It’s not easy being extinct. Case in point: — the Giraffatitan. Lost its family (used to be considered the African version of the brachiosaurus.) Lost its claim as the largest dinosaur known (to three species of titanosaurians). Now it’s lost 61 tons!
The traditional method of estimating dinosaur mass was to measure the circumference of leg bones, compare that with the circumference in modern animals, and scale up the result to the size of a dinosaur. These calculations were simplified by modeling leg bones as columnar beams – which may have underestimated the stresses experienced in animal limbs by up to 142 percent.
Researchers have been at work on a new and more accurate system of mass prediction. The new method shows Giraffatitan’s body massed only 25 tons – dramatically less than in previous estimates, which ranged from 31 to 86 tons.
Twenty five tons – 50,000 pounds? That’s not even half the weight aboard the average illegally-loaded tractor-trailer riding an Ohio interstate on its way to Michigan!
Canada’s new glow-in-the-dark dinosaur quarters are the “Best money ever” declares Janice Gelb.
An article at Gizmodo elaborates:
The first in the series is the admittedly forgettable Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, but it instantly becomes awesome when you shut the lights off and the dino’s skeleton glows through its body. Who cares about that fancy new plastic money anymore? The only downside is that with a $30 price tag these won’t be going into regular circulation, though they can be used as legal tender at their 25 cent face value.
I’d know better than to take face value for a gold coin. But a plastic coin worth more than 100 times its face value? That’s an idea I’ll have to get used to.
[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the link.]
If you bet that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a giant asteroid strike in the Gulf of Mexico and the ensuing global winter – you won!
The theory was advanced years ago but competing theories have gained traction since then that blame the extinctions on volcanic activity or multiple comet impacts. So, explains the LA Times:
To settle the question, European researchers decided to assemble what Kirk R. Johnson of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science called “a K-T boundary dream team,” a collection of 45 internationally renowned scientists in a broad spectrum of disciplines to analyze the possible causes of the extinctions. Funding came from the National Science Foundation in the United States and from similar groups in other countries.Their conclusions will be published Friday in the journal Science.
“The answer is quite simple,” Johnson, a co-author and spokesman for the group, said in a telephone news conference. “The crater really is the culprit.”
The aftereffects from the impact “shrouded the planet in darkness and caused a global winter, killing off many species that couldn’t adapt to the hellish environment,” co-author and Earth scientist Joanna Morgan of Imperial College London said in a statement.
A North Dakota museum boasts a new exhibit of one of the few mummified dinosaurs in the world. An arm and tail that workers chipped out of sandstone casing were unveiled at the Heritage Center on Saturday. More funding is needed to free another large section of the carcass from the rock in which it is embedded. National Geographic has footed the bills so far.