Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nano, dino, kosmo and utah

First of all, Nanowrimo has been a success this weekend, already. I was way behind, but managed to catch up on a lot of it, which is great. I'm actually well ahead of schedule again, and am quite confident (especially with one more weekend to write) that this will be a success once again.

So, I should be 3 for 3 when this is all said and done.

I'm hoping to get a big chunk of Tomb of the Undead achieved this afternoon, too. After some lunch and groceries (and laundry, too). All in all, an accomplished weekend.

No kids allowed to Dinosaur Q&A
Scotland admits that kids shouldn't get all the dino info - and so held an "adults only" dinosaur q&a to "secret stegosaurus" fans. I like the idea. When we were in the Chicago Field Museum there was a great presentation by a former curator at the ROM who did a presentation on his travels and discoveries in Kazakhstan, which was awesome. A little technical, but still awesome. I'm sure Scotland will enjoy this as well.

Kosmoceratops "horniest" dinosaur
I think I mentioned this discovery before, but it didn't come with a cool picture.



The movie trailer writes itself: Long ago, on the lost continent of Laramidia, lived the mysterious Kosmoceratops, a three-ton, 15-horned beast that roamed — and ruled — the swamps it called home. O.K., you might want to lose the lost-continent bit, and 15 horns kind of jumps the shark, but tweak it a little and you could have a winner.

The thing is, however, you can't tweak any of this. According to a delightful new paper published Sept. 22 in the online science journal PloS One, the Kosmoceratops indeed lived a good 76 million years ago, according to the scientists' reckoning. And Laramidia — better known today as the Western United States, with bits of Canada and Mexico — was a real place, separated from the eastern half of the North American continent by a great inland sea. The PLoS paper reveals intriguing new things about both the animal and its ancient home.
Scientists find two new dinosaurs related to Triceratops
From the same paper in PloS One, they also named the Utahceratops:


Fossils of two new species of horned dinosaurs closely related to the Triceratops have been discovered in southern Utah, scientists revealed Wednesday.

The discovery of the new plant-eating species, which are believed to have areas known today as the western United States during the Late Cretaceous Period, was announced Wednesday in the online open-access journal PLoS ONE, produced by the Public Library of Science.

The bigger of the two new dinosaurs, with a skull about 7 feet long, is Utahceratops gettyi, whose name combines the state of origin with ceratops, Greek for “horned face.” The second part of the name honors Mike Getty, paleontology collections manager at the Utah Museum of Natural History and the discoverer of this animal.

The newly discovered dinosaurs were inhabitants of the “lost continent” of Laramidia, the western portion of North America that formed when a shallow sea flooded the central region, isolating the eastern and western portions of the continent for millions of years during the Late Cretaceous Period.

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