Giants Roam Fukui at Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

Sunday, February 25, 2018

An animatronic T. rex welcomes visitors to the museum

Fukui Prefecture, on the Japan Sea coast, is home to Japan’s leading museum focused on dinosaurs. Some 80% of the dinosaur fossils discovered in Japan come from Fukui, and this prefectural facility has attracted national—and even global—attention since opening in 2000. With millions of satisfied visitors to date, the museum offers a full day’s worth of fun to dino-loving kids and adults alike.

At least three unique species of dinosaur have been discovered in Fukui Prefecture, on the northern coast of central Japan, making this the ideal place for the nation’s biggest museum dedicated to the massive creatures that once roamed the planet.

The museum is housed in a huge silver sphere, making it an unmissable landmark amid the paddy fields and hills of the prefecture. The interior exhibits are no less impressive.

Arranged over four floors, the museum cleverly uses animatronic dinosaurs—including a tyrannosaurus (T-rex) that is sufficiently realistic to make small children cling tightly to their parents—alongside static displays that show the skeletal remains of all the most famous dinosaurs. These are showcased in surroundings that re-create the environment in which they existed millions of years ago.

The T-rex is an obvious draw to visitors, with new arrivals greeted by a fearsome looking specimen that moves in a remarkably lifelike way. Other eye-catching discoveries in the Dinosaur World section include the horned head of a triceratops, the long-necked brachiosaurus, and the heavily armored ankylosaurus.

The museum’s Dinosaur World section features 44 complete skeletons, placed among the Dino Theater’s 200-inch screen, a diorama introducing Chinese dinosaur finds, and exhibits on the creatures of Japan and the rest of Asia.

And while the skeletons are kept out of reach, visitors are encouraged to run their hands over scale replicas cast in metal to get a better sense of these majestic beasts.

The dinosaur hall has 44 skeletons on display in all, including numerous examples of less well-known, but equally fascinating animals. The displays and their accompanying explanations provide insight into the biology and evolution of the “terrible lizards” from Earth’s past.


Fukui: Japan’s Land of Dinosaurs

Of particular interest are the species that have been found within a short distance of the museum. Those discoveries include prehistoric crocodiles, turtles and plants—but it is the dinosaurs that are unique to Fukui that catch the imagination. The Fukuiraptor kitadaniensiswas a carnivore that grew to more than 4 meters long and was apparently related to the more famous allosaurus.

The Fukuisaurus tetoriensis was a slightly larger herbivore. Meanwhile, the Fukuititan nipponensis, another herbivore that grew as large as 10 meters from snout to the tip of its tail, is the latest local addition to dinosaur knowledge, having only been discovered in 1989.

Experts are also working on identifying yet another dinosaur that may turn out to be a world-first discovery, a small, feathered theropod.

The Dinosaurs in Fukui area showcases fossils, reconstructed skeletons, and models of fukuisaurus and other locally discovered species.


Billions of Years of Natural History

Moving on from Dinosaur World, visitors are given an explanation of the history of the planet and how that relates to life. The Earth Sciences section examines rocks and the fossils that they sometimes contain, as well as the geological phenomena beneath our feet.

The next level of the museum focuses on the history of life and how the inhabitants of the planet evolved from microscopic life forms through simple seaborne organisms that became fish, followed by reptiles and land-dwelling mammals. Over eons of time, some branches of life became birds, while others gradually became human.

This area of the museum uses diorama displays to show the different life forms that were present during different historic periods, while the skeletons morph from dinosaurs to the far more recognizable fish and birds of the present age. Saber-tooth tigers become the big cats of today; woolly mammoths change into elephants.

Outside the museum, Dr. Dinosaur sits waiting for visitors to take commemorative photos with him.

The evolution of humans is equally astonishing, from small bipedal versions of mankind with limited mental capacity and a gait that was more reminiscent of apes to the tall, upright creature that populates the planet today.

The museum is extremely child-friendly, including a section where youngsters can get hands-on with specimens in order to learn more about them. Visitors can also watch technicians carefully extracting dinosaur specimens from blocks of stone that have been excavated from the nearby dig sites.

Visitors are also able to tour the field station, where new samples are being found on a regular basis. At the Dinosaur Quarry, anyone with an interest in becoming a dinosaur hunter in the future is able to grab a chisel and mallet and, under supervision, excavate replica fossils.

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

  • Address: Terao 51-11, Muroko, Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, 911-8601
  • Tel.: 0779-88-0001
  • Web:https://www.dinosaur.pref.fukui.jp/en/
  • Open: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, every day of the week except the second and fourth Wednesday of every month; closed December 29 to January 2 for New Year holidays
  • Admission: ¥260 for primary and secondary school students, ¥410 for high school and college students, and ¥720 for adults; group rates and annual passes also available

Source: www.nippon.com

Steven Spielberg's Frustrations With Making Jurassic Park

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Jurassic Park: T. rex chasing jeep

Steven Spielberg looks back on why he was "furious" when he was in the latter stages of making Jurassic Park.

1993 was a significant year in the career of Steven Spielberg, as two huge films in his directorial back catalogue arrived. In the summer came Jurassic Park, the biggest blockbuster of the year. And at the end of 1993 Schindler’s List debuted in cinemas, the film that months later would result in Spielberg winning his first Oscar.

Production on the two films inevitably overlapped, with Spielberg notably entrusting George Lucas to help with the post-production work on Jurassic Park while he was in Krakow filming Schindler’s List. And in a new interview with Empire, Spielberg has admitted to the frustrations he felt as the two films overlapped.

“I didn’t anticipate what it would feel like after I returned from the [Schindler’s List] set to spend three hours over going over ILM effects shots on Jurassic Park and how angry I was and how I resented having to do that," he said, referring to the period where the post-production of the one film crossed with the physical production of the other. “I would sit there angry and bitter and giving notes on how a Tyrannosaurus rex should run chasing a jeep, when all I could think of was what I had shot that day in Krakow."

“I just got mad at Jurassic Park every day I had to go back and do any work on it," he said, describing himself as “furious” at it while he was in the latter stages of making it.

In the case of both films, though, you'd have to say that all turned out really rather well.

Source: www.denofgeek.com

Universal Launches Plans for Third 'Jurassic World' Film

Friday, February 23, 2018

Four months before "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" hits theaters, Universal Pictures has announced plans Wednesday for a third installment in the rebooted dinosaur franchise.

Universal says "Jurassic World 3" will land in June 2021. The film is to be written by Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow, the director of 2015's "Jurassic World." Carmichael co-wrote the upcoming sci-fi adventure "Pacific Rim Uprising."

"Jurassic World" ranks among the biggest box-office hits. It launched with a $208.8 million opening weekend and finished with $1.7 billion worldwide in ticket sales.

Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg are executive producing each new "Jurassic World" film.

Directed by J.A. Bayona, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, opens June 22.

Jurassic World 3 hits Theaters in 2021

Friday, February 23, 2018

Image: Universal

The Jurassic World trilogy will end three years from now.

With the second film, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, still four months away, Universal just set a June 11, 2021 release date for the third film in the franchise. Emily Carmichael, writer of the upcoming Pacific Rim: Uprising, will pen the screenplay along with Colin Trevorrow, the director of the first film and co-writer of the sequel.

Trevorrow has been saying the Jurassic World story was envisioned as a trilogy for a while, so the fact this third movie is coming out isn’t a surprise. What is a surprise, though, is the announcement coming before audiences have even seen the second film directed by J.A. Bayona. It feels like a supremely confident move.

The news also feels like a good thing for Pacific Rim: Uprising. If Universal, which is releasing both films, is excited enough by Carmichael’s work to bump her up to one of its largest franchises, odds are Pac Rim is solid. Either way, it’ll be nice to have another woman writing a Jurassic Park film. (There may have been one or two issues in the past.)

“It’s important to this franchise that we welcome new creative voices to keep our storytelling fresh and alive,” Trevorrow said to Variety. “I’m thrilled with the tension and beauty J.A. has brought to Fallen Kingdom, and I know Emily will add another layer of emotion to the concluding chapter of our trilogy.”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will be released June 22 of this year.


