24 October 2014
23 October 2014
Usually when a paleontologist is immortalized in the name of some taxon it is as part of the specific epithet. Once in a while paleontologists are remembered at the generic level (e.g. Drinker, Othnielia, Bennettazhia) or animals are named after family members (e.g. Timimus, Leaellynosaura). Gasparinisaura falls into the former category, being named after Zulma Brandoni de Gasparini, one of the premier female paleontologists of South America. Does being named after the second woman to chair the Paleontological Association of Argentina make the dinosaur famous all on its own? How well known, in North America, is Zulma Brandoni de Gasparini honestly? Regardless, there is a rather tiny South American dinosaur named after her and it is famous because it is tiny, named after a famous paleontologist, was on television, and was even featured in a dinosaur "how to draw" book. It is a rather wonderful little dinosaur and well known all over. Gasparinisaura has also introduced a renowned and well rooted Argentinian paleontologist to people unfamiliar with her career.
22 October 2014
21 October 2014
Gastroliths in dinosaurs are well known from many different genera and many different time periods. They are somewhat rare, as are all fossils, but they are most definitely well known. Gasparinisaura are one of those dinosaurs that have well documented gastroliths. In 2008 those gastroliths were discussed by Cerda. His paper describes the stones, their purpose, and the implications they provide to the diet of Gasparinisaura. The image at left is from the paper and has been released on Wikipedia. Cerda is a professional when it comes to Gasparinisaura. He also had a hand in describing the microstructure of Gasparinisaura bone in Cerda and Chinsamy (2012). The original knowledge of the dinosaur came to the general public through the work of Coria and Salgado (1996), but new material has been unearthed since that time. That new material was again described by these two scientists, but in Salgado et al. (1997). The latter two papers kind of speak for themselves and do not need to be detailed ahead of time.
20 October 2014
Planet Dinosaur almost features Gasparinisaura in its 5th episode. However it does not actually feature Gasparinisaura but it does feature Argentinosaurus. Under the feet of Argentinosaurus lived small dinosaurs, quickly darting in and out under the larger dinosaur's body. Those dinosaur do appear in the show and they happen to be Gasparinisaura. So far this entire paragraph has been a very convoluted way of saying that Gasparinisaura shows up in Planet Dinosaur as a speck beneath the lumbering giant that is Argentinosaurus. We should probably just watch it scurrying around rather than talking about it.
19 October 2014
Gasparinisaura appears on the internet very sparingly. We do have three quality sites that address our three normal levels of reading ability. The Dino Directory addresses the lower level readers and supplies an illustration and size comparison. Enchanted Learning actually rests in the middle level position with more detail taxonomically and guides for pronunciation. The third level is adequately filled by the Dinosaur Wiki. That page details more about the discovery, anatomy, and properties of the dinosaur. Unfortunately, that is where our road ends in the pursuit of educational links. There are no coloring sheets or videos for today.
18 October 2014