Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's the Difference?- The T. rex Name Game

Readers, for once, I'm at a loss, surprising as it seems. The different media that encompasses prehistoric organisms, especially theropod dinosaurs, have a way of calling two similar but different species of the same genus, the same animal. In fact, they've done this with Tyrannosaurus rex as shown here:

Skull of a "Tyrannosaurus rex" as seen in Jurassic Fight Club

And here...

Tyrannosaurus rex skull by Peter Bond of Prehistoric Insanity.
They look different, don't they? The only reason I have for that is either their two different species of the genus Tyrannosaurus or their the same genus and species but are different subspieces, kind of like the difference between Humans: Neanderthals and Cro-magnons. They're both human but, their different kinds of the same human. In this case, Biologists, Anthropologists, and Paleoanthropologists give them the scientific names: Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) and Homo sapiens sapiens (Cro-magnons, us?). Let me tell you first hand that I'm NOT an Anthropologist. So, if I made a mistake, bare with me. I consider myself an Amateur Paleonotlogist. Anyway, the point is, that's the only reason I can think of for the difference.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Note On Kentucky's Geology

Kentucky, like other places around the world, has it's share of stereotypes. There's "Horse Capital of the World," (that one's self-proclamed), "Basketball's their main sport," and my favorite "Hillbilly Hell." I'm not a native Kentuckian, in fact, I've only lived here for the past eight to nine years. It's a nice place. Despite what my favorite name for it is, the nature here is breathtaking. We have all four seasons, if you know what I mean. It doesn't snow too much or too little. However, what makes Kentucky so attractiev to me besides the nature and abundance of wild-life, is it's geology.

Okay, Kentucky is also called the Bluegrass State or Commonwealth depending on who you talk to. No, the grass is NOT actually blue naturally. It has to do with the fact that Kentucky sits on an abundance of Limestone, a Sedimentary rock. See where I'm going with this? That's right. Where there's Sedimentary rock, there's also fossils!!! Kentucky is loaded with them!!! What kind, you ask? Here they are and you tell me what they are:

Those are a few of the abundant fossils in Kentucky. However, no Dinosaur fossils have been found in Kentucky, why? The reason is most of the rocks are older than the dinosaurs. Most fossils in Kentucky are Paleozoic fossils from the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, and so forth. So although Kentucky has potential for fossils, doesn't mean you find what always find what your looking for unless your looking for Trilobites or something. So, if you want a dinosaur, then you'll have to look for places with exposed rocks from the Mesozoic era. But, that doesn't mean you'll find something. So, don't get your hopes up. And, NO, DO NOT go hunting for fossils on Private Property. That's NOT okay.

Anyway, as for the "Bluegrass" thing, the reason is that Limestone is full of calcium which is absorbed by the grass and when the sunlight hits it at a certain time and angle, the grass give off a blueish tint. In fact, this is the secret to Kentucky's strong Thoroughbred horses that race in the Derby at Churchhill Downs in Louisville. The horses get strong, dense bones from eating the calcium rich grass. That's Kentucky for you.

For more information on Kentucky's geology, go to the University of Kentucky's Geological Survey site at http://www.uky.edu/KGS/.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Article at Dinosaur Home

I've got a NEW article up over at Dinosaur Home about my "theories" on the evolution of spinosaurids. Hopefully, it's much better than the first one, so hopefully you can "pop" on over and take a look and give me some feedback. And, readers, don't worry abou the eighth Fact. It's coming SOON, I promise, hopefully this weekend.

And to make this post more interesting:

A preview that I found on the web and saved on my computer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Excitement for Obama's Inauguration!!!!

Today was a historic day here in these United States of America. We successfully had a peaceful transfer of power with former President George W. Bush leaving office after 8 miserable years in his presidency (Hooray!!) and President-elect Barack Obama being inagurated. Yes. He has been inagurated. He is the 44th president of these United States of America and the first African-American president in American History!!! It was truly a Historic and momentous day!! His running mate Senator Joe Biden became Vice president. I am over-flowing with excitement!! Today history was made. I saw him take the Oath of Office at school. If you wanna see something that I did on Microsoft Paint just for the occasion, here it is:

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Own Tribute to the Mesozoic era!!!

