In our 130th episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Tim Porter, Director of New Learning Resources at the Boston Children’s Museum. The Boston Children’s Museum recently opened their first dinosaur exhibit, Explore-a-saurus, which integrates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields all in one exhibit and teaches visitors all about dinosaurs.
Episode 130 is also about Puertasaurus, a massive titanosaur that lived in the Cretaceous in what is now western North America.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- A beautifully preserved unnamed nodosaur has gone on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and has so much preserved skin that the skeleton is inaccessible.
- National Geographic created a wonderful 3D tour of the specimen
- Suncor has a video showing the excavation of the fossil from the quarry
- The first ankylosaurid known with a complete tail club and skull, Zuul crurivastator, was recovered from Montana’s Badlands and named after a monster from Ghostbusters
- The oviraptor found in a nest in the 90’s has been repatriated to China and is officially named Beibeilong sinensis, after it’s nickname “Baby Louie”
- New dinosaur tracks found in Springtown, Texas. Likely made by a family of Acrocanthosaurus according to the Perot museum
- Dr. Michael Pittman has a new TEDx Talk about “Laser Simulated Fluorescence in Paleontology”
- The 19th Biannual Conference of the Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa is scheduled for July 5th–9th 2016 and abstracts are published
- BBC has published a new documentary called The Day the Dinosaurs Died
- Over 500 issues from the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences are available via open access right now
- CBC News wrote a feature on Phil Currie, who has been a part of dinosaur finds and research on all 7 continents
- Montana Standard published a piece about Fort Peck Interpretive Center in Montana
- Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis is undergoing a makeover, but is still open to visitors and day long dinosaur digs.
- Jurassic Kingdom and its 30 animatronic dinosaurs won’t be traveling to Bristol, UK as previously planned; They’ll be staying in Birmingham until June 4th instead
- Granger, Washington will be adding another dinosaur sculpture (a Megalosaurus) to its collection of 33 on June 3rd
- A man in Jersey in the UK lost his job in part for making a model dinosaur at work (he’s not employed as a sculptor)
- The Federation of Leagues Against Corrida (bullfighting) created an animation of a matador stabbing a velociraptor in a similar fashion
- There’s a Jurassic Car Wash in Austin, TX with a T. rex, Styracosaurus, Velociraptor, and Dilophosaurus
- Chris (founder of Rent a Dinosaur in the UK) had some of his dinosaurs featured in the Dinosaur Playground Song music video
The dinosaur of the day: Puertasaurus
- Titanosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous in what is now Patagonia
- Type species is Puertasaurus reuili
- Named in honor of Pablo Puerta and Santiago Reuil, who discovered the specimen in 2001 and helped prepare it
- Described in 2006 by Fernando Novas and colleagues
- Found a neck vertebra, back vertebra, and two tail vertebrae
- Tend to find fewer bones of larger animals because they were probably scattered by scavengers and environmental factors (flood, winds, storms) before the body is buried
- Back vertebra is about 1 m (3.6 ft) tall and 1.7 m (5.6 ft) wide (broadest known sauropod vertebra, and two-thirds of it have wing-like diapophyses, which support the ribs, and merge with the centrum and neural spine, to make a wide spade-like shape
- In other sauropods the vertebrae is not as large and form a cross-bar shape
- One of the biggest known dinosaurs
- Originally estimated to be about 115-131 ft (35-40 m) long, and weighed about 80-100 metric tons, now thought to be 98 ft (30 m) long and weigh 50 metric tons, though some think it was 89 ft (27 m) long and weighed 60-70 metric tons
- Not clear if Puertasaurus was one of the longest titanosaurs, but it seems to be similar in size to Argentinosaurus (length wise)
- The dorsal vertebra shows it had a more massive rib cage than Argentinosaurus (possible that Puertasaurus would have been wider)
- Similar to titanosaurs in the group Lognkosauria (some of the longest, heaviest dinosaurs), so Puertasaurus is related to titanosaurs such as Futalognkosaurus and Mendozasaurus
- These titanosaurs had more flexible necks than other titanosaurs, so it’s possible Puertasaurus could eat a large range of plants without having to walk much (could easily consume food in one place, so that would help it grow and maintain its large size)
- Before Puertasaurus, scientists thought that the largest titanosaurs (Lognkosauria group) lived earlier in the Late Cretaceous, but Puertasaurus was found in early Maastrichtian deposits, which means these large dinosaurs may have lived all the way to the end of the Cretaceous
The huge eggs that Baby Louise and its relatives came from have been credited to several different species over the year
- Tyrannosaurus (large & from Asia)
- Therizinosaurs (What the original baby Louise drawing is based on)
- In 2007: Oviraptorosaurs, with the discovery of Gigantoraptor which would be able to lay the huge eggs
- (now confirmed with the recovered embryo)
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For those who may prefer reading, see below for the full transcript of our interview with Tim Porter: