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Alt-week 11.30.13: one well preserved baby dinosaur, and the forbidden gadgets


Alt-week takes a look at the best science and alternative tech stories from the last seven days.

Technology and science doesn't care how old you are. Whether you're a pre-historic beast, or a juvenile rebel -- technology applies to you. It's also what will, hopefully, finally make those lunar-vacation dreams a reality. This is alt-week.

A team of palaeontologists has discovered a remarkably intact fossilized baby dinosaur in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada. It's believed to be one of the most complete finds of its species. The diminutive creature -- a Chasmosaurus, from the same group as Triceratops -- is thought to have been about three years old when it died, and was found in a riverbed, preserved by a covering of sediment. The young ceratopsid was about five foot in length, and is estimated to have died around 70 million years ago. Apart from the front legs, which were lost to a sink-hole beneath the corpse, the rest of the animal is complete, with no signs of bite marks or other predatory damage. This has led scientists to believe the creature likely drowned, and was soon covered in sediment from the flowing river. The rare find provides a boon to palaeontologists, helping them understand how dinosaurs in this family developed as they matured -- noting already that unlike T-rex, this family of dinosaur maintain limb proportions as they grow.

Still dreaming that one day, you too might walk on the moon? Well it might not be quite around the corner, but be assured they're working on it. More specifically Moon Express -- in conjunction with NASA -- has just successfully completed testing its navigation and control software on a recent flight with NASA's Mighty Eagle prototype lunar lander. The closed-loop flight lasted less than a minute, but represents a significant step towards the private company's goal of sending a robotic lander to the Moon in 2015.

So it turns out that British school children are big tech fans. Well, the naughtier ones at least. Teacher and artist Guy Tarrant has created "confiscation cabinets" that contain items confiscated from 150 schools over a 30 year period, and gadgets feature heavily. The collections are on display at Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London. We're already getting nostalgic for the Gameboy and Game Gear, naturally, but we're also pleased to see pagers and flip-phones making an appearance. That, and a headless Mr T of course. We all wanted one of those.

Seen any other far-out articles that you'd like considered for Alt-week? Working on a project or research that's too cool to keep to yourself? Drop us a line at alt [at] engadget [dot] com.

[Image credits: Philip J. Currie et al, Guy Tarrant]

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