Tag Archives: PREHISTORY

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.

MARINE ARTHROPODS

Throughout my studies of prehistory, there were three groups of aquatic arthropods that caught my attention and interest: anomalocarids, eurypterids, and trilobites.

Anomalocarids were among the earliest arthropods and produced filter feeders like the seven-foot-long Aegirocassis and the first super predators like the two-meter-long Anomalocaris. As the earliest arthropods, the limbs of Anomalocarids would serve as the precursors of modern arthropod limbs. These primitive limbs were used by creatures like Aegirocassis as filters while eating plankton. With predators like Anomalocaris, these primitive limbs would be designed to snatch small prey off the sea floor before ripping it apart so the predator can access the soft innards inside. While they had tough exoskeletons, their armor was ridged and would split if bent too far.

The eurypterids or sea scorpions were among the largest arthropods that ever existed. The smallest species was ten centimeters long while the largest species was over three-meters-long. Their segmented exoskeleton gave them greater flexibility while swimming. Despite being called “scorpions”, eurypterids had no stingers on their tails. Instead, they had bony flukes that were used for propulsion like a whale or dolphin.

Trilobites are some of the more famous marine arthropods. They were physically similar to a woodlouse and ranged in size from one millimeter to over two feet in length. Trilobites lived as bottom feeders, feasting on algae and organic waste on the sea floor. They were a common prey item for ancient predators like Anomalocaris.

For my dinosaur series, I will be featuring a new breed of marine arthropods that are a mixture of all three of these ancient arthropods. They will occupy the niche that would normally be held by crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Like their prehistoric precursors, they will range greatly in size.

JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION LEAKS

“Nothing in Jurassic World is natural! We have always been filling the gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And if their genetic code was pure, many of them would look a lot different.”

Dr. Henry Wu, Jurassic World

It is common knowledge that the dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park franchise are not fully scientifically accurate. None of them had feathers and several of them looked different from their prehistoric counterparts. In Jurassic World, it was revealed that the reason why the cloned dinosaurs looked nothing like their templates was because they were not pure-blooded carbon copies of the originals. When InGen cloned their dinosaurs, they would use frog DNA to fill in the gene sequence gaps in the prehistoric DNA. By the time of Jurassic World, scientists were able to include genes from snakes, cuttlefish, and scorpionfish in the dinosaurs’ genetic makeup. Due to all this foreign genes in their DNA, the Jurassic Park dinosaurs were unable to authentically resemble their prehistoric counterparts. Fortunately, that plot hole is going to be rectified in Jurassic World: Dominion, which will feature a prologue that portrays scientifically accurate dinosaurs with feathers. Such specimens include Dreadnoughtus, Quetzalcoatlus, Pteranodon, Ankylosaurus, Natsutoceratops, Iguanodon, Oviraptor, Moros Intrepidus, Giganotosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is a big deal for several of these dinosaurs to appear on the big screen and not just because they are more scientifically accurate. Moros Intrepidus was only discovered and named two years ago and it made its big screen debut in record time. Despite being a larger and more powerful predator than Tyrannosaurus Rex, Giganotosaurus never appeared on the big screen before until now. Even though Tyrannosaurus Rex appeared in countless dinosaur films, its feathered version never appeared on the big screen before. In addition, this preview will reveal the origin story of the original Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park. Overall, this preview is going to look like a more high quality version of Walking With Dinosaurs and I cannot wait to see it next week.

JURASSIC PARK AND THE BIBLE

“God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.”

Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

It has come to my attention that Jurassic Park has a number of references to the Bible, which were more prominent in Fallen Kingdom. The Book of Genesis was heavily referenced in Fallen Kingdom to highlight a new beginning where humanity’s attempts to play God result in the rise of life forms that will challenge their role as the dominant species on the planet. These references are often inverted and reversed from the original version. The first Jurassic World referenced the story of Cain and Abel when the Indominus Rex killed its sibling. While Cain and Abel were brothers, the Indominus Rex and its sibling were sisters. In an early draft of Fallen Kingdom, the Indoraptor was supposed to have a Cain and Abel moment when it murders its sibling. In the Bible, the male Adam’s rib bone was removed in order to create the female Eve. In Fallen Kingdom, the rib of the female Indominus Rex was used to create the male Indoraptor. The ship known as the Arcadia was the ship that carried the remaining dinosaurs off Isla Nublar as it was being destroyed by fire and lava. This is an inverted version of Noah’s Ark, which carried all the animals in the world from an apocalyptic flood. Benjamin Lockwood was one of the ones who contributed to the creation of the dinosaurs and was an inherently good man, which could be as a symbolic representation of God. Eli Mills was a greedy and deceitful man driven by his own ambition, which can be seen as a symbolic representation of Lucifer. When Lockwood found out what Mills was doing behind his back, he cast Mills out. However, Mills murdered Lockwood and usurped his symbolic throne, which is a reverse of how God cast Lucifer out. In this case, Lucifer won and claimed God’s throne for himself. While the Book of Genesis is heavily referenced in Fallen Kingdom, there are also aspects of the Book of Exodus as well. Finally, there is Maise Lockwood’s symbolic representation of Moses. As a clone herself, Maise has a connection and kinship with the dinosaurs that normal humans would never understand. When she pushed the button to release the dinosaurs into the world, she said, “I had to. They’re alive like me.” This can be seen as her way of saying, “Let my people go.” When the basement door opened and the dinosaurs ran through the tunnel into a new world, it is similar to how Moses’s followers traversed the parted Red Sea to a promised land. If Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom were based on Genesis and Exodus, it is possible that Dominion will revolve around the Book of Revelation and portray a dinosaur apocalypse that will end human civilization. I look forward to finding out next year.

BOOK REVIEW: THE LOST WORLD

I have finished listening to the audiobook version of The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was an enjoyable read and had more complexity than any of its film adaptations. The dinosaurs were depicted based on the outdated Victorian science of Doyle’s time. For example, the Iguanodons walked on two legs like a kangaroo while the dinosaurs as a whole were depicted as dumb lumbering giants. The big carnivorous dinosaur, which was either an Allosaurus or a Megalosaurus, was described as being ugly with skin that was like a toad’s. The conflict between the plateau’s native tribe and the ape men had a serious colonialism feel to it where one civilization comes in conflict with a more advanced one. Overall, this has been a fun read and I would recommend it to anyone who is seeking a good dinosaur book.

A REPTILIAN DOLPHIN

Prehistoric marine ecosystems were home to a wide range of unique life forms. Among those life forms were creatures that were physically similar to modern dolphins. During the age of the dinosaurs, the sea was inhabited by a special group of marine reptiles known as Ichthyosaurs. Ichthyosaurs were suitably evolved for life in the ocean due to their fish-shaped bodies. After the age of the dinosaurs, during the Eocene, early whales such as Basilosaurus and Dorudon ruled the seas. Sadly these groups of whales have no direct descendants in the modern age. For my dinosaur series, I will be featuring a creature that is a mixture between an Ichthyosaur and a Dorudon. Such a beast will be biologically similar to the mammal-like reptiles that existed during the Permian Period. However, a mammal-like reptile that lives in the sea is a type of animal that has never existed in real life in the fossil record. With this in mind, my creature will symbolize the beginning of an evolutionary revolution. I look forward to sharing my creation when my dinosaur book is released.

INSPIRATION: GIGANTORAPTOR

We know about Gallimimus from the Jurassic Park franchise, but there was one ostrich-like dinosaur that was even larger than Gallimimus: Gigantoraptor! Gigantoraptor was a species of Oviraptor that stood 15 feet tall, which was five feet taller than a basketball hoop. For my upcoming dinosaur book, my fictional species of ostrich-like dinosaur will be the same size as Gigantoraptor. Imagine that flock of Gallimimus from Jurassic Park, but super-sized! Try outrunning a flock of these giants!

INSPIRATION: NOTHOSAURUS

One of the more intriguing marine reptiles that existed during the reign of the dinosaurs would be Nothosaurs. Nothosaurs lived during the Triassic Period, which was when the dinosaurs first evolved. They were ancient relatives of Plesiosaurs, which were among the more famous marine reptiles. I have been intrigued by Nothosaurs because they look like a reptilian mixture between a seal and a mermaid. They are graceful when they swim yet deadly when they need to be. I will be featuring a marine reptile in my dinosaur series that is physically similar to Nothosaurs, but it will be a completely different creature altogether.

A PRIMEVAL CAVE

Years ago, I visited my relatives in Texas and we went to Carlsbad caverns. Before we went in, we watched as a swarm of bats flew out of the cave. Watching those bats made me feel like Batman. When we went inside the caverns, I felt as though I was in a Jules Verne novel. All kinds of beautiful rock formations decorated the caves. It was like entering a primeval world that time forgot. If I turned around the next corner and found a prehistoric monster, I would not have been surprised. I am thinking of drawing inspiration from my experiences in Carlsbad for my future dinosaur books.

AN ALTERNATE ECOSYSTEM

“All the changes in evolution you affected; they will come in the Waves. First will be climate. Then vegetation, the early manifestations of life. Then come the more complex organisms.”

Dr. Sonia Rand, A Sound of Thunder

In the film version of A Sound of Thunder, we were introduced to a possible alternate reality where the past 65 million years of evolution was completely rewritten. All of this was caused by a prehistoric butterfly being stepped on by careless time travelers. Still, the organisms of this alternate reality presented us with an intriguing ecosystem that deserves to be explored more.

In terms of climate, this alternate Earth was 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night and mid-80 degrees Fahrenheit in the day time. The humidity was over 90 percent. All of these readings were in the middle of November, which implies that the climate would be hotter and more humid in Spring or Summer.

The vegetation of this alternate Earth was also intriguing because it was stronger and more developed than the plants we are familiar with. A prime example would be a species of vine that was armed with detachable thorns that were filled with a potent toxin. The toxin induces partial paralysis and operates like a hallucinogenic that triggers psychosis. When an animal gets too close to the vines, the vines would wrap around the creature like a snake attacking a mouse. At first glance, this trait could be seen as something carnivorous plants would have. However, it looks like this feature was meant as a defense mechanism to ward off herbivores.

While the climate and vegetation of this alternate reality were fascinating, the really amazing specimens are this ecosystem’s animals. Due to natural history being rewritten, different creatures evolved to replace the ones we are familiar with. Among those were swarms of beetles that would mob and envelope their prey like a school of piranha.

The most prominent example would be the baboon lizards. The exact evolutionary history of this species is largely unknown, but I can guess how it came to exist in the alternate reality. They may have been the descendants of dinosaurs that developed primate-like features. They may have began as a species of reptile that re-evolved mammalian traits such as the Permian mammal-like reptiles. Either way, the baboon lizards are one of the most complex creatures in the alternate reality. Like primates, these beasts are social animals that travel in troops and share a strong group bond. Either as a defense against predators or the overwhelming elements, the baboon lizards developed a very thick hide to the point in which only their throats were their only soft spot. While sleeping, baboon lizards sleep upside down like bats and become fiercely territorial if their sleep is disturbed. While clearly carnivores, they may have been omnivorous due to the unique nature of their primate-like teeth. Based on all available information, it would seem the baboon lizards have replaced humans as the dominant species on the planet.

Instead of birds, the skies of this alternate reality were ruled by large bat-like creatures. These bats were large enough to rival prehistoric pterosaurs. Like the baboon lizards, these bats seemed to be a blend between reptile and mammal like the Permian mammal-like reptiles. They hunt in flocks like vultures while their legs and talons were strong enough to peel away solid steel. They apparently hunted their prey like birds of prey by snatching prey items off the ground with their vise-like feet.

Another inhabitant of this alternate reality were giant eel-like creatures that lurk in swamps saturated in sulfur. These eels resemble a blend between reptile and fish. While their heads are semi-shaped like those of a carnivorous dinosaur, their jaws seem to operate like those of a crocodile. When a prey item gets caught in the eel’s jaws, the eel would hold the prey underwater until it drowns. In addition to its gripping jaws, the eel could wrap its coils around a prey item like a snake to either crush the prey to death or pull it into its waiting mouth. While hunting prey, the eel visibly had barbels hanging from its face like those of a catfish. This would allow it to sense vibrations in the water. Overall, this eel provides another reason why this alternate reality is ill-suited for human life.

We finally reach the oddest life form to live in the alternate reality, which is what humanity would evolve into. This new species of human looks almost alien in appearance with large eyes that would open and close with a thin membrane. This could indicate that it was sensitive to bright light and preferred to live in dark places. This would be reinforced by the fact that this being has a pale pigmentation like a naked mole rat, which would make the rest of its body vulnerable to bright lights. Like a catfish, this being had whisker-like barbels on its face. Also, it has a waddle dangling from its throat like a turkey. These features may have been used for display amongst members of its own species. Unlike mankind as we know it, these beings are obviously not at the top of the food chain and are likely prey. In general, this creature is easily one of the most grotesque forms humanity could take if our evolution was altered.

In conclusion, the alternate reality presented to us in the film adaptation of A Sound of Thunder was very intriguing. Although it ceased to exist when the timeline was corrected, I would have loved to see what other strange life forms this ecosystem had to offer. It is one example of what is evolutionarily possible when natural history is altered.