In our 173rd episode, we got to chat with Brittney Stoneburg, the marketing and events specialist at Western Science Center and co-founder of Cosplay for Science. You can follow her on Twitter @brittandbone and on Instagram.
Learn more about Western Science Center on their website westerncentermuseum.org (and their upcoming “Great Wonders: The Horned Dinosaurs” exhibit), Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages. You can also follow Cosplay for Science on Twitter and Instagram, and Max the Mastodon on Twitter!
Episode 173 is also about Kosmoceratops, a chasmosaurine ceratopsian whose name means “ornament horned face.”
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In this episode, we discuss:
- Researchers analyzed a rare baby (newly hatched) bird that lived in the Cretaceous and found many features that are in modern birds, which can help scientists study more evolutionary characteristics
- Scientists found that Archaeopteryx was capable of flying
- Scientists found that the “little Iguanodon” from the Bernissart bonebed is a separate genus
- Phil Currie will be giving a talk on Saurornitholestes at Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada, on March 29
- The Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, Arizona is hosting a Dino Egg hunt on March 30 and a Beer ‘N’ Bones event on April 13
- The Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, Kansas, has a new traveling exhibit, called Modern Dinosaurs?
- Hillsdale College’s Daniel M. Fisk Museum of History in Michigan has a new Triceratops on display, called Donna
- The Natural History Museum in London is launching a new VR experience this spring, called Hold the World, where you can have Sir David Attenborough as your tour guide
- A new dinosaur park in Portugal, Dino Parque Lourinha, opened last month and already had 20,000 visitors
- The Bayville sauropod dinosaur in New Jersey will soon be restored
- A couple in Washington state has a Deinonychus on their front porch
- In Singapore, Dino, an inflatable pink dinosaur, is popping up at national monuments from now until April 22 as part of an effort by National Heritage Board to raise awareness of the monuments
- Stuck in the 90’s podcast is doing a 90’s dinosaur march madness
The dinosaur of the day: Kosmoceratops
- Chasmosaurine ceratopsian that lived in the Cretaceous in what is now Utah, US
- Name means “ornament horned face”
- Found in the Kaiparowits Formation in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Named in 2010 by Scott Sampson and others, along with Utahceratops and Vagaceratops
- Type species is Kosmoceratops richardsoni
- Species name in honor of Scott Richardson, a volunteer who found the holotype, and discovered two skulls (found the first fossils in 2006)
- Holotype has a nearly complete skull, as well as vertebrae, ribs, hip, and partial rear leg
- Also found a referred specimen, a subadult with a disarticulated skull
- About 14.8 ft (4.5 m) long
- Weighed about 2.5 tonnes
- Skull was about 6 ft (1.8 m) long
- Had the most ornate skull, with the most horns, of any known dinosaur (15 horns or horn-like structures)
- Had a very short frill (twice as wide as it was long), and had two small holes in the frill, and hook-like projections on the rim
- Top of the frill had 10 small horns, and the 8 in the middle curved down, and the 2 on the end projected to the sides
- Had a low nasal horn that looked like a blade-like structure (holotype had a blunt tip)
- Had brow horns above the eye sockets that projected to the sides (rare for ceratopsians, usually they curve forwards or backwards)
- Had 1 horn on each cheek
- All this ornamentation helps show horns and frills were for species recognition and display, and attracting mates (like peacocks), not necessarily for defense (features were not great against predators)
- The sideways horns would have been a way to lock heads and engage in ways to show dominance
- Both males and females had similar horns, possibly so that predators couldn’t tell the difference (they may have tended to go after the females)
- Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops help show the diversity of ceratopsians as well as the existence of different pockets of dinosaur evolution
- Lived in Laramidia, an island continent (that’s now western North America). The were northern and southern provinces, due to geological barriers, and Kosmoceratops and most other chasmosaurines were in the southern part (eventually though the barriers went away, and the two mixed)
- No evidence found yet of a physical barrier, but there may have been a previously unidentified mountain range, temporary flooding from a nearby sea, a turbulent river, or something else
- The limitation on the gene pools, due to the isolation, allowed for more elaborate skull designs
- Lived in warm, wet swamps. Sampson said, “At the time, this was very much a swamp environment and very lush. The climate was more Mediterranean. It would have been a great place to hang out except for all the tyrannosaurs”
- Other dinosaurs that lived in the same time and place include Utahceratops, Nasutoceratops, hadrosaurs Parasaurolophus and Gryposaurus, and tyrannosaurs such as Teratophoneus and troodonts such as Talos
- Both known Kosmoceratops specimens are at the Natural History Museum of Utah
- Can see Kosmoceratops in the Past Worlds Gallery at the Natural History Museum of Utah
Even though baby dinosaur-birds (Enantiornithes) were “allometric:”
- They looked like babies and not just mini adults
- They still may have been “precocial” or “semiprecocial”
- They may not have relied on parents to take care of them
Basically, they may have just walked or run around to find food until they could fly.
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 hosting their free-to-attend Winter speaker series (also on YouTube). More information can be found at tyrrellmuseum.com.
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