STL Science Center

STL Science Center

12 April 2012

Gastonia in the Popular World

Gastonia has managed to hit a few popular areas in its short time as a discovered species. In part, that is due to the surroundings in which it was found and the predators with which it was lying the quarry. If Gastonia had been found with a flock of Coelophysis then maybe its discovery would not have been such a big deal and its impact on the popular culture may not have been so large. Actually, that's not true, a Cretaceous herbivore of that size showing up in the same level as a Triassic animal would have been alarming at the very least to pretty much every scientist in the world. Regardless, Gastonia was discovered relatively near Utahraptor, one of the larger and more deadly appearing dromaeosaurs of the Cretaceous. Gastonia's defensive make-up may have been enough even, actually, to make it a star, but the speculation that this predator and prey may have exchanged beatings proved too exciting for scientists and the general public to dismiss. Robert Bakker used Gastonia to populate his world in the story Raptor Red and described its behaviors and the world it lived in. Though not the titular character or a pivotal character necessarily, the Gastonia portrayed in the book has a club like tail, which is not completely known to have been present also.

Another place Gastonia appears is in the creature creator for Spore
and also in Jurassic Fight Club where a fight between a Gastonia and a Utahraptor is depicted in which both animals die of their wounds shortly after the battle.
Gastonia appears a few other places including an article I found enjoyable about the science of dinosaur weapons. It's got some pretty good animals and suggestions in there, not too many though.

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