Paleonews

Il blog dedicato ai Paleontologi !!!!

2009-04-15 – Murphy giudicato colpevole (Murphy guilty)

Il paleontologo ameriano Nate Murphy é stato giudicato colpevole di aver trafugato resti di dinosauro da aree protette.

vedi pure:

2009-03-10 – Nate Murphy: noto paleontologo indagato per furto (paleontologist pleaded guilty to stealing)

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Montana paleontologist pleads guilty to stealing dinosaur bones from BLM land
Posted on April 14
By MATTHEW BROWN of the Associated Press

BILLINGS – A Montana paleontologist whose discoveries brought widespread acclaim has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he stole dinosaur fossils from federal land.

Nate Murphy’s work includes unearthing a mummified duckbill dubbed Leonardo, considered the best-preserved fossil in the world.

On Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls, Murphy pleaded guilty to taking more than a dozen fossilized dinosaur bones from U.S. Bureau of Land Management land near Malta without having a permit. He had pleaded guilty last month in state court to stealing a raptor fossil from private land and trying to cash in on molds from the bones.

Law enforcement officials and other paleontologists said the cases underscore the growing problem of fossil theft, which is driven by the increasingly high prices rare specimens bring on the open market.

More than 200 law enforcement incidents involving fossils were tallied by the BLM over the last decade, federal officials say.

Murphy’s plea agreement in the federal case asks that his sentence not include jail time. Sentencing is set for July 9.

Following Tuesday’s hearing, U.S. Attorney Bill Mercer said he hoped the high-profile prosecution would deter others from committing similar crimes.

“This particular prosecution hopefully will send a strong message that if people do engage in that type of activity, there will be serious consequences in terms of legal action,” Mercer said.

Murphy, 51, is a self-taught paleontologist who runs a private paleo-outfitting business based in Billings. Prior to Tuesday’s hearing, he repeated that he was eager to get his side of the story out but had been advised by his attorney not to do so at this time.

Mercer said the case was made possible through the efforts of the BLM’s lead investigator, Special Agent Tom Madsen, 42, who died as the investigation was coming to a close. Madsen suffered a sudden illness.

“There really wouldn’t have been a case if he had not done the great work he did,” Mercer said. He added that Madsen “put his heart and soul into this.”

U.S. Magistrate Keith Strong initially refused to accept Murphy’s plea, after Murphy said he made a “mistake” in not accurately mapping where fossils were recovered, said assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr, who prosecuted the case.

After speaking with his attorney, Mike Moses, Murphy clarified that pinpointing the exact location of fossil finds is standard scientific procedure and that he did not do so in two instances.

“This was not a mistake,” Fehr said. “If this was merely a mistake, it would not be sufficient for a criminal charge.”

In pleading guilty to theft of government property, Murphy admitted to acting with “willful ignorance or blindness” n meaning he knew his actions risked violating the law but he chose to ignore that fact.

The government’s offer of proof noted Murphy had a similar run-in with authorities in 1994. He was found to have removed a dinosaur nicknamed “Elvis” from BLM land without a permit, but no charges were filed.

source: http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2009/04/14/bnews/br59.txt

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Other links:

Montana paleontologist pleads guilty to stealing dinosaur bones

The Missoulian – ‎6 ore fa‎
On Tuesday in US District Court in Great Falls, Murphy pleaded guilty to taking more than a dozen fossilized dinosaur bones from US Bureau of Land
Annunci

aprile 15, 2009 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, An. Vertebrates, Collezionismo, Commercio illegale, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-11-05 – UK: nuovi paleontologi crescono !! (Emelia Fawbert, a five-years paleontologist !!!)

Emelia Fawbert, una bambina di cinque anni alla ricerca di fossili con la famiglia, ritrova una vertebra di Rinoceronte lanoso (wolly rhino) nel Gloucestershire, UK.

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Five-year-old discovers Ice Age woolly rhino at first fossil hunt

By Daily Mail Reporter

 

 Emelia Fawbert  
Little Emelia Fawbert discovered this impressive 50,000-year-old rhino bone

A five-year-old girl has unearthed the vertebra of an Ice Age woolly rhinoceros during a fossil hunt with her family.

Emelia Fawbert found the remains of the animal that roamed the area 50,000 years ago at the Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Emelia dug up the 16-inch long bone on her first excavation with help from her father James, 33.

She was among a group of fossil hunters searching a freshly-excavated gravel pit at the park on October 26.

