Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer posting schedule

I have to apologize for not posting here in so long... I'll get my girdle in gear and get back on the stick soon!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The argentinosaurus

Argentinosaurus (AR-jen-TEE-noh-SAW-rus meaning "Argentinian lizard") is a genus of titanosaur sauropod dinosaur first discovered by Guillermo Heredia in Argentina. The generic name refers to the country in which it was discovered. The dinosaur lived on the then-island continent of South America somewhere between 97 and 94 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Epoch. It is among the largest known dinosaurs.




Discovery

The first fossils identified as Argentinosaurus were found in 1987 by a rancher in Argentina, who mistook the leg for a giant piece of petrified wood. A gigantic backbone was also found, and was almost as high as a man.


The type species of Argentinosaurus, A. huinculensis, was described and published in 1993 by the Argentinian palaeontologists José F. Bonaparte and Rodolfo Coria. Its more specific time-frame within the Cretaceous is the late Cenomanian faunal stage, ~96 to 94 million years ago. The fossil discovery site is in the Huincul Formation of the Río Limay Subgroup in Neuquén Province, Argentina (the Huincul Formation was a member of the Río Limay Formation according to the naming of the time.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fossilized bones of huge 100 TON dinosaur found

From the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2631309/Scientists-largest-dinosaurs-Titanosaur-fossil.html

Move over T-rex, see you later Stegosaurus, adios Argentinosaurus. Scientists have announced that the bones of a new, even larger dinosaur have been found.
Argentinosaurus currently holds the record for being both the heaviest land animal ever, and the longest, but the fossilized bones of the biggest dinosaur ever discovered have been found in Argentina.
Scientists believe the species of titanosaur weighed in at 170,000 pounds, as heavy as 14 African elephants.
A local farm worker found the remains which were captured by the BBC's Natural History unit.
Scroll down for video
The Thigh bones' connected to the...: A technician next to the femur of a dinosaur -- likely to be the largest ever to roam the earth
The Thigh bones' connected to the...: A technician next to the femur of a dinosaur -- likely to be the largest ever to roam the earth
Boner: One of the paleontologists lies next to the femur of sauropod
Boner: One of the paleontologists lies next to the femur of sauropod
What it was like: The newly identified South American dinosaur uses its whip-like tail to fend off predators in this 2014 illustration
What it was like: The newly identified South American dinosaur uses its whip-like tail to fend off predators in this 2014 illustration

Discovery: Paleontologists Jose Luis Carballido (L) and Ruben Cuneo pose next to the bones of a dinosaur at a farm in La Flecha, west of the Argentina's Patagonian city of Trelew
Discovery: Paleontologists Jose Luis Carballido (L) and Ruben Cuneo pose next to the bones of a dinosaur at a farm in La Flecha, west of the Argentina's Patagonian city of Trelew

Quite the find: According to paleontologists from the renowned Egidio Feruglio Museum, Jose Luis Carballido and Ruben Cuneo, the fossils are that of a sauropod and preliminary tests dates the fossils at some 90 million years old
Quite the find: According to paleontologists from the renowned Egidio Feruglio Museum, Jose Luis Carballido and Ruben Cuneo, the fossils are that of a sauropod and preliminary tests dates the fossils at some 90 million years old



How it compaares: Size comparison between Argentinosaurus (shown in purple) and a human
How it compaares: Size comparison between Argentinosaurus (shown in purple) and a human

Huge discovery: The fossilized bones of the biggest dinosaur ever discovered have been found in Argentina
Huge discovery: The fossilized bones of the biggest dinosaur ever discovered have been found in Argentina

Tremendous: Its gigantic bones were found by a local farm worker in a desert in Patagonia, the southern Argentine region that has yielded many important dinosaur discoveries
Tremendous: Its gigantic bones were found by a local farm worker in a desert in Patagonia, the southern Argentine region that has yielded many important dinosaur discoveries

Garguantuan: Its calculated 77-ton weight would have made it as heavy as 14 African elephants, beating the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus, by some seven tons
Garguantuan: Its calculated 77-ton weight would have made it as heavy as 14 African elephants, beating the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus, by some seven tons

The fossils were then excavated by a team of palaeontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio, led by Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol.
They unearthed the partial skeletons of seven individuals - about 150 bones in total - all in 'remarkable condition'.
According to the measurements of its gigantic thigh bones, the herbivore would have been 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall.
 
Palaeontologists think it is a new species of titanosaur – part of a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs that were characterised by their long necks and tails and small heads – dating from the Cretaceous period.
The mega dino would have weighed in at 77 tons, making it seven tons heavier than the previous record holder Argentinosaurus.
The creature, which lived in the forests of Patagonia between 95 and 100 million years ago, was yet to be named.
“It will be named describing its magnificence and in honour to both the region and the farm owners who alerted us about the discovery,” the researchers said.
Residents and technicians gather around the bones of a dinosaur at a farm. They say it is the largest set of remains of a dinosaur ever found to date
Residents and technicians gather around the bones of a dinosaur at a farm. They say it is the largest set of remains of a dinosaur ever found to date

Vast: The palaeontologists say the find is thought to be a new species of titanosaur ¿ a huge herbivore of the long-necked sauropod group that lived in the Late Cretaceous period
Vast: The palaeontologists say the find is thought to be a new species of titanosaur ¿ a huge herbivore of the long-necked sauropod group that lived in the Late Cretaceous period

Stupendous: The bones were initially discovered a year ago in the desert near La Flecha, about 135 miles west of the Patagonian town of Trelew
Stupendous: The bones were initially discovered a year ago in the desert near La Flecha, about 135 miles west of the Patagonian town of Trelew

Dusty work: The fossils were then excavated by a team of palaeontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio, led by Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol (pictured left)
Dusty work: The fossils were then excavated by a team of palaeontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio, led by Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol (pictured left)

Colossal: Scientists believe the species of titanosaur weighed in at 170,000 pounds, as heavy as 14 African elephants
Colossal: Scientists believe the species of titanosaur weighed in at 170,000 pounds, as heavy as 14 African elephants

Long nect: Paleontologists in Argentina's remote Patagonia region have discovered fossils of a creature is believed to be a new species of Titanosaur, a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod that walked on four legs and lived some 95 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period
Long nect: Paleontologists in Argentina's remote Patagonia region have discovered fossils of a creature is believed to be a new species of Titanosaur, a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod that walked on four legs and lived some 95 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period

The discovery came in the same week scientists confirmed the Argentinosaurus to be the biggest of them all.
That plant-eating dinosaur weighed a earth-shaking 90 tons when it lived about 90 million years ago in Argentina, although the record has been broken by this new find.
Oxford University palaeontologist Dr Roger Benson, who led the study, says the dinosaur weigh-in included species ranging from small bird-like dinosaurs to well-known carnivores such as the Tyrannosaurus rex.
The Tyrannosaurus rex, which weighed 7 tons, was the largest meat-eating dinosaur in the study, but it is small in comparison to the Argentinosaurus.
Immense: The museum has retrieved some 150 bones said to come from seven individuals, all in remarkable condition
Immense: The museum has retrieved some 150 bones said to come from seven individuals, all in remarkable condition

Massive: Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known to have walked on Earth
Massive: Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known to have walked on Earth

A sparrow-sized bird called Qiliania, which lived about 120 million years ago in China, earned the distinction of being the smallest dinosaur, weighing a mere 15 grams.
Dr Benson said Argentinosaurus, which roamed around South America, was about 6 million times the weight of Qiliania and that both still fit within the dinosaur family. 'That seems amazing to me,' he said.
The largest meat-eating dinosaur was Tyrannosaurus rex, which weighed 7 tons and is also the largest known land predator of all time.
The T. rex edged out another super predator that some scientists had once figured was bigger based on the length of its skull, Giganotosaurus, which lived alongside Argentinosaurus in ancient South America.
The study estimated Giganotosaurus at about 6 tons, pretty darned big, but just a bit shy of dethroning T. rex.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Massive dinosaur skeleton coming to Copenhagen

From The Copenhagen Post: http://cphpost.dk/news/massive-dinosaur-skeleton-coming-to-copenhagen.8060.html

A 17-metre diplodocus costing 4.3 million kroner will be the prize exhibit at the new Natural History Museum


Misty will tower over the museum's guests (Photo: Anders Drud, Statens Naturhistoriske MuseuDecember 10, 2013by Peter Stanners
A gigantic dinosaur named Misty is moving to Denmark after it was bought at a London auction two weeks by the Natural History Museum.
The complete 17-metre skeleton of a Diplodocus cost 4.3 million kroner and was secured through a grant from Det Obelsk Familiefond.
“We think it is important that Denmark’s Natural History Museum owns a dinosaur [...] so when we were suddenly given the opportunity to give the Natural History Museum this early Christmas present, we jumped at the chance,” fund chairman Christen Obel said in a press release. “Misty is an iconic and fascinating item and will surely create value for the museum for many generations.”

The Natural History Museum is run by the University of Copenhagen and Misty is expected to be exhibited in the new facilities that are planned near the Botanical Gardens in central Copenhagen.
By November the university had raised 650 million kroner of the 1.2 billion kroner the new facilities are expected to cost.

Misty's 17-metre-long skeleton is around ten times the height of an average person (Photo: Raimund Albersdoerfer)
University of Copenhagen rector Ralf Hemmingsen said that the dinosaur was a “steal”.
“Together with the museum’s unique collection of whales, Misty will be an icon in coming exhibits at the Botanical Gardens. But how or when depends on whether the financing for the planned museum is secured,” Hemmingsen said.
Accidental find
Misty was discovered in the US state of Wyoming in 2009 by the children of the German palaeontologist Raimond Albersdörfer.
Albersdörfer was in the midst of another dig and encouraged his sons to try their own luck in a nearby location.
They returned in the evening telling him that they had found a bone that was so large that they could not carry it. Albersdörfer immediately helped his kids uncover the amazing find.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Road Test: A walk among dinosaurs proves a legendary family day out

From South China Morning Post: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/family-education/article/1376856/road-test-walk-among-dinosaurs-proves-legendary-family

It was with some excitement that we set off bright and early one Sunday morning to join the queue outside the Hong Kong Science Museum.
A large number of families and groups were waiting for the doors to open so we could go "see the dinosaurs", as our two-year-old succinctly put it.
He seemed to think he was about to enter a real-life Jurassic Park, complete with petting zoo and perhaps the occasional baby dinosaur to feed.
To be fair, the giant robotic dinosaurs at the entrance to the Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs did little to dispel his misconception. Amazed at first by their sheer size and realistic look, our three children jumped as the models moved.
This exhibition did not disappoint. The first part was made up of moving models and the children's favourites were found here, including the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex.
The exhibit was interactive and partly hands-on. The children found out what a brachiosaurus stomach would have felt like, and touched fossilised Euoplocephalus dung.
This alone would definitely gain our eldest son some street cred in the school playground. As he said, it doesn't get much cooler than touching "dinosaur poo" that is millions of years old.
The mechanical exhibits were also entertaining. At one point, our five-year-old daughter chatted away to an Oviraptor in much the same way she talks to her soft toys.
Designed with children in mind, the information with each exhibit is concise and interesting. Our seven-year-old was able to pick up facts as he read his way through.
The second part of the exhibition displays what's left of the real thing - the fossils.
There were many displays recreated from bones found in China, including Lanzhousaurus magnidens, whose teeth were the largest among all of the herbivorous dinosaurs.
The towering skeletons were a wondrous sight. A favourite picture from the family's morning at the museum was of our three children cowering under the skull of a T. rex.
The exhibits are broken up with high-definition short movies, each less than five minutes long, shown on big screens that illustrate how the dinosaurs may have become extinct.
Although Sunday mornings are a busy time to visit, the crowds were manageable on the day we went. To enjoy more space, it would be worth trying to make the trip on a weekday.

Verdict: the biggest dinosaur exhibit ever in Hong Kong was entertaining, interactive and educational. It would be a great way to spend an hour or two with children of any age.
My family will visit again before the exhibit ends in April. In fact, we will probably try to head back several times. Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs, Hong Kong Science Museum, 2 Science Museum Rd, TST East, HK$10, HK$20; hk.science.museum/lgd


Friday, January 24, 2014

Roadside Dinosaur Parks

Huffington Post, Dec 6, 2013: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/atlas-obscura/roadside-dinosaur-parks_b_4267917.html
Kitschy dinosaur parks are about as abundant around the world as the thunder lizards themselves once were. Largely an American phenomenon, it seems as though there was a period of post-Depression boom times when any enterprising amateur with concrete, free time, and a child's guide to prehistory was building titanic menageries of "good enough for government work" creatures.
Not content to simply mangle the (to be fair, largely misunderstood at the time) anatomy of the saurian behemoths, most of these attractions also painted their beasts like technicolor nightmares. Whether its due to the wonders of prehistoric life or bad design, these creature collections remain a must-see stop on any road trip. Check out some of these mangy monsters that clearly spared every expense:
South Dakota's Depression-era Dinosaur Park still looks a little depressed. 2013-11-13-c671d7269f3926ab38c05e0d95d87facc6e60938.jpg
Image via Paul Weimer
A Tyrannosaur-ish Rex at Kentucky's Dinosaur World.
2013-11-13-c99095735f5547eacc75fcf4b3004214216323c6.jpg
Image via Atlas Obscura
Then there's this clever girl in Virginia's Dinosaurland.
2013-11-13-9ef033171c49cf7393_gigantosaurus_pteranodon.jpg
Image via Dinosaurland
To see more derpy dinos, check out Atlas Obscura's collection of dinosaur parks!
http://www.atlasobscura.com/categories/dinosaur-parks


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Podcast of Wyoming dinosaur tracksite available

From Dec 4, 2013

View dinosaur tracksites by podcast courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management’s Worland Field Office.

The online podcast features the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite about 10 miles east of Greybull and four miles west of Shell. It is the largest tracksite in Wyoming and one of the most extensively and intensively studied sites in the world, according to a release from the agency.

The podcast showcases the unique Middle Jurassic paleontological resources preserved at the site, which provide information about a population of meat-eating dinosaurs walking on an ancient tidal flat 167 million years ago. The podcast also highlights some of the state-of-the-art photogrammetric work done on dinosaur footprints in northern Wyoming.

View the podcast on YouTube by searching Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. (The other link provided doesn't seem to be working....)