OC Marsh
  • Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-cwpbh-04124
  • O. C. Marsh
• The correspondences of Othniel Charles Marsh are now available on the web site for Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History. Marsh, a rock star paleontologist in his time, was responsible for naming nearly every one of your favorite dinosaurs: Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and many more. He famously had a fierce rivalry with his contemporary, Edward Cope which you can learn more about on the "Dinosaur Wars" episode of PBS's American Experience.

• Speaking of documentaries, f you happen to be at Sundance check out Dinosaur 13, a film about a T-Rex named "Sue." From the Sundance website:

On August 12, 1990, in the badlands of South Dakota, paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute unearthed the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found…

Two years later, when the FBI and the National Guard showed up, battle lines were drawn over ownership of Sue. The U.S. government, world-class museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists became the Goliath to Larson’s David as he and his team fought to keep their dinosaur and wrestled with intimidation tactics that threatened their freedom as well.

Dinosaur 13 chronicles an unprecedented saga in American history and details the fierce battle to possess a 65-million-year-old treasure.

• A new study says that the tiny mammalian ancestors of humans shared the planet with dinosaurs.

This ancestor, the first placental mammal, lived between 88.3 to 91.6 million years ago, according to the study, published in the latest issue of Biology Letters. Placental mammals today include humans and all other mammals except those that lay eggs or have pouches (marsupials).

The study counters prior research, based solely on fossil evidence, which theorized this “mother of all placental mammals” arose after the dinosaurs died out. The researchers instead believe that it preceded the non-avian dino die off and that we wouldn’t even be here if the dinosaurs were still around.

More here.

• And finally, the first dinosaur fossil from Saudi Arabia was found.

A plant-eating titanosaur and a sharp-toothed theropod are the first confirmed dinosaur fossils ever found in Saudi Arabia, scientists reported Dec. 26 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Dinosaur fossils are rare in the Arabian Peninsula; previous finds mainly include teeth and bone fragments of similar species from Jordan, Oman and Lebanon, the researchers report.

More here.