Friday, October 25, 2013

Movie Review: Fantasia (1940)

It’s Friday, and time for another film review! This week is a return to good movies, and this one is one of my first, and one of my favorites. My dad introduced me to Classical Music at a young age, and decided to nourish it with the 1940 Walt Disney animated classic Fantasia. The dazzling colors and shapes set to Bach’s toccata and fugue in D minor, the antics of Mickey Mouse set to Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the classical majesty combined with colorful creatures of classical myth set to Beethoven’s 6th symphony, satirical slapstick animal ballet of Ponchielli’s Dance of the hours and the nightmarish demonic revelry in Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain all made impacts on me, but it was the prehistoric epic of the Rite of Spring that impressed me the most. It was at the time I loved dinosaurs thanks to this film, The Land Before Time, and trips to the Field Museum’s dinosaur hall. Thanks to Fantasia, my love of dinosaurs increased and my love of classical musical blossomed. It’s still one of my favorite movies and Stravinsky is one of my favorite composers.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Species that don't get publicity #2: Teratosaurus suevicus

The species for this week is one that seemed to be popular for a brief time only, and was misunderstood even then.  From around 1950 to 1990, dinosaur books featured this species; Never before, and never again. It has never appeared in a book in its real form. It has never been featured in films or documentaries.  Only one, cheap toy from the series Monsters In My Pocket has been made of it-nothing from Safari or Bullyland or Papo or even any model kits.  This is all too bad-this animal was the Tyrannosaurus of its time, and one of the three genera of giant predator that ruled central Europe in the late Triassic. The first large dinosaurs were its prey.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blogs you should check out!

Hi! Today I've got nothing big planned, but I do want to share with you my inspirations and favorite blogs (that are still extant). If you like my blog, you'll love these far superior natural history blogs!

Science Writer Brian Switek's Laelaps:

Palaeontologist Darren Naish's Tetrapod Zoology:

Palaeontologist Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings:

Artist James Gurney:

Artist Luis Rey:

Artist Tricia Arnold:

Cameron McCormick's Lord Geekington:

Love In the Time of the Chasmosaurs by David Orr, Marc Vincent, and Asher Elbien

The Dinosaur Toy Blog

Friday, October 18, 2013

Movie Review: King Dinosaur (1955)

It’s Friday! Movie night! I’ve decided to alternate a good movie with a bad movie in terms of reviews, and this one might be familiar to the viewers of a certain television show. You see, my favorite program is Mystery Science Theater 3000, a well-written comedy series dedicated to making humor with terrible movies. A memorable episode in Season 2 was based around this week’s film: Robert L Lippert’s first science fiction disaster, King Dinosaur. Joel and his robot friends had a great deal of difficulty with this one, and it’s easy to see why.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Here's something I made before I started blogging: Top Ten Megafauna That Made Prehistoric Australia Even Scarier

Ah, Australia. It's a running gag for biologists that it's one of the scariest countries. Sure, the climate doesn't sound that bad, the native peoples didn't have the complex military societies that us Yanks had to deal with during our own hostile takeover, there's never been a civil war, and while there's a lot of ethnic groups (and accompanying oppression), there's not enough guns to make it as dangerous as the average US city. I do plan on going there, and it looks a lot nicer than, say, Israel or India (other places on my list, but I'll get to them later)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Movie Review: The Lost World (1925)

It’s Friday and that means it’s movie night! Yes, today we’re going to look at a dinosaur movie, and this time we’re looking at one of the first. Today’s film is from 1925-yes, dinosaurs not only were before people, but before talkies. This is Harry Hoyt’s adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s the Lost World. Before Harry Potter and its trend of having films made of recent popular books, this film was made only 13 years after the original book was published, and proved more popular.  Every dinosaur fan has  seen this, every fan of special effects owes it to themselves to see it,  and the bizarre history of this film makes it special among even silent films.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: In the Presence of Dinosaurs

The book this week is In the Presence of Dinosaurs, written by John Colagrande and Larry Felder and also illustrated by Larry Felder.  This large hardcover book was published by Time Life books in 2000, and should be available if you look hard enough. It should be found in the section on dinosaurs in a bookstore or library, and although there are narratives and not talk of actual fossils or palaeontologists, it is firmly a nonfiction book.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Species that don’t get enough publicity #1- Diadectes sideropelicus

Ah, Dimetrodon. The only nonmammalian synapsid  (basically the ancestors of modern mammals) ever to become an honorary dinosaur.  It’s ubiquitous in art, toys, and museums. It’s better known than hundreds of dinosaurs, let alone members of its own group. Sometimes Dimetrodon lies right between lobe-finned fish and Stegosaurus in a march of history. That sail overshadows the Triassic, Permian, and Carboniferous periods. Sometimes other Permian animals show up in popular culture-Eryops, looking like nothing else but a crocodile frog, or Edaphosaurus, which is just the plant eating version of Dimetrodon (And so, not as popular), but it’s all Dimetrodon.
That’s why I’m not going to talk about Dimetrodon anymore.  Instead, I’m going to talk about an animal I find actually more interesting.  It was probably harmless (on the other hand, even Dimetrodon probably wouldn’t be any more dangerous than an alligator, Nile Monitor or Tasmanian devil), about the size of a large dog, and people have struggled for years whether it’s a reptile of an amphibian. The American, Field, and Harvard museums all have one right next to their Eryops, Dimetrodon, etc, but it’s probably overlooked by most visitors.