STL Science Center

STL Science Center

12 October 2012

Drawing Out A New Map

©Fabio Pastori
Indigenous words are often fairly interesting; such is the case with the word Mapu, a word of the Mapuche people of Argentina. The word means "from the land" or "from the Earth" and sounds an awful lot like the word for a drawing of the Earth or land (of course that could also in part be the centuries of languages going back and forth to create similar words and all of that jazz). It was this word that Coria and Currie chose to incorporate into the name of a large theropod they unearthed and described in Argentina this past decade. The Argentina-Canada Dinosaur Project (ACDP from here out) has many influential members attached to it, but this dinosaur's main contributors were Rodolfo Coria of Argentina and Phil Currie up in Alberta, Canada. The name they settled on in 2006, a mere five years after excavation ended, was Mapusaurus roseae, the specific name coming from the funding leader of the project, Rose Letwin (wife of one of the original members of Microsoft), and from the rose-colored rocks that surround the site. Mapusaurus was a large theropod that has been determined to belong to the Carcharadontosauridae and more specifically to the Giganotasaur subfamily. Mapusaurus was identified based on a nasal bone of the right side of the skull, but is represented by at least twelve other individual nasals and other assorted skeletal elements including bones from most every other portion of the body; several sections of vertebrae, fibula, and carpals and metacarpals have additionally been found to name a few bones associated with the Mapusaurus skull fragments. The total length of the animal is estimated at 10.2 metres (33 ft) and a weight approximation has been made at 3 metric tons (3.3 short tons) based on estimates from larger partial bones (femur). Greg Paul (pg98 Princeton Field Guide) estimates the size and weight at 11.5m (38ft) and 5 metric tons (5.5 short tons). These measurements may be taken from a larger set of bones that Coria and Currie assumed to belong to a potential Giganotosaurus found in this quarry (piecemeal finds with no clearly defining characteristics).

On a housekeeping note, I widened the writing column in here so as to allow for larger picture placement as well as more space to read. This may make many entries ridiculously short, but that is okay. In the coming days I plan to sit down and really fine tune some background issues, perhaps update the banner at the top. I am open to receive anyone's art that wants to perhaps redo my banner or construct a background image and I will let you know if I go with your art after I look it over and try it out. Thank you for your patience during this process.

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