Here it is, my tribute the Mighty Dinosaurs!! Please note, however, that there is NO music for I could not get the music uploaded to the video. I made this on Windows Movie Maker. I have never made a video before this so, don't blame me if the quality stinks. Enjoy:

Copyright, "Raptor" Lewis of PaleoQuest, 2008!!

(Edited: For Safety and Security Purposes.)

How Nerdy Am I?

I am nerdier than 40% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and talk on the nerd forum!

Yes, I am "Slightly Nerdy" as this test proves. It's funny because I found this test on new blogger: DinoGal 097' blog. However, I'm proud to be as nerdy as I am. Although, there's a lot about me that contradicts this: I have a lot of GOOD friends. I like to go hiking, and I also like taking walks when the weather's nice and warm. I also like Football.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Direction

I've been thinking long and hard about this and I think it's time to initiate my full-proof plan. Mwahahaha...!!! Yes, saying my "full-proof plan" makes me laugh maniacally. It's sort of an evil comic book antagonist's diction. Anywho, yes, I am moving this blog into a NEW direction.

After reading some blogs like Traumador's, Peter Bond of Prehistoric Insanity, Brian Switek, Craig Dylke the Weapon of Mass Imagination, etc, I've decided to turn PaleoQuest into my own personal weblog. Now, don't me wrong, the Facts will continue as usual, as well as the Artwork, and so on and so forth. The only thing that's changing some is the purpose for PaleoQuest.

From now on, you can follow me as I achieve my my ULTIMATE goal: Vertebrate Paleontologist with a Ph.D. Also, you can learn what living with Autism is like and how I cope in order to be a paleontologist. You can even learn more about me, in general. For those who love the Tyrannosaur Chronicles, and Bond's Blog, as well as the others mentioned in the above paragraph, than you'll like PaleoQuest a lot now. For those who love this blog, you'll love it more.

Hope you like the new direction!!

All the Best,
"Raptor" Lewis

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Binomial Nomenclature: the "Two Part Name"

I have a theory about everyone's confusion when it comes to names for organisms. Apparently, people wonder why Biologists, Zoologists, and Paleontologists use what's commonly referred to as "Scientific Names." This confuses people and when they were "in the dark" about a certain subject. I think it would be a good idea to cover the history of this classification system and how it's used. (Author's note: Information was obtained from Wikipedia.)

This classification system started with Swedish Botanist and physician Carolus Linnaeus (1707 – 1778). His interest in the natural world led him to attempt to describe the known world and started using the now globally used system of Binomial Nomenclature. However, this system was used even before Linnaeus about 200 years. He's credited with the invention of the system because no-one used the system until after Linnaeus. (Author's note: That's my personal guess because I really have no clue.)

How To Use :
Binomial Nomenclature is a system that gives each organism a two-part "name." This "name" consists of the genus and then the species. The first name or genus' first letter is capitalized and is the "generic name" for the organism. The "species" is the specific type of that genus or organism. For Example, humans are referred to as Homo sapiens, with our genus Homo referrencing we're a hominid. The term sapien tells the kind of hominid. Also, note the terms are italicized when typed. When the terms are hand-written, the terms must be underlined separately.

Another thing to remember about this system is that most of the terms are derrived from either Greek or Latin. For example, Tyrannosaurus rex means "tyrant lizard king" with "Tyranno" meaning tyrant and "saurus" coming from the Greek "sauros" meaning lizard. Rex means King. (Author's note: I don't know the language the term "rex" originated but I DO know that it means "king." However, I assume Latin or Greek because those're the most common languages used for this system.)

Why It's Used:
The reason Biologists, Zoologists and Paleontologists use this system is the simple barrier of language. Every language has it's term for the same thing. However, almost all languages derrived from a form of Latin, so Latin was used as the major language for this system. Scientists around the world needed a unified system (similar to the SI measurement system) to classify organisms and understand what each was talking about without confusion. See? It's pretty simple once you get the hang of it. In case you didn't catch on, the term "Binomial Nomenclature" means "two-part name." It also comes from one of the two Languages for the system. Can you guess which one?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dinosaur Tribute

Readers, I was surfing the web and found a video on Youtube that fits this blog nicely. It just so happens to be a Dinosaur Tribute. I thought all of you would enjoy this. It's my special treat from me to you.

