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If Triceratops had a metalhead cousin, this dinosaur would be it

By Ashley Strickland, CNN

(CNN) — About 67 million years ago, two dinosaurs faced off in a showdown in what’s now Montana before being buried together in a single grave.

It’s unclear which dino won the battle. The Triceratops horridus and Tyrannosaurus rex each died sporting battle scars.

The Triceratops fossil emerged first as it eroded from the rock of the Hell Creek Formation in 2006. The T. rex fossil was then spotted overlapping it.

When commercial paleontologist Mark Eatman found the entangled fossils, the discovery was like something from the “Jurassic Park” films come to life.

The “dueling dinosaurs” went on display in April at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

And now, Eatman has struck dino gold again.


This specimen might be the rock star of dinosaurs.

After being on display for more than a year at the Museum of Evolution in Maribo, Denmark, the fossil of a horned dinosaur is finally getting recognition as a previously unknown species.

Named partly for the Norse god of mischief, Lokiceratops rangiformis was a cousin of Triceratops and lived in a swampy environment alongside other horned dinosaur species about 78 million years ago.

Lokiceratops had a flashy, fierce look fit for a metalhead that helped it defend territory and woo mates: an ornate skull with a shieldlike frill, horns over its eyes and paddle-shaped horns in the back.

Defying gravity

When NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams lifted off on a test flight of Boeing’s Starliner capsule on June 5, it was expected that they would return from a visit to the International Space Station about eight days later.

Now, the duo is likely aiming to come back sometime in July, according to the space agency.

The return date keeps shifting as Boeing and NASA work to understand the different issues that have cropped up during the spacecraft’s first crewed voyage, such as helium leaks and thruster failures.

Given that the capsule’s service module, which experienced the issues, won’t be coming back, engineers are racing to understand as much as they can before Starliner’s departure.

Across the universe

Astronomers are watching a supermassive black hole awakening in the middle of a distant galaxy for the first time.

The 2019 detection of an unusually bright glow by a telescope initially tipped scientists off that something unusual was happening in the galaxy, located 300 million light-years away.

Now, the international team has an unprecedented view as the sleeping giant comes to life and consumes all the cosmic material it can.

Meanwhile, researchers may have uncovered a primordial type of black hole as they reexamine a popular theory by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking in the search for elusive direct evidence of missing matter across the universe.

Ocean secrets

A 246 million-year-old fossil found in an unexpected place is revealing just what globe-trotters some ancient creatures were.

The late paleontologist Robert Erwan Fordyce, professor emeritus of the University of Otago, first spotted the fossil, which belonged to a nothosaur, in New Zealand. The discovery marked a rare occurrence of the marine reptile being unearthed in the Southern Hemisphere.

The astonishing find caused researchers to question how the reptiles moved from one side of Earth, dominated by a supercontinent called Pangea at the time, to the other.

It’s likely that the nothosaurs, which paddled through the water with their limbs, swam all the way around Pangea by using the global ocean as a coastal highway, said Benjamin Kear, a paleontologist at Uppsala University’s Museum of Evolution in Sweden.

Once upon a planet

The mapping of the remains of rock gardens could help researchers piece together what exactly happened to the Polynesian seafarers who originally inhabited Easter Island.

Researchers are divided into two camps as they study the remote Pacific island, also known as Rapa Nui, which is dotted with hundreds of monumental stone heads called moai.

Some experts suspect limited resources resulted in a catastrophic population decline. Others believe that the isolated group lived a sustainable life until 18th century European settlers brought disease to the island.

New research using satellite imagery and machine learning suggests that the island had a much smaller and more stable population, and the islanders were able to live off sweet potatoes and other crops grown using an ancient farming technique.


Dive into these findings:

— As Voyager 1 explores uncharted cosmic territory, the probe is sending back valuable science data for the first time since a computer glitch sidelined the spacecraft seven months ago.

— Scientists have discovered microplastics in human penises, adding to the growing list of potential health concerns around the tiny particles.

— A 3,300-year-old ship filled with hundreds of intact jars uncovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea is one of the oldest shipwrecks ever found.

— Meet Colombian marine biologist Fernando Trujillo, who ventured into the Amazon decades ago with a mission: to save mysterious pink river dolphins.

— For years, astronomers thought Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was first observed on the planet more than 350 years ago. A new analysis reveals the observations made in 1665 belonged to something else.

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