my readers get a choice!... plus fossil of the weekend #81

today's a big hatching day... only it is not for a person (or a dinosaur... or anything living in fact)!

it was 25 years ago TODAY that the royal tyrrell museum first opened!!!

now as my coverage of the dinosaur winter OH-lympics is dreadfully behind, i'm left with a choice. delay my posts about the 25th anni or pause my OH-lympic posts, and bring you the tyrrell stuff "live" (technically a day or two after they go down...). rather than make the hard call myself, i leave this tricky decision with you, my readers...

do i keep on posting vancouver, and touching on drum after that. or take a week off the OH-lympics and bring you the tyrrell's 25th anni? leave your preference in the comment section.

(i will disclaim as i'm leaving for drumheller as i write this, that i have no idea just how interesting or uninteresting the anni will be from a blogging point of view... just so you're forewarned)

to celebrate, i kick off the several weekends of fossils from the tyrrell's new celebration exhibit "alberta unearthed". this new display consists of 25 of the tyrrell's most impressive and cool fossil discoveries covering the entire range of palaeontology the province has to offer. (it is definitely worth a trip to see!)

the first highlighted fossil is this amazing 3 dimensionally preserved albertosaurus, prepared by tyrannosaur chronicles friend darren tanke!



as if there weren't enough surprises with the dinosaur winter OH-lympics already, my special talent agent peter bond had gone and added one of the biggest this week.

with next to no warning, peter made the rounds of all the vivus-dinosaur OH-lympic teams, and instructed us to board the morning ferry to victoria BC for a special OH-lympic "event"... not really sure of what else to do, all of us confusedly set off this morning on a big boat...

i was kind of excited. i'd never been to vancouver island, that alone the capital of british columbia. from everything i've heard it is a lovely part of canada.

sadly taking away some of my enthusiasm was why we were going... peter's special event at the royal british columbia museum, where we saurian "OH-lympians" would get to meet our loving public. at least that's how peter described it.

it would appear that while the majority of the dinosaur games thus far had been something close to a flop, the dinosaur ice hockey had become a HUGE phenomenon... at least here in canada. suddenly we saurian athletes were national celebrities, and peter intended to cash in on that (and hopefully get back some of my money!).

which meant all of us were going on display for a week. not exactly how i pictured my big break out being once again merely an item on exhibit in a museum. don't get me wrong, i love museums, but i do dislike the attitude that we dinosaurs only belong in a museum! why couldn't our big break out be somewhere that a human would get their recognition? why do we have to fall back on a museum the instant we're having success in the real world?

at least for this trip i had good company on the subject. i was spending the ferry trip with norman the centrosaur, a fellow dinosaur rights advocates. fortunately, me and him had patched things up from our fight the other day. his grudge wasn't with me, but rather lillian albertosaurus (though my crush on her complicated things). lillian herself wasn't talking to either of us. which bummed me out, but norman wasn't losing any sleep over it.

despite the collapse of team canada, it was like old times talking with norman, especially our philosophising about our impending displaydom. i like to think the only reason i amounted to anything approaching smart (with my tiny brain) was norman. our discussions back in our childhoods were a big part of me growing up to be the dinosaur i am today...

sure most people thought it was me hanging out with zendin... oh man, that was a punch in the gut. why did i have to think of zendin right now. especially hanging out with norman! i can't even bear the thought of what i know about zendin's fate. that alone the fact i'd been keeping it from norman this whole time...

anyways, it was nice to talk to norman. i'd realized how much i'd missed him all these years since we both were exiled from drumheller... that and it was fun to have him alone on this new adventure. i hadn't had close friends like him along on my blog-era adventures often. even if i wasn't too keen on the event at our destination, the location was appealing.

the trip was already proving worthwhile, just from the boat ride alone!

many times me and norman's debate would stop as we both gazed around us.

can you blame us though?

victoria lies about an hour and a half from vancouver across georgia's strait on vancouver island. inbetween the two are many smaller islands. many of which our ferry had to pass right by. it was really really pretty!

we saw lots of wildlife. one of my favourite sightings, and should be a backyard dinosaur really, was this log full of cormorants.

the little island villages were really scenic too.

overall it was a nice relaxing trip. even if me and norman were trying to stress out about what my talent agent was about to make us do...

the thing is we were in for some surprises. the funny thing is most of them good!

to be continued with: dino-fest!


backyard dinosaur #7

a Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) i saw stealing food from around our mountain OH-lympic venue (cross-country skiing coming soon!)


a new friend?

after the day i've been having, i'm really just not in the mood to have to deal with anymore dinosaurs... so of course i find my in the middle of the dinosaur winter OH-lympics, where there is no shortage of vivus-dinosaurs for me to run into!

i've already had two fairly draining interactions with fellow saurians today. first of all i got to be in the middle of my two best friends, lillian and norman, try and tear each other apart. as if that weren't horrible enough i was than approached by the pack of gondwana, who wanted me to join them in their evil against my cousin's equally evil pack the primordial feather... fun times.

so that left me wanting to pretty much keep to myself. yet moments after my gondwanan encounter i was approached by yet ANOTHER dinosaur.

this time the american stegosaur dollie. what she could possibly want with me i'm not sure?... i don't know a whole lot about living jurassic dinosaurs, i've only interacted with a few briefly in my tyrrell days. so i don't know what makes them tick, or how they compare to cretaceous dinosaurs i know. added to that she is an ornithischian, which as a general rule tend to distrust and hate me. (plus should i be freaked out by her like her cousins the ankylosaurs?)

adding to my weariness, dollie's 'greeting' was very odd. "oh, so you're what gloria was so interested in." she'd apparently not even been interested in me. she just wanted to see what the giganotosaur that had been bugging me was doing...

"i guess so," i answered a little annoyed by this start to our interaction. not that i planned for it to become a full conversation. "if you'll excuse me though..."

dollie suddenly had a really puzzled look on her face. "excuse yourself for what?" now i was the one who was confused. for a moment i had no idea what she meant, till she started intently sniffing the air. the silly plate back thought i'd farted!?!

"no, no, not that kind of an excuse," i clarified. "i was just trying to say..." i stopped dead in my sentence seeing how dollie twisted her head at me, not following what i was saying. i totally knew that look!

suddenly i took a slight shining to dollie. despite all our differences (me being a theropod, dollie being a ornithischian) me and dollie shared a very similar problem in our lives! the looks dollie was giving right now were the same i give when i'm confused... dollie has a very small brain just like me!

"you weren't saying yes to the gondwanan's offer were you?!?" dollie exclaimed in alarm finishing off my sentence.

"no," i answered out of instinct. then it hit me. "how did you know gloria made me an offer???" how was it every second time i ran into someone new they knew more about me, than i often did.

"lance told me to watch out for the gondwanan's approaching you, before i came out to be in the games," dollie blurted out. well lance explained how dollie knew something about me without us ever meeting. that however didn't answer the obvious question.

"how do you know lance?" i asked.

dollie accidentally answered the question by trying to stonewall it. "i'm not authorityed to tell you... no wait i'm not a big enough authorization to telll you. oh no!" she got all tongue twisted, though i got her point.

so dollie probably was in the employ of professor paradigm if she knew lance, with him telling her stuff, and her not being able to talk about it. which meant something to do with palaeo-central. not that i knew much more about them than i did the packs...

i'm not the biggest fan of paradigm or palaeo-central (some "random" examples of why here, here, and there), but so far i was starting to like dollie. she was just a genuinely nice dinosaur. the sort i wish more of us were.

i wasn't sure if it was her brain size (possibly explaining why we are BOTH over trying to maintain our prehistoric ideals), or the fact she was jurassic dinosaurs (the majority of my saurian acquaintances are cretaceous), or that she is just an awesome individual in spite of it all.

we had a rather nice chat, just the cheer up i needed. she was fascinated to hear all about me, the theropod that didn't really want to be a theropod. i on the other hand wanted to hear all about her.

dollie was my ornithischian counter part, at least in some ways. we both had a tough times in life due to our limited intellectual capacities. dollie really wanted to fit into the human world, but often found keeping up with the pace of the modern world a bit too much for her brain power.

it was neat, but also a little weird i must admit, talking to someone who thinks just like me...

after this pleasant end to an otherwise bad afternoon we bid each other fair well. though we did promise to hang out at least once more before the end of the winter games...

so how about that people of the web wide world? i have a possible friend stegosaurus!


a new offer, from the other side...

things just have NOT been going my way with these dinosaur winter OH-lympics. so much so that they seem to be taking forever... have you noticed that too?

the latest episode of this whole event is now two of the most important dinosaurs in my life are not getting along. not only with each other, BUT even worse with me too! i couldn't see how much else could go worse with the whole OH-lympics.

why do i always think/wonder things like that? right on cue, in the middle of my pouting over the lillian and norman fallout, yet another unpleasant event occurred.

while angrily pacing around near the OH-lympic site, i was approached by another dinosaur OH-lympian, gloria giganotosaurus . i'd never met gloria before the OH-lympics, and knew very little about her. in fact she was one of the few non-coelurosaurs i'd ever met in person.

fortunately for me i distrust theropods as a general rule, as this was going to turn out to be a very theropod centric discussion...

"greetings young traumador," she greeted me. which to be honest was a weird start, i wasn't THAT young... "i have very much been wishing to meet you since the beginning of these games."

"is that so?" i replied cautiously, and found myself crossing my arms almost defensively.

"oh yes," she replied unphased. "i was very eager to participate in these games when i learned you were the one organizing them."

"why is that?" i asked genuinely curious, yet i suspected i wasn't going to like the answer.

"i wished to meet the only tyrannosaur smart enough to not join the pathetic ranks of the primordial feathers," she said all complementary.

great, i knew exactly where this was going... i said nothing.

with true predatory grace, gloria picked up on my sudden hostility, and started to walk around me whilst keeping her eyes locked on mine. "i speak to you on behalf of the pack of gondwana, a far superior alliance of vivus-theropods. especially when compared to that of your misguided kin."

yup, it was just like i'd guessed.

gloria being a giganotosaurus was a carcharodontosaurid. a long surviving branch of the carnosaur lineage. i'll do a proper palaeo-FACT! on them later, but the basic idea is that the carcharodontosaurs were old guard theropods whose ancestors evolved in the jurassic and survived right up to near the end of the cretaceous. us tyrannosaurs didn't really evolved into huge predators until the late cretaceous, and compared to the carnosaurs were short lived upstarts.

anyways where my coelurosaur relatives alive today formed their pack of the primordial feather, the carcharodontosaurs and a bunch of other southern theropods formed the pack of gondwana. i don't know the details but i think the gondwanan pack was specifically formed to rival the primordials. rival them for what i wasn't sure, and frankly based on what i saw in calgary i don't want to get involved at all!!!

"speak to me about what?" i coldly replied.

"well as i'm sure you know, we gondwanans are in, shall we say conflict with your kin," gloria attempted to be delicate. "for a stable future amongst us theropods, it is vital this conflict be 'resolved', and in our favour."

i waited silent, unimpressed. gloria continued. "we wish to gain your support traumador. having a coelurosaur in our ranks would be a huge asset in ending this destructive strife."

no doubt in the ongoing theropod hostilities, no one had crossed sides directly to the other pack. i wondered if they wanted me to be the first to directly betray my own kind to merely embarrass the primordials, or if the gondwanas had more sinister and direct plans for me. not that my answer was a hard one!

"like i told larry, i am no not interested!" i stated defiantly, very aware my answer was partially tempered by my recent falling out with my two best friends. gloria may not be a tyrannosaurid like i was used too, but she was every bit the killer we are!

gloria for a moment looked as though she was going to get angry, yet she seemed to see something in the distance i couldn't (though i was beginning to smell something approaching). she turned to walk away, yet her eyes never left me.

"if that is your choice," gloria stated venomously. "i just ask you to remember our offer. for i think you will find that your kin are not yet finished with you yet, and will try to bring you into our conflict regardless of your cowardice," ah a typical theropod mindset, trying to appeal to my sense of bravery and fighting blah blah. then unexpectedly she hit me with something that was actually close to home. "afterall we know, they have already struck close to your past with their crate. so remember you have potential allies who have never slighted you before." slighted me yet, i thought.

thankfully that was the end of that. gloria walked off (surprisingly gracefully, considering she'd gotten the opposite of what she'd wanted). so despite my attempts to stay out of the pack war, i was still of intense interest to both sides... boo! i just wanted them to leave me alone!

then i was aware of the reason gloria had withdrawn. another dinosaur was approaching. definitely an ornithischian, but not a type i was used to smelling.

great! today of all days everyone is trying to seek me out. i just want to sit in my misery on my own! now i was about to have another confrontation with a saurian... what could this one possibly want of me?!?

Next: A Dinosaur with a brain as small as mine!!!

fossil of the weekend #80

rather lovely fossil leaf from vancouver island at the royal british columbia museum.


fossil of the weekend #79

a rather nice ammonite found on vancouver island british columbia, at the royal britsh columbia museum in victoria (my post about this coming here in the fall... along with the wrap up to the OH-lympics!)