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Science

Some Dinosaurs Made Underground Dens 124

Posted by kdawson
from the dig-it dept.
anthemaniac writes "Scientists have long puzzled over how some dinosaurs and other creatures survived the asteroid impact that supposedly caused the KT mass extinction 65 million years ago and wiped out all the big dinosaurs. One idea has been that smaller animals, including mammals, could have endured the fallout, the big chill, the subsequent volcanoes, and whatever else by burrowing. Now scientists have come up with the first evidence of burrowing dinosaurs. They speculate that underground dens might explain how some dinosaurs got through long, dark winters at high latitudes, too."
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Some Dinosaurs Made Underground Dens

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  • Correction (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:19PM (#18473843) Journal
    The fake dinosaur bones that god put in the ground to test our faith were positioned in a what was made to appear as an underground burrow.

    This all happened sometime last week.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Good bonings, and unfortunately bad bonings as well, have tested the faith of many. People experiencing these have been known to call out to God. Many that occur have been related to underground movements and many people and organizations just try to keep knowledge of such things buried, especially in relation to the bad bonings.
    • by Wavicle (181176) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:38PM (#18473967)
      Yeah I was wondering how those dens saved them from drowning.

      (That was sarcasm. This is a note for the sarcasm impaired.)
    • You LIE papa! I'm sure Zerglings exist! And Santa too... :(
    • Re:Correction (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:55PM (#18474087)
      man, the repetativeness of religion bashing and jokes about chairs and a certain microsoft executive make beavis and butthead look like a thinking mans comedy around here.
       
      seriously guys, it's getting old. if you can't find something more original to pull out of your ass either you're twice as dumb as they are or they're right.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by Wonko the Sane (25252)

        man, the repetativeness of religion bashing and jokes about chairs and a certain microsoft executive make beavis and butthead look like a thinking mans comedy around here.

        You're right. No joke I could make would be as funny as what those people say all by themselves [creationism.org].
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        man, the repetativeness of religion bashing and jokes about chairs and a certain microsoft executive make beavis and butthead look like a thinking mans comedy

              Not to mention the bad spelling and grammar!
      • As long as creationists keep saying stupid things, why shouldn't we keep pointing and laughing?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tatisimo (1061320)
      Actually, this article proves that a few thousand years ago (and maybe even now) dinosaurs were burrowing themselves so deep that it looks like they lived millions of years ago. You should now speak for god name in vain unless you do your "research", have received "holy enlightment" or been huffing kittens.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      I think you, creationists, will be less confident once Godzilla will have waken up !
    • >This all happened sometime last week.

      Um, what now?

      The fact that we have to make up *more* untestable stories
      ("Uh, they burrowed! Yeah, that explains it ...") to make
      the earlier untestable stories hold together means that
      *other* people are dumb? ;)
      • by Anthony (4077) *
        Untestable? There is plenty of fossible evidence for burrowing. In fact fossil burrows show up all the time in littoral sediments. Same principle applies on land but they are much rarer. For example they can be "mummified" in dry conditions or rapidly buried in ash or mud (and no, not one big one-off flood event either).
    • fake dinosaur bones that god put in the ground to test our faith

      No, no, no, no, NO! You're being lead astray by the dark one! Fossils were not put there by god, they were put there by the DEVIL to lure us away from god. Jeez, don't you know ANYTHING?

  • Welllllll (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:27PM (#18473895)
    if the dinosaurs were so smart, how come they're dead?
  • ...I wonder where the branch is that sprouted modern burrowing/hibernating reptiles and mammals. And where did the branch bifurcate to give rise to non-burrowing/hibernating mammals? To my best recollection, all reptiles hibernate in one fashopn or another.

         
    • What you said makes no sense. Dinosaurs and mammals share an extremely ancient ancestor. There is no branch that sprouted burrowing dinosaurs/mammals.

