In our 169th episode, we got to chat with Shaun Keenan, a concept artist in the video game and animation industries, and the creator of the upcoming book, Dinosaurs of the Wild West. You can find out more about his work on Instagram, @shaunmichaelkeenan, and pre-order his book at dinosaurs-of-the-wild-west.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders.
Episode 169 is also about Epidexipteryx, a paravian dinosaur that had tail feather’s similar to a peacock’s.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- A new sauropod, Sibirotitan, has been named from Western Siberia, Russia
- Researchers studied the global distribution of dinosaur locations
- The Bureau of Land Management is requesting public input on the possibility of shrinking the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Senators have passed a bill to make Utahraptor the state dinosaur (though it still needs to go to the House)
- High school student Conner Bennett got a grant to map dinosaur track sites in Utah
- One Theatre Company produced a new play, Mary Anning’s Fossil Depot
- Lots of dinosaur snow stories:
- Animatronic dinosaurs in the snow at Fukui Dinosaur Museum in Japan
- Scott Mulvoy wore a T. rex costume to clear snow in Aurora, Illinois
- Bernice the Dinosaur wore a T. rex costume to clear snow in her neighborhood in Canton, Michigan
The dinosaur of the day: Epidexipteryx
- Paravian dinosaur that lived in the Jurassic in what is now China
- Full name is Epidexipteryx hui
- Name means “Hu’s display feather” and the Chinese name, Hushi Yaolong, means “Hu Yaoming’s dragon”
- Name is in honor of Hu Yaoming, a paleomammologist (studies prehistoric mammals)
- Found in the Daohugou Beds in China
- Described in 2008 by Zhang Fucheng and others
- Found one specimen, which had four long feathers on the tail
- Specimen is now in the collection of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, China
- About 10 in (25 cm) long and weighed 164 grams (5.8 ounces)
- Holotype is probably of a subadult, so may have gotten bigger
- Had teeth in the front of its jaws, with long front teeth that angled forward
- May have lived in trees and hunted insects
- Earliest known example of ornamental feathers (tail feathers)
- Tail feathers may have been similar to a peacock’s, used for display and attracting mates
- Tail could have helped it balance on branches
- Tail feathers are long, filamentous-like structures, and lack a central shaft that runs through the middle of the feather and has veins on either side, which is interesting because more primitive animals than Epidexipteryx have fully formed feathers
- Had simple body feathers, which were unique because they had a “membranous structure” at the base of the feather, which may show a stage of feather evolution (similar to modern birds with a pygostyle, which supports the feathers)
- Shorter feathers covering its body could have helped with insulation
- Did not have wing feathers, but based on Yi, a relative, it may have had a membrane wing for gliding (though not clear if it did)
- Has similarities to oviraptorosaurus and therizinosauroids
- Not a direct ancestor to modern birds, but has a close phylogenetic relationship, which means it helps show the transition from non-avian dinosaurs to birds
- Lived around lots of lakes and trees. Other animals included insects, salamanders, lizards, pterosaurus, and primitive mammals
Despite what Jurassic Park says, T. rex could have seen you even if you weren’t moving. (Although some modern reptiles can’t really see you even if you’re moving.)
This episode was brought to you by:
TRX Dinosaurs, which makes beautiful and realistic dinosaur sculptures, puppets, and exhibits. You can see some amazing examples and works in progress on Instagram @trxdinosaurs.
And by the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which is located in southern Alberta, Canada. Right now they are exhibiting their free-to-attend Winter speaker series (also on YouTube). More information can be found at tyrrellmuseum.com.
Thanks for featuring Conner! He’s so excited about this opportunity!