Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Origin of Raptor Lewis, Part One

For the past few months, I'm sure a good deal of you readers have wondered the same question: "Where did his interest in paleontology and dinosaurs come from?" Well, since y'all asked, I'll oblige with a whole post of it's own.



First of all, I always had an interest in dinosaurs. However, it hasn't been as intense as it is now. My interest had some wierd beginnings. To start off, I think I'll give you some of my background. I have Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high-functioning Autism. With this developmental disorder, I also have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) That will explain where my attention goes from paleontology.


My interest comes from two things. One of those things may sound very bizarre. That, readers, was Nintendo's Pokemon. Bizarre, right? I thought so. I also had the privelage to go to some very cool museums (more on that in another post.) The reason Pokemon had some influence on my interest in paleontology and fossils were the prehistoric pokemon or fossil pokemon.






Aerodactyl


One of the fossil pokemon and any Pterosaur's "poke" counterpart.
















Omanite (looks familiar, don't it?)














Pokemon has some references to paleontology as you can see. Hopefully, you won't think I'm crazy...


To Be Continued....






Saturday, December 20, 2008

Geologic Time Scale- A Visual Aid in Paleontology and Geology


You guys can use this chart as a visual aid for the Fossil Facts! This can help you understand what the Earth was like during each period!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Darwin Took Steps By: Glendon Mellow the Flying Trilobite (Artwork of the Day!)

Readers, I thought I'd try something new. Everyday or every other day, I will post some sort of artwork for appreciation on my blog. Just for those few people who love art, this is perfect! The first one is by Glendon Mellow: The Flying Trilobite:



Darwin Took Steps By: Glendon Mellow the Flying Trilobite (Artwork of the Day!)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fossil Fact #6!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, here it is, readers. *sigh* Sorry again for the delay. I've been busy on the road of life and high school. I've decided to clear up some misconceptions about some of the deadliest theropods (again....paleontologists classifcation for predatory dinosaurs) that ever lived......Dromaeosaurs or "Raptors." These started with Jurassic Park back in 1993. The confusion mainly was between Velociraptor mongoliensis and Deinonychus.

Commonly confused Dromaeosaurs (Part One of Movie Myths):




Velociraptor mongoliensis

Time Period: Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago-65 million years ago)

Diet: Carnivore

Method of kill: retractable "killing claw"

Height: 3 feet tall
Length: 6 feet long?
Locality: Gobi Desert in what is now Mongolia and China

Cool Facts: Cool fossil of it locked in combat with a Protoceratops near a protoceratops nest in Mongolia. Theorized as a pack hunter.



Deinonychus
Time Period: Early Cretaceous to Late Cretaceous (145-65 million years ago)
Diet: Carnivore
Height: 6 feet or as tall as a full-grown Human male.
Length: (I'm not sure how long it was)
Locality: North America
Method of kill: retractable "killing claw" (for lack of a better term.)
Cool Facts: Mistakenly called "Velociraptor" by fans because it was needed to fill the role of a 6-foot-tall "Raptor." They knew the difference thanks to Horner but, in Crichton's novel, the Velociraptors were 6 feet tall. Theorized as a pack hunter because a group of them were found together next to their prey. This indicates that they died trying to take down the herbivore. The vertebrae in the tail were stiff and interlocked creating a stiff and strong counter-balance for running and jumping.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quick Genetics Lesson- Why Jurassic Park is still Science Fiction




DNA-Deoxyribonucleic Acid-the universal genetic code. This amazing molecule codes for everything about us. For about 150 years, Biologists have wondered where we get our characteristics. Readers, I've decided to do a quick basic lesson on Genetics to clear up any confusion you may have with Crichton in Jurassic Park and all this talk of heredity and DNA sequences and jargon that make you go "Huh?"




Here's a basic Timeline on DNA studies:






  • Mid 1800s: Johann Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), "Father of Genetics", discovers the fundamental laws of inheritance through his eight year work on interbreeding pea-plants. This idea deals with dominant and recessive traits that are inherited from parents to offspring. He published his findings in 1865.


  • Mid 1800s: Fredrich Meischer (1844-1895), discovered the FIRST crude fragment of DNA that he named Nuclein. He found bandages from a nearby clinic and washed the pus off the bandages and isolated the molecule around 1876 or so.


  • Late 1800s: Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945), discovered the chromosomal theory of inheritance with fruit flies. He won the Nobel Prize in 1933.


  • 1920s-1940s: Geroge Beadle discovered that bacteria can mutate by absorbing DNA from their environment.


  • 1950s: Rosalind Franklin stretched a molecule of DNA in a long tube and fired X-rays at it. The rays diffracted and formed an x-shaped photograph on paper. The shape gave clues as to the shape of DNA. The shape implies a Double Helix. This was expanded by Francis Crick and James Watson in the early 1950s. Crick (now dead) expanded his thoughts on the subject with the Central Dogma. (too complicated to explain.)


  • --50 years later-----


  • 2003: The Human Genome Project was completed. Human DNA has been completely sequenced.


DNA basics:


DNA is made of the sugar Deoxyribose, and is an acid. The "rungs" of the molecule are made of a phosphate group linked to a deoxyribose sugar which are linked to one of four nitrogenous bases: Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Cytosine (C), and Guanine (G). A fits with T and C fits with G and vice versa. The bases are linked by weak Hydrogen bonds so it can easily replicate. When it replicates, the molecule unwinds, and an enzyme called DNA Polymerase moves down the bonds and "unzips" it. Then another strand comes and fits with correct corresponding base. This happens in the Cell's nulceus. The molecule replicates when the cell divides. That's DNA basics for you. Also, to extract DNA, the lower the temp., the better perserved DNA stays when the cell gets dissolved.


However, as the animal dies, and the cells and tissues deteriorate, so does the DNA. Thus, by the time an animal is fossilized, you have fragmented and dead Deoxyribonucleic Acid. The same holds true for the amber in a mosquito idea. The Mosquito's dead therefore it's genetic material is too.

Maybe? Maybe Not? Certainly NOt in 2008!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Museum News #2!!!!!!

Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation
Leonardo the Brachylophosaurus and a mummified pregnant ichthyosaur as well as Triceratops with preserved skin on it will appear at the Houston Museum of Natural History SOON!!!

Paleo Lovers MUST CHECK IT OUT!!!


Ticket Information
Members
$8
Adults
$15
Children (3-11)
$12
Seniors (62+)
$10
K - 12 School Groups
$5
Groups of 20 or more / Corporate
$9

Monday, December 1, 2008

PaleoQuest's 2 Month Annniversary!!


Hard to believe I've been a blogger for 2 months. I'm still a relative newcomer but, I think PaleoQuest is pretty popular! Thanks for all of your support!!


Sue the T-rex at the Field Museum

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Museum News #1

Readers, I've decided on trying something new. Every so often I will try to give you updates to what's happening at various Museums around the world.


Grand Canyon Adventure

What: Omnimax feature
Where: Cincinnatti Museum at Union Terminal
Showtimes: Monday through Wednesday: 1, 2, 3 and 5 p.m.
Thursday:1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
Friday: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m., 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9:15 p.m.
Sunday: Hourly through 6 p.m.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fossil Fact #5!!!!!

Here we go, readers. Finally, the 5th fact. The one you've all been waiting for. The poll is closed and no more interruptions. I can finally post the fifth fact. The readers and voters have spoken and the winner? The Jurassic Period. I have to say, good choice, readers. The Jurassic is probably the most famous period. It's the one with most inaccurate facts to it. I'll clear some of that up with this fact. Let's go.....



Jurassic period (Mesozoic, part 2)-When Dinosaurs Dominated the Earth

First off, the there a lot of inaccurate information about this time period. To clear things up, Geologists divide the time the Earth has been around into eons, then eras, then periods. This is based on the relative age of the rock layers. The Dinosaurs dominated for three time periods in the Mesozoic era of the Phanerozoic eon. We've covered one: the Triassic. Another thing, T-rex didn't appear until the Late Cretaceous period. The "king of the jungle" during the Jurassic was Allosaurus.



Allow me to set the stage: Most of the Archosaurs that lived into the Late Triassic were extinct by the Jurassic period. Pangaea was still together and still did what it did best hosting a battle for the survival of the fittest.



Earth during the Jurassic period.

Since Allosaurus didn't appear until the late Jurassic period (145 million years ago), there was a theropod that preceeded him: Dilophosaurus. I don't think I need to introduce you to this 10 foot tall carnivore. You know him, you love him and at the same time fear him from the film Jurassic Park (1993). For the most part, the movie was accurate with Dilophosaurus except for the frill, and the spitting behavior. This theropod (again....paleontologist's way of classifying these guys.) was actually the first "super-predator." It domianted Pangaea for most of the Jurassic. It's teeth were not as thick as T-rex's, good enough for slicing like a steak knife through flesh and muscle. Since it couldn't crush bone, it could take down it's prey through persistant attacks. However, there were no need to take THAT many bites because there were no huge sauropods (long-necks) around mowing the forests. Prosauropods ("before sauropods"), like Plateosaurus, however did that job pretty nicely.

In the Mid Jurassic rose an even bigger theropod, Ceratosaurus. This huge theropod was unique with the fact that it had horn on the top of it's muzzle. Like Dilophosaurus, this carnivore had knife like teeth that were perfect for slicing flesh and tearing muscular tissue. Ceratosaurus lived in what is now North America.

In the Late Jurassic, the infamous theropod of his time, Allosaurus fragilis. I guess I don't need to introduce him. Y'all have probably heard of his pack hunting behavior. No? How about the claws that grabbed into the flesh like grappling hooks so it could pull it's prey towards it and take decent size bites with it's flesh-searing teeth? No? Well, you just did. It's head was also big in relation to it's body. It may have been smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex but some Paleontologists think it was even deadlier. Note: it, and the other two mwntioned were very bird like.

My First EVER Boneyard Post!!

I'm excited, readers as this my first EVER Boneyard post. I've decided to participate in this years theme of "My Favorite Museum." Granted, I don't have a favorite. There a few I've been to and a lot I haven't. So, I'll just list a few, give brief summaries, and pictures with each. (Sorry, I haven't gotten around to the fifith fact yet. I'm doing my best.) Anyway, here are a few in The United States:

Field Natural History Museum:

  • Whers is it: Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Have I been there: No
  • Point of interest: "Sue" the Tyrannosaurus rex, and other fossils
  • Info: I haven't been there but, I've always wanted to. Sue, seems to reside in the entrance to the museum. She is the largest, most preserved, and complete T-rex ever discovered. They even take you on a walk through life's evolution on Earth.

Union Terminal at Cincinnatti, Ohio:

  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
  • Have I been there?- Yes, about 3 or 4 times
  • Points of interest: Allosaurus fossil and statue, Apatosaurus femur, mastodon fossil, stuffed Polar Bear on it's hind legs, audio tour of human prehistory, HUGE Omnimax dome theater, it used to be a fully operational train station during the Great Depression, 3 museums: natural history, history, physics for kids; the first exhibits mentioned are in the natural history museum, ankylosaurus statue, some marine fossils, Cenozoic era fossils, Hadrosaur skulls, T-rex cast skull, and of course the Gift Shop with a REAL T-rex fossil foot for sale for hundreds of american dollars, cool educational DVDs (sometimes even Imax films on DVD), and lots of really cool stuff.
  • CHECK IT OUT!!!!

Houston Museum of Natural Science:

  • Where: Houston, Texas
  • I have been there least least twice.
  • Points of interest: Great collection of fossils, iMax theater, mineral hall, prehistoric shells, butterfly collection, Geology and Physics section. The website speaks for itself. It has so much cool stuff that there's no way to describe it all with this post.
  • One of My most favorite of the one's I've been to or at least remember.

