Guys, my birthday is on Tuesday. Who's buying this for me?
For Sale: A 150-Million-Year-Old Sauropod Skeleton
...A 19-foot tall sauropod specimen (goes by the name of "Misty"), currently housed at London's Natural History Museum, will be up for auction next month, and is expected to fetch close to a million dollars.
In other, more important dinosaur news, a juvenile parasaurolophus skeleton was discovered in 2009 by then-high school student Kevin Terres. After years of studying the remains scientists published their findings on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. Among the many exciting things about this specimen (nicknamed "Joe") is it reveals that the baby probably made adorable tweeting noises:
What makes the duck-billed dino unique is its elongated cranial crest, an unusual back-facing trunk that scientists believe amplified its sounds in a way not dissimilar from a musical instrument. Joe was believed to be less than a year old and had already developed a low bump on his head, shocking scientists who had studied other duck-billed dinosaurs (hadrosaurids). Close relatives to the parasaurolophus develop their less-conspicuous headgear later in life.
"It really helps explain how parasaurolophus got its crest," Farke said. "It did that by starting to grow it much earlier."
Scans of Joe’s cranial crest also show that he and his peers (just 6 feet long) likely had high-pitched "tweets," as opposed to the deeper "woofs" of his elders (who grew up to 25 feet long).
Have a hot dinosaur news tip or question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
For decades there has seemed to be a debate about whether T. rex was a predator or a scavenger. The fact is that many predators are scavengers from time to time out of necessity, so the debate—though popular with the public and media—isn't really a debate at all.
However this week has brought joyful news to those concerned for T. rex's fierce reputation: Researchers have discovered a Tyrannosaur tooth lodged between the vertebrae of a hadrosaur, a duck-billed herbivore. Couldn't that just be the result of scavenging?
Scans of the tooth and two surrounding tail vertebrae showed clear signs of bone healing around the wound, taken as proof that the hadrosaur was alive at the time of the attack and survived for several months or even years afterwards.
"This is unambiguous evidence that T. rex was an active predator," the authors write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Such evidence is rare in the fossil record for good reason – prey rarely escapes."
Not that even Horner himself took the claims of T. rex as an obligate scavenger seriously. “I’m not convinced that T. rex was only a scavenger,” Horner wrote in The Complete T. rex, “though sometimes I will say so sometimes just to be contrary and get my colleagues arguing.”
I'm currently reading his new book, My Beloved Brontosaurus, and it's delightful! Switek's enthusiasm is irrepressible as he explores our collective relationship with dinosaurs and the disparity between actual science and public perception. He writes about his own life-long obsession and notes important discoveries and shifts in understanding. It's a fun read from a kindred spirit.
You can get tickets for his Town Hall appearance here! See you there!
...but sometimes I can't help myself. An ongoing email exchange:
Hope you get AIDS Fagget
Best illiterate than a cock sucker with AID. Hope you get AID fag.
Let me help you with that: "Better illiterate than a cocksucker [one word!] with AIDS. Hope you get AIDS, fag."—Dan
Brian Switek, who I've quoted many times here at Today's Dinosaur News, is speaking on Thursday, May 23. He's written for National Geographic, the Smithsonian's blog Dinosaur Tracking, and plenty of other places. Check out his new book, My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs, and get your tickets to see him speak HERE!
And then Monday, June 24, rock star paleontologist Jack freakin' Horner will be speaking!! Yes, Jack Horner, the guy who discovered the Maiasaura, the guy who's making a chickenosaurus, the paleontologic advisor for Jurassic Park, THAT Jack Horner. Awesome.Get your tickets HERE!
Next Friday, April 5, Jurassic Park is being re-released in 3D at theaters across the country. Between this and Jurassic Park 4 on the horizon, there's been quite a bit of discussion about the merits of the original movie and whether there should be feathers on the theropods in JP4. Some of my favorite commentary has come from David Orr over at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs. In a recent post he articulates why many of us dinophiles love that movie:
Jurassic Park, it has been widely pointed out, is revolutionary not just for its special effects but from the way the dinosaurs were depicted as real animals. Huge, yes, perhaps monstrous in form, but with the body language and presence of living creatures. When I think of Jurassic Park, my first thought isn't necessarily of raptors in the kitchen. It's of the cocked head and curiously dainty step of the Tyrannosaur as it climbs over the rim of its enclosure. It's of a panicked flock of Gallimimus arcing over a grassy field toward the camera. It's of the closing moment of the The Lost World, where we glimpse a primeval world without humans, where the carnivores don't always roar and the herbivores can go about their business.