Source: io9.gizmodo.com

Animatronic Dinosaurs Come to Life at Naples Botanical Garden

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Animatronic dinosaurs come to life at Naples Botanical Garden

Lurking in the ancient tropical ferns and shrubs of the Naples Botanical Garden, a nearly 8-foot-tall Utahraptor growled and hissed, with its menacing, curved talons and a coat of feathers made of synthetic hair.

It was the alpha predator approximately 124 million years ago, and now a life-size, animatronic version of the Utahraptor and nine other dinosaurs will be on display at the the Naples Botanical Garden starting Saturday.

The exhibit, "Dinosaurs: Back with a Roar!", will run until June 3, and is included in regular garden admission.

There's a 15-foot-tall, winged Quetzalcoatlus and her nest at the front of the Kapnick Brazilian Garden, and in the Scott Florida Garden, a 6-foot-tall Citipati that has a blue-colored, spiky tongue and looks sort of like funky emu.

The dinosaurs are part of a traveling exhibit by Texas-based The Dinosaur Co., which brings its menagerie of prehistoric creatures to zoos, museums and gardens across the country.

Each dino is fitted with an electronic brain to activate sounds and realistic-looking movements in the eyes, mouth, neck and limbs. The Tyrannosaurus Rex, for example, stands on its hind legs to reach 40 feet, and the Dilophosaurus squirts water out of its mouth.

The animatronic dinosaurs follow key details from paleontological findings and research from around the world. The colors and patterns, meanwhile, are left to the imagination.

Still, the team from The Dinosaur Co. has modeled the dinos after modern-day birds and reptiles, the closest living relatives.

"Those colorations and those patterns are based off of native animals, so they can tell a story," said Robby Gilbert, the company's director of exhibits.

The Amargasaurus and her baby have the same green skin and yellow spots as the Cuban knight anole, an invasive lizard species in South Florida, and the Florida snail kite, an endangered bird of prey, inspired the grayish colors of the T-Rex.

The Dilophosaurus, though, is painted red, orange and purple with bright yellow teeth — the winning entry in a children's coloring contest.

Garden staff and volunteers spent the days leading up to the opening planting ancient shrubs and ferns around the dinosaurs, including cyads, podocarpus and a Norfolk Island Pine lookalike.

"You’ll see all these cyads and these ferns, very primitive, very early plants that would have been around as long as dinosaurs or longer," Gilbert said. "Here, the dinosaurs are almost secondary to the plants. Kids are here to see the dinosaurs, but garden members are here to learn about the plants."

The garden's youngest visitors can climb atop the lounging Pachyrhinosaurus for a photo, or dig in a sand pit for fossils of a Hadrosaurid.

But the garden-lover will be able to explore the relationship between the ancient creatures and the ancient plants that cohabited all those years ago.

"In Florida you’ve got the palms, everything’s very tropical," Gilbert said. "It looks very similar to what would have been alive during the dinosaurs, just smaller."

Dinosaurs: Back with Roar!
at Naples Botanical Garden

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; early admission at 8 a.m. Tuesdays

Where: Naples Botanical Garden, 4820 Bayshore Drive, East Naples

Cost: Included in regular garden admission; $14.95 for adults; $9.95 for children ages 4 to 14; free for children younger than 3

