Paradigm Shift (The Game part 0)

i'm SOOOOO mad right now people of the innerweb, and
for once i know exactly what to direct this anger at... or in this case WHO!

that jerk (though he's still not quite in my cousins league of JERKiness...), professor paradigm has not only managed to ruin my second date with the girl of my dream's, but also completely destroyed lillian's life!!!

the worst part is neither me nor lillian know why... and though lillian may not be willing to put up a fight about it, i am!...

it's not lillian's fault mind you. we dinosaurs that are still alive (a vivus-fossil paradigm calls us) have it rough in the human world. the only way for us to make a living is to do what you humans want us to do...

for some reason being around lillian i don't care about that. i don't care that professor paradigm has major ties with the international palaeontological community, the world of museums, or perhaps most importantly my boss ms. rhonwyn. i don't care that through these he could probably ruin my finally back on track life. i certainly don't care that he may be the head of a powerful secret organization (by this i mean palaeo central).

so not caring i phoned up the melbourne museum with the intent of demanding paradigm explain himself to me... and you know what he said?

nothing. absolutely nothing.

the girl at reception informed me that the professor had not only left the museum this morning (right after confronting lillian), but that he had left the country!!!

ah man people of the innerweb! the one time i finally work the courage to do something great (and impress the girl i want to love me), and i'm robbed by the bad guy running away before i even find out there was a problem...

now my only way to help lillian is my really desperate, and probably stupid plan... all i can do right now is take her to my super duper mystery mega surprise location to cheer her up in the meantime, and while she is distracted try to set her up something resembling a successful life again.
so maybe its for the best paradigm left without me yelling at him. now that i think about it (with my limited mental capacity) what were the odds that my yelling at the mean old professor would get him to change his mind, and make things right for lillian?

yeah okay. so sure i didn't get to vent my anger, but at least this is the last time we'll ever have to see the professor again. i mean when's the next time i'm going to need a check up this bad (i've already been overdosed with magic after all!)? and lillian, if my plan goes right (please JUST once have one of my plans go right!) she'll be so famous that paradigm won't dare go near her again... good riddance is all i have to say! he can go ruin other people's lives!!!
uh okay so long as their not people i know...


Meanwhile back in Canada at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology...

(From the personal journal of Craig)

It's been a long time since I've been in this place. A long time indeed, and I'm not sure either of us is ready for my being back so "soon"...

Only he would arrange for a meeting to be here. Though he tries to hide the fact he has emotions, occasionally his grossly dark sense of humour wriggles its way to the surface. On these rare occasions you get a rendezvous that is as appropriate as today's.
Obviously both me and the museum have changed. Fortunately for me, the museum's differences are more noticeable at first glance. I won't want any of my old colleagues or friends here to suspect what I've become in my absence.

The change to the museum helps make me forget that this was once my home. Forget all the experiences, good times, bad times, and especially the betrayal. Not that Traumador restricted his betraying to the Tyrrell alone.

Some of the new displays, like these Albertosaurs, are a nice addition. It's good to see the mission of teaching and informing the public goes on.

Some of the new displays like this sauropod leg, are maybe less nice than you'd think. Not that it doesn't have a great educational value. Yet at the same time it has a far more interesting secondary purpose that the majority of the museum's visitors will never even suspect.

The funny part is many of them will have enjoyed its infrastructure. Beside this massive leg of Camarasaur is a spot for people to stand and compare their size to this long dead giant. A very fun and interactive use of the spot, and most beautifully deceptive.

I too jump on up for a go. Not that I don't already know how much larger than me this dinosaur's leg was. Not that I have anyone with me to take a picture. In fact my visit is perfectly timed for when there is only two other visitors in the gallery, and their far from me at moment. Only the museum's surveillance is here to take notice of me. Which is preciously why I'm up here.

Man this satchel is getting heavy as I wait for it to work.

This display's secondary purpose is in the marked footing pads. 99.99% of shoes don't do a thing here. Mine are in that .01%. Having the special transmitters in my shoes, I set off the sensor inside the pads thus deactivating the security surveillance system for 15 minutes. Not for my benefit of course, but for his.

He can't afford for his enemies (my "allies" in his little game) to know that I am meeting him here. Of course it won't be an issue if he hadn't picked this museum as the meeting place. Like I said dark sense of humour.

Man this place has changed a lot. Lillian gone, and replaced with Ceratopsians.

The scary thing is I've changed more than this place many times over. Changed by the very people I was supposed to be able to trust. All for what? The greater good he keeps telling me.

A greater good maybe, but not mine that's for sure!

All his!

Paradigm as usual plays it like business as normal when I arrive at the meeting place and play that he is calm and cool, but I know better. He is actually relieved to see my satchel hanging heavy and loaded off my shoulder. Not relieved to see me mind you. Just the satchel.

After the hand off, and his prompt (and rather rude frankly) inspection of the "goods' he thanks me. Not that it is actually a thanks for the trouble he's put me through. Rather he thanks me because it's what he's observed other people do in these situations.

I ask for my leave. Unlike him, I still have a cover story to keep up, and this is the last place I want to turn up if I'm to keep it up. Those eggs I stole won't go unnoticed much longer.

Than he pulls a fast one on me, and considering who its coming from it's quite a fast one indeed. He has a new place for me to lie low in. Which isn't exactly standard procedure. The whole point of my lying low is so that my connection to him isn't obvious.

