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10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know about “The Good Dinosaur”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Good Dinosaur seems like a very underrated Disney movie considering that it was so very hyped up when it was about to be released. Truthfully it’s a rather cute movie and despite following the same formulas that get used again and again it was still worth watching. Arlo might not be the most convincing specimen ever rolled out onto the screen but he’s still something special in that he was another shot for Disney to really push the dinosaur epic onto the public yet again. But for all that the movie really didn’t get much play and it kind of came and went without much fanfare.

Not all Disney movies are epic blockbusters, and this proves it.

10. One of the reasons it could have done so poorly was that it followed Inside Out.

Inside Out was a big hit with kids and with two Pixar titles coming out in the same year it could have been that there was no energy left over for this film.

9. There were a lot of production issues that held it back for a while.

Creative differences and other such problems were what held this movie from coming out sooner or being finished on time. These problems could have been why it wasn’t seen to be as good as it could have been.

8. Arlo’s movements were based on those of young elephants.

If you take the images side by side you can see the same gait and the rolling movements of their shoulders.

7. Arlo was originally supposed to be older.

He was supposed to be in his teens but the idea of him and Spot both being younger gave rise to the idea that it would be a better story if they were both learning how to survive.

6. This was the lowest grossing Pixar movie worldwide.

Such a thing doesn’t happen very often since Pixar movies are known for pulling in crowds. This just didn’t have the same kind of attraction that’s been so prevalent in other films.

5. This is Pixar’s sixteenth feature film.

You can assume that it’s one they might like to forget simply because it didn’t pull in the numbers they wanted, but since going to the shelves it’s been a little more popular.

4. There are plenty of Easter eggs in this movie.

Pixar and Disney love to plant Easter eggs in their movies and there are plenty of them. At one point when Arlo and Spot are hallucinating you can see the ball from Toy Story, and there’s one moment when you can see something in the water that looks like Hank from Finding Dory.

3. This is one of the dinosaur movies in which the T. rex is not the villain.

It’s not too often that you see an apex predator being a good guy, but it’s been done before with other vicious hunters such as the sharks in Finding Nemo.

2. The hallucinating scene is the first since Dumbo.

And if you can recall, Dumbo and Timothy were drunk when they hallucinated. This is slightly better since Arlo and Spot ate fermented peaches.

1. There’s some connection between Arlo and Littlefoot from The Land Before Time.

Both are given great responsibilities, both have wise parents, and both take on predators that are much stronger than them and somehow succeed.

It was a cute movie to be honest.


It Takes Time, Patience to Work With Dinosaur Bones, Olathe North Students Find

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Geoscience Academy teacher Staci Winsor shows a reconstructed dinosaur bone worked on by Olathe students. Beth Lipoff Special to The Star

They’re not recreating Jurassic Park, but students at Olathe North High School are getting some hands-on time with real dinosaur bones and other fossils. As part of the school’s Geoscience Academy, students learn to identify, clean and reassemble various fossils and dinosaur bones.

It all started about 15 years ago when paleontologist and Olathe High School grad Craig Sundell donated a triceratops skeleton to the school, which is now Olathe North, with the idea that middle and high school students could learn how to clean and prepare it for display.

Now, they’re hard at work on a hadrosaur. Alan Detrich, a friend of Sundell, found the hadrosaur bones found in Montana and has loaned them to the school for students to work on them.

“If you go too fast, you’ll break part of the shell or any fossil. It’s all patience. That’s most of what you need,” said 15-year-old Quinton Mindrup.

That applies to other fossils, as well, like the 31-million-year-old tortoise shell they’re also cleaning. The students use tools such as air scribes and micro jacks, which have fine points to work on the delicate subjects.

They examine the color, how the surface absorbs water and other factors to tell the rock from the bone as they uncover pieces.

For the first two years, students in the Geoscience Academy do basic classes, then in the third year, they get to choose either the hydro track, studying water-related science, or the litho track studying rocks and paleontology.

Though he hasn’t taken the litho class yet, Quinton came in after school to learn some of the basics of working with fossils and using the machines from Sundell, who occasionally comes in to work with the students.

