Tag Archives: FOSSIL

THERIZINOSAURUS

What I find odd about Therizinosaurus is that it looks like a half-plucked turkey and seemed to walk like a pot-bellied bear. Their arms were ten-feet-long while each of their claws were each three-feet-long. I hear some experts theorized that Therizinosaurus and its relatives were so tough that they could hold their own against Tyrannosaurs. While it was a theropod, Therizinosaurus was a herbivore instead of a carnivore like the rest of its kin. It certainly was one of the greatest oddities among dinosaurs.

KILLER AMPHIBIANS

The planet has seen its share of monster-sized amphibians. These giant amphibians first appeared during the Devonian Period as some fish crawled out of the sea. One such example is Hynerpeton, which was about two meters long and a favorite prey item for killer fish like Hyneria. During the Carboniferous Period, these monster amphibians grew to the size of crocodiles and alligators and they frequently preyed on the super-sized insects of the era. Two examples of these Carboniferous amphibians are Proterogyrinus and Crassigyrinus. During the Mesozoic Era, some amphibians such as Koolasuchus became large enough to attack and feed on dinosaurs. In my upcoming dinosaur book, one of the characters gets an up close and personal encounter with a seven-foot-long primeval amphibian. I won’t say if the character survives or not, but it will be beyond creepy.

LA BREA TAR PITS

One of my all-time favorite museums would be the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. I have visited it countless times with my family and it is an enriching experience that never gets old. I get to see the fossils of ice age animals such as saber-toothed cats, mammoths, dire wolves, and giant ground sloths. I got to watch the fossils being cleaned and catalogued in the museum’s laboratory. I have always been amazed by the size and majesty of these ancient mammals.

THE ORIGINAL TYRANT LIZARD

“Big things have small beginnings.”

David, Prometheus

The Tyrannosaurs have always been one of the most iconic family of dinosaurs ever to walk the Earth. However, their ancestral evolution largely remained a mystery until recently. Two years ago, the earliest ancestor of the Tyrannosaurs was discovered. This animal was no larger than a deer and was built for speed. Its name became Moros intrepidus, which means “harbinger of impending doom”, which is a fitting name considering what this creature’s descendants would one day become. Due to this discovery, experts theorize that Moros intrepidus lived in the shadow of larger carnivorous dinosaurs such as the carnosaurs. However, when the large theropods fell into extinction, Moros intrepidus and its kin wasted no time filling the power vacuum. Over the course of 16 million years, this one small predator evolved and diversified into over a dozen species of powerful predators including Tyrannosaurus Rex itself. This goes to show that even the mightiest of beasts come from the humblest of origins.

CREATURE OVERVIEW: KAPROSUCHUS

The time of the dinosaurs was a great time for crocodilians. It was an era where crocodilians grew from their archosaur ancestors and diversified into countless different species. Some became marine reptiles, some became large enough to eat giant dinosaurs, and some became regular fish eaters. One unique crocodilian that lived alongside dinosaurs was Kaprosuchus. Kaprosuchus was as big as the largest of modern crocodiles, but it had a number of distinct physical adaptations. Compared to most crocodilians, Kaprosuchus had a lean build with long slender legs. This allowed it to move swiftly on dry land in short bursts of speed. A number of its teeth were longer than others, giving them a tusk-like appearance. These teeth were often used against rivals to settle disputes and they also gave the animal additional weapons to grip onto struggling prey. I find Kaprosuchus to be a very intriguing specimen from a time long forgotten. Kaprosuchus is one of the genetic donors that are used in the creation of one of my fictional dinosaurs in my dinosaur series.

THE ORIGINAL GIANT SQUID

Have you ever read or seen 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? If so, do you remember the part with the giant squid? Over 450 million years ago, there were giant cephalopods that were 36 feet long. These cephalopods were called Orthocones and they were the original giant squids. Unlike most modern cephalopods, Orthocones possessed large shells that encased half their bodies. These hard shells not only provided protection from predators, but they also contained various pressurized chambers that helped the Orthocone float. Like modern cephalopods, the Orthocones used their powerful tentacles to grab any prey item within reach before crushing them to death with their horny beaks. Experts theorized that the crunching would be so loud that you could hear it underwater. As armored jawed fish started to appear, these cephalopods were outcompeted and their descendants gradually shrunk. In my dinosaur series, I will be featuring a large, shelled cephalopod that serves as a common aquatic predator.

THE LARGEST FLIER

My all-time favorite pterosaur would be Quetzalcoatlus because it was one of the largest animals to ever fly in Earth’s skies. It had a forty foot wingspan and it was as tall as a giraffe when it walked on all fours. Despite its enormous size, this creature’s body was built to be extremely lightweight, which is very important when it comes to flying. In terms of diet, this beast feed on small animals, fish, and carrion. It is such a tragedy that this pterosaur joined the dinosaurs in the ash heap of history. If it was allowed to continue its evolution, it could have grown into an even larger flier possibly with a fifty or sixty foot wingspan. We will likely never see such a colossal flier again in our lifetime. One of my fictional dinosaur species in my dinosaur series will be as large as Quetzalcoatlus.

CHASED BY DINOSAURS

One of my favorite dinosaur documentaries would be Chased By Dinosaurs, which is a spin-off of Walking With Dinosaurs. The show was presented by zoologist Nigel Marven, who seems similar to the late Steve Irwin. The documentary consists of five episodes. One episode depicted Nigel traveling to Argentina during the early Cretaceous, one depicted Nigel visiting Mongolia during the mid-Cretaceous, and the other three show Nigel taking a dive in the seven deadliest seas in all of prehistory. In general, this documentary series shows what could happen if someone like Steve Irwin went on a prehistoric safari. I have learned a great deal from this series and I will definitely use the knowledge I have gained for my dinosaur series.