The atlas vertebra, which once supported the head of the fearsome creature, was poking up through the clay which had been exposed by gravel excavations.

Emelia and her father used a trowel to prise the specimen from the mud and it has now been sealed in a special protective covering before being donated to a museum.

It was the finest of numerous fossils unearthed during the hunt, which also included the leg bone and vertebra from an Ice Age deer and the remains of squid-like creatures from the Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago.

Emilia’s grandfather Geoffrey Fawbert, 61 said of her find: ‘It looked impressive but none of us had a clue what it was until the experts told us.’

Emilia hopes to become a paleontologist when she grows older.

source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1083187/Five-year-old-discovers-Ice-Age-woolly-rhino-fossil-hunt.html

novembre 5, 2008 Posted by | - Mammiferi, Curiosità, Europa, Italiano (riassunto), P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-13 – Canada: Mostra sui Triceratopi (C.Montreuil profile, Meet the Triceratops)

In Canada organizzata una mostra sui Triceratopi curata dal biologo evoluzionista Hans Larsson, i cui proventi saranno usati per acquistare e quindi esporre una famiglia completa di Triceratopi con esemplari a diversi stadi di sviluppo.

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Boning up on dinosaurs

Chantal Montreuil’s dream was to work with animals – live ones, that is. But as a fossil technician at McGill University, it’s her job to piece together the featured exhibit at this week’s Meet the Triceratops event

BRONWYN CHESTER, Freelance

Published: 3 hours ago

It’s the week before the big event and Chantal Montreuil is trying to figure out how to attach the lower jaw of this young triceratops to the upper jaw.

“What’s difficult is to do it without the wires showing,” said Montreuil, standing back from the two-metre-long dinosaur skull she’s been working on for the past three months at the Redpath Museum.

Montreuil is learning as she goes – as she has done for the past four years as the fossil technician of McGill University’s evolutionary biology laboratory.

She is working from hundreds of small fossilized bones that add up to about 70 per cent of a teenage triceratops’s skull – bones collected on digs led by Hans Larsson, a McGill professor of evolutionary biology, in southwestern Saskatchewan.

On a table in the lab sit the two horns, each weighing close to 10 kilograms, along with a bit of the frill, the upright collar surrounding the head that is characteristic of this Jurassic dinosaur, which wandered in herds until its demise 65 million years ago.

“There are 200 pieces of frill alone,” Montreuil said. “From the size of the horns and the size of the frill, we knew this was a juvenile.”

She has been piecing the bones together, gradually, since going on the first dig in Saskatchewan three years ago. But more recently, she has been using the bones as reference points as she adapts a life-size skull made of fibreglass.

The fibreglass skull and the bones will be on display Friday at the Meet the Triceratops event at Redpath. It’s a chance for the public to learn about McGill’s dinosaur-digging activities.

Later, Montreuil will embed the bones into the fibreglass model.

She picked up the original fibreglass model last summer from Research Casting International, a company in Trenton, Ont., that specializes in dinosaur casts. Montreuil has made various cuts to reduce the length of the head and to widen the face to most closely represent the fossil record the McGill team has collected.

This being her first time working with the material, Montreuil has experimented with different putties, glues, plaster, wire, paint and reinforcing foam. Initially, the fumes emanating from resins in the fibreglass forced her to take the skull out of the museum and put it in her backyard until the odours evaporated.

“My neighbours got a kick out of that,” said Montreuil, who lives in Plateau Mont Royal.

Montreuil, too, gets a kick out of her work. Having dropped out of school at 15, had a baby at 18, and worked at menial jobs through the years while completing high school and, finally, Vanier College’s program in ecology technology, the 37-year-old has nothing but appreciation for her job.

“I’m happy to be doing work I love,” she said.

Her intention was always to work with animals – but with live ones. Raised by parents who collected edible plants and hunted every fall, Montreuil grew up in Verdun knowing her plants and animals. Later, in her mid-20s and living in Vancouver, she learned to scuba dive and became a volunteer in the city aquarium’s marine mammal rehabilitation program, where she taught orphaned seals to hunt and return to the sea.

As fate would have it, however, the first job Montreuil landed after Vanier was a contract to put together a display for the Redpath Museum’s exhibit on biodiversity. Her qualifications for that job had as much to do with her manual skills as with her knowledge of nature. With a carpenter father and a mother who ran a crafts store, Montreuil knew how to use her hands. To this day, she keeps a studio in Mile End where she makes lampshades and sculpts imaginary creatures in papier mâché.

Montreuil was also happy to have work in her field that didn’t require uprooting herself and her son. “I thought to myself, ‘I’m a wildlife technician living in the middle of the city. Not bad,’ ” she said with dry humour.

At the end of that contract, Larsson was looking for a technician. And the rest, as they say, is prehistory. With knowledge of paleontology gleaned during her son’s dinosaur-loving period and from the Vanier program, Montreuil took on the job, learning from Larsson and through trial and error.

“My aptitude for jigsaw puzzles and for packing came in handy,” she joked.

Participating with Larsson and a dozen students in the annual May dig in Saskatchewan, however, has proven to be the most useful experience in the preparation of fossils.

“Seeing these fossils in the ground and visualizing the scene around an ancient riverbed, it gives me a better feel for my work,” Montreuil said. “I’m a bit like the detective who needs to go to the scene of the crime.

“The dig is also an opportunity for me to learn from the paleontology technicians at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum.”

Quebec has its own paleontology technicians, but their specialization is fossilized fish. Miguasha, in the Gaspé, is a World Heritage Site for Devonian (Age of Fishes) fossils from 370 million years ago. The Age of Reptiles – dinosaurs being the most highly evolved reptile – was a mere 245 million to 65 million years ago.

The triceratops skull will give Montrealers just their second dinosaur: It will take its place beside the albertosaurus that has ruled alone on the museum’s second floor for the past 16 years.

“It’s all very poetic, because it is thanks to the albertosaurus that I learned of this museum,” Montreuil said. “When my son was little, he showed me one of those Jurassic Park (movie) books about the tyrannosaurus. There was a photo in there of the Albertasaurus and in the credits was the name of the Redpath Museum, Montreal. That led to my first visit.”

Meet the Triceratops is a McGill University Homecoming event that features a presentation by evolutionary biology professor Hans Larsson. Proceeds will be used to acquire and display a complete triceratops family – parent, teenager and baby. Suggested contributions are $12 per adult, $5 per child, and $20 per family. No reservation is necessary. The event takes place Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Redpath Museum, 859 Sherbrooke St. W. Call 514-398-4086.

source: © The Gazette (Montreal) 2008

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adiitional links:ù

Redpath Museum

Redpath Museum – Meet the Triceratops

ottobre 13, 2008 Posted by | - Ceratopsidi, - R. Dinosauri, America Northern, Mostre & Fiere, Musei, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-06 – Speciale televisivo per seguire la preparazione di un teschio di dinosauro (PBS, “Arctic Dinosaurs”, Alaska, Pachyrhinosaurus dinosaur skull excavation

 

PBS special to follow Dallas scientist’s dinosaur skull excavation

 12:00 AM CDT on Monday, October 6, 2008 By MARK NORRIS / The Dallas Morning News
norrism@dallasnews.com

 Dinosaurs and cold weather would seemingly go together like oil and water.But a Dallas-based paleontologist is working to explain how these creatures could have lived in freezing temperatures – and bringing added visibility to Dallas’ Museum of Nature & Science.

Tony Fiorillo, curator of earth sciences at the museum, will be featured Tuesday on PBS’ NOVA: Arctic Dinosaurs. Crews followed him as he led expeditions to northern Alaska in 2006 and 2007 to unearth 70-million-year-old dinosaur fossils.

The national broadcast, occurring before the second presidential debate, is big publicity for Dr. Fiorillo and the museum.

“It gives us a chance to show what this museum does,” Dr. Fiorillo said.

Nicole Small, chief executive officer of the museum, said the exposure is a “spectacular opportunity for the city of Dallas.”

She said the program, which includes footage in Dallas, highlights the research that goes on out of the public eye.

Dr. Fiorillo, who has a doctorate in vertebrate paleontology, has been with the Fair Park museum since 1995 and began work on the arctic dinosaur project in 1998.

Weather has been the biggest hurdle in Alaska. Mid-June through mid-August is the only time for research in the area, which is well north of the Arctic Circle. But even the short summer season can be instantly slowed by bitterly cold winds.

Film crews who followed Dr. Fiorillo and his team were present for the discovery of the skull of a pachy-rhinosaurus, an herbivore that was a distant cousin of the more familiar triceratops. Its total length was 20 to 25 feet, and its skull is roughly the size of a typical desk.

Dr. Fiorillo found the skull on the ledge of a cliff that sticks out 300 feet. After excavation, the skull was plastered, wrapped in burlap, put in heavy-duty netting and moved from the site by helicopter.

“It’s the most nerve-racking part,” Dr. Fiorillo said.

The specimen made its way to Dallas for cleaning and reconstruction after a series of plane and truck rides.

Ron Tykoski, who has been working at the museum and with Dr. Fiorillo since 2005, is the one who delicately works to remove the parts of the skull.

“Still lots to do and learn,” Dr. Tykoski said. “The skull is slightly damaged.”

The scientists expect to find more answers about what happened to the dinosaurs once the reconstruction is done and analysis can begin. Work on the skull has been going on for two years.

Dr. Fiorillo hopes to have it and other fossils from Alaska exhibited within a few years.

“It should be a display-quality specimen,” he said.

One possibility for an exhibition space includes the facility the museum is set to build on the southern edge of Victory Park. Construction is slated to begin next year, and Ms. Small said publicity from the PBS special can brand the new facility as one where the newest and most current research will be displayed.

“This is a major, major stepping point for us,” she said.

source: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-dallasdino_06met.ART0.State.Edition2.2696f5b.html

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Program description:

TV Program Description
Original PBS Broadcast Date: October 7, 2008

Most people imagine dinosaurs lurking in warm locales with swamps and jungles, dining on vegetation and each other. But a new NOVA documentary reveals that many species also survived and thrived in the harsh environments of the north and south polar regions. This program focuses on two high-stakes expeditions and the paleontologists who push the limits of science to unearth 70 million-year-old fossils buried in the vast Alaskan tundra.

NOVA takes viewers on an exciting Arctic trek as one team of paleontologists attempts a radical “dig” in northern Alaska, using explosives to bore a 60-foot tunnel into the permafrost in search of fossil bones. Both the scientists and the filmmakers face many challenges while on location, including plummeting temperatures and eroding cliffs prone to sudden collapse. Meanwhile, a second team of scientists works high atop a treacherous cliff to unearth a massive skull, all the while battling time, temperature, and voracious mosquitoes.

The hardy scientists shadowed in “Arctic Dinosaurs” persevere because they are driven by a compelling riddle: How did dinosaurs—long believed to be cold-blooded animals—endure the bleak polar environment and navigate in near-total darkness during the long winter months? Did they migrate over hundreds of miles of rough terrain like modern-day herds of caribou in search of food? Or did they enter a dormant state of hibernation, like bears? Could they have been warm-blooded, like birds and mammals? Top researchers from Texas, Australia, and the United Kingdom converge on the freezing tundra to unearth some startling new answers.

The experts featured in the program shed light on dinosaur biology as they carefully craft theories about life cycles, environment, weather, and extinction. NOVA travels with paleontologist Tony Fiorillo to excavation sites on the North Slope of Alaska, to unearth a unique skull from the lip of a cliff that threatens to slide into the Colville River far below. (See The Producer’s Story for filmmaker Chris Schmidt’s behind-the-scenes take on his journey to this site.) Robert Spicer, an expert on prehistoric flora, ingeniously reconstructs the dinosaurs’s environment by studying fossil leaves and suggests that the “veggie” dinosaurs had a plentiful menu of plants to pick from.

More clues come from other scientists. An expert in fossil footprints and trails, Steve Hasiotis, concludes that Alaska was once a warmer, wetter, and lusher environment than previously imagined. And South African researcher Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan examines thin cross-sections of dinosaur bones shipped from Alaska to help determine whether the animals were warm-blooded, which was probably essential for them to have survived the harsh winters.

Finally, the program touches on the ultimate implications of dinosaur survival. Did a catastrophic asteroid impact 65 million years ago wipe out the dinosaurs, as most people now believe, or did more gradual ecological changes play an equally decisive role in their demise? Like a good detective story, “Arctic Dinosaurs” fingers new suspects in its search for answers to the extinction riddle, including massive volcanic eruptions, shifting continents, and a gradual climatic chill—the opposite of today’s global warming. Throughout, the documentary brings the world of arctic dinosaurs vividly to life through compelling computer-generated imagery.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/arcticdino/about.html

Arctic Dinosaurs

  • The Producer’s Story
  • Watch the Program
  • Video Preview
  • Online live date
  • ottobre 6, 2008 Posted by | - Ceratopsidi, - R. Dinosauri, America Northern, Paleontology / Paleontologia, TV, Video | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento