at least the worst part of it all is over... or at least i hoped!
professor paradigm had just rescued me from being dinonapped and dissected by the evil (and chatty!) dr. spectre...
the way paradigm had saved me though was the biggest shock of the day!
spectre wanted to cut me apart because he thought i wasn't a tyrannosaurus rex, but rather something else. which kind of ran in the face of everything i thought i knew about myself!
paradigm had beat spectre to the punch though, and had not only already studied me on the same suspicion, but had announced to the entire scientific community i was a new species of tyrannosaurus... a Tyrannosaurus traumadori...
as the professor approached me (spectre had hit him and bolted) i struggled against the ropes tying me up, to try and convey i wanted out! NOW!!!
"hold your ungulates!" paradigm barked at me as he approached. "of course i'm going to untie you," he growled at having to say the obvious.
then a though occurred to me, but i couldn't ask it properly due to my mouth being tied shut. paradigm understood me though! "no, i would not worry about jaden coming back," the professor addressed my concern about dr. spectre back tracking and attacking us again. "he might hold 'something' of a grudge against me, but the scientific prize here has been claimed. he won't risk being captured if there is no discovery in it for him."
with my mind put to ease about a follow up attack (which had been happening a lot lately), i just instinctively asked the next thing on my mind. not that it came out sounding like this, but i tried to say. "Tyrannosaurus traumadori, what is up with that?"
unlike dr. spectre, who heard whatever he wanted in my muffled talk, paradigm seemed unphased by my incoherent words (leading me to suspect he'd dealt with a lot of people when they were tied up!). "it is what you are," paradigm informed me, though he clarified. "scientifically speaking, mind you."
still muffled, i asked. "why has everyone told me i'm a tyrannosaurus rex my whole life then?!?" though the rex sounded funny through my closed mouth...
"because in essence that is what you've always been!" paradigm assured me, as he started delicately undoing the ropes.
"why the different species then?" i immediately wondered. "what changed?"
"on all fronts, absolutely nothing, and that is the reason," paradigm said, but it made me more confused, and a little upset frankly. i thought he wasn't answering my question seriously, and though it might sound silly, but being a tyrannosaurus rex has always been such a key part of who i see myself as. now i was being told that wasn't who i was anymore, but for no reason!?!
paradigm picked up my irritation (how does he do it?... i didn't say anything this time). "tell me traumador, when was the last time you measured yourself?" he wondered of me. i shrugged, not being able to recall. "well the last official measurement i have for you, sent to me by craig in 2006, had you at 2 metres long exactly and 51 centimetres tall. my own measurements taken one year ago, had you at 2.1 metres long and 54 centimetres tall. does that sound like a significant change to you?"
i shook my head... in agreement? how does that work. i was shaking my head no, but it meant i agreed with paradigm... that made little to no sense to me. stupid tiny brain!
"preciously," the professor carried on. "a tyrannosaurus rex your age would be at least three times that size, and would still be growing. not only has your growth ceased, but based on your bones it has finished."
i threw him a quizzical look wanting to know how could he tell that from my bones? "all animals with bones, have a number of spots in their skeletons that aren't solid while an animal is still growing. we call these loose areas sutures, and they let bones grow without having to break themselves in the process. when the animal finishes growing the sutures seal together, to the skeleton stronger."
"every single one of your sutures have sealed, traumador," paradigm informed me point blank. "you are as big as you are ever going to get."
wow! that was a big (actually small come to think of it!) bit of information to take in... i'd always thought i was just a late grower, and that one day i'd get as big as the other tyrannosaurs. for as long as i can remember, i've always feared everyone looking down on me was because i'm a dwarf of what i should be... a true tall mean tyrannosaurus rex... but i'd always thought a day would come where i'd get that respect when i finally grew tall.
paradigm had just dashed those hopes... if he was right, and frankly who was i to think he was wrong!?!... this was how i was going to be the rest of my life. a small laughable joke of an excuse of my kind.
paradigm finished untying me. "there has to be some sort of mistake," i pleaded with him, though i knew the professor was pretty dead set on his conclusion.
"there actually was," he said, sparking my hopes, but i should have known better. "something about your mother and father's interbreeding caused a mutation in you and your siblings."
"i'm a mutant?" i asked dumbly. i thought those were something only in movies and comic books... "shouldn't i be super strong, or advanced or something.?"
"no," paradigm dismissed. "while in many cases mutation can produce new characters, and thus start a new pathway on the evolutionary tree. on occasion mutations cause back tracks to more ancestral traits."
"i'm more primitive than a t-rex?" i asked horrified.
"preciously!" paradigm excitedly responded. "the combination of your parents somehow tapped into long dormant genes in the tyrannosaurid genome. the resulting clutch of offspring, you and your siblings again, came out with traits far more similar to ancestral tyrannosauroids then a proper tyrannosauriane. the closest analogue we know of so far would have to be raptorex!"
"so won't that make me a raptorex?" i asked confused.
