fossil of the weekend! #48

a skeleton of a Micropycnodon from the collections of the royal tyrrell museum.


i'm going to the zoo, and you can come to!

though my trip to cowtown has taken a bit of an ominous twist, nothing says i can't enjoy myself till i figure out what exactly is going on!

so i'm hitting one of my childhood favourite spots in calgary, the zoo! home of this rather famous, and influential on my early self image tyrannosaur statue...

so stay tuned for my big zoo post this weekend!


cowtown... everyone's coming here...

well with my trip back to drumheller over it was time to start making my way back "home" to new zealand... meaning i had to pass through the closest big city, calgary, if only really just to get to a real airport (drumheller has a tiny one lane road for an airport).

though i have to say this whole human concept of home is weird to me. home is where you currently live, yet at the same time it is where you once lived... so in my case i'm leaving home to go home?

i guess its just my nomadic predatory instincts conflicting with this concept. back in the cretaceous a tyrannosaur probably didn't really stick around any one place unless there was food hanging around it. meaning our food was really our home... oh well

regardless, i was in for yet another surprise from this trip. not that they're that surprising anymore. i think if something goes according to the plan while i'm here in canada i'll be floored...

i headed to the calgary airport to catch my flight back to new zealand. i don't have clear pictures of the airport, as i've been told you can get in trouble for taking lots of pics around airports. i did sneak in a couple snap shots of these pterosaurs that were hanging around the ceiling of the port though. sadly you don't to fly on the pterosaurs, as i'd hoped.

rather they're just some cool statues to decorate the place. the idea is it shows the evolution of flight, as nestled among the huge quetzalcoatlus and pteranodons was a giant dragonfly ancestor protodonata, and of course my relative archaeopteryx... i didn't notice a bat in there, but for the display to be complete it should have been in there. this was more a work of art than museum display in fairness i guess...

anyways when i went to go get my ticket to new zealand, i was told that someone had rescheduled when i was flying out...

of course i didn't buy my plane tickets in the first place, someone else had (though i still don't know who?)... yet why would they buy me a trip back drumheller, only to trick me into spending some time in calgary?

i found out quick. the ticket clerk had a note to give me, sent by the "party" that had changed my flight.

i would never have guessed in an epoch who or why though...

it was my mysterious informant from the pack of the primordial feather, a coelurosaur who called them self ruffled feather. i hadn't heard from ruffled feather since they had tried to warn me about dr. spectre's attack.

ruffled feather was a disgruntled member in the pack who sought to hurt the group. somehow i was useful in this effort, though i wasn't clear on how? i guess my being one of only a handful of coelurosaurs who'd turned down membership in the primordial feather and had survived to tell the tale was handy... somehow?

beyond this i knew nothing about this ruffled feather, not even enough to know if i should call them a he or a she (i'm going with he for now). his note wasn't exactly much help on answering any of my questions either...

Dear Traumador,

I'm sorry for the disruption my actions have no doubt caused. I assure you I wouldn't have made them if it were not important.

You can not leave Calgary yet. Despite evading you in Drumheller, through that Spectre diversion, the pack it would seem did not lose you.

They have retreated to somewhere in Calgary, and they have brought the 14th crate with them! Where exactly I do not know, and I wish I could be of more help.

It is crucial that you make sure the contents of that container do not make it back to the pack! Thankfully anyone who can survive a run in with Dr. Spectre, such as yourself, should have no problem against the Crimson Talons. No matter the backup they will be receiving, and I have heard they are getting some!

Ruffled Feather

ps- How did you beat Spectre in the end exactly?

there was a missing connection somewhere between me and ruffled feather...

he seemed to think i knew what he was talking about, and more to the point what the pack was up to. the problem is i really didn't!

causing the miscommunication, i'd had thought it was the pack who was responsible for all the fossil poaching around drumheller. it in fact turned out to be two hardened palaeo-criminals (megan and jo)... i hadn't really thought about why the pack was there any further, as a few things had distracted me... however due to our conversations being interrupted, ruffled feather was never able to realize i was under the wrong impression about what was going on...

whatever it was the pack was up to, they had thought it awful important. they'd tried to kill me thinking i was trying to stop them.

the pack must have cleared out of the tyrrell during the "Spectre diversion". i know that professor paradigm had done a sweep of the museum looking for them, once he'd rescued me from spectre, but didn't find a trace.

so what were they doing in drumheller? ruffled feather had mentioned a "14th crate". i began wondering what it might be or mean...

as i left the airport and headed back into calgary, or cowtown as many call it in alberta, i realized the scope of what ruffled feather had just asked me. i had to find the pack and whatever they were up to somewhere in here!

sure, no biggie. i only had a place 50 times bigger then drumheller to search!!!

as i looked out over cowtown, i had one reassuring thought. despite the unfun task i'd for some reason agreed to take up, i did have a lot of friends based here in town. with a bit more time here i could catch up with the lot of them, and who knows maybe get one or two of them to help me out...

Elsewhere in Calgary...

(From the reflections of Desdemona Deinonychus, Crimson Talon and Pack Matriarch of the Pack of the Primordial Feather)

I miss the front lines!

