fossil of the weekend #74

a nice plesiosaur tooth from vancouver island, at the royal british columbia museum in victoria.


fossil of the weekend #73

a really nice mastodon tooth at the royal british columbia museum (my visit to the museum coming up soon during my OH-lympic coverage).
[thanks to Bruce Mohn for correcting me. i called this a mammoth. as bruce pointed out the large cusps are a mastodon trait not a mammoth... i knew there was a difference, but couldn't remember it off the top of my head, and frankly mammals just aren't my thing. give me a saurian anyday!]


skating lessons...

so the dinosaur winter games were finally into full swing (they seem to be taking forever!).

we were on a day off from the events, but yet i was still at a rink... for a practise. which i wasn't too keen on. i'd kind of been hoping to hang out with lillian for the day.

the thing was team canada had not been doing so hot in the games so far. people had expected us to be doing rather well, as in the human version of the games canada is about as good as they come...

however the climate here in north america has changed an awful lot in the past 65 million years! we canadian dinosaurs would have had to put up with a temperate climate as worst, but it was way warmer back than globally, and canada wasn't quite as close to the arctic circle!!!

meaning we just aren't adapted for winter... where our australian rivals are somewhat evolved for it!

the thing is for the next event, canada has a lot more at stake. not only is it canada's favourite sport, but my special talent agent peter bond has been building out team up. both publicly and among the saurian teams. meaning team canada's reputation is now on the line, and if we mess up we'll look really stupid (not too mention i would probably never see my money again).

as if that all wasn't enough, but much to our surprise, and peter's horror, we discovered i can't skate. sure i can stand up (perfectly) on skates, but i can't move to save my life! for the next event though, skating is very much a requirement!!!

as it is ice hockey...

which i had been really excited about, till i found out i couldn't do the most important part of the sport. i'd hoped to be our goalie, and just stand in one spot. however apparently we were using "dinosaur" sized nets, so i'd be way to small to cover it effectively.

so i was going to have to do some hockey training... which meant i was here at a public skating time to try and join the humans skating around the rink. at moment i was just standing in the way...

despite dreading my lack of momentum in the game, i was really primed about my new threads! peter had bought me a really awesome team canada hockey jersey just for the hockey matches. he couldn't find anyone to make giant sized ones for lillian or norman, but told me it didn't matter. he was trying to make me the star...

which sounded great on paper, but man i wasn't too confident i'd be able to get off the rink now, that alone cruise along with a puck in a game... i fell over just posing with my new jersey!

well in typical bond fashion, my agent showed up incredibly chipper and enthusiastic. the only thing is that it turns out peter's not the greatest skater either...

not that i mean him any disrespect or an insult. he CAN skate which is a whole lot better than me!

after two hours the best i could do was control fall into peter... which i figured was a kind of useless skill for a hockey match, as peter wasn't going to be there to catch or pad me...

peter trying to put an up beat spin on this (like he does for everything else) and assured me i'd gotten all the mistakes out of my system. tomorrow at game time i'd be ready to rock the house. after all i was a canadian dinosaur, and "to be canadian is to be hockey, and to be hockey is to be canadian." whatever that meant.

i don't know people of the webwide world... i think team canada's debut in dinosaur hockey is going to be a slight disaster... all because of me... oh man!

to be continued...


backyard dinosaurs #4

today's backyard dinosaurs focuses on diversity...

while looking out at the bird feeder today i saw a whole bunch of different types of birds. from left to right was a house sparrow (Passer domesticus), ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula), and purple finch (Carpodacus purpureus).

this got me thinking to how many different birds live together in just the yard! you'd think in such a small space they won't have enough different things to eat or roles to play. yet even just in my bird feeder they were all able to find different seeds to eat, and each went about eating them their own way! (the kinglet wouldn't have been able to eat if not for the sparrow kicking lots of seed out of the feeder for example... where the finch was able to do its own thing regradless of the other two).

so next time your out and about look at all the different birds that live in the same area, and thing about how they all coexist and interact with one another!


backyard dinosaur #3

a cute little mountain chickadee (Poecile gambeli) (or at least i think that is what it is), i saw flittering around the figure skating venue.


fossil of the weekend! #72

a rather nice fossil crab, at the royal british columbia museum.

stay tuned for my (mis)adventure there coming soon!


pairs figuring skating...

today i found myself high above vancouver, on one of the mountains that lines it's northern side. it was a very pretty, but also a cold place. the reason i was up here nearly freezing? well i was finally about to directly participate in my special talent agent peter bond's crazy dinosaur winter OH-lympics.

here over vancouver was a beautiful outdoor rink peter had selected for the figure skating event. why he couldn't have picked one of the many nice comfortable indoor rinks is beyond me! peter claims the visual backdrop will make the event a big hit on TV... i'm just glad i wore my hoodie today!

so i was here to figure skate. peter claimed it was a sport... though based on his description it sounds more like trying to do as much crazy of stuff while skating without falling! the last one standing wins...

i was getting quite nervous about the event, as we discovered today (much to peter's complete horror) i can't skate! not that i haven't been trying to learn for the last couple hours. all i can manage to do is stand up on my skates, and i mean perfectly stand.

seriously you can't knock me over or get me to fall, at least so long as you don't expect me to propel myself. the instant i try to to move on the ice i fall right over on my belly or tail (i'm very good at slight movement of my legs to keep standing though. even when peter tried to make me skate... he was the one who fell over!).

oh well, if figure skating would get me back all the money i spent to "host" these games, i'd do it! besides there was some good news to this figure skating event. it was a pairs sport. so i'd have someone else to push and pull me around the ice. even better it was mixed pair of a male and female. meaning on team canada if i was skating, i had no choice but to skate with the girl of my dreams lillian the albertosaur.

so despite the cold and my lack of talent, i was really excited about figuring skating!

as the event was about to begin, much like at the ski jump, all us dinosaur athletes gathered around the TV. not only was it nice to see ourselves on screen (in highlights... obviously we can't watch ourselves live :P), but as we didn't know what we were doing half the time the commention sometimes helped us figure out what we were doing (i can't emphasis the sometimes enough though!)...

yet again epic music blared at the dinosaur winter games logo came on the screen.

Welcome again, ladies and gentlemen to this special public access cable, channel 299 and a half, presentation. Tonight we bring you the next sporting event that time forgot! The Pairs Figuring Skating here at the Dinosaur Winter Games!!!

Hello I'm Peter Bond.

And I'm Gus Richards. Coming at you live from Cypress Mountain, towering above Vancouver.

Not so much towering, as rolling above Gus.

I was trying to be poetic as opposed to descriptive, Peter. It's a trick I picked up from the "How to Commentate for Dummies" book I read last night.

Well there is nothing dumb about the Pairs Figure Skating we're about to see here in Cypress.

gus than murmured under his breath.

There was nothing dumb about my metaphor either.

What was that Gus?


Now in addition to finding out how to improve my commentation skills, unlike some other people around here, I've also done some research on figuring skating. Based on this, I think we might be in for an interesting event here today!

Why don't you share your thoughts Gus?

Well Peter, figuring skating is of course more of an art form that pure athletic competition. With human skaters judging their degree of success and difficulty is easier, as they all have the same rough body size and build. With our Dinosaurian athletes today, we are looking at skaters that are both bipedal and quadrupedal, and weight anywhere as little as 15 kilograms to as heavy as 8 tons! This is going to cause all sorts of problems!

Not to worry Gus. I went to great pains this week to find custom skates for all our competitors!

i knew Peter was right. i'd just received the bill for them this morning... i was really doubting i'd see my money again at the rate these OH-lympics costs were sky rocketing!

That's not what I meant Peter. No, it'll be difficult for everyone involved to tell how our skaters are doing in relation to one another. I understand the judges will be taking into account the various handicaps our different Dinosaurs will be facing, but this will make it interesting to see how they all do against one another.

Indeed, and with that in mind, we are about to get our first taste of this dynamic sport.

Up first is Team Gondwana.

After their humiliating defeat at the ski jump, rumour has it, among the coaches anyways, that the team is somewhat fired up for today's event.

Though I hear that there is some division in the Gondana locker room, so to speak.

We couldn't find any locker rooms big enough for any of the large Dinosaurs Gus.

Another figure of speech Peter...

Ah... I see. Well, it is true that there is some tension among the Gondwanians. The two large theropods, among the largest carnivorous land dwelling animals ever... remember that kids when the official Dinosaur Winter Game action figures hit stands this week. You could owe two of the biggest meat eaters ever! Only $10.99 each!...


Oh sorry, as I was saying the two large theropods Samson the Spinosaurus and Gloria Giganotosaurus have never gotten along. I don't know the full history behind this rivalry, but I know it has something to do with Samson starring in Jurassic Park 3.

I also understand Aina the Heterodontosaurus is quite afraid of her teammates.

That is true, Gus, but as the small Ornithopod is remaining off the ice today, I don't think it'll be an issue at the moment.

And Samson and Gloria kick off our first program of the day.

You know for Dinosaurs who hate each other, they're staying nice and close to each other.

