Seriously where is Traumador?
It's been over 3 hours since his check up with Professor Paradigm. I've not only had the time for Lillian the Albertosaur to find me for a chat, but for Paradigm to also come and give me the checkups results!
One of the benefits on my extended visit to Melbourne has been my chance to meet its local Dinosaur residents. I was aware of museums elsewhere in the world having employed the few living Dinosaurs still alive to work at their institutions in efforts to increase museum attendance. Traumador himself has told me a great deal about his former home in Canada the Tyrrell Museum having such Dinosaurs.
Despite this awareness, it came as a surprise when I learned of Australia's current vivus-fossil program [traumador encountered part of this program here]. With its very ambitious goal of having a Dinosaur in every Australian museum be 2010. Considering the rarity of local Mesozoic material, that alone vivus-fossil specimens, I'm very skeptical of it succeeding.
Yet at the same time here in Melbourne the piloting of the program has yield very positive results so far. Results that I am happy to say I am now a part of. Ever since my encounter with Traumador's cousin, I've been aiming to increase my interactions with Dinosaurs. I think I can safely say that the Melbourne vivus-fossil attractions are now among my friends.As of such I called in both of them in and asked them to help track down my wayward Tyrannosaur. Both of them being who (what?) they are and of course Australian, were more than eager to please! Off they ran into the museum determined at nothing less than finding me Traumador, and bring him to check in with me...
man oh man i still can't express how much i HATE medical checkups people of the innerweb!
at least it was over, and now i could get ready for my date with lillian albertosaur!
there was only one thing left to do here at the museum, and that was check in with ms. rhonwyn so i could hopefully check out right away! i had a lot of stuff to prepare for tomorrow.
of course there was just one problem. how to get to ms. rhonwyn?
now don't get me wrong the melbourne museum does not have a very difficult to follow layout (unlike te papa in wellington). however professor paradigm had hauled me up to the top floor which i had not explored at all. there wasn't a whole lot up there... well okay other than a human brain display. which i won't lie to you people of the world wide web, didn't interest me at all. last thing i want to learn about is how much smaller and primitive my brain is than a mammals!...
i had no clue how to get to the museum's temperate forest gallery from where i was.there was one benefit though. i got to check out the balcony above the dinosaur hall. from here i got a pretty up close view of the mamenchisaurus. when in the last 145 million years has a theropod managed to get this high up a sauropods neck when it was in the air? (well if sauropods could lift them this high in the air. scientists can't decide if they could or not. i couldn't say myself. we t-rexs didn't really have sauropods to hunt!).
from the dino hall (once you skipped the demeaning human brain display) you end up on this upper causeway. as you can see it doesn't have a whole lot to engage visitors, but it did have a glyptodon to engage me.
which was sweet as! i'd never seen one before!
though i usually find mammals very boring, but glyptodons are just really neat. their the mammalian tank which is a crazy set of adaptation. there have been all sorts of times this has convergently (that is to say coincidental) evolved. everything from fish, reptiles, dinosaurs, and mammals have produced heavily armoured herbivores (well okay and in the case of the fish predators). i do have to note though scientifically i think the armoured dinosaur ankylosaurs were cool, i'd never admit that in public (uh again anyway!) as my kind had the misfortune of running into them in the late cretaceous.so after checking out this rather sweet (cast) skeleton i pushed on to try and finish up here at the museum for the day...
turns out the forest is what this "empty" section of the museum was. only, here on the second floor you're above the forest, so they put in the glyptodon to tide you over while you're switching upper sections of the museum.
great so the good news i'd found the forest... the slight bad news, i was directly above it and had to figure out how to get down to it.
again because they have a fairly straight forward layout here in melbourne it didn't take me long to get down to the forest level.
it was pretty cool in here. just like my old home the cretaceous garden in the royal tyrrell... only this place was about a million times BIGGER!!!
funny enough just like the cretaceous garden and the tyrrell this place ALSO had dinosaurs in it! definitely not something i was expecting...
the first was the lambeosaur that had been accompanying professor paradigm when i first ran into him earlier today.
immediately i couldn't help but notice, again, how this duckbill's entire hide was covered in scars. all of them clearly from theropod attacks... what had happened to him? (i initially guessed he was a him as it can be hard to gender us dinosaurs. however based on his bright colouration i was pretty sure he was a dude... hadrosaur males tend to need to be pretty flash to attract girlfriends).
i decided to try and be polite. "hey. it's nice to see another north american here down under. you won't happen to be from alberta would you?" i inquired. though most lambeosaurs are from my neck of the woods in canada some have been found in montana and even mexico!
he turned his head in a very aggressive manner towards me... though not directly at me as hadrosaurs eyes don't both point straight forward like a t-rexs or a humans... as though he was threatened by me. confirming this, he started to breath heavily through his nose causing loud sounds to emanate through his crest (that whole ornament on his head though shaped like an axe is actually more like a hollow horn that connects directly to his nostrils making his entire skull one giant musical instrument!)
