Wombats are like the koala’s derpy ground-dwelling brother. They’re harmless, adorable and just keep their noses to the ground without being a bother to anyone. They’re about the size of a small, fat, over-inflated dog/gopher hybrid that like to build extensive burrows and tunnels.
Almost 200,000 years ago they were still cute and adorable and liked to create burrows with one small difference…
Wombats used to be about the size of a Prius.
In a remote part of the outback in Australia, almost 50 prehistoric mega-wombats called Diprotodons have been discovered in what’s being called a ‘graveyard’ for these giant animals.
As researchers uncover more of the site, the conditions of what brought the animals together in one place is becoming clearer…and creepier.
Also found at the site? The bony back-plates of a massive ancient crocodile and the teeth of an 18-foot-long venomous lizard called megalania.
In the movie, Jurassic Park, sound designer Ben Burtt tried to create what he thought prehistoric beasts might’ve sounded like when they walked the Earth. Using currently existing animals and a little exaggeration, no one will ever forget the sounds Uncle George’s sound guru created.
Now an art installation in France created by Marguerite Humeau is bringing us as close as we may get to what they might have actually sounded like and it’s pretty awesome to hear.
Titled ‘Proposal for Resuscitating Prehistoric Creatures’, the exhibit displays the recreated vocal chords of three different prehistoric animals: the entelodont, known as the ‘hell pig’, the mammoth imperator and the ambulocetus, known as the ‘walking whale.’
Because the vocal chords are made of soft tissue, Humeau has spent years working with researchers in various fields from throat specialists to engineers to paleaontologists to get everything in order to recreate as accurately as possible. Humeau also gathered data on these particular animals current ancestors: an Asian Elephant for the mammoth, dolphins and harbors porpoises for the ‘walking whale’ (which is pretty damn frightening to consider this whale had ridiculous teeth…and it walked) and a wild boar for the ‘hell pig’ (again…frightening).
Using foam, similar soft materials and an enormous amount of data collected over several years about these animals, Humeau stated:
“I’m not only recreating a shape, but also the data that has disappeared — we’ll never be 100 per cent sure this is accurate,” Humeau told Wired Magazine UK. “But when I heard it roar, it felt real.”
Why are you still reading this? Press play and listen to what it might’ve sounded like 50 million years ago when a ‘hell pig’, a ‘walking whale’ (again…a walking whale..with freakin’ teeth) and a mammoth just casually strolled the planet.
The big rock from the sky that crashed into Earth and proved an extinction level event for our dinosaur pals could also seed life on a far off planet. The meteorites launched into space by the impact carrying the ingredients for life itself have since spread across our solar system and far beyond.
A new table estimating the trajectories of the rocks provides many surprises, according to Ray Kurzweil’s blog. For example, it would take a trillion years for the Earth ejecta to spread the size of the Milky Way.
But most awesomely…
The probability is almost 1 (close to certain) that our solar system is visited by microorganisms that originated outside our solar system.
To tie this together with a post yesterday, this means that our ejecta could bring life to other planets and some point there might be a scientist there warning of our fearsome existence. Yes, my friends, WE ARE THE SUPER GENIUS SPACE DINOSAURS!
In 2002, scientists published the discovery of a new pterosaur from Inner Mongolia named Jeholopterus ninchengensis. The wingspan was less than three feet and it probably weighed between 5 and 10 lbs. In 2003, David Peters published The Chinese vampire and other overlooked pterosaur ptreasures in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology where he posited the physiological attributes of Jeholopterus made it a prime candidate for drinking blood from the backs of sauropods.
“In this analysis, Peters reconstructed the skull, observing elongated teeth akin to like pliers, a fortified palate able Jeholopterus to deliver a swift blow and powerful blow, a possible mechanism by which the teeth could be locked into place after a strike. Additionally, Peters observed a horse-like tail possibly used to swat away small insects.
