Friday, November 15, 2013

Troodon Formosus

Hello comrades, sorry it's been a while!
        Today's post is on the Late Cretaceous theropod Troodon. Troodon lived in North America (specifically the Alaska area) 65 million years ago. It had longs slender arms and legs, and is popularly known as the smartest dinosaur. This really isn't saying much, however, since dinosaurs in general aren't really known for their intelligence. The brain to body size ratio for Troodon would probably mean it would be about as smart as a modern day emu or ostrich, and no, even at this level of intelligence it still couldn't open a door knob, if that's what you were thinking.
       Troodon's name means "Wounding Tooth" after it's serrated steak knife like teeth. Originally this tooth was the only evidence of Troodon's existence, and the species was named off of this one fragmentary specimen. Later it was discovered that a separate dinosaur species, Stenonychosaurus, was in reality a Troodon, giving scientists today a relatively complete specimen. Troodon was 3m long, and like most dromaeosaurs had a large raised claw on its foot. Scientists believe that it would've eaten pretty much anything, from small mammals and lizards to medium sized ornithischians. Some scientists believe that the teeth are so rough on the edge that they may have even been able to cut through vegetation, giving Troodon access to a very diverse dietary menu. Its comparatively larger brain would've allowed it to have superior eyesight, so Troodon could do its hunting and scavenging at night. Further analysis shows that its large brain also gave it good hearing, so the larger brain really did give the animal an advantage.
        Many scientists believe that Troodon also practiced parental care. Several fossils have been discovered with Troodon seemingly protecting a nest. It was discovered these protectors were without medullary bones. These special bones are present only in females (they're a special bone used to help incubate eggs), so these were actually the males protecting the nest. In most animals today, the male does not stay to take care of the young, so this is a very interesting development. Comparing this practice to the few species of birds in which males care for the young brings up the possibility that Troodon practiced monogamy.
        I found several sites that claimed that, should the asteroid not have hit and the K-T event never happened, Troodon would've become the sentient, human replacement for the planet. Despite Troodon's relatively impressive brain, it is unlikely this ever could've happened. However if it could, I think that Troodon probably could have given much to the literary world. They just look like poets.
The fuzzy mammal rolled down my gullet
Tastes so delicious I will digest 
That was so good, should've made a crumpet
roar roar roar roar croak.
This one is horrible. Do you know how hard it is to get a suit on a Troodon? GEEZ.

I apologize for that. I'm really tired. Next time will be something. I don't know.