"do not come any closer to me primordial feather!" the lambeosaur ordered. his voice confirming he was a dude.
ah, now his being threatened made sense. he thought i was one of my JERK of a cousin's cronies for the coelurosaur only club the pack of the primordial feather. "i'm not in the pack," i tried to assure this stranger.
"yes, so you have claimed, but you aren't fooling me like the professor tyrannosaur," the lambeosaur coldly stated.
i was stunned at this reply. maybe due to my small brain or just the plain surprise of an accusation 2 seconds into a introduction i tried to backtrack. "i beg your pardon," i requested. "i think you have me mistaken for a different tyrannosaur." maybe one of larry and teresa's offspring i thought. they'd still be small juvenile sized tyrannosaurs, and thus look like me.
"i work for paradigm, traumador. i assure you there is no mistake. i know all about you," his eye narrowed in on me suspiciously. "already among vivus dinosaurs you are becoming famous as the one tyrannosaur who defied the pack. what a perfect little deception you and your masters have created. send the most pathetic of you out as a spy on the rest of us. i don't believe it for one second."
i was both shocked and suddenly really angry at this duckbill. to be fair some of that rage was caused by my tyrannosaurian instincts welling up for a moment (i for a second planned out how to bring him down and eat him... creepy. that kind thing is hardwired into me?!?). he had not only called me a liar, but implied i was nothing more than a puppet of my cousin's.
so he worked for the professor, big deal! i know lots of dinosaurs who work with palaeontologists and researchers. "yeah so who cares what you think duckbill!" i dismissed him, and started to try and walk past him.
he lunged slightly forward, causing me to yelp and jump back... yes not the bravest move i admit people of the innerweb, but look at it from my point of view. he's a fully grown lambeosaur at 14 meters long compared to me at mere single meter! i won't even go into the weight difference. the point being i had something the size (though not as heavy) as a skool bus coming at me. that's a bit scary!
"i am lance, traumador," he informed me in a somewhat arrogant manner if you ask me. i didn't ask him for his name. "though you may not have heard of me, you're kind certainly has. they have left their marks upon my hide. something i'm sure you'll understand i do not forget easily. tell the leaders of the pack i'll be warning the ornithischians of the world about you. the ruse will soon be over."
with that lance the lambeosaur marched off... okay i never thought i'd say this, but i'd just met a dinosaur who just matched larry in JERKiness!
though as he walked by i got a close up look at the scars on lance. holy crow. some theropods sure did do a number on him! he is lucky to be alive based on what i saw.
some of the marks could not have been left by anything but a tyrannosaurid. lance had nearly had his spine crushed at least twice by one of us by the looks of it, and these close misses had left damage none the less. there were some clear dromaeosaur attacks among the scars too. the rest i wasn't sure of. i'd only really had contact and knowledge with coelurosaurid killing tactics in canada growing up. definitely some other types large theropods had had a go at lance, but i couldn't be sure which. probably allosaurids, abelisauroids, or carcharodontosaurids but i again am not sure...
he was lucky to be alive. seriously he should have played the lottery or something. he'd survived no less than 10 major assaults on his person (or is that duckbill?) based on my quick glance at this scarred body. so maybe his dislike of me and my kind was justified. at the same time i still didn't like him!
not that my next dinosaur encounter went any better...
i wasted a long time stewing about lance and he's ubber hatred of tyrannosaurids. this distracted me from focusing on finding ms. rhonwyn, and it turns out i walked around in a circle for over an hour!
as i resumed trying to find ms. rhonwyn (and my way around the forest gallery) i entered a cool stone enclosed path that led to some displays on the waterways of australia.
it was here i bumped into another dinosaur. a neoceratopsian to be specific... though i made the mistake of thinking it was a protoceratops. a mistake i'd learn when i again tried to be friendly... which i have to say sadly i may stop doing. which is too bad, because i think a world without friendliness is a world not living in...