“If we can maintain as much of the structure of the bone as (possible), we can actually make guesses and figure out things about what happened,” said 16-year-old Nathan Hurst. “We know the shell’s been bitten, because we can see it on there. We know it was a herd of hadrosaurs that all died together in a flood event. That’s what we can figure out by knowing the shape of the bones and the dirt that they died in.”

It takes a lot of hard work, and it’s not always fun. As they uncover the different bones from the plaster cast that was made in the field, the students make detailed diagrams of the position of each bone relative to the others.

“No one wanted to do it, but we knew it had to happen,” said Weston Shane, 17.

Quinton Mindrup, 15, demonstrates how the students at Olathe North's Geoscience Academy are using tools to clean a 31-million-year-old tortoise shell. Beth Lipoff

They also use a polyvinyl acetate solution called Vinac to help strengthen the fossils so they’re less likely to fall apart.

It’s very unusual for students so young to get the opportunity for hands-on work like this.

It’s not just the Geoscience Academy students who benefit from the program. Groups of elementary students come in on a regular basis to see the fossils and learn about the process. Several of the high school students currently in the program were inspired to be part of it by going on one of these field trips.

Students in the program get to take their own field trips. Every two years, the group heads to do geological field studies and to see fossil-finding firsthand. Last summer, they went to Wyoming, and in 2015, they were in Texas.

A few of the students hope to go on to careers in paleontology, and others plan on going into related fields, such as geology.


Paleoartist Gives Toronto Raptors Logo a Strange Yet Accurate Redesign

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Accurate Toronto Raptors Logo

The Toronto Raptors have only one thing in common with the velociraptors that reigned over Earth between 100.5 to 66 million years ago: Both of them were met with a swift demise at the hands of forces greater than their own. But just because the Cleveland Cavaliers swept Toronto much like a cataclysmic force decimated our prehistoric friends doesn’t mean the team’s semi-menacing dinosaur logo should be equated with the real thing.

Paleoartist and “Torontoish” dinosaur enthusiast, Hannah Moss, took to Twitter on Saturday to ensure all Toronto Raptors and Jurassic Park fans know what an actual velociraptor is supposed to look like: ferocious and feathery.

“There are two big inaccuracies that appear in the logo, and they’re really the two main mistakes you see in most drawings of dinosaurs,” Moss tells Inverse. “One, there aren’t any feathers. Two, the hands and wrists are facing the wrong direction. It is now widely accepted within the paleontology community that raptors had feathers on their arms and tails due to the presence of ‘quill knobs’ found in fossilized bones.”

In her redesign, Moss recreated Velociraptor mongoliensis, the quintessential raptor you see in all the Jurassic Park flicks. While Hollywood might depict our ancient friends as scaly, reptile-like creatures, paleontologists have long established that these dinos — the evolutionary predecessors of modern-day birds — most definitely had feathers.

A 2007 discovery published in the journal Science was the first time researchers found quill knobs in velociraptor fossils. Since then, there have been multiple discoveries of dinosaurs feathers completely encased in amber, so at least Jurassic Park got that right.


Sadly, there’s no evidence suggesting that velociraptors used their flashy feathers to fly, an ability that the team might have found useful in its battle with Lebron James. Air travel was left to pterodactyls; nevertheless, raptor plumage was for much more than just show.

A fossil of a Zhenyuanlong, a genus of dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning, China. This specimen provides the first evidence of well-developed pennaceous feathers in a large, non-flying dromaeosaur, raising the question of what function such wings would serve.

“The quill knobs found on arm and tail bones, along with fossils bearing the imprints of actual feathers, hint at how these feathers were arranged,” says Moss. “As for their purpose, a coat of feathers all over the body likely served as insulation. Long wing feathers would help aid balance, as would long tail feathers, although it’s also not unlikely that raptors, like modern birds, used their feathers in mating or threat displays.”


Moss curates and showcases other Paleoartists’ work on her other Twitter account, Unique Paleoart. By sharing and drawing her own dinosaur recreations, she hopes to educate the public about what dinosaurs actually might have looked like, based on recent studies.

Live reconstruction of Deinonychus in the Natural History Museum Vienna by Stephen Czerkas.

“Soft tissues and feathers often don’t fossilize, so it’s likely that dinosaurs were a lot chubbier and fluffier than most people think,” she says. “The general public might not be too eager to read through pages and pages of reports on the most recent dinosaur fossil discoveries, but paleoartists will and translate that knowledge into artwork, an instantly understandable medium.”

So, raptors might have actually had thicc bods like Barney the Dinosaur. Time to rework that chiseled logo, Toronto.


Ancient Fish Species Discovered in Nova Scotia

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fish fossils found at Blue Beach, N.S., can help fill in evolutionary gaps between fish and four-legged creatures, such as this early tetropod which was fish-like, with tail fins, gills and up to eight fingers. (Richard Hammond)

A species of fish that lived 350 million years ago has been discovered in Nova Scotia, casting new light on a little-understood time period.

The discovery was made in 2015 by Jason Anderson, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Calgary, at Blue Beach, N.S., and announced Wednesday.

Chris Mansky, fossil researcher and curator of the Blue Beach Fossil Museum, says Anderson located the skull of the early Carboniferous fish and was able to compare it to the family tree of better-known relatives of the fish.

Mansky says the research of Anderson and his team show the fish’s lineage appears to be a survivor of the Devonian extinction, which contradicts the notion that the extinction wiped out that group.

The species — Avonichthys manskyi — was named after the nearby Avon River and for Mansky, in honour of his years of collecting and exhibiting the fossils of Blue Beach.

The findings were published Wednesday in the United Kingdom’s peer-reviewed Royal Society Open Science journal.

Mansky said the fish is unique, and the discovery means that researchers may start looking at evolution differently.

“It paves the way for future researchers. It gives us new theory and it upsets the old theory,” he said.

“The old politics of the Devonian extinction is very much in debate. This is essentially a road map of new opportunities for young researchers who can work at this for many years… The actual shape and patterns of evolution are not so clear. To gain an understanding of how it really was, we still have a lot of work.”

A skull of the early Carboniferous fish, found in Nova Scotia, is seen here. (Source: Royal Society Open Science)

Anderson said he came across the specimen by chance during a stroll on Blue Beach.

“There’s nothing extraordinary about that moment at all. I was just literally walking along looking at the ground, kicking rocks, and I found one that was the shape of a bone. I didn’t even know it was a fossil,” said Anderson from a conference in Ottawa.

“It wasn’t until a few months later that I actually put it under a microscope.”

Anderson said there are many lingering questions, including how many of these fish species survived the extinction.

“Or is it an artifact of preservation, the fact that we just don’t have very many fossils of this age? Now that we’re actually actively exploring, will we start filling in more of these lineages? Or is this one real lucky one that managed to squeak through?” he said.

“We need to get a better idea of what other fish lived at that time, and in other places at the same time, and that will tell us more about how severely vertebrates were impacted by the mass extinction.”

He said that research has already taken him back to Blue Beach.

The site where the fossil was located is on the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Basin, which has the highest tides in the world. The sea has eroded into the shoreline, uncovering 350-million-year-old fossils.

“This highly dynamic environment, over four kilometres in length, creates unique opportunities for discoveries that would otherwise be very difficult to make,” said Mansky.

“Nature does the digging here.”

Mansky said his museum has a collection of roughly 10,000 fossils, weighing roughly 100,000 pounds. He described it as “busting at the seams,” making it impossible for researchers to examine and catalogue the material properly.

“These were findings and a paper generated from a single fossil, so we can only imagine how much more there is to be learned in the upstairs of Blue Beach Fossil Museum,” said Mansky.

“There needs to be a new paleontology centre developed here to establish a permanent foothold for this fossil collection. It’s a world-class collection and right now we have a private home-based, ma-and-pa museum. The collection has outgrown its home.”

Conrad Wilson and Jason Pardo were also authors of the article published Wednesday.


Fallen Kingdom Promises More Dinosaurs Than Every Jurassic Park Movie Combined

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic Park’s original trilogy was never at a shortage for dinosaurs (except when one got loose here and there), but the sequel to the franchise’s expansion to Jurassic World is flexing its sheer numbers when it comes to the extinct creatures.

Not only will Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom have a man-made dinosaur (genetically-modified to be even more man-made than the rest of the dinosaurs made by foolish scientists), it’ll have “more dinosaurs than you’ve ever seen in all the other Jurassic movies combines,” according to producer Pat Crowley. He’s speaking to that point in a newly-released behind-the-scenes featurette on the dinosaurs of the park, which highlights the creation of the dinos and the vast array of species the film will bring to the screen.

Take a look:

Director J.A. Bayona assures fans that they’ll see the specific T-Rex and velociraptor from the first film while adding on a slew of others, including a mosasaurus, baryonyx, carnotaurus (which fights a sinoceratops, according to star Bryce Dallas Howard), and the comic relief-giving stygimoloch. That’s enough creatures to please any kid entering their dino phase and enough to make saving them from the exploding island a tricky proposition.

The animatronic details and creature design will seem even cooler in hindsight after seeing it in motion when Fallen Kingdom hits theaters on June 22, 2018.


How Giant Dinosaurs Sat on Their Eggs Without Crushing Them?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A fossilized nest from an oviraptorosaur found in China displays a ring-shaped clutch with a large central opening, where the brooding dinosaur would have rested most of its weight.  PHOTOGRAPH BY KOHEI TANAKA

Imagine a hummingbird sitting on a tiny nest filled with even teenier eggs. Adorable, right? Now picture a dinosaur the size of a fully grown hippopotamus settling onto its eggs—sounds like a recipe for a dinosaur omelet.

But a new study of dinosaur nests, along with a stunning, newly revealed fossil of a dinosaur that died tending its eggs, shows that heftier dinosaurs did have a strategy to avoid squashing their young: carefully stacking their eggs in a ring around themselves in the nest.

The findings, published today in the journal Biology Letters, provide a rare glimpse into how nesting behaviors seen in today’s birds got a start among their dinosaur ancestors.

“Most likely this behavior of sitting on the nest evolved first in dinosaurs,” says study coauthor and paleontologist Darla Zelenitsky of the University of Calgary in Canada.


Zelenitsky’s team studied 40 nests built by oviraptorosaurs, birdlike dinosaurs that lived more than 65 million years ago. These animals ranged in weight from a few pounds to about 4,000 pounds, with the largest among them similar in bulk to a modern hippopotamus or rhinoceros. Their nests in turn could be anywhere from about a foot wide to a colossal 10 feet.

In smaller nests, Zelenitsky says, eggs were clustered with little or no open space in the center. As the dinosaurs and their nests got bigger, the creatures left more and more space in the middle to sit, creating elaborate piles of eggs.

“The photos don’t do these clutches of eggs justice,” she says. “They’re two to three layers of eggs, and they’re stacked in a spiral that inclines up toward the center of the nest.”

As for why the dinosaurs built nests in the first place, Zelenitsky says it’s hard to know for sure. “Most birds sit on eggs to provide heat to the eggs,” she says. “But we don’t know if that was the case with oviraptorosaurs—we don’t know if to provide shelter or protection, or for warmth.”

An illustration shows what a larger oviraptorosaur probably would have looked like nesting.  ILLUSTRATION BY ZHAO CHUANG


In April, another team unveiled a spectacularly preserved example of a dinosaur in a nest, found in Mongolia’s Gobi desert and described by the American Museum of Natural History.

“This is the rarest of the rare,” says paleobiologist Greg Erickson of Florida State University in Tallahassee, who collaborated with study leader Mark Norell of the AMNH. The National Geographic Society partly funded the 1995 expedition that discovered the specimen.

The dinosaur, known as Citipati osmolskae, was a roughly emu-sized oviraptorosaur. It was most likely either buried alive by a collapsing sand dune, or it died in a sandstorm and was then covered by sand, Erickson says, preserving its position on the nest. Consistent with the other new findings, the eggs were arranged in a ring with a central opening that could have carried at least some of the adult’s weight.

It’s not clear whether the dinosaur was male or female, and Erickson points out that males tend the nests of some modern birds. Either way, “it was a very good parent,” he says. The animal died with its winglike arms still stretched over 12 eggs. Today’s birds use the same pose to camouflage their eggs or protect them from the elements.


“All of this is more evidence of the fact that birds evolved from dinosaurs,” says paleontologist and National Geographic grantee Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

“A lot of us were brought up on this idea that dinosaurs were big overgrown lizards, lumbering and dimwitted, and that’s just not the case at all.” Instead, he says, many dinosaurs were very birdlike.

In fact, adds Erickson, “you can walk outside today and see 10,000 species of dinosaurs fluttering about.”


Dinosaurs Arrive at Rosamond Gifford Zoo for Summer Long Exhibit

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

T. rex was one of the first dinosaurs to arrive at the zoo Monday. The Dinosaur Invasion! exhibit officially opens May 25.( photos by Maria Simmons)

Five tractor-trailers full of animatronic dinosaurs arrived Monday from Texas-based Billings Productions to be installed at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo for a summer-long exhibit beginning May 25.

A total of 13 dinosaurs are being stationed around the zoo with help from exhibit sponsor C&S Companies Monday and Tuesday. Some outdoor areas of the zoo may be off limits during the install, but the public will be able to see some dinosaurs being moved and readied for exhibit over the next 10 days.

The first dinosaurs off-loaded Monday included Tyrannosaurus rex, the armored dinosaur Edmontonia and an interactive T. rex robot that guests will be able to operate via a control panel.

The huge, lifelike dinosaurs are equipped with sounds and movement, but will remain stationary until Friday, May 25, when the Friends of Zoo officially opens Dinosaur Invasion! 101 Days of Dinosaurs through Labor Day Sept. 3.

Dinosaur Edmontonia was among the first dinosaurs unloaded at the zoo Monday.

"We have been excitedly working for several months to bring dinosaurs to the zoo," said Friends of the Zoo President Janet Agostini. "Now that they're here, we are even more eager to see the impact they will have on our guests and to reinforce our conservation message about saving animals from extinction."

Friends of the Zoo will open the exhibit on May 25, when the dinosaurs will "come alive and be fully operational," Agostini said. 

She said several other zoos have exhibited Billings' dinosaurs to great success. Dinosaur Invasion! offers many opportunities to talk about zoo animals that share characteristics with dinosaurs, the link between dinosaurs and birds, and the zoo's active role in saving today's endangered species from extinction, she said.

Several events are in the works to make the most of the prehistoric presence at the zoo. They include this year's Brew at the Zoo, the Friends' biggest annual fundraiser, on Friday, August 3, dubbed 'Brew at the Zoo & Dinos Too' for 2018.

The zoo will offer other special events such as Donuts with Dinos for an added fee, but the summer-long display itself is free for zoo members or with zoo admission during zoo hours. A special pass also will be available for sale for guests who would like to participate in dino activities at a Paleo Tent in the zoo courtyard.


Dig Up Dinosaurs at These Family-Friendly Paleontology Sites

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Photo: Dylan Otto Krider

Looking for a fun, educational summer activity the whole family can get in on? How about digging up actual dinosaur bones and other fossils! Here are a few of the best dig sites across the country that welcome newcomers who want to learn about paleontology.

You don’t need to go on an official dig with real dino pros to find fossils out in the world, but it’s better if you do. You’re able to learn more about what you’re digging up, and you do so in an ethical fashion so researchers can actually use what you find. Best of all, these types of expeditions are often fairly affordable, and they can be enjoyed kids and adults alike.

Tara Lepore, a field paleontologist and science educator, offers a few vertebrate paleontology dig recommendations over at Outbound Adventurer:

This isn’t all that’s out there, though—not even close! If you’ve got some money, time, and body that’s in decent shape, you can volunteer to participate in almost any paleontological dig. Do some research on your local colleges with paleontology programs, or contact your local natural history museum to see what they have planned. You can learn more about the digs listed above at the link below.

The Dig On Paleontology Digs In the United States | Outbound Adventurer


Real Life Jurassic Park: Scientists Hope Discovery Will Lead to MAMMOTH-ELEPHANT Hybrid

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

GETTY BREAKTHROUGH: Scientists hope cloned mammoths will be introduced to a Siberian park

AN ASTONISHING breakthrough has raised hopes that a real-life Ice Age Jurassic Park could be just around the corner.

