49 votes
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Were there any flying dinosaurs?

Birds are both flying dinosaurs and flying reptiles. Yes, that's potentially confusing. To understand the apparent contradiction, you have to understand how modern classification of organisms works (...
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24 votes

Were there any flying dinosaurs?

In addition to kmm's excellent answer, I'd like to present the xkcd point of view. By any reasonable definition, T. Rex is more closely related to sparrows than to Stegosaurus. Separation ...
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  • 385
13 votes
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How is the first Triceratops born?

Yes, there are many early examples of ceratopsians before Triceratops. The oldest clear member of the lineage is Liaoceratops: "the oldest ceratopsian ever found ... was about the size of a large dog. ...
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11 votes
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Are all dinosaur bones radioactive?

While it is true that some fossils can be radioactive, not all of them are. According to the ressources I have found, it depends on the place where these minerals are found and also the other minerals ...
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10 votes
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Was the dodo a dinosaur?

Yes, dodos were dinosaurs, but that probably doesn't quite mean what you think it does. Dodos were birds, closely related to pigeons. All birds are dinosaurs.
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  • 3,273
10 votes
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Did birds descend from a single or multiple species of dinosaur?

The answer is "one common ancestor", but I'll expand. All organisms descend from one common ancestor so that question is not quite well-posed, but what you are actually asking I think is whether ...
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  • 3,197
10 votes

Is the Lucy fossil really what scientists claim it is?

Per the comments, the actual paper seems pretty like a pretty straightforward operation of normal science: Somebody noticed something that looked off about one of the bones and decided they'd look ...
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8 votes
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Did any dinosaur molt?

Richard Prum (the author of Evolution of feathers) says that ornithology is mostly a science about dinosaurs. He insists that dinosaurs were very close to birds, part of them had feathers and these ...
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  • 5,620
8 votes

Were there any flying dinosaurs?

I'm not an expert, but I think that you have to be specific about the flying animals to which you are referring. Pterosaurs are not classed as dinosaurs, whereas modern birds are descended from ...
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8 votes

Can you identify this fossil?

It's a sea urchin (Echinoidea). It looks like a specimen of Lovenia or another genus from the heart urchin (Spatangoida) family. What you see is just the shell without the spines. Lovenia woodsii ...
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  • 2,048
7 votes

Were there any flying dinosaurs?

Asides from flight-capable modern birds and their early ancestors1, there are several other therapod dinosaurs which palaeontologists suspect were capable of flight, "but in a manner ...
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  • 1,552
7 votes
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How big can cold-blooded animals get?

Answer is quite simple as from @Alan Boyd link. They are cold blooded and thus, can go out for hunt in cold, they need to stay put till they get some prey. So, it mainly depend on the temperature of ...
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7 votes

How could this fossil's soft tissue be preserved so well?

You're right that the authors don't comment on how they think the fossilization occurred. Since that process isn't the point of their article, my guess is that any discussion of it would have ...
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  • 1,879
7 votes
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Were there any vertebrates with 6 or more limbs?

I've not read it but this SE question Why don't mammals have more than 4 limbs? though not a duplicate (it asks about mammals not all vertebrates) may have some elements in its answers pertinent to ...
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6 votes
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Are prosauropods ancestors of all sauropods?

Welcome to Biology.SE! Your daughter asks interesting questions! The question is debated. It is currently mostly thought that sauropods and pro-sauropods are sister lineages and therefore, one does ...
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6 votes
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How to determine whether a newly discovered dinosaur is not a young one and not an entirely different species?

Diagnosing extinct species is even more difficult than extant taxa (see this question). Because systematists describing fossil species (usually) only have skeletons, they compare to other fossils. You ...
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6 votes
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How can soft tissue exist in dinosaur fossils?

keratin and collagen are an incredibly tough molecules so if it is isolated from the environment (oxygen and bacteria) it could easily survive for that long. Not all proteins are equal some are very ...
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6 votes
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Has the most recent common ancestor of all living birds lived after dinosaur mass extinction?

I suppose that by the mass extinction, you are referring to the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that happened 66 mya. The Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) ...
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6 votes
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What is the creature on the cover of the fourth edition of 'Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History'?

It appears to be of the family Scansoriopterygidae. This dead-end family in evolutionary terms, thrived in woodlands at some point between 153 and 165 million years ago. They ranged in size between ...
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5 votes
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How does tree resin capture arthropods?

I believe it is more of the fact that the organism gets stuck to the residual resin on the plant itself, and becomes encased and later fossilised in the amber. From LiveScience.Com: A host of bugs,...
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5 votes

How did aquatic dinosaurs go extinct?

Not a lot of people realize how extreme and how sudden the dinosaur's extinction was. Radiolab did an episode with several geologists about the extinction of the dinosaurs. Basically, when the meteor ...
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  • 5,288
5 votes
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How did aquatic dinosaurs go extinct?

Spinosaurs (like Spinosaurus) are currently only known from 112-97 million years ago, although isolated teeth push the origin possibly back to ~150 Mya. At least now, there isn't any definite ...
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5 votes
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Were there any marine/aquatic dinosaurs?

There are a couple of specimens of a dinosaur species named Liaoningosaurus paradoxus that have been found with fish in their stomachs and skeletal features suggesting it was at least semi-aquatic. ...
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5 votes

Why are mammals the only animals with pinnae / outer ears?

Short answer Mammalian hearing is unique and amazing. The mammalian ear is unique and highly sensitive with a built in amplification system that means even minute changes in sound can be detected. ...
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5 votes

Can a second mass extinction by microbes happen?

First of all, let’s consider your Methanosarcina scenario in specific. Methanosarcina with those properties are still around. So, there is no reason to expect that introducing some ancient ...
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  • 546
4 votes

The Perplexing Trilobite: What is the Evidence Supporting The Hypothesis That They are Not Crustaceans?

Trilobites had bodies divided into 3 lobes lengthwise. Hence the name trilobite = 3-lobed critter. The head or cephalon of the trilobite is large, nearly as broad as the body and marked by sutures. ...
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4 votes

How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs?

First of all, dinosaurs did not evolve to birds. A better way of saying it is that modern birds evolved from a particular type of dinosaur. That, however, is not the same as the blanket statement "...
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4 votes

When did birds and mammals diverge?

The Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) of birds and mammals was the first amniotes. Fossil record The latest known fossil of amniotes are 312 million years old (Bentou and Donoghue, 2007). Genetic ...
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  • 67.5k
4 votes
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When did birds and mammals diverge?

You can check it easily in the timetree website: http://www.timetree.org/ Put a mammalian species as taxon 1 (Homo sapiens) and a bird as taxon2 (Gallus gallus) in the first pair of boxes and hit run....
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