At least on the field of battle you can tell where you are. In the midst of the hunt you know what you are to do.

I no longer know any of this with my current mission, helping with this stupid intrigue and espionage debacle Layla, matriarch of the Oviraptorids, has pulled me into.

The mission was simple enough at the beginning. Lead a troop of my Crimson Talons in guarding this "crate 14" from hostiles. At the onset of the mission the enemies were few and easy to counter. Just the runt [Traumador] and a few human members of palaeo-central. With this limited intelligence provided, may I note by our head of intelligence, there was no way I could have predicted a direct confrontation with Lance one of the most dangerous saurians on the planet!

Despite my troop being too small to proper engage Lance, we none the less confronted him to the best of our abilities. Despite taking heavy causalities, we were able to inflict considerable damage to Lance, and through these wounds we Crimson Talons turned this losing situation into a strategic draw. Through this action we kept the crate from harm. Yet when Layla ordered a full retreat, it somehow became my fault we were falling back.

I grow tired of her "command" of the operation.

If not for Layla's political connections throughout the rest of the Pack, I would have ordered my hunters to teach her a lesson in what our pride does to treacherous scavengers such as herself!

Layla is truly an arrogant fool. As she considers herself smart, Layla is under the impression she is somehow dangerous. She seriously believes that in the Packs' daily struggles, it is her schemes that will win the day. I only wish I could put her on the field of battle once, as the coward has never once joined our brave hunters on the front line! Then she would see just how "dangerous" ideas and plans like hers really are in war. The Gondwanaians will not be defeated by thinking. No, they only succumb to the tooth and claw! Which is where we foot soldiers and hunters come in. We are the true power of the Primordial Feather!

Yet Layla has the nerve to walk among us trying to show dominance. If she only knew the danger her presumption was placing her in. All of my troop, especially me, were fighting our instinctive urge to subdue her. To have earned our utter contempt as she has is a dangerous thing. For we normally reserve this for our enemies.

My lieutenant Valor [the Velociraptor] in particular was not handling Layla's demeanor well. The greatest warrior in the pack strode beside the Oviraptor in a ready to pounce stance. Had Layla uttered a single condescending word to Valor, the Oviraptor would have only had a few seconds to regret it. The rest of my hunters were containing their disdain better solely because they followed my lead better. Despite her incredible battle prowess, Valor lacked a soldier's discipline.

Fortunately an altercation was avoided, as Layla said nothing. Either she had picked up on hostile air about her as a hunter would have, or as I personally think she had simply been lucky. Either way she would live. For today at least!

Today we received reinforcements from the Pack. I couldn't have be more pleased with who was sent. A fellow matriarch of the Pack, Razi [the Saurornithoides] of the Troodontid pride.

Razi's assignment indicated just how important this crate had become to the Pack's strategy. It now had three of the Pack's main general's in the field to martial it. This was quite a tactical risk. I can only think a handful of battles with this many Matriarchs involved. The scorn for failure would be great. I couldn't help but think it would be Layla's responsibility to accept it if something were to go wrong...

Not that failure was an option. Razi's arrival heralded a shift in the command dynamic. When Layla had requested my help I saw it as my duty to protect the Pack's interests from interference. Especially since the challenge was coming from the whelp if a Royal the Runt! However, Layla misinterpreted my participation as me bowing to her authority. I most certainly would not be tolerating this any longer!

Despite being renowned for cunning like Layla's, Razi was a most able predator. One who had personally lead troops of hunters into countless battles. I'd personally had the honour of hunting along side her, and as a result could respect orders from her. Unlike the coward Layla, who had never once tasted the blood of the enemy!

Razi did not arrive alone, however. Being a strategic and tactical prodigy among the Pack, Razi was far too valuable an asset to leave unescorted. She arrived accompanied by one of the Royal prides's most feared warriors, Vicsurus Daspletosaur. Vicsurus is one of the renowned Daspletosaurus"triplets", who serve as the Royal's personal elite guard and assassins. Her being Razi's bodyguard indicated this crate affair was of great importance to even the Grand Matriarch.

Razi and Layla formally greeted each other with signs of complete respect and admiration. As befitted their Matriarchal status. I disciplined myself, as I grew resentful of being excluded. I was equal in rank to either of them, and unlike Layla had actual spilled my own blood in this mission. Yet as it was Layla who had "saved" Razi's crate, it was she who was acknowledged.

I on the other hand was relegated to greeting the new hunter to join the mission. We warriors are not ones for pointless show and formality. Though I resented not being acknowledged by my fellow Matriarchs, I in truth much preferred the simple exchange with Vicsurus.

Though I despise the Royals as a Pride, I have a grudging respect for Vicsurus and her two sisters. Not only had her sister Rancor personally saved my life in battle from a Gondwanaian Carcharodontosaurid, but the ferocity of the three Daspletosaurus matched that of any raptor in my Pride. Something few other Royals could not boast.

For her part Vicsurus was far more accepting of us Dromaeosaurids than most in the Royal Pride. She'd been in too many battles where it was us who had turned the tide in the Primordials' favour, rather than the Royals.