Scientists working in the frozen tundra of Siberia have been able to successfully reintroduce a species not seen in the area for 1,000s of years to the area.

This week a yak calf born as part of the epic experiment took its first steps after the herd was introduced to northern Yakutia.

Russian scientists are aiming to recreate the Ice Age ecosystem of Siberia in Pleistocene Park.

It was a time when woolly mammoths roamed the area as well as many other prehistoric creatures long extinct.

EXTINCT: Woolly mammoths used to roam the frozen tundra of Siberia. NIKITA ZIMOV

But the scientists believe that by reintroducing these creatures, they will not only restore the landscape, but they also believe it could reverse global warming.

By sealing in leaking methane, they believe the new inhabitants of Siberia will prevent further melting of the permafrost.

A herd of bison are also expected to be moved to the park.

Over 20 square kilometres of land, the scientists hope one day they will be able to bring back the woolly mammoth.

 WILD: Pleistocene Park in Siberia is recreating the Ice Age natural landscape & wildlife. NIKITA ZIMOV

A team at Harvard University are using DNA recovered from a long-extinct beast after it was found perfectly preserved in the Arctic ice 42,000 years after it died.

By combining this DNA with that of an elephant, the team will create a new hybrid creature and introduce it to Pleistocene Park.

Chief scientist George Church said: "Cold-resistant elephants would flatten the insulating snow and supporting trees in winter and favour the highly heat reflective grass in summer.

"They would also help capture new carbon by enhancing the photosynthetic capacity of the vegetation," he added.

FAMILY: Sergey Zimov (left) and son Nikita are the park's directors. NIKITA ZIMOV

The park is run by father and son team, Sergey and Nikita Zimov.

Explaining the importance of the work to introduce mammoths, Nikita said: "Arctic permafrost is melting. It will trigger catastrophic global warming.

"We're creating a northern Serengeti to stop that from happening.

"Here in the most remote corner of Siberia my father, Sergey Zimov, and I are reviving the Ice Age "Mammoth Steppe" ecosystem."

MIGRATION: Pleistocene Park is flying bison from Alaska to Siberia

He added: "Natural grasslands, maintained by numerous grazing animals, have the capacity to both slow climate warming and prevent permafrost from melting".

It's been revealed to Daily Star Online that new mammoths could be cloned as soon as this year.

Is the planet headed for another mini Ice Age?


Fossil Tail From Jurassic Could Shed Light on Crocodiles’ Family Tree

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fossil Tail, Jurassic Crocodile Family Tree

A fossil tail was discovered by paleontologists, who believe it could be the missing link in the evolution of crocodiles.

Ancient crocodiles in the Jurassic period (200-145 million years ago) were split into two groups. One group of crocodiles had an armored skin – like dinosaurs, and used their limbs to walk. The second group looked more like a dolphin: they had tail fins, flippers and no armors like the land group.

The fossil is 180 million-years-old, and researchers believe that it belonged to an intermediary species of the two groups. Mark Young, with the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, explains their findings:

“This fossil provides a unique insight into how crocodiles began evolving into dolphin and killer whale-like forms more than 180 million years ago.”

The tail fossil points towards a crocodile that had both the tail fin and the armor, meaning that crocodiles were highly diverse in the Jurassic era.

Young and his colleagues at the university have discovered the tail in 1996. They dug it up in a mountain in Hungary and called it Magyarosuchus fitosi – after Attila Fitos.

Not So Different from Their 30 Million-Years-Old Ancestors

Young and his colleagues published the study in the journal PeerJ. Their study points out that the fossil belongs to a species of crocodiles that is different from the other ones. The tail contained a weird looking vertebra, writes the report:

“The unique combination of retaining heavy dorsal and ventral armor, while having a slight hypocercal tail, on the other hand, highlights the mosaic manner of marine adaptations in Metriorhynchoidea.”

Evan Whiting is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota and studies crocodiles. He explains why discovering a new species of crocodiles back in the past is so rare:

“If we could step back in time 8 million years, you’d basically see the same animal crawling around then as you would see today in the Southeast. Even 30 million years ago, they didn’t look much different.”