Yes Peter, in pairs figure skating the objective is to work not so much as a team, but more like a single individual.

Split over two bodies? That's just silly Gus.

Do you even know what a metaphor is Peter?

How do you think our Southern Continental competitors are doing?

Well due to their extreme size, we'll be seeing a very grounded routine here. With both our skaters here weighing over 6 tons each, they won't be able to survive any jumps, especially if they didn't land them properly!

That's certainly going to cost them than!

It actually shouldn't Peter. Again the judges today are taking into account the fact these two physically can not jump. As of such they'll have their score worked out on how well they do a completely on ice routine. Which at moment they appear to be doing quite well.

Oh and they are now spinning together!

Yes, this is a synchronized... uh, spin of some sort. Just give me a moment to look it up in my book.

So far Gondwana's timing has been perfect. They are working together as one, I believe you would say Gus.

gus only half acknowledged as he frantically flipped through a book on his desk.

Sure. Spins on page 8...

Oh and Gondwana's skate comes to an end. A nearly flawless performance by Team Gondwana.

I missed the end?

Let's see how the judges score this first skate.

The scores will be out of 10 today Peter, and as of such we'll be immediately be able to see what manner of competition we're in for here today.

Okay and here they come...

A 8.5, 9.0, 9.0, 9.0, and a 9.5 making for a final score of 9.0. A very good show from Team Gondwana.

Definitely indeed Gus. Especially after that "crushing" defeat they suffered at ski jumping.

Peter you probably shouldn't joke about the crushing part.

Oh right, sorry about that folks... especially those debating the class action lawsuit...

Next up we have Team China.

Yes, going in reverse order of the Ski Jumping results, we have another team who desperately wants to reverse their fortunes here today.

Immediately Hua Yingwu the Psittacosaurus and Hou Mingyan Tsintaosaurus have started off with a strong beginning.

I can't help but notice the Chinese are not both staying on the ice...

Despite Hou Mingyan's tremendous 4 ton weight, we have her paired with her minuscule partner's 20 kilo's today. Meaning the Chinese have a lot more skating options.

Wow like picking up the Psittacosaur and spinning him in circles!

Yes. Though despite the increased spectacle of this routine, it is important to note how much easier it is for China to put such tricks into their skate. The Gondwanas both weighed nearly double Hou Mingyan each. Here she is skating with Hua Yingwu who weighs less than her own tongue!

Great flying parrots... er beaked lizards! Hua Yingwu has just been thrown into the air!

Can he land it though? This will be what their score comes down too!

Oh and he has landed it perfectly!!!

Indeed Peter, let's see how the judges like that.

peter didn't really pay attention to what gus said.

That was amazing. Oh man we have to change our routine to match that!

What Peter?

If you'll excuse me for a moment Gus. I have something I need to do... and Team Canada's up coming set is going to blow all our socks off!

with that peter ran out of the studio, leaving poor gus confused.

Uh, what is he doing?... I mean, I guess when you have to go, you have to go ladies and gentlemen.

a few moments of silenced followed, as gus tried to figure out what to do in peter's absence. then finally something came up for him to talk about.

Oh thank you! The scores are coming up. Wow, and unlike the Gondwanian ones these are all over the board for Team China. They receive a 7.0, 9.7, 8.5, 8.0, and a 8.7. Giving Team China a 8.4 final score, and currently second place.

I wonder what Team Canada has up its sleeve to match what we've seen so far?

we in team canada thought we had a pretty good idea of what we had in store. than suddenly the mystery of where peter had run off to was answered.

just as me and lillian were about to hit the ice peter was ice side.

"aren't you supposed to be commentating right now?!?" i nervously asked my talent agent.

"yeah, in a second," peter dismissed me. "i just had a coaching thought, and it couldn't wait!"

"i want you two to all sorts of spins, carries, and throws just like the chinese did!" peter instructed.

lillian just looked at peter like he was insane, and i tried to point out. "but we didn't practise any of that, and it looked kinda hard."

"nonsense!" peter countered. "we'll get our first gold for sure," with that he launched into a crazed plan about our new routine. his arms flailed as he acted out roughly what he wanted us to.

now in theory what peter suggested probably wouldn't have been too bad. the problem was it sounded like it needed some practise. our routine, as per what peter had instructed us to do before, was much more like the gondwanian set all on the ice. now peter wanted us to go crazy, without so much as a warm up .

"did you get all that?" he insisted.

before we could answer no (it was very last minute of him!), one of the judges approached very impatiently. "team canada you're up!" (again talk about last minute).

as we skated out onto the ice, peter ran back to commentate.

Where were you?

