Friday, August 21, 2015

Rerun Article: The Dueling Dinosaurs

Well, another week has come and gone. August (and a little later, the summer) will be gone in a blink. I've been pretty busy lately as I prepare for the youth rally my church is doing and the theatrical drama we're producing in late Fall. Oh! And I'm also going to be taking part in National Novel Writing Month's challenge this November too, so I've been brainstorming for the novel I plan to write. Lot's of stuff's going on! Thankfully, I've had enough time to do this blog, Smiley's News and my fanfiction stories. While we're on the subject, if you haven't already, be sure to check out Smiley's News and the two fanfiction stories I've been working on. They're really cool. I'll provide links below:

Smileys News
Jurassic World: Apocalypse
Phineas and Ferb Visit Jurassic World!

Days till:
It is: 17 days till Labor Day
It is: 33 days till Fall
It is: 96 days till the theatrical release of The Good Dinosaur

In the Spotlight:
Yup, you guessed it. I have nothing to report on today...or do I...ACTUALLY, I DO!!! You might recall the 2005 remake of that classic film King Kong. Well, it turns out that they are making a spin-off! The film will be called King Kong: Skull Island. It will be written by Derek Connolly, the same man who was co-writer of Jurassic World! Considering how much I love dinosaurs, it might come as a surprise to some that I've never seen the 2005 version of the film, and I only saw the original King Kong earlier this year! Considering a spin-off is being made to the 2005 version though, I am definitely going to check out that 2005 version real soon.

Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan
The year was 2006 when an amazing fossil discovery, possibly one of the most amazing fossil discoveries ever made, was uncovered in the badlands of Montana. On Mary Ann and Lige Murray's Montana ranch were the ancient fossil remains of dinosaurs, but upon their discovery, it was obvious that this was no obvious dinosaur find! First of all, you might like to know that when scientists find dinosaur skeletons, they don't normally find them articulated (that is, aligned in the order they were in life); they're normally found in a dismantled array of broken fossils and the skeleton is normally not complete. Often times, paleontologists only have a few fossil teeth or a few bones or a fossilized skull to go by. When Therizinosaurus, a large herbivorous theropod (that's the group with mostly carnivorous dinosaurs) was discovered, scientists only found the claws of this beast and accidentally classified the creature as a giant turtle!

This was not the case with these new dinosaurs that we're going to talk about! In the ground were not one, but two dinosaurs in the exact same location . . . no really, their bodies were partially intertwined! One was a theropod from the tyrannosaur family, possibly Nanotyrannus, and the other was an unidentified species of ceratopsian or horned dinosaur. Perhaps this was a new species! But that's not what drew the most excitement – most of the excitement was from the mere fact that both animals were not only articulated, but intertwined as if they had interacted in life! These two dinosaurs had probably died in the middle of a fight. This isn't the first case when two species of dinosaurs were found together; in the 1970's, the fossilized skeletons of a Velociraptor and a ceratopsian called Protoceratops were found locked in a deadly fight and died caught in the act. The new specimen however, referred to as “The Dueling Dinosaurs”, is of much larger dinosaurs. Yet, despite the amazing state of this find, it was rather ignored until earlier this year where it's attracted lots of attention from the press lately. Before we get into that though, let's take a closer look at what many scientists hope to discover with these finds.
Here's a photo of the dueling dinosaurs; two creatures probably caught in a deadly fight.
First, this amazing find could finally settle a really old debate concerning Nanotyrannus and its larger and far more popular cousin, Tyrannosaurus rex. Many scientists believe that Tyrannosaurus changed as it matured; when it was younger, a baby T. rex would have been much more lanky in proportion to body size, would have had a longer snout and had a faster speed than the adult. The discovery of Nanotyrannus meant to some scientists that they'd actually discovered a juvenile T. rex instead of a new species. Before the “Dueling Dinosaurs” discovery, only two specimens of Nanotyrannus had ever been discovered, and they are both juveniles at only around 15 feet long. The new specimen is estimated to be 30 feet in length. So after the scientists actually can thoroughly study the fossils and can classify it as a Nanotyrannus, then it might be proven that Nanotyrannus was its own species after all and only a cousin to T. rex. Even if they can't find this out, many scientists feel that the other two specimens of Nanotyrannus are too different from an adult T. rex to be a juvenile of T. rex.
"The Dueling Dinosaurs" specimens might solve the mystery as to whether Nanotyrannus is its own species or a juvenile T. rex.
Another question that must be dealt with concerning this find is how on earth these two dinosaurs died together in the first place. One thing we know for sure is that they wouldn't just drop dead in the open and expect to become fossilized! The reason why fossilization doesn't work that way is because of numerous reasons. First of all, when exposed to the elements, dead animals will quickly rot and decay and leave nothing but dust. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of animals that will happily scavenge from animal carcasses, also not giving them the chance to fossilize. For an animal to become fossilized, it has to be buried very quickly. Evolutionists, who date these fossils at 66 million years old, still often scratch their heads as to why so many animals fossilized so long ago. Is there another alternative with an answer as to why “The Dueling Dinosaurs” fossilized?
When animals die, they normally decompose or get eaten; in order to fossilize, they needed to be buried quickly.
As a believer in God's Word, there's one thing that came to my mind the first time I read about this extraordinary discovery. These dinosaurs were killed and buried in Noah's Flood. Noah's Flood was the most catastrophic time in earth's history and could have easily killed both creatures in the middle of their possible struggle. But how much will scientists be able to learn about these dinosaurs?

When the dinosaurs were unearthed, they remained encased in the block of rock they were found in and they didn't get any attention until earlier this year. However, that's not where this story ends! The fossils were uncovered by non-professional fossil hunters and so they don't own the fossils – no one technically does! What was decided to become of these amazing fossils? Well, it turns out that these particular fossils are going to be in an upcoming auction! That's right! People with big money to spend will be able to hope to buy “The Dueling Dinosaurs”. This also means that there's a good chance that the fossils will go to a private fossil collector and the worry among many paleontologists is that if they go to a private collector and the private collector doesn't donate the fossils to a museum, scientists won't be able to study them thoroughly and won't be able to learn as much as they can from these beautifully preserved dinosaurs. And to make matters worse, these dinosaurs are predicted to break the record for the most expensive dinosaurs ever sold, breaking the record of the auction-sold skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex sold to a museum named Sue for around $7,000,000! “The Dueling Dinosaurs” are expected to be sold for around $9,000,000 dollars! WAY more than I can afford; otherwise I'd be happy to buy the specimens myself and donate them to a museum.

I for one hope that a museum can rally up enough money to buy the fossils or that a generous buyer donates the specimens to the museum, or else these dinosaurs might in fact go extinct twice; the first time being when they died and the second time when they get sold and fade into obscurity because we might not get to learn anything from these fossils. Let's hope and pray that these dinosaurs make it to a good museum where they can be studied, because these fossils can help us unlock the mysteries surrounding some of the most magnificent animals ever to walk the earth.
The "Dueling Dinosaurs" forever entombed in stone.

Update: For a while, the fate of the specimens mentioned above was pretty much unknown to most people. However, last June, National Geographic released an a documentary that talked about the importance of the "Dueling Dinosaurs" specimens to science and their fate after the auction. Thank you National Geographic!!! You can see a clip from the documentary below:

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 my email address.

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