Tag Archives: palaeontology

TV Impression – Walking With Dinosaurs

WalkingwithdinosdvdcoverWalking With Dinosaurs

Series length: 6 episodes

Genre: Documentary

Going in chronological order, I watched this after Walking With Monsters. However, it was made several years earlier, in 1999. And it looks dated. Even though it was the most expensive documentary ever made at the time, the CG looks like CG. Jurassic Park was much better. That’s what stood out to me the most. The movement was a bit unnatural, and the dinosaurs didn’t seem to fit in with the real locations that they used.

But I enjoyed it. It was fascinating, just like the other series. But as it is dated, none of the dinosaurs had feathers. But that’s just a nitpick. They did mention that dinosaurs evolved into birds, so there’s that. Like Walking With Monsters, I found the environments interesting. The world changed so much during the time of the dinosaurs, from hot and tropical to hot and dry. Even Antarctica had forests when it was at the South Pole. Dinosaurs lived there and they adapted to the dark, cold winters.

But it wasn’t all about dinosaurs. It was also about the marine reptiles, like icthyosaurs and pliosaurs. And there was an episode about pterosaurs. They featured mammals, sharks, and the occasional amphibian, too.

At only half an hour each episode, it’s an easy series to watch in a short time. If you love dinosaurs, you’ll probably love this.

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TV Impression – Walking With Monsters

Walking_with_Monsters_DVD_coverWalking With Monsters

Series length: 3 episodes

Genre: Documentary

This is the first of a series of TV impressions. They are not full reviews. Usually, I will do a full series impression. However, in some circumstances, I will do episode-by-episode impressions. In this case, I will be doing a series impression. So, let’s get to it!

This series was created by the BBC and shows what life was like during the Palaeozoic, the time before the dinosaurs. Coming out in 2005, the computer animation is quite good, though still looks a bit artificial. I found it to be very interesting, as we usually don’t get to see much about this time in prehistory, other than hearing about dimetrodons. It’s usually overshadowed by the Mesozoic and the dinosaurs.

The things I found fascinating about this include the environment and development of life. It had me thinking a lot about worldbuilding, in fact. The oxygen levels in the atmosphere varied vastly during this time, as did the arrangements of the continents. This resulted in totally different ecosystems developing. At one time, it’s extremely hot and humid, at others it’s very cold, and another time, it’s hot and dry. How do the animals adapt? Watching this gave me a little more insight into how to create a world with alien animals.

I recommend this series for those of you who love natural history. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Mission Statement – Science

Here is the second part of the blog’s mission statement. And this time, we move into reality. Less geeky, more nerdy.

I have a very long history with science. From the very beginning when I got encyclopedias, I started reading them, especially for the science and geography entries. I also read a lot of dinosaur and astronomy books. In university, I studied physics and astronomy, though I included a couple geology classes and an atmospheric science class. I haven’t stopped reading about science. On this blog, I started the Encyclopedia Entries series, but have changed it to Quick Facts, as they’re designed to be easy to read and you’re able to find facts quickly. I also talk about various current events in science, especially related to astronomy and space exploration.

As for Quick Facts, this is what is currently planned:

Astronomy

I’m currently going through the moons of the solar system in alphabetic order. In the future, I may focus on constellations and major stars.

Space Exploration

I’m going to go through all of the space probes, both successful and unsuccessful, that were sent to study other bodies in the solar system. I’ll do them in chronological order.

Geography

I will be going through all of the countries in alphabetic order, then move on to Canadian provinces and territories, Japanese prefectures, American states, and Australian states. I may do more.

Palaeontology

I’ll be covering all of the dinosaurs in alphabetic order, which may take a long time. After that, I may take a look at pterosaurs, icthyosaurs, mosasaurs, and plesiosaurs. And I may go further back in time, too.

Zoology

I’d like to go through the birds of North America. I was often fascinated by birds, which we now know are modern dinosaurs. So, why not include them?

Beyond these, I will have to see what comes up in the future. Who knows, I may look at geology, volcanoes, or even take a look at history in some way.

One thing I’d like to do with these is have a weekly schedule to post them. It’ll either be once or twice a week. I’ll have to see which is best.

So, what are you most interested in seeing? Let me know in the comments below.

Dimetrodon Is Canadian!

In 1854, a fossil was found on Prince Edward Island by a farmer. It was part of an upper jaw with curved teeth. It was given the name Bathygnathus borealis. The 290 million year old Permian period reptile couldn’t be identified, and it wasn’t linked to other species that are now known. However, looking at the fossil again, scientists discovered that it’s actually a Dimetrodon.

Dimetrodon incisivum at the Museum of Natural History in the United States.
Dimetrodon incisivum at the Museum of Natural History in the United States.

The Dimetrodon is a famous sail-backed reptile that predates the dinosaurs. They are not related to dinosaurs, but are in fact more closely related to mammals. They come from a group of reptiles called non-mammalian synapsids. While they aren’t our ancestors, another reptile from that group is our direct ancestor.