And so, just to keep this post interesting...

Diplodocus as seen in BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs

Monday, January 12, 2009

Home of the Paleo People

Readers, I am pleased to announce that I have joined a new site called Dinosaur Home. It's a site designed for anybody interested in paleontology can discuss it with others. I've already written my first article over there.

If you think I'm ditching PaleoQuest, I'm not. I will continue to post here as well. You guys love it and I love it. So, don't worry guys, I'm not going anywhere.

To make you feel better, here's a preview of what it's about:

Gideon Mantell (1790-1852), identified the first fossils belonging to Dinosaur

John R. "Jack" Horner of Montana, discovered Maiasaura peeblesorum, the first evidence of dinosaur parenting behavior and is the character Crichton based Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park off of and paleontology consultant for the Jurassic Park films.

Maiasaura peeblesorum with young (will do a Fact on soon, I promise.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fossil Fact #7!!!!!!!!!

Finally, it's here!! The Seventh Fact has come!! I know ALL of you are relieved that it is here on this blog, at last!! For this Fact, I've decided to touch up on an apex predator that should seem very familiar to all of you as of July 18, 2001 and Jurassic Park III. Now, let's meet this mysterious predator... (Author Note: Nearly all information in this Fact are from Wikipedia.)

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus- Movie monster or Real misunderstood animal?
First off, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was a theropod dinosaur that lived in what is now Egypt and North Africa in the Middle Cretaceous period (100 million years ago.) It was first discovered in the 1910s by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer. He named the animal based on a nearly complete fossil specimen and is the biggest theropod known today based off the fossil. Sadly, it was destroyed when the the museum was blown up during an Allied bombing in 1944 near the end of World War II. However, more skull material has been found in recent years. Unfortunately, it's still unclear whether they're from the same species or a different species of Spinosaurid altogether.

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is distinct because of it's trademark crocodillian-like mouth which is characteristic of at least three relatives: Suchomimus, Baryonyx, and Irritator. Another characteristic of the family Spinosauridae (group of theropod dinosaurs that includes Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, Irritator challengeri, and Suchomimus tenerensis.)would be the long structures protruding from the animals back vertebrae that supposedly supported a skin "sail." The use for the vertebrae is about as mysterious as the plates on Stegosaurus. Theories range from temperature regulation (note: possilbly not it's internal temperature...at least that's MY opinion.) to sexual display. If the vertebrae did support a skin sail, then it could flush blood up into the thin tissue in the sail. The thin tissue was possibly filled with blood vessels probably ranging from arteries, veins, and/or cappilaries.

This theropod probably fished. It's mouth is perfectly designed for catching fish. In fact, fish (like lepidotes)were possible a LOT bigger in the Cretaceous period than today. Otherwise, Spinosaurus could have been a scavenger, a kind of "beach comber." This animal, possibly, ate carcasses that washed up on shore. It could have also alternated between behaviors.

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus Today:
Interestingly enough, nobody knew this dinosaur existed until Jurassic Park III was released in July 18, 2001. Unlike Tyrannosaurus rex, however, the carnivore didn't help the franchise. Fans were extremely disappointed due to the fact it was poorly used. The third film in the trilogy did NOT meet the expectations of fans. To them and other "Paleo-nerds," it was another dinosaur movie like the "old-days." The Spinosaurus was just another "monster" in a another "monster flick." However, paleontologists try to restore the reputation of all dinosaurs through research and public education through documentaries and museums.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Favorite Prehistoric Organism!

Some of you love it when I post my Fossil Facts. Others like my personal posts more. That's okay, I'm glad you are interested in me and this blog. However, a few people voted on the last poll, asking me to mix it up a little bit. You know, post some Facts here and some personal stuff there. Something like that, right? I thought so. And so, I thought I'd do just that.

My passion for paleontology and prehistoric organisms is well-known (well, as well known as it can be around the blogosphere.) So, I thought I'd reveal my favorite among them all.

My Favorite Prehistoric Organism ARE..........The Dinosaurs!!!

What's that? "Figures." You say? Well....duh! Of Course, it should be dinosaurs, but not just any group. I especially love the Theropods and the Ceratopsians (group that includes Triceratops, Chasmosaurus, Torosaurus, Styracosaurus, Protoceratops, Psittacosaurus, etc.) Of course, I love all prehistoric organisms. Dinosaurs are my favorite and it's easy to see why.

Here are my reasons for Dinosaurs being my favorite animals:

  1. Dinosaurs have the most variety out of the animal kingdom.
  2. They're neither mammal, bird, nor reptile. (although, the theropods lean more towards being birds.)
  3. They're one of evolution's greatest success stories. (they're dominance lasted from 225 million years to 65 million years.)
  4. They have captivated the world even 65 million years after their extinction....or evolution?
  5. They're different, yet so similar to nimals today.

Now you know my favorite prehistoric animal group. I love every group, however, so don't get me wrong. Ilove the arthropods of the Cambrian period(e.g. trilobites), the Archosaurs of the Permian and Triassic, the marine reptiles, and, of course the pterosaurs (e.g. Pteranodon ingens). If you wish to learn about me, feel free to contact me at raptor.lewis@gmail.com or leave a comment on this blog.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I've Been Tagged For A Meme!

I've been tagged!! Now, I have to tell 6 RANDOM things about myself all thanks to Marek Eby of http://www.etrilobite.com/!!

Here's what I'm supposed to do:
  1. Link to the Person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on my blog.
  3. Write 6 random things about myself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of this post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when you're entry is up.

Okay, here are 6 random things about me:

  1. I am related to Louisiana Purchase explorer Meriwhether Lewis.
  2. I'm growing my first moustache.
  3. Theropod dinosaurs and ceratopsians are my favorite dinosaurs.
  4. I'm a Christain and an Evolutionist.
  5. My passion is Paleontology.
  6. I have Asperger's Syndrome.

The people I'm going to tag are:

I think that's it!! I've done this stupid meme and can now get on with my life.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mondays, Let the Stress Begin (Especially After Holidays)

"I hate Mondays!!" I'm sure nearly all of you have heard that statement before, and/or said it at one time or another. And, if you haven't, you can possibly agree with it as I do. Why do I mention it? Well...let's just say that it was wierd especially for a Monday. Normally, Mondays are the most stressful part of the week. It's always hard getting back into the swing of things.

First off, what is stress? Stress is the pressure from heavy external forces. Stress in humans occurs with a large workload. This in turn can cause health problems if not managed correctly. This is also a positve thing. Stress is a signal to your brain to review a certain situation if something isn't right.

Mondays after a vacation can be especially stressful because we have to return to the routine of going to work and to school. That's how I'm feeling, but, there wasn't that much to do or worry about. I was stressed and worried about having a bad start to this new semester of school. Not everything went as well. My point? I hate Mondays!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Merry Late Christmas because I was away from my Computer.

Merry Christmas from the Cretaceous...in case you can't read it.
This is what should have been posted on Christmas. Sadly, I forgot and before I could post it, I was away, leaving this saved on my PC.
Note: The ORIGINAL photo is not mine, I merely found it on the web and the card I made out of it is mine. I used Microsoft Paint.

The Origin of Raptor Lewis, Part Two

Of course, an interest in paleontology can't happen without museums. A few of which, have websites you can reach on the right-hand side of the blog. I've been to museums as far off as the Natural History Museum in Albequerque?, New Mexico, United States. There's been so many contributions, that I can't really name them all.

Coupled with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and an all out fascination, my interest has NEVER ceased. I feel that I was born for Paleontology. However, coupled with OCD, I had become obsessed with Video Games from my middle school years on to 8th grade and Freshman year in High school. My interest in dinosaurs had been over-shadowed by video games, but, didn't stop. It was restricted to the confines of my soul until it was released by reading The Lost World by: Michael Crichton (1995). Video games were bound in my brain and soul like my interest in all things Paleo was. I was overflowing with interest 'till this day. It was as if my interest was building inside of me, dormant, and ready to overflow in all it's pleasure and glory.

And so, I have made this blog so I can share this knowledge and interest with you, readers and the world. I also created this blog show you the awesome power of Life and it's place in the Universe. Life's power is second only to the angels an God in heaven in it's evolution and growth to become a force that can't be reckoned with easily. Now you know the origin of my interest in paleontology and the name "Raptor."