Source: www.naplesnews.com

10 Reasons to Celebrate Darwin Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Why, each and every year, do scientists, humanists, and scholars from all around the world pay special attention to the life and work of Darwin on his birthday — February 12, 1809? (He was born the same day as Abraham Lincoln, by the way.)
Why do groups like the Hudson Valley Humanists literally make shrines to Darwin and bake evolution-themed cookies in his honor this time of year?
His work brings to our understanding of the human condition. Following are 10 reasons why you should celebrate Darwin Day.
10 Reasons to Celebrate Darwin Day
1. The field of biology did not exist until after Darwin’s ideas on natural selection were published (see Allmon, 2011).
2. Our understanding of modern medicine is improved exponentially as a result of medical professionals understanding and applying Darwinian principles (see Nesse & Williams, 1995).
3. Darwin was an abolitionist, supporting equality among people regardless of regional or ethnic background, way before being an abolitionist was in style. In fact, in many ways, he was more of an abolitionist than was his contemporary Abraham Lincoln (see Desmond & Moore, 2014).
4. Darwin’s perspective led to research that has shed extraordinary light on issues that are specific to women’s health (see Reiber, 2009).
5. Darwin’s perspective has led to advances in how we understand elementary education (see Gruskin & Geher, 2017).
6. Darwin’s ideas paved the way for the advanced understanding we now have regarding the evolutionary history of modern humans (e.g., Hodgson et al., 2010).
7. Darwin’s ideas have been applied to help us better understand how humans can live in urban settings (see Wilson, 2011).
8. Darwin’s ideas paved the way for the field of paleontology, helping us understand how fossils from across the world fit together to explain the history of the earth (e.g., Bose & Bartholomew, 2013).
9. Darwin’s ideas sparked an extraordinary number of additional academic fields, such as ethology, ecology, immunology, Darwinian Literature, evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics, and more (see Wilson, Geher, Gallup, & Head, in production).
10. Darwinian ideas have dramatically improved our understanding of the positive aspects of the human experience, such as art, music, happiness, gratitude, spirituality, community, and love (see Geher & Wedberg, in production).
This list is incomplete in many ways; Darwin's influence on our modern world extends well beyond the 10 points demarcated here.
Darwin’s impact on our modern world is simply extraordinary and hard to quantify. Without the publication of his ideas on the nature of life, we’d be without such academic fields as biology and paleontology. Our medicine would be far behind where it is now. And our entire understanding of what it means to be human would lack a science-based foundation.
Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin. And on behalf of hominids everywhere, thank you.


Source: www.psychologytoday.com


Here's Why 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Looks Like A Terrible Idea

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is just another Jurassic Park sequel that shouldn't be made. Credit: Universal

Jurassic Park was the first movie I saw three times in the theater. I was just about to turn 12 when it came out. I ended up watching it in two different countries. It remains one of my favorite movies of all time still to this day.

I can still recall almost every scene in the film since each scene is so memorable. Even before things went to hell, the movie was captivating. The moment when Dr. Grant and Ellie see the dinosaurs for the first time, I remember feeling that same sense of awe. Even the film's dialogue is impossible to forget. "Where's the goat?" "Clever girl..." "Life uh.... finds a way." "Hold on to your butts."

So many great lines.

Meanwhile, the scary scenes are palpable. The T. rex smashing the jeep with Lex and Tim inside. The kids hiding in that kitchen with the velociraptors hunting them, cruel and calculated and terrifying. Ellie turning on the back-up power (after finding Arnold's arm) and then running, limping, from the terrifying creatures. Scattered throughout these terrifying moments are bits of silliness, as well, like when Tim gets zapped by the electric fence. And bits of sentimentality, like when Hammond describes his flea circus.

Jurassic Park was a masterpiece. Excellent characters, clever writing, and some of the best, most frightening and tense scenes ever for a family-friendly horror movie. Oh, and a score that has become one of the most iconic ever written. I suspect you can hum it to yourself right now without even trying. The horns cascading over one another as the image of a helicopter flying over dense jungle and swelling waves floats across your mind's eye.

It's the last, and only, Jurassic Park movie that should have ever been made.

Jurassic Park used jello to create tension. Credit: Universal

A Long History Of Mediocre Sequels

None of the sequels have lived up to the greatness of the original. Neither of the original two sequels captured either the frights or the heart of the first movie. They're generic and forgettable. Neither Jurassic Park: The Lost World or Jurassic Park III seem to remember what made the first film so great.

It was a story of both wonder and terror, of incredible beauty and horrifying monsters, of scientific achievement and man's tendency to meddle too much in things we don't fully understand. It was science-fiction doing what it does best: Warning us of our own hubris. But it was also the story of a rag-tag family surviving impossible odds. There were no real villains or heroes, either. Hammond was arrogant but not wicked. Nedry was greedy but not dastardly. And the good guys, from Grant and Ellie to the slimy (but never wrong) Malcolm were all heroic simply because they had to be.

So the original sequels were terrible misfires. But then came Jurassic World, a film that---at first blush---appeared to learn from the past two films' mistakes. Jurassic World took the story back to the island, back to the original park itself. Now, years later, the mistakes of its original founders have been fixed. The park flourishes, teaming with visitors. But a new arrogance has overtaken the park's operators. In an effort to keep visitors from becoming bored (as if this would actually be a problem for the world's only dinosaur park) they've begun genetically engineering new dinosaurs.

In a lot of ways, Jurassic World does tap into the original's greatness. Once again, scientists and businessmen are meddling with the natural world in ways they don't fully understand, playing god and suffering the consequences. Once again, kids visiting the park are placed in grave danger. And once again, it's a traitor within the company that is to blame for most of the terrible things that happen, only this time it's Wu (B.D. Wong is the only actor who reprises a role from the original film.)

So in some ways Jurassic World simply copied the template from the original, hoping to rekindle that magic by following in its footsteps, much the same way The Force Awakens tried to harness A New Hope. And in some ways Jurassic World succeeds---certainly more than the first two dreadful sequels. But in other ways it falls short. Replacing Sam Neill's reluctant hero, Dr. Grant, is the strapping young superstar, Chris Pratt, as Owen. I'm a fan of Pratt's work, and he's fine in Jurassic World, but it's his character, and his character's occupation, that begins our rapid descent into stupidity.

Owen is a dino mommy. Credit: Universal

Credit; Universal

You see, Owen is a velociraptor trainer. The most terrifying creature from the original has been domesticated in Jurassic World. The film's producers learned nothing from the first film's horror elements. They create, instead, a genetically engineered super Tyrannosaurus rex that's basically all the brawn of the first film's T. rex with all the brains of the first film's velociraptors.

Unfortunately, this does not make the 'Indominus rex' twice as scary as either. In a film, fear and tension aren't created simply by making monsters bigger or more absurd. These things are products of careful storytelling and editing. The kitchen scene in Jurassic Park is frightening because two small children are being hunted by creatures we've seen kill much more capable adults. It's a frightening sequence because of how it was shot, how the kids were so believably terrified, and because the velocirpators were so well established as deadly and intelligent beasts.

The fact that Jurassic World devolves into Owen essentially sending his trained velociraptors into battle against the Indominus rex says pretty much everything you need to know about the film's approach to storytelling. It's a call-back to the original, but it's one of those call-backs that exposes a deep misunderstanding about what made the original great. Rather than evoking nostalgia, it helps us see how much the later film pales in comparison.

In Jurassic Park, our heroes are saved in the end by the T-rex. Not because it's out to save the humans; the creature is a hunter, driven by instinct. It just happens to cross paths with the velociraptors at precisely the right moment and while the dinosaurs fight, the surviving characters make their escape. Contrast this with Jurassic World. In that movie it's not enough to let the dinosaurs fight each other due to mere proximity, they clash because Owen is smart and talented and brave enough that he can order vicious predators to do his bidding. Like a superhero.

Fallen Kingdom

Now we have a Jurassic World sequel, Fallen Kingdom. It's the story of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) attempting to save the dinosaurs after the debacle that destroyed the park in the previous film. Naturally, Owen is back and so is Wu and a conspiracy and, of course, everything goes to hell. Sounds familiar enough. Here's the second trailer:

You can already see where Fallen Kingdom is plucking little ideas from the original and attempting to harness their power. The girl in bed as the monster lurks above is a truly terrifying prospect, but later we see that Owen is there as well. That he has found Blue, his pet velocirpator, and will once again use it to fight the monsters. There will be lots of guns, even though in Jurassic Park we learned that guns are pretty much useless.

It looks like another action blockbuster dinosaur movie. It doesn't look at all like Jurassic Park.

