Friday, January 30, 2015

Re-run Article: Rabbits and Crabs and Dragons...OH MY!

Again, I had a very uneventful week. Yawn. But on the bright side, I have some awesome news to share about, you guessed it, Jurassic World!

Days till:
It is: 3 days till Groundhog's Day
It is: 15 days till St. Valentine's Day
It is: 17 days till President's Day
It is: 46 days till St. Patrick's Day

In the Spotlight:
As promised, I have a lot to report on concerning the upcoming third sequel to Jurassic Park: Jurassic World! How exciting! First, off Lego is producing a JP game based on not only Jurassic World, but the other three movies as well. Here is their official description:
"Following the epic storylines of Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, as well as the highly anticipated Jurassic World, LEGO Jurassic World is the first videogame where players will be able to relive and experience all four Jurassic films. The game will be available in June for the Xbox One, all-in-one games and entertainment system, the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system, the Wii U™ system from Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system, and Windows PC."- Business Wire
You might recall that last week, I wrote an article about hybrids. Well, wouldn't you know it, we finally have some (officially revealed, this time) information on the terrifying Indominus rex hybrid from the upcoming movie! The Masrani Global Corporation website breaks the news this way:
"Today at Masrani, we have a fantastic announcement to make. Over the last three years, the brilliant minds at InGen, lead by the great visionary Dr. Henry Wu, have brought us a new attraction for Jurassic World – the likes of which have never been seen before. While I cannot reveal any important information behind its creation at this time, I can reveal the title of our finest endeavor: the Indominus Rex." - Simon Masrani
The Jurassic World viral site has even more information about this beast on its bio page. It states that currently, Indominus rex is a 40-foot, hyper-carnivore that can run up to 30 her enclosure!

As had been rumored, she is indeed a hybrid, but, get this, she isn't a hybrid between a cuttlefish, a snake, a T. rex and a Velociraptor as Joblo had led us to believe. It is actually a hybrid between four different species of theropod dinosaurs: Giganotosaurus, Carnotaurus, Majungasaurus, and Rugops, the latter three are members of the abelisauridae family. Though Indominus rex may look a little like a T. rex to some at first glance, the arms of this creature are longer, she has spines extending down her arms and neck and she bears a pair of horns on her head. Her aggression level is very high.

Behold, the long-awaited for: Indominus rex!
What the creature looks like, other than what we gathered from that leaked bunch of photos I refuse to show, is unknown. But we will be seeing more of her this summer. And don't worry, I am sure Indominus rex will be kept safely in her confinement throughout the entire movie and won't be chasing and eating people. After all, Jurassic World is 100% safe!...right?

Indominus rex, coming this summer to Jurassic World!
Topic of the Week by Joy Hammond 
I went out and searched for interesting animals on the internet, when I came across a fun and furry critter. It’s called the Angora rabbit.  They are the oldest domestic animals that came from Turkey. They were considered royal pets in France. They eat a lot of hay and their personalities are very energetic. Their playful and enjoy other rabbits. They like toys such as pinecones, stuffed socks, and rubber balls.
The French Angora is the more bunny-like of the Angora rabbits.
 There are five different types of Angora rabbits: American, French, German, giant, and satin. American Angora Rabbit is like a stuffed animal. It is gentle but needs grooming at least twice a week. French Angora rabbits look like a sheep in a way. Its fur is used for sweaters, baby clothes, and millinery. This rabbit can’t shed its fur like the rest so it has to be sheered. Giant Angora rabbits are extremely fluffy; they need to be sheered at least every 180 days to prevent hair clots that would end up causing death if not treated. A satin angora is almost like a normal rabbit, only a bit furrier.

The French Angora rabbit is definitely woolly!
Another interesting animal is a Kiwa hirsuta or the yeti crab. The crab is found in the Pacific Ocean. The yeti crab was discovered in March 2006. It is seems to be blind and a carnivore, although it eats bacteria. Its furry claws are one of the best qualities about the yeti crab. The claws detoxify poisonous minerals in the sea, where it lives. The crab was discovered by Robert Vrijenhoek and his group in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Monterey, California.

