As many of you know, Connecticut is a haven for aspiring paleontologists because, you know, dinosaur were found here and hey, they are cool!
Aside from the Great Hall of Dinosaurs at Yale’s Peabody Museum, kid-friendly The Dinosaur Place in Ledyard, and the little-known Wells Dinosaur Haven (which we plan on visiting this summer to write about), one of the more interesting and unusual state parks in the country is also located here in Rocky Hill — Dinosaur State Park, home to “an exceptional display of early Jurassic fossil tracks that were made 200 million years ago.”
So obviously, there’s some sort of love affair between Connecticut and dinosaurs — that, or we’re simply cashing in, right? (Hmm …) Considering dinos have only really come to light in the last century and half, it’s amazing how much we do know about them.
Anyway, to that extent, I thought it was interesting that considering dinosaurs have been dead for a few hundred million years that they popped up in the news three times in the last week. (Odd things happen in threes?)
The first story that caught my eye was about the discovery in the Arctic of a giant prehistoric sea monster that is currently being called Predator X. With a head twice as big as a T-Rex and a bite four times stronger, this aquatic nightmare measured in at 50 feet long and 45 tons, and is believe to have lived terrorized the planet 147 million years ago. and if that’s not enough to fill your dino nightmares, each of its teeth were 12 inches long . . . eek!
Oh, and having an “X” in its name makes it X-tra cool and X-tra damned, like “The X-Files.”
Predator X will have its official coming out party on March 29 on the History Channel. Here’s a teaser —
From the incredibly large and dangerous to the somewhat small — but still as deadly.
Canadian researchers announced that they have discovered the smallest known North American dinosaur, Hesperonychus elizabethae. A possible relative of the velociraptor with razor-like claws and very sharp teeth — of course — it stood a foot-and-a-half high, scrambled around on two legs and weighed about 4.5 pounds, or less than your average house cat (which it would’ve eaten in a heartbeat).
The final story is that apparently (and this is the actual headline from MSNBC.com!) Teen Dinosaurs Hung Out, Got Into Trouble.
Of course, the first thing I think of is that old Far Side cartoon (at right). As it turns out in this case, the dinosaurs in question were a group of young, birdlike dinos (ornithomimids called Sinornithomimus dongi) that had been cruising the equivalent of the prehistoric mall — a mud bog — and all got stuck and perished together, or went down in some sort dino-emo suicide pact. Apparently, there were no adult dinos around when it happened, as no adult fossils were found.
Of course, that’s one of the most compelling things about dinosaurs — we only know about the species who were unfortunate enough to die in mud or peat bogs, and ended up fossils. No doubt there were hundreds of other types that were never accidentally preserved and are now lost in the shuffle of time.
Dinos, we hardly knew ye!