In our 106th episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Jesse Pruitt, digital preparator at the Idaho Virtualization Lab and technology specialist at Idaho State University. The Idaho Virtualization Lab is a research unit of the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the campus of Idaho State University. The lab educates, researches, and provides informatics (information science) to social and natural sciences. And they do this through by virtually archiving museum collections, fossils, and other items, so that anyone can access specimens and collections for research. Jesse does data acquisition and processing, web distribution, and makes 3D models of fossils. Jesse is also a paleontology modeler and animator.
Below are links to all the projects we chatted about with Jesse:
- Virtual Museum of Idaho
- Idaho Virtualization Lab
- Eating with a saw for a jaw: functional morphology of the jaws and tooth-whorl in Helicoprion davisii
- Jaws for a spiral-tooth whorl: CT images reveal novel adaptation and phylogeny in fossil Helicoprion
- Tiktaalik roseae
- ArtStation: Jesse Pruitt
Episode 106 is also about Einiosaurus, a ceratopsian with a curvy nasal horn.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- The dinosaur of the day: Einiosaurus
- Name means “buffalo lizard”
- Name is a combination of the Blackfeet word “eini” which means buffalo, and Ancient Greek “saurus”
- Centrosaurine ceratopsian that lived in the Cretaceous in what is now Montana
- Named in 1995 by Scott Sampson
- Type species is Einiosaurus procurvicornis
- Species name “procurvicornis” means “with a forward curving horn”
- Found in two bonebeds, at least 15 individuals of different ages, with 3 adult skulls and hundreds of other bones
- Jack Horner found the bonebeds in 1985 and they were excavated 1985-1989 by field crews from the Museum of the Rockies
- Bonebeds may be a result of a bunch of Einiosaurus’ around a water hole that was decreasing in size during a dry season (died from drought) or they drowned while trying to cross a river
- Originally the bonebeds was thought to have a new species of Styracosaurus, and the name Styracosaurus makeli was published in 1990 but no description, so it’s an invalid nomen nudum. Horner found 3 species in the bonebeds and refereed to them as Type A, B, C. Scott Sampson described Type B in 1995 and named it Einiosaurus procurvicornis
- May have been a herding animal (based on being found in bonebeds)
- Herbivore, about 14.8 ft (4.7 m) long and weighing 1.3 tons
- Had a narrow, pointed snout, with a downward curving nasal horn that looks like a bottle opener (though that may only be in some adults)
- Horn grew larger with age
- In 2010, Julie Reizner studied individuals found at the Dino Ridge site and found Einosaurus rapidly grew until it was 3-5 years old, and then it grew much more slowly, probably when it became sexually mature
- Nasal horn was covered in a sheath, and it had larged, rounded scales over its eyes, based on a 2009 reconstruction of the skin and horn on ceratopsids by Tobin Hieronymus and colleagues
- Had a pair of large spikes that projected backwards from its small frill
- The horns over the eye were low and short
- Had a short frill on its neck compared to chasmosaurine ceratopsians like Chasmosaurus
- Had smaller horns on the outside edges of the neck frill (probably for display, though may have helped protect it against tyrannosaurids like Gorgosaurus and Daspletosaurus)
- Had a sharp beak that could shear through plants
- Had a battery of teeth to help eat tough plant material
- All known Einiosaurus fossils are currently at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana
- Ceratopsians were ornithiscians
- Lived in North America and Asia
- They had beaks and cheek teeth to eat fiberous vegetation
- Also had a frill (used for defense, regulating body temperature, attracting mates, or signaling danger)
- Probably traveled in herds and could then stampede if threatened
- Fun fact: There are two dinosaurs named after Michael Crichton: Cedrorestes crichtoni, which means literally “Cedar Mountain Dweller,” and is either an iguanodontian or hadrosaur that was found in the cedar mountain formation, along with Utahraptor and Gastonia, and Crichtonsaurus bohlini, which means “Crichton’s lizard,” and is a small ankylosaur; unfortunately the few remains assigned to the species aren’t unique, so it’s likely a dubious genus.
This episode was brought to you by:
Artemesia Publishing. They not only publish award-winning dinosaur books, but also “coloring puzzles” which can be put together and then colored using markers, crayons, or colored pencils. You can get more information at apbooks.net and you can purchase the “coloring puzzles” at http://www.paleoartisans.com/Catalog/fuseaction/ListProducts/classid/152603.
For those who may prefer reading, see below for the full transcript of our interview with Jesse Pruitt: