the ship’s remains.

“We want the public to come take pictures, see it and talk about it because sometimes archaeology is done in areas that people can’t see,” she said. “We are all collectively excited about this.”

Trans Am Worldwide Takes on the Demon With a 1,100-HP Firebird Drag Car

Trans Am Worldwide made a splash at last year’s New York auto show with their latest creation, the Trans Am Super Duty. Little did they know, their 1,000-hp throwback would land at the same time as the Dodge Challenger Demon. Rather than let that take the wind out of their Screaming Chicken’s wings, the boys from Florida took it as a challenge.

To take on the Demon, Trans Am worked with a willing owner to develop its first dedicated drag car. You’d think the Super Duty’s 1,000 hp would have been plenty when compared to the heavier Demon’s 840 hp, but Trans Am says it wanted to make that number at the wheels, not the crank. Switching from pump gas to race gas and adding methanol injection accomplished that goal, giving the engine more than 1,100 hp. Only the limits of the already beefed-up eight-speed auto kept the team from going higher.

Other mods include a Strange nine-inch rear end, Weld wheels with proper pizza cutters up front, and Eibach springs. Trans Am also developed a roll cage and will install it and a five-point harness before the car hits the strip. Also waiting back at the shop: a parachute that hides behind the license plate. The car will need it, too: Trans Am expects it’ll run the quarter mile in the low 9-second range, but hopes it can break into the 8s.

Speed ain’t cheap, of course, and neither are custom carbon-fiber body panels. The standard Trans Am starts at $107,000 including the base car (a brand new Camaro SS 1LE) and go up from there. This car is a one-off for now, and Trans Am figures the finished version will cost about $190,000. But with development completed, Trans Am plans to offer the drag package to future owners who want to dust Demons at the strip.

Better get your order in now, though, because the company already has a nine-month waiting list.

Seven Questions With Acura Boss Jon Ikeda

With a redesigned 2019 RDX crossover that boasts a 272-hp 2.0-liter turbo engine, a sharper suspension design, the return of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, and a dramatically upgraded infotainment interface, Acura is on a roll. We chatted with Acura Division general manager Jon Ikeda on the sidelines of the New York auto show about the RDX and other issues facing Honda’s luxury brand.

Acura vice president and general manager Jon Ikeda

What is so special about the redesigned RDX?

It’s the first of a new generation of Acuras to get back to our original mission of “precision crafted performance.” It’s a great car to show where we are trying to take the brand. It’s another whole level of a new car. I am confident there’s going to be a lot of people enjoying what they’re looking at and driving. When you have a 2.0-liter turbo making 272 horsepower, which is best in class, and a 10-speed transmission, and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, then you add a humongous panel roof … there are so many touch points and features the previous RDX did well. But this is the kind of increase we want for the next TLX and MDX. That’s the kind of escalation we’re looking at.

The RDX used to share a lot of underpinnings with the Honda CR-V. Is that still the case with the redesigned 2019 version?

It’s its own platform. We always think of efficiencies, but in the end, it’s about building the right product. It’s not on the CR-V platform. It’s the first on a new platform. It’s the lead vehicle.

Right now A-Spec is more about trim packages. When will we see suspension and engine upgrades as part of the package?

Most of it is about getting the performance look, yet there are some enhancements. The MDX A-Spec comes with wider tires, which is good for performance, but we also want people to get that image for a reasonable cost. We have talked about the return of Type S models in the future, and we have a V-6 turbo engine coming. Those are on the horizon. But that’s separate from A-Spec. Type S will be very performance-oriented.

With its redesign, the RDX has grown yet again. And a lot of your rivals are creating new models with a smaller footprint, such as the Lexus UX. Does Acura want to go below the RDX, or do you worry that going smaller will compete with Honda?

The key for us right now is focusing on our core models. And when we bring in core models, we want segment-leading core models. Then we look at, if we are playing in the premium field and it’s all trucks, not everyone is going to be able to become Range Rover. We have to have a balanced portfolio. There are still cars on the road. Balance is a good place to be. We’re a performance brand, so no matter where the market goes, our cars better drive like stink. If it’s about trucks, we’ll have the best, most fun-to-drive trucks.

But to me, it’s still early days for luxury SUVs. I don’t want to drive what my dad was driving, [a heavy station wagon]. SUVs used to be big Suburbans, but now they’ve gotten smaller to the point where there is almost no utility. I own a TSX Sportwagon, and I’m always wondering, if I slam down an RDX, will I get the same handling I can get from my TSX wagon?

The NSX has been on sale for a couple years now. How would you gauge interest?

The key is build-to-order. Dealers want one in their store. Now we’re racing with Penske, we have GT3 race cars, and we have posters on the walls of dealerships. You add to that a shiny red NSX, you give a test drive, and sell an A-Spec MDX. The NSX has many purposes beyond sales. It’s a halo, a flagship.

There are several premium brands (Acura, Infiniti, Genesis, Volvo) that aren’t seen as “true” luxury, in the same category as the German brands and Lexus. But Volvo is trying to elevate to that status. Does Acura have similar ambitions?

We’re focused on what Acura does. We’re a performance brand. For us, we’re 31 years old and trying to be honest with ourselves. We like the youthful energy. We’re going back to our “precision crafted performance” roots. This is not what everyone else is offering. It’s what we can bring to the forefront. Trying to pit yourselves against others is not the way to do it. If the other brands want to do that, that’s fine. I’m looking for 200,000 people to hang out with us.

So you aren’t looking to make something larger or more opulent than the MDX?

The MDX changed the dynamics of the industry. Obviously, it has done nothing but great things for our brand, and we will continue to evolve it. But we’re not thinking about doing something like everybody else is doing.

2018 Mazda6 to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

One of our favorite midsize sedans is getting a cool upgrade, we learned at Mazda’s press conference at ythe 2018 New York auto show. After talking briefly about the subtly refreshed 2019 CX-3 subcompact crossover and unveiling a new “brand truth” called “Feel Alive,” Mazda announced that the 2018 Mazda6 will get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

That’s right, the aging but still attractive and entertaining Mazda6 adds the popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features for the 2018 model year on the Touring trim or higher, starting this summer. Those already driving a 2018 Mazda6 Touring or higher will eventually be able to take in their cars to dealerships for a retrofit. Expect other Mazdas to follow the 2018 Mazda6’s lead, possibly including the 2019 CX-5 and 2019 CX-9.

Speaking in front of the sexy (but impractical) Kai concept making its North American debut in New York, Mazda chief marketing officer Dino Bernacchi said that although Mazda products met owners’ expectations, the brand itself didn’t connect with them. To that end, Mazda is rebranding itself under the “Feel Alive” moniker and claims to have started the first automotive social hub on Amazon, where fans can learn about new products and upcoming Mazda experiences.

If that last effort can actually sustain itself after the initial effort from the automaker, it could be a good way to increase Mazda’s connection to its fans. On a more basic level, though, we’re just happy the Mazda6 is getting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2019 Nissan Altima: 7 Things to Know

The sixth-generation Altima makes its debut at the 2018 New York auto show with a feature that the Camry and Accord don’t offer at any price: all-wheel drive. But beyond newly available AWD, Nissan has reimagined the Altima in a few other ways—keep reading to learn more about the new midsize sedan.


A Nissan First

Nissan is offering all-wheel drive on the 2019 Altima, and it’s not just a first for that midsize sedan nameplate. It’s also the first time any U.S.-spec Nissan sedan will offer all-wheel drive.

“One less reason for [buyers] to defect to CUVs is if we offer all-wheel drive,” Nissan product planning manager Derek Kramer said.

Currently, only Subaru and Ford offer all-wheel-drive midsize sedans. Ford offers all-wheel drive with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost powerplant, requiring an engine upgrade over two other engines, but Subaru includes all-wheel drive as standard on every Legacy. Nissan’s approach is closer to Subaru’s—at least at first, the Altima with AWD will be available on all five trims with the 2.5-liter base engine; the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine is front-drive only.


Nissan Gets SRious

Just as Toyota has found success broadening the Camry’s appeal with SE and XSE variants, Nissan is seeing a similar trend with the Altima. The 2019 Altima will be available in S, SR, SV, SL, and Platinum trims. Although the SV has been a popular variant, the SR is gaining ground.

“We’ve seen the dynamics in the segment change over the last couple years,” Kramer said. “So it’s definitely migrating toward the sportier variants.”

The 2019 Altima SR, which is available with both engines, gets 19-inch wheels, a different suspension and chassis tuning, and paddle shifters, and it offers a dark interior with orange accents. One feature the Altima SR doesn’t get is Nissan’s package of active safety tech, called ProPilot Assist.


ProPilot Assistance

The 2019 Altima gets a full package of advanced safety features, which includes lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and automatic rear braking. Although it’s standard on the SV, SL, and Platinum, the package isn’t available on the S or SR. That strategy differs from that of Toyota and Honda, which make their active safety tech packages standard on every Camry and Accord. Of course, not all such systems work exactly as well as the others, but we hope the lack of ProPilot Assist on lower-trim Altimas will help Nissan keep those models affordable. (Pricing hasn’t been announced yet.) If an increasing number of consumers experience—and appreciate—such systems, expect a future Altima to offer some of ProPilot Assist’s features on lower trims.


But the Altima DOES Offer Other Standard Features

The 2019 Altima becomes another new mainstream-branded car to lack a true base model. Yes, the 2019 Altima S rides on 16-inch steel wheels with covers, but even that model comes standard with push-button start (and a smart key that requires a push of a button on the door handle to open the car), an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7.0-inch gauge cluster info display, four USB ports (two in front and two for rear passengers), and an eight-way power driver seat.


Going Up

As someone who spent a year behind the wheel of Motor Trend’s long-term 2013 Altima, I’m happy to see that the 2019 Altima’s standard 8.0-inch touchscreen is positioned at the top of the dash. That’s a huge improvement compared to the outgoing car, allowing for easier quick-look visibility than before. As with the Accord, though, it’s too bad the screen isn’t tilted a little toward the driver.


Going Down

The 2019 Altima’s low hood makes an impression when seeing it in person. Along with those slim headlights, it helps make the midsize sedan look more aggressive and even a little angry if you anthropomorphize cars. The car’s 30-millimeter hood drop was made possible in part because of the fact that Nissan’s upgraded 2.5-liter I-4 base engine was reoriented 180 degrees, Kramer said.


Fours for Everyone

The 2019 Altima will not offer a V-6 engine. In its place, a new 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine is the upgrade engine that’s offered in front-drive form on the SR and Platinum trims. The V-6-replacing turbo-fours we’ve tested in midsize sedans have offered different levels of performance, from the Malibu and Accord options whose sub-6-second 0–60 times keep up with a Camry V-6 to the highest-horsepower variants from Hyundai and Kia, which have 0–60 times just above 7 seconds. Even the outgoing Altima had impressive EPA-rated fuel economy, so we’re interested to see how well the updated base 2.5-liter I-4 will perform with its standard CVT.

Audi RS Avant Wagons Could Still Make it to America

Attention, fast wagon fans: Audi is not ruling out the possibility of selling RS Avants in the U.S. market; it’s just concentrating on Sportbacks for now.

“We always look at potential new opportunities in the market. It’s a niche to explore,” said Filip Brabec, vice president of product management for Audi of America. “We keep holding discussions. Keep writing us letters.”

For now, however, Audi is concentrating on the launch of its RS 5 Sportback, a five-door hatchback that is currently the closest thing to an Avant in the U.S. lineup.

“The RS 6 and RS 4 Avants are well accepted in Europe,” said Michael Renz, the new head of Audi Sport worldwide. “In the U.S., it might be a different situation.”

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Renz hears the shouts of the very vocal Avant fans in America. But Avant fans also represent a small niche compared to the rest of the lineup. Could RS Avants arrive in a few years as a way to spark awareness and sales for the rest of the RS lineup? Renz would not commit to it, but he didn’t rule it out either.

“The Sportback is not a weird hatchback,” Renz said. “It adds to a sedan, as a beautiful layer on top of that. It’s for sedan buyers who want to be a bit more expressive.”

2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback

That said, the demographic for a Sportback and Avant are quite different, at least in Europe.

“The Sportback offers more image than the Avant. There is a clear hierarchy,” Renz said. “The Sportback is for young families who are looking for a sporty, fashion-oriented car with functionality that they can put the kids in. The Avant customer is a little bit older, more entrepreneurial.”