Category Archives: Interview

Site News and Letters to the Editor May ’14

2013-2014 Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement Awards

The Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement is rapidly approaching its first birthday (June 21). In honor of this event, and all of you fine political pioneers who have supported the movement in its first year, Dinosaurs! WTF? will bestow awards on our greatest contributing subscribers. All subscribers will be considered for honors. There is no need to apply for an award, I have already googled all of your email accounts and twitter handles, so I know all about you.

There will be awards for best letter to the editor, most outspoken defender of the movement, least likely to be a theropod in disguise, worthiest foe of the movement, and so on. There will be a fabulous prizes attached to each award, although I have no idea what they will be.

I’ll be considering for the awards up until June, so feel free to do something for the D!WTF? cause before then.

Happy Birthday Mary Anning

I swear to god you will get a real article at some point, Mary. Happy Birthday and thanks for the early warning about dinosaurs.

Letters to the Editor, May ’14

After the last article, movement supporter @sablehawk and I discussed Chi Gung and Tai Chi as ways to deal with raptors. On twitter:


Later, he wrote to me at length. Sablehawk writes:

Perhaps this could be adapted for use. This is based on actual conversations with a mystic holy man who lives in the woods of Tennessee.

I felt I should give you a deeper answer on using Tai Chi to battle dinosaurs, so I spoke with a local Master.

Sablehawk: Can we use Tai Chi to battle dinosaurs?

Master: That statement is actually deeply Zen, I’m glad you have advanced so far.

Sablehawk: um, thanks? Why?

Master: Tai Chi is the ultimate fighting form, but since dinosaurs do not currently exist, combat must remain pleasantly metaphoric. Since Tai Chi is the ultimate meditation form, teaching you to communicate with your body through the symbols of martial arts, you are proposing a symbolic battle with metaphoric enemies. Clearly you are working to grasp your deeper issues through meditation, excellent.

Sablehawk: Actually, I mean real dinosaurs.

Master: Well, Tai Chi with dinosaurs is a very interesting topic. Having experienced them in a dream, I can tell you that they are a bright and terrible life, shining in energy but desolate in deeper ambitions. They know nothing of wood and earth, planning and balance. They survive on Yang metal and Yin water, the kinetic pursuit of goals.

Obviously, the ones who survived in dream are seen as dragons of fire and water; their desire for continued life extends past all sensible conclusions. I recommend against becoming like them and worry about your avatar’s continued existence if you try to commune with them.

Sablehawk: They can eat me in my dreams?

Master: Probably not, as you are just a student, but by the time you are a master, yes.

Sablehawk: How might that impact actual interaction with actual-incarnate dinosaurs?

Master: Clearly creatures of a previous, and regrettably future, incarnation have a lot to tell us. It would be interesting to interact with them to determine how they lived. Obviously, a lot of people share this inclination, which will undoubtedly be the cause of their coming resurrection. They have predicted as much.

Sablehawk: Can we fight them with Tai Chi?

Master: Tai Chi is used to understand them. The study of them would develop an animal style which would generate a fighting style to combat them. Set aside the strengths of their attack, Yang, and penetrate the weaknesses of their defenses, Yin.

Sablehawk: So are you studying them in dreams to find their weaknesses?

Master: No, I bought a Saiga with a 20 round drum for back-up in case the .308 Sniper doesn’t do the trick. Oh and of course the Glock and the 1911, but hey, you knew I carried those. Tai Chi is great and all, but I live out in the woods and can’t count on the cops to respond inside 30 minutes.
***
So there you have it. Dinosaurs will fucking eat you in your dreams. This martial arts thing has made for some really weird posts, even by my standards.

Thanks to Sablehawk for the letter. If you want to send me a letter, shoot me one through our contact page. Also, buy a goddamn mug. Ryan Marten designs these beautiful mugs and you people tell me they look great and then never buy any. What is that even about.

How to Fight a Raptor

In this article, Persius Q. Lumbar, expert mixed species martial arts instructor, has provided helpful commentary on how to fight a raptor in hand-to-claw close quarters combat. Dinosaurs!WTF? would like to extend humble thanks for his input.

 

Mr. Lumbar is an experienced animal combatant, known in the animal fighting world for victories against bulls, shrews, and the ravenous wild turkey. The following conversation has been transcribed, edited, and illustrated.

 

How to Fight a Raptor

 

Lumbar: Firstly, it should be understood that fighting a dinosaur in close quarters is absolutely not recommended. Raptors, in particular, were amazingly competent warriors… probably.

 

Ed: Well, we are looking at a worst case scenario here. If the Conservative Dinosaur Readiness movement should fail in its mission to keep the various political powers that be from resurrecting dinosaurs-

 

Lumbar: Yes, yes, things would be pretty grim, then. Bad news bears. I fight bears. Anyway, the first thing you want to do to prepare is lift a bunch of kettle bells whilst growing a manly goatee.

1_Kettle Bells-01

Ed: Really?

 

Lumbar: Obviously. Lets review the basic threats and techniques.

Threat 1. Man Against a Leaping Assault by Deinonychus

2_Leap Attack-01

Lumbar: Do not, under any circumstance, allow a Deinonychus to gain the high ground. In all likelihood, however, it already has by the time you realize you will need to fight a Deinonychus. Your first instinct might be to punch the incoming raptor in its soft underbelly. Raptors, however do not have soft underbellies like men do. This is actually a serious evolutionary flaw in mammals. Raptor ribcages extend over the belly, by punching the belly, you would find yourself with a broken hand seconds before you are torn limb from limb like a soft pretzel.

 

Ed: Well that isn’t very helpful.

 

Lumbar: Shh.

 

Technique 1. The Handstand Donkey Berates the Farmer

3_Donkey Kick-01

Lumbar: This ancient Tai Chi technique, wherein the warrior kicks out his back legs visciously-

 

Ed: Like a donkey?

 

Lumbar: Like a handstand donkey. This technique will allow a warrior to utilize his superior reach and handstand strength against the lightly built carnosaur. Should the technique be used correctly, whist the raptor is in mid-flight, it will be knocked away with great force.

 

Ed: Interesting.

 

Lumbar: Everything that saves your life is interesting. Thus I recommend your readers try to do twenty or so handstand push-ups daily, to maximize the effect of this technique.

 

Threat 2. Man’s Head Within the Jaws of Deinonychus

4_Head Bite-01

Lumbar: Do not allow a raptor to put your head in its mouth.

 

Ed: Okay…

 

Lumbar: Carnosaurs, with a few exceptions, had very impressive force behind their bite. A raptor could crush your head like a Honda crushes my son’s favorite model aeroplane.

 

Ed: Just… just like that?

 

Lumbar: Exactly like that.

 

Technique 2. The Monkey Plucks the Banana

5_Throat Punch-01

Ed: Oh god.

 

Lumbar: This technique, from the Tai Chi Master Jared Fitzpatrick, requires precise timing and a willingness to be puked on by a raptor. The warrior, seeing that the raptor has left its tongue and epiglottis exposed by is attempt to fit a human head in its mouth, grasps the tongue and punches back into the raptor’s throat.

 

Ed: Wouldn’t the raptor just bite off your arm?

 

Lumbar: No, it will be too busy puking.

 

Threat 3. The Deinonychus Lashes Out with a Deadly Kick

6_Front Kick-01

Lumbar: Now you have the advantage. The raptor sees you as a threat! Your intimidating posture! Your rippling bisceps! Perhaps it sees its own death in the pattern of your facial hair.

 

Ed: Sure.

 

Lumbar: It lashes out at you with its killing claw, trying to count the folds of your intestines with its meat hook feet!

 

Ed: Relax.

 

Lumbar: You relax!

 

Technique 3. The Orangutan Wrenches the Branch in Twain

7_Leg Split-01

Ed: What’s with you and apes?

 

Lumbar: In this technique, the warrior utilizes the light build of his birdlike opponent and his superior upper body flexibility to turn the raptor’s deadly kick into an incredibly painful hyperextension of the inner thighs. Grabbing the raptor’s out-thrust leg and wrenching it into the air, the warrior then pulls apart the raptor’s legs in a way God never intended.

 

Ed: I don’t think God intended any of this.

Threat 4. The Joust

8_Head Charge-01

Lumbar: A Deinonychus may try a charging head butt, hoping to scare you into freezing or to knock you off balance. Once the raptor knocks you down, it’s curtains for you. Raptors are incredible ground fighters, with blazing fast rabbit kicks and twisting, serpentine bites!

 

Ed: So how do you stop an animal as fast as a horse from head butting

you?

Technique 4. The Ram Rebukes the Stepchild

9_Spear Defense-01

Ed: That’s terrible.

 

Lumbar: The warrior must remember that he has the weight advantage. When the raptor charges with a headbutt, you dive and meet it with your own! Your skull is just as thick as a raptor’s, if not moreso! Leap forward and drive your forehead into its snout.

 

Ed: A spear? Like the illegal football tackle?

 

Lumbar: Precisely.

 

Ed: That’s illegal because it causes severe neck injuries. It hurts everyone involved, even whering scientifically advanced helmets and padding.

 

Lumbar: You know what else causes severe neck injuries? Raptors.

 

Threat 5. Never Gloat Over a Fallen Raptor Corpse

10_No Gloating-01

Lumbar: A dead raptor is probably faking.  Just like the vicious kitten, a raptor is just as deadly lying down as it is standing up. A fallen raptor will try to lure you into making the mistake flexing victoriously or posing for photos. That’s where the expression ‘playing raptor’ comes from.

 

Ed: I have never heard that expression. And I run this website.

 

Lumbar: You have to make sure that the raptor is dead.

 

Ed: Well, good interview, thanks for-

 

Technique 5. The Capuchin Bludgeons the Sleeping Clown

11_Bat Attack-01

Ed: Another violent monkey.

 

Lumbar: This technique, invented by Capoeira Mestre Bimba and honed by me, is the only way to be sure that a fallen raptor is actually dead. Granted, you have beaten a raptor soundly if you have utilized even two of the four previous techniques, but raptors are resilient.

 

Ed: Uh huh.

 

Lumbar: You’ll need a baseball bat. I prefer one made out of aluminum.

 

Ed: Uh huh.

 

Lumbar: Then you beat the raptor with the baseball bat until you can barely tell what it used to be.

 

Ed: What is your problem?

 

Lumbar: You know? I am starting to doubt your devotion to this cause.

 

Ed: Sometimes people like you make me wonder.

 

Thanks for reading. If you liked this failure of an interview, subscribe! If you liked the art by William Moore, buy his awesome t-shirts and visit his webcomic.

 

Legitimate Interview: Peter Larson on Nanotyrannus

expert interview

Tyrannosaurs. Nature’s ultimate weapons. Mankind’s great reminder of the power of evolution. They have been debated and our images of them have been reshaped and re-conceived as science has breached the fog of the time that (thankfully) has separated our species by millennia. Now, as humanity is coming to terms with the dangers of this pitiless planet that these ancient monsters represent, finally the Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement has gained legitimacy and notoriety enough to attract an interview from one of the great experts on the subject.

Peter Larson has a great deal to tell the world about Tyrannosaurs, and two weeks ago he agreed to tell Dinosaurs! WTF?. For years, Larson has been excavating dinosaurs, including Sue (largest T. Rex found thus far). He is the president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research. In this exclusive interview, Peter Larson cast light on one of the great Tyrannosaur mysteries: Nanotyrannus.

The debate sounds goofy at first. Scientists found a Tyrannosaur fossil, call it Nanotyrannus. It looked fairly similar to Tyrannosaurus Rex, but about a third of the size. What do you figure? Baby T. Rex, right? Peter Larson does not think so.

“Nanotyrannus is valid,” said Larson.

Of course it would not be something so simple as a baby T. Rex. Theropods did not evolve to give science easy answers. They evolved to be terrifying killing machines, and nature is a tricky mother.