The Yeti crab wasn't discovered until recently because it makes its home in the depths of the ocean near volcanic vents.
One last animal is the Leafy sea dragon. It is mostly found in the coasts of Australia, one of my favorite countries/continents that I’d like to visit. The sea dragon’s skin camouflages and makes it appear like seaweed. It eats amphipods and mysid shrimpplankton, and larval fish. Leafy sea dragons have a major threat when their first born. They are slow swimmers and sea dragons are also used in alternative medicine. Dive into the ocean this summer and see the world beneath the surface.

The leafy sea dragon uses its leaf-like fins for camouflage.
Thanks for reading today's article. Please be sure to stop by next Thursday for some more exciting information about nature and about upcoming movies! Good bye!

Disclaimer: Many (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via one or both of the email addresses above.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wonderful Hybrids

There is a very interesting Topic of the Week today that I have written. If you are interested in animals, this is the article for you! I also have some interesting information regarding Jurassic World merchandise!

Days till:
It is: 10 days till Groundhog's Day
It is: 20 days till President Lincoln's Birthday
It is: 22 days till Valentine's Day

In the Spotlight:
The added bonus of an upcoming Jurassic World movie is lots and lots of cool merchandise! Hasbro has advertised a new line of toys that will come out just in time for the movie. In fact, they even made a cool poster for it:

This is the Hasbro poster for their new Jurassic World line.

While it is doubtful that the dinosaurs or sets seen in the toy sets accurately reflect everything that will take place in the movie (meaning we shouldn't have to worry about spoilers), the toys are helpful in telling us what coloration the dinosaurs might have in the film (keep in mind that the toys could still be very different from their movie counterparts). Here are some of the new toys below:

"Titan Raptor Echo"

"The Chomping Rex"

"Allosaurus Basher"

Dimorphodon - in Jurassic World, will it be friendly or dangerous?

Cool, huh? It is believed the toy line will be released in May. To see more toys, check out this link.

Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan
Lions, and Ligers and Tygons...oh my!
Many people believe that animals can only breed with members of their own species. But animal reproduction isn't nearly as limited to this as most people think! In fact, many times both in the past and present times, animals of different species have together produced offspring, many times fertile. Welcome to the world of hybrids!

How are hybrids even possible? How can animals that are two completely different species breed with each other? Well, the answer is easily found in the Bible. In Genesis 1:21 and 25 states that when God created animals, He made them to reproduce after their own kind. The word “kind” is also used in a similar context in Genesis 6 and 8, when God instructed that Noah take two of every kind of land and flying animal on the Ark (in addition to seven or seven pairs of clean animals). Now the Biblical term “kind” is different from our usage of the word “kind” today. Today, a “kind of animal” can mean “species”, “family” or etc. in modern classification methods. But the Bible's definition of “kind” seems to indicate that the word implies groups of animals that can breed with each other. In other words, God created animals to reproduce within the boundaries of their “kind”. For example, today we have the “dog kind”, “cat kind”, “horse kind”, “elephant kind” and etc. There are different variations within each kind of animal, and different species within this kind can interbreed, but that's where it stops. They don't change from one kind of animal into a different kind of animal. Modern science not only supports this, but it also doesn't offer any proof that they animals can evolve into different kinds of animals (I could go into why humans didn't evolve from apes or why dinosaurs didn't evolve into birds, but getting that specific is beyond the scope of this article). The proper word for a “created kind” is baramin. Most creationist scientists agree that usually, the word baramin is synonymous to the level of “family” in modern classification methods. After the Genesis Flood, each baramin exited the ark and reproduced; overtime, different variations came about within the specific baramins (e.g. African and Asian elephants and mammoths all descended from the “elephant kind”; coyotes, wolves, great Danes and poodles descended from the “canine kind”). So in a nutshell, the easy way to tell if two animals are from the same baramin is if they can breed with each other. You can check out the references below for a more scientific method of determining baramins.