Of course no, like usual he "has a better use for me". Isn't that nice. Like I'm not feeling enough like a tool, without him essentially calling me one.

I politely (only in tone and wording, but we both know I'm not being polite about anything) remind him I don't actually work for him. I'm not one of his precise, and apparently completely obedient, "agents". I'm only on contract, and frankly he's over stepping his boundaries here (like always).
In reply as he often does, Paradigm proceeds to hold the things I've done for him over me as blackmail and threatens to take me in for them. And he wonders why I don't trust him ever?
I tell him where to stick it and that I'm through. Whether he throws what I've done (for him) out in the light of day for all to see or not. Than comes the fast one.
He wants me to go back to New Zealand! New Zealand of all places! Just when I thought the sense of humour couldn't get any darker.
I flat out tell him no, and start to walk away. Go me! I never thought I could pull it off. Yet here I did it.
Than he does something I've never seen before. He ran after me, and blocks me off. I expect for another round of threats. Instead he pleads with me to just read the job. Of course there'd be a job. With him there's always a job.
A job in New Zealand. I don't even need to look to have a guess. Exactly what my greatest little "discovery" has gone off and done I couldn't have said, but it wasn't like I didn't know what this would be about.
I can't believe my eyes when I read the summary. I look at Paradigm to see if this is a joke. He just nods to alert me to the fact he isn't joking. Of course I should know better, he "never" jokes.
Before I know it I'm in contact with this Agent Hamilton of the New Zealand Department of Conservation arranging for me to assist with this case of "hers". In reality it's his case like always, but I don't tell her that. She probably won't like to hear that he's likely to swoop in at the last minute and steal all the credit. I don't care.
This one might actually have something in it for me...
To be picked up soon...


new zealand dinosaurs in a new study!

i may not exactly be a local, but i have to say i am proud of kiwi dinosaurs playing a key role in a recent study just published on arctic dinosaurs. the reason i say i'm proud is there just isn't a lot of remains of these kiwi dinosaurs to be studied (at most 2 known bones for any one animal! and that's IF they are from the same type of animal). the fact that such partial fossils are an important clue is something in and of itself!

researchers phil bell and eric snively (both based in alberta! i've met them back my in drum days, and their cool dudes) examined the theory that: dinosaurs found in prehistoric polar regions all must have migrated to and from these cold regions every year to take advantage of the abundant summer resources yet escape the harsh winters (harsh by mesozoic standards anyways).

they came to the conclusion that NOT all these dinosaurs had to leave the poles before the winter, and in fact many were adapted to thrive in the cold. among the key dinosaurs they used to prove this were new zealand ones!

now i admit before entering my palaeo FACT on this topic, it touches on a lot of other topics that i owe you people of the innerweb more palaeo FACTs on. please bear with that right now, and i promise someday i'll catch up to this point.

as for polar dinosaurs well...

based on a number of dinosaurs found in places that during the cretaceous would have been in either the north or south poles, it has become clear that dinosaurs were not restricted to constantly warm environments as once was assumed.

despite this fact, due to older scientific beliefs that dinosaurs were cold blooded it was originally believed that these polar dinosaurs must have only been visiting these colder regions in the summer as otherwise they wouldn't have been able to survive. this rule that all polar dinosaurs must have migrated hadn't been really challenged... until now... because modern thinking suggests, at least some, dinosaurs were warm blooded which would mean it is possible some might have been able to survive the cold.

locations in northern alberta, alaska, australia, and new zealand show a diverse range of dinosaurs (and other animals) lived in polar areas. among these dinosaurs were hadrosaurs (duckbills), ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs), ankylosaurs (armoured dinosaurs), iguanadonts, hypsilophodontids, sauropods, and theropods of varying sizes (large through small). this is quite a shopping list of dinosaurs, which led bell and snively to think they should look at each group of dinosaurs and evaluate their individual capacity for migration rather than make broad assumptions about them all.

(Production Note: All maps are from Wikipedia)

now it is important to keep in mind that the world looked different in the cretaceous than how it does today (like this pic illustrates). clearly parts of the continents were in the polar circles like today (and unlike earlier in the dinosaurs rule of the earth). the migrations that these two palaeontologists were concerned with were the western north american and the australian ones (new zealand as we shall see is a special case).

as you can see north america during this time was split into three chunks, of which both the western and northern could have been the place of migrations to the north pole. however as next to no dinosaurs have so far been found from the north sub continent nothing can be said about their behaviour at moment.

as for the western sub continent, it is one of the most understood palaeo regions in the world. the theory went that dinosaurs would wander up and down the continent from mid regions such as montana and alberta up to alaska throughout the year.

similarly australia was a focus. though it was connected to antarctica (to form the last super continent of gondwana) little is known about cretaceous dinosaurs from antarctica (though there were almost certain some down there), and again nothing could be said safely about them till some are found.

dinosaurs have fortunately been found in southern australia which was much further south during this time than it is today. as you can see in the pic it dipped past the polar line. these dinosaurs have traditionally been thought to have migrated there from the north during their summer.

with these routes in mind lets look at the studies findings.

one of the first dinosaurs bell and snively examined was the ever common edmontosaurus. using biomechanical predictions (which is fancy science talk for how they think edmontosaurus' body should have worked) bell and snively came to the conclusion these duck bills were very likely to be capable of making the long migrations up and down the western sub continent of north america.

they had several reasons to come to this conclusion.