“The Nanotyrannus is a valid genus and species. One of my major papers was just published over at Indiana University’s Press. It’s about Tyrannosaur biology. It’s really a long and drawn out paper but it shows something like 37 characters that separate Nanotyrannus from Tyrannosaurus Rex,” Larson said.

Over the phone, he sounded much smarter than me.

“You said 37 characteristics?” I asked.

“Something like that. They’re called characters. Things like, for instance, well one of them wasn’t mentioned in that paper because it was submitted for publication in 2006.”

I nodded and wrote down that I had misused basic biology vocabulary on the phone with a Tyrannosaur expert, so that I would remember to tell my therapist.

You may have seen in the news that a very well preserved Nanotyrannus fossil has just gone up for auction. A mutual murder was recorded in the fossil– the Nanotyrannus is locked in a battle to the death with a Triceratops. The Nanotyrannus has taken a huge bite out of the Triceratops’ ass, and the Triceratops responded by pecking in the theropod’s skull. Nice fellows. This new skeleton has given better ammunition to Larson’s argument that this was not a junior Rex.

“For instance, every bone in its hand is bigger than the biggest T. Rex that has been found. …I’m not talking proportions, I’m talking actual length.”

For those of you keeping score at home, arm bones do not generally shrink in adulthood. Feeling like a real dinosaur investigator at this point, I pressed on with the tough questions.

“Why do you think it’s so important? What are the implications of nanotyrannus being its own species?” I asked with my mouth.

“Diversity. We’re seeing patterns of this towards the end of the age of dinosaurs. …Much more diverse fauna than some would like you to think. For instance Torosaurus is not a very grown up Triceratops, it also is valid. But there’s been… Jack Horner has some really good ideas about plasticity and that’s something you need to look at but not everything is part of a non-classed genetic series. There’s not just one ceratopsian, one tyrannosaur,” Larson said.

Peter Larson is invested in this debate. His ideas are at odds with those of Jack Horner, another great dinosaur expert who actually answers my emails.

“It’s always good to ask those questions. But just because you ask a question doesn’t mean that the answer that you’re giving is the correct answer. When Tom Carr first proposed this back in 1999, it was a great question, but there were certain reasons… now that we have more specimens, we know the answer to that question. It’s not a juvenile T. Rex.”

So if it wasn’t a junior Rex, what was it up to? A Tyrannosaur a third of the size of a T. Rex is still a 17 foot long killing machine. I was afraid to ask, but I did.

“So how do you think Nanotyrannus would have functioned as a predator?”

“They were probably… if you know the specimens we’ve found, like the Triceratops showing at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis right now… there were more than 30 Nanotyrannus teeth found in that skeleton.”

Sweet Jesus.

“So there’s a good argument to be made that nanotyrannus was probably a pack hunter. While we do have multiple instances of multiple T. Rex being found, it has only been like two individuals, three at most, at the same site. And while nanotyrannus for some reason is much rarer, we find lots and lots of teeth but not skeletons. Of course those teeth represent successful hunters, they’re shedding their teeth and they were more abundant than Tyrannosaurs Rex. It’s just we haven’t found every skeleton.”

JESUS WE HAVEN’T EVEN FOUND ALL OF THEM. THERE ARE MORE OUT THERE.

I wiped away my tears.

“I see. That’s a lot of good information. That was my last question, do you have anything you might like to add?” I said, voice quivering.

“Well, just that science is really fun. So the controversy that something like this brings up, it really forces you to look at things in a different way. And that’s always good. So, you know, even though I disagree with Tom Carr and Jack Horner about nanotyrannus I’m really glad that they are around to give that opposite opinion. Because it really sharpens our tools that we use to try and understand these things about life,” Larson finished.

Hear that kids? Science is fun, debate is healthy, and WE HAVEN’T FOUND ALL THE NANOTYRANNUS YET.

Profile on Nanotyrannus next week, along with a downloadable copy of the full interview. Subscribe if you want, but it won’t save you from tooth shedding hidden monsters from prehistory. Do you want to see your letter in this month’s letter section? Send one.