dinosaurs

Happy Easter: Celebrating Monstrous Eggs!

dad raptor

Happy Easter, everyone! Well, this year our glorious egg-filled holiday sneaked up on me,plus we have had a tragedy in our group of friends. I am trying to just be constructive today because I was not able to attend a visitation. When you have an animal rescue, you just can’t get up and go where you need to go that easily.
Anyway, with that said, let’s delve into some of my favorite EGGS from film and TV:

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Monsters of Africa: Mokele-mbembe!

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Mokèlé-mbèmbé means “one who stops the flow of rivers” in the Lingala language. This is a legendary water-dwelling creature of Congo River basin folklore and closely resembles the extinct sauropods of the dinosaurs’ reign. It is usually described as being gray-brown in color, and it prefers river bends and deep water in its jungle habitat. Some cultures, such as those of Boha Village, describe the creature as a spirit rather than a flesh-and-blood animal. Some reports describe it as being more like elephants, rhinoceroses, and other known large animals. Since neither species of African rhinoceros is common in the Congo Basin, the mysterious  animal may be a combination of mythology and folk memory from a time when rhinoceros were actually found in the region.
Numerous expeditions to Africa in search of Mokèlé-mbèmbé have been launched,  and some have reported close encounters. However,there have been sightings of it for the past two hundred years, but no one has photographed it or produced any physical evidence that it exists.

Thunder Lizard Thursday: Ankylosaurus!

Ankylosaurus

Okay, I admit I got a little  cartoony on this one, but it was hard to resist. 🙂

Ankylosaurus (meaning “Fused reptile”) was the last and largest of the armoured dinosaurs.  Its body was protected with bony plates, with additional horn-like coverings. Low-slung and wider than they were tall, the various species of Ankylosaurs were like tanks.
An  Ankylosaurus’ skull was thick with two pairs of sharp horns at the back of the head. Parts of the tail vertebrae were fused like the handle of a club, while the base of the tail remained flexible. At the end of the tail, a series of plates were fused together and held aloft by tail vertebra fused together, making a massive 50kg bony club  which at full swing could smash the skulls of even the most ferocious carnivores. Other theories about the tail club suggest that it may have been used for combat between two Ankylosaurus, and  display purposes for attracting mates.

 

 

Thunder Lizard Thursday: Carnotaurus and Osteoderms!

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Carnotaurus–my favorite dinosaur besides Styracosaurus, and the only known dino predator with substantial horns!
I will be writing about Carnotaurus (“meat-eating bull”) a lot in this blog. The first thing I will cover about this gorgeous beast is its skin. Why? Because specimens of Carnotaurus have given us detailed impressions of the skin, including the face.

These impressions of Carnotaurus show that its hide was made of many low,round scales with larger, semi-conical,bony scales, called osteoderms, in rows along its sides.  The word osteoderm literally means “skin bone”. Like the skin of all known dinosaurs, these scales did not overlap like scales on some lizards and snakes.

 

Thunder Lizard Thursday: Avaceratops!

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Avaceratops was just a little guy, barely as tall as a human.

Like most ceratopsians,Avaceratops had a neck frill. However, unlike most of its kind, the neck frill was solid, with no openings (fenestrae). The lack of fenestrae is in fact a feature also found in Triceratops, and it may represent the ancestral form of Triceratops as well as possibly being a juvenile. This could possibly explain the specimen’s small body size and relatively small horns and neck frill.

 

The name Avaceratops is derived from Ava Cole. She was the wife of Eddie Cole, who found the first fossil remains in‭ ‬1981.

Thunder Lizard Thursday: Brachiosaurus’ Neck.

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Brachiosaurus had long forelimbs that caused its back to incline. This trait is not seen in most other sauropods. The neck’s exiting the body in a fairly straight line(the current theory) would have resulted in it pointing upwards. Debate continues on the exact angle of the neck and how flexible it was.
As I was  watching Jurassic Park III last night, and wishing it would hurry up and end, I did pay a little attention to the one character I cared about other than the dinosaurs; Alan Grant. He mentioned something, while looking out of the plane window,about “You can see a herd of Brachiosaurus grazing”, and I remember thinking, “Hold it, Alan.”

( then I drew the above sketch.)

I am of the team of “Brachiosaurus ate from the treetops”, which is called “browsing”. Also, it had close cropping teeth  adapted to eat the most elevated plant material such as conifer leaves and fruit.
To maneuver around in tall forests with a very long neck would be difficult, unless the neck was held vertically or at least semi-vertically. Extremely long tails would make movement in the forest difficult for high-browsers as well, and tails could not be pointed vertically . Brachiosaurus lost its long tail over time and it became quite short.

Hopefully, Alan Grant only meant that the Brachs were simply grazing from treetops, but it is very hard for us dino enthusiasts to imagine a poor Brachiosaur struggling to lean its neck way over to graze from the ground!

Thunder Lizard Thursday: Amargasaurus!

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Ah, the amazingly cool-looking Amargasaurus(“La Amarga lizard”)! Only one skeleton is known, found in February 1984 by Guillermo Rougier during an expedition led by the famous Argentine paleontologist José Bonaparte. The skeleton is nearly complete, including a fragmentary skull(sauropod skulls are rarely found complete, if at all), making Amargasaurus one of the best-known sauropods from the Early Cretaceous.

Quite small for a sauropod, Amargasaurus owned two parallel rows of tall spines down its neck and back. While it is unclear how these spines appeared in life, scientists have put forth theories that the spines could have supported skin sails or stuck out of the body as solitary structures supporting a keratin covering. They could have been used for display, combat, or defense.