Saturday, August 24, 2013

Parasaurolophus Walkeri

        Hello everyone! Today's post is about Parasaurolophus.

        Parasaurolophus Walkeri was discovered in 1922 by William Parks in Alberta. It was named from a skull and partial skeleton. Parasaurolophus' name means "near crested lizard" and it is one of the world's most famous dinosaurs. Parasaurolophus lived during the Late Cretaceous, and was a member of the hadrosaur family, making it one of the many "dinosaur cows." It measured about 9 meters long and about 2 meters tall. Parasaurolophus is thought to have been native to forests all over north america, since many scientists believe the subspecies discovered in New Mexico, Parasaurolophus Cyrtocristatus, was a female or juvenile of P. Walkeri.
        Parasaurolophus is most well known for the huge 3 foot crest projecting out from the back of the beast's head. This crest was hollow, and connected to the nasal cavity. Most scientists agree this crest would have created a deep, resonating, rich, buttery call to signal to other members of the species. In fossilized crests, the delicate passages are damaged too much to allow air through them anymore, hence why no one plays the Parasaurolophus crest in today's instrumental groups. It is also to be noted that since the discovery of Cyrtocristatus, it is believed that these animals exhibited sexual dimorphism, with only the males possessing these crests. Analysis of the skeleton also revealed that these dinosaurs had remarkably strong shoulder muscles. They would use these muscles to push through the dense foliage of their forest homes.
Parasaurolophus: Don't Mess With The Best

        That's it for today. I'm not sure what will be next. I'll have to think of something.


Paul, Gregory S. The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2010. Print.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Public Service Announcement

        Hello friends! Just an interesting bit of information for anyone who cares about dinosaurs, which I would expect to be you since you're reading this. The University of Alabama is offering a free online course in basic dinosaur paleobiology. You can read more about it here. Since it's free and I can, I decided to take it, so I'll be giving my opinions on some of the lessons as it goes on. If you're interested, you should sign up too. MAYBE WE'LL BE IN THE SAME CLASS!! We might get to make a cool poster like this one.
I lied. This poster is really horrible.


Agrosaurus (Thecodontosaurus)

        Hello everyone! Today's post is about Agrosaurus because I saw a figurine of a sauropod looking thing with the name Agrosaurus on the bottom. I had never heard of the dinosaur before, so I looked into it.

        The name Agrosaurus means "field lizard," unfortunately not, as I had assumed, something along the lines of "really angry lizard." It was believed to be a Triassic protosauropod discovered in Australia. It would have been the oldest fossil found in Australia. But while looking into this dinosaur I came across an interesting piece of information. I discovered that Agrosaurus does not exist.

(Maybe its name does mean "really angry lizard")
        Agrosaurus was tragically a mistake made by scientists transporting fossils from Australia.  Harry G. Seeley, (also the paleontologist who created today's system for classifying dinosaurs,) got the claws of a Thecodontosaurus from western Britain mixed up with a box of Australian fossils, and so declared it a new species. So in reality Agrosaurus is a Thecodontosaurus.  
        Thecodontosaurus' name means "socket-tooth lizard."  It was an herbivore from the Triassic that lived in the Bristol Channel area. This area, during the Triassic, was an enormous network of caves. Thecodontosaurus would spend its entire life in these caves, making it a subterranean dinosaur. Occasionally the ceilings would collapse, trapping organisms in rock to be fossilized.
        Thecodontosaurus was 1-3 meters long, only about .4 meters tall, and weighed 20-30 kilograms, so it was a fairly small animal. Thecodontosaurus fossils are quite common today. I even have a tooth belonging to one in my collection.
Isn't it shiny?
        Anyway that's it for today. Next post will be about Parasaurolophus just cause.

Lucas, Spencer G. Dinosaurs: The Textbook. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education,
        2007. Print.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oviraptor Philoceratops

        Hello everyone! Today's post will be about the Oviraptor.
        Oviraptor Philoceratops was a late cretaceous dinosaur that resided in the Mongolian desert. It was discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews during one of his famous expeditions to the Gobi desert between 1922 and 1928. These expeditions uncovered many fossilized dinosaur eggs, and a multitude of new species. For this reason Andrews is considered one of the greatest paleontologists of all time.
        Oviraptor was 1.6 meters long and weighed 22 kilograms. It had a large bone crest on its head and is believed to have possessed a large amount of plumage. The lizard skeleton discovered in its gut suggests its diet was composed of small animals. This was not always the thinking however. Upon its discovery, scientists found the animal collapsed over a nest of eggs. It was assumed that the eggs belonged to another nearby nesting dinosaur of the time, Protoceratops because many of the Proto's nests were found in the area. For this reason Oviraptor was given its name, roughly meaning "Egg Thieving Lover of Ceratopsids," ceratopsids, of course (if you remember Nasutuceratops) being the family including Triceratops and Protoceratops. Oviraptor was soon seen as the most evil creature of the cretaceous. It would creep by night to the nests of its herbivorous neighbors and consume their in-egg children. But all was not as it seemed. About 50 years later, paleontologists studying the find discovered that the eggs the creature sat over did not belong to Protoceratops, they belonged to the Oviraptor itself. This proved that not only was the Oviraptor a loving mother, but also it wasn't eating Protoceratops' eggs.
Does that look like the face of a killer to you?
        And that's it for today's installment. I guess I'll do another dinosaur next time, probably Agrosaurus.
- Athos

Paul, Gregory S. The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2010. Print.