Those are a few I can think of and can tell you little bit about. There's more museums that are pretty cool, but I have the links to their websites on the right hand side of this blog. They can give you some more information. If you love museums and are in the country, check out a few of the museums. They're pretty darn cool.

Friday, November 21, 2008

LOL!!

T-rex Mating

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2008 Coming to a Close!

Well, Christmas is coming and y'all know what that means. That's right. A New Year!!! Time for us to wrap up this chapter in our lives and start off with a clean slate with a whole new year. A time to move on learn from any mistakes made in this new year. It's a fresh start for we have been reborn anew. It's a new chapter in our lives. 2008 is coming to a close. But, before hand, we got less than 2 months before this chapter is over. Make it a Good one.


Good Bye 2008. In 2 months, Hello 2009.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fossil Fact #4 Suppliment!!

Earth during the Triassic!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Please Vote!!

Readers I can't stress this enough. Please vote in the poll at the bottom of the page. I hate to say this but I will postpone the next Fossil Fact until you guys have voted. You guys are the ones picking it, so, it makes sense. In a way you're writing it. And if you don't write it, there's no Fact. I'm trying to make this blog more interesting and interactive. It's all up to you. I thought Democracy can settle this. To be honest, I want to teach y'all. I can't if I don't know what you want to learn about. Please VOTE!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Authors Have a Curse.....Death!!!

For me, a fallback from Paleontology was to be an author like Michael Crichton or an artist. However, every so often I've noticed that a lot of the best authors in the world have died. (e.g. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, William Golding, Shakespeare, Michael Crichton, etc.) Is it just me, or do authors have a tendency to die before retirement or in their prime? Sure, the rest of them died in their 70s or 80s (except Shakespeare and Crichton) but, not Crichton. He passed away in his 60s. HIS 60s!!!!! That's his prime. The culprit? Cancer!!! Still, I do NOT want to be an author because, of their tendency to die. I don't know why. I'm probably paranoid, I know. But, it just doesn't make any sense!!! Authors w/ curse, apparently, = Death!!! This is very strange!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Novelist, Michael Crichton, Dies!!!

Creator of the hit TV drama ER and author of Jurassic Park died Wednesday after a private battle with cancer. Crichton (1942-2008) was the author of some of the most bestselling novels of the 20th century. These include fiction like: Jurassic Park, Congo, Sphere, Prey, The Andromeda Strain, State of Fear, The Lost World, Eaters of the Dead, Rising Sun, Timeline, The Great Train Robbery, Coma, The Terminal Man, Disclosure, and, I think, Next. Michael Crichton was a very smart man and was able to challenge scientists' views about the world. He encouraged the world to think independently and form views of their own. Crichton also encouraged to educate yourself and not to go along with the "truth." In his novels, he taught very crucial lessons and sometimes cool scientific fact/theories in an indirect and easy-to-understand way. He was the kind of man that was born every so often. He inspired us each time we read a book by him. As such, he will be profoundly missed by everyone who new him and/or read his books. My regards to his family and friends.


In Memory:
J.Michael Crichton, Ph.D
Born: October 23, 1942
Died: November 4/5, 2008
Bestselling Author, Hardcore Scientist, And A Family Man

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!!

Today is Election Day here in the United States and we are experiencing a Historic Presidential Election. This is the chance to have our first Minority president or our first female Vice-President. Since, today is such a special occasion, I'd like to wish all readers (mainly, that are American) a Happy Election Day. No mater who wins, I hope we stay United as a nation into the future. Good or Bad times, it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that we stay united, despite our political differences. It doesn't matter if we're black, white, red, purple, Republican, Democrat, independent, chinese, asian, latino, autisitic, have special needs, etc. We need to stand together no matter who wins, Barack Obama or John McCain. We are a NATION!! HAVE A HAPPY ELECTION DAY AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Stress People, Work Is Fun.......Shyeah Right

