|Copyright Michael Skrepnick 2002|
31 January 2015
30 January 2015
29 January 2015
replicated and sold many times over as well, though there are not many models sold as toys in the general market (a hotspot for popularity amongst children and some adult enthusiasts we know, of course). The dinosaur has even appeared in World of Warcraft (as have many other dinosaurs) as a named artifact of clothing or gear (a belt in this case).
28 January 2015
27 January 2015
In 1981 Sergei Kurzanov returned from Mongolia with the remains of Avimimus. The initial description was included in a series of short descriptions but, as it was rather unique amongst the remains, Avimimus gathered some individual attention and was partially singled out. Kurzanov visited the remains again in 1983 with an eye on the dinosaur's relationship with the origin of birds. The ecological aspect, in particular, was of interest to Kurzanov in the paper and makes for a rather interesting paper. A review of the dinosaur in the Chiappe and Witmer edited Mesozoic Birds also included Kurzanov (this time without having to be translated and hosted on Paleoglot). The best thing about the preview is that the entire chapter is available online.
26 January 2015
Supposedly, in one of Discovery Channel's last realistic documentaries, Avimimus is mentioned and discussed because of its relationship with the origin of birds. Unfortunately, since the last time I found that documentary, the quality copies of it have been rather quickly disappearing from circulation on the internet. One of the remaining copies is still online, in pieces, and it is a good show, but it does not directly discuss Avimimus for an extended amount of the show. Regardless, it is the only documentary that shows Avimimus or discusses it, to my knowledge, and therefore works for this week's watching.
25 January 2015
Avimimus facts are everywhere on the internet. Part of the reason that it is so popular is that it is a fairly charismatic animal, has a name that means "bird mimic", and a readily recognizable body plan (much like that of its relatives). The fact files range from the somewhat simplified (Enchanted Learning) to the much more complex (Dinosaur Jungle). There are also intermediate websites full of fun facts (including About and KidsDinos). As has happened in the past, the best coloring page available is a line drawing by Josep Zacarias (do not forget to ask for his permission to post any coloring of his images!).
24 January 2015
23 January 2015
There are technically no rules in the order of entries around here, however, typically the animals discussed oscillate between carnivore and herbivore with an omnivore mixed in here and there. Standing between the heights of extant Turkeys and Emus, Avimimus portentosus was one of those potentially omnivorous species that is, this week, wiggling its way into the rotation. A theropod averaging approximately 1.5 meters (5 feet) long including its tail and just under 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall when not standing completely erect and stretched out. Discovered in Mongolia in 1981, Avimimus was thought to be an insectivore, as many oviraptorid dinosaurs usually are, but is now hypothesized to have been more omnivorous. Evidence indicates that this may have been a semi-gregarious dinosaur that dabbled at the edges of marshlands and collected in large flocks or herds throughout the year.
22 January 2015
Saltasaurus has been immortalized many times over since its description in 1980 in many different ways that have gained it popularity in the general public. This includes the rather strange headed Carnegie model pictured here. Saltasaurus also has been featured in various dinosaur parks as both a static and animatronic model. Saltasaurus has also made an impact in video games, card games, and even in electronic encyclopedias and cartoons. This is definitely one of those weeks when links could fill up the entire page and one could visit websites on just Saltasaurus for the rest of the week. It has been modded into Spore and Zoo Tycoon as well. One of my favorite links is from the cartoon Dinosaur King, enjoy the episode.
21 January 2015
The amazing find of a titanosaurid sauropod with osteoderms growing along the length of its back would cause the assumption that its generic name would refer directly to those osteoderms. Instead, the specific epithet does refer to those osteoderms (loricatus means armored) while the generic name referred to the town (Salta) in the Lerma Valley of Argentina nearest to the dig site that turned up those osteoderms and the other high quality fossils included in the original description. A lesser known importance of Saltasaurus is its impact on the ever changing perceptions of the world of paleontology. Saltasaurus was name and described during a time in which it was becoming readily clear that sauropods still maintained a dominance in the southern half of the world as the largest group of herbivores. In other parts of the world sauropods had clearly been replaced by better adapted herbivores and as these were the most collected areas of the world it was assumed by many, if not all paleontologists at one point, that sauropods had declined in the non-collected areas as well. The discoveries of Saltasaurus and many other sauropods in the last 30 years in the southern half of the globe has, and still is, turned those assumptions completely upside down and repainted the Cretaceous world completely. Thankfully. It is a wonderful dinosaur and a wonderful world that it once lived in.
20 January 2015
Probably the most important feature of Saltasaurus, as mentioned previously, was the presence of osteoderms along the neck, back, and tail of this enormous sauropod. This was a fact that was not lost on the discoverers of the fossil or Jose Bonaparte who wrote the original description of the dinosaur (excluding von Heune's description of similar material that did not possess the osteoderms later discovered). Those osteoderms have been the center of attention concerning Saltasaurus for many years and, not entirely to the detriment of the entire animal, many studies of them have been conducted. In fact, histological studies have been conducted relatively recently that shed even more light on the dinosaur, the growth of the osteoderms, and their development in an animal where they are not typically expected to be found.
19 January 2015
Saltasaurus makes its most major documentary appearance in Discovery's Dinosaur Planet series. Discovery, in their normal fashion, has released clips of the show on their own website and, though it shows up from time to time without their permission, has not aired the entire show anywhere online. Regardless, the small clips that are present online, officially, are well received segments of the show and have not, to my knowledge, been too heavily debated. Either way, here they are for your perusal!
18 January 2015
In the majority of the reading area it is not bed time. It is in part of it though and I recognize that my later in the day entries do not always allow people time to read and visit all of the sites I link to on Sundays before they go to bed. Because Saltasaurus has many links, I thought it would be a good idea to address the timeliness (or lack thereof) of those links today. Every kid-friendly website today has some facts about Saltasaurus and most of them have an image or two that is actually the right dinosaur (always something to be on the lookout for). My favorite images are those used by The Dino Directory (NHM London) and Bob Strauss on About. These are probably my favorite because of the old-fashioned art (London) and the nice Alain Beneteau piece that Bob Strauss highlighted. KidsDinos used a toy for their image, but regardless of that, their fact file is well put together, as always, and is rather concise. A rather short description accompanies Mariana Ruiz Villareal's illustration (shown here Saturday) on New Zealand based Science Kids website. The most extensive link of the day belongs to Dinosaur Jungle though, which has an acceptable image but a lot of facts along with it. There are a lot of ads to navigate around however. If there is time in your schedule today for art, I recommend asking the always nice Josep Zacarias if you can use his line drawing of Saltasaurus to color or Enchanted Learning's black and white drawing. Mr. Zacarias' work is, of course, more scientifically accurate, so it is worth checking out his version of the dinosaur.
17 January 2015
|©Mariana Ruiz Villarreal|
16 January 2015
15 January 2015
14 January 2015
13 January 2015
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about international science, aside from making the globe a happier place, is the fact that it usually exists in more than one language. Le Loeuff, the man responsible for describing Ampelosaurus, also described Tarascosaurus around the same time and his original paper is available in his native French as well as in English. The translation was given to the internet by Matt Carrano in 1997 in coordination with its uploading to the Paleoglot and Dinochecker websites in more recent times. Either way one enjoys it, the original paper is a good paper to read.
12 January 2015
11 January 2015
The only page presenting facts about Tarascosaurus that can be shared today is, somewhat ironically, About. The questionable nature of the remains and the unsettled taxonomic position of Tarascosaurus means that there are not an awful lot of sites out there presenting facts related to the dinosaur for all ages. Associated materials are also vacant, making today a ludicrously short post, unfortunately.
10 January 2015
09 January 2015
Tarascosaurus salluvicus is an uncertain Abelisaurid that inhabited the Late Cretaceous of Europe. It is solidly considered a Ceratosaurid theropod and is hypothesized to have hunted our previous dinosaur of the week, Ampelosaurus. The holotype femur and a maxilla are attributed to the animal at the present time and indicate that the theropod was approximately 30 feet (9 meters) long. The taxa has been considered valid, invalid, and uncertain by a number of different researchers since it was first described in 1991.
01 January 2015
Sauropods make quite a few appearances in video games for a variety of reasons, the number one reason probably being that a basic sauropod model is easy to manipulate into any number of slight variations in size, shape, or color. Ampelosaurus's version of those models appears in the Dinosaur King arcade game and the show and card game. Previously this week we saw that there are toy/models of Ampelosaurus. Liberia even made Ampelosaurus into a stamp!