The pterosaur seemed to have the ability to deliver a strong blow, plus it had fangs — and a method to lock the fangs into another animal after striking. All these features led Peters to suggest Jeholopterus latched onto the backs of sauropods and lapped up blood from fang wounds. Peters doesn’t offer any reasons for vampiric behavior — he simply offers it as a physiological possibility.”
Many paleontologists are not fans of this theory based on many reasons, but I think a vampire pterosaur would be awesome.
A new alvarezsauroid dinosaur (Linhenykus monodactylus) with a single finger has been discovered in Mongolia in about 80 million-year-old rock and was recently described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The earliest carnivorous dinosaurs had five fingers, although only four were actually functional. Many later meat-eaters had only three, and evolution left the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex with only two. Now researchers have unearthed the first known dinosaur with only one finger.
The research team has suggested that these finger arms could have been used for digging. Read the entire article here.
According to an new study, we might have underestimated a T.rex’s foot speed by up to 45%. New computer modeling shows the beast’s massive tail is indicative of more powerful leg muscles than we’d previously given him credit for.
Also, scientists like to say funny things:
T. rex’s athleticism (and its rear end) has been given a makeover by University of Alberta graduate student Scott Persons. His extensive research shows that powerful tail muscles made the giant carnivore one of the fastest moving hunters of its time.
As Persons says, “contrary to earlier theories, T. rex had more than just junk in its trunk.”
Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Places to Visit in America.
What’s the weirdest movie you can think of from your childhood?
That’s right, Peewee’s Big Adventure.
Now what’s the weirdest scene you can recall from that movie?
Yep, Peewee talking about Simone’s “big but” while sitting inside a giant dinosaur. (Shut up about Large Marge already.)
That giant dinosaur is one of two built by, Claude Bell, a caricature artist at Knott’s Berry Farm who also owned the Inn across from them on I-10 near Cabazon, CA. It took him eleven years to finish the giant Apatosaurus and he died before he finished the Tyrannosaurus. (Their names are Dinny and Rex BTW.)
Now, here’s the weird part. (Because it’s not weird that a caricature artist spent a quarter of his life building a 150-foot long concrete dinosaur on a lark. Or that it has found its way into popular culture via a faux children’s entertainment film directed by a crazy haired genius. No. The weird part is…)
After the guy that sunk his entire life into two dinosaurs (complete with frescos explaining evolution in their bellies) died, the two guys that bought the property, Benjamin S. Carson, M.D. and Dr. Michael Egnor, turned it into…wait for it…a creationist museum!
(Because nothing says intelligent design like two giant lizards that were apparently so poorly designed that they couldn’t survive the 6000 years since the world has been created.)
You can now pay five dollars to visit the creationist museum in Dinny’s belly and purchase toy dinosaurs with labels that say, “Don’t swallow it! The fossil record does not support evolution.”
Want to discuss creationism versus evolution? Roadside attractions vs theme parks? How about Peewee’s Big Adventure versus Big Top Peewee? Well then, that’s why god invented the comments section!
Ladies and gentleman, meet your new favorite band, Hevisaurus:
The band was born when a flash of lightning and witches’ spells revealed, cracked and brought to life five metal dinosaur eggs buried deep in a mountain 65 million years ago — around the time most other dinosaurs became extinct.
Or so goes the “official” creation story of the long-haired reptiles in spiked bracelets and black leather billed as the world’s only Jurassic metal band.
In reality, the idea hatched in the mind of drummer Mirka Rantanen, 38, a veteran “headbanger” who has played with numerous bands including the Finnish power metal group Thunderstone.
“For years and years you seriously try, and then you toss up this one crazy idea, and everyone gets excited,” said a bemused Rantanen in an interview.
It all started a few years ago when Rantanen attended a children’s concert with his own kids, now five and 11.
“What if I started making music for kids?” he thought. “What if it was heavy metal, since that’s what I’ve been doing for 25 years?”
Did you watch that video? Jesus Christ, seriously. How epic is that power ballad?!?!?