      Your recollection is faulty. I'd say the Asian gliding lizard, komodo dragon and other tropical reptiles that never see fall, much less winter, do not hibernate. Estivate? Another story.
      • by TFGeditor (737839)
        "Estivate? Another story."

        Point taken. I tend to overlook behaviors in climates other than temperate.

        Of course, the obstinate might argue that estivation is the complement of hibernation, but you will get no such argument here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760)
        "What you said makes no sense."

        True, but I think there is a good question underneath it: When did animals that "sleep" on a seasonal timetable diverge from animals that "sleep" on a daily timetable, or is an animals sleep pattern a recuring mutation in the wiring for the "sleep instinct" that is triggered by climate/daylight/resources/whatever?

        "Estivate?"

        I'm nearly 50 and would also have said "hibernate". You taught me a new word today, thanks.
    • by linguizic (806996) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @06:58PM (#18474463)
      Burrowing, like all behaviors, can't really be traced phylogenically for a couple of reasons:1.As this article shows us, it's hard to find evidence of behaviors that happened yesterday let alone millions of years ago (though under the right conditions burrowing does leave a trace, as the article shows), 2. Behaviors vary more wildly than the average allele. Though there is a large component of genetics at play with behavior, ultimately behaviors are products of the physiological phenotypes associated with said alleles and sensory input. Different environmental inputs yield different behavioral outputs for the same allele. Therefore there isn't an isomorphic relationship between genes and behavior. Behavioral traits tend to pop up independently of each other quite often, so it is impossible to say that there is one node on the evolutionary branch that "sprouted modern burrowing/hibernating reptiles and mammals".

      Granted this is coming from what I learned as an undergraduate so there are probably better people in the /. community to comment on this. (That's my way of saying: "Though I may sound like an expert, I very well may be full of crap and would love it if someone with more knowledge would fact check this post").
      • by Sique (173459)
        Executive summary:

        Burrowing gets invented and forgotten again quite often during the development of animals, and it's highly probable that a burrow dweller has non burrowing predecessors and also highly probable, that a non burrower has burrow dwellers in his genealogy chart.
    • by pen (7191) *
      FWIW, humans too have a burrowing reflex [wikipedia.org].
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:32PM (#18473919)
    The images shown in the story are quite informative. Apparently, the http://images.livescience.com/images/070323_dino_s cale_02.jpg [livescience.com] people's noses were much larger back then, too.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, he's just Jewish.
    • by mrbluze (1034940)

      The images shown in the story are quite informative. Apparently, the http://images.livescience.com/images/070323_dino_s [livescience.com] cale_02.jpg people's noses were much larger back then, too.

      That's probably because back then there wasn't so much money around. Or alternatively, you could insert any other nose joke here :)

  • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:35PM (#18473951) Journal
    These burrowing dinosaurs must be from the species of Skeletal Dinosaurs we've found living underground for millions of years.

    SECRET TIP: Use bludgeoning weapons when fighting skeletal dinosaurs, they're resistant to piercing! ;)
    • Namco scientists unearthed these dinosaurs back in the 80s actually, and early cavemen used bicycle tire pumps to fend them off. We can only assume those same cavemen used bicycles on the surface to out maneuver those Galaxian cruisers as well - although there seems to be a missing link detailing that transition.
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      These burrowing dinosaurs must be from the species of Skeletal Dinosaurs we've found living underground for millions of years.


            Cool! That explains why these fossils skeletal dinosaurs are always found underground!
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Courageous (228506)
      Mod -1, D&D DORK :)
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by pipingguy (566974) *
      Please mod up to +5, funny.

      No, not this post, dummy, the one before it.
  • by EvanED (569694)
    What do you want to bet that these dinosaurs lived in bigger "dens" than my apartment?
  • Viva* Randomness!

    Over the long run, before all life is extinguished from Earth, I predict random forms of life will survive.

    I can make my PayPal account available for those of you who wish to put a wager amount into my account for the duration of human history.

    I pay 22:7 odds that I am right. Make your deposit today!

    * "Viva"; dictionary.com def #5 = "long live"

  • How does a burrowing dinosaur 91 million years ago prove or disprove anything about the asteroid impact 65 million years ago? I must have missed a leap of logic somewhere...
  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @06:20PM (#18474227) Homepage
    When the great cataclysmic meteorite strikes, only those of us sequestered in basements playing WoW and hacking up patches to the Linux kernel will survive the impact. And, even more certainly, when the atmospheric plume of debris blocks out the sun, others will starve, and only we who subsist on inorganics such as cheetos and mountain dew will live to assert our genes in the remnant ecosystem.
    • by Dunbal (464142) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @06:24PM (#18474251)
      only those of us sequestered in basements playing WoW and hacking up patches to the Linux kernel will survive the impact.

            An alternative path:

            Only to die miserably of internet withdrawal in a caffeine-induced continual attempt to reconnect to the servers...
    • The dinosaur in TFA, Oryctodromeus cubicularis, or "digging runner of the lair" may share some genes with the homo sapiens surviving this. This is probably office workers who work all hours and dont take much time outside. Maybe future archaeologists will name these new hominoids "homo cubicularis"
    • by ignavus (213578)
      But you won't know how to reproduce.
  • So, did dinosaurs have to endure those irritating "Duck and Cover" films in school, too?
  • Denizens......

    Their Zen in Cavedwelling was quite earthly...
  • Humans probably wouldn't be here right now if not for the meteor that wiped out most predators on Earth. Primates probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to evolve....

    Its quite possible that a mass extinction such as that would even be somewhat of a prerequisite for intelligent life to evolve somewhere in the universe.
    • Humans probably wouldn't be here right now if not for the meteor that wiped out most predators on Earth. Primates probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to evolve....

      Things don't evolve "given the opportunity." They evolve because the environment kills off the ones who don't. Do you think the advanced intelligence of the primate brain is due to sitting around all day waiting for bananas to fall off trees?

      On the contrary, humans evolved in an environment absolutely chock-full of dangerous animals.

      • by BRUTICUS (325520)
        of course somehow I still doubt humans would be here if dinosaurs weren't wiped out. In fact most of these giant mounds of flesh wouldn't have made it with so many predatory, carnivorousness dinosaurs running around.
  • What's so puzzling? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @07:23PM (#18474655) Homepage Journal
    I don't see why dinosaurs would have had to burrow to survive. I'm sure many dinosaurs died because they were close to the blast. But others were on the other side of the world. Global climate changed as a result of the impact, and most of the larger dinosaurs probably died of starvation. The smaller ones probably found enough to stay alive. Notably, most of the early mammals were also small.
    • by Knutsi (959723)
      As a citizen of a very snowy country, it's also apparent that small creatures manage much better in cold and snowy conditions than large onces. If there was a global "nuclear winter" following an impact, small nimble creatures would do quite well in snowy areas, using snow for isolation, digging tunnels. Also, imagine the massive death of vegetation and animal life that follows. If the cold set, this could make a refrigrated decent lunch box for smaller animals in the time to come.
      • Agreed, small animals are better at using the snow to their advantage and surviving on what little food there is. However, during the last iceage, the large animals where dominant. The same can be said for polarbears, which are unusually large bears, and pinguins, which are unusually large birds, among others. So I cant agree that small animals are always better.
        • by Knutsi (959723)
          Interesting that, yes. One could imagine that there must have been dinosaur-equivlants of seals an polar bears that could potentially have coped by migrating a bit. Maybe the foodchain collapsed completely, or maybe dinosaus where quite simply cold-blooded (I think that's been a issue of debate), and could not actually evolve to a point where they could suvive temperateus below a certain point... I dunno.

          "And the hampster shall inherit the Earth" - guess the dinos didn't see that one coming.

