Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Parasaurolophus: The Duckman Cometh!

What would it take for you to survive the Cretaceous?

I want you to think about the last time you saw a duck, goose, swan, or platypus. Why do they have scoopy things on their faces? Why don’t you have a scoopy thing on your face? How often do you forget a spoon? If you had only soup or yogurt (not in tubes) to live on in the wild, and you had no spoon, you would be pretty dead.

What about a trumpet? Do you currently have a trumpet? Had you a trumpet, could you use it to communicate significant, life saving, logistical meaning to your comrades? Probably no. Probably no to all of that business.

So could you survive the terrifying, theropod laden madness of the Cretaceous? No. You could not. You are not Parasaurolophus, the crazy trumpet duck monster.

Parasaurolophus was a bit too smart for comfort, as in opportunistic adaptive smart. Why don’t you have those things? Parasaurolophus did. You recognize why they would be a good idea. Why did you evolve into a sort of naked apey thing, and Parasaurolophus got all this great stuff with the basic-no-frills version of its body? Shit, do you even have fully functioning eyesight? PROBABLY NOT!

People who aren’t immediately distrustful of all dinosaurs based on all of the Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement’s TOTALLY VALID EVIDENCE YOU SHOULD HATE ALL DINOSAURS tend to select Parasaurolophus as their favorite dinosaur. Mostly, because it is pretty. You know what else is pretty? Gasoline soaked landscapes.

FACT: Parasaurolophus was a swamp dweller, like those guys in Deliverance.
FACT: Parasaurolophus could withstand meteor impacts.
FACT: Parasaurolophus was a Hadrosaur, and Hadrosaurs were the original duckbilled gangsters of the Mesozoic era.
FACT: Parasaurolophus had the cranial structure for an extremely sensitive middle hearing range WHICH MEANS:

BE QUIET. THEY ARE LISTENING. I know my readership generally has to read slowly and aloud to comprehend the terrible horrors of this blog but SHHHH.

NEWSFLASH: A high school student just discovered a complete skeleton of a baby Parasaurolophus. This discovery has shown that the babies of this wackily well equipped species had to survive past adolescence to earn their trumpets. When humans want their babies to learn trumpet, they have to shove the brass into the crib at about six months and buy private lessons. The Parasaurolophus had it harder: it had to survive theropod assaults, not just overbearing musical educators. (This is not to downplay the ferocity of musical educators.)

What does that say about our species? Are we even in the running? Hadrosaurs evolved into ducks at the same time ducks evolved into ducks. Who had the idea first? Hadrosaurs survived the meteor strike that supposedly wiped out the other dinosaurs. We are worried about carbon dioxide. Hadrosaurs survived beyond the extinction event LONGER THAN HUMANITY HAS EXISTED ON THE PLANET. We’re all flappin’ around, naked apey things, talking about Biodiesel.

Oh yeah, we’re totally well evolved. High five, other naked apey things. I would salute you with a trumpet but I evolved asthma instead. If Parasaurolophus manages to get in on the Dinosaur Resurrection Event, you better pack your spoons. And saxophones. That’s all I’m saying.

Just to show how you stack up.

Just to show how you stack up.

PS.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Judith Barsi. Yep yep!

Dilophosaurus: WHAT IS YOUR ANGLE?

Usually when this site profiles a dinosaur, it is because that dinosaur has some sort of really obvious plan to destroy mankind with a naturally evolved armory of some sort. Dilophosaurus is not that kind of threat. I have no idea what Dilophosaurus is up to. No one does.
Dilophosaurus is the wildcard of the theropod deck.

THE FACTS

  • Dilophosaurus did not have a wacky umbrella neck. Sorry.
  • It was 20 feet long, not poodle sized.
  • It had a weird double half moon crest on its head, probably used for looking cool.
  • It had a really weak jaw, because its nose was really big.
  • It probably chilled with friends.

And that’s about all science knows.

