Thursday, May 16, 2013

Coloring the Terrible Lizards!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my website/blog. Once again, it's time for more updates before we go to my most recent article. So let's get started!

I tell ya, just when I was starting to get really excited about Jurassic Park IV's release, something happens. As you'll recall, this movie was supposed to come out on June 13, 2014. And over the past few months, they've been slipping a little bit of information on this movie out. But something terrible happened recently to this movie – the release date has been . . . postponed! Why you ask? Well, for a few days, JP fans have been wondering why in the world they would postpone this movie. Then we finally got our answer. Here is what Universal Studios has to say about the film:
"Universal has decided to release Jurassic Park 4 at a later date giving the studio and filmmakers adequate time to bring audiences the best possible version of the fourth instalment in Universal's beloved franchise.
"We could not be more excited about the vision that Colin Trevorrow has created for this film, and we look forward to watching as he and the producers create another great chapter in this franchise's storied history."
So, it appears that the movie's release date has been postponed because after the original final script was completed and the “release date” was given, the director of this movie, Colin Trevorrow and some of the film's screenwriters have done some “minor” changes to the script and they gave this new script to Universal on May 6th. They apparently have made the film more epic then they had originally imagined and this makes it impossible to release the movie by June 13, 2014. So, so much for Jurassic Park IV coming out next year! BUT, on the bright side, at least it's not canceled! And I also have learned some other news regarding this movie: they've started asking actors to be in the movie! The two possibilities for a couple of leading roles are Bryce Dallas Howard and David Oyelowo. We'll see if they accept the offer to be in one of the greatest franchises ever!

Now we know Jurassic Park IV's original release date has been postponed, but fortunately there are other movies I will look forward to seeing in the upcoming future. As you know from reading my last couple of posts, I am looking forward to three upcoming movies from Pixar:

Monsters University, June 21, 2013
The Good Dinosaur, May 30, 2014
Finding Dory, November 25, 2015

And if that's not good enough, I will also be looking forward to a film that's due to come out later this year and it's being produced by the BBC. I am a fan of the Walking with . . . series (this series includes series such as Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Beasts, Walking with Monsters, Chased by Dinosaurs and etc.). So when I found out they were making a new film, I found it easy to get excited! This new film is called Walking with Dinosaurs 3D and it's due to come out December 13, 2013. Unlike Jurassic Park IV, it's already (for the most part at least) finished, it's just waiting to be released. Here is a teaser trailer for this film:

For those of you who are looking forward to my upcoming stop-motion series: Planet of the Dinosaurs, you'll be glad to know that I am roughly 75% finished with the first episode, “Out of Africa”. So I should be completely finished with it and ready to reveal it by the end of this month.

Dinosaurs are some of the most awe-inspiring creatures ever to walk the earth. You've probably seen hundreds of them in books, television, toy shops, museums and theme parks. You might think you know what they look like. But did you know that just about every dinosaur you've ever seen is a work of fiction? I mean, we don't even know what color these animals were. For years, the trail was cold. Why? Well because first of all, while we have a lot of dinosaur fossils – stone copies of long dead bones – dinosaur fossilized skin isn't that common. And when it's found, the coloration is gone. So scientists have had to guess.

So what factors would possibly determine what color dinosaurs were? Knowing what habitat they lived in definitely helps. Maybe a dinosaur living in a forest would have spots for camouflage or a predatory dinosaur might have stripes like a tiger to conceal itself from its prey until the attack. But that's all scientists used to be able to do – guess! They had no sure way of knowing what color the dinosaurs were. Scientists were sure that the color of the dinosaurs would never be revealed. I mean, it can't right, considering the coloration of the skin is gone . . . right? Not anymore!

In 2010, a paleontologist named Fucheng Zhang and his colleagues completed their studies of a little dinosaur called Sinornithosaurus. What they discovered would totally change the way we view these animals. Pigment in hair, fur and feathers comes from microscopic cells called melanosomes. What color you are depends on the shape of the melanosomes in the skin/feathers/fur. Zhang believed that if these structures appeared in the cells of the  extinct animals when they were alive, they should also appear in the fossils. He was correct! By comparing the melanosomes in Sinosauropteryx with living animals, he was able to determine the color of this dinosaur when it was alive! For the first time in thousands of years, dinosaurs can be depicted in their real colors, so what color was Sinosauropteryx? Well, based on this study Sinosauropteryx is believed to have been reddish-brown with ginger-colored bands on its tail.

Sinosauropteryx - by comparing the melanosomes genes found in the fossils of this dinosaur with modern animals, scientists were able to learn the true color of this animal.
What could these have been used for? Well, perhaps these striped tails could be used to signal to other Sinosauropteryx or to attract mates. We may never know, but we can always guess. In recent years, scientists have begun to look at other extinct dinosaurs and birds to see what colors they were. Let's look at a few of these creatures that have just been given a touch of true coloration!

Sinornithosaurus is probably a member of the dromaeosaur family (this group contains animals such as Deinonychus and the ever-popular Velociraptor). This dinosaur's coloration was revealed at the same time as Sinosauropteryx's was, and the study revealed that Sinornithosaurus was probably a mixture of browns, yellows, reds and blacks – perfect coloration for a life hunting in the ancient, pre-flood forests of China. This dinosaur has another deadly secret – a recent study not only suggests this was a colorful and dangerous predator, but also a venomous one at that! Stay clear of this dinosaur!

Sinornithosaurus - God designed this possibly venomous animal with the perfect  body colors to help it blend into the forests it lived in. (Please note that we have no evidence for feathers on this dinosaur)
The skeleton of Sinornithosaurus
Dinosaurs aren't the only ones getting colored up. Prehistoric birds are getting a make-over too.   Anchiornis was the prehistoric version of a roadrunner – it had long legs that were perfect for running and, despite being a bird, it had a sickle-shaped claw on each foot like a dromaeosaur. Most of this bird's feathers were black and gray, but the Mohawk-like feathers on its head were a rusty, orange-reddish color.

Anchiornis - the prehistoric version of a road-runner. With a pair of sickle-shaped claws on its feet, black and white body feathers and rusty-colored Mohawk-like feathers on its head, this bird was built to impress!
At about the size of a raven, the bird known as Archaeopteryx, is perhaps one of the most famous of the extinct birds (next to the Dodo bird). After looking at the microscopic melanosomes in 2011, graduate student Ryan Carney and his colleagues discovered it was mostly black. While the study doesn't prove that it was 100% black, it still makes the older paintings of Archaeopteryx as a colorful creature obsolete.

Archaeopteryx - this bird was created on Day 5 of the Creation week 6,000 years ago with stunning black feathers. Black feathers suggests this bird was diurnal.
This painting of an Archaeopteryx is inaccurate because this bird is now known to have been at least partially/mostly black.
Discovered in 2000, Microraptor (like Archaeopteryx and Anchiornis) is considered by most evolutionists to be a dinosaur that is evolving into a bird. However, creationists (like myself, even though I don't have a PhD, so I guess you could call me an “amateur, unofficial scientist”) and know that this animal is in fact a prehistoric bird (for more, see this link), with clawed hands, a sickle-shaped claw on each foot and a tooth-filled jaw. Like Archaeopteryx, Microraptor has often been depicted as a colorful animal, but in 2012, Dr. Quanguo Li and his team uncovered the truth: Microraptor was probably a black, iridescent color, much like the modern blackbird. Perhaps this bird used its feathers for communication or sexual display, like modern iridescent birds.

Microraptor - this bird is now known to be black in color
Up until 2013, extinct animal coloration studies were done on small animals that had either feathers, in the case of Microraptor, Anchiornis and Archaeopteryx, or collagen fibers (not feathers), in the case of Sinosauropteryx and Sinornithosaurus. But scientists finally found out that they might be able to know about the coloration of other, larger, more familiar dinosaurs. Recently, a piece of Cretaceous fossilized hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) skin was found in Alberta, Canada. This find is amazing only because it's rare, but also because it's three-dimensional – many other “skin” specimens are just skin imprints. Many scientists are hoping that those little melanosomes are still in this piece of skin so they will be able to tell what color this dinosaur might have been. Physicist Mauricio Barbie is quoted for saying, “As we excavated the fossil, I thought that we were looking at a skin impression. Then I noticed a piece came off and I realized this is not ordinary-this is real skin.”

As I said earlier, learning the color pigments of prehistoric birds and dinosaurs is nothing new, but this is the very first time it will be done with actual dinosaur skin (remember, the study on Sinornithosaurus and Sinosauropteryx . . .). This hadrosaur is not the only dinosaur being tested for melanosomes however, a Tyrannosaurus rex nicknamed “Scotty” is also being a analyzed. Wouldn't it be great to know the real color of the most famous dinosaur of all time?

Evolutionists are always puzzled when new discoveries are made dealing with fossils that have been so inquisitively preserved, from the intricate feathers of a Microraptor to the 3D piece of hadrosaur skin, because they would have needed to have been buried very quickly to be preserved so well. These scientists date these animals based on which fossil layers they've been found in and are often dated to being millions of years old; within biblical, Flood-model geology however, “many of the fossil-containing rock layers can be best understood to reflect the order of burial during the global Flood, which”* that occurred less than 4,500 (probably closer to 4,350) years ago. So the supposed date assigned to the fossils we mentioned today (e.g. the hadrosaur skin specimen is dated around 70 million years old in the secular worldview) are mere flights of fantasy.

A possible coloration for the hadrosaur known at Edmontosaurus

A possible coloration for Tyrannosaurus rex
I sure hope that  melanosomes have survived in hadrosaur and tyrannosaurus specimens. Wouldn't it be great to know what color these animals might have been when they once lived on this earth? I'll be sure to keep you posted on the latest news of this amazing find as we delve deeper and deeper into the literal Planet of the Dinosaurs!

Wow! Who knew fossils could give us so much information about these extinct animals, now we have even begun to unravel their colors! What color do YOU think Tyrannosaurus and hadrosaurs were? Please voice your opinion by either taking part in my poll at the right side of the page (the poll closes on the15th) or post a comment using the instructions given in the “PS's” at the bottom of this post. Please come back next week where we can learn more about the wonderful world God has created for us to live in. Bye for now!

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