Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dinosaurs listed in order of insanely awesome

For Sale: T. Rex, Good Condition, Woolly Mammoth, Needs Repair

This would be a follow-up to a story I posted earlier, about a couple who are closing a dinosaur amusement park called Prehistoric Forest. But let's be clear, they aren't selling dinosaurs, they're selling their park.
MARBLEHEAD, Ohio—For more than five decades, the fiberglass dinosaurs of Prehistoric Forest have loomed goofily over the entrance to this Lake Erie tourist town. Now they are facing extinction.

Len and Denise Tieman, who have owned the roadside attraction since 1995, feel they have had a good run. They intend to close Prehistoric Forest on Sept. 12, after one last Labor Day rush, and retire. So far, they haven't found anyone eager to carry on the tradition.

The business, whose full name is Prehistoric Forest and Mystery Hill, referring to a side attraction where water appears to run uphill, opened in the early 1950s. The Tiemans bought it in 1995, when it had been closed for a few years and was overgrown with weeds. Mr. Tieman, who had worked as an electrician, at the time was recovering from cancer, and his wife, Denise, thought he needed a fun occupation. "We drove by here one day and I said, 'That's it! We could do this,"' Ms. Tieman says.

The business has always had perils. Two years ago, a falling tree decapitated the Tiemans' woolly mammoth; it's still wrapped in a tarp, awaiting repairs. One woman accused Mr. Tieman of promoting the theory of evolution by displaying a statue of a grinning cave man. Ms. Tieman says a surprising number of people ask whether the dinosaurs are real. "I just look at them and say, 'You know, dinosaurs died a long time ago."'

Mr. Tieman has kept a couple dozen of the original dinos, made from wood frames and fiberglass, and produced nine of his own. A self-taught dino designer, he uses a heated wire to slice through Styrofoam blocks, then does detailing with razor knives and sandpaper, before coating the beast in fiberglass.

After the doors close in September, the Tiemans intend to leave the forest as it is for at least a year. They hope to find a buyer but say they won't sell to anyone who wants to put up condos or otherwise change the nature of the 10-acre property.

How much for the whole attraction? Mr. Tieman pauses, then says: "A million might buy it right now."

[now I'm going to get a coffee .. ugh]

Ten species of dinosaurs confirmed in E China

People arrange the skeletons of the tyrannosaurus in Zhucheng, east China's Shandong Province, Aug. 27, 2010. At least ten species of dinosaurs, including ceratopsid dinosaur, tyrannosaurus, duck-billed dinosaur, ankylosaurus and coelurosaurs, had been confirmed during the third large-scale exploration in Zhucheng from January of 2008, according to a news briefing on the exploration achivements [sic] in Zhucheng on Friday. (Xinhua/Fan Changguo).

Fires and floods make Isle of Wight rich source of dinosaur remains
Fires and floods which raged across the Isle of Wight 130 million years ago made the island one of the richest sources of dinosaur remains of that age anywhere in the world, according to a new study.

It revealed that the island's once-violent weather explains why thousands of tiny dinosaur teeth and bones lie buried alongside the huge bones of their gigantic relatives.

The research was carried out by University of Portsmouth palaeontologist Dr Steve Sweetman and Dr Allan Insole, from the University of Bristol.

Dr Sweetman said: ''When a fire was rapidly followed by an intense flood, a snapshot of life on the Isle of Wight 130 million years ago was taken and preserved for us to see today, making the Isle of Wight one of the most important dinosaur sites in the world.

''Apart from the sheer diversity of dinosaurs found on the island, we also have the remains of the animals and plants that lived with them. ''During the Early Cretaceous when dinosaurs roamed, the climate was much warmer than today.

''This was partly to do with the geographical position of the Isle of Wight at the time - the latitude was roughly where Gibraltar is now - but also reflects the extreme greenhouse conditions of that era.''

The academics said vegetation became parched during summer months where temperatures rose - increasing the likelihood of lightning strikes causing fires.

Dr Sweetman said: "Occasionally very heavy rain would follow electrical storms and wild fires, causing flash floods.

''These swept up all loose objects in their path, swallowed complete dinosaur skeletons and eroded floodplain sediments. The more debris and sediment the water collected, the thicker and thicker it became until eventually it was like mixed concrete."

This chaotic mixture, in which most of the skeletons became jumbled up, was then deposited in hollows to form what are now known as the island's plant debris beds.

The rotting plants in these beds removed oxygen, providing ideal conditions for the preservation of bones.

''On the Isle of Wight you get a complete muddle of the smallest fossils blended with the biggest, nothing quite like it has been seen anywhere else in the world,'' said Dr Sweetman.
I like this article because ... it really focuses on the requirement for a fossil to have something very special happen to it to become fossilized. Normally a body does not turn into rock - there has to be some very rare and uncommon event occur to the corpse for the body to become fossilized over time. In this case, the researcher was able to learn more about the time and environment, than simply just identify a new species by a random tooth.

The 11 most insanely awesome dinosaur toys

Number 1

"Put that in your Easter basket, Kroulos!" - vintage '80s victory taunt.

[I don't know if it's the coffee or the dinosaur subject, but I feel much more chipper now! Have a great day!]

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