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Hello and welcome to. I know, I know I'm Garrett and I'm Sabrina. Today in our three hundred and twenty fifth episode, we have a bunch of news, including a new sauropod.
And it's the very last of the dinosaurs that were named in twenty twenty that I plan on covering. We'd to end on a high note. I suppose that even though, say it's a new sauropod is a new sauropod name, but it was actually found way back in the eighteen hundreds. So it's one of those dinosaurs like the Madagascar one we were talking about, and we have Dinosaur of the Day, Paronto Meurice and a fun fact and some Breena's doing the fun fact Gursel all thrown off.
It's great as always.
I snuck fun facts into my news item so that I didn't have to miss out completely on the joy that is delivering a fun fact. But before we get into that real quick, we want to thank our patrons. We want to thank all of our patrons. But specifically, we have a new patron, Arlo Saurus, who joined very recently. And rounding out our shout outs are Kesler Scatty Laura Saurus, Brad Shelby, Jared Copeland, Gabe Trex, Dinosaurs Stegall, Sophi and Greg.
Yeah, thank you so much. Thanks so much for being part of our dinosaur enthusiast community, sharing the dinosaur enthusiasm enthusiasm with us.
Yes, the dinosaur. Love it.
If you want to join our growing community, then check out our page at Patriot dot com. I know. I know. We've got a discord where you can chat to your heart's content about dinosaur news and other things. And we have all kinds of other rewards, too. Yep. So jumping into the news so bad. Exactly. So this new sauropod was described by John Whitlock and Jeffrey Mantega and published in GVP or the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. And The Sauropod is from Canyon City, Colorado.
I think some people pronounce a Canyon City, but I've heard that it's got an NEA, so it really seems like it could be Canyon anyway. It's in the more some information, which means it's in the late Jurassic with all of the North American sauropod greats like Diplodocus or Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus Kamara Stories and more recently, Brontosaurus, the greatest of the greats.
Yes, I think so. However, I should point out, if there's any Alamo's source fans listing, that one is also great. The only known titanosaur from North America in the Cretaceous. But other than that, pretty much all the well known sauropods are from the Morriss information. It's really the information for you if you're a North American Sauropod fan. But have you ever heard of more saurus? That sounds vaguely familiar.
It was a little familiar to me too, but I think I was just mixing it up with Morose, which was a Tyrannosaurus that was named in twenty nineteen.
Hmm. I could be it, but you might be familiar with more resources because it was named by Marsh in eighteen seventy eight and then in nineteen nineteen more saurus was mostly anonymized with camera saurus. So the boerewors dinosaur. It is very much so.
Kamiar Source was named one year earlier by Kop and then more saurus you know a year later was named by Marsh and it was basically the same as Camero Source KPO on that one.
Yes he did.
But I said that moratorium horse was mostly synonymous with Compressor's because like all of these bone wars dinosaurs, they had a whole bunch of species. And the taxonomy is really complicated. They actually have a table in the paper where it has all the different species of compressor's and more resources. And when they got reclassified and if they got reclassified over decades and over a century actually have different papers, analysis is very messy. In the end, Merisotis was basically stripped of its type species.
So anything that was left, which mostly includes this one called more Merisotis, a Jilly's, was just sort of left in this weird taxonomic limbo because more resource was basically thought of as a synonym of resource.
And then there was this dinosaur called Morriss or Sigils, which was still known. People know about it and it's a pretty important find. But it the name Morissa was very confusing. It's anonymized. Those more stories, ageless bones, were found in 1883, which is why there are still more resource and not named resource, because more resources didn't get anonymized into Camero source until I think nineteen nineteen about is when it started to shift by Gilmor. That actually happened with a lot of these bone wars.
Dinosaurs, both of both Kop and Marsh died thinking they had named all of these valid dinosaurs and that they had won these various battles and then people later went back and axed tons and tons of these goofy names they came up with.
Yep, it was hard to find a list, but the list is very small compared to the number they named names that are still valid today. Yeah, we had a fun fact a little while back and we said that Marsch named 80 species. Twenty three are still valid, whereas Kop named 64, but nine are still valid. So between them they named almost one hundred and fifty and a little bit less than 30 are still valid. That's a big difference.
Yes, for sure, but I think most of them were still valid when they both died in around nineteen hundred. So more stories or more Robosaurus, I'm not sure which Angelus was found in eighteen eighty three and they got categorized as Unnim five three eight four, which means they're at the Smithsonian. Unnim is like the United States National Museum abbreviation. And then they got assigned to the new species in 1889. But even though they're in this weird taxonomic no man's land, the find is really significant.
So it's a partial skull, including a brain case, skull roof and a third of the sclerotic ring. Those really cool eye bones are fascinating that animals even have bones in their eyes. Sometimes it's so weird, but birds still have them. I think all birds have them. I tried looking that up for a comparison, but I couldn't verify that every bird has it. And I'm a little bit reluctant to say that because almost every time that I speculatively say that everything is a certain way and biology, it turns out not to be the specially when there's such variation in birds.
Yes, but I think as far as I know, I haven't found a bird that doesn't have a sclerotic ring. And we think most dinosaurs did to. In addition to that partial skull, it's also got an articulated set of three neck vertebrae attached to the skull basically, and there are also some loose fragments, including part of the orbit still in the collection, although originally there was a little bit more there was more of the frontal sort of around the orbit going, I guess the top back of the head forward above the eye a little bit.
We had a little bit of that piece. And we know that because there's the original eighteen eighty three field sketch still preserved, which is a really good drawing. These people were amazing. I guess without photography easily available. They got really good at drawing. So you can see all these details of the skull and a big piece of it is not they're preserved to.
Yeah, at least most of it is. And at the time it was one of the most complete sauropod skulls known anywhere. Basically Diplodocus was known from a complete skull. And I think this might be the second most complete one in eighteen eighty three or maybe even eighteen eighty nine. So, so pretty important find. Yeah. People were really excited about it. It definitely warranted its own species name because you could see all these details that we didn't have and other dinosaurs.
Unfortunately though, since that type species of more saurus, I think it was more sors grandis gotz anonymized into source and then all these other more source species got pulled over into Compressor's over the years. It's basically just more sort of jealous that sort of floating in this weird half existence of not really anonymize.
So these authors wanted to give a new name to the genus so that we knew how to talk about it. And what they came up with was smitten. Ressource It also looks like Smetana saurus smelled Smitti and of course, OK, but it's meant to be like about smiting.
Yeah, that was my first guess.
They say it's from the old Saxon Smeeton, which means Smith. Oh, OK. That's why it looks like Smith. Yes.
It also references to Smith's. There's Jay August Smith who excavated and sketched the hollow type. And then there's also the Smithsonian Institution where it's housed is and that's where they say they got the name from. But since they specified it comes from the old Saxon, Smeeton or Smeeton first, and they did a little line over the eye to indicate that it's a long I. I think that they want it to be pronounced Titanosaurus, but I don't think they would be too upset.
At least I would guess they wouldn't be if you pronounced it Smeeton a source since Smeeton got anglicised into Smith with the shorter I think Smeeton sounds more like Smith, which is what it's named after, although I wouldn't think of Smith necessarily when I first heard Spinosaurus exciting and even Smitt Nassau's, I think Osmington like smitten with this dinosaur or something.
Yeah, kind of like dinosaurs because it sounds like a cuddly dinosaurs of the.
But my best guess is Titanosaurus. But I could be raag. Fortunately for the area Titanosaurus is from, we have some radiometric dating so we know it's about one hundred and fifty two million years old right there in the normal age of a more information find. And it probably wasn't fully grown. We know that because the skull wasn't fused like the sort of like a baby with a soft spot. The different parts of the bones in the skull aren't fused together and the vertebrae also weren't fused.
In fact, cervical ribs are usually fused to the neck vertebrae and they sort of go parallel to the length of the neck and they weren't there at all. So the assumption is they weren't fused and then they basically got washed away or scattered or whatever during the taxonomy and the fossilization process. And that's why they weren't preserved. Sort of the opposite we were talking about with that tyrannosaur from China and how we could see broken pieces and therefore we figured something must have been fused.
And so it was probably an adult. This is like the opposite of that, where something's missing and where it should be fused. It doesn't look like anything was broken off. So another piece of evidence that it was probably not fully grown in skeletal, immature. But even with that, the authors say it was pretty big for its relative immaturity level, so Titanosaurus might have been a large sauropod when it was fully grown, but it could also be that the bones just fused later in Spinosaurus than in its relatives.