Just double checking something. Oh look, and here comes Team Canada. I wonder what their going to follow China up with? hehehehe

Hopefully something a little more challenging, or they'll simply be competing with China's second place.

Second place?!?

Here goes Canada's skaters!

well the beginning of the routine was nice and simple. at least for me. i just had to make sure some part of me was in contact with lillian so she'd move me along the ice with her. i also made sure to smoothly wave my arms around. i'm not sure why, but peter said it looks arty and graceful on the ice...

How are they looking, Gus?

You almost sound panicked Peter. So far they not doing to bad. Though if they want to catch up in points their going to need more than the Albertosaur pushing around the T-Rex.

than came the new part that peter had just told us to do. lillian swiftly scooped me up into her mouth. honestly, despite the fact i was crazy about lillian, this terrified me! albertosaur jaws were among the most dangerous to have ever evolved, and here i was sitting right in the middle of a set!
Here we go with Canada's throw...

you know the way peter has said it, the throw sounded easy. as lillian lunged her head into the toss, i was amazed at the fact peter might turn out to be right. maybe we didn't need to practise this... however as of lillian snapping her neck and launching me out of her mouth, suddenly it became (sadly) very obvious i'd been right!

lillian throw me clear of the rink. if it hadn't been for the soft fabric tent and the big pile of snow behind it (when i ripped through the tents canvas) i could have been seriously hurt! as it stood i wasn't doing so good. it took them a good 2 or 3 minutes to dig me out of the snow bank.

Oh no!

That is unfortunate. Team Canada appears to have failed their paired throw. It is almost as if someone decided to change their program on them at the last minute... Doesn't it Peter?!?

This is so not good...

I think the judges agree with you Peter. Having not properly completed their routine, Canada recieves some really low scores. 1.0, 1.5, oh a 2.5 from a very generous judge, 1.0, and 1.7. For a final score of 1.5. Oh I think unless anyone else messes up that bad, Canada has just clinched last place!

Ah Hel... Help, yes help. That's what Team Canada needs in the future! hahahaha stupid theropods not making that simple throw!

Next up we have the Americans, who have choosen to field Bronko the Stygimoloch again and paired him with Elinor Einiosaurus. Which is similar to both China and Canada in pairing a multi ton skater with a small skater, but in this case Bronko is much heavier, closer in weight to a human. Let's see how this effects their routine.

Very sleek so far.

Yes, and not all that different from Team Canada's beginning with some nice synchronized skating. Though I can't help but notice Bronko is doing some much more pronounced skating than Traumador.

Oh what's this that the Americans are doing now?!?

A carry, without the throw. This is much more technically complicated than what both China and Canada were going for.

They are making it look so easy.

Yes Peter. Let's see how the judges like it.

A 9.9, 9.5, 9.8, 9.8, and a 9.5. Holy blades of glory I think we have a new first place holder!

Yes we do Peter. The American's final score of 9.7 is going to be very tough to beat.

Let's see how Team Australia finishes off the event here today, with our last skate...

This is absolutely stunning to see. boom and rang leaellynasaura are skating to together absolutely perfectly.

I thought you were being silly before Gus, but now I see what you mean by skating as though one body.

This goes beyond that Peter. It is almost as if one of our down under skaters is just skating in front of a mirror. Their actions are so perfectly synchronized.

the two aussie dinosaurs' performance wasn't flooring me as much as everyone else. i'd seen the other day just how physically capable they two could be!

Now we're getting to the technically challenging part of their program. Where the Americans lifts and carries were impressive, the Australians' will be even more impressive considering they are the same size!

Oh and I think they are going to pull it off Gus!

I can't believe my eyes Peter. I think we're witnessing an absolute perfect routine!

Let's see what the judges thought of that!

So Australia gets a 9.9, 9.9, 9.9...

Perfect scores so far!!!

9.9, and oh what is this. A slight upset to what we were expecting. A 9.8!


Peter, obviously that judge thought just the slightest thing was missing from that routine. Probably the lack throws from these two very clearly qualified figure skaters.

Like I said BOO!

*Sigh* So that still gives Australia a 9.9 overall score!

Meaning they've won their second gold medal in a row... Wow, that wasn't supposed to happen.

With America getting its second silver, again by but a mere margin, we're see our two clear favourites for these Dinosaur Winter Games emerge. Team Gondwana getting its first medal in the form of a Bronze, leaving just Team China without a medal. Yet I don't think we've heard the last of them.

Indeed these games are heating up so early on. Who will rise to dominance? The United States or Australia?

Or could we see one of the strangling teams somehow rise up and overcome these two titans?

Tune in for our next event and find out!

to be continued...