[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Bakker talk at Univ. of Wyoming



On Friday November 5th I attended a talk by Robert Bakker. This
talk was given in conjunction with the University of Wyoming's
ongoing exhibition "From Como Bluff to Cultural Icon: Our
Enduring Fascination with Dinosaurs". (See

  http://www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum/JurassicIndex.htm    )

I tried to take notes (mostly in the dark). The talk was
billed as "Recent Discoveries at Como Bluff".

As usual, Dr. Bakker was totally captivating and had some 
really funny bits. Among other things he feels Wyoming needs
more museums and that no second grader should be more than
a half hour drive from a (dinosaur) museum.

At the beginning of the talk, he started outlining some
things. Such as, a dino's heart was more like a bird's, a
turkey's, lungs, and so forth.

>From this he went to the topic of infrasound.
He had a cast of a brontosaurus skull (he used the term 
brontosaurus all through the talk). He pointed out that 
the skull was very loosely knit. Loose in that it could
vibrate as it breathed out and could have generated
infrasound. An elephant can project infrasound 5 - 8
miles; a bronto may have carried 10 - 15 miles. He 
speculated that infrasound from a creature this size
could've been used in self defense, even against large
predators.

Now came the best part. I didn't catch the site's name,
but the talk was supposed to be about Como Bluff, that's
where I assume it was or near.

Regarding predators, he said he'd been looking for baby
teeth for years. Age can be discerned from shed teeth.
He said he's such teeth. The slide(s) showed these
such a tooth on the end of a match stick. These were 
tiny teeth. In fact, he's found 35 of them at this
site. Basically, it's a nursery. There are remains
of 30 different animals (species?) here. The bones
have been nibbled on. The slides showed tiny gnaw marks,
no doubt made by the young.

In fact, the bones show both tiny and large gnaw marks.
This indicates the parents also chewed on the bones.
It seems, just like with bullets and a gun, the gnaw
marks are distinctive.

The bones at the "nursery" included preator bones. The
idea is that in a warm, tropical climate, meat rots
before long, attracting other predators. And then it
would seem the parents have something to say about it.

Also, adult teeth, of the same species as the baby teeth,
were found in the same site.

I don't recall that the species of predator was specified.

Summary: a high level of predator parenting.

After the talk I asked if the finds at this "nursery"
represented one breeding season. He thinks so. There
are two events where flooding apparently covered the
site with material. The nobbled on bones do not show
cracking or other weathering effects, so they 
apparently were covered up not long after.

He mentioned another find of a pathological nature. He
showed a slide of an adult's "pubic club" (his words) 
with a hole clean through it. Other parts of the skeleton
show the infection spread through the body. He figures it
took a few months for the adult to die - and it died at
the nursery. Those bones are not nibbled on.

As to what caused the hole, he speculates a stegosaur
of some kind.

There were obligatory segments on how smart dinosaurs
were, with cat scans and brain casts. And a bit on 
sauropods using their long tails in self defense.

Regarding whether or not sauropods could rear up,
he apparently feels they can. He observed that in a
dry season, there'd probably be less ground vegetation,
hence the need to feed high.

There was a Monty Python moment at the end. He was
doing marks a lot sketches for people. One person
wanted for a troodon. Bakker asked, "Asian or North
American?"

I waited for the person to be suddenly hurled into
the air...