So does looks younger than it is. There's a lot of variability in dinosaurs, too. It could also just be individual variation that this one was a late bloomer in terms of skeletal fusing. And there isn't too much information on the size of the animal since we just have part of a head and a few vertebrae. But just for your reference, the largest vertebrate is ten point two centimeters long and ten point three centimeters high, or about four by four inches.
So still pretty big.
I mean, yeah, the good size, it's way bigger than any of our vertebrae. I tried to look up how that compared to an elephant vertebra, but I couldn't easily find it. I think it's sort of in the same ballpark. But again, these are the vertebrae closest to the head. So they are expected to be pretty small relative to a mid neck, a vertebra. Mm hmm. I thought it was really cool that they found the sclerotic ring, but unfortunately, they only found about a third of the ring.
It was still enough to estimate that the full sclerotic ring would have been roughly three centimeters in diameter or just about an inch. And that means that I would have been just a little bit bigger because sclerotic rings are sort of near the diameter of the I think as far as I can tell, they sort of go around the iris more or less. At least that's where it would be on our I I'm not sure how big dinosaur irises were, but yeah, they sort of support the edge of the eye.
It's not like a little tiny ring around the pupil or something. It's a lot closer to the edge of the eye. So it would have been bigger than a human eye, which is about two point four centimeters in diameter since it was around three centimeters in diameter of sclerotic rings. So that I should have been a little bit bigger, although it's interesting to think about.
I always think since dinosaurs, especially with sauropods, not all dinosaurs are so much bigger, but with these larger dinosaurs that their eyes would also be bigger.
Yeah, yeah. If you did like because they sometimes come up with weird relationships, you know, we talk about like the upper leg to lower leg ratio and stuff like that in the vertebrae to eye ratio like compared to us, our eye isn't that much smaller, bigger. It's in the same ballpark of size as our vertebrae. Whereas on this thing it's got this huge softball sized vertebrae and a much smaller eye, relatively speaking. But then again, sauropods are kind of small heads.
And if it was a daytime animal, then because I think humans and mammals in general have big eyes because we're descended from nocturnal animals. So maybe that's why we have bigger eyes. That's how we survived the dinosaurs. Exactly. Yeah.
They were dominating all day. We had to sneak out at night when they were looking, couldn't see us with their little eyes.
Yeah, that is a fun fact. An ostrich eye is apparently the biggest eye of any living land animal.
Of course it is. Does that mean whales have bigger eyes?
Well, there's I know that some of the cephalopods like doesn't a giant squid have like a crazy, huge eye? Oh, probably. But then again, they're like a totally different branch of animals.
Yeah. Yeah. They're way distant cousins. Right. And I think their eyes evolved separately because the way I function in humans and other vertebrates is the eye is like an extension of the brain. The retina is like a cat. It's like literally part of the brain. Whereas in cephalopods it's like a separate structure.
So maybe that's why they could grow bigger or something. I don't know. But ostriches are about five centimetres in diameter.
That's very large. Yes.
And according to the British Natural History Museum, that's bigger than its brain. Wow. So I guess if you say it's part of the brain, then it's like most of its brain is the eye. Maybe I don't know if the whole eye counts is brain.
It might just be like the optic nerve and the retina or something, but still massive. And when you look at the skull of an ostrich and most birds for that matter, you can tell that their eyes are a huge portion of their skull, whereas with sauropod skulls, that's not what it looks like.
So the ostrich was bigger than Spinosaurus Eye?
Yep, probably bigger than most non avian dinosaur eyes would be my guess. Whereas this sauropods eyes, spinosaurus eyes were just a little bit bigger than ours, even though their body was so much bigger. It's weird to think about. Yeah. And then in terms of what titanosaurs is related to, fortunately the skull and vertebrae are pretty useful for phylogeny when it comes to sauropods especially. And in the Sauropod family tree, Samite Nassau's came out as a diplomatic koide, which is the other major group opposed.
A macaron area, macaron area is where compressor's is, where the other more saurus were lumped into. So it's a good thing this one didn't get included with those because it's clearly not a camera saurus and it's not even in the same group as Compressor's. It's over on the other side of the Sauropod family tree. And if you want to be a little bit more specific, you could say it's a Bassal decree, a sword, which is again, like a lot of these family names, the craziest words are named after saurus, which is a Cretaceous one is pretty derived.
And it's also close Marcus or someone with a cool neck spines. Whenever I hear Dekraai saw it, I imagine all the Coolpad next spines sauropod, but I don't think they all had that. There's no indication that Spinosaurus had those Coolpad next lines. Right.
And if it's a Bazil and then it's less likely to have all the unique features. Yep. Yeah, yeah. So it's more of like a typical sauropod you would say, for anything. Bazzel But yeah, they've only found the skull really. So they have no they have the neck vertebrae so you might be able to see the spines if they were there. It's also pretty close in relation to R to Dorkus, which also showed up as an early decrease or in their analysis, which was a little bit of a revision on where it used to be.
But there is a little bit of an asterix when it comes to Spinosaurus, because the authors point out that juveniles sometimes appear as Bassal members of a group.
And that's a good point because they're not fully developed.
Yeah, and we know that sometimes derived dinosaurs and other animals, well, sort of re inherit juvenile characteristics as an adult characteristic. This weird thing that happens, it's called either Pado Morphos or apparently juvenile ization.
It's a little more obvious of what it means. So that could mean that might Nassau's is really just a juvenile version of an existing sauropod that we've already named and we already know more about, but we just don't have a juvenile. So we don't know that that's what it looks like as a young individual. And it could also be an existing sauropod that we don't have the head and the tip of the neck of, because since that's all we have of this dinosaur, if there's no overlap with another dinosaur that already has a name, it could get anonymize later, which is kind of weird because this was one of the earlier finds.
But it could get synonymous with something that was found later because it didn't get named and then renamed until later. So Messe. That's what happens with bomb war dinosaurs. It is, yeah, but so that's our last dinosaur from 20 20 Titanosaurus. All right.
Now under the sauropods of twenty twenty one, there are already a couple I think I covered one that was technically published in twenty twenty one, but sort of like pre published are published online in twenty twenty at this point. But this one was firmly in twenty twenty. Pretty interesting history that I like hearing about the changes over time and these sort of dinosaurs that stick around for one hundred years and like a weird limbo and then finally get their day in the sun.
Took longer than one hundred years. It did.
Yeah well many millions of years.
Oh that way. And in other news, it's got some quick museum news items. So the first one is that the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a new exhibit, Sue the T-Rex experience. Interesting. Yeah. So they've got full scale casts of Sue and a triceratops, and you learn how Sue was found. You can feel dinosaur skin. Oh, really?
Yeah. You can hear T. Rex rumble sounds.
I wonder if it's real dinosaur skin. I suspect it's probably like a cast replica or something. I think so, yeah.
But the the whole idea is to learn about Sue and then you see other fossils of fauna that lived alongside Sue. And then there's a replica of a T-Rex fighting at a Montessori fighting.
It seems like a pretty one sided fight between mothers or seems like a Montessori, as if it's winning its footing and successfully escaping sort of like a cheetah fighting a bunny.
Maybe don't know what kind of tricks those advertisers had up their sleeves, I suppose.
Yeah, maybe they had some good claws or something to a tail whack of some sort. Yeah.
So the exhibits open for now until April twenty fifth and buy tickets in advance for specific times to go in.
When you said sue the T-Rex experience, I was imagining there was some way to experience what it's like to be sue, but it doesn't sound like that's included.
Not that I've read, but I only read a brief description. I'm sure it didn't cover everything that's in there.
I think it's because there's a lot of VR things that end in like experience. It's like you could experience what it's like to be on the moon or on Mars or whatever you want to experience what it's like to be sue.
Then you get to play one of those games or you can play as a dinosaur. Yes.
And the last in Santa Barbara, California, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is reopening their prehistoric forest exhibit. Which I think we talked about it because it was a temporary exhibit in twenty nineteen and now it's a permanent thing, they're cool. Yeah.
So you can see animatronic T Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops Pariser office. You will Persepolis while walking around in this kind of foresty area, pretty typical sort of outdoor animatronic dinosaur situation.
Yeah. It looks like a nice place to walk.
I think that's the first Natural History Museum we went to together probably since we met in Santa Barbara. Yeah, I don't think they had any dinosaurs there at the time, though. No, they had the whale skeleton. Yeah, they still do.
Those are probably the closest thing that I had to a dinosaur was a whale skeleton.
Yeah, that's not very close. No.
Well I guess actually there's probably some birds in there that are technically dinosaurs. Real. True. They also have a very cool butterfly exhibit in a planetarium. It's a good spot. It is.
