Artist hand writes entire 'Jurassic Park' script, creates line-art of a scene from the movie

Now that's dedication. Read the rest

This crazy dinosaur was Earth's largest land animal

This recently-discovered dinosaur weighed 26,000 pounds when it stomped around South Africa's Free State Province 200 million years ago. The University of the Witwatersrand researchers who found the animal's fossils dubbed it Ledumahadi mafube which in the South African language of Sesotho means "a giant thunderclap at dawn." Like the brontosaurus, it walked on four legs and ate plants. From CNN:

Apart from its massive size, there are other evolutionary details about the new species that make it entirely unique, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology. "It shows us that even as far back as 200 million years ago, these animals had already become the largest vertebrates to ever walk the Earth," Choiniere said.

The researchers believe that Ledumahadi was a transitional dinosaur, an evolutionary experiment itself during the Early Jurassic period. The forelimbs of this dinosaur are more "crouched," while being very thick to support its giant body.

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Austistic boy hates being in photos, mom lets him wear T-Rex suit for family pics

Photographer and mom Samantha, aka Roaming Magnolias, shared this incredible gallery of photos on Reddit/IMGUR today. One of her sons is autistic and hates being photographed. His sibling does not mind it. Mom's creative parenting solution, and some amazing images, below. Read the rest

Russians cloning wooly mammoths, Jurassic Park-style "Ice Age theme park" may be in the works

Well their domesticated foxes are really cute. What could go wrong? Read the rest

Why the T-Rex has tiny arms

Tyrannosaurus rex is known for being huge and threatening. What's with those tiny arms though? Don't call them useless.

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10 things you’ll be surprised to learn about dinosaurs

Steve Brusatte is a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh and a specialist on the evolution of dinosaurs. He has a new book out called The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs. Here's a list of surprising facts about dinosaurs he wrote for Boing Boing. Enjoy -- Mark

Cat-sized ancestors

The first dinosaurs were not brutish monsters like T. rex or earth-shakers like Brontosaurus. Dinosaurs evolved from skinny, long-limbed, cat-sized ancestors called dinosauromorphs, which lived about 250 million years ago. They were sprinters who ran around on four legs, and lived in the shadows of giant amphibians, reptiles, and mammal ancestors who dominated the food chain at the time.

Overshadowed by crocs

After they originated, dinosaurs diversified during the Triassic Period (252-201 million years ago). Many new species evolved, but they lived in only the more humid parts of the Earth, and none of them got very big. During this time they were being eclipsed by their close cousins, the crocodile group of reptiles. There were more crocs, they lived in more places, and they were at the top of the food chain.

Saved by a mass extinction

As the Triassic Period drew to a close, the world was plunged into chaos. All of the land had been joined together into a supercontinent called Pangea. But now, Pangea began to break apart and as it did so, huge volcanoes erupted in between the fragmenting bits of crust. These eruptions caused a mass extinction—the sudden, simultaneous death of more than half of all species. Read the rest

Life-size animatronic T-Rex bursts into flames at dinosaur theme park

A life-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex at a Colorado dinosaur theme park went down in flames yesterday. Zach Reynolds, co-owner of Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, says it was probably caused by an electrical malfunction.

Although the 24-foot-tall T-Rex is a big loss to the park, Reynold's had a sense of humor about it when he joked, “We knew he had a temper, but today he blew his top.” He added, "it made for some spectacular imagery along the way."

The good sport hopes a new dinosaur will take its place by this summer.

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The century-long fight over how turtles evolved to have shells

Turtles were at the center of a hundred-year evolutionary controversy since the 1887 discovery of a Proganochelys fossil in Germany. AS PBS Eons explains, the question of how turtles got their shells led scientists "to rethink the entire history of reptile evolution." Read the rest

A 5-year-old boy teaches us about dinosaurs in an animation he drew, wrote and narrated

Fair warning: This might just be the cutest, and simultaneously educational, thing you'll see all week.

Using the drawings and story provided by his young son Nathan, Allen Mezquida created a wonderful "animated dinosaur drama" they've simply titled, Dinosaur.

Allen writes that his dino-obsessed five-year-old spends hours drawing ("mostly dinosaurs") every day and that he was "so inspired" by his work that he offered to animate them:

He also loves watching BBC documentaries about dinosaurs. Next thing I knew, we were working on this short film together. Nathan was very clear about the story he wanted to tell and how he wanted it to look. He said he wanted it to be very real, "never cartoony." I did my best to stay true to his vision...