Leading Razi to her prized crate, it was here we Crimson Talon's were finally recognized for our heroism. Razi personally thanked me for my part in protecting her prize. With it she could now get back on task refining its contents into, what she assured us would be, the Pack's greatest weapon.

Perhaps I was too hasty before in wishing to return to the frontline. At least until this weapon is completed!

To be Continued...

my cousin of the week #23

a pair of new zealand royal spoonbills, which also sometimes go as black-billed spoonbills, or Platalea regia to scientists.


fossil of the weekend! #47

a cast skeleton of the ever classic tyrannosaur dinner, triceratops at the royal tyrrell museum. so yummy in fact, you'll notice my mommy lurking behind him waiting for super time...


my cousin of the week #22

the pretty, but extreme introduced pest, the common myna, aka indian nyna, and/or in sciency speak an Acridotheres tristis in the bay of islands, new zealand.


leaving my old life behind... again!

i guess it had to happen sooner or later, people of the innerweb. my vacation back to my former "home" has come to an end...

like so many things in my life, it seemed to last so long, but yet end so fast...

it's probably just because so much happened while i was here. i found out how my egg was found, made a huge palaeontologic discovery, was attacked by raptors, uncovered a fossil poaching scheme in the area, and finally was dinonapped! no wonder this vacation felt sooo long...

with its conclusion though comes some great sadness. sure i won't miss all the crazy stuff that happened towards the end of the trip, but i will miss my childhood home. the royal tyrrell museum...

i decided to use my last afternoon in drumheller to take a final wander of the museum's galleries where i used to live.

it was a bitter/sweet use of my day i'll tell you. a whole flood of memories (good and bad) from that long gone era of my life streamed through my tiny head.

despite all the amazing things that had happened to me since i'd left the musum (pretty much everything on this blog, for my new readers), part of me yearned for these long gone days to come back. it was silly i know, especially given how unhappy i was back then, but part of me really did miss it all.

granted enough had changed around the museum itself since i left, that my yearning for old times was now more of nostalgia then me wanting to actually stay here now. my museum was gone, and it wasn't coming back...

as if i needed a reminder, the museum's new resident albertosaurus wandered the halls interacting with the guests. a sharp reminder of how the tyrrell had become the domain of larry my JERK! of a cousin and his gang of bullies the pack of the primordial feather.

it wasn't like this at all when i lived here. back in those days all sorts of vivus-dinosaurs (vivus is the fancy scientific name for living dinosaurs) lived and worked here. including one that made looking out into the dinosaur hall a visual treat. that was the incredibly hot and beautiful lillian (man i missed her not being here the most this WHOLE trip!... at least i know roughly where she is these days! i should as i sent her ;P)...

thinking of all those dinosaurs of times past, i couldn't help think of another big change for the worse in town since i left...

that of course being drumheller overrun with tons of unemployed and jobless vivus-dinosaurs!

it had been bad when i lived here, but nothing compared to how many wander the streets now! the pack taking over the tyrrell meant that nearly all the local vivus-dinos ended up as vagrants. the recent drop in tourism lately has just made things worse for dinosaur employment. if tourists aren't willing to pay to see them, the locals sure aren't going to pay them to stand around town!

so i'm glad i'm not situated here anymore for that reason...

as i wandered down the halls of the museum, i couldn't help but feel very odd. despite being a place that used to be so familiar, and still was in a sense, i felt very much like an alien intruding in a place i didn't belong.

the museum was like a ghost town. all the landmarks and places were the same, but yet the people who i associated with them were no where to be seen... most of my friends and former coworkers (human and dinosaur) had moved on from this place...

the giant of the triassic display was a most sobering reminder of this fact. the museum had finally put dr. betsy nicholls' magnificent shonisaurus sikanniensis on display, but sadly as a memorial to her passing away. fortunately all my other former coworkers and colleagues hadn't died, but simply moved on with their lives and gone elsewhere... yet in same ways it felt like they were gone for good.
those that were still there were a painful reminder of yet more that i'd lost. the most significant of which was my mother. who like always, stood silently and motionless dominating the dinosaur hall.

i still yearn for the days before i'd figured out what death was... when my tiny brain was pure and innocent. i'd always just assumed mom was very shy and lazy, and was otherwise okay. as she was just standing there, and would listen to my ever word (never once interrupting me)...
i wonder what would have happened had she not died out 65 million years, and i'd hatched back then like i was supposed to? would my life have turned out better?

snapping me out of my feeling sorry for myself and missing the old days, i suddenly was hit by a wave of dizziness... oh man not more magic!!!
okay so the magic thing is my own fault. had i not doused myself in pure maori magic it wouldn't be an issue. however by doing so i'd turned myself into a living magic detector. anything remotely mystical (and real!) turns on when i'm around it... including vivus-dinsaurs.
i'd learned we dinosaurs in the modern world, owed our being here to magic! the mysterious eggs that palaeontologists had been finding the past few years from which we were hatching had been doing so due to some sort of magic protecting us for millions of years...
another dinosaur only phenomenon turned out to be caused by magic. vivus-dinosaurs, myself included, will swear to being able to hear the voices from fossil skeletons long extinct. not that they are ghosts or conversational, mind you, but the fossils seem to have an echoed imprint of its owners last thoughts. meaning we living dinosaurs can communicate with a brief snap shot of our ancestors, not that we can get anything out of them beyond what was going through their heads in the last few minutes of their life.
which brings us to my mom. my whole childhood i'd trying to talk to her echo, but sadly missing her skull her echoes were only ever vague emotions. no words. which is why this last trip (possibly due to my now being a magic battery) i was surprised when she suddenly spoke to me for the first time!
suddenly here today she did it again!