"hi there!" i started off. "i'm traumador the tyrannosaur. who are you?"
the "proto"ceratops cautiously replied. "dip." a female based on the voice. dip was a little concerned by my being a theropod (instinct is instinct afterall) but she was no where near as agitated as lance had been.
"are you here with the annex corp exhibit?" i asked thinking clearly the only way an asian dinosaur would be here in australia was with a travelling display.
"no," she answered shocked in a very condescending manner. there was a pause. i had no idea what to say in response. as though she thought i wasn't capable of any thought at all, dip added. "i'm a researcher here at the museum."
what and WOW! that was something i'd never heard of before! sure lots of dinosaurs like lance work with researchers, but never, not once, had i even heard of the idea of a dinosaur doing research!!!
"that is awesome!" i enthusiastically said. my dream had always to become a museum curator someday. if this dip was saying what i thought she was saying than there was a chance that maybe i could one day!
sadly i let me imagination take over my tiny brain, and i didn't think about what i said next. "i've always wanted to study palaeontology too! how did you start? in mongolia? or did you have to goto china first?" i asked thinking that of course as a protoceratops, dip would have been from mongolia. however due to mongolia's being not the richest country in the world she may have had to goto nearby china to get started on her scientific career.
she just starred at me contemptuously for a moment. "what ever are you blathering about?"
i hesitantly mentioned her being a protoceratops to which dip harshly corrected me. "a protoceratops?!? do you know anything? i am a serendipaceratops!"
stupidly playing into her accusations of being dumb, i babbled out. "a what?" not because i didn't know what it was, i'd just learned about her kind in the dinosaur hall, but because it's quite the mouth full to say. try it yourself... seren-dip-a-cer-atops.
she rolled her eyes in perfect human fashion... the first dinosaur i'd ever seen do this apart from me! "before wandering around a new country try acquainting yourself with the local inhabitants rather than trying reassigning them to places you are familiar with!" she than started to talk like what i picture an encyclopaedia would sound like... you know if it could talk. "serendipaceratops, australia's thus far only known native ceratopsian genus. though initially only known from partial fossil remains the discovery of, my, vivusly preserved egg added a great deal of insight to the species. this egg, specimen BA 4204, was the first vivus-fossil discovered in australasia..."
"wow how do you remember all that?" i eagerly inquired, and also kinda interrupted dip. which come to think of it probably made me look dumb... again!
even though i've read TONS of dinosaur and palaeontology books i can never remember that much detail. i remember the gist, but the tiny details always ooze out of my brain.
"remember that?" she asked as though she couldn't believe i'd asked it. "and you said you wanted to study palaeontology? you'd never be able to manage a basic degree that alone a PHD if you can't retain that level of information."
what? did she just say PHD. "you mean you're an actually palaeontologist?!?" i ignored the insult she'd just given me.
for the first time dip the serendipaceratops was slightly humble and modest. "not yet. i'm just a PHD student. hopefully in another year i'll have my doctorate."
"how did you get into university?" i wanted it know.
"i applied for it. now if you'll please excuse me i have a friend to meet," dip cut off the conversation and walked away.
it was about here that i remembered all the problems i'd had with dinosaurs over the years. the dinotown incident in particular came to mind. there were so few places for us dinosaurs in the human world that we all had to compete with each other way more than in the mesozoic. considering all the art out there of prehistoric dinosaurs clawing and killing each other it's hard to imagine us modern ones being worse, but trust me even if we're not actually killing each other we are. if we could kill each other it be a great life as sick as that sounds...
i was starting to yearn for good old dinosaur-less new zealand (well okay the south island anyway). meaning i should meet up with ms. rhonwyn not only so i could prepare for my date with lillian (the one dinosaur in the world i still wanted to see!), but also so i could ask her how and when we were going to get home to dunedin.
within seconds of dip rudely walking away, two very energetic voices came from above me.
"dip certainly didn't take a shining to you," said one voice. immediately it was followed by another. "no she most certainly didn't."
it was a pair of hypsilophodontids who stood on the rock wall above me. they must have just arrived as i hadn't noticed them there while talking to dip.
"great," i thought out loud. just what i wanted to put up with after the last couple hours, more dinosaurs!
"oh not to worry mate," one quipped. "we're not grumpy know-it alls like dip." the other followed.
"so than you'd be what?" i crankily asked starting to resume down the path. which of course was rude of me, but that was the point. i really should have done a three strike system on being polite. it turns out i would have won here...
blocking my route suddenly, the two hypsilophodontids leapt down from up top in front of me. "oh telling you would be no fun," the bigger one said. "i don't really feel like..." i started, but the other one cut me off. "just be a sport and play the guessing game. it's not like we're challenging you to something hard like rugby or anything." than as you probably are predicting people of the innerweb, again they traded speaking roles and the first one added. "it'll make you feel smart after having dip tear into you like she did."
stopping to think about it i realized they were right. it was not a hard game, and starting to think of my guess i did start to feel a bit smarter.
based on some of the slang they'd been using it was clear they were from the southern hemisphere. now as new zealand hadn't produced any dinosaur eggs i'd heard of, that meant they were probably from here in australia. than it occurred to me that i recognized them... from TV no less!
"guilty as charged. i'm boom," said, well boom. "and i'm rang," followed rang.
"now don't you feel heaps better?" boom asked.
"a bit to be honest," i admitted.
"no worries mate. dip is a little full on. to be honest she doesn't get along with most at the best of times. that alone theropods," rang assured me.
"we'd apologize, but to be honest we don't like her much either," boom dismissed her.
"wait, aren't you guys a little put off by my being a theropod?" i inquired.
"no," rang laughed. "if you were one of the bad ones you'd have tried to eat us by now."
"we only just met," i pointed out.
"exactly!" boom agreed. "a dangerous theropod wouldn't have waited for us to show ourselves. it'd have hunted us down first."
"besides your reputation precedes you," rang exclaimed. "traumador the tyrannosaur. the first true blooded tyrannosaurus rex to oppose the pack of the primordial feather!"
"you obviously haven't been talking to lance," i grumbled.
"you ran into lance too?!?" boom stated. "no wonder you're so late!"
"late for what?" i asked.
"meeting up with your boss," rang replied.
"you know ms. rhonwyn?" i asked shocked.
"oh yeah," boom answered. "we've been hanging with her a lot the last couple months. a good true blue aussie that one!"
wait ms. rhonwyn was an australian? i'd never caught that. oh uh! i'd always just assumed she was a kiwi cause she was working at the otago!
"come on she's been getting kinda bored and sick of waiting for you," rang informed me, and they took off back towards the inside of the museum.
"what did lance want with you?" boom inquired curiously.
i informed them of my encounter with lance.
"wow, if not for the fact he doesn't like you, you should feel lucky! lance doesn't talk to many, and those that he does are usually important," rang related.
"important to what?" i asked confused. since when were dinosaurs ever considered important? the only time i'd seen it at all was when larry's visit to dunedin had caused an uproar with the unprepared kiwis.
"you know," boom paused as though scarred. "the dark side of palaeontology."
"dark side?" i repeated sceptically. "you mean like dark vadar and star wars?"
"no no no," rang countered. "the negative side effects and consequences of fossils and palaeontology. you know the stuff like illegal fossils trading, rogue research, and us dinosaurs forming secret groups like the packs."
when i was a young hatchling, my legal guardian craig had warned me of such things. they'd always scarred me, but i'd thought they were overplayed into ghost stories (come to think of it i happen to know ghosts are real... so it only makes sense the dark side of palaeontology would be true too).
"why would a hadrosaur be interested in that?" i inquired. especially a hadrosaur who seemed to get in enough trouble with us theropods?
"don't you know anything?" boom demanded... great just when i was starting to like these two they had to go and start sounding like dip!
"know what?" i grumpily grumbled.
"who professor paradigm is!" rang commented really weirdly.
"the world expert on vivus-fossils," i echoed what the professor had told me himself during my checkup.
"not just that... he's the head of palaeo central!" boom revealed.
"what's that?" i instinctively asked, not that i was seeing the reason for the hypsilophodontids' fear of the subject.
"its the initiative entrusted with the monitoring and defence of fossils and the science of palaeontology," rang whispered.
a million thoughts and ideas went through my head upon hearing that description. the foremost of all was my realization i may have heard of it before...
when craig confronted larry in dunedin the only reason craig wasn't a t-rex snack was that he threatened larry with something he called "central". was this the same thing? than that would mean craig hadn't just been telling me stories when i was a hatchling... he might have been telling me about his real life!?!?!
rather than ask that outright about craig as they probably didn't know him (though they did know ms. rhonwyn come to think of it...), i asked the leaellynasaura one of my other million thoughts. "who works for palaeo central than?"