All the different members of the ceratopsid family are in the same baramin. Illustrated above (top left to right bottom) are: Triceratops, Chasmosaurus, Styracosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus.
But here's the cool thing: while most animals breed with members of their own species, many breed with other members of their baramin. Today we're going to look at just a few of these remarkable hybrids:

The liger is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger.
Perhaps one of the most famous hybrids of all is the liger. You can probably guess or already know that ligers are the descendants of a lion and a tiger, but it has to be a male lion and a female tiger to be considered a liger. If you get offspring from a female lion and a male tiger, the cub is called a tigon. Weighing as much as 1,000 lbs and stretching 9-10 feet long, ligers are the largest cats that have ever existed, even larger than the largest wild cat, Smilodon populator, also known as the saber-toothed cat, that weighed up to 880 lbs. As you would expect, ligers have traits of both lions and tigers: ligers possess a (faint) striped coat and love to swim like tigers, and like lions they are very social creatures and have rosette markings. Did you know that ligers are not sterile as is commonly believed? In fact, several female ligers have been known to reproduce offspring.

Ligers are the largest cats ever to exist on earth.
Ligers and tigons aren't the only cat hybrids out there. Pumapards – crosses between pumas and leopards –, jaglions – crosses between jaguars and lions –, Blynxes – crosses between bobcats and lynxes (this pairing has occurred in the wild) – and lynxcats – crosses between lynxes and domestic cats.

Jaglions are crosses between jaguars and lions.

Mules are crosses between a male donkey and a female horse.
Even though many people are familiar with ligers, the most well-known hybrid of them all is the mule, a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. A cross between a female donkey and a male horse is called a hinny. Even though most mules are infertile, some female mules have given birth to offspring when they have mated with a purebred horse or donkey.

Should the zonkey be placed in a zoo or a farm? I don't know either.
Have you ever heard of a Zonkey? This is a cross between a male zebra and a female donkey. Zorses are the result of breeding a male zebra and a female horse. Both zonkeys and zorses have a mixture of traits from each parent, one of which is the characteristic stripes of the zebra parent.

This is a baby Wolphin.

Hybrids aren't only limited to terrestrial creatures. At Hawaii's Sea Life Park in 1985, a female bottlenose dolphin mated with a male false killer whale, resulting in a wolphin. There is only one wholphin in captivity today, but they have also been reported in the wild. The wholphin is a fertile animal; this was proved when the individual at Sea Life Park successfully mated with male dolphins and over time has given birth to three calves, only one of which (the third one born) is still alive to this day. Like her parents, Sea Life Park's wholphin is a regular part of the park's tour.

The cama is a cross between a camel and a llama. PHOTO CREDITS
Even though the llama looks like a cross between a sheep and a camel, it and its cousin the alpaca, are members of the camel family. The cama is a cross between a male dromedary camel and a female llama. The first cama ever was born on January 14, 1998. The hopes of the breeders was to create an animal with higher wool productions than a normal llama, but with the strength and size of a camel and cooperative temperament. Like the camel, they can survive for long periods of time without water.

The pizzly bears pictured above are a cross between polar bear and brown bear.
In 2006, a Idahoan hunter named Jim Martell went to Canada after buying a license to hunt a polar bear for $45,450. He found a bear and shot it, believing it to be a polar bear. But on closer inspection, he was confused about the bear he shot – it had the thick, cream-colored fur and long claws expected to be seen in a polar bear, but it also had a muscly hump over its shoulder, brown patches around its eyes, nose and back and a shallow face like a grizzly bear. What had shot? As he didn't buy a license to kill a grizzly bear, Jim would have possibly been charged a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail if he did indeed shoot a grizzly. Fortunately for him, he didn't shoot a grizzly, but he didn't shoot a polar bear either. He had shot a creature descended from both animals! A similar incident occurred in 2010.

This cross between a grizzly bear and a polar bear has been referred to as a “pizzly” or “grolar” bear. The cause of this hybrid is believed by scientists to result from the overlap of the habitats of grizzly and polar bears in Canada. Pizzly bears have been bred in zoos and, as expected, exhibit features and behaviors of both parents.