"my dear sweet little traumador," my mother's echo addressed me. then like before she warned. "be on your guard my little, danger soon shall stalk you..."

i won't lie, having my heard my mother's voice for only the third time ever, this was all i thought of the rest of my time in the museum.
i guess that's not such a bad thing. i didn't want to conclude my homecoming with sad memories. it had been a good trip, and it had great to see all the old places and people (who were still here) that once were my life.
as i made my way out of the museum and towards the bus that would take me out of drumheller, i couldn 't stop fixating on my mothers dire warning...
what did she know that i didn't? how could she have known 65 million years ago something that was going to happen now? should i pay it any attention to this warning?
thankfully as the bus lurched to a start, i looked out the window, and all my worries and sadness were gone. the sun was setting on drumheller.
a fitting end to my return visit. i said goodbye... out loud, causing many of the other passengers to look at me a little funny... oops!
it was at this moment i had a breaking thought! ever since i'd been laid off by the tyrrell, i'd desperately clung to it as part of who i was. everything i had done since, i had compared to this old life...
yet it was over, and had been a long time. it wasn't until right now, looking at the sunsetting on town that i realized that fact. it was not the town or museum i'd grown up in. like me they'd both changed too. it was time i let go of the past, and try to create a future for myself!
i was finally filled with happiness today, as this trip home went from a pleasant trip down memory lane, to a full on life altering experience. as i drove out of drumheller, i realized in many ways this would be the last time i would ever leave my former home...
leaving it, mind you, in the sense of viewing it of where i should be. somehow i suspect, people of the web wide world, this is not the last time i'll be to drumheller though...
Next: cowtown!

fossil of the weekend! #46

the amazing cast skeleton of the giant sauropod barosaurus and her baby under attack by a cast allosaurus, at the american museum of natural history in new york. (photo courtesy of my talent agent peter bond and lillian the albertosaur)


a note worthy day (pun intended!)

today i had quite the unexpected (and very AWESOME!) surprise when i opened up my blogging account!
scrolling past the "blogs of note" section, i couldn't help but notice my blog in the list... which funny enough, due to my small brain, made me think blogger had changed the dashboard layout or something, and the blogs of note were now somewhere else on the page...

so to the many many many new visitors i've been getting today (thanks for stopping by!) welcome to my tiny saurian outpost on the web wide world! hope you pop by more in the future.

back when i started this blog, i always daydreamed what it would be like to make that list. of course i never once in 65-67 million years would have thought it would actually happen!?! so thanks to blogger for including me on this list... and thank you to everyone who have been stopping by!

i'm a what???

i think i need a vacation from my vacation!

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...

brains over brawn...

it looked like it was the end of me, people of the innerweb...

i'd been dinonapped by the (evil and) crazy dr. jaden "needles" spectre. from his life story he told me, i couldn't help but think he intended on cleaning me right down to my skeleton to get some sort of scientific pay back at his old "friend" professor paradigm...

let's just say i had some pretty compelling clues that removing all my skin, muscles, guts, and organs was his primary goal here today...

just as his really huge scary saw was about to cut into me, i thought there was NO way i was going to make it out of this one alive...

[Photo Courtesy David Lloyd]

funny enough, at this exact moment it suddenly was watering time outside in the cretaceous garden. all around us in the plant nursery, the echoes of the loud watering systems reverberated from the plumbing lined walls. it wasn't deafening by any stretch, but the subtle noises were drowned out by the pumps.

i'd have happily continued my diabolical dissection had i been dr. spectre (though i'm NOT anywhere evil enough to him i'll point out!), but he was instantly distracted. spectre began looking all over the place as if the walls themselves were out to get him...

just as i was about this think him even more crazy then i already did (up to a 13 out of 10 from an 11), he suddenly suspiciously murmured to himself. "it's quarter to 5. the timer is set for 6..."
wait, if the sprinklers aren't supposed to go off for another hour, what made them go off right now?

interrupting both spectre's and my own curiosity, a booming voice echoed throughout the nursery. "do i have your attention, jaden?"

i recognized it right away, but spectre confirmed it moments later. "alvar!" he cursed under his breath.

immediately professor paradigm marched in through the nursery's only door. spectre instinctively challenged him in bewilderment. "how did you..."

paradigm cut spectre off mid thought. "trigger the sprinkler system, please jaden. you were palaeo-prime once. you never put overrides into a museum's maintenance infrastructure?"

"no!" spectre seemed insulted by this obvious (to him anyway) thought. he repeated his question. "how did you find us?"