If anyone has ever told you that work is fun, they are nuts!!! Cookoo!!!!!!!! Crazy!!! Psychotic!!!!!!! They don't know what they're talking about.....or do they? Normally, I agree somewhat with this statement. Work can be fun. Unfortunately, tonight our dryer didn't agree with me and/or that statement. Normally, when I try to do my laundry, it takes fifteen minutes to wash in our washing machine and about 45 minutes to dry in the dryer. Not tonight! Recently, my dryer takes two cycles to dry the same load that it used to with one. To fix that, I tried setting the timer for one hour. About fifty minutes later, they hadn't dried at all. (Okay, maybe a little.) Not good!!!! Not only that, but drying took three to four more cycles than usual and about three hours of laundry that I started about 5 PM. *sigh* Sorry, readers, I just had to vent my anger and frustration with a post. Moral of the story: when you have problems like this with your dryer, buy a new one.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fossil Fact #4!!!!!!!!

One of my friends, followers, readers and fellow bloggers, Naveed, has wanted me to a special Fossil Fact just for him. As I've ran out of ideas for facts, I thought of an idea!!! Why not get my readers involved? It was ingeneous and whaddya know it works. Well, as well as it can for Naveed to give me a suggestion. (No offense, dude.) He's a blogger and follows my blog and is fan of it. (Yay, my second fan!!) Anyway, you'd expect him to. He's a blogger. Now....enough with my rambling.....let's get the show on the road and on the Fact.

The Triassic: end of the Archosaurs and dawn of the Dinosaurs (Part One of the Mesozoic)
First off Naveed, Dinosaurs weren't the only animals that populated the Earth during this period. In fact, Dinosaurs didn't appear until the Late Triassic. The dominant land animals were huge reptiles designated Archosaurs by Paleontologists. These HUGE reptiles were bigger and different than the reptiles that inhabit the Earth today. (Probably because of the greater Oxygen levels in the atmosphere than today.)

Now, for the continents. The world is unrecognizeable. All the land masses are smashed together into one big Supercontinent called Pangaea. It'll be about 250 million years until the giant land mass crumbles like a cookie into the seven continents that we know today. This causes the seasons to be about the same nearly everywhere. It was on Pangaea that evolution spawned a new kind of reptile. One that would become one of evolution's greatest success stories: The Dinosaur.

Now, during the Late Triassic, the earth was still full of huge reptiles that still had the primitive leg design. Their legs were sprawled out away from their hips like modern reptiles. The bully on the block was one mean and nasty Archosaur: Postosuchus ("post crocodile"). This guy had a huge head that was filled with teeth that were like steak knives that were perfect taking a big chunk out of it's horned-faced ugly herbivorous neighbors the Placerias. It wasn't very fast as it had the primitive reptilian hip/leg design. However, it needn't be, it's prey couldn't run if their lives depended on it (and it usually did.) The only thing Postosuchus had to worry about was another Postosuchus. That depended on how big the other one was and how loud it's roar was. (Remember, this is all speculation and I got this information from Walking with Dinosaurs....well...these guys introduced me to these Archosaurs.)

On with the early dinosaurs. Well, the one I know the most about is Coelophysis. This theropod (simply, paleontologists designation for dinosaurian carnivores) was light weight, built for speed, and it's bones were hollow like a bird's, yet, strong. It's neck vertebrae was shaped into an S which was perfect for striking quickly at it's prey. It, presumably, hunted in packs or some sort of social group with some sort of social structure. One thing we do know, is that it was a cannibal that occasionally ate it's own young in harsh conditions. The reason? Probably, to avoid turning on each other and risking injury with a lack of food. Smart move, considering, they could spawn more young if the adults survived. The reasonable time for cannibalism would be during severe dry seasons with severe drought and severe scarcity of food. ( One neighbor that I forgot to mention during the Triassic were the mammal-like reptiles that gave rise to the true mammals.) Sadly, it didn't save them from extinction in the Jurassic period.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Halloween, readers!!!!!!!!!!! Today, is the spookiest, and, by far, the sweetest day of the year. It's a time for pumpkins, cold weather, costumes, haunted houses, ghouls, goblins, ghosts, and monsters. Scare yourself or your friends and family. Eat candy until you vomit. (With as much candy as you'll eat, you'll probably vomit until Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year.) LOL!!!! The point is to have a fun, happy, and safe Halloween this year. Don't do it because I, Raptor Lewis, told you to. Do it for yourselves. I'm taking the night off from blogging. So, don't expect the next Fossil Fact anytime tonight. Enjoy yourselves and have fun. Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Give me some suggestions or ask a Question

