Every now and again, I’ll see an article that irks me. A week ago I saw an article about someone who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs. He honestly believes that crazy paleontologists salt their digs with pretend bones? I don’t get it. I don’t understand how that works. How sad for him because dinosaurs are awesome creatures. I spent many hours at the Carnegie museum as a little girl, staring up at the giant bones and wishing I could have seen these animals in life (before I fully understood the havoc they would cause). I was fortunate enough to go to a dig and see an enormous Tyrannosaur almost whole embedded in the rock face. I loved dinosaurs almost as much as I loved rocks (I’m pretty sure rocks only squeezed ahead because some of them are purple and silver and most of them I can wear).
My first favorite dinosaur is week 1’s dinosaur. I know it has a different name and has had many names but now they’re waffling again about how my dinosaur might actually be my dinosaur and not any of the other names. I am a brontosaurus girl at heart – not an Apatosaurus, but a Brontosaurus. The Brontosaurus was discovered in 1874, undiscovered in 1903 and officially unnamed in the early 70’s. Except that no one told the post office, the movies, or all the books I was reading in the early 80’s that.
Brontosaurus was a sauropod and a quadruped with a comparatively slender tail (to other sauropods). What’s really interesting though is that technically a Brontosaurus skull has never been found, only extrapolated from other sauropods (like the Apatosaurus) or extrapolated from completely the wrong animal. I was very upset when the people smarter than me decided that the brontosaurus wasn’t really its own animal but instead just a kind of Apatosaurus. I’m not sure I ever really forgave them (all those smart people) for that.
One of my favorite childhood movies was Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (if you’ve never seen it, you should. but it hasn’t aged as well as I thought it might).
Littlefoot (Land Before Time)
Baby (Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend)
Interesting paleontology factoid: (this particular one works also for archaeologists and other ancient artifact searching kind of scientists) How do scientists date artifacts? There are several fairly accurate methods generally used in conjunction with one another to more accurately pinpoint the date of origin. We can be fairly certain in round figures about when dinosaurs roamed the earth with radiometric dating, dating the rock around the bones, and where in the evolutionary journey of a plant or animal that particular fossil sits. Read more about it on the Smithsonian website (as regards to human culture) and Science (as regards to radiometric dating) both of those sources explain it much better than I can.
I’m planning on doing a dinosaur a week for 2016. As a girl, I loved dinosaurs (I still do). I was fortunate enough to see an active dig and it left a lasting impression even though I was very very young, probably younger than 5 and precocious enough to get very upset that the people who were working the dig were doing it all wrong (they probably weren’t and I can only hope they were more amused by my little girl self than annoyed). Hopefully you’ll come back next Monday for Dino Day #2.