"it wasn't easy," admitted paradigm. "i searched nearly the whole valley looking for you, and i have to hand it too you jaden, you almost throw me off your trail this time."

spectre was clearly going to ask what gave him away, paradigm cut him off with the answer. "once i figured out you weren't in the obvious places, than clearly you had to be in an even more obvious one!" the professor paused for slight dramatic effect. "the tyrrell was your only option in that scenario. it is just lucky for me, you are so predictable."

spectre was visibly enraged by that last jab by the professor. i grew worried, as it was an already tense situation, but in such an enclosed space i didn't want to fathom how a battle between these two would play out...

the professor however seemed unconcerned by the opponent that had earlier beat the stuffing out of him. if anything, i think he enjoyed winding spectre up. "you know, i could not help but notice a few inaccuracies in that sob story you were telling our small friend here," paradigm said in reference to spectre's life story.

"you..." spectre was taken back.
"overheard you?" paradigm once again finished spectre's sentence. "how could i not! your voice carries jaden. worse than mine sometimes. anyone could have heard your woeful tale all the way out into the shonisaurus display."
"a far more tragic version of events then the ones i recall, through," paradigm pointed out. "i would not want our small friend to get the wrong impression, jaden. you missed out a few key details, if you ask me."

"i never forced you to join palaeo-central, jaden," paradigm aired, more for my benefit then for spectre's. "you were bored with the pure academic nature of your 'promising' early career. you would have taken on the crusaders of genesis even if i hadn't stumbled into that situation. palaeo-central was as much your idea as my own, after they tired to destroy your museum."

"as for me 'blocking' the publication of your warm blooded dinosaur theory, i only stopped you from snipping from bakker by illegally publishing your papers without peer review," the professor furiously recalled. "funny how being in palaeo-central would have allowed you to bypass due process. it was your choice to sit on that discovery, and keep it a secret from everyone for all those years, even me. i would have helped you get it out there had i known about it, and you knew it jaden!"

"which brings me to my favourite part of your misrepresentation of history. i'd hate for traumador to leave not knowing the whole story," paradigm addressed me. "i did not 'side' against you with bakker until after you tried to kill both us. bakker had no idea about your discovery. he is an amazing man, and no doubt would have brought you in on the publicity had you been reasonable and approached him. instead of that, your first resort was to try and blow him up!"

spectre finally blew in face of this critiscm. "which you stopped!" spectre hissed. "after all the falls i saved you from, all the bullets i took for you, and all the years i wasted for you, saving palaeontology extinction knows how many times??? that's how you repaid me... by stopping me from getting my one true acknowledgement from our peers!


paradigm didn't say anything. he didn't need too. spectre's insanity spoke for him. in spectre's head blowing up a rival simply because of his great service seemed a justification. i had a sudden chill, thinking about the perils palaeo-central must have faced to bend someone like spectre into this madman...

"not just that, but you cost me my face, my breathing, my normal life!!!" spectre pointed angrily at his re breather.

paradigm finally lost his cool, and growled back pointing at his own face mask. "and it didn't cost me the same things, you idiot?!? what choice did you leave me, but to blow up that chemical tank?"

there was much to this story i didn't know, but i could tell it had damaged them both beyond repair... i couldn't help but feel sorry for paradigm. the pain from his having to turn on an old friend came through his voice.

paradigm went back to his not caring stance and posture a minute after the tense shouting match. "there you have it," he said to no one but yet everyone in the room. "we have gone through the whole sad routine once more. so yes jaden, you poor poor hurt thing. i certainly betrayed you badly, as once again here i am chasing and cleaning up after you!"

"so what is your scheme this time to try and get all of our acknowledgement and astonishment today?" paradigm demanded of spectre.
spectre finally made his first move indicating the risk of violence breaking out, as he wielded his scary saw menacingly towards paradigm. "don't be mistake alvar. i may not kill you now, as you wouldn't get to witness my triumph over you, but i have no reservations about gravely wounding you."

"i believe that," paradigm admitted, as he took a few slow calculated steps towards me and spectre. "so what would have you risking a confrontation with me. especially over top of the specimen itself."

"you've kidnapped TMP 2003. 12. 7 and are about to 'prepare' him, but the question is why," paradigm thought out loud. "let us see, note worth features of the specimen..."

"he is a vivus-fossil first and foremost, but that is not an under published topic. more to the point removing all the soft tissue as you are prepared to do would destroy his usefulness as a type specimen post description," paradigm deducted.

"the specimen is a male, and so might be useful for studies on sexual dimorphism in tyrannosaurids. yet again that can not be it, as again removal of soft tissue would destroy all the key features," the professor asserted.

"in fact, removing the soft tissue would seem to eliminate all possibilities and advantages of TMP 2003. 12. 7, unless there were something you suspected to be revealed by the skeleton alone," paradigm narrowed in. "so, based on the fact our friend here is still in his juvenile growth stage, you wish to examine something along these lines."
spectre shifted slightly at that. paradigm appeared to be closing on spectre's intentions.