Now, I think it's time for me to let you, readers, decide on the next fact. Yes, you. If you have questions, please ask. This blog was intended to educate the public. I've been busy with Homework and haven't ahd time to blog. When I do get time to blog I often forget what I wanted to post. So..........please............I'm begging you tell me! I know you've got questions and please ask them. PaleoQuest is for your benefit. Not mine. Although, blogging is kinda like writing down one's thoughts. I can't think of everything, so, I rely on you, the readers, to tell me what to post or ask a question. I like questions because it means you're interested in this blog and I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't important to me. I, will, however, post this weekend....'cause...by the weekend, I should have something to say....maybe a fact or something. I run out of ideas because I'm so dang busy. Dang!! If High School's this hard, I wonder what college is like. Anyway, it's worth achieving my dream of being a Paleontologist. (Man, I gotta quit rambling.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fossil Fact #3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A couple of years ago, back in 2005, Paleontologists in Montana, USA discovered the fossilized remains of a new hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) was discovered called Brachylophosaurus, a Late-Cretaceous (70 million years ago) herbivore with a duck-like bill full of flat grinding molars and looked a bit like an Edmontosaurus. This one was special!!! Named "Leonardo", this Hadrosaur turned out to be a mummy!!!!!!!! With skin still attached, with muscles, and it's last meal!!!!!!!!!!!! With soft tissue fossilized and still attched to a good percentage of it's body, this specimen from the "Leonardo Formation" in Montana, was a major discovery. Dinosaur fossils rarely mummify and then Fossilize. So far, only Duck-bills have mummified as far we know. Meaning, it was attacked by a predator. Here's Leo's Story as I know it:

Leonardo, the mummy Brachylophosaur
Leonardo lived in the Late Cretaceous period (70 million-65 million years ago) of the Mesozoic era in North America. Leonardo had a long wide tail for balance when running from predators, a duck-billed mouth full of flat molars designed for chewing up tough pieces of plants such as conifers. His species occasionally reared up on their hind legs to graze from the tops of trees. Basically, it was an Edmontosaur "cousin." Now, while Leonardo was drinking he didn't see the threat coming for him. A giant Theropod such as a Tyrannosaurus rex charged for him, taking a huge chunk out of the side of Leonardo and then aiming for the neck to shatter the spine. It was unsuccessful and Leonardo later died of his wounds. He later dried out in the sun, became mummified, and then was swallowed up by the lake and sunk to the bottom. He was covered in sediments, the calcium in his bones were replaced by the mineral in the rock, turning the mummy, Leonardo, into a fossil.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fossil Fact #2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This will knock your socks off, literally!!!!!!!!! Four million years ago, in Uruguay's rain forest, stalked one of the biggest rodents that ever lived!!! An ameteur Paleontologist Sergio Viera discovered the fossilized skull of this 3-ton/ 6,000-pund rat!!!!!!!! That's a HUGE rat problem! The skull was 21-inches long and Paleontologists suggest it was about 6,000 lbs. However, others say that size estimates based on skull length would not be an accurate depiction of this animal's size. However they agree that it's teeth suggest it was an herbivore that foraged in the rain forests hwere it was found. Let me tell you the story, readers, of this Collossal mammal.

Josephiartegasia monesi: The 3-ton Rat
4 million years ago the Earth looked VERY similar to the way it does today. This means it was the same as it does today (well, continental-wise). Down in South America lived THE Biggest rodent that ever lived. This 3-ton rat had a jaw that was well adapted for the vegetation that grew close to the ground in the South American Rainforest during the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic era. (4 million years ago-Present.) Why it disappeared? Paleontologists think that climate change altered it's habitat so that that the rodent's size could no longer be supported.

