In our 107th episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Brad Jost, host of the Jurassic Park Podcast. You can learn more about the Jurassic Park Podcast on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Episode 107 is also about Gigantoraptor, a large oviraptor.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- The dinosaur of the day: Gigantoraptor
- Name means “giant seizer” or “giant thief”
- Type species is Gigantoraptor erlianensis
- Species name refers to the Erlian Basis where it was found
- Discovered in 2005 in Mongolia
- The holotype discovery was captured on film, when Xu Xing was asked to reenact the discovery of a different dinosaurs, the sauropod Sonidosaurus, in 2005 for a documentary. But when he cleaned the bone, he realized it was the thighbone of an unknown theropod, about the size of Albertosaurus, instead of Sonidosaurus
- Xu described and named Gigantoraptor in 2007, along with Tan Qingwei, Wang Jianmin, Zhao Xijin, and Tan Lin
- Found a subadult, with a partial skeleton (lower jaw, single neck vertebra, most of the back and tail)
- Specimen is about 11 years old
- Large oviraptorosaurian (largest)
- Much larger than other oviraptors (about 3 times as long and 35 times more massive than Citipati)
- Xu estimated Gigantoraptor to be about 26 ft (8 m) long
- No direct evidence of feathers, but it’s possible, though even though other oviraptors had feathers, Gigantoraptor may have been too large and not needed feathers (though Xu Xing and others said it probably had at least arm feathers, since they could be used for display or brooding, and not needed to regulate body heat)
- Not clear what it ate. Though some oviraptors were herbivores, Gigantoraptor had long legs and probably could move fast, and it also had large claws
- Possible it had to be fast to run away from predators though, according to Gregory Paul
- Had a long neck, like many herbivores
- Had a toothless jaw, probably had a horny beak
- Had strongly curved toe claws
- The name Oviraptorosaur means “egg thief lizards”
- They’re a group of feathered maniraptorans that lived in the Cretaceous in what is now Asia and North America
- They had short skulls, and widely vary in size (range from the size of a turkey to Gigantoraptor)
- Fun fact: There are a lot of big dragons in fantasy, and it’s interesting to estimate what lift force they would need and how that would compare to Habib’s research… After reading a bundle of dragon forums (and there are a lot of them), here are some estimated sizes Smaug: length: ~60m (about the same as Amphicoelias); wingspan: ~100m conservatively; Weight: 100tons (100,000,000g); from geometry: wing area 1,000m2 ~ 2,000m2 (10,000,000 – 20,000,000cm2); requiring a constant: 5 to 10 g/cm2 (at least twice as much as the best birds can achieve). Even more problematic is that those figures are while gliding (constant lift). When flapping you’d have to create more force on the down stroke to make up for the lack of lift on the up stroke, putting far more than 50 tons of force on each joint where the wing attaches to the body. George R.R. Martin has said that early on he wasn’t sure if he wanted dragons in the series since they require magic since they make no sense aerodynamically and “you need some magic in a fantasy, but too much magic is like too much salt in a soup.”
This episode was brought to you by:
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For those who may prefer reading, see below for the full transcript of our chat with Brad Jost: