Episode 123 is all about Barapasaurus, a nearly completely recovered sauropod that lived in the Jurassic in what is now India.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- A 25km long trackway in Australia includes the largest single print and the most diverse set of tracks ever found
- A new large abelisaurid, Chenanisaurus barbaricus, was discovered in a Morrocan mine, and may rival Carnotaurus
- Tyrannosaurid teeth were found in for the first time in the Corral de Enmedio Formation in Sonora, Mexico
- A new titanosaur was found in Argentina with the catchy name MACN-Pv RN 233
- Progress continues on the utahraptor project, uncovering another lower jaw.
- New evidence shows that Eubrontes tracks in Massachusetts were likely parallel from obstacles not herding
- Jurassic World 2 may have dinosaurs carrying weapons, in case their teeth and claws weren’t enough
- Someone took to crowd surfing in a dinosaur costume at a University of South Carolina basketball celebration
- Chinese police have arrested dinosaur egg thieves
- A video shows off some scrape marks near Denver, presumably made by dinosaur courtship dances
- Only In Your State featured “Dinosaur World” in Plant City, Florida with tons of dinosaur sculptures
- In the UK, two dinosaurs were spotted on the Southwark Bridge, crossing the Thames with a film crew in tow
- Geek.com reported the history of the song “Walk the Dinosaur” and it’s strange comedy
The dinosaur of the day: Barapasaurus
- Name means “big leg lizard” (bara means big and pa means leg in several Indian languages)
- Sauropod that lived in the early Jurassic in what is now India
- One of the earliest known sauropods
- Type species is Barapasaurus tagorei
- Species name means “Tagore’s”. The first excavation of Barapsaurus was in the 100th anniversary year of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore, a famous Bengali poet and artist. Species name honors him
- Described in 1975 by Sohan Jain, Kutty, Roy-Chowdhury and Chatterjee
- Found sauropod bones in the Lower Jurassic Kota formation of India in 1959
- Excavated 300 specimens in 1961-62
- Found 300 bones from at least 6 individuals, so most of the skeleton is known (one of the most complete sauropods from the early Jurassic, but no skull bones found)
- Because there are at least 6 specimens that died together, they may have been part of a herd that died from a flood. The flood may have moved the bodies and then when they decomposed, the bones may have disarticulated. A water stream may have moved the skull bones
- When it was described, Barapasaurus was not assigned to a specific sauropod group. Paleontologists debate about where it belongs because it was large for an early sauropod, but had some basal features
- Had traits (not as well developed) seen in later sauropods that allowed them to grow so large, such as the long neck, and centra and neural spines showing the beginnings of being hollowed out, to reduce weight
- Had elongated cervical vertebrae, which gave it a long neck
- About 59 ft (18 m) long, comparable in size to later sauropods
- Spoon-shaped teeth, like later sauropods, but with coarse serration
- Only 3 teeth and 3 crowns found from the skull. Largest tooth is 2.3 in (5.8) tall
- Had slender limbs
- Other animals in the same time and place include the sauropod Kotasaurus, and the mammals Kotatherium, Indotherium, Indozostrodon
Fun fact: Dinosaurs may have developed endothermy (warm bloodedness) to fight off fungal infections. There are an estimated 5 million species of fungus, but only a few hundred can infect humans. This is primarily because fungus won’t grow at the higher body temperatures of mammals and birds. But it can thrive in ectotherms (cold blooded animals). For instance fungus is expected to have driven about 200 frog species to extinction. But since dinosaurs (and mammals) are warm blooded were much more resistant to fungus. Maybe it’s just a happy coincidence that it leads to higher growth rates, longer active periods, and the ability to inhabit so much more of the planet.
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