David Krause & our FINAL Dinosaur Day!
Just like the non-avian dinosaurs, our Dino Days have come to an end. This Saturday December 8th, marks our last Dinosaur Day of the 2012 season.
Majungasaurus trying to take flight. #forevertrying
It’s been a remarkable pleasure to bring world leading palaeontologists out of their work in the field, and into the ROM to talk dinosaurs, the prehistoric world, and most importantly, the importance of dinosaurs to children’s education.
To close out our Dino Days series we have Canadian David Krause, an absolutely remarkable palaeontologist. I like David Krause for a two main reasons.
- Go to #ultimatedinos. Then walk over to the Madagascar section. Krause’s name is ALL OVER IT. His work in the finds of Rahonavis, Simosuchus, and Majungasaurus is legendary.
Rahonavis is probably one the most beautiful dinosaurs I’ve ever seen.
Simosuchus is the cutest crocodile cousin.
Majungasaurus. Well, just look at those lil’ arms.
- His absolute commitment to Madagascar. Madagascar has a wonderfully rich dinosaur past. Like the badlands of Alberta, you can walk through parts of Madagascar and struggle NOT to step on a dinosaur bone. But more than just going back year after year to discover and learn more about dinosaurs, Krause has helped give back to the community that has given him, and palaeontology, so much. Krause’s Ankizy Fund has done incredible work in helping develop the health of children in Madagascar.
I just love the behind the scenes. Especially of the dinosaur kind.
I had a wonderful opportunity to have nearly unlimited access to the #ultimatedinos gallery while it was under construction last spring. Here we have a few photos of the before and after of one of my FAVOURITE #ultimatedinos, Austroraptor!
- Austroraptor is awesome.
- Austroraptor might be the most underrated raptor and also one of the few found in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s name means “Southern Thief” which is just about as dope a name as you could have.
- Austroraptor is closer in size to the Velociraptor we love from Jurassic Park. So it was huge. But also look at those arms? Probably couldn’t open kitchen doors.
- Austroraptor was most likely covered in feathers. Making it not only deadly, but also beautiful.
- Austroraptor is also awesome.
Check out this short clip too, on Research Casting (the guys who made the repro dinosaurs @ROMToronto, and from the final museum flight scene in Jurassic Park) putting together Austroraptor!
The Case of the Pencil Toothed Dinosaur
So who does this pencil-like tooth belong to?
I asked this question last week. Everyone who answered on tumblr, twitter and instagram guessed it was at least some sort of Sauropod! #10pointstogryffindor
Indeed this tooth is from a herbivore, and from a sauropod, but which one?
The tooth in question was found in Morocco and is about 95 million years old. The only types of sauropods living in this region are the Rebbachisaurs and the Titanosaurs (a family of dinosaur that includes the ROM’s Futalongkosaurus).
Rebbachisaurs and Titanosaurs have very similar pencil like teeth, like the ones you see on the ROM’s Barosaurus. So chances are our tooth belongs to some time of Rebbachisaur or Titanosaur. Or a prehistoric fossilized pencil. #hardtoknow
- Sweet tooth or leaf tooth?
This type of tooth was used for stripping branches of their leaves and NOT for chewing.
To support their massive bodies, sauropods had incredible appetites. The long neck of a sauropod is designed to get to the branches of trees that other smaller herbivores could not get to. The added benefit of a long neck is that you wouldn’t need to move you body much, just gently swing your your head to the next branch! Finally the head and mouth was designed to simply get food into the body, and to allow the stomach to do the rest of the work.
- The tooth of something larger (this title isn’t even funny, don’t even know why I wrote it)
One of my favourite things about palaeontology is just how much you can learn (and indeed the endless questions you can ask) from something so seemingly insignificant as a tooth. It really pushes you to make educated guesses, and to explore and identify links between so many living things.
In the end it’s hard to figure out exactly who this tooth belongs to without more fossil evidence, like other parts of the body, or even better, a skull! But the adventure is definitely worth it!
More on #ultimatedinos!
Here we have the dermal scute of a a 75 million year old crocodile!
Dermal scutes are pretty cool. Not quite scales, not quite bone, or keratin, scutes are layer upon layer of these features, that together compose a sort of armour. Scutes are primarily used for protection, whether from predators, or from inter species battles over mates and territory.
Examples of animals with dermal scutes are the pangolin, the turtle, the armadillo and the crocodile.
Dermal scute fossils are helpful because they give us a better idea of what animals looked like, in the same way that fossilized skin imprints help.
Brian Switek, is without a doubt, the best dinosaur blogger out there right now. When I’m pitching science blogging to others, and how it should be done, I always use Brian as a template. He’s consistent. He’s funny. And he’s accessible.
And now he’s doing the world a HUGE solid by educating on some lesser known dinosaurs. Brian is launching what is bound to be a fun, exciting series of blog posts that look at dinosaurs A though Z. That means one awesome, though less popular, dinosaur per letter.
I hope he uses Rahonavis for the letter R.
Rahonavis. An absolutely STUNNING dinosaur. I just wish we could see it in full feather. #ultimatedinos
The Dinosaur Portrait Gallery is a project by our #summerclub2012 group Dino Days. Students chose their favourite dinosaur and created their own inspired portrait using pencil, chalk pastel, and white glue!