"that's the thing no one knows," boom stated. "there's no question that it exists, but somehow it keeps to the shadows of the palaeontology community. lurking unseen in the world's museums, universities, and fossil sites invisible. yet every present."
okay so we'd gone right past ghost story into a fishing story.
rang got back to my question by explaining. "what boom was getting at, i think, is that palaeo central appears to have people, and probably dinosaurs, situated in key places throughout the scientific world. who they are, and how their brought into central isn't advertised. all that is public and official is that professor paradigm launched palaeo central a while back. though he's never said it, i think it's safe to say lance the lambeosaur is pretty high up in the organization. what being paradigm's personal assistant and all."
wow today was seriously getting to a point on the epic weird scale i haven't ever reached before in my life... and i was being chased by a maori god not all that long ago i will point out!!!
boom got himself a little less crazed and added. "every year tons of big fossil crimes go down, and we're talking fossils of every kind including us vivus ones! at the same time a lot of them miraculously get thwarted at the last moment. according to the news or official records the wrong doers were stopped but the key details on how are always skipped over. that's central covering its tracks disappearing into the shadows again. every time palaeo central somehow steps in and stops it though. if you ask me its reassuring knowing they're out there watching out over us!"
we spent the rest of the time walking through the museum talking about this mysterious palaeo central. in the end i couldn't get anymore useful information about it though. the leaellynasaura didn't know anything more, and were kind of frieghtened and in fan boy awe of it all at the same time... they just knew that it seemed to be international, secretive, run by paradigm, and boom kept insisting it was lurking in the shadows.
i had serious questions over it though compared to these two. not whether it was in the shadows... was craig in it? or had he simply name dropped with larry as i had about paradigm? if he was than maybe paradigm would know where my legal guardian had disappeared after i'd attacked him for trying to help me with larry... i wanted almost nothing more (other than success with lillian tomorrow) than to apologize to craig for what i'd done to him...
i wasn't going to get an answer today... we finally made it to ms. rhonwyn. for a moment i thought this day was trying to kill me!
sitting down beside ms. rhonwyn was none other than my new "friend" dip the serendipaceratops.
"there you are!" ms. rhonwyn sounded annoyed, bored, relieved, and ecstatic all at once.
the leaellynasaura jumped in to tell her my excuses for me, which gave my reasons more of an air of legitimacy. dip angrily glared at the two hypsilophodontids when they relayed her part in my being delayed word for word. i now scratch my yearning for dinosaur-less new zealand people of the innerweb. boom and rang are officially dudes... i think. come to think of it i never did figure out if they were boys or girls! oops! anyways i like the two of them a lot now!
"well after hearing that you're out of trouble," ms. rhonwyn winked at me, as she told me this more for the benefit of the eager leaellynasaura who happily started bouncing around thinking they'd saved me from some terrible fate.
"as for you," ms. rhonwyn turned towards dip. "i would very much appreciate it if you were nicer to my employees. i wouldn't want to have to speak with your supervisor about professional conduct."
dip shifted in a very embrassed manner, though on her tiny frame it looked quite energetic compared to what i was used to. i'd only dealt with true huge ceratopsians, not smaller primitive neo-ceratopsians in drumheller. "i apologize," she said to ms. rhonwyn, but not me.
though she was proof that what i wanted in life might be possible, i wasn't too keen on this serendipaceratops so far...
"well i must be off with my man traumador here," ms. rhonwyn informed all the surrounding australian dinosaurs. "dip i'll see you later tonight to discuss that paper. boom and rang i'll be coming in, in a couple days from now to say good bye so make sure you're findable please. no more adventures in the air ducts till after i fly off please!"
with that ms. rhonwyn walked me off towards the human history half of the museum.
"you know dip too?" i asked shocked. ms. rhonwyn had told me when larry had visited i was the first dinosaur she'd ever seen or worked with.
"i know a lot of dinosaurs now traumador," she assured me. "you've met them all now. their just the ones here at this museum, but i'm hoping through my job and you to meet a lot more in the future. at the same time you're the most important one to me by quite a bit."
"really," i said embarrassedly and unbelieving.
"remember that promotion i gave you a year ago?" she asked me.
"yes," i answered. how could i forget it. without it i'd never have ended up here in australia!
"well its nothing compared to what i'm about to offer you," she told me with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
to be continued...