Yes, the original was an action movie. But it was also a horror movie and a character movie and funny and endearing. It was a movie about regular people in extraordinary circumstances and it was made with an eye to creating tension and release, not just jump scares and things blowing up. Jurassic Park is Stephen Spielberg at his best. It's more like E.T. than it is Trasnformers. But Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World is like Stephen Spielberg dosed up on Michael Bay. That the next film is being directed by J.A. Bayona rather than Trevorrow does little to appease my doubts.

Everything about Jurassic World is bigger and flashier than Jurassic Park, and everything will undoubtedly be even bigger and even flashier in Fallen Kingdom.

Spare No Expense

Go big or go home. Credit: Universal


There's an irony to it, of course. The premise of Jurassic World was that park-goers had grown bored of "normal" dinosaurs. They sit around on their phones and yawn at the larger-than-life creatures (because apparently all the park-goers have already been there dozens of times already or something.) It's somewhat clumsy commentary on our current culture of sound-bites, tweets and Instagram, where everyone has screen-induced ADHD and we need increasingly poignant stimuli to grasp our attentions. So the people running the park have to keep upping the ante to keep the visitors engaged. Their hubris is their downfall.

Oddly enough, this is pretty much exactly what the movie itself has done, taking everything from Jurassic Park and amping it up to eleven. Bigger explosions, bigger dinosaurs, bigger (hotter) stars. More technology, more guns, more razzle-dazzle. The makers of these films have learned the same lessons as the operator of Jurassic World itself: nothing at all.

And sure, Jurassic World ended up being one of the biggest box-office successes of all time. By the numbers it's a massive success. But for all its bigness and all the money it made, it's still a pale shadow of Jurassic Park. There is nothing clever or ingenious or special about it. For all its CGI wizardry, it feels less real than its 1993 predecessor, every bit as shallow and unreal as its fake dinosaurs. Where Jurassic Park had heart and compassion, Jurassic World is a hollow shell.

I want to be excited for Fallen Kingdom but I'm having a hard time mustering much beyond apathy at this point. Jurassic Park should have been a stand-alone film. Not every movie needs a sequel, let alone four of them. Some stories are sagas. It makes sense to have a Star Wars trilogy. It makes sense to adapt each of the Harry Potter books into a film (though not to adapt the last book into two films) or the three Lord of the Rings novels into three movies (though not the singular Hobbit into three movies!) It makes no sense to do the same with Jurassic Park.

Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm. Credit: Universal

In fact, the story of just how preposterous the sequels are can be traced all the way back to the second novel by Michael Crichton.

In the first novel, Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm dies at the end. However, he survives in the movie version and Jeff Goldblum's character was so popular with audiences that Chrichton went back and retconned his death in The Lost World, which was already bound for the big-screen.

Turns out Malcolm was only mostly dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

In any case, this allowed Universal to cast Goldblum as the lead character in The Lost World. But Malcolm was only popular precisely because he was a funny secondary character; he never made sense as a lead. Anyone with half a mind for storytelling could have seen that---although, to be fair to Crichton, a great pile of money hung in the balance.

And that's really the story of all of Jurassic Park's sequels. They don't make sense. They don't belong. They're not very good. They're only here because they create great big piles of money for everyone involved. If Fallen Kingdom bucks this trend I'll eat my hat.

Oh, and Ian Malcolm is back, by the way. Jeff Goldblum returns to the fray. Once you've mostly died in a movie, you're never really gone for good.


Source: www.forbes.com

3D Printing Paleontology

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CT scans of Massospondylus

For anyone who has a keen interest in dinosaurs and has a 3D printer to hand – admittedly, likely a small subset of people – January has provided an opportunity to recreate a little bit of the Early Jurassic period.

Kimberley E.J. Chappelle, a PhD student at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg has made it possible, using computed tomography (CT) methods, to print a little bit of palaeontology in your own home. Her paper: ‘A revised cranial description of Massospondylus carinatus Owen (Dinosauria: Sauropodomorpha) based on computed tomographic scans and a review of cranial characters for basal Sauropodomorpha’ not only goes into much greater detail on the cranial anatomy of the extinct species, but also makes the details needed to 3D print a model skull of your own freely available to all.