So if you want to see the dinosaurs now, you can buy tickets online. This episode has brought to you by every plate, I know we sometimes have a bit of a challenge figuring out our meal planning, which is why we like every plate so much. You can let every plate plan shop and deliver everything you need to cook for every meal of the week. For me, the planning is especially hard, which is why it's nice that they offer a changing menu of 14 recipes every week and then you just click on the ones you want.
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Yes. All lowercase and that'll get you an entire month of unlimited access for free. And now onto our Dinosaur of the Day, Bronto, which was a request from thieving Raptor Lorenzo via our patron and discord. So thanks also thanks to the authors for putting that pronunciation in the paper. Yeah, that's a huge help.
So Brontosaurus was a camera, saw a morph sauropod, possibly dubious that lived in the early Cretaceous in what is now Utah, in the U.S., in the Cedar Mountain formation.
And it looked a lot like other sauropods. You know, it's got the long neck and tail, but it also had really powerful thighs. Interesting.
So maybe it was a strong kicker or a good hiker, like climbing up hills kind of thing. So Brontosaurus had unusual hipbones that would have allowed these large leg muscle attachments. Actually, these would have been the largest leg muscles of any sauropod and the hipbone projects way forward from the socket. The illium has attachments for abductor muscles, and that would have allowed Bronto mirrors to move its leg away from its body. That's really interesting.
I wonder how or if it might have been changed by the recent SVP presentation we saw on the really long cartilage attachment to the hips that they think was probably on there and allowed for like really long muscle attachments as well, because maybe even though the bone wasn't really big with muscle attachment points, there could be other muscle attachment points that were soft tissue that didn't preserve. Oh, maybe. But I guess this is better evidence than we have for the other dinosaurs.
So Matthew Wato, who's the co-author of the paper that name Brontosaurus, has described Brontosaurus as, quote, more athletic than most other sauropods. They didn't see strong muscles on the back of the leg.
So it may not have had the strong thigh muscles for speed, but it could have instead allowed it to be a strong kicker and it could have kicked in defense against predators like Utahraptor Dinora case or maybe would kick to fight over meit's.
It's also possible it had these thunder thighs and I say thunder thighs because that's what the genus name means to help it walk through those rough, hilly terrain.
So Wato has described it as a quote, sort of dinosaur four wheel drive. It's also possible that it could have occasionally stood on two legs or even sometimes walked on two legs or that it had really long legs and they needed the muscles to control them. But it's unclear since no leg fossils were found, if it did have really long legs, then it probably would have looked pretty giraffe like the shoulder blade of brontosaurus had unusual bumps, which probably shows the boundaries of muscle attachments.
And that means it may have had powerful forelimb muscles to go with its powerful thighs to. Fragmentary specimens were found probably of an adult and juvenile, and maybe the adult was a parent to the juvenile. But there's no way of knowing for sure that was something that just got kicked about.
Can't do DNA tests on dinosaurs, unfortunately. Yeah, no paternity or maternity tests. Also, there's Polier that shows a mother, Brawne, tumorous protecting a juvenile by kicking a feathery raptor.
So they're going they're leaning into the parent idea.
Not everyone is actually. Michael Taylor, who is the main author of the paper, had this really great series of resources talking about the find. And one of the things is this FAQ you specifically saying, no, we don't claim it to be a mother and child.
Gotcha. So brontosaurs was estimated to be 46 feet or 14 metres long and weigh six tons as an adult. And the juvenile smaller specimen was about 15 feet, four and a half metres long and weighed about 440 pounds or two hundred kilograms.
That's a lot smaller. Yeah. So being a sauropod, you might guess. Yes, it's herbivorous. The type species is Brontosaurus McIntosh.
And again, the genus name means thunder thigh.
That's OK. Yeah.
And the species name is in honor of John McIntosh, who's a retired physics professor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, who spent his free time studying fossils in museums around the world. And when he retired, he studied sauropods. So the paper described him as a, quote, veteran sauropod worker whose quote, seminal paleontological work done mostly unfunded it on his own time has been an inspiration to all of us who follow, unquote.
So John Mackintosh is not known for having thunder thighs. That's not why this associate.
No, it's more that he is an inspiration. And I think it's because Mike Taylor, the main author, did something similar where he got into paleontology outside of his day job and then ended up publishing a bunch of papers. Nice. So Brent Miras was found at the Hotel Mesa Quarry, which is a site where private collectors had already excavated a number of fossils. It's unclear what else has already been found there because of that. And the team that found Bronto was found a lot of broken fossils.
So maybe it could have been more complete if they got there earlier. Yeah, maybe there were like fossils to be found. So, Brent, MERS is a pretty Bazil camera saw a morph, but it's hard to tell because any more fossils to know more. And again, it's possible that there are more Bronto Meir's fossils in private collections. In the paper, that name Bronson Marris, they said, quote, Given the density of bones still present and exposed and the fact that the existing quarry was already some five to six meters long and three meters deep, it appears that a considerable number of elements were removed from the quarry.
And of the loss of valuable scientific information has unfortunately been considerable. Bones left exposed by these previous collectors were in various states of disrepair, unquote.
Oh, so it's not even like they're in somebody's collection. And then maybe later on we can find them and associate them with this. It seems like they might have just been disregarded and left out in the open in the harsh winter and sort of fallen apart. We just don't know. Uh, I hope they're in somebody's collection and we can re associate them later. And they didn't just get destroyed.
Yeah, that'd be nice. So the fossils that were excavated were excavated in 1984, 1985 by a team from the Sam Noble Museum in Oklahoma. And the type specimen is old and age six six four three zero. It's the left illium of the smaller specimen, which is probably a juvenile. They also found parts of the shoulder hit ribs and vertebrae. So basically we just have whatever the axial skeleton, the vertebrae and things in line with the vertebrae, we don't have any limb bones whatsoever or skull where it looks like, depending on which vertebrae, much of the tail or the neck, potentially, we have enough to know that it had thunder thighs just based on the hips.
So these brown amirs fossils were housed unidentified at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in 1997. Jim Kirkwood and others had considered these fossils to be, quote unquote, comparable to plural Selous, which at the time was the only known early Cretaceous sauropod from North America. Then Brontosaurus was named in 2011 by Michael Taylor, Matthew Wato and Richard Cifelli. In 2012, Michael Dimmick did a Quidditch stick analysis of titanosaur forms and found Bruno Mars to be a snowman.
Dubious because the holiday was too fragmentary and therefore not diagnostic, not distinct enough. Which is why I say it might be this dubious dinosaur. But I just wanted to take a moment to talk a little bit about Michael Taylor or Mike Taylor, who wrote this paper, because it's really interesting. He's a computer programmer. He's got a Ph.D. in paleontology, and he's named three dinosaurs, Zino Poseidon and Hastey Source in addition to Bruno Mars. And he's published 18 papers and he co-founded Sauropod Verber, a picture of the week.
Nice. Very much a sauropod guy, it sounds like. Yeah.
Apparently he got into hunting for fossils about 20 years ago when he was inspired. He was reading a paleontology paper on a long plane ride. Then he started reading through a bunch of books and journals. And because he's published so many papers, because then he just started publishing papers, he got a formal PhD in 2009 from the University of Portsmouth. So Taylor became pen pals with Matthew Wato, who also does Sauropod Vertebra A Picture of the week. And now he studies fossils in museum collections.
So the discovery of Bronto Mirrors helped show that there was more diversity in sauropods. In the early Cretaceous was the eighth sauropod name from the early Cretaceous in North America.
And other animals that lived around the same time and place as brontosaurus include theropods or near the pods, crocodile farms and fish. And for today's fun fact, I took over this portion of the show.
Yeah, there's this really cool Tecktonik time lapse of the last billion years on Earth, and you can watch it in 40 seconds.
I can't even imagine how much work went into that. Oh, yeah, probably several lifetimes of work by various scientists.
Yeah, I guess in a way, because this latest paper that was able to put together this time lapse took a lot of previous papers information.
Yeah, you've got to survey a lot of the Earth's crust to figure out when different parts formed and where they were in relation to other plates and all that.
Mm hmm. And we'll share a link so you can watch the time lapse. So it was Andrew, Merideth and a team from France, Canada, China and Australia that published on the first continuous tectonic plate reconstruction of the last billion years on Earth, because before models cover different time periods in different parts of the world and these models were based on different assumptions and hypotheses. So the idea is to put it all together in one space. So again, you can see this animation in 40 seconds is really cool.
You see the continents merging and breaking apart. And having this model means that scientists can look at the changes and look at Earth systems and how they relate to evolution and then lay the groundwork for future studies.
Yeah, I think one obvious thing that they could add to it is sea level, because my very first question to Sabrina when you showed this to me was, does it include sea level? Because I'm always wondering about dinosaur migration and you need sea level data in order to be able to see that. And this model doesn't have sea level data yet. It's pretty easy to spot because I immediately went to when the Western Interior Seaway covered North America and it's shown as just regular old North America.
So if I guess you have to add geological height data to all of the continents, too, because mountain ranges formed at different times than if you have sea level data, you could combine it and see sea levels change over that same billion year period.
Yes, is very much meant to be a starting point. And one of the things that they're saying is it was hard to reconstruct because the sea floor doesn't last long because it gets recycled into deep earth at subduction zones.
So the team that used geological data, they combined and modified existing models to make this coherent global model and then reconstruct Earth's tectonic pulse. And then they put that data into this software called G plates. And then again, because the seafloor doesn't last long, there's no plates that are really older than 200 million years, no sea plates. Yeah. So they had to use a lot of indirect evidence to put it together. And they looked at plate boundaries and how they shifted over time and they went beyond the continental drift theory, which is where continents moved over time relative to each other.
Yeah, when you go into the billion year phase, you can't just take a snapshot and say, oh, it's moving two centimeters a year in this direction because things were facing spinning different ways and moving and all sorts of different directions over a billion years. Yeah, and around seven hundred and twenty million years ago, we had two massive ice ages where Earth was covered in glaciers and this time is called Snowball Earth, and things like Snowball Earth are related to plate tectonics and the evolution of life.
So, for example. According to Cosmos magazine, which published about this paper, they said, quote, Large scale weathering of mountain chains may have plunged us into an ice age. Global glaciers would have ground our mountains and sent a flood of nutrients out to sea, which may have caused bacteria to bloom and churn out oxygen, changing the composition of the atmosphere to the one we are familiar with today, the atmosphere that life as we know it evolved within, unquote.
So basically we have the ice ages. Earth is covered in snow, snowball earth and then protozoa evolved. And then six hundred, twenty five million years ago, we have the first multicellular organisms and then five hundred million years ago, more life, which led to other animals like dinosaurs and then eventually to where we are today. So, again, this model is a first step. They say, yes, there's been a lot of guesswork, it will probably change in the future, but it's meant to be a good starting point.
Yeah, I really like that idea. I like having a universal sort of model like that, because I know there are similar models that are used very often by scientists to look at things like how things were migrating. But to have it in one single animation where you can really see the detail of where the plates are is incredibly helpful. And it sticks in your mind a lot better when you can sort of see it all connected, rather than trying to imagine gaps in between individual pictures, which might be better known at a specific point in time.
But then you have this fuzzy picture in between. You know, the coolest thing to me is how fast India moved when it smashed up into Asia and created the Himalayan mountains and how fast Australia moved and how recent it was that it moved up from Antarctica much farther north and away from the poles and made it habitable, comfortable for people, really.
Which makes sense to me because a lot of times we talk about polar dinosaurs that are found in both Australia and Antarctica.
Yeah, yeah. I knew they moved up there. I just didn't realise how recent it was. Same thing with India. I it's very recent that it smashed into Asia, came all the way up from basically southern Africa. It's pretty crazy in animation. It's like things are slowly moving in India, just like cruise across the oceans. Slamming Asia is a fun animation and it is really helpful to have you pick different time periods where you think about dinosaurs and you want to see how close different continents were and things like that.
What was connected? Yes, we had a lot of fun watching several times. Yeah, I did a lot of pausing, too.
And that wraps up this episode of A.I. Now. Thanks for listening. Don't forget to subscribe to us in your favourite podcast app so you don't miss out on any new episodes and consider joining our community. Patreon Dotcom's. I know. Dana, thanks again.
And until next time to me. Before you go, I just want to quickly mention that we're doing a Q&A with Terria and Tara following our next watch party of Follow the Bones. They're the creators behind it. So obviously they can answer any questions you have about the documentary. And we'll be doing our watch party at 1:00 p.m. Pacific, 4:00 pm Eastern Time. And then the Q&A will be right afterwards at 2:00 p.m. Pacific, 5:00 pm Eastern. So if you have any questions for the Follow the Bones creators, make sure to join our live stream.
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