Released in 1992 (the same year as the much more complex Sim Life) and published by Enix, Almanic's E.V.O.: Search for Eden is a Super Nintendo game in which players evolve a custom-made organism across vast geologic epochs and numerous phylums by growing new jaws, fins, tails, wings, horns, lungs and assorted other body parts. A cult classic that predates the more widely recognized evolution-em-up Spore by 16 years, E.V.O. is actually the thematic followup to an obscure 1990 PC-98 evolution-themed RPG called 64 Okunen Monogatari: The Shinka Ron (4.6 Billion Year Story: The Theory of Evolution). For almost as many years, 46 Okunen Monogatari has remained an intriguing mystery for Western audiences, but now a full English translation patch has been released. [more inside]
Analysis of fossilized Antarctic bird's 'voice box' suggests dinosaurs couldn't sing. Which is to to say:
The discovery of the Mesozoic Era vocal organ (Nature, paywalled) -- called a syrinx -- and its apparent absence in non-avian dinosaur fossils of the same age indicates that the organ may have originated late in the evolution of birds, and that other dinosaurs may not have been able to make noises similar to the bird calls we hear today.Dinosaurs didn't quack or cluck, but may have sounded more like an ostrich (more samples). [more inside]
"The tail of a 99-million year old dinosaur has been found entombed in amber, an unprecedented discovery that has blown away scientists....The amber adds to fossil evidence that many dinosaurs sported feathers rather than scales. " [more inside]
The Dinosaurs of Crystal Palace: Among the Most Accurate Renditions of Prehistoric Life Ever Made - a longish read by Darren Naish of the tetrapod zoology blog in Scientific American.
Imagine it's the Fall of 1987 and you recently saw The Princess Bride (trailer). Then you heard that Fred Savage was back, in an oddly familiar setting with another story, this time about dinosaurs. You might be thrilled to see Dinosaurs! A Fun-Filled Trip Back In Time! (full film), even if you've already seen Will Vinton's clayanimation that was used as part of a dream sequence of sorts. Flash forward to the present day and you might do a bit of research on the "prehistoric monsters" featured in the short film and find some of the details less than accurate. [more inside]
A few months ago, I went searching for the truth about that missing bone. I was not the first — plenty of others have sought the largest dinosaur that has ever lived. What I found was a quest that has driven some people toward maniacal competition, some to conspiracy theories and others to disregard scientific consensus. It drove me to a little rocky outcropping on a hill in rural Colorado known as Cope’s Nipple.—The Biggest Dinosaur In History May Never Have Existed by David Goldenberg is about Amphicoelias fragillimus, a species of sauropod dinosaurs described by famed paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope from a single, enormous bone, which later went missing. It may have been the biggest of the big, as explained by Prof. Ken Carpenter [pdf] or a fiction created by a typo [pdf], as argued by Cary Woodruff and John R. Foster.
"I recalled watching the show as a kid, as ABC's TGIF lineup was a staple for kids my age back then, and I thought the show was bonkers but was too young to really enjoy the nuance -- or, as much nuance as a show with creepy looking puppet dinosaurs going for wink-wink adult comedy wrapped in the façade of a kids show on primetime network television could possibly have." Baseball blogger Christopher Fittz live-tweets a New Year's Day binge-watch of every episode of the 1990s sitcom Dinosaurs.
Pixar's new film, The Good Dinosaur, is the second animated dinosaur film to come out in time for Thanksgiving. The previous one came out 22 years ago, with executive producer credits for Steven Spielberg and a whole host of stars lending their voices to the film, telling the story of dinosaurs coming to New York City. And it bombed. Let's go back in time and look at We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. [more inside]
Dakotaraptor ruled Hell Creek Formation as lethal predator The bumps serve as reinforcement points for long wing feathers, marking the first concrete evidence that large raptors had wings. "It really would have made this like a turkey from hell," he said.
"I rediscovered my Jurassic Park dossier when cleaning out a cupboard... At around 14 years old, I tried to charm a girl by saying if she ever wanted to know anything about dinosaurs, she could come to me." (via)
In their paper ("A New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Convergent Evolution in Cranial Ornamentation in Ceratopsidae"(pdf)) released today, Caleb Brown and Donald Henderson describe Regaliceratops peterhewsi, a new species of dinosaur. They called it Hellboy, and not just because of the horns. [more inside]
While scientists have long known that modern day birds are dinosaurs (a fact that is self-evident if you ever look at a cassowary), it now appears that birds were not the dinosaurs' only attempt at flight. It may have had feathers, but the recently discovered Yi qi ("Strange Wing") had wings like a bat.
Let's all give Brontosaurus a big hand to welcome it back to the community of things that actually existed! [more inside]
Three words: Lego. Jurassic. Park.
Dinosaurs: Terrible Lizards (SYTL - via B3ta.com)
"Jackie was a horrible actress, the literal worst, but her sick schtick did the trick." If Dinosaurs Were the Main Characters in "Jurassic Park" (SL Buzzfeed)
Earl Sinclair performs "Hypnotize". SLYT, NSFW
British-based webforum Mumsnet (For Parents, By Parents) had a fun time this weekend, when a new member decided she was sick and tired of dinosaurs being forced on our children. [more inside]
Jurassic World has an official website, complete with safety tips, details on accommodations, webcams, and viewing times. Your adventure awaits.
"A remarkable international effort to map out the avian tree of life has revealed how birds evolved after the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs into more than 10,000 species alive today. More than 200 scientists in 20 countries joined forces to create the evolutionary tree, which reveals how birds gained their colourful feathers, lost their teeth, and learned to sing songs." Via iO9.
A nebulous trade in forged and illegal fossils is an ever-growing headache for paleontologists. [more inside]
It's been a big couple of months for very large (and very strange) theropod dinosaurs. The eight-foot-long arms of Deinocheirus mirificus were discovered in the Gobi in 1965 and the animal has remained a source of speculation since then. Now a team of paleontologists from the Korea Institute of Geoscience & Mineral Resources has discovered two well-preserved specimens, and it seems that Deinocheirus was even weirder than we thought. Here's the Nature link.
A team of researchers, including University of Edinburgh paleontologist Stephen Brusatte and Swarthmore College Associate Professor of Statistics Steve C. Wang, cataloging 853 skeletal characteristics in 150 dinosaurs and analyzing the rate at which these characters change, and they found that "there was no grand jump between nonbirds and birds in morphospace." In other words, birds didn't suddenly come into existence, but evolved, bit by bit, or characteristic by characteristic. But when birds were finally a thing, they went crazy. "Once it came together fully, it unlocked great evolutionary potential that allowed birds to evolve at a super-charged rate."
A gigantic fish-eater (Bigger than a T. rex!) with a crocodile snout and a large sail on its back, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus has always been a strange and enigmatic creature. It may have just become something stranger: a semiaquatic, quadrupedal theropod dinosaur. [more inside]
Scientists at Drexel university have discovered and described the most complete supermassive dinosaur ever found. According to paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara, the titanosaur "weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. rex. Shockingly, skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it was not yet full grown. It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet." It's name? Dreadnoughtus .
Dinosaurs were lumbering, stupid, scientifically boring beasts—until John Ostrom rewrote the book on them.
Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur! Sorry to ruin your childhood yet again, but it's not even a reptile. It's a synapsid, which makes it one of our cousins. [more inside]
Western Digs is a source for "dispatches from the American ancient West." Posts are sorted into three main categories: Dinosaurs & Ancient Life (Paleontology, split into Dinosars, The Ice Age, Birds and All Fossils), Prehistoric Americans (Archaeology, split into Ancient Southwest and The Mississippians [Cahokia]), and Modern Artifacts (Historic Archaeology, including the subset The 20th Century). If you're not sure where to start reading, here are Western Digs’ Top 5 Paleontology Stories of 2013 and Western Digs’ Top 5 Archaeology Stories of 2013.
Ceramic artist Brett Kern creates puffy inflatable dinosaurs (studio views in his anaglyphic 3D Gallery).
Though never particularly scared to be cynical about "issue episodes" even though it was considered a child friendly family show on a Disney owned network, an episode of the animatronic ABC sitcom Dinosaurs from its fourth season asked viewers to question authority and faith in "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" (full episode yt) Even introducing an intentionally ridiculous, starch-based diety over a decade before the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Limited Edition Bonus Track: Answering the question with heresy on "Answer The Question" is ill advised.
Settling in for a long winter's nap? In need of a memento mori to guard against the unbridled jollity of the season? Just want to explore the wonderful world of 3D scans, osteology, and bioarchaeology on the internet a little further? Sad that Santa probably isn't bringing you a T-Rex for Christmas? Well, just peak inside... [more inside]
The public radio science program Radiolab recently wrapped up a tour featuring their latest live show, Apocalyptical. It is, as you might have guessed, about the end times. The show, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich and featuring live performances from comedians Kurt Braunohler and Reggie Watts and an appearance from dinosaur puppets, is now available for free on YouTube.
"Dinosaurs! WTF? is a blog devoted to exposing dinosaurs for the murder oriented monstrosities they were, promoting preparations for the likelihood of their return, and outing those people who support the dinosaur agenda."
Welcome to Dinovember. "Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep." By Refe Tuma via Medium.
Even one of the best known dinosaurs has kept some secrets. Here is what palaeontologists most want to know about the famous tyrant.
Nate's Adventures. "These are photographs of my son, pictured in a world of fantasy and imagination. A world that children occupy a good deal of the time. They are my interpretation of his world." Photography by David Niles. [Via]
Dreams are real [YT, 3:01, cats]
In anticipation of next week's 20th anniversary release of Jurassic Park 3D, Vulture rates the Jurassic Park dinosaurs, from worst to first.
[Roy Chapman] Andrews is best remembered for the series of dramatic expeditions he led to the Gobi of Mongolia (shorter films: 1, 2) from 1922 to 1930. Andrews took a team of scientists into previously unexplored parts of the desert using some of the region’s first automobiles with extra supplies transported by camel caravan. Andrews – for whom adventure and narrow escapes from death were a staple of exploring – is said to have served as inspiration for the Hollywood character “Indiana Jones.” Andrews’s expeditions to the Gobi remain significant for, among other discoveries, their finds of the first nests of dinosaur eggs, new species of dinosaurs, and the fossils of early mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs. [more inside]