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May 7, 2013 | By Amy Kaufman and Julie Makinen
Directors, actors and animation fans of all stripes saluted Ray Harryhausen on Tuesday as news of the visual effects pioneer's death reached Hollywood. Harryhausen, the stop-motion animator of such classics as 1955's "It Came From Outer Space," 1958's "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad," 1963's "Jason and the Argonauts" and 1981's "Clash of the Titans," created Dynamation -- a technique that allowed models to be integrated into live-action films. His work inspired many who are driving the special-effects laden filmmaking that dominates in Hollywood today.
May 6, 2013 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK -- It's bad enough to go from roaming the earth as a fearsome predator to being uprooted and dragged across three continents, but to end up in a basement in Queens? No wonder the Tyrannosaurus bataar was broken up. Literally. But not for long. Prosecutors and customs officials Monday loaded up boxes containing chunks of the 70-million-year-old dinosaur to ship him home to Mongolia, ending an odyssey driven by fossil hunters whose attempt to sell the skeleton led to their downfall and Tyrannosaurus bataar 's resurrection.
March 18, 2013 | By Amina Khan
A robotic ocean explorer has found the first Antarctic whale fall marine scientists have ever studied - and discovered nine new deep-sea species among the critters living off the enormous skeleton, according to British researchers. The 35-foot southern Minke whale bones, described in the journal Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, give researchers a rare glimpse into the rich ecosystem provided by these giant sea creatures once they die. Whale falls - when the body of a deceased whale sinks to the bottom of the ocean - can become an oasis rich in resources for deep-sea life.
January 14, 2013 | By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times
The urgent message went well beyond Robert Painter's usual areas of legal expertise - personal injury, commercial disputes, medical malpractice. In less than 48 hours, the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar , a fierce cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex , would be up for auction. "Sorry for the late notice," the email said. "Is there anything we can do to legally stop this?" The president of Mongolia, whom Painter had met 10 years before at a public policy conference, was now asking the Houston lawyer to block the sale of a fossil that scientists believed had been looted from the Gobi Desert.
October 11, 2012 | By Tina Susman
She was known as "Baby Bones" for seven years, as investigators struggled to put a name to the little girl whose skeletal remains and Tweety Bird satchel were found in a wooded area of New Jersey. Now the girl's aunt, uncle and the aunt's former companion are under arrest, and Baby Bones has a name: Jon-Niece Jones, who was 9 when she died in New York City. The mystery, which was featured on the TV show "America's Most Wanted" in 2009, reportedly began unraveling recently after police received tips about the case, including one that enabled them to compare DNA of the remains to a living relative and make a connection.
October 11, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
SEATTLE - The long-running detective saga involving one of North America's earliest inhabitants has taken a new twist, with news that Kennewick Man - the shockingly intact 9,300-year-old skeleton unearthed in 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River - probably was a visitor to central Washington, not a longtime inhabitant. More likely, Smithsonian Institution anthropologist Douglas Owsley announced in a pair of lectures this week in Washington state, he came from the coast, not the arid inland valley where his remains were found.
April 9, 2012 | By Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times
She is 96 years old, all bones and little skin. Her ribs are split and rotted in places and stained by rust. Nonetheless, she is a slightly fearsome presence, commanding her surroundings like a T. rex in a natural history museum. When the Shawnee first hit the water in 1916, she was a striking beauty - a 72-foot sailboat made of old-growth oak and Douglas fir, African mahogany, naturally curved hackmatack and gleaming teak. Her hull had the seductive curve of a wineglass.
April 2, 2012 | Louis Sahagun
The curator of the Catalina Island Museum opened the door to a musty backroom a few weeks ago hoping to find material for an upcoming exhibit on the World War II era. Closing the door behind him, he trudged down a narrow aisle lined with storage boxes and bins filled with gray photocopies of old letters, civic records, celebrity kitsch -- and dust. "No luck," curator John Boraggina muttered. But as he made his way to a back corner, he noticed another row of boxes. He carried the largest to a table, blew off the dust and lifted the lid. Inside were leather-bound journals and yellowing photographs showing freshly unearthed skeletons lying on their backs or sides, or curled as if in sleep.
July 31, 2011 | By Mark Vanhoenacker, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia Griddle-hot deserts, time-forsaken ghost towns, prismatic canyons and endless ribbons of lonely highway: There's nothing quite like a road trip across the Southwest to get the gasoline pumping in an American's wanderlust-ful heart. But what's perfect for America's bottom-left corner works even better here in Africa's. Welcome to Namibia, on Africa's western coast between South Africa and Angola, where the deserts are hotter, the roads are emptier and America - at least when Brangelina aren't visiting - couldn't be farther away.
February 20, 2011 | By Cristy Lytal, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Without Nikita Patel and the other creature technical directors, or TDs, at Industrial Light & Magic, Rango the chameleon, who stars in the title role of Paramount's new film from director Gore Verbinski, would lack one of the key traits of any good animated character: the ability to move. "Our department basically works on the simulations and the rigging of the characters," she said. "Rigging is putting a skeleton inside the model so that the animators can move it around. And if we want to see more realism out of it, the creature TDs will go in and add some simulation to the muscles and the flesh to make it jiggle or look more real.
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