REASON 27 TO VISIT #ULTIMATEDINOS: ABELISAURIDS!
Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants of Godwana, is all about the incredible dino diversity of the Southern Hemisphere, and in many cases, theropod dinosaurs.
Up here in the North, we’re mostly exposed to the carnivores that lived in our (figurative) backyards, like Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus. But they weren’t the only GIANT predators that lived in the mesozoic world. Going South we find other incredible beasts, and in this example, the abelisaurids!
- Abelisaurids are characterized by their INCREDIBLY short arms. In fact, their arms may have been vestigial structures (meaning body parts that have lost their original function) and just not have used them, like emus today.
- Abelisaurids also had rather short skulls and often had some sort of boney horn. The way their head is structured, abeilsaurids may have simply grabbed onto their prey and not let go, letting them struggle to death. They just had that strong a bite.
- Their horns may have been used for identification or for finding mates, or just for looking awesome and fierce.
- Abelisaurids have have been found in Argentina (Carnotaurus) and Madagascar (Majungasaurus), as well as other southern locals.
- Above we have two of the most FAMOUS abeilsaurids, Carnotaurus and Majungasaurus. Carnotaurus is by far one of the easiset dinosaurs to identify, considering the bull like horns. Majungasaurus has one boney horn on top of his head, and has a great sounding name.
- Carnotaurus is famous not for just being one of the most recognizable abelisaurids, but also because it was one of the first theropods found with skin impressions. The trace fossil indicated that Carnotaurus had scaly skin, covered in places with dermal skutes.
- There’s evidence that Majungasaurus may have even engaged in cannibalistic behaviour! I mean, when you see Majungasaurus tooth marks on other Majungasaurus fossils, you start to wonder!
I find abelisaurids fascinating for the obviously funny reasons: the small arms (being real, I’ve had turkey legs at Thanksgiving that are bigger than the arms on these fellas) and the short snouts. But I also find them, weirdly maybe, incredibly beautiful. Sometimes, in the shadows of the exhibit at the right angle, you don’t see the shape of their arms, and it almost looks like a giant, stocky snake on two legs. There’s something about the form of our Carnotaurus that is so fluid. I would have loved to have seen them in real life.
Check out these links to learn more about the incredible abelisaurids! And make sure to click the images above for more details!
- Need a Hand? Don’t Ask an Abelisaurid by Brian Switek
- Why Did Carnotaurus Have Such Wimpy Arms? by Brian Switek
- Butch tail made Carnotaurus a champion dinosaur sprinter by Ed Yong
Have you visited? What’s your favourite part of #ultimatedinos?
The palaeontology world has been a twitter over the latest Ceratopsian find, Xenoceratops. Beyond it being awesome (because let’s be real Ceratopsians are the hipsters of herbivores), it’s also a Canadian find, with our very own @davide_ROM working on it.
Let’s take a moment to indulge in some of the wonderful Certaopsains we currently have on display @ROMToronto.
And here’s a sneak peek of Xenoceratops (the dinosaur that made the New York Times).
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!
A childhood dream of mine was to meet Paul Sereno, one of my favourite palaeontologists. Earlier this year, when #ultimatedinos was being built, I got up close to Paul Sereno’s Carchardontosaurus, and did my best to recreate this famous photo. And that, I thought, would be as close as I would ever get to this legend.
This week, I got a little closer.
Love my job. Love what we offer. So glad to be a part of this.
NOTE: Leading up to Sereno’s meet & greet and lecture, I worked the lines speaking to parents, kids, dino nerds. It was wonderful meeting so many excited and enthusiastic people.
I’ll always remember one comment in particular though from a mom, “My son’s here to meet his dino hero. I’m here to meet one attractive man!”. And indeed. Paul Sereno doesn’t look like he’s aged a day since his placing in the top 50 most beautiful people list in 1997!
Inside the belly of a giant.
Titanosaurs, like Futalognkosaurus, had a very wide ranging diet, including all differnet sorts of vegetation. Considering it’s size, and how slowly vegetation breaks down in the digestion cycle, Futalongosaurus would have to have eaten A LOT.
I’m uncertain, when Futalognkosaurus was alive, if it would be wise to sit underneath him. For copperlite reasons.