4 posts tagged with paleontology by Kattullus.
Displaying 1 through 4 of 4.
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.
Stephen Jay Gould tells the story of the 18th Century German professor Beringer who published a book, Lithographiae Wirceburgensis in 1726 which purported to show remarkable fossils, including spiders in their web, copulating frogs and Yahweh written in Hebrew (high resolution images of the original plates: 1, 2, 3, 4) This turned out to be a fake but the conventional story of the humiliated Professor Beringer and his Lying Stones of Wurzburg is not as simple as the one usually retold in textbooks. And as Gould mentions fossil fakes are not a thing of the past.
John Updike writes about bizarre dinosaurs for National Geographic. "How weird might a human body look to them? That thin and featherless skin, that dish-flat face, that flaccid erectitude, those feeble, clawless five digits at the end of each limb, that ghastly utter lack of a tail—ugh. Whatever did this creature do to earn its place in the sun, a well-armored, nicely specialized dino might ask. " Besides the Updike essay there's a image gallery, an interview with John Updike [audio starts automatically], a dino IQ test, an audio critique of the way dinosaurs have been depicted in the latter half of the 20th Century [audio starts automatically], a closer look at the odder features of some of the stranger dinosaurs, an examination of the nigersaurus (images) as well as dinosaur wallpapers and jigsaw puzzles. [via MeFi's Own ed]
Welcome to the world of giant Cambrian predators! The anomalocaris is one of the ancient creatures found fossilized in the Burgess Shale in British Columbia, a particularly rich trove of fossils from the Cambrian period (543 to 490 million years ago), in which one finds not only the hard parts of animals, but also the soft, squishy bits. Some of the finds were so weird, that they got names like hallucigenia and odontogriphus ("toothed riddle"). Other sites for finding fossils of equal quality from that era are Chengjiang in China and the House Range in Utah.