The killer bee was accidentally released into the wild in 1957.
In the 1950's, biologist Warwick E. Kerr decided to breed African bees with European bees to create a type of bee that produced more honey and was more suited for tropical environments. The new type of bee he bred was called the Africanized bee. These bees were initially bred in Brazil and were noted to be particularly defensive. But in October 1957, a beekeeper visiting the place where these bees were kept accidentally released 26 swarms of the Africanized bees! The bees began moving northward and spread out, multiplying fast. Eventually they moved into the United States, with the first permanent colony sited in 1990 in Texas. Most people know these bees as “killer bees”. These bees differ from their European ancestors in many ways:

  • They like to swarm and go farther than other types of honey bees
  • Are more likely to migrate in response to lowered food supply
  • Entire colonies are more likely to leave hives to relocate in response to stress
  • Has greater defensiveness when in resting swarms compared to other honey bee types
  • Lives more in ground cavities than European bees
  • Higher portion of guard bees within hive
  • Deploys in greater numbers for defense and pursues perceived threats over much longer distance from hives
  • They can't survive extended periods of forage deprivation, preventing introduction into areas with harsh winters or extremely dry late summers

Despite their reputation, however, killer bees really aren't the assassins Hollywood makes them out to be; they aren't larger than normal bees, nor do they have more potent venom or stalk people in deadly swarms. The reason why they are more dangerous than other honey bees is because they have more perseverance and are easier to agitate. This aggression comes from their African bee ancestors, which have to fend off much more dangerous honey-thieves than European bees, such as the honey badger.

Motty was the first confirmed cross between an African elephant and an Asian elephant. PHOTO CREDITS.
Hybrids have also occurred between members of the elephant kind. Whereas most baramins are synonymous to the level “family” in modern classification, the elephant baramin might be an exception and instead might be at the classification level of the order “proboscidea”, which would include all modern elephants, and also mammoths, mastodons and several other extinct trunked mammals, with a few exceptions, such as the tapir-like Moeritherium.

Motty was a hybrid between a female Asian and a male African elephant that was born on July 11, 1978 at the Chester Zoo in Cheshire, England. Motty was a male and bore features from both of his parents, including the cheek, long and pointed lobed ears, longer and slimmer legs, wrinkled trunk of an African elephant and the number of toenails (5 front, 4 back), sloping and domed head and the single-fingered trunk of an Asian elephant. Unfortunately, the elephant was unhealthy upon birth and died 12 days after birth. Other unconfirmed elephant hybrids have been reported.

Contrary to what many evolutionists wish was true, the variety within each baramin doesn't prove evolution is true, but rather, they brilliantly showcase the amazing genetic diversity God provided each of His creations with. Over time, this genetic diversity enables animals to change and adapt to their environmental needs via natural selection and mutation. This enables us to have an amazing diversity among animals today. We don't know everything about the different baramins God created, but that gives us all the more reason to continue studying and learning about all of God's wonderful animals.


Disclaimer: Many (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via one or both of the email addresses above.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Inside Scoop Into the World I'm Apart pt. 3

Nothing too eventful happened over this past week. So there's not a whole lot to talk about in my introduction. So without further ado, let's move to our "Days till" section:

Days till:
It is: 3 days till Martin Luther King Jr. Day
It is: 17 days till Groundhog's Day
It is: 29 days till St. Valentine's Day

In the Spotlight:
Ok, technically, there is some major Jurassic World news for this week, but I am not going to show or support it on my blog. You see, the news is the leakage of our first image of Indominus rex that occurred yesterday. I am a little disappointed that it leaked, because I wanted to see it for the first time in the movie theater and because director Colin Trevorrow worked so hard to keep its appearance a secret. Now the secret is out because some inconsiderate blockhead decided "Hey, I'm going to leak this and ruin the hopes and dreams of people everywhere until the movie comes out in theaters!" (I'm sure he didn't say that exactly, but my point still remains). While I have promoted relatively minor leaks on this blog in the past, the leakage of Indominus rex is a major leak. The leaks I promoted were things we would have learned when the trailers for the film come out. Indominus rex's full body was likely to never appear in a trailer until after the film premiered, as Trevorrow wanted. Therefore, I encourage others to join us Jurassic Park fans who want to refuse to promote this leakage.

Many fans might feel that the movie will have no surprises now that Indominus rex has been leaked. This is not the case. To date, only pictures have been leaked; we still have so much to learn from Indominus rex and the other dinosaurs we'll see in the movie like how they walk, eat (people), run and roar. I am only getting more and more excited about the release of Jurassic World in 145 days on June 12th!
Topic of the Week by Joy Hammond
This and all the images involving Club Penguin are NOT my own!
Hey guys, it's time to learn some secrets around Club Penguin. Here are the four last places I will talk about. There's actually a few more but, well, I don't want to take all the surprise away from the island. You're just going to have to find out yourself. First off, the Iceberg! The Iceberg is where you can go into the Aqua Grabber (like a submarine) and go on deep sea adventures (above). Rumor has it that if try to drill the Iceberg, it might just tip. Many penguins have tried and given up, but perhaps they're just missing someone like you. 

Second place is the, well it's not really a sewer, it's just the Underground Tunnels. This is where you can ride mine carts, go on puffle rescues, search for gold, go on a quest for the golden puffle, discover the hidden lagoon with a mysterious underwater door, enjoy the pool, or even the boiler room. All these tunnels are connected to the Plaza, the Town, The Mine, and the Forest.

The Underground Tunnels is where you can ride mine carts, go on puffle rescues, search for gold, go on a quest for the golden puffle, discover the hidden lagoon with a mysterious underwater door, enjoy the pool, or even the boiler room.
The Third place is the Dojo. Yes, you hear me right. The Dojo. Here is where you earn you're belts and learn your elements. Learn the ancient moves of Card-jitsu. Card-jitsu is where you match your smarts against another players with types of power cards. The training varies in difficulty levels and the game is like rock-paper-scissors just better. After you've earned your black belt, you should go on to further your study as a ninja. You can study all of the three elements available: fire, snow, and water. Once you've collected the stone pendant than you will be a ninja master. Master Sensei is the one responsible for the Dojo and it's mysterious secrets. He is willing to teach anyone with the motivation to try. The best part would be, challenging Sensei. This is the final test to earning your huge honor or reward.

The Dojo is where you earn you're belts and learn your elements.
The last place has a secret that even I shouldn't tell you. I can't help but spoil somethings. There is a building called the Everyday Phone Facility. Curiously enough, no one on Club Penguin really owns a telephone. The Facility was created after the previous shop, the Sports shop, was apparently destroyed by popcorn - a popcorn bomb. Not every penguin notices what goes on behind the scenes in this mysterious building. It looks ordinary enough but there might be something more going on. Well I'm leaving you suspense. I won't say a single word more. You'll have to find out yourself. Until then Waddle On.
The Everyday Phone Facility was created after the previous shop, the Sports shop, was apparently destroyed by popcorn - a popcorn bomb.

Disclaimer: Many (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via one or both of the email addresses above.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Spinosaurus: Pharaoh of Egyptian Waterways

Alright guys! I wasn't able to upload the photos of what I got for "Christmas" (actually more like New Year's), so I won't be able to show them to you guys yet. Sorry. I'll try again next week! In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a wonderful 2015. If you've made a New Year's resolution, here's my advice: keep it! LOL! My sister is already on the verge of loosing hers.

Days till:
It is: 10 days till Martin Luther King Jr. Day
It is: 24 days till Groundhog's Day
It is: 36 days till St. Valentine's Day

In the Spotlight:
OK, there's not much on Jurassic World or any other movies I've been following this past week, but according to Mercedes-Benz, their company will be not only supporting Jurassic World the movie, but their all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé will also be in the film! Just check out the pictures below:

Director Colin Trevorrow (the guy on the right) is looking at the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé next to the enclosure for Indominus rex (aka Diabolus rex)!
Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé will be on Isla Nublar, but you're unlikely to find it in the Jurassic World gift shop.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé will not be one of the vehicles tourists to Jurassic World will ride. It seems to belong to Claire, the park operations manager.
In other news, states that they believe the movie's hybrid dinosaur will not be named "Diabolus rex", as most have thought; instead, it seems to have the name of Indominus rex, or "I. rex". With a name like that, I'm not sure I'd like to meet this "I. rex" in person, especially since I probably wouldn't live long enough to tell about it!

Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan
Even since I published my article about how our perception of Spinosaurus has changed over the years, I had no idea it was about to change...again!
Two years ago, I wrote an article about the largest carnivore God has ever assembled: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. This hyper-carnivore has had an exciting history, which I described in detail in the aforementioned article I wrote. I spoke of how in 1912, this dinosaur's remains were discovered in the desert of Egypt by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer. These fossils – the only ones known to belong to Spinosaurus at the time – were destroyed in World War II, so we were forced to live with nothing more than a few scant remains of this dinosaur. Then I talked about how more fossil discoveries made over the years, and comparisons made in Spinosaurus' relations, like Baryonyx and Suchomimus helped us piece together what this dinosaur was like in life. But as I wrote that article, I had no clue that a new fossil discovery made (but not announced) that same year (2013) would add another chapter to Spinosaurus' story. This new fossil made out Spinosaurus to be even weirder than we ever imagined.
The white bones are the only fossils Stromer discovered from Spinosaurus. No wonder we were dead wrong when it came to knowing what this animal was like in life.
This new chapter to Spinosaurus' story started with paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim. It had been a burning desire of his to find more Spinosaurus fossils to help paleontologists all over the world learn more about this incredible dinosaur. In 2009, he ran into a fossil collector in Morocco who had discovered some small Spinosaurus fossils. Ibrahim was intrigued by the fossils he saw. Later on, Ibrahim recognized these same fossils when they were found in a museum basement of a museum in Milan.

We thought we knew everything about Spinosaurus, the largest predator ever to walk the earth.
In 2013, Ibrahim decided to continue his search for Spinosaurus fossils and was miraculously able to track down the exact same fossil dealer he met before. The fossil dealer led him to the very place he found the spinosaur fossils before and the excavation began! What Ibrahim and his team discovered was the most complete skeleton of Spinosaurus that was ever discovered; they even discovered many bones that were previously not known from this dinosaur, including feet and leg bones. The fossils were brought back to the University of Chicago so Ibrahim, paleontologist Paul Sereno and others were able to reconstruct the entire skeleton of Spinosaurus using fossils from the new specimen, sketches and photographs of Stromer's destroyed specimen, other scant Spinosaurus remains that have been found over the years and fossils from other members of the spinosaur family. What the recent scientific study of this dinosaur revealed, was a very different creature than we once thought!

Baryonyx was just one of Spinosaurus' relatives used to recreate what Spinosaurus actually looked like.
Up until 2013 and 2014, scientists were sure that, like its relatives such as Suchomimus and Baryonyx, Spinosaurus was a bipedal carnivore that terrorized the ancient North African swamps, eating anything from other dinosaurs, to fish, judging by the shape of its claws and teeth. It had a long, crocodile-like jaw, sharp claws on its hands and a row of tall dorsal spines that formed a sail in life. However, the recent discovery revealed that this dinosaur was much more bizarre than we initially believed.

The study re-confirmed what we already knew: that at 50-59 feet long and weighing 7-20 tons, Spinosaurus was the largest terrestrial predator of all time. But it also revealed several new things about this dinosaur. Starting at the head, Spinosaurus possessed nostrils located midway up the snout, rather than at the end like most other dinosaurs. CAT scans on this carnivore's skull revealed that it had nerve and blood channels running through its snout that could likely detect pressure changes in water. This dinosaur also had a long neck and tail. Its legs came as a complete surprise. Considering this dinosaur was an enormous predator, it is easy to assume that it stood upon two strong back legs like its relatives. That's not what Ibrahim and his team found out! The fossil legs of Spinosaurus were rather short, telling the scientists that it really couldn't have walked on its hind legs like other members of the spinosaur family because it was too top heavy. This was the first known quadrupedal (four-legged) dinosaur. But that's not the only thing the scientists noticed about its limbs. Dinosaur arm and leg bones – almost by definition – have a marrow cavity. In other words, they're hollow like the bones of modern birds. Upon closer inspection of Spinosaurus leg and arm bones however, Ibrahim and the other scientists studying the specimen realized that this dinosaur's bones were not hollow – they pretty much solid bone. The reason why most dinosaurs had hollow bones was so that they could have a strong and lightweight skeleton at the same time. Spinosaurus' skeleton was not lightweight, making it seem like this dinosaur wanted to be heavy. Now the scientists studying this animal's bones realized that virtually solid bones are known in animals today that have one thing in common: they're swimmers.

It turned out that the largest terrestrial predator was actually semi-aquatic!
All the evidence seems to point to Spinosaurus being a semi-aquatic dinosaur – the first known in the history of paleontology. Now other semi-aquatic dinosaurs have been proposed in the past, such as hadrosaurs, or duck-billed dinosaurs, and long-necked sauropods, but these dinosaurs' bodies were not designed for a watery lifestyle. Spinosaurus was. It would have terrorized pre-Flood North African lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes and swamps. Here, it was pharaoh of its domain. Its long crocodile-like snout and meat-hook-like claws would have been used to snag fish, crocodiles and other aquatic animals in the water. It used its legs and long tail to help it move swiftly through the water. Its feet were broad, like many creatures that have webbed feet for swimming today, suggesting Spinosaurus also had webbed feet.
Paleontologists now believe Spinosaurus was a semi-aquatic, egg-laying reptile of, almost like Perry the Platypus! I wonder if there were any dinosaur secret agents in the past... (PHOTO CREDTS)
I'm sure by now you've noticed the seven-foot sail on Spinosaurus back. Ever since the days of Stromer, scientists have pondered over its use, and we still aren't sure. Theories abound, but it was only recently that scientists were able to use CAT scans to look inside the spines that make up Spinosaurus' sail. Thanks to CAT scans, we know several blood vessels ran through the spines. This makes some suggest that this dinosaur used its sail for temperature regulation, like the ears of an African elephant. Blood would have cooled faster in Spinosaurus' sail, meaning that after the blood flowed out of the sail and throughout the rest of the body, the body would cool as a result. Another theory is that it used the sail for display, perhaps to attract potential mates and scare off rival Spinosaurus, or even rival predators. Imagine how imposing a 50-foot animal swimming with a colorful sail sticking out of the water like a shark's fin would be.

Spinosaurus was far larger (in terms of mass and length) than any other theropod, including Carcharodontosaurus (left), Tyrannosaurus (center) and its relative Baryonyx (right). (PHOTO CREDITS)

Knowing that Spinosaurus was probably semi-aquatic also relieves scientists of a long-asked question: you see, North Africa featured several predators during days before the Genesis Flood that is described in the Bible. One of these predators was Carcharodontosaurus, a T. rex-sized carnosaur that lived in this region. Now if Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus ate the same types of food, they would have competed frequently for resources, as there were relatively few herbivorous dinosaurs to choose from. However, as Spinosaurus was primarily a fish-eater, it and Carcharodontosaurus would not have had to compete for food very often.
Carcharodontosaurus would have occasionally competed with Spinosaurus with food.
One of Spinosaurus prey items was a large fish called Onchopristis, a giant sawfish. Like modern sawfish, Onchopristis had a long snout edged with jagged, sharp teeth called denticles. As I have discussed before, we know Spinosaurus hunted this fish because we've found Onchopristis denticles embedded in Spinosaurus jawbones and we've found Spinosaurus teeth jammed in the bones of Onchopristis. This sawfish would have been a dangerous fish for Spinosaurus to catch, but this is why it bore sharp teeth and wicked claws.

This Spinosaurus is on the verge of catching a delicious Onchopristis.
Paleontology never ceases to fascinate me as a young dinosaur enthusiast. Just when we think we know everything about a particular dinosaur, a new fossil discovery comes along, takes what we knew about the dinosaur and turns it upside down. Spinosaurus is definitely one of those dinosaurs! From a terrestrial sail-backed cousin of Allosaurus, this dinosaur “evolved” into a ferocious, semi-aquatic, apex  predator of the water. It must have been an amazing dinosaur to see alive. 2015 is undoubtedly going to be full of new scientific discoveries that will continue to change our perception of these glorious creatures God created.

A pair of Spinosaurus catching fish in the river. (PHOTO CREDITS)

Disclaimer: Many (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via one or both of the email addresses above.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Jurassic World-New Year!

Yahoo! It's finally 2015. I'm so excited. It's going to be a great year. We'll have the release of the first Pixar movie since 2013, Inside Out, and two awesome dinosaur movies: Jurassic World and The Good Dinosaur. Wow, this is going to be an exciting year! In fact, before we get into the main part of the blog, let's celebrate with some music from the Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb episode Happy New Year:

Awesome! Now as you recall, my family decided not to do gift-giving on December 25th due to aforementioned reasons. So we did our gift-giving on January 1st to kick off the new year! It was an awesome day. I got a lot of cool stuff, including several animal models to add to my collection, in addition to several movies and other cool stuff. I'll post the pictures of these things next week.

Days till:
It is: 2 days till my birthday!
It is: 17 days till Martin Luther King Jr. Day
It is: 161 days till Jurassic World's release into theaters!

In the Spotlight:
We already know that the upcoming film Inside Out from Pixar is about the emotions taking place in the mind of an 11-year old girl named Riley. But a new image and movie description from Empire was released that describes the film from an angle you may or may not have thought about it in before:

"What you’re glimpsing here is the colourful consciousness of an 11 year-old called Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) as seen by the five emotions that govern her life and decisions."
"What you’re glimpsing here is the colourful consciousness of an 11 year-old called Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) as seen by the five emotions that govern her life and decisions. The five are Fear (Bill Hader), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Joy (Amy Poehler), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and the little fury flame-ball that is Anger (Lewis Black). Between them, the five emotional entities squabble, vie for supremacy and occasionally co-operate in such a way that will hopefully help their young heroine adjust to the sheer newness of life in a big city and all the growing pains that come with being little. But, well… they probably won’t. They may have some growing up to do of their own"
Inside Out premieres July 24 of next year this year!

Topic of the Week Christian Ryan
Now, there was a good chunk of Jurassic World news released last week, so instead of featuring it in the In the Spotlight section, I decided to talk about it here! Firstly, the titles for the Jurassic World Lego sets that will be coming out soon have been released onto the internet. Here they are below:

It is unlikely that this list will reveal any major spoilers (I'm sure Universal and Legendary are making sure to keep such things well under wraps). The set names are as follows: 75915 Pteranodon Capture, 75916 Dilophosaurus Ambush, 75917 Raptor Rampage, 75918 T-Rex Tracker, 75919 Ultra Dino, and 75820 Raptor Escape. It is interesting to note that there is a set called Dilophosaurus Ambush. Does this imply Dilophosaurus will make an appearance in the move?

I've saved the best news for last: the Jurassic World viral website was updated last week! Four new dinosaur fact pages have been unlocked, along with updates on dinosaur fact pages already present on the website (including a new T. rex picture), and a dinosaur size chart!

(Click to enlarge)
The dinosaur size chart is a little inaccurate in terms of the size of the animal's sillouettes in proportion to the other animals on the chart (e.g. Edmontosaurus is significantly smaller than Triceratops even though Edmontosaurus is listed at 42 feet long and Triceratops is only 30 feet in length), but hey, it's a Jurassic Park movie! So who cares if it's a little inaccurate?

New image of Tyrannosaurus rex





In my opinion, these dinosaurs (and the Mosasaurus, which isn't a dinosaur) are awesome! I can't wait to see them in the movie.

My last little update for Jurassic World concerns marketing. Yes, they've actually started marketing Jurassic World products, like what is seen on these Kellogs Fruit Snacks discovered by Instagram user legend_goji14. Here they are below:
I might have to buy these if I see them in the store, if only to own the wrappers!
As you can see, the female Tyrannosaurus rex that will appear in the film is on one of the packages, but on the other is a pack of Velociraptors, presumably the same individuals that make up Owen's "raptor squad", as Jurassic World fans have been referring to the team. In any case, this is awesome!

With the new year here and Jurassic World just around the corner, this year is going to rock! I can't wait to see what other surprises are in store for 2015. May God bless 2015 for people all over the world!

DisclaimerMany (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via one or both of the email addresses above.