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Facts To Come (even after a bad day)

There's one thing I hate more than fish (I'm not a big fish person). That's MONDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know why I can't have a good Monday. For some reason, I'm always tired no matter how early I go to bed. It's frustrating. It's something you try to prepare for, but, the fact is..........you can't. Sunday goes by way too quickly. Even if I sleep until 9:00 am, it's 4:00 pm an hour later. I'm not in the mood to teach right now. Not only that, This day got worse (if that's even possible) as kids were jerks and pushing me out of line on the bus this morning. My bag got caught in the buses seatbelt, I spilled marinara sauce on my clean Snowshoe mountain shirt. It was fine otherwise and tomorrow's another day. Remember to keep your head held high and don't care how people think of you. So, there are more facts to come, even after a bad day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fossil Fact!!!!!!!!

My friend Traumador has made a very good post about New Zealand's dinosaurs in recent study by two Alberta based Paleontologists Snively, and Bell. Of course, all that covered whether the Dinosaurs found in the polar regions of the Earth actually lived there year-round or migrated there the way modern birds do today. One interesting fact, he covered were the fact that small little herbivorous dinosaurs lived in the Poles during the Cretaceous. I've decided to help him out by explaining these cute and resouceful critters. And here they are...


Leaellynasaura: the Polar Hypsilophodont
Allow me to set the scene. As you probably know, the Earth was very different than it is today. For much of the Earth's history when it could support life on land, all the continents were packed together into one big supercontinent called Pangaea. For about 200 million years, most of the Dinosaurs "reign", this supercontinent was together supporting one of the biggest battles ever on the face of the Earth: the Survival of the Fittest. However, once the Cretaceous (145 million years ago-65 million years ago) came along, Pangaea broke up into two supercontinents called Gondwana and Laurasia. The Atlantic Ocean was young and smaller then it is today. North America was split into thirds by an ocean cutting across it. The continents was more recognizable by this time. The setting of our story lies in the Antarctic where Australia was still attached.
The main "character" of this story is a tiny little hypsilophodont called a Leaellynasaura. (Hypsilophodont was a species that first appeared in the Jurassic period.) She wasn't much bigger than a rat today. She lived in the Early Cretaceous in the frozen forests (in the winter) of Antarctica. She was bipedal and were very organized. As the others grazed and went on with their daily business, some stood guard and sounded an "alarm" when a predator was spotted. (e.g. Polar Allosaurus, Koolasuchus) Anyway, they functioned the sameway chipmunks and squirrels do today. They gather food for the harsh winter and store it away. Then, they hibernate, huddling together to stay warm. Their survival was the responsiblities of the alphas of the group. If they died, then there were competitions of dominance to see you the next "chiefs" are. This evolutionary advantage will work for a good several million years. But, it will not save them from extinction later on in the Cretaceous.

Delayed Posting.

Sorry, readers for the delay in posting and blogging. Sometimes getting grounded by your loving, yet, still annoying parents is a pain in the butt. That's right, I got grounded. Let's just say, too much posting and not enough sleep is a VERY bad idea!!! My keyboard got ripped right from my computer. I had lots of ideas and I just couldn't post them. I'm sorry for the delay in my blogging. Anyway, one of the things that needs to be said is that "Fossil Alerts" are now called "Fossil Facts" as I don't always look for Paleontology stuff. Now, when I have something to teach y'all, It'll be when I can and in the middle of a post. Easy, huh? If I don't have anything else to teach, feel free to email me a suggestion, or just to say "hi" because I like making new friends. Also, if you have any questions about a particular thing, just ask via email or comment on my blog. I'll be sure to let your voices be heard. Don't be afraid and I'll do my best to answer it. Remember, that's the purpose of this blog. I want you to enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My life keeps getting better and better!!

Thank you, readers for enjoying this blog. This wouldn't exist if there was no one to read it. I hope you learn something from this as that is the point. My life is getting better and better. My grades are awesome, I have this blog and readers like you. I am very fortunate and I wanna thank y'all for checking this blog out and following it. It means a lot to me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What is a Dinosaur?

