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Dino News Bits
Catching up on Dinolist news from a month ago. (I am a military intel
analyst and for some reason things have been busy during September.)
MAGIC METAL: Grenard asked about the "magic metal" of the Roswell
case. I have a theory. It's called "the tale grew in the telling".
The wreckage included some plasticized foil. Crumple it and it
uncrumples. Not to perfectly smooth flatness, but for someone who has
never seen that material (now used for some candy wrappers) the fact
that left to itself it will uncrumple would be a bit surprising.
After the story makes the rounds, uncrumple becomes cold-rolled flat.
SEGNOSAURS: Ok, I give up, what are these things? <grin> Really.
Ok, ok, thinking out loud. They're part of the Lizard-hipped
(Saurischian) tribe, but weird enough that they sort of seem to be a
crossbreed between a Sauropod and a Theropod. If they were in the
Triassic it would be obvious that they are a "sport" descendant of
the theoretical 230mya SauroTheropod ancestor, but they show up in
the late Cretaceous, 100+ million years too late for that. So they're
a Sauropod who suddenly remembered the repressed genetic memories of
some Theropod traits or a Theropod that (as Dr Holtz suggests)
remembered the repressed genes of the Sauropods. Then again, STANG is
impressive in his list of 19 points linking them to the ProSauropods,
so perhaps they are a separate line of descent from ProSauropods (or,
arguably, from the Sauro-Thero ancestor) that evolved along through
the Jurassic parallel to the TrueSauropods. I can buy it, but that
means we are looking for a "missing Jurassic link" between
ProSauropoda and Segnosauria, right? Is there further info here?
SPINOSAURUS: Ok, ok, we evil military types bombed the thing out of
existence before you could get all of the info you would really have
liked to have had. I'm sorry. So, and I may be confused here, but
DUH, why doesn't someone just go dig up another one? I'm serious.
<smile> You know where the formation he came from was (Morocco, which
happens to be a very happily pro-West country), so why hasn't some
university ponied up the bucks to send a team out there looking for
another one? Look how many T-rexes have been found after a very few
teams started some serious searching. You really think that two or
three teams spending two or three seasons out there couldn't turn one
up? And another question. How come four different fossil dealers are
offering to sell Spinosaurus Teeth at $30-50 each? Admittedly, teeth
are the main surviving bits of Therapods, since they left them laying
all over the place every time they had dinner, but if the teeth are
so dang common, why is it that no one has stumbled upon the idea of
just going to Morocco and looking for another one? And if the thing
was destroyed, how come the teeth are that easy to identify? Or is
someone passing off Megalosaurus teeth as Spinosaurus teeth? <grin>
CHINA: Do these guys write their own rules or what? The Dinosaur
Encyclopaedia is full of things like "Kungfoosaurus: Some Chinese guy
wrote a magazine article saying he had found it, but he's never told
us what it is, so we don't know". Where do they get off putting out
names if they don't do the "description" to back them up?
DOLLAR COIN: Actually, the only support for this is the half-baked
theory that it will save money because the coins don't wear out so
fast. Unfortunately, that's not really supported by the facts. It
will cost a lot more to convert the country's vending machines than
we would ever save. You could replace the $1 bill with a $2 bill but
you won't really save much doing that and you'll still have that
multi-billion dollar cost of vending machine conversion. People
simply will not carry a $1 coin. Too heavy. Maybe if you made it in
silver and the size of a nickle, but no one has proposed that.
DINOGEORGE: Thanks for recommending the book DINOSAURIA. I found a
copy at B Dalton's (although it was on the civil engineering shelf
for some reason) and it's fascinating.
THE LOST WORLD: I read it, and didn't find it nearly as awful as the
reviews predicted. It's got some really interesting theories, some of
which (chamleonosaurs?!) are a bit TOO cute. Wish we could have had
GRANT back instead of the dingbat mathematician.
DINO ARTISTS: Stang ol' buddy, I appreciate your reviews of the
various artists, but could you cite examples of what books each of
those artists are in? I don't usually memorize the names of the
artists who do work in various books.
LONE STAR DINOS: New book, just out, describing the dinosaurs found
in Texas. Picked up a copy at the museum in Fort Worth (which, by the
way, has a gorgeous life-size statue of an Acrocanthosaurus on the
front lawn) and the book is definitely worth the read. Nice art, too.
D SMITH 0531: Congrats and thanks for the brilliant and lively
discussion of Cheetahs (the last of the 'running cats') and lions
(one of the larger 'leaping cats'). I look forward to someone doing
the tendon scar analysis. "If the Cheetah becomes extinct while the
Pekinese survives, someone has not thought this through."
MANPOWER: I heard somewhere that there are zillions of acres of
'badlands' with dinos weathering out all of the time that no one
notices because there isn't enough manpower to 'walk the hills' on a
comprehensive and regular basis. Is this true, or are there plenty of
hillwalkers busily out there anyway?
PREDATORY HUNTING STYLES: The dissertation by Dr Holtz was a true joy
to read, and contained valuable insights in this area. We are blessed
by his counsel. Articles like this one (and the Cheetah article by
Smith) make DinoList as good as any magazine. Indeed, maybe someone
should publish a quarterly BEST OF DINONET journal? That would at
least get around that problem of what is and isn't "published".