Paleontologist discovers tiny terrifying dinosaur – beak of a parrot, fangs of a vampire

Dr. Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at University of Chicago has discovered a new dinosaur, from The Register:

A two-foot long dinosaur with the beak of a parrot, teeth of a vampire and covered in some sort of bristly quill stuff…the Pegomastax africanus scampered around the earth 200 million years ago.

Called Pego, and judging by the illustration, the beast was terrifying with fangs in its beak and sharp quills down it’s back. But it would have weighed less than a house cat and was a herbivore – speculation is that the fangs were for fighting during mating competitions.

The fossil was surprisingly well preserved in volcano ash, allowing Dr. Sereno to study the bristles in addition to the bones. And the reason for this discovery is the Doctor finally pulled the fossil out of his desk drawer. It had been sitting there for 50 years collecting dust. Now, he is moving on to the second drawer.

Video of Sicily’s Mount Etna erupting with lava flows and steam sprays

April 13, 2012 – Europe’s highest active volcano, Italy’s Mount Etna, erupted again this week. The eruption, which spewed blood-red molten lava and grey and white ash into the air, is the 24th in a series that started in January 2011.

 

A decade ago the volcano was at it again, this time more serious. Several thousands residents were forced to evacuate. Tom Pfeiffer was there, 800 meters away in February 2000, during one of the eruptions and described it for us.

From Scientific American:

After a few minutes, the first red spots began dancing above the crater, rising and falling back into it. The explosions grew stronger, first slowly, then with breathtaking speed, throwing bombs more than 1,000 meters above the rim. Soon the volcanic cone surrounding the crater was covered with glowing rocks. At the same time, a fountain of lava started to rise from a fracture on the flank of the cone. Several other fountains rose from the crater and formed a roaring, golden curtain that illuminated the scene like daylight. Some larger lava bombs crashed into the snow not far from us, but we felt secure in our viewing position. The fountain was nearly vertical, and a strong wind carried the mass of glowing lapilli and ash gently away from us.

 

// Thx to Seth Goldstein

What a real alien attack would look like – Chile's Puyehue Volcano eruption (photo)

Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts, causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate. (Reuters)

via Buzzfeed

For more alien-like attack photos The Atlantic has 21 more of the volcanic lightning and ash.

 

What a real alien attack would look like – Chile’s Puyehue Volcano eruption (photo)

Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts, causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate. (Reuters)

via Buzzfeed

For more alien-like attack photos The Atlantic has 21 more of the volcanic lightning and ash.