STL Science Center

STL Science Center

29 April 2016

Life Intervenes

It is unfortunate that the past two days have seen no new posts concerning Dakotaraptor. The dromaeosaur has not been forgotten or pushed aside but other events and goings on were slightly more relevant than revamping a pair of months old posts. That said, I should schedule in a time to write so I do not put off days of writing these posts, even if the animal from the calendar was recently an animal on the blog anyway. Friday is image day now with the new schedule, though, and with a popular dinosaur images are changing and being uploaded almost daily because artists appear to be enamored with the large dromaeosaur still. An artist we have not seen around here lately, possibly because I have simply not looked at his page for a while, is Tuomas Koivurinne. Mr. Koivurinne has always been a favorite (because of his style and interests in dinosaur and military themes) and in the early days of the blog was featured very regularly. His interpretation of Dakotaraptor is probably one of the most dark portrayals in content and composition that is available for viewing online. To be honest, the color scheme involves a lot of cool but light colors, the darkness of the image in relation to other Dakotaraptor images online is due to the minimal sky influence on the image. Many of the images available are on white backgrounds or feature a more open terrain. The closest composition of images are those that we have seen from Emily Willoughby, but I would argue that her Dakotaraptor, while appreciably fierce, appears to be much more huggable than this rather raptorial version. I think that the image dichotomy between the two illustrators and their work emphasizes the fact that this was both a feathered and fluffy looking dinosaur (an argument could be made for the huggability of Koivurinne's Dakotaraptor also) and a carnivorous and potentially highly active predator. Similar view points are seen in the way that people view eagles, hawks, and falcons today as animals that look somewhat soft because of their feathers but tend to also respect their capability to produce violence to procure food. Dakotaraptor may have appeared fluffy and cuddly but it was a vicious predator and Koivurinne's artwork here captures that aspect of the animal's life perfectly while remaining quite safe for work and, I would argue, for sensitive audiences.
©Tuomas Koivurinne

26 April 2016

Tapping Out

Normally I would never do this, but the only two papers that exist on Dakotaraptor appeared in the last paper post. Therefore, here is a link to the last post!

25 April 2016

Movies for Dakota

Somehow we have not managed to run out of videos for Dakotaraptor. The dromaeosaur was big in life and has been big as a fossil so far. Its impact is more prominent because it is a "raptor" of extraordinary size. This is shown in the video that we are sharing for Movie Monday. Despite its popularity it is not featured in any documentaries, yet. This may change in the near future, but not at this moment. We do have more quality narrations and news stories though, and that is quite useful.

Dinosaur George has, since the last time Dakotaraptor was here, has posted a video answering questions on the dinosaur. We have not shown Dinosaur George posts in a while, and that is entirely because I have not come across them lately, not for any other reason. He seems like a nice guy and he values education. I am okay with him.

24 April 2016

This Time

Last time on fact day I posted most of the same websites that still exist. Posting them a second time would be redundant and there is no need to do that. Besides, there was really only one or two that was worth posting. There was a rather good dinosaur fact video on Dakotaraptor and there were a few that I skipped over. Instead of posting old material, here are a couple of the fact videos that are acceptable, but that were passed over last time for one reason or another:

23 April 2016

Revisiting a Recent Raptor

In the somewhat recent past we discussed a large dromaeosaur of the middle north of the United States. That dromaeosaur is was recently discovered and described and is named Dakotaraptor steini. This is the last full week of April and Dakotaraptor is the calendar dinosaur for the month of April. To refresh the reader's memory, Dakotaraptor is one of the largest North American dromaeosaur discovered to date and was recovered from South Dakota's Hell Creek formation. This formation is Cretaceous in origin and Dakotaraptor is from an area of the formation that correlates to the youngest rocks and therefore the end of the Cretaceous. Throughout the publication and popularizing of the description of Dakotaraptor the paleoartist Emily Willoughby has portrayed the dinosaur time and again. This illustration is the only illustration of hers that was not featured the last time that Dakotaraptor was the dinosaur of the week. She posted this little sketch on Twitter and it is absolutely adorable.
©Emily Willoughby

22 April 2016

Size and Andrewsarchus

How large is the purported largest terrestrial carnivore that ever lived? Andrewsarchus mongoliensis had the largest carnivore-like skull known for a terrestrial animal. At approximately 3 feet long, the skull is absolutely massive for a carnivorous animal, as we see them today. A modern adult tiger has a skull measuring 1.3 feet in length. A tiger is a large predator. Andrewsarchus was a nearly 3 times larger predator, if we assume the body estimate is allometric with the skull. Artistic interpretation of the size estimates of Andrewsarchus look something like this, which is quite impressive:

21 April 2016

Popularity and the Pig-like Beast

Andrewsarchus may not have been related to pigs, but the fact that it resembled a pig and still does in most modern illustrations may be severely confusing to some. The depiction in the most popular place that Andrewsarchus has been shown was even slightly rotund. The Walking With Andrewsarchus is large, muscular, and intimidating. That is a trend that continues in other illustrations as well. The strangest thing about Andrewsarchus' popularity is that it has blossomed in less opular venues than television, books, toys, movies, video games, and other highly visible areas. Instead, it has something of a nearly cult-like following on the internet. Amateur illustrations, professional illustrations, and fan sites are all populated with Andrewsarchus. Thankfully Andrewsarchus managed to be illustrated on one of the informational cards that we see now and again that is so vibrant and fearsome.