For awhile after it was discovered, people tried to guess what this weirdo was into. But since the Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement wasn’t around yet in the 1940’s and 50’s, no one was trying very hard. Most of the dinosaur research in the 50’s was focused on which dinosaurs could most effectively sell cigarettes on The Flintstones. At one point, some scientists just figured that even though it didn’t look like it was very good at anything compared to the advanced theropods like Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus, it was probably pretty okay for a Jurassic carnivore. Suitable for the Jurassic.

THEY CLEARLY WERE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE JURASSIC.

An animal who seems “pretty decent” for the Jurassic is an animal that is about to be stomped by a sauropod and thrown into the river to be devoured by plesiosaurs. You cannot evolve to be the Nissan of the Jurassic. There is no option to be a Batman Forever of dinosaurs. Being a dinosaur is a pass/fail course, except you have to evolve bowie knife hands instead of University of Phoenix credentials.

No, the Conservative Dinosaur Readiness movement understands that if you want to be a dinosaur, you have to figure out a way to out-murder every living thing in your biome (know thy enemy, know thy self). It wasn’t until Michael Crichton decided to point his imagination at dinosaurs that anyone actually tried thinking creatively about Dilophosaurus in Jurassic Park. He thought Dilophosaurus might have been a spitty, venomous sort of animal. Why not? It didn’t require any fossil evidence, and he had already pushed the limits of imagination in his novel by suggesting that children might have the ability to read.

That was when it started getting goofy, though. Steven Spielberg decided he wanted to play pretend about Dilophosaurus with Michael Crichton and Wayne Knight. It was a scenario similar to playing Cops and Robbers with the kid who never lets you win.

“Well IN MY FANTASY WORLD, Dilophosaurus had a crazy umbrella face and spat poison like 50 feet and could teleport into Jeeps!” -Steven Spielberg. Real quote.

But all the make believe in the world won’t solve this mystery, people. What’s with Dilophosaurus? Dilophosaurus’s nose was really big and bent at a silly angle that actually got in the way of where its jaws would have closed. Why? How does that evolve on a giant theropod? WHAT WAS IT DOING WITH ITS NOSE? Science? Anybody?

I don’t know. Send me a letter if you know. Or subscribe if you want to find out.

Look at him. Mocking us.

Look at him. Mocking us.

Carnotaurus: DEVIL BEAST INCARNATE

When Will Moore (the guy who sometimes illustrates for this blog) first saw a picture of Carnotaurus in Marvel Comic’s Age of Reptiles, he did not initially believe that such a creature existed. We were sitting in the lobby of a classy hotel, which is where cool guys hang out, and he was in a state of disbelief.
“It looks like Satan,” he said.
All I could do was pat him on the back.
“I know, buddy,” I said. “I didn’t want to believe The Devil was real, either.”

I imagine the discovery of Carnotaurus went down in a fairly similar fashion. It was discovered in South America by a fellow named José Bonaparte. They were looking for fossils and found this terrifying horned monster.

“Oh, no. No, no,” Bonaparte must have said. He probably called everyone over to look at the demon horned skull attached to a violently specialized theropod body.
“This is seriously challenging my scientific objectivity, everybody. I just unearthed a DinoSatan. Look at this fucking thing.”
Everyone agreed it was probably the concept of evil rendered in unholy theropod flesh. Then one of the interns spoke up.
“Well, maybe if you name it after a bull?” The intern likely said.
“HOW IS THIS A BULL, YOU STUPID BLIND BASTARD?” Bonaparte might have shouted, shaking the unpaid student laborer.
“No, wait, spare me!” The intern could have begged. “We’re scientists! We love the classics! Think like a Greek! Just call it a flesh eating bull monster, just like the Minotaur! No one will make the connection!”

So that’s what they did. They named it Carnotaurus, the flesh eating bull. The FREAKING LIARS. Bulls, in case you have not seen one lately, are not thirty feet long. They do not have vestigial arms. They do not have armored scale hides. They do not have huge, gaping jaws. Carnotaurus is a DinoSatan. Will Moore was right.

Carnotaurus is built to be the most terrifying example of the giant theropod body type. Its anatomy consists of:

  • A giant tail to balance it for horizontal charges
  • Huge legs to propel it forward at lightning speed
  • A deeply sloped, horned head with which to murder and terrorize
  • Gaping jaws to eat everything that lives

Scientists have looked into the skeletal structure of Carnotaurus and are pretty sure it is one of the fastest large theropods that ever lived. That’s because DinoSatan waits for no one. It ate small prey. It ate large prey. No matter what you were or what you were doing, it would eat you. It would chase you down and eat you. That’s a problem described by the Catholics as “a state of original sin”.

The existence and features of Carnotaurus have caused me to ask a lot of questions. If it didn’t evolve specifically to kill everything, then why did it have giant jaws and legs for killing everything? If it wasn’t the DinoSatan, then why did it have DinoSatan horns? You know, evolution doesn’t just hand stuff out, usually. Stuff has to be useful in some way to develop. What job, other than being a Devil incarnate, could Carnotaurus’s features been for? Dogs have long snouts for smelling. Fish have fins for swimming.

Nightmare fuel.

Nightmare fuel.

Carnotaurus looked like the theropod devil because it was DinoSatan.

Subscribe to avoid… no who am I kidding, Carnotaurus will get you either way. The FAQ has also been updated.

Reader Mail October 2013: Turok?

Dear Editor,

When I was a kid, there was this amazing dinosaur hunting simulator called Turok. It trained me to fear, respect, hate, and kill the dinosaur (in that order). I learned dinos aren’t something to mess around with but also their weaknesses–such as their pathetic susceptibility to exploding arrows.

Turok was a great for me, but I find myself worrying about my children. I wonder: “how will they learn to protect themselves?” We all know the best way to raise kids is to give them an Xbox and sit them in front of the television. The question parents need to ask themselves is: “what games are my kids learning from?” I, for one, want my kids to have healthy levels of hatred and fear for dinosaurs (as well as a working knowledge concerning how to destroy them).

Do you know of any good modern dinosaur combat sims? I know there was a new Turok in 2008, but it kinda stunk.

-Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned Parent,
I understand your situation. Turok taught children to murder and fear dinosaurs first as a comic book, before video games were available in homes as they are today. Turok showed that you didn’t have to be a rich white man with fancy weapons to defend yourself from dinosaurs. You just had to have heart, and some athleticism. And a large knife.

Today, there are only two kinds of video games. Games about killing zombies, and games about killing soldiers. These games are an exercise in redundancy, as zombies do not exist and soldiers can be beaten by not funding them.

Zombie games are totally pointless. Not only are zombies completely over done and boring, they are never going to happen. Forest fires are going to happen. Math class is going to happen. The Theropodcalypse is (probably) going to happen. But not zombies, ever. I imagine a new video game where you control a band of fire fighters who are good at math, using their skills to outwit their dinosaur opponents with controlled burns, calculus, and fire axes.

That game would be sweet. It would be called “Super FDNY Theropod Blast! with Calculus” and it would be made by Capcom, because they can make anything entertaining.

Thanks for the letter.

-Ed.

Big post next week. This week I am sick.

I want to make sure there isn’t speculation that I am missing a post this week because my Mom yelled at me for swearing on the internet (last week, in the comments). No, the truth is that you are missing out on Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement News this week because I contracted a moderate case of the flu. At first I thought it was a Dinosaur plot, but it wasn’t quite their style. It wasn’t even that bad of a flu, it just knocked me on my ass this week. I figure if Dinosaurs wanted to give me a disease my head would probably fall off or something. Or at least it would be the bird flu. That would be kind of clever. But no. Just a normal flu. So I am going to rally, sort through the reader mail, and put up a big post next week. Plenty of room for more letters, and some people have begun sending me Dinosaur news they find on the internet, which is nice.

 

Anyhoo, see you next week.

 

Fuck Dinosaurs.