Early dinosaur relative walked like a croc

One of the earliest relatives of dinosaurs had some features we associate today with crocodiles and alligators, a study suggests. According to BBC

Many palaeontologists have wondered what the earliest dinosaur relatives looked like, as the fossil record in this time period is sparse.

Some assumed they walked on two legs, looking a bit like miniature dinosaurs.

Palaeontologist reconstructs feathered dinosaurs in the flesh

Until now it has been hard to get an accurate idea of the shape of a dinosaur from its fossilised remains, as only their bones are usually preserved. Using a new technique, Dr Michael Pittman and his collaborators reconstructed the first highly detailed body outline of a feathered dinosaur based on high-definition images of its preserved soft tissues. According to Science daily.

Laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF) is a revolutionary new technique using high power lasers that makes unseen soft tissues preserved alongside the bones, literally "glow in the dark" by fluorescence. The technique developed by collaborator Tom Kaye, scans the fossils with a violet laser in a dark room. The laser "excites" the few skin atoms left in the matrix making them glow, to reveal what the shape of the dinosaur actually looked like. "For the last 20 years we have been amazed by the wondrous feathered dinosaurs of Northeastern China. However, we never thought they would preserve soft tissues so extensively," said lead author and palaeontologist Dr Michael Pittman.

Atmosphere found around Earth-like planet GJ 1132b

Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time. According to BBC

They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.

Their observations suggest that the "super-Earth" is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.

Monkey business produces rare preserved blood in amber fossils

Two monkeys grooming each other about 20-30 million years ago may have helped produce a remarkable new find -- the first fossilized red blood cells from a mammal, preserved so perfectly in amber that they appear to have been prepared for display in a laboratory. According to Science daily

The discovery, also describes the only known fossils of a type of parasite that still exists today, Babesia microti, which infects the blood cells of humans and other animals.

Male or female? Scientist challenges evidence of sex differences among dinosaurs

A paleontologist is countering decades of studies that assert that some dinosaurs can be identified as male or female based on the shapes and sizes of their bones. According to Science daily.

Dr. Jordan Mallon, a dinosaur specialist at the museum, argues instead that the fossil evidence for these distinctions is inconclusive and, as a result, it might be time to "rewrite the textbooks." His report, on the biological principle of sexual dimorphism, where males and females of a species can be distinguished based on physical characteristics other than sexual organs.