Meanwhile, Vulture has this post ranking all the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, with the velociraptors coming out on top. I think we can do better, Sloggers. Please vote in this binding poll:
Daisy was just 4 when she stumbled upon the fossilized remains of an unknown animal during a family walk on the beach in 2009. The family lives near the coast of England's Isle of Wight — also known as the "dinosaur capital of Great Britain."
...Over the past several years, the bones Daisy discovered have been thoroughly analyzed by paleontologists. The findings were finally published this Monday. The fossilized remains belong to a previously unknown genus and species of a small flying reptile called the pterosaur*.
Daisy, now 9, has accomplished something I only dream of: the new species was named for her, Vectidraco daisymorrisae. Hit the link for more details and to see the world's most ADORABLE amateur paleontologist. More here and here. (Thanks to everyone who sent this tip!)
More dinosaur news after the jump!
Among the many worries from fans for Universal's Jurassic Park 4 was the possibility that we could see dinosaurs covered in feathers, as opposed to dinos in their classic form. The last installment in the series, 2001's Jurassic Park III, featured velociraptors with feathers. However, Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow, who was recently hired to helm Jurassic Park 4, has taken to his Twitter account to confirm that there will be "no feathers" in the sequel.
You know, it hadn't even occurred to me to worry about this, but now I'm annoyed that there will be "no feathers." Although I guess with all the crap science in the previous Jurassic Park films I shouldn't be surprised. (However we here at Today's Dinosaur News would be lying if we said this would prevent us from seeing Jurassic Park 4. I mean, let's be reasonable. There will still be dinosaurs in it, even if they're naked.)
@fakedansavage, who loves to bully people who disagree with him, picked up on my #marriage vlog. #NoH8slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/…
— Anna Maria Hoffman (@AM_Hoffman) February 20, 2013
Radical #SSM activists are not used to young people challenging their hateful agenda. We won't shut and we won't give up.
— Anna Maria Hoffman (@AM_Hoffman) February 20, 2013
When people have to resort to ad hominem attacks because they can't have a civil discussion, you know they're losing the debate.
— Anna Maria Hoffman (@AM_Hoffman) February 20, 2013
For those of you who are new, Draw A Dinosaur Day is a day that is exactly as simple as it seems. Simply draw a dinosaur, then scan it or take a picture of it and submit it to drawadinosaurday.com, and spend the day looking at the amazing dinosaurs other people have submitted! We're not a super high maintenance holiday, so if you do it a day before or after, that's cool! We get it! Life is busy! The important thing is that you have fun drawing a dinosaur.
This was a holiday created by Todd Page for the joy of drawing and dinosaurs - it was started 7 years ago, and last year it received nearly a thousand dinosaurs. Pee Wee Herman has even contributed in the past. So unless you're too good for fun, spread the word, the love, and the dinosaurs. Get ready to draw!
To get you started, here is a tutorial on how to draw a dinosaur... er, dragon... er whatever. [Hint: First you draw an "S". Then you draw a more different "S". Also, the "S" is for "sucks."]
Not satisfied with simply drawing a dinosaur? Perhaps you'd rather help out with actually preparing fossils?! Then check out this entry that Seattle's Burke Museum posted on their Facebook page last week:
Persons studied the tails of oviraptors, a group of dinosaurs that had beaks and feathers. Previous research has shown some feathered dinosaurs used their plumage for insulation and flight. Oviraptors could not fly but Persons said their tail feathers were used in much the same way as a peacock...
Previous research has shown other dinosaurs also possessed display structures, such as the small crests over the eyes of Tyrannosaurus rex, showing the animal had “sex on the brain,” Persons said. In a study published last year, a University of Calgary paleontologist found another group of dinosaurs also may have sprouted feathers as a secondary sexual characteristic.
Persons’ research focused on the tails of oviraptors. He found the vertebrae in the tails were tightly pressed together while the joints between the vertebrae were flexible. The vertebrae also had wide attachment sites for muscles that would allow the dinosaurs to raiseand twist their tails. At the end of the tail was a fusion of vertebrae that formed a ridged, blade-like structure called a pygostyle, which acts as the anchor for a fan of feathers in modern-day birds.
Why the empty, endless use of the "f" word by The Stranger, even to describe the state budget? They're managing to cheapen the word.— joel r. connelly (@joelconnelly) December 19, 2012
…a few dozen people in Columbus, Ohio got surprised by an animatronic T-Rex set loose by local comedians Roman Atwood and Dennis Roady.
The Sketch Empire duo donned a realistic looking T-Rex costume, which they purchased from KHA Entertainment in New York. "Kojo," as the T-Rex is named, is actually available to rent by KHA.
Atwood and Roady then set up a series of "Jurassic Pranks" to surprise and scare random strangers.
The statement was in response to a question Robertson fielded Tuesday from a viewer on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club.” In a submitted question, the viewer wrote that one of her biggest fears was that her children and husband would not go to heaven “because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.”
“You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.”
Before answering the question, Robertson acknowledged the statement was controversial by saying, “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”
Holy shit. You guys, maybe the world is ending on December 21.
“Triceratops” [is] by BJ Sunfire, one of my musical alter-egos of days of yore. BJ sprang from my days of baking bagels in the late nineties; I’ve always loved lusty, full-throated rock vocalists, and I’d compose little tunes about my coworkers, sung in this fashion. This song is basically a celebration of the unparalleled might of the most famous ceratopsian, turning mournful in the end, as odes to prehistoric beasts must.
Orr is also a designer, and you MUST check out his complete collection of Dinosaur Family Crests, all of which are available to wear as fashionable tee shirts.
The video is short, just over four minutes, well worth your time, but the link also has stills showing the process. It's just fantastic to watch as they perfected the suit and the movements to make the creatures so believable. The thing that continues to astonish me is that while Jurassic Park is almost 20 years old the special effects largely stand the test of time. (Which, in my opinion, is partly due to the practical effects... digital effects can age poorly in a way that practical effects often do not.)
There is also footage of special effects superstar Stan Winston clowning around with the raptors. You are missed, Stan.
My boyfriend and I were in Holyoke for my sister's wedding (which was beautiful, congrats Maureen and Zack!!) and decided to hang in Boston for a day before heading home for Halloween. Last night we found out we are stranded here until at least Wednesday night, so it looks like we'll be spending Halloween on a plane. Sad face.
But! Let me share some dinosaur news because that always cheers me up! First, on our way to the rehearsal dinner on Friday we spotted a turn-off for dinosaur tracks, so we trotted down the trail in our dress clothes and checked it out. The area is part of the Connecticut River Valley, which is known for its abundance of dinosaur tracks. (That's my hand in one of the medium-sized prints.) According to the interpretive signage at the site, Yale University professor John Ostram identified three species from the tracks in the early '70s: Eubrontes giganteus, Anchisauripus sillimani, and Grallator cuneatus.
I was under the impression that paleontologists were already reasonably confident on the issue, but a presentation at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's 72nd Annual Meeting revealed "some of the most direct evidence for this antagonistic behavior":
Peterson, a professor in the University of Wisconsin geology department, and his colleagues took CT scans of the skulls and compared the distribution of lesions to those on the skulls of birds, crocodilians, and mammals- particularly mammals with horns.
The investigations reveal that "larger domed pachycephalosaurs such as Pachycephalosaurus may have been head-butting like Dall sheep or head-shoving like bison, while smaller, high-domed taxa such as Stegoceras may have been flank-butting like mountain goats," Peterson said.
One time I had a dream I was riding a subway and some pachycephalosaurs were head-butting each other in the train car. (Most of my dreams with dinosaurs have them in urban environments.) Man I wish I was at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's 72nd Annual Meeting...
The National Park Service and the American Geological Institute are partnering to host the third annual National Fossil Day on October 17, 2012 during Earth Science Week. National Fossil Day is a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value.
In celebration I bring you this fossil news: an ancient marine reptile, previously known as Predator X (which sounds like a terrible sequel) has been officially classified as a new species. Now known as Pliosaurus funkei (which makes me think of this), the fossil was initially discovered six years ago.
"They were the top predators of the sea," said study co-author Patrick Druckenmiller, a paleontologist at the University of Alaska Museum. "They had teeth that would have made a T. rex whimper."Learn more and see artists' renderings here and here... I'm gonna have nightmares.
“This juvenile spider was going to make a meal out of a tiny parasitic wasp, but never quite got to it,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus of zoology at Oregon State University and world expert on insects trapped in amber. He outlined the findings in a new publication in the journal Historical Biology.
“This was a male wasp that suddenly found itself trapped in a spider web,” Poinar said. “This was the wasp’s worst nightmare, and it never ended. The wasp was watching the spider just as it was about to be attacked, when tree resin flowed over and captured both of them.”
Sadly, amber can't provide us with DNA. A recent study shows that:
As it turns out, the so-called half-life of DNA—the span of time it takes for half of the molecular bonds in the genetic material to break—is just 521 years.
From a NYTimes.com article on the subject:
In a report published Wednesday in the online journal ZooKeys, Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and a dinosaur specialist, described the strange anatomy of the newfound member of the heterodontosaur family and gave the new species the name Pegomastax africanus, or “thick jaw from Africa.” He also apologized in an interview for not getting around sooner to this piece of research.
When he first viewed the specimen at a Harvard laboratory, Dr. Sereno said, “My eyes popped, as it was clear this was a distinct species.”
A Ballard-based film group is currently trying to fund their new movie, “America’s Fighting Dinosaur,” through Kickstarter. The film is a "short faux-documentary about the military career of Pvt. “Little” Sammy Vogel, a 7 ton, 40 foot long U.S. Army Infantryman and Tyrannosaurus Rex, who fought shoulder to kneecap with the Allied forces in Europe during the Second World War.”
Want to help them meet their goal? Donate here at their Kickstarter campaign... there's only TWO DAYS LEFT!
If you’re one of those people who loathe dinosaur feathers, there’s a group that will commiserate with you: creationists.
Creationists are on a campaign to “take dinosaurs back.” Earlier this year, the creationist crackpot Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis—the organization that established the fundamentalist funhouse called the Creation Museum—said, “Dinosaurs have been held hostage for decades” by his mortal enemy, the nefarious “secular humanists.” Ham is determined to appropriate dinosaurs for biblical literalists.
That's right, the same people who deny the fossil record want dinosaurs for themselves.
Still prefer your T-Rex naked? Then please enjoy these shoes as seen all over the internet. (thanks Slog-tippers Vic and John!)
A friendly–or, at least, not overly aggressive–Triceratops helps the Doctor and friends out of a few tight spots. Like the ankylosaurs, though, the ceratopsid is a little bit too tubby and doesn’t run quite right. A Triceratops is not a horse.
[The creatures] that everyone referred to as 'raptors'... Alas, Doctor Who trotted out the usual silly Jurassic Park-esque bunny-handed monstrosities, virtually devoid of feathers.
Obviously these critiques are meant tongue-in-cheek, although io9 (which quotes Switek's post) notes that the episode "totally wasted its chance to make feathered dinosaurs cool." TOO TRUE.
I'm officially an old man: I look forward to complaining about the litter at the bus stop in front of our house. When I turn the corner from Olive onto 23rd, I have a look and sternly say out loud, "What savages!" when I'm by myself. I no longer say it when my wife is with me in the car, because I'm sure she's tired of hearing it.
He was already living in the house when we moved in, and he's clearly a brontosaurus. We call him Bronto. We also call him "The Centerpiece of Our Home." We have a tradition of taking Bronto on vacation with us. So here he is, starting out with me, on the kitchen table in Seattle before getting on an airplane. Imagine that—a flying Brontosaurus!
He paused briefly in LA:
Today in Baseball History: in 1912, the last game the famed Cubs double-play combination of Tinker, Evers and Chance played together. Frank Chance is a bona-fide Hall of Famer as either a player or a manager, but Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers are only in Cooperstown because of this bit of doggerel
Baseball's Sad Lexicon
These are the saddest of possible words
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
A trio of Bearcubs and fleeter than birds
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble
Turning a Giant hit into a double
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
Tinker to Evers to Chance.
You guys have sent me a bunch of tips that I'll be posting soon, but today I'm just going to tell you this: It's official. RIP Terra Nova:
Fox has cancelled prehistoric dino drama Terra Nova after one season, ending months of will-they-or-won’t-they speculation. Studio 20th Century Fox TV, however, says they fight Terra Nova‘s extinction event by shopping the series to other networks.
EW.com also offers six ways to save the show, including "Age up (at least a little)":
You’re more likely to keep kids watching something that feels reasonably smart and sophisticated (like, say, Terra Nova forebears Jurassic Park and Avatar) than you are trying to get adults to endure scenes like little Zoe whining in an air duct while her dad sings the “Go Away Spider Song.”