"it would not just be a examination paper on such a juvenile though. there would be no break through in it for you. no major scientific coup. you'd merely open the floor to debate. not your style at all. someone could easily swoop in and grab the credit from you there," paradigm reasoned. "no, there is something about this 'juvenile' that you have caught, and the rest of us missed."

spectre was visibly impressed, as paradigm carried on. "based on the fact that traumador hasn't grown or changed a bit since about 2 years of age, you are suspecting there is a more pronounced reason to this, then just late maturing as had been assumed."
spectre finally broke his silence. "assumed indeed! by none other than you, the 'great paradigm!"
"you are an idiot alvar," spectre taunted, and posed the saw into a clear attack position. "there was a brand new species of tyrannosaurus under your nose for years, and now i'm going to claim it!"

"i really do not think so, jaden," paradigm disbelieved spectre.

this merely provoked spectre worse. "how do you intend to stop me?!?" as he brandished the saw. "you've sent away all your available backup. meaning it is just you and me. i defeated you earlier today, and i am more than willing do it again!"

"i'm sure you are," paradigm heartily agreed, as he reached behind his back for something.
"we both know you were always the superior warrior out of the two of us, jaden..."

paradigm seized something from behind him and swung it in front of him. man i was hoping for something really powerful that could take out spectre in a heart beat like a laser gun or a mini-ninja. instead he pulled out a book?!?

"i however, was always the superior scientist!" paradigm concluded thrusting the book towards spectre.

" 'a new tyrannosaurid from the scollard formation by alvar paradigm'!!!" spectre read the title of the book in disbelief. no wait, it wasn't a book. it was a scientific paper! paradigm had already not only made the discovery before spectre, but he'd gotten it published. meaning that the whole world knew it! "genus tyrannosaurus, new species: traumadori!?!"

wow wait, what? suddenly everything that was being discussed hit home. this big scientific battle that was going on over me, was going on literally over me!!!

if i was following correctly, both paradigm and spectre, believed i was NOT a tyrannosaurus rex at all... instead they both thought i was a slightly different (yet related) type of tyrannosaurus, and it sounded like paradigm had named this whole new category of tyrannosaurus after me!?!

"how?" spectre pleaded helplessly, as he flipped through the pages of the paper in vainly. realizing with every turn he'd be completely defeated. "how did you get these pictures of the sealed skeletal sutures? you even managed a comparison between him and raptorex???"

"there is more than one way to skin a tyrannosaur," paradigm actually joked! "only someone as crude as you, jaden, would think of cutting apart the only living specimen of an animal. the rest of us would be content to study its skeleton from x-rays and CAT scans."

that sneaky paradigm! i knew exactly when he must have figured out i was something new... back during my medical check up with him in melbourne!!! he'd taken a bunch of (painful) scans and readings off me then... more than enough to study my skeleton i'm sure.

"there is no way this 'just' came into publication today!" spectre accused looking at the publication date on the paper.

"true," paradigm admitted. "i had to pull a few strings to push it through into print for this little meeting."

"you hypocrite!!!" spectre accused paradigm. "you stopped me from bypassing peer review all those times, and now you just happily do it back at me. just to smite me?!?"

paradigm calmly retorted. "first of all, that paper was peer reviewed you'll notice. i made the call to get the process underway this morning when i came to. i would never resort to publishing something that was not first properly weighed by the scientific community. second of all jaden, there is a marked difference in why i fast tracked this paper compared to your motivations. when you did it, it was for personal selfish glory. in my case, a life was in danger. i hope even you see the difference..."

"CURSES!!!" dr. jaden spectre screamed, and returned paradigm's paper to him through a painful and well placed attack...

as paradigm reeled from the blow, spectre made a dash for the door. before the professor could recover, the mad palaeontologist dr. spectre had made his escape...

paradigm didn't seem a bit concerned, and instead walked straight up to me...

hopefully to untie me and stuff. those ropes are about as comfortable as they look, yo!

to be concluded...

my cousin of the week #21

a australasian gannet, aka australian gannetor, a Morus serrator, or Sula bassana, or finally in maori a Tākapu.


getting to know doctor "needles"

i can safely say i HATE being caught, captured, and just in general being held prisoner by not nice people!!!

this time it has been by some guy called "spectre", who beat up professor paradigm and then dino-napped me... i don't know why he has taken me though!

my only hope is that someone out there is looking for me! though at the same time i'm very worried they won't find us. not where spectre has hidden us both!

the cheeky meany has chosen the most unlikely hideout in the whole valley. the last place i'd ever look for a dinosaur abducting... uh i'm not actually sure what he does for a living... guy!

he has made his lair in the royal tyrrell museum!!!

as if that weren't enough, spectre has taken over the back room of the cretaceous garden, my former home in the tyrrell!

which ironically makes me wonder, after living right outside it for 4 years, why i never bothered to look inside this room before?!?

i have to hand it to this spectre guy though. it makes the perfect evil genius hideout. the cretaceous garden is the most missed part of the museum by visitors, and this backroom is only accessible by the gardener (who isn't at work today!!!) normally.

it was in here, the museum's plant nursery, spectre had me tied up.