"no, traumador," paradigm was clearly trying to keep his patience. "you're still a tyrannosaurus, just a very weird one. you still have all the proper bones and relative proportions of a tyrannosaurus rex. just, you have not grown as large or robust. you have stopped growing while in a juvenile form for your genus. this is similar to the adult form of your ancestors, like raptorex or guanlong, but unlike them your carrying features meant for a much larger size. this is where your mutation occurred. you are genetically misprogrammed to tap into this genetic memory of the growth pattern of a primitive tyrannosauroids, but yet you still have a tyrannosaurus rex body plan."
"with this in mind, if we were to classify you biologically in current zoological convention with modern living animals, you would probably be still considered a tyrannosaurus rex. however, acceptance of vivus-palaeontology has not taken hold as much as i have pushed for. meaning you are still evaluated in terms of true palaeontology, and that is just off bone analysis," paradigm went off on an outloud tangent... the first time he'd shown anything in common with dr. spectre...
"when your skeletal system is the sole criteria, your suture solidification suddenly presents you as a marked departure from excepted tyrannosaurus rex physiology. i'm sure practically you would be fully capable of breeding with another tyrannosaurus rex, and produce viable offspring. at least if one could solve the height issue. again as palaeontology has not embraced the opportunities presented by vivus- fossils yet, this line of logic is currently moot within the established scientific establishment."
paradigm looked to me, as though this meant something to me. i could only muster a blink in response. i'd followed him up to the point where i was not a raptorex. however i still couldn't get how my being small didn't make me either a tyrannosaurus rex nor a raptorex. what the difference between both of these and me.
"in lay terms, traumador," the professor explained. "you are a dwarf tyrannosaurus rex. however as palaeontology has yet to accept living dinosaurs like yourself as acceptable specimens, i could only submit your skeleton. because you are already an adult form, which is so much more gracile and small then an adult tyrannosaurus rex, i was left no choice but to assign you a new species. this is just an artificial name, like so many others. however it is accurate from the modern taxonomic point of view."
i was starting to get it, though not directly from the prof's answer (weird, with my brain i'm not used to making logical connections like this). i wasn't a proper tyrannosaurus rex because my body wanted to be more LIKE a raptorex, but yet i still had all the t-rex bits.
meaning i was a dwarf...
i let out a wail on this now confounded fact, how could i not? it confirmed i was going to stay a pathetic runt the rest of my life!!! (a t-rex wail is not pleasant... the baby t-rex in jurassic park two lets one out several times in the early film).
"stop that at once!" paradgim screamed. i stopped in shock at his angry outburst, but i was still very upset and sad. the professor saw this, and calmly (the nicest he'd ever been to me) asked. "why does this upset you?"
i blabbered out my fears of being small. not only was everyone going to keep thinking me a tiny nothing, but i was a pathetic weak primitive creature!
paradigm laughed in response to that last part. i seriously was wishing dr. spectre HAD cut me apart! "is that why you are upset traumador? because you think primitive is bad?"
i nodded, but unsure based on how the professor asked his question... so now i was agreeing with my head to disagree! man human expression is so weird!
"traumador, despite what our culture thinks, primitive does not mean old and obsolete!" he assured me. "primitive is simple that which came before us in time. nothing more. in some instances we the later descents gain more useful "advanced" traits, but these are only advanced because they came after the original form. in many cases these advanced traits are not actually superior, and in the long run the 'advanced' form goes extinct, where the more primitive traits could have or do survive!'
"how is a tiny runt like me greater than the greatest killer the planet has ever known?" i asked.
"can you fit through a door?" paradigm challenged. i didn't see what that had to do with my being pathetic... until it occurred to me, he was 100% correct. sure in the cretaceous i might have been in big trouble, but the human age was way different! i was totally better adapted for buildings then a proper tyrannosaurus rex!!!
the professor didn't stop cheering me up there. "could a proper tyrannosaurus ever hope to catch you if you saw them coming? no they couldn't! not with their huge heavy bodies. sure they could catch equally big prey, but i was not only smaller, i had frame built for super speed. my light body wasn't a burden on my super long, but yet powerful legs. i hadn't tried it, but i could probably keep up with an ostrich in a race!
the new wave of enthusiasm must have caused me to perk up, as before i knew it i was standing on the table and swaying back and forth (instinctive behaviour anticipating a hunt... sort of like a dog wagging its tail... only mine had a more deadly origin). "that's more like it..." professor paradigm happily pointed at me. "a fine specimen of tyrannosaurus traumadori!"
"now if only i could figure out why jaden came after you in the first place?" paradigm thought out loud... which caused me to pause too... why had dr. spectre shown up when he did?
if only me and paradigm had had x-ray vision...
if we did, we would have noticed what layla oviraptor and desdemona deinonychus were loading onto a truck totally unnoticed out back of the tyrrell (as both me and paradigm were on the other end of the very BIG museum!). their precise crate... with a cargo so important the pack of the primordial feather had tried to kill me for it!
now they had succeeded at removing it from the prying eyes of myself, and more importantly palaeo-central and paradigm!
to top it off none of us had even the tiniest idea what it carried. which as i was going to learn was really bad news... really bad for us all... especially me!!!
to be continued...