though it may not have been the fastest dinosaur in running (which is of course short distance speed), edmontosaurus being such a large animal (13m long!) would have been able to easily cover long distances due to its long legs (which gave it a great long distance speed). even though this long journey would have burned a lot of energy, because it was such a big animal this was efficient energy use, as any moving around would use lots of energy anyways.

so the two palaeontologists thought it was reasonable to suspect that edmontosaurus could at least make the journey. whether it did make this whole trip or not, no one can be sure... at least from current evidence.

another common north pole dinosaur is pachyrhinosaurus. now the recent addition of a new species of pachyrhino might muck things up a little for this study, as bell and snively would have been unaware of its existence when they did their research.

despite this the two researchers had similar findings for ceratopsians, at least in concept to edmontosaurs and other hadrosaurs (more research probably needs to be done on the different types of pachyrhinosaur, whether one is strictly polar and the other not or whether both turn up north and south). which is too say it is quite possible the ceratopsians could have made these migrations efficiently too, because they too were also large animals.

this is supported by research coming from southern alberta in dinosaur provincal park (which was well out of the arctic circle in the cretaceous). there is strong evidence of ceratopsian migration in this region during this time.

ceratopsians are relatively rare in the dinosaur park formation, except in occasional layers where they are almost the only thing found... these ceratopsian packed layers have been found to be the aftermath of major disasters (probably a tidal wave or tropical storm) which trapped the majority of a herd of horned dinosaurs while they were in the area.

david eberth of the tyrrell has done extensive studies on these layers and disasters, and i will palaeo FACT about this research in more detail later, but they suggest that ceratopsians roamed in and out of dinosaur park throughout the year. meaning a lot of the time there would have been few or no horned dinosaurs about the place.

does this mean that the dinosaur park ceratopsians were wandering up to the north pole? maybe, for example a new pachyrhinosaur was found there in 2006, but it is just as likely (if not more so) that they were wandering up into the highlands to the west though.

in conclusion of their pro migration findings the research team noted that the larger the animal the more energy efficient it was for it to make this long journey. the bigger animals were not only more likely to have evolved migrational habits to take advantage of this fact, but they also would have benefited more off the food (aka energy) they'd gain by wandering up into the polar region.

they also noted that the bigger the animal the longer the wandering range. thus edmontosaurus being among the largest of duck bills had the longest range of the animals they looked at. most other hadrosaurs and horned dinosaurs would have had shorter ranges due to being smaller and having shorter legs.

the big finding here was that even the edmontosaurus (the dino they found with the longest range) had a much shorter realistic distance capability than previously thought! in the old scenario it was suggested that dinosaurs were wandering 9 times further than mule deer or 4 times those of wildebeest!!!

those were the pro migration findings though mind you...

(Production Note: Dromaeosaurid picture courtesy of Peter Bond)

in their study bell and snively showed there were a large number of polar dinosaurs that were extremely unlikely to be able to migrate.

smaller animals for example didn't work on the energy efficiency scale.

sure many of these smaller animals were pretty fast runners, but again that's short distance speed... they're not going to be sprinting the whole way from alberta to alaska. meaning that on their shorter legs that was a lot more effort to make the same distance as a longer legged animal. for example a dromaeosaur (like the one pictured above) would have had to take 4-8 steps for every single step an edmontosaur took. meaning that was 4-8 times the effort.

furthermore smaller animals need less food to get their energy needs. meaning they don't have to eat so much. if you eat less than you don't eat all the food in an area. large animals usually end up having to migrate naturally because they literally eat themselves out of a home, and have to go somewhere else where their food supply has been able to grow back from the last time they were there!

(Production Note: Ankylosaurid picture courtesy of Peter Bond)

they also found that some types of dinosaurs seemed to show up in these polar environments again and again. meaning there was probably a reason they were being always being found there.

bell and snively came to the conclusion these commonly found polar dinosaurs were probably adapted to living in the cold, and thus lived there year round (meaning they were more likely to die and fossilize in the poles). among these were ankylosaurids and hypsilophodonts in the southern hemisphere (i'm not certain of northern ones found in alaska... do any of my readers know?), and troodontids in the northern hemisphere (though based on partial remains in the southern it is quite likely there were polar adapted small theropods were down there as well).

this stands to reason as one australian hypsilophodont leaellynasaura (the same species as my friends boom and rang) has been suggested as being polarly adapted already. this is due to leaellynasaura's huge eyes which would have been ideal for seeing in the darker months of the year (cause again at the poles sunlight varies to the extreme with the seaons!).

for both the north and south continents bell and snively suggest a model where the larger herbivores were migrating throughout the year to and from the pole, and then probably were followed by the larger carnivores. while the smaller animals were native to those environments and adapted to survive the harsher cretaceous winters (harsher compared to the winters of either the triassic or jurassic in any case).

the question someone old skool could ask the pair though to disprove their findings is: is there any proof of dinosaurs that couldn't migrate out of a polar region, and thus had to be surviving the winters? because maybe unlike modern land animals dinosaurs could make HUGE trips (which seems unlikely to be honest).

bell and snively had an immediate answer for this question. of course there was a place with dinosaurs who couldn't escape the winter. that place was new zealand!

around 83 million years ago new zealand had separated from the greater super continent of gondwana and drifted into the southern pole (as you can KIND OF see on this map, sorry it was the best i could find that was copyright free. new zealand is just barely visible above its label in this particular map). meaning that any dinosaurs on new zealand during this time onward were trapped here with no escape from the winter each year.

