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SPINOSAURUS (626): Thanks for the reality check, Dr Holtz, but I still
have to believe that a determined survey expedition could find one with
the same success that expeditions have found so many T-Rexes in the
last five years. By the way, I did just get a 3" Spinsaurus tooth, and
it is indeed conical, with no serrated edges.
Stan Friesen (629): I disagree. There are at least three sites where
this beastie is known (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt). ONE of those has to be
at least as good a site for fossilization as the American West.
I still believe that if you sent as many searchers to that 'best' area
as went looking for Stan & Sue & friends, you'd turn one up.
Of course, it is much farther away, and I doubt they'd let you bring
it home with you.
DINOGEORGE: Did the third edition of Mesozoic Meanderings ever come out?
How do we order one?
DINOTREE: I finally got up to the point where Dr Holtz straighted out
my original dino tree. Soon as I get finished inserting the genus data
I'll start posting the long form in sections. I do appreciate his help.
Age of "blob" raises new evolutionary questions
 By Joanne Kenen
 WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuter) - A strange bloblike primitive life form died
out millions of years later than previously believed, raising tantalizing new
questions about evolution of life, scientists said on Thursday.
 In work appearing on Friday in the journal Science, two Massachusetts
Institute of Technology scientists report they have been able to date much more
precisely than before fossils left by the puzzling early life form known as
Ediacara fauna.
 Scientists debate whether the bloblike Ediacarans were early ancestors of
worms or jellyfish, an early lichen -- a symbiosis of algae and fungi -- or one
of nature's earliest experiments in life, which flopped and led to the earth's
first mass extinction.
 The MIT team of geologist John Grotzinger and geochronologist Samuel Bowring
do not directly answer that question, which they say belongs to evolutionary
 But by dating the Ediacaran fossils in the Namibian desert with precision
not even imaginable just five years ago, they give biologists a new and more
accurate framework and establish that the Ediacarans were not extinct when other
life forms emerged in the Cambrian explosion 540 million years ago.
 "We're trying to learn how time is distributed in the rock record," Bowring
said in a telephone interview. "And what we found is a smoking gun for continual
 Previously, experts thought there was a gap of tens of millions of years
between the disappearance of the Ediacarans and the Cambrian explosion of
lifeforms. But the MIT team, using a new technique to date the "time capsules"
of uranium and lead found in zircon in volcanic ash near the fossils in Namibia,
have established that the Ediacara overlapped into the Cambrian age.
 "Previously, it was thought to be some big weird creature that lived and
died out about 565 million years ago," Bowring said. His work shows it lived
until 543 million years ago, give or take one million years.
 The Cambrian explosion marked the start of the first simple plant and marine
animal life. Bowring's work suggests that the remarkable era lasted less than 10
million years, a more compact time frame than earlier believed.
 "It's not easy to trace simple connections between the Ediacaran and
Cambrian fossils, yet if they are effectively cheek by jowl, then it's going to
focus our attention on a proper understanding of the Ediacaran fossils,"
paleontologist Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University told Science.
 Bowring said his work can now date fossils within a million years and he
believes he will soon be able to get dates within 250,000 years. He plans to
work on sites in Namibia, Siberia and Newfoundland.
Bruce Mortensen and Betty: About that "Amber Show" where they were
selling big chunks of Amber and "t-rex bits" and so forth. Do they have
these around the country, or one-a-year in one place?
NON-AVIAN DINOSAURS: Isn't that term stretching the point a bit? When
was the last time you used the term "non-dinosaur reptiles" in a
sentence? How about "non-reptile amphibians"?
Explorers discover previously unknown Tibetan pony
 By Irwin Arieff
 PARIS, Nov 3 (Reuter) - Explorers have discovered a previously unknown breed
of small and primitive forest pony in a remote part of Tibet, the expedition's
leader said on Friday.
 Frenchman Michel Peissel, who led the seven-week expedition to the Riwoche
area in north-eastern Tibet, told Reuters the pony "resembles the horses
depicted in neolithic caves."
 "It has a rectangular face, a bristly mane and stands about 120 cm (four
feet) high at the shoulder," he said, adding that local inhabitants use the
animal as a work horse.
 "This really is a breakthrough," Peissel said. "We were not expecting to
stumble on this so we were unable to bring one out. But when we have the
necessary permissions we plan to return."
 Peissel, who has been exploring the Himalayas for 36 years and has written
15 books about his travels, led a Franco-British expedition to Tibet in 1994
that discovered the source of the Mekong River.
 The year before, he led another expedition which discovered a larger
purebred horse also unknown outside Tibet. He has dubbed it the Nangchen horse
because it came from Tibet's Nangchen region.
 The animal's enlarged lungs and heart enable it to survive in the
mountainous area's rarified atmosphere.
 The six-man expedition just completed was planned primarily to bring a
Nangchen horse out of Tibet for detailed study -- a task his team was unable to
carry out due to heavy snows, he said.
 But films of the expedition have been made and will eventually be made
public, he said.
 Two years of negotiations were required to obtain permission for the visit
from the Chinese authorities, who have closed off large parts of Tibet to
 Peissel, who returned to Paris from Tibet late on Thursday, said the remote
regions visited by his team were among "the very few unexplored areas left in
the world."
 "To our surprise, we found immense forests," he said.
 Snow-bound passes, hailstorms and steep drops along the trails followed by
the explorers on horseback made the journey one of the most exhausting and
dangerous of his 24 expeditions to the Himalayas region, he said.
 Peissel, who speaks fluent Tibetan, is a member emeritus of the New York
Explorers Club and a Fellow of Britain's Royal Geographical Society. His
expeditions have been featured in the National Geographic magazine and on the