Some of you have probably wondered what makes a dinosaur a dinosaur. You're like: "Well, a Pterodactyl lived in the same time periods as the dinosaurs, so why isn't it one?" Well, in that case, you are correct about them living in the same time period, but, it's NO Dinosaur. A Dinosaur was a special reptile that had evolved legs directly under their hips , just like people. This allowed them to walk upright, reach high speeds, and reach the size some of them grew to. Some were very bird-like. They couldn't fly, or even swim for that matter. Paleontologists even get into heated and pretty darn fierce debates over whether they were endothermic (warm-blooded) or ectothermic (cold-blooded). This deals with what kind of heart they had, their skeletal structure. This lets them theorize about behavior and so on and so forth. I won't get into that at the moment, readers. I've already answered your common question. "What makes a Dinosaur a Dinosaur?" Well, now you know. (If you don't like the way they are classified, don't get mad at me 'cause I didn't make it up.) And, hey, if you want a more detailed explanation, go to my friend Traumador's blog. (http://traumador.blogspot.com/)

Great news!!!

Remember how I said that I was going to find "fossils"? Well, i won't have to do it alone because, hopefully, a good friend of mine, who also loves dinosaurs and Paleontology, is coming over to my house this weekend to hangout and maybe even hunt a little bit. It's going to be a blast! What we might do is watch Dinosaur movies as usual and/or change the sleepover a little. It's a young Fossil hunter's night to party. So, readers, don't expect me to blog all the time. I will blog about that night afterwards and share some of our findings. However, It's back to business on catching up, then. I may or may not blog the whole week. It depends on Homework load. The future is wide open. See you later, readers. and, for those of you who speak other languages: Hasta Luego!, Auf Weidersein, Ciao, Adios, Nos Vemos, etc.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just for a Friend

One of my good online friends happens to be a dinosaur. Not just any dinosaur a Tyrannosaurus rex. he may be pint-sized, but he is extremly smart and a the best theropod ("beast-feet") that I know. As a tribute ot his good will and good work on his blog (http://traumador.blogspot.com/), I will give his species some more fame.

Tyrannosaurus rex:

Every one knows this infamous carnivore. Discovered by Barnum Brown in the early 20th century, T-rex has been the star of most dinosaur movies in the past century. However, it has been mostly characterized as montser that mindlessly eats anything in it's path. That is WRONG!!! It was amazing and fearsome, yet, it was an animal that had the same basic needs as animals (like us) do today.

It's closest living reletive today would be the birds. T.rex was very similar to a modern bird. Even though it grew up to 18-20 feet tall, weighed 6-7 tons, and grew to at least 40 feet long, it's bones were hollow, yet, strong. It had bone-crushing teeth with serrations on both sides, as big as a banana. Like modern birds, T-rex had a backward pointing joint. (It's ankle was pointed backwards, as in birds, their knee points backwards.)

It's been theorized by Paleontologists as fierce predator and/or scavenger. Nevertheless, it was well muscled and had a large olfactory lobe (that's the part of the brain that controlled an animal's sense of smell, and it had one of the largest in the fossil record.)

Prey animals may have included ceratopsians like Triceratops, and Torosaurus, and duck-billed hadrosaurs (eg. Parasaurolophus, Maiasaura, Corythosaurus, etc.).

Welcome to the New and Improved PaleoQuest

Welcome!!!!!!!!!!!! You may know me as just Raptor. But now I will go my full name Raptor Lewis. If some of you were confused, my quest has been to research prehistoric organisms and educate the public about these creatures who's world we've "invaded." (Actually, the earth was quite different when these creatures lived than it is now.) I'd explain more about the difference and evolution of life on earth, but, that's what my blog is for. And, Traumador the Tyrannosaur, if you're reading this, I will do one of my first "Fossil Alerts" on your species. Fossil Alerts let you know when I've found something. I'll teach you about the organism I've researched. Above all enjoy the blog.