It’s not quite Jurassic Park, Massospondylus is going to stay very much extinct for the time being, but the findings from the study do allow researchers to understand more about these dinosaurs. Despite Massospondylus being one of the better represented species in the fossil record – including egg clutches, and the oldest fossilised embryos found to date – little is known about them.

Related: It's Time to Print a 200-mln-year-old Dinosaur Skull at Home!

What is known is that they lived in what is now South Africa, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe, in the early Jurassic period. They have been discovered frequently in the upper Elliot to lower Clarens Formations. It was not a behemoth of a dinosaur: measuring between 4-6m in length and being not much taller than a human, with a long neck and tail, and a small head in relation to body size. It is likely that it was herbivorous, however there are currently arguments that the species may have been an omnivore.

CT scans of Massospondylus allow researchers to understand a lot more about this species, including the anatomy of the internal cranium, which had not yet been described despite the relative abundance of fossil specimens available. Understanding the internal structure of the skull can increase understanding of the growth patterns of the species – the specimen used was found to be not fully grown, as the bones of the brain case had not yet fused. Equally, looking at the arrangement and relationship between the bones of the inner ear allow for a further understanding of how the dinosaur may have moved, current theories postulate it was probably bipedal. Further CT scans will likely be carried out in the future on other specimens to help answer these questions.

We are certainly a long way from walking with dinosaurs, but with research techniques like this, it is much easier to model what they would have been like, and let our imaginations do the rest.


Source: www.inquirelive.co.uk

Watch This 49-Minute ‘Jurassic Park’ Documentary From 1995

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jurassic Park: Making of T. rex model

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park, one of the most iconic blockbusters of the modern era. Having delivered state-of-the-art special effects with a team of technical wizards, everyone wanted to know how director Steven Spielberg was able to bring these extinct, larger than life creatures to back from the dead to make us believe in movie magic. Thankfully, a 49-minute documentary from 1995, narrated by James Earl Jones, goes behind the scenes to show us how it was accomplished.

For the biggest fans of Jurassic Park, there’s not much new here. But even so, it’s a fantastic time capsule that looks back at a time in filmmaking when it wasn’t anywhere near as easy to conjure a creature on screen from scratch. This extensive behind the scenes documentary shows how they were created at a time when computer animation was nowhere near as sophisticated as it is today, and it features key interviews with Steven Spielberg and everyone else who made this movie possible.

Source: www.slashfilm.com

Portugal’s Answer to Jurassic Park Opens in Lourinhã

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Opened February 9th,  in Lourinhã, an hour’s drive from Lisbon, is Dino Park, “one of Europe’s largest dinosaur theme parks”, expected to attract at least 200,000 people in its first year.

Says director general Luís Rocha, the park is certain to put Lourinhã on the touristic map.

It already has over 12,000 followers on Facebook and “around 15,000 reservations” from schools, he added.

Projections for the year ahead put 80% of visitors as nationals, with around 3000-4000 expected every day during the summer, and roughly 2,000 a day in the spring and autumn.

“People have been waiting for this project for 20 years”, he told reporters this week - stressing he is quite sure the attraction will bring new investment to the area and create “even more jobs” than the 30 or so currently in place.

Lourinhã was considered the best spot for this initiative as it is in this area in which paleontologists have discovered the most impressive dinosaur fossils, including the largest dinosaur nest with “the oldest embryos ever found”.

The park includes a garden “considered to be the largest outdoor museum in Portugal” and containing 120 life size models of dinosaurs from various periods.

The largest is a Lourinhasaurus - a 5-ton long-tailed, long-necked dino 23 metres tall - followed by a diplodocus (herbivore), more than 20-metres tall from the Higher Jurassic period, 150 million years ago.

Tickets to the park, opening just in time for Carnival holidays, will cost €12.50 for adults, €9.50 for children.


Source: http://portugalresident.com