Yes, proud father aside, it came out great. The Museum of Natural History in LA even posted it.

Parent/child collabs ftw! Read the rest

Are pitch-lowered bird calls what dinosaurs sounded like?

Something nice, perhaps even wonderful, is going viral! Are birdcalls "slowed down", or lowered several octaves, examples of what the dinosaurs would have sounded like?

A reddit user debunks the speculation, but substitutes an experimental effort to recreate dino song, by sound artist Courtney Brown.

Actually, though birds are descendants of dinosaurs, their voiceboxes (the syrinx) have no evolutionary precursor organ. The syrinx also didn't evolve until after the KT extinction, so this video really has no relation at all to what dinosaurs may have sounded like. Going even further, there is no evidence that dinosaurs actually had voiceboxes, as it is a soft tissue organ, which don't fossilise well. The sound dinosaurs made probably came from resonating air in nasal/skull cavities...

Anyone with an ounce of scientific credibility knows that dinosaurs sounded like Norm McDonald standing on a British plug.

UPDATE:

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Dinosaur art mostly bullshit

Within a Millennial's lifetime, depictions of dinosaurs have gone from leathery lizards to feathered floofbeasts as our understanding of ancient biology grew. But it's still speculation, reports Atlas Obscura's Eric Grundhauser, and shaky at that. Check out The Bad Hair, Incorrect Feathering, and Missing Skin Flaps of Dinosaur Art. Pictured above is what a swan would look like if a dino artist drew one based upon its skeletal remains, as brilliantly rendered by C. M. Kosemen. I am pretty sure that's how swans see themselves, so I'm cool with it (but not with swans closer to me than, say, 70 feet.) Read the rest

Pictures of dinosaurs, by a flower-drawing algorithm

Chris Rodley fed some pictures of dinosaurs to a "style transfer" machine-learning system that had been trained to draw flowers, and this was the gorgeous result. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Massive T-rex made from balloons

World champion balloon artist Mark Verge twisted up this huge Tyrannosaurus rex from 700 balloons. He calls it the "the coolest thing I’ve ever made.”

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Dinosaur's feathered tail found preserved in amber

At a market in northern Myanmar (Burma), China University scientist Lida Xing found a piece of amber containing a remarkably well-preserved dinosaur tail, complete with feathers. It likely belonged to a coelurosaur, a birdlike beast that lived about 99 million years ago. National Geographic video above. Plans for future research below.

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How to Make a Cardboard Raptor

IMGUrian Colo1 shared this wonderful series of images documenting a cardboard dinosaur creation. Read the rest

World's most accurate dinosaur model

This cartoony character is considered the most accurate model of a real dinosaur ever created. Paleoartist Bob Nicholls based his reconstruction of Psittacosaurus on an incredibly well-preserved fossil from China (image below) studied by University of Bristol paleontologist Jakob Vinther and colleagues. From The Guardian:

Psittacosaurus fossils are commonly found across most of Asia. The bipedal adults used their distinctive beaks to nibble through the vegetation of the Cretaceous, more than 100m years ago. The relatively large brain of Psittacosaurus leads scientists to suspect it may have been a relatively smart dinosaur, with complex behaviours. The large eyes hint that it had good vision....

The reconstruction is the culmination of around three months’ work, from detailed drawings to finished fibreglass model. Nicholls created a steel frame and bulked it out using polystyrene and wire mesh, before sculpting the surface in clay:.“This is where the subject finally comes to life,” he explains, “by adding all the skin details such as scales and wrinkles, and beaks and horns.” A master mould was made from this sculpture, allowing Nicholls to make fibreglass models ready to be painted.

I asked Nicholls what makes this Psittacosaurus so special? “The most surprising features include an unusually large and wide head, highly pigmented clusters of scales on the shoulders, robust limbs, patagiums (skin flaps) behind the hind limbs, and a highly pigmented cloaca.” These features make him confident this is the most accurate reconstruction ever produced: “When the anatomy surprises me – it confirms that I’ve followed the fossil evidence rather than any preconceived ideas of my own.”

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Science Comics: Dinosaurs!

Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic -- dinosaurs, coral reefs, volcanoes, the solar system, bats, flying machines, and more.

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