Archives for posts with tag: dinosaurs

I recently stumbled across this video while browsing Reddit. Although I take issue with some of the pronunciation (e.g. Deinonychus should be pronounced "die-NON-ih-kus," "not die-no-NICK-us"), this is about as accurate and hilarious a diatribe on dinosaurs as I've ever heard.  For a much longer, maybe slightly less hilarious but equally intense diatribe, ask me why I have serious issues with the movie Jurassic Park as well. Seriously, every dinosaur is somehow misrepresented. Don't get me started.

Anyway, enjoy!
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Even though I've previously poo-poo'd the idea of getting myself an iPad, apps like this have definitely made me come around. I was completely, wrong, okay?! Recently, I've been holding out for the iPad 3, which I'm hoping is coming this Spring (birthday in May, people!), however, after seeing this, I don't know if I can wait. 

Kids today are just so damn lucky; not only do they get cool apps like this but apparently they have lizards just running loose in the house! I had to keep mine in a terrarium!

Thanks to my buddy John Paro for sending this link my way. 
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Even though dinosaurs as we normally think about them haven't been around for 65 million years, they are still making headlines today. For this Friday, I thought I'd treat everyone to three cool new stories in the world of dinosaurs. Enjoy!

DINOSAUR UPDATE #1: Check out that beauty at the top of the page. That's the as-yet-unnamed therapod recently discovered in Germany. Many are calling it the most complete skeleton ever found. It's rare to find a dinosaur skeleton even half this complete. It's even more rare to find one of a meat-eater. Think about the African plains; there are a lot more antelope and buffalo than lions. That ratio was similar in dinosaur times. It's even more rare to find a juvenile skeleton like this one. This is big and I can't wait until they write up their findings! Thanks to my buddy Edwin for sending this my way. [NewScientist.com]

DINOSAUR UPDATE #2: What's cooler than dinosaurs? Nothing, obviously. But dinosaurs can be made even cooler when you add lasers! Scientists are using 3D lasers to estimate dinosaur weight and they're discovering that the biggest T. rex, named "Sue," was actually 30% heavier than they initially guessed. Someone call the folks at Terra Nova and tell them to give their dinosaurs a bigger pot belly and a set of moobs. [Gizmodo]

DINOSAUR UPDATE #3: Paleontologist/Mad Scientist/Baller, Dr. John Horner ("Jack" to his friends) wants to make a dinosaur by reverse engineering a chicken embryo. Think he's crazy? So has everyone else but he's always been right. Jack was one of the pioneers (with others such as Dr. Robert Bakker, "Bob" to his friends) to propose that dinosaurs were warm-blooded. He also thought of the "crazy" idea that maybe T. rex scavenged as much as he hunted because, you know, why wouldn't he? Now he thinks that he and a team of people smarter than anyone you know can hatch a dinosaur using a chicken embryo as a base. I don't know if it's possible but I'm going to pre-order one as soon as I can. Heads up, Bixby. [Wired]

Sorry for the all-caps headlines; it's just way more fun to write the word "dinosaur" in all-caps. It's science.

Thanks to the folks at CollegeHumor for making this. It's the most realistic depiction of how dinosaurs may have interacted with one another that I've ever seen:

Btw, if you think that the voices sound like voices from The Cheat's flash cartoons within the HomestarRunner website, you're both not alone and as big of a dork as I am.

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What do you call a brand new dinosaur with a heart-shaped frill? A ladies' lizard? A sexysaurus? No, those names are both dumb and uninspired. If you're paleontologist Nicholas Longrich, you go for something with more pizzazz. 

Meet Mojosaurus, the horned dino with a heart of gold and a head of… heart. 

The frills often found on Ceratopsidae were originally thought to be defensive in nature, protecting the creature's vulnerable neck area from the likes of Tyrannosaurus and similarly large and dangerous predators. The more that we dig, though, the more convincing it seems that the plates on stegosaurs, the headgear on hadrosaurs and the frills on horned dinosaurs served an equally important (if not more important) role as objects of sexual desire for the fairer dinosaur sex. Much like the plumage of a peacock, these accessories likely served the chief purpose of attracting a mate, even if it served another important function such as keeping the dino alive long enough to find a mate. Sure, it's nice to have a frill protecting your neck when a T. rex is coming at you, but if the lady dinosaurs think it looks cool too, all the better right? 

I'm not sure how practical the heart-shaped frill was for the Mojosaurus, but, then again, how practical was James Dean's leather jacket? The point is that it looks cool and I'm sure that Mojo's iPhone had the numbers or many a female dinosaur to prove exactly that! [Discovery.com]
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Man, if only I were a kid now instead of in the 80s! They have dinosaur pizzas and even dinosaur sweatshirts!

Wait a minute, this isn't my fault! This is the fault of the pizza and sweatshirt industries! I don't have to be younger, they just have to make their pizzas and sweatshirts bigger! Get on that! [popurls]

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Some lucky dude in Denver ordered a pizza off of the kids' menu and was delivered this amazing work of art. I was going to say something like, "unfortunately, shortly after this photo was taken, he was eaten by this ferocious pizza," but this pizza appears to be a sauropod and they're herbivores, so that joke would have been ridiculous!

If you live in the Denver area, be sure to hit up Rocky Mountain Pie and get your own prehistoric pizza. [Reddit]

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Over the past couple of weeks, scientists have basically claimed that the decades old questions of what killed the dinosaurs and what led to their original rise to power have been solved, at least, superficially.

The short answer is that dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid and rose to power via volcanic activity.

Whenever scientists say that they are “sure” of anything, take it with a grain of salt. It’s true that the major events that impacted the rise and fall of the age of dinosaurs were intense volcanism and the collision of Earth with a giant space rock, respectively, but that doesn’t mean that we now know everything. If that’s confusing, just think about how much we know about gravity. We know that gravity is real and that it makes apples hit the ground once they’ve fallen from their branches, however, what we don’t know about gravity literally could fill the universe. It does, really: we still don’t know much about intergalactic gravitation! So, when scientists say that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs or that volcanism helped bring them to power, take it to mean about as much as “gravity makes apples fall downward.” In my opinion, there is still a lot more to the mystery of dinosaurs and that’s one of the reasons that dinosaurs are so interesting!

As a non-scientist who happens to find science interesting, something that seems very intriguing about the rise and fall of the dinosaurs is the inverse effects that the extinction events had on crocodilian animals. To very poorly sum up the articles I linked to above, they cover three major extinction events:

1. The asteroid impact of the Triassic

2. The volcanism caused by the splitting of Pangaea that represented the shift from the Triassic into the Jurassic

3. The asteroid impact that ended the Cretaceous

If you were to draw a graph representing how dinosaurs and crocodiles fared through these three events, it wouldn’t look like this but it will because I lack graphic design skills:

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As you can see, crocodilians love asteroids and dinosaurs hate ’em! On the flip side, the volcanism that led to the dinosaurs came at the expense of the dominance of crocodilians. The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs didn’t have nearly such a drastic effect on crocs. So, scientists may believe that they “know” these things to be true but the question is still “why?” Why is it that despite being thought to physiologically very similar in many ways, dinos and crocs took such different paths after extinction-level events? That’s the real mystery. [Wired.com, Discovery]

PS: I should note that my graph is not only terrible but also inaccurate in a couple of ways. For example, it sort of implies that crocs were nowhere during the age of dinosaurs but they were, just not to the extent that dinos were. It also sort of implies that crocs took over the planet once dinos went extinct whereas any decent evolutionary biologist knows that Earth was inherited by rats that evolved into woolly mammoths that evolved into monkeys that evolved into humans, duh! Sorry if my crappy graph obscured this truism.

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Behold, the the Louis Monet Jurassic Tourbillon. Made with Jurassic Era dinosaur fossils.

Quick! Somebody loan me $200,000!

Wait, no; I'll never be able to pay that back. Okay, new plan: I need an acrobat, a locksmith, a demolitions expert and a conman. Meet me in Basel, Switzerland behind the Dompropstei tomorrow at midnight, local time. Be discreet. [Gizmodo]

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So, this is, apparently, the creature from Revelations in the Bible that will bring down mankind. I don’t think it comes as a surprise that dinosaurs are involved but it is a bit curious that it’s an herbivore like a ceratopsid. I mean, Carnotaurus had horns, why isn’t he involved? I guess that’s why I’m a marketer and not a theologian.

Well, either way, if this is what the End of Days looks like, I’m in with both feet; this looks awesome! [Thanks Josh! Prophet-Sharing.com]