the casual paleontologist

pa·le·on·tol·o·gy: noun. a science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains.

Despite being paleontology centric this blog should also serve as a resource for, and window into, other areas of study to help us gain an understanding of how our earth and the life on it has been shaped over the past 4.5 billion years.

Please contribute by asking us a question or submitting something you find interesting! This blog is run by and intended for people who love the sciences surrounding prehistoric earth and want to share what they find interesting and learn something new.

11 Towering Facts About Brachiosaurus

the-dinosaurs:

Stegosaurus  is a genus of stegosaurid armored dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period in what is now western North America. There were 17 bony plates on its back and the two pair of spikes on its tail. The real word for those particular tail spikes is thagomizer. There has been a lot of debate regarding this thagomizer because some scientists are claiming that they were just “for looks” as others say it’s an obvious weapon of defense. It just so happens that the tail of the dinosaur ossified tendons which made it more flexible. It was a very unique find because most dinosaur tails are known to be stiff as a board based on the fossils.

The stegosaurus plates were in two rows and were alternated in alignment. This is how the stegosaurus got its name, which means “roofed lizard” or “covered lizard”. These plates were covered in thorns and used in defense or they were covered with skin and used to control their body temperature. To keep warm it would direct the plates towards the sun or place them into the wind to cool off. Obviously, the stegosaurus is a cold blooded dinosaur because of this.

It had a long, narrow, pointed skull and a toothless beak. The stegosaurus had a very small brain, about the size of a walnut. It seems kind of strange that such a big animal would have the brain the size of a squirrel, but it’s true. Some people wonder if they had a second brain somewhere that was used just to control its legs and tail. Their rear legs had three short, wide toes with hooves and were longer and straighter than its front legs which had five short, wide toes with short hooves. They had very strong legs and it could stand up on its hind legs to reach for leaves on low branches.

Stegosaurus weighed more than two tons. This plant-eater had few competitors in the Jurassic. Stegosaurus preferred food that was near the ground. It was not an agile animal, so it could not compete with other herbivores for leaves and twigs higher off the ground. Perhaps Stegosaurus was hidden by low plants, hiding in the cy-cads and tree ferns from the giant predators Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus (pictured in #2)

(via the-dinosaurs)

amnhnyc:

New research suggests that dinosaurs fell victim to a “perfect storm” of events.
Dinosaurs might have survived the asteroid strike that wiped them out if it had taken place slightly earlier or later in time, according to new research conducted in part by the American Museum of Natural History. The study, published today in Biological Reviews, builds a new narrative of the prehistoric creatures’ demise some 66 million years ago when a six-mile- (10-kilometer-) wide asteroid struck what is now Mexico.
Read the full story. 

amnhnyc:

New research suggests that dinosaurs fell victim to a “perfect storm” of events.

Dinosaurs might have survived the asteroid strike that wiped them out if it had taken place slightly earlier or later in time, according to new research conducted in part by the American Museum of Natural History. The study, published today in Biological Reviews, builds a new narrative of the prehistoric creatures’ demise some 66 million years ago when a six-mile- (10-kilometer-) wide asteroid struck what is now Mexico.

Read the full story

amnhnyc:

Don’t get too close, this #fossilfriday has spikes!
This heavily armored, highly spiked ankylosaur is Edmontonia rugosidens, a dinosaur that lived 75 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period. This mount shows the front limb positioned as it may have been in life. Although it certainly wasn’t a sprinter, Edmontonia could probably move quickly.
Find this fossil in the Museum’s Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs.

amnhnyc:

Don’t get too close, this #fossilfriday has spikes!

This heavily armored, highly spiked ankylosaur is Edmontonia rugosidens, a dinosaur that lived 75 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period. This mount shows the front limb positioned as it may have been in life. Although it certainly wasn’t a sprinter, Edmontonia could probably move quickly.

Find this fossil in the Museum’s Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs.

10 Thundering Facts About Apatosaurus (aka: “The Not-Brontosaurus”)

eragornz asked: Your blog is literal heaven to me and I thank you very much for having it :)

I’m glad to hear that!  :)

amnhnyc:

An allosaurus for your #fossilfriday! 
This saurischian dinosaur is shown feeding on a carcass with bones marked by grooves, possibly from the teeth or claws of the 140-million-year-old predator. Allosaurus teeth found nearby inspired the idea for the mount. This allosaurus can be found in the Museum’s Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs. 
Learn more.

amnhnyc:

An allosaurus for your #fossilfriday! 

This saurischian dinosaur is shown feeding on a carcass with bones marked by grooves, possibly from the teeth or claws of the 140-million-year-old predator. Allosaurus teeth found nearby inspired the idea for the mount. This allosaurus can be found in the Museum’s Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs

Learn more.

10 Frilled Facts About Protoceratops