          I still think
  • by robson (60067) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @07:34PM (#18474761)
    *Why* were dinosaurs the ones to be wiped out completely?

    Mammals survived because they're small? There were small dinosaurs.

    Fish survived because they're water-dwelling? There were water-dwelling dinosaurs.

    Reptiles survived because...?!?

    I'm sure it's more complicated than this, and that's why I'm asking -- can someone help me understand? Why every dinosaur on the planet, regardless of habitat/diet/size died, while so many non-dinosaurs survived?
    • by tftp (111690)
      Maybe dinosaurs, being cold-blooded, could not adapt to suddenly much colder climate, whereas warm-blooded mammals just had to eat more and run more to stay warm. Lizards that we have today could be the last dinosaurs alive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by am 2k (217885)

      Actually, many scientists believe that dinosaurs evolved into what is now known as birds.

      You wouldn't find any of the mammals that lived back then in today's world, either.

      • I can believe that (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zogger (617870)
        We have a small flock of what I now call the "cluckeraptors", because they certainly *act* like I imagine dinosaurs would act. I mean, they may be small and feathery and soft looking, but watch them run around the yard and interact with each other and you can see how utterly ruthless and focused they are. A few primary drives to them and not much else. For instance if one of them gets injured or the least bit "off" or ill, the others will be merciless with them, it's like they can't stand weakness and trans
        • by Plutonite (999141)
          Your post may be very insightful and everything, but you cannot argue with centuries of human's equating cowardice to the word "chicken". The day I get nightmares thinking about giant chickens will be the day I finally admit that psychotherapy may in fact have uses. They're not scary dammit. I refuse to follow your reasoning.

          Lean down close and look a rooster right in the eye, you can see the miniature power there.

          No, you can see the "utter stupidity and cluelessness inherent in being a chicken" there. And I wouldn't put my eyes very close to a rooster's beak, by the way. Insurance companies don

          • They are pretty primeval to be sure, that was the point, they have a few focused tasks. Even with the domestic chickens roosters have been known to be fairly fierce fighters, hence the deal with chicken fights around the world. I was just noting that something like that, totally wild and large, would be quite the predator.
      • by robson (60067)

        Actually, many scientists believe that dinosaurs evolved into what is now known as birds.

        You wouldn't find any of the mammals that lived back then in today's world, either.

        Yet there are plenty of fish and reptiles that have remained virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, right? And I think it's a small subset of dinos that are said to have evolved into birds; that certainly doesn't resolve the big questions...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by orkysoft (93727)
      Dinosaurs is what we call the reptiles that went extinct about 65 million years ago.

      That should answer your question why all the dinosaurs went extinct. They're defined that way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by robson (60067)

        Dinosaurs is what we call the reptiles that went extinct about 65 million years ago.

        That should answer your question why all the dinosaurs went extinct. They're defined that way.

        Okay, riddle me this: Why did no reptile whose legs extended below the body ("dinosaur") rather than to the side ("lizard") survive, regardless of their scale, location, or diet?

        That aside, while researching a reply, I found something close to what I was looking for on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (though the section is marked as needing citations):

        Possible patterns and trends

        Despite its overall severity, the K-T extinction was rather patchy. This raises the question of why some groups died out while others did not.

        The

    • Reptiles survived because...?!?

      Reptiles did survive - but they never evolved back into the niches they went extinct from (large carnivores and herbivores) because mammals (and fishes) evolved into those niches faster and competed more efficiently.
  • yeah so getting through long dark winter is fine for non-hibernating animals, they just burrow down and then suddenly they don't need to eat any more, no matter that their prey / food-vegetation has gone, oh yeah and burrowing down is also a preventative against molten lava and thirst

    no, no, i didn't RTFA, i got hungry and was too busy burrowing
  • More evidence... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brad1138 (590148) * <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Saturday March 24, 2007 @11:49PM (#18476115)
    Now scientists have come up with the first evidence of burrowing dinosaurs. They speculate that underground dens might explain how some dinosaurs got through long, dark winters at high latitudes, too.

    I believe this [photobucket.com] proves it beyond a doubt.
  • Dinosaurs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Christheclaw (1079871)
    I find it odd that people get so angry when evolution is attacked. Science should be attacked so that science can be explored.I don't think that the fact that all things that exist in corralation to one another. Sand, water, air, creatures, plants, why are they in delicate balance>? Not to mention everything has a mathmatical base. And why do chemicals relate in solid, clear, reactions to one another? Why are there creatures that live in symbiotic relation with certain plants or parasites>? Why does
    • by Teun (17872)

      If evolution does exisit, that means man had to have had relations with a monkey in order to get more of the same species and a purifying of this to the human species we have now.

      Your questions are nicely summed up in your thought above.
      No of course man did not have to have relations with monkeys, according to general evolution theory there is just a common ancestor, nor man nor monkey.
      An other example is the relation between bear and dog, they probably share a common ancestor too.

      And when you go sufficiently back in time you'd probably find some simple microbe as ancestor to all living beings.

      That includes the bible belt/no sex/no evolution education communities that were

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Legion303 (97901)
      "I find it odd that people get so angry when evolution is attacked."

      I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally get angry when the theory of evolution is attacked by ignorant people who don't know that their criticisms have already been addressed many, many times over. For instance:

      "If evolution does exisit, that means man had to have had relations with a monkey in order to get more of the same species and a purifying of this to the human species we have now."

      You braying fucking jackass.

      "science does no
      • Sorry to ask about your beliefs, I could not ask anyone a question without getting attacked verbally. I find your commentary inflamed, when I only asked some questions. I was under the assumption that people who know everything could answer a few rhetorical questions. My understanding from evolution was that we are decendants of Ape-like creatures, which means something from that species had to continue to fine tune the genetic line.It means you believe you came from some animal, then your ancestor having r
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Science is manifestly not about looking at stuff with an open mind. That's when you start giving things like magic spells and Timecube undue credit.

      Science is about looking at stuff with a critical mind. The reason science works is that it has the most stringent criteria for acceptance of ideas - only if it matches empirical data better than anything we already have; and even then, only until we come up with something better.

      When evolution is attacked, science itself is attacked. It would be no different if
    • by yoder (178161) *
      Parent post is precisely why religion and science don't mix.

      By the way, in case you haven't noticed, this is a technology site and not a fundamentalist christian site. You see, there is a difference between the two because one site has a group of well meaning, but hopelessly lost souls headed straight for hell, and the other site has a bunch of nerds.
    • by truckaxle (883149)

      Species hopping seems so odd to me as a concept even after billions of years because you would see these traits no matter how remote in the genetic strain.As for a flood theory, there is evidence among world wide culture there was a flood. It would make sense if animals had procreated beyond their original set pool and variations had happened, then larger species for the most part would have died and climatic changes would have happened as well.

      Wow! No doubt about it that block of text is impervious to rebu

  • Why am I picturing this as a Gary Larson cartoon, with the dinosaurs lounging in an underground "den" that has wood paneling and a big-screen TV?
  • Isn't it a bit convenient that there was a problem (how did they survive), a speculation (ugh, they digged holes), and sudden, subsequent discovery (hey, here are the burrowing buggers, or rather, digging dinosaurs).
  • Many reptiles hibernate and even burrow in shallow mud: true. But they always have to come out sometime to feed and heat their bodies (cold-blooded). A burrowing dinosaur would have to do the same. And if there was a rapid change in temperature due to asteroid impact debris, then burrowing wouldn't really help that much. The temperature would still be "off" outside the burrow and the reptiles wouldn't be able to survive indefinitely inside a burrow. So, I don't see "burrowing" as a valid claim to reptile su

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