I find this pretty interesting. Dimetrodons had never been found in Canada before, so it’s nice to add such a famous animal to the list of prehistoric animals that lived in Canada. What do you think of this news?

Finding Dinosaurs in Alberta

Ever wonder where you could go to see dinosaur fossils in Alberta? Well, here’s a list of places you can see plenty of them.

Royal Tyrrell Museum

Probably one of the best places in the world to see dinosaurs, this incredible museum in Drumheller is one of my favourite places. It’s in the heart of the badlands, an amazing treasure trove of dinosaur fossils that you can even go out and look for yourself. There are tours available where you can help dig up dinosaur bones for 90 minutes at a time. The museum itself has a huge number of skeletons and fossils on display, and well worth the visit to this town.

Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

Near Grande Prairie and my hometown of Beaverlodge is this new museum set to open this fall. It’s located near the Pipestone Creek bone bed, which has unveiled a few different kinds of dinosaurs, many of which still have to be excavated. Phil Currie has also been very instrumental in the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and is a palaeontology professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Royal Alberta Museum

Located in Edmonton, this is one of the largest museums in Alberta, and it does have some dinosaurs on display. Although not as impressive as Royal Tyrrell’s collection, it’s worth seeing this museum, mainly because of its very good natural history exhibition. This museum is actually going to be closing soon, but will reopen in downtown Edmonton in late 2017 or early 2018. It will be western Canada’s largest museum.

Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur & Heritage Museum

Located southeast of Lethbridge is this museum dedicated to the local finds, especially hadrosaurs. Though not well-known, this is probably worth a visit, especially if you want to see some dinosaur eggs.

These are the main museums throughout Alberta with dinosaur fossils, but there are other attractions related to dinosaurs. I’ll cover them another time. But if you want to see dinosaurs, Alberta is one of the best places in the world.

A Surprise Encounter With Dinosaurs

Today, we were in the Keikyu Department Store in Kamiooka, Yokohama, and we did some shopping and lunch. But then we found out there were some dinosaurs in the building. We had to check them out. In fact, on the floor we ate on, there was a Stegosaurus skeleton. I didn’t get a picture of it, mainly because it wasn’t easy to get a good view of it. However, we found out there were other skeletons on other floors. We went to seek them out.

Our next skeleton was Japan’s own Fukuiraptor. It was a big raptor, one I wouldn’t want to run into. My daughter is 93 cm tall, just for reference.

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Fukuiraptor and my daughter. The dinosaur is the one without skin and musculature.

Then we went down another two floors and found the next dinosaur. It was a big one! And it’s from western North America. It was a Triceratops.

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Again, my daughter in front of a dinosaur. This time, a Triceratops.
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Only the Triceratops with me standing this time.

There was another thing to check out behind the Triceratops, the femur of an Apatosaurus.

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Apatosaurus femur and my daughter next to a dinosaur professor.

But that’s not all! We found some dinosaur artwork on the same floor, a Triceratops bursting through the wall.  My daughter was scared of it, and wouldn’t go near it.

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The blur is my daughter running away.

Despite my daughter running away from the Triceratops picture, she enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs. Now she knows a new word, and I hope I have a big fan of dinosaurs. We’re moving to Alberta next year, which is one of the best places in the world to see dinosaurs. I hope she’ll love it.

Creationist Discovered 60 Million Year Old Fish Fossils

This comes straight from my home province of Alberta in Canada. It probably has the highest number of Creationists in Canada, as it’s the most conservative province, at least religiously.

A Creationist from Calgary was digging in a basement when he found what is probably a completely new species of fish dating back to 60 million years ago. This is a problem. According to him, they’re only 4,500 years old. How does he know? Noah’s flood.  He’s sure they were deposited there by the flood. This guy actually helped build the Big Valley Creation Science Museum.  Creation Science. Something that contains not one bit of science.

He’s also interested in having Alberta schools teach Creationism. He hasn’t directly asked the government, though. I have a problem with that. Creationism is religion. Public schools are secular. If anyone thinks that Creationism should be taught in science classes as an alternative to evolution, they are completely wrong about what science is. I would have a big issue if a science or biology teacher started teaching Creationism in class.

But back to this discovery. This dates back to 60 million years ago, which is extremely significant. This was only a few million years after the K-T mass extinction, which wiped out non-avian dinosaurs and most other species. These fish lived in a time when life was recovering from the devastation of the extinction and asteroid impact. We know it’s this old because of several methods of dating, which all agree with each other (fossil record, palynostratigraphic, and magnetostratigraphic).

It’s not 4,500 years old. At that time, Mesopotamia and Egypt both had civilisations uninterrupted by a giant flood.  It didn’t happen. So, how can a great flood wipe out everything but a small group of humans and the animals of the Ark, yet the civilisations continued on without even acknowledging this flood? Sounds fishy.  Oh yeah, Egypt started building pyramids around that time. He says that he has come to “accept the fact that we all have different opinions.” Too bad evolution and science are not opinions. They don’t care what people believe. They just are.