"how does it feel to be back home, traumador?" spectre asked me menacingly as he put me down on a large table towards the back of the room.

i had rope all around me, including my mouth. despite my powerful tyrannosaurid bite, my jaws weren't very powerful when it came to opening (just like modern archosaurs) so i wasn't able to properly respond.

i tried to answer "let me go!" but it just came out a muffle.

"yes, i thought you'd be surprised by my choice of 'workspace'," he answered smugly, despite the fact i hadn't remotely replied at all to his question.

"no! i said let me go!" i tried to counter, but my words were smothered.

"please," spectre responded as though slightly insulted. which was weird, as why would he be surprised i didn't like being tied up and being held captive? "you don't have to be so formal. i'm not a doctor at moment, so much as you're companion of personal discovery, and i am so very much hoping we are about to make some exciting discoveries about you. i feel therefore that we have entered into a more personal relationship. my 'friends' all used to call me needles. so please no more of this doctor spectre nonsense."

what? why on earth would i be concerned about to call him at a time like this?!? who cares?!? i wanted out!!!

"let me go you madman!!!" i stifled, ignoring him.

"yes it is hard to believe isn't it," dr. jaden "needles" spectre happily told me, not that i asked! "back before my falling out with the palaeontologic community i used to have many many friends."

seriously, what was wrong with this guy?!? here he was scarily looming over me, as i was tied up, and he was happily telling me his life story... i was getting even more wigged out by this behaviour (was that the point of it i wonder?)...

"which is funny. it was those very 'friends' who drove me to this form of lifestyle," needles lamented on some clearly long gone better time in his past.

i struggled against the ropes in vainly. if it wasn't bad enough being menaced by this madman, i didn't want to hear him blab on and on...

dr. spectre seemed to think i was shaking my head in disbelief (in reality i couldn't really move my torso below the neck due to it being secured to the table) "i assure you, it is true," he pleaded with me. "why there was a day when 'good old' alvar paradigm and me were best friends."

not that i'd asked, but that was a surprising claim. not that it didn't make sense. during their fight paradigm and spectre had seemed to have a bit of history... just based on how they fought, i'd never have thought it was a good one.

taking my mind off both the ropes and dr. spectre rambling he interjected on his own monologue. "oh well," he said as he reached into a drawer outside my vision. he started rummaging through its content, and my blood went cold as i could hear various metallic objects and tools clang against each other as he tossed and turned them.

"time for us to begin," spectre informed me, though what we were beginning was a mystery to me. however i'd watched enough TV to know that my being tied up for it wasn't a good thing!

needles had picked his first implement, and was ready to thrust it at me. "hold still!" he sinisterly instructed me, and lunged the long slender tool at my face... i let out a muffled scream!

suddenly to my surprise i found that dr. spectre had begun to brush my teeth with a toothbrush! which felt very weird, as i'd never brushed my teeth ever before in my life!

before you say anything people of the webwide world, it's not like i need to brush like you mammals... you only have the two sets of teeth in your life, so you need to take very good care of them. i on the other hand like all other dinosaurs (and for that matter most other reptiles) continually grow new teeth throughout my whole lifetime. so if one breaks or gets a cavity i'll grow a new one in no time... as an added bonus i make a killing off the tooth fairy!

having my teeth brushed tickled, and i was kind of enjoying it. meanwhile, dr. spectre resumed talking. "yes, what an ungrateful man paradigm is," he cursed, and for a moment he brushed harder. "i gave him the best years of my life, and what does he do, banish me into exile from the scientific community!"

i was partially zoned out, enjoying my teeth being scrubbed that much. i let out a blissful sigh, which through my tied up mouth must have been a weird noise. needles interpreted it to mean i was curious about his latest tangent...

"it is true, i gave that man everything, and yet he destroyed me!" needles angrily told me. "i had a promising future when i started out in palaeontology, and he couldn't stand it!" "

"i graduated with my PHD by age 20 and promptly offered a curatorship. making me the youngest scientist to have ever be offered such a position at a major museum. do you know what i did with that chance? i let alvar paradigm talk me out of it, and for what? the chance to co-fond with him the most "unique" palaeontologic institute in the world. HA! that was rich. do you know what that institute turned out to be?" he demanded of me.

"palaeo-central," he snarled. i for the first time was interested in what he had to say. he grabbed my head and forced it back on the table. "no please stay down," as he resumed brushing my lower jaw. "yes, i too was palaeo-prime alongside alvar for the beginning of palaeo-central. what an honour most thought, what glory others resented, what adventures some even stupidly envied. if they only knew!"

with that he finished brushing my teeth, and set aside the toothbrush. as he went back into his drawer i was excited to see what he'd get out next. having my teeth cleaned was fun!

man i'm stupid sometimes. the next thing he pulled out was a surgical pick and a scalpel!

