In our 165th episode, we got to chat with Dr. Andrew Farke and Gabriel-Philip Santos, from the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.
Andy is a paleontologist and Augustyn family curator and the director of research and collections, and he is on the science faulty for the Webb Schools (the Alf Museum is on The Webb Schools campus, and is the only nationally accredited museum in the U.S. on a high school campus). He’s also a PLOS Paleo Community Editor. His research focuses on Cretaceous ecosystems in North America, especially ceratopsians.
Gabe is the Collections Manager at the museum, where he catalogs, organizes, and cares for the museum’s growing collection of fossils. and he works on a number of insanely cool projects, including Cosplay for Science, on Instagram @cosplayforscience and Twitter @Cosplay4Science, and Paleontology Education. Gabe’s research focuses on marine mammals.
The Alf Museum also hosts discovery days, and the next one is February 10 for Women in Paleontology!
Episode 165 is also about Gojirasaurus, a carnivore whose name means “Godzilla lizard.”
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In this episode, we discuss:
- New Jurassic dinosaur tracks found in southern France
- Cretaceous sauropod tracks found in China documented by drones
- Theropod tracks in Arkansas, U.S. digitized with LIDAR
- The George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden, Utah, has reopened
- Paleontologist Denver Fowler, from the Dickinson Museum Center, is working on a new dinosaur exhibit called Claws
- Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, has a new exhibit called Cretaceous Lands
- McDonald’s ran a radio ad that suggested it was better to spend $5 on a value meal than a museum tour, and then quickly stopped airing it
- In Ireland, Jim Jim and Nobby from the Strawberry Alarm Clock breakfast show, pranked one of their co-workers with Pete the dinosaur
- In the UK, traffic officers are trying to find the owner of a lost dinosaur toy
- Rich Douglas has released a cinematic tribute to the Nintendo 64 game, Turok Dinosaur Hunter
The dinosaur of the day: Gojirasaurus
- Coelophysoid that lived in the Triassic in what is now New Mexico
- Name means “Godzilla Lizard”
- Named after Gojira (the Japanese name for Godzilla)
- Gojira is a combination of the Japanese words for gorilla (gorira) and whale (kujira)
- There is a Godzillasaurus, in the Heisei era of Godzilla films (a political period of Japan)
- Type species is Gojirasaurus quayi
- Quayi refers to Quay County, New Mexico, where the holotype was found
- Found in the Cooper Canyon Formation in 1981
- Described in 1997 by Kenneth Carpenter
- May be a dubious genus
- Fossils of the first specimen found include a serrated tooth, some ribs, vertebrae, chevron right pubis, left tibia, and metatarsal
- However, in 2007 Nesbitt and others found that the vertebrae were actually of Shuvosaurus, and the pubis and tibia came from other coelophysoid, (too large to be its close relative Coelophysis), which made Gojirasaurus a dubious genus
- Nesbitt and others also said that the tibia was what distinguished Gojirasaurus as its own genus (more robust that Coelophysis)
- In 2012 Mortimer said that the more robust tibia may just be size-related, and not a distinguished feature
- Another specimen was referred to Gojirasaurus in 1994, but it was only a pubis
- Adrian Hunt described the pubis in an unpublished thesis, and named it Revueltoraptor lucasi, but it’s now considered to be a nomen nudum
- As a coelophysoid, it was bipedal, terrestrial, and carnivorous
- One of the largest carnivores from the Triassic
- About 18 ft (5.5 m) long and estimated to weigh 330-400 lb (150-200 kg)
- Carpenter thought the holotype was a juvenile, so it may have grown bigger
- Specimen is now in the University of Colorado Museum in Boulder, Colorado (in the collections)
Radar is an acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging. Lidar is a portmanteau of light & radar, although sometimes people make the backronym Light Detection And Ranging. The Arkansas tracksite was measured with LIDAR for a good reason, it had recently rained and photogrammetry wouldn’t work (radar wouldn’t either) but the green-laser light worked through the water.
This episode is brought to you in part 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.