(Production Note: Theropod picture courtesy of Peter Bond)

of course as you'll know from reading my blog (hint hint people of the innerweb), new zealand did indeed have dinosaurs during this time! click here to read about the first lot i talked about, and to be honest i've been a naughty little t-rex and still owe you a palaeo FACT about the rest. stay tuned for this FACT soon!

so though we know little about the dinosaurs of new zealand, it hasn't stopped them from being a key part of palaeontological research and knowledge!

if you'd like a great visual moving picture version of bell's and snively's findings the classic 5th episode of walking with dinosaurs "spirits of the ice forest" is spot on! which is impressive considering it was made almost 10 years before this research!


so it doesn't happen to just me... (the big date part 2)

so you ever noticed in your life, people of the web wide world, how when things seem to be on their way to improving suddenly everything falls apart and its worse than where you started? or is that just how my life goes???

at least that was the question i've always been asking myself since i was laid off by the tyrrell museum. well i finally have someone else's answer... though if you wish to share your take on this question please feel free to leave a comment on this post about it.

turns out i'm not the only one. though sadly this "person's" own life meltdown may have some effect on me too... a huge impact in fact!

so it went something like this people of the web wide world...

remember my first big date with lillian the albertosaur. well today was supposed to be the follow up... and though it happened, it sure didn't go according to the plan. if i thought the first date didn't go according to the plan this one was off the scale of off the plan... come to think of it, why doesn't ANYTHING ever work out like i plan it?

i was supposed to meet lillian in the middle of town, and from there take her to a super surprise destination. aren't you impressed. though i may have blown my imagined perfect date, this would have made up for it. alas things kinda went downhill from the point where i left the hotel to meet lillian.

when i arrived downtown my ears were welcome by a most unpleasant sound...

tyrannosaurid wailing... which to the human ear would sound more like a lower version of a tyrannosaurid bellow, but to me it was definitely crying...

not that i was surprised to see the source of the distress when i walked up to our meeting spot. lillian, the apple of my eye (i guess since i HATE fruit i should say steak of my eye?), was full on crying. tyrannosaur style mind you. there were no tears. not because we're tougher than humans. it's just we don't shed tears is all. if she could have, lillian would have been letting loose a waterfall worth.

of course this wasn't how i wanted the girl of my dreams to be feeling. if anything i wanted her to be happy all the time... but at the same time i saw her current sadness as an opportunity...

if i could be the one to cheer her up, well that'd make me all the more likely a mate for lillian! it sounded good in my head at the time, but i have to remind myself that my head isn't filled with the biggest of thinking machines though...

walking up to her i found that cheering lillian up was not going to be easy. every approach i tried. consoling, joking, chatting, and even crying myself (due to so many failures) was only answered with more crying.

granted i want to emphasis (unlike what i said about humans not being whimps compared to tyrannosaurids crying... i was trying to be nice to my human readers out there... you are still not a multi ton carnivore full of emotion) that lillian's crying was both powerful and terrifying! though i may be a tyrannosaurid, i did grew up among humans, i found lillian's distort howls of pain quite intimidating. unlike normal, probably due to my desire to help lillian, i was not overcome with my usual chickeness and did not try to run away.

all the humans within earshot on the other hand were keeping a VERY safe distance from lillian, and i think the police were called at one point. i had to calm her down before they became involved... i've sadly had enough run ins with the police not to want another!

finally lillian calmed down enough to at least tell me the cause of her sorrow between wails. she'd gone in to work to make an appearance in the morning (as we were meeting up in the afternoon) only to have her world turned upside down...

before she'd even gotten through the museum's lobby she was intercepted by professor paradigm. now i don't remember the professor well at all (having only met him during my infancy as far as i can recall), but he rubs me the wrong way at the best of times. if he was trying to track me down specifically i can't imagine it going well... meaning i already dreaded what lillian was about to tell me about her run in with the professor.

the professor informed lillian to not bother to checking in at work. as of effective immediately she was no longer working for the annex corporation. naturally lillian was a little shocked, and not quite believing what she'd just heard. when she asked paradigm how and why it was him telling her this and not her supervisor.

lillian's telling me her story fell apart for a few tries here. she didn't word it in a way i could understand. it had something to do with paradigm reaching beyond a normal palaeontologist, but i didn't understand lillian between her sobbing and this wording... what did the reach of his arms have to do with this is thought. that was till it hit me. of course, he may not be just an ordinary palaeontologist...

boom and rang leaellynasaura had been obsessed with a conspiracy theory that pegged paradigm as the supposed head of something called palaeo-central. now those two hypsilophidonts are convinced this palaeo-central is real, but my boss ms. rhonwyn who works for a whole bunch of museums (it turns out!) is equally certain no such organization could exist within the museum world...

to be honest i'm not sure who to believe, but when i mentioned that possibility to lillian her answer puts me in the leaellynasaura camp oddly enough.

lillian immediately agreed that paradigm was way more than a PHD should be. though to be honest she did not once say anything specifically about palaeo-central.

lillian thought paradigm was in league with the pack of the primordial feather! (though based on my run in with his dinosaurian assistant lance, i'm personally certain paradigm has nothing to do with the pack!), and that his interference was another attempt by them to ruin her life.

i tried to convince lillian that the pack wasn't involved. it didn't help me prove it though that paradigm told lillian she still technically had her job with annex corp. he just said if she did not voluntarily leave their employ dire consequences would fall upon her. it sounded like the pack alright, but the player was wrong. sure the vague ominious threat screamed the pack, but a human professor. he just didn't fit the bill.

in both my experience and lillian's the pack had always approached us directly. why now send a human palaeontologist to do the dirty work (especially when that was the part the other coelurosaurs enjoyed so much?!?)?

i put my curiosity and conspiracy thinking on the back burner. the point was lillian was very very upset. why shouldn't she be frankly?

coming back to my question at the beginning of the post people of the innerweb. lillian had lost everything back at the tyrrell when the pack had made her lose her job (like me!). after a year of dead end job after another, and little hope she'd finally put her life back on the path she'd wanted she finally had a big break. only to have it robbed from her again today!

i tried to talk her through the idea of just looking for a new show or museum. this only made things worse. as she explained it to me several times it became apparent lillian had definately tried many times to find other venues to be a star in. they'd all been dead ends. annex corp. had been a miracle, they'd approached her with the ultimate deal. honestly she wasn't going to find another one better in 65 million years. in fact she'd already looked, and not only was the sweetness of the deal made clear but she'd been denied all the lesser positions to boot... what was she going to do now...

after a moment of thinking i had an idea, but i didn't like it. i didn't like it one bit! it was almost certainly going to cost me the chance to be with the girl i'd longed for so much. yet it was her best shot at happiness... what was a tiny t-rex to do?

the right thing of course. if that was what it was going to take to make lillian happy so be it. i'd take another one for the team (which as far as i can tell is just me! some team huh?) and give that possibility of happiness to lillian...

the sound of approaching sirens brought me back to the present. which was just as well. my plan was going to need some slight set up anyway. i might as well try and appreciate this time with lillian. cause it might end up being a long time before i'd get to go out with her again...

i told her we had to get moving... if for anything not having a run in with the police... and it would help get her mind off her problems. i'd take her to my big surprise... i had been hoping it would have helped serve as a romantic setting... but the best laid plans of oviraptors and triceratops eh. my surprise is also is a good place for cheer ups... which is just as well. looks like i'm going to need that second function a lot more today than the romance option...

with the police on the look out for a "freaking out" dinosaur, i decided we'd take a round about and most important hidden route to our destination. alleys and side streets. which though easy for me due to my small size, were not necessarily quite as easy for lillian to navigate on account of her being a full grown albertosaur.

not that i minded having to wait for her, or slow down. it just gave me more of a chance to gaze upon her beauty. just look at that photo people of the innerweb. so hot!

the cool thing about melbourne is that it has a lot of BIG shopping malls. big enough even for a 8 meter long tyrannosaurid like lillian to wander through. so i'd take short cuts through them whenever possible to keep the authorities from tracking us down (though to be honest i think they stopped looking for us a few minutes after we started moving... how can we be a "threat" if we're not there?).

lillian wanted to take a break in the third food court we passed through. which suited me fine, but not the human shoppers sadly. so they all... uh how does one sugar coat this?... frankly i'm having trouble not making the people sound mean... ran away. i mean come on? why really?!? we were just minding our business. stupid tyrannosaur(id) stereotype! at least that didn't seem to bother lillian.

yet as we sat there lillian looked like she was going to get upset again... so to keep her mind off it, i told her she wasn't alone in her feelings... being the tough female tyrannosaurid that she was she tried to pretend admitting to emotions was just a guy thing... she also added there was no way she could know how it felt.

which is funny, because as you know from my (mis)adventures on this blog, if there is one thing i know about its broken dreams.

i spent a good hour recalling and telling lillian about my life of the past 2 years, and apart from the bit with whiro that she thought i'd made up, she was slightly moved. which i don't think she was expecting. i only say this because she said how surprised she was at being impressed and saddened by my ordeals. she thought her problems were the only in the world, but it turns out she's not alone.

doesn't everyone know that people of the innerweb? that everyone has problems...

anyways i think it constituted what TV or the movies would call a moment.

so a bit after this we resumed our trek to my surprise destination.

want to guess where that was people of the web wide world?

me and lillian are going to it. you could come too? (that's the only hint i'll give you. see if you can guess where we went?)

to be continued...


i get eee-mail...

there's been some tangents on the blogospheriod recently about the Eee-mails my fellow bloggers get. i got one today that makes for a great post. so here's a fun sample of the Eee-mail i sometimes get!

my good innerweb pal raptor lewis writes to my Eee-mail (traumador@gmail.com) the following:

Yo Traumador! How ya doing?

It's me Raptor. I'm doing some drawings of dinosaurs and I need a little help. I'm doing Jurassic herbivores. I need your help with coming up with a few. I can only come up with Stegosaurus, and sauropods like Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Mamenchisaurus, etc.

Can you help me think of more? And can you send pictures of them via email? That would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry to bug you.

Your online buddy,


P.S.- If you're thinking I'm a dromeosaur, then you are wrong. I'm not even a dinosaur. I'm a paleo-lovin' American human.

now though i'd never claim to be a huge expert (both due my size... get it? pun INTENDED!.. and also my knowledge) on the jurassic period, as we tyrannosaurs are the last of the last of the cretaceous a good 70 million years after the jurassic ended, i will try to take a stab at it and help you out raptor.

so let's take a quick look at the jurassic period with a...

so the jurassic period.

well to start off with the jurassic is just one of many time periods that geologists and other sciency folks use to better keep track of the huge amount of time this planet has been around. think of it like a month on the calender, only this calender has about 21 months (just for the time life has been around!) and these each have several MILLION YEARS in them compared to the 30ish days each a real month has. scientists label these simply because frankly it makes it easier to get ones head around. i know i can use that help!

the jurassic is the 5th most recent time period (as in going back INTO the past from now, its the 5th you'd go past on your way to the beginning of time... if you started at the beginning and travelled forward to the present the jurassic would be the 18th). the time period before the jurassic was the triassic, and when the jurassic was over it became the cretaceous period.

the jurassic started around 208 million years ago and went on to finish 146 million years ago. meaning it was 62 million years long. nearly the same amount of time dinosaurs have been extinct, but remember this is only one of three time periods the dinosaurs were alive for!

here is what the world looked like towards the END of the jurassic (as in the end closet to our own time, about 150-146 million years ago). the reason this is important is that the way that the earth's land and water were arranged (you'll notice different than it is today, but yet still recognizable) had a HUGE effect on dinosaurs and everything else living back than.

the world's landmasses are always moving around on things called continental plates. through a process called plate tectonics the land (and also ground that makes the bottom of the ocean) are like surf boards cruising the hot liquid ocean of magma inside the earth. as the plates float around they often smash into each other, and than later on split up. this changes the size of not only the land on earth, but the size and shape of the oceans. oceans as it turns out are probably the most important thing effecting living things on earth. whether the living things are right by the water or not!

prior to the time of the dinosaurs in the permian, the time period before the age of dinosaurs (about 60-50 million years before the jurassic) all the continents of the world had smacked into each other and got stuck together for a while. this created the super continent pangaea (it was made "super" by being made up of ALL the worlds possible land masses... sort of the way that super heroes vehicles always become more super when they combine into a mega vehicle!). this was not the first time a super continent has formed on earth, but it was the most important for life on earth.

due to the effects of having less coastline (in other words water touching land) pangea had really mucked up weather systems. having ocean close to you means you get more rain, and rain is key for plants to survive. because pangea had a lot of land WAY away from the ocean, most of it turned to desert. by the end of the permian the worst extinction event in the world's history had occurred, about 95% of life on earth was gone!

the reason i mention this chilling and sad event is that the jurassic marked the final end of pangea and its life killing ways. as of the beginning of the jurassic 208 million years ago pangea started to break apart into what would become the modern continents. of course the continents won't finish properly splitting up till the cretaceous, but their break up started in the jurassic. this drastically changed all sorts of stuff like the climate and environments animals and plants had to deal with. so there was a lot of change in the types of dinosaurs as the time period went on.

despite what many books tell you, parts of the jurassic were actually very similar to the triassic. especially the beginning of the jurassic. the dinosaurs though a bit varied were still of the triassic families. these included prosauropods, coelophysoids, and heterodontosaurids. the only big difference was that many of the large reptiles that had been around in the triassic were no longer present (but not all of them were gone!). at the middle of the jurassic there is growing evidence of a small mass extinction and here we see dinosaur types change as the "triassic" era types disappeared and the first of the more "classic" jurassic families pop up in their places.

the plant scape was a lot different than we're used to today. during this time gymnosperms plants were the main type. gymnosperms is a fancy word for plants that produce their seeds through cones. their still around today, just now they have company in the form of angiosperms, plants that produce their seeds through flowers. the really successful gymnosperms of the jurassic included conifer and ginkgo trees. ferns were also a very common plant during this time (and again are around today, but not in the same numbers as back than).

in the skies the reptilian pterosaurs (which again were NOT dinosaurs!) continued to dominant the sky. they diversified a great deal compared to what they were in the triassic. however midway through the jurassic the pterosaurs would have to start sharing the sky with a newcomer. my relative the birds. though the birds wouldn't start edging the pterosaurs out of the clouds till the next time period...

in the oceans similarly the triassic break outs the ichythosaurs would have their golden age, and despite being forced to become smaller than their huge triassic selves, would diversify as well be one of the most successful of the marine reptiles till their demise in the mid cretaceous.

the most successful of the marine reptiles (other than the sea turtles) the pleiosaur also enjoyed success during the jurassic. like usual they sported their medium to long neck lengths, but towards the end of the jurassic with the evolution of a new short neck version they would spawn some of the earth's most awesome predators ever. the pliosaurs which would enjoy domination of the ocean until the appearance of the mosasaurs halfway through the cretaceous.

on the land, true mammals appeared for the first time. turtles, lizards, crocodilians, frogs, and salamanders broke out into major success for the first time during the jurassic as well.

now of course i could go on and on about the jurassic for ever (well not quite, but with 62 million years worth of substance i can't hope to cover it all here!) i'm going to end now and answer raptor's question.

so again remember raptor the jurassic is a very long period of time, and saw a very large share of dinosaurs evolve and go extinct. the problem with a lot of books out there is they only present the very end of the jurassic, and make it seem like that was all that was going on.

in reality those are only some of the highlights, and frankly (much like the cretaceous) a lot of the stuff that came before is skipped. which hardly seems fair to me.

so plant eating dinosaurs of the early jurassic included (none of which made your list):

though closely related to the true sauropods on your list, prosauropods were key early jurassic herbivores.

the very primitive ornithischian heterodontosaurs

the tiny primitive relative of armoured dinsoaurs, scutellosaurus

the primitive armoured (although NOT clearly an ankylosaur or stegosaur) scelidosaurus. these are my personal favourite early jurassic dinosaur... even if he'd possibly given rise to the dreaded ankylosaurs...

other common mid to late jurassic herbivores that missed your list include the ever present small hypsilophodonts. not to worry though raptor. almost everyone forgets about these guys!

though they won't amount to much in the jurassic, the iguanodonts appear during this time in forms such as camptosaurus.

though the last additions to your list are of the stegosaur family... stegosaurus did make your list of course... it is important to remember that most of the rest of this family differ greatly from stegosaurus. it is the freak rather than the norm as can be seen by these samples.

so i hope that helps answer your question raptor, and thank you for the eee-mail. it was fun to answer!

to everyone else out there on the web wide world with palaeo question feel free to send them. cause this was fun to answer, and i love getting eee-mails... well actually i like comments on my blog a little more to be honest (i don't check my eee-mail as often as my blog) eee-mails are cool too... traumador@gmail.com is the address.

hope to be answering some of your questions soon!


In the Shadows...

(From the personal files of Professor Alvar Paradigm. Highlighted sections note those which Mike the Librarian thought were most interesting in connection to the supposed top secret Palaeo Central Initiative.)

I had visited Australia 12 times before this year, and every time this continent/country has proved more than worth the visit. Of course not all these trips were under favourable circumstances, the 1996 Broome incident coming to mind in particular. Fortunately the majority had been for purely scientific and academic reasons, and the specimens and findings that have been coming to light are truly exciting for science.

However considering all that I have seen and had happen in these 12 previous trips, even if they were combined, they pale compared to this my 13th visit "down under". This was just supposed to be a minor and care free week long visit. There were no incidents or cases for me to get involved in when I arrived, and fortunately there still aren't any technically thank the sediment, yet the past 6 days have felt as though all hell has broken loose around me. I haven't had so much to deal with since the last time Spectre and my paths last crossed.

The most unpredictable thing of all, has been the sudden re-appearance of TMP-2003. 44. 7 [a Royal Tyrrell Museum catalogue number] here in Melbourne. "Traumador" as 2003. 44. 7 has come to be called, disappeared nearly 2 years ago from Canada, and I'd been unable to track him down. I'd assumed the worst, and that he had ended up in a private collection or similar such fate. Instead the truth has proven more bizarre than anything I've ever encountered before.

Traumador not only managed to smuggle himself into New Zealand in 2006, which now explains Larry Tyrannosaurus' presence in the country last year, but 2003. 44. 7 has managed to become highly involved in its museum infrastructure as well. Apart from my having tasked vivus-Dinosaurs to work for me, I have never heard of a Dinosaur being given so much responsibility as this one. Which is remarkable that he'd be so trusted from what I remember of this particular specimen.

Traumador's supervisor, who is attached loosely with the Otago Museum, approaching me about a work related incident that happened to the small Tyrannosaur this year. She wanted me to ensure that he wasn't harmed by his experience. The results from my examination have thus far been astonishing, and I expect the rest to be no less amazing.

Not only is this the first time a Dinosaur has been exposed to any real amount of Mystic Gradient Energy, but it is showing us a whole new aspect of this radiation's nature. Unlike exposed mammals , Traumador is showing that Dinosaurs (and possibly by extension Archosaurs, but this of course needs to be tested) actually absorb MGR and process it in their biologic system. This is all I'm willing to record at moment in such an insecure database until formal publication of these findings however.

The coincidences just extended for around me from here however. Another former Tyrrell Museum specimen TMP 85. 14. 1 is also here in Melbourne for no connected reason. "Lillian" has become a definite point of concern, due to her current affiliation and employment by the Annex Corporation. I will come to my current plan of action on this problem shortly.

Fortunately I was able to focus time and energy on the primary purpose for my visit in Melbourne.

That of course being my grad student BA 4204 [Melbourne Museum catalogue number], or "Dip" as many of the staff of the museum have come to call her.

After my discussions with her on both her status and progress, I have to say I'm more than pleased with Dip's progress. In fact this is an understatement. I'm very proud of her. Especially considering the limited attention and time I've been able to give her since she started studying with me as the master of her studies.

Indeed my constant state of travel around the globe has made me a poor excuse for a supervisor. That is being too lenient to myself really. My role is to be more than a mere academic authority to Dip. I should be a mentor and guide to her along this difficult road. Yet due to the constant nature of the battle we face I've had to make sacrifices. There is not a day I do not feel them either.

Despite my failures, Dip has been demonstrating incredible self reliance and resilience. With the exception of the extreme supportive nature of the staff here at the museum and from the rest of the Australian scientific community, for which I'm very grateful, poor Dip has been meeting a great deal of resistance and hostility to what she is trying to do. If she did not have me and the initiative to back her, I fear Dip's dream of being the first Dinosaur palaeontologist would remain just that. A dream. Yet she is making it a reality one day at a time.

Dip has managed to keep on schedule with her thesis, and I expect her to graduate her PHD as planned late next year. This is impressive considering the many limitations her Dinosaurian anatomy places on her. Writing and typing are very difficult given her lack of proper grasping digits. My schedule has continually delayed the acquisition of specially designed equipment to make this easier for her. Yet she has overcome this with the use of her head and in particular beak.

Also the ceratopsian lack of stereoscopic vision has provided her with interesting challenges with reading as well. I am in the process of having special glasses fashioned for her that may remedy this problem (although it remains to be seen if her visual cortex can actually process a unified field of view. I look forward to the possible realms of research this 'experiment' will provide).

So despite my inability, even while in Australia it seems, to provide her the full magnitude of my attention Dip has still been prevailing.

If only the other new issues of this week were so easy to see to completion.

In particular the Annex Corporation situation has me on edge. I always worry about where vivus-fossils end up in today's increasingly materialistic world. It is bad enough to consider the fate of many standard fossils, but to have the last living remains of the world's past end up in private collections and be kept from the greater scientific community, it puts me greatly at

It is far worse when the company is involved! I've spent the better part of the last two decades fighting off their ever increasing incursions into the realm of palaeontology. All to no avail it seems, or at least feels like sometimes, especially when the crown jewel of Alberta's leading palaeontological institution ends up as a simple prop piece in one of Annex corp.'s travelling shows. This was not a problem back when I began the initiative in the 70's.

Of course there is a whole new range of issues that have arisen since those "simpler days".

My lead saurian Lieutenant ROM 975 [Royal Ontario Museum Catalogue Number], being one of them. Now this is not for a moment to insinuate that "Lance" is not a most capable assistant. In the three years he has been acting as advisor and bodyguard I have had few concerns with his abilities or capability. However his excessive paranoia of theropods is one of those few concerns I do have.

In the course of my briefing Lance about my current plans at dealing with the Annex Corp. situation Lance interrupted me. He proceeded to rant about how he was certain Traumador was a planted spy of the Pack of the Primordial Feather whose purpose was to monitor the greater Dinosaur community.

Now I don't entirely blame Lance for his fears of theropods given what they've done to him over the years. Combine that with the training I've been giving him since he was a hatchling, and you would expect some degree of adversarial distrust. Sadly though Lance has recently given into something of a theropod bogeyman syndrome. Not a single one of them is to be trusted in his mind, and they are all out to destroy him and his fellow herbivorous Dinosaurs.

Again I do not blame him for these fears either. They are, only to an extent mind you, based on a real threat. Yet another new trend of this new millennium are "the Packs". Suddenly there is a drive within the vivus-theropod community to unify into large blocks for purposes that are so far their own. I am not sure whether the purpose of these select groupings is merely for a sense of security in numbers or whether it is for a more organized cause. In either actuality these Packs amount to something very similar to human gangs. They are destructive, corruptive, and in general a large nuisiance. I have enough to worry about that alone what the fossils I'm trying to protect are up to.

At the same time, Traumador is certainly not one of the theropods he should be wasting time or energy worrying about. If anything I am much more concerned with the prospect of having to now extend Traumador a curtain of protection, especially considering how much he has currently put himself out in certain aspects of the museum world.

Sadly I was only able to get Lance to moderate his distrust for the small Tyrannosaur. We did both agree however he is most certainly becoming a definite player in our sphere of influence. Whether this is a long term situation or just a short lived anomaly remains to be seen. I also worry about Traumador's current lack of 'friendly' guidance and supervision. This 'Ms. Rhonwyn' is new to me, and I do not have the time to current waste checking into her back ground. I need to get someone I know and trust already to monitor Traumador. I do have a possible solution in mind for this I shall have to look into activating when I return to Canada next.

Lance also informed me of yet another strange development on this trip that occurred yesterday. Traumador has resumed his attempt to court Lillian. Odd considering his famed failure in the fall of 2006. Even I received word about that while in China of all places! A most curious development indeed. We shall have to wait to see what comes of it. Especially considering the drastic nature of my intended intervention on Lillian's current employment situation.

Which brought Lance to a side project of his own. I brought him along on this trip solely due to his role as my bodyguard. My purpose was supposed to merely be checking in on Dip. Now of course with the huge number of tangent distractions I have allowed myself to be distracted by, Lance has taken this to mean he can himself fall into such a trap too.

Lance voiced interest in approaching Lillian about the taskforce. An interesting suggestion on his part, especially given his aforementioned aversion to theropods. Yet I was forced to disagree with him.

Despite her very public, and I note, current lack of affiliation with the Pack of the Primordial Feather, this did not necessarily denote she was a prime candidate. Not that I don't appreciate his thinking. A theropod would bring a bit more desperately needed diversity to the project, and a Tyrannosaurid would definitely have its uses on the team.

Yet I question Lillian herself. She has not yet figured out who she is as an individual. The past two years of her life have been nothing but a constant attempt at regaining her former star attraction glory. Who is to say that when push came to shove, which it will sadly be coming to very soon, she will not just cave in and finally join the Pack. I personally still see this as a distinct possibility.

Lance did not agree with me, and in his typical stubborn told me that his instinct told him she was good natured at heart. Very high praise considering the source, but Lance has been wrong before where I have not. My decision stands. We will execute my plan for dealing with the Annex Corp. complication and than watch, from a far at first, how Lillian deals with the realities that exist for a vivus-dinosaur such as herself. A cold stance I know, but sadly the only viable one. I can not have the Pack of the Primordial Feather continue to corrode my efforts to the extent that they have been recently.

As for Traumador, the time for watching him from a far came and went undetected as he himself has gone undetected. He has most certainly become a player, even if it is as far as the Pack is concerned. If I can monitor him closely than perhaps through him I can learn more of the Pack of the Primordial Feather. For if there is one thing that is certain about this unpredictable little theropod it is that the Pack of the Primordial Feather will be making a move for or against him. Soon.