This Week in Dinosaur News: Animatronic Dinosaurs, Tourism, Teenage Dinosaurs, and More

Here’s what came out this week in dinosaur news:

  • The Washington Post and ABC News reported on a 5-year-old who discovered a new dinosaur, along with his dad, in Texas
  • According to The National and International Business Times, teen dinosaurs lived a rough life, especially one Daspletosaurus, which was regularly attacked
  • B.C.’s Peace Region may be turned into a tourist spot, with dinosaur footprints as an attraction, according to CBC
  • There’s a new attraction at a mall in Orange County, CA, called Wonder of Dinosaurs, with animatronic dinosaurs
  • Nature’s Art Village in CT also has a Dinosaur Place
  • Z News reported that tail bones can indicate a dinosaur’s gender
  • Dinosaur researchers figured out how they wooed their mates, according to CBC
  • More animatronic dinosaurs will appear at a Detroit Zoo, according to O&E Media
  • A moving museum called Jurassic Quest is exhibiting 50 life-size, animatronic dinosaurs
  • The Brontosaurus, recently renamed Apatosaurus, in Yale Museum got its Brontosaurus name back, according to  CT Post
  • Desert News reported on a new board game, called Evolution

Pentaceratops Aquilonius: The Northern One

The days are getting shorter, but that does not bother Pentaceratops aquilonius. Years ago, Pentaceratops aquilonius’ family had moved up north, in hopes of finding more vegetation. Food was hard to share, especially among the chasmosaurs, who were not afraid to use their horns to fight for fresh plants.

Pentaceratops aquilonius was small for a horned dinosaur, only about the size of a buffalo. However, Pentaceratops aquilonius did have five horns on its face, which often gave it an advantage.

On this late autumn night, Pentaceratops aquilonius does not have to worry about how to get its dinner. It wanders just far enough away from its herd so that it can still hear any warning calls, but still eat in peace. Even when there is plenty of food around, it seems Pentaceratops aquilonius and its family cannot get enough.

Pentaceratops aquilonius bites off a mouthful of leaves with its sharp beak and chews, content. Needles are nestled within the leaves, but they don’t bother Pentaceratops aquilonius. The crunching sounds of its cheek teeth are soothing, and Pentaceratops aquilonius relaxes.

But the wonder of solitude does not last long. Pentaceratops aquilonius hears a different kind of crunching sound, the kind of sound hooves stepping on leaves make. Annoyed, Pentaceratops aquilonius turns to see its brother.

The brother faces Pentaceratops aquilonius and thrusts its head up, showing off its five horns. It’s a sign of defiance, and Pentaceratops aquilonius knows it will now have to defend its meal.

Even with so much vegetation around, Pentaceratops aquilonius brother is jealous of the tasty morsels Pentaceratops aquilonius has found for itself. Pentaceratops aquilonius swallows its food and then gets ready to battle.

It scratches its hooves in the dirt and waits. Pentaceratops aquilonius brother charges, letting out a large bellow in an attempt to sound scarier.

The tactic doesn’t work. Pentaceratops aquilonius steps to the side, avoiding its brother’s sharp horns. This puts Pentaceratops aquilonius brother off balance, and he stumbles, briefly. But his error is enough for Pentaceratops aquilonius to hit his side with one of its horns.

Pentaceratops aquilonius brother whimpers in pain, and slinks away. Some blood drips from the wound, but it is a surface scratch and will heal.

A few others in the herd step closer to see what the fuss is all about, but when they see the blood and one of their own limping away, the other looking big and proud, they understand the situation. They move on.

Pentaceratops aquilonius lets out a grunt, for good measure, and then turns its attention back to its dinner. But with its adrenaline running high, the plants no longer look as enticing.

Pentaceratops aquilonius decides its time to move on to another spot to eat. It takes a quick look around, but none of the nearby ferns strike its fancy. It decides the better options must be elsewhere, where other members of the herd are eating.

Pentaceratops aquilonius makes its way towards another member of the herd, which is happily chewing on some fresh leaves.

Facts about Pentaceratops Aquilonius:

  • Pentaceratops aquilonius lived about 75 million years ago
  • Dr. Nick Longrich discovered Pentaceratops aquilonius in 2014, after its fossils had been gathering dust at a Canadian museum for more than 75 years
  • Pentaceratops aquilonius was like a primitive version of Pentaceratops sternbergii
  • Pentaceratops aquilonius belongs to the chasmosaur family, but was small for its kind (size of a buffalo, smaller compared to its cousin Triceratops)
  • Pentaceratops aquilonius had five horns on its face and a different shaped frill

Find out more in the I Know Dino podcast, episode 15, “Pentaceratops.”

Resources:

This Week in Dinosaur News: Brontosaurus is Back, Romeo & Juliet Oviraptors, Animals That Survived Dinosaurs, and More

Here’s what came out this week in dinosaur news:

  • After more than a century, Brontosaurus has been reclassified as an actual dinosaur, according to Vocativ and ABC News
  • The Huffington Post reported on seven animals that survived the non-avian dinosaur extinction, including platypuses and cockroaches
  • Hong Kong may have found its first dinosaur, according to South China Morning Post
  • Charlotte Observer reported on ankylosaurs
  • Realty Today reported that T-rex and Indominus Rex will fight in the new Jurassic World movie
  • According to Game Spot, The Hunter: Primal, a dinosaur hunting game, is now available for PC via Steam
  • Design Boom reported on Lisa Glover’s cardboard pterodactyl suits
  • An expedition will study a sample of the crater that killed dinosaurs, according to Phys.org
  • Some dinosaurs may have had whiskers, according to Phenomena
  • A pair of Romeo & Juliet oviraptor fossils were found, according to Time and the HuffPo

Aquilops: Eagle Face Dinosaur

From high overhead, no one can see the tiny dinosaur perusing the plants on the ground. Weighing only 3.5 pounds and 24 inches long, Aquilops, one of the smallest dinosaurs, uses its beak to snip off plants with its hook-like beak.

But none of the ferns or saplings nearby are of interest. Aquilops doesn’t mind foraging. It has just spent the last few months with its herd walking across the Beiring Strait from its home in Asia to find a new area to settle in North America.

The journey had been long and daunting, and not everyone made it. But Aquilops never gave up hope, and the thought of new, tasty foods keeps it going. So it doesn’t mind walking a little further in search for vegetation.

Aquilops walks on two legs, its long tail helping to keeps its balance. On two legs, it can move faster, and though Aquilops hasn’t quite found the perfect meal yet, it is getting hungry.

Deciding to change course, Aquilops bends down, using the prong on its rostral bone to dig for food. At first, nothing good comes up. Then Aquilops’ prong hits a root. Curious, Aquilops cuts off a piece with its beak and tastes it.

The root has a sweet taste, and hits the spot. Aquilops digs to find more, grunting with pleasure.

Soon other Aquilops join the little dinosaur. But Aquilops is not willing to share with its herd. It stops digging and moves to cover the spot in the ground where it found the tasty root. It grunts, this time as a warning.

Most of the others back away, not willing to fight over an unknown plant. But one stays behind. It shuffles its feet, ready to attack.

Aquilops gets angry. It found the food first; it should not have to share. It lowers its head, preparing to strike with its prong.

After a few moments, the two dinosaurs run at each other. They hit one another with their prongs.

Aquilops feels the sting of the first blow, but that only fuels its anger. It moves backwards a couple steps only to run forward again, this time with greater momentum.

The other Aquilops is ready and braces itself for the impact. But Aquilops has much more force than it anticipated, and this time part of the second Aquilops’ breaks. The pain is so intense, the second Aquilops cries out and quickly shuffles away.

Proud, Aquilops returns triumphantly to its meal. It digs into the roots without any hesitation, savoring every bite. The months of walking and struggling were worth it, for this meal. This new land will give Aquilops a lot of opportunities, and it looks forward to digging up other new plants.

Though Aquilops is a juvenile, it will not grow much bigger, but it will lay the groundwork for its bigger descendants. 40 million years into the future, Triceratops, one of the most famous ceratopsians, will walk through the same area. Unlike Aquilops, Triceratops will have horns and a neck frill. And it will be 4,000 times bigger.

Facts about Aquilops:

  • The name Aquilops means “eagle face”
  • Aquilops was the size of a raven, with the mass of a bunny (3.5 pounds, 24 inches long)
  • Aquilops is an early horned dinosaur, despite not having horns or a neck frill
  • It lived 40 million years before Triceratops, which was 4,000 times its size
  • Aquilops came from Asia, probably crossing the Beiring Strait; it is more closely related to Asian dinosaurs than North American ones
  • Aquilops had a hook like beak, and a prong on its rostral bone (may have been from fighting or digging)
  • It walked on two legs, had a long tail, and snipped off ferns and saplings with its beak

Find out more in the I Know Dino podcast, episode 13, “Aquilops.”

Resources:

This Week in Dinosaur News: Dinosaur Footprints, Snacking Salamanders, a New Titanosaur, and More

Here’s what came out this week in dinosaur news:

  • The National, The Guardian, and The Independent reported on a salamander during the early Mesozoic era that snacked on (small) dinosaurs
  • A new titanosaur (meaning, giant dinosaur) was discovered in Russia. For now it’s called Sibirosaurus, according to CNET
  • ABC News reported that a supertide, which occurs every 18 years, happened in North France, uncovering a bunch of dinosaur tracks
  • In Bayville, NJ, a group of residents are trying to save the dinosaur that stands on Route 9, between NYC and Atlantic City, according to App

Nanuqsaurus: Polar Bear Lizard

Among the tall conifer trees and flowering plants along the coast, a top predator looks for its dinner. The sun has started to set.

Nanuqsaurus is not that large, only 20-feet long and weighing 1,000 pounds, but it is still the top predator in the Arctic in the subcontinent Larimidia, where it lives, partly because of its powerful bite.

The days are getting shorter, which means winter is coming. And Nanuqsaurus knows it must find easy meals while it still can.

Life in the Arctic is difficult, though not because of the weather. Temperatures dip but never get so cold that Nanuqsaurus cannot walk around. The fuzz that covers Nanuqsaurus body also helps to keep it warm.

But in the winter season, the nights get longer and longer, sometimes lasting a full 24 hours. On top of it being hard to see, Nanuqsaurus knows that the prey it usually hunts will either migrate elsewhere for the winter or hide away and sleep for the next few months.

Nanuqsaurus sniffs around for signs of prey. It has a long nasal cavity and strong sense of small, which is especially useful in the dark. After a few moments, it gets a whiff of a herd of hadrosaurs not too far away.

It salivates at the thought. Nanuqsaurus quickly catches up to the herd. They are starting to head south, and in big groups they are dangerous, but alone they are weak and not that bright.

Nanuqsaurus knows it must separate one from the herd. One that is weak or small. It decides the best way to do this is to scare them, by making its presence known. The carnivore roars as loud as it can to attract attention. It works.

Scared and confused, the hadrosaurs start to run, but in different directions. Nanuqsaurus takes its time and watches, looking for its best opportunity. Then it spots a juvenile hadrosaur. The pretty brays, unhappy and afraid. Nanuqsaurus springs into action.

It starts running for the herbivore, its jaws open and ready to bite, flashing its killer-whale like teeth.

The hardosaur sees the carnivore coming and kicks into high gear, running away. It runs towards where the majority of the herd is running, but it cannot catch up in time.

Nanuqsaurus pounces, and bites down hard into the hadrosaur. It whimpers, as Nanuqsaurus teeth tear into its flesh. Eventually the hadrosaur bleeds out and stops making sounds.

In a few short weeks it will not be this easy to find food, so Nanuqsaurus knows it must enjoy it while it lasts. Life in the North is not easy, and though Nanuqsaurus is fairly small—especially compared to its cousins T-rex and Tarbosaurus—and has adapted, the long months before summer are difficult to survive.

It will take a lot of skill to sniff out food sources and successfully hunt them.

For now, Nanuqsaurus enjoys the warmth of the blood, and relishes every morsel. It uses its twiggy arms to help it balance as it digs in.

Facts about Nanuqsaurus:

  • Nanuqsaurus’ name means “polar bear lizard”
  • The carnivore lived in the Arctic, 70 million years ago
  • Nanuqsaurus was the top predator in its habitat
  • The Arctic in Nanuqsaurus lifetime was warm with lots of tall trees and flowering plants
  • Nanuqsaurus is related to T-rex and Tarbosaurus, but it is 1-2 million years older
  • Nanuqsaurus looked like T-rex, but only weighed 1,000 pounds and was 20 feet long
  • It had a great sense of smell, which would have been useful in winter during the 24-hour periods of darkness

Find out more in the I Know Dino podcast, episode 11, “Nanuqsaurus.”

Resources:

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