"all palaeo-central ever did for me was put me up against dangerous villains, endanger my life, and worst of all cost me years of research time!!!" needles vengefully fumed, waving the scalpel around my face... "oh but 'it was all for the greater good' alvar would assure me, and i stupidly trusted him. can you believe that. that arrogant jerk never cared about my standing as a scientist, he just used me to boost him up. while i squandered those years, alvar was always 'somehow' making the most amazing discoveries, getting the best publications, and becoming a power house in the palaeontolgic community! "

"what did i get you might ask?" dr. spectres demanded of me again. not that i was paying any attention to his words, what with the insanely sharp tool weaving around my snout! "nothing! that's what. i spent all my time taking care of the 'business' side of central. that would be the combat, the intelligence, and dealing with the law. paradigm as the science end of the duo would swoop in and grab all the credit for anything of scientific value that we found!"

"my early reputation as a palaeontology prodigy faded away, and i became nothing more then paradigm's lackey in everyone's eyes. an inferior man serving his better! i was the joke of the scientific community," he coldly recalled. "i'd publish something, and everyone would congratulate him! obviously it was the great paradigm helping out his lackwit assistant needles... i saved that man countless times for unfathomable foes, and that was how he repaid me!"

i was now terrified. not only of the tools he was starting to pull out, but of how he was so detachedly telling me his life story. i just wish i could have paid more attention to it. as he sounded like he could have answered many of my questions about paradigm, palaeo-central, and the dark side of palaeontology... that was of course if he wasn't the most dangerous manifestation of that dark side i'd yet to meet!!!

he had now pulled out a incredibly scary saw to supplement the scalpel and pick. i shivered as i was figuring out what he was up to. the cleaning of my teeth had just been his first step. as i don't brush my teeth their often encrusted in old gooey chuck of meat and such. so if you wanted to see them for study you'd need to get that off. which spectre had now done. i feared he was planning on cleaning off a lot more then my teeth now!...

as he stood clearly contemplating how to proceed with his planned "cleaning" spectre continued his rant about his past with paradigm. "it didn't matter i used to convince myself in those days. in the 70's i'd hit upon the most revolutionary discovery! on the side of my palaeo-prime responsibilities, i gathered and prepared my scientific masterpiece. the first definitive proof that dinosaurs were warm blooded!"

dwelling upon this painful memories seemed to slow down spectre's decision making processes, and he dawdled in picking a tool or technique to get started on me... not that i minded of course, but a moment later i was in for a surprise. i was about to sympathize with the man, despite what he was doing to me...

"i will always remember how i felt on august 16, 1986," spectre said crushed, it was the first time i felt anything resembling pity for the man. despite his being an evil palaeontologist who had dinonapped me, i for that instant related with him. through his voice i could tell he spoke of a genuinely devastating moment in his life where all his dreams collapsed on top of him. i know because it happened to me on september 21 2006 (like him i will always remember the date of that event!). "the day bakker released that damn book!"

"i'd been ahead of them all the whole time, even the 'revolutionary' robert bakker by a good 3 years it turns out. yet, due to the restraints and delays forced upon me by paradigm and palaeo-central i'd been kept from claiming my rightful place in scientific history!" he anguished.

suddenly i couldn't bring myself to completely hating this man... not that he was my new best friend mind you. still, he was right.

there wasn't a palaeontologist in the modern generation more famous than robert bakker. he'd started the dinosaur renaissance, and put dinosaurs and fossils back on the scientific map. with challenging the proposition that dinosaurs were more then lumbering stupid lizards, bakker had become one of the key legends of palaeontology. a name that will no doubt remain prominent in science history.

yet had things turned out differently (or properly?) it sounded like instead we'd all remember jaden spectre, or maybe dr. needles? as being the one to make this find... my head spun at this possible alternate history.

snapping me out of what could have been, and back to what was, spectre lifted up the scalpel and the scary saw, and started mentally weighing them against each other.

he muttered out loud comparing the too. "you'd be best for the cranial incision, but you'd be more fun," he said favouring the saw as the "more fun" option. "but you'd be better at the peritoneal extraction," he went back to the scalpel. "though you'd be more fun," in favour of the scary saw. "the added control for the brevis peeling would be nice," spectre once again referred to the scalpel "yet, in the end it won't be as much fun," his arguments for the saw seemed pretty single noted...

as spectre continued comparing the tools in his head, he turned back to me. "to think after all we'd been through together, alvar sided with bakker when i tried to stop the publication. our entire 'camaraderie', and he discards it for a simple matter of 'proper' timing. if not for alvar i'd have published my findings years before that bearded glory hog!!!"

spectre then made up his mind. "well, i could do the job quickly and cleanly," he said thinking of the scalpel. "but where's the fun in that." okay, like i was surprised at that outcome...

as he picked up the huge scary saw, spectre concluded. "needless to say, i've been trying my best to out do paradigm and the rest of his 'established' scientific community ever since. something which i think you'll help me out with perfectly my small friend."

"i do appreciate your sacrifice in my ascension," spectre informed me. "and though you may not be around to revel in it, i'm about to make you a very famous specimen."

of course the part he left out was that to be made famous, dr. spectre was going to have to clean off my skeleton too! which based on his "fun" saw, was going to hurt a lot... at least while i was still alive...

all i have to say, is good bye people of the web wide world! please think well of me when i'm gone (though being famous might at least help with that)...

to be continued???