Sunday, July 20, 2014

Species that don't get enough publicity #8. Dakosaurus, Metriorhynchus and friends

Today I’m going to talk about not a particular species, but a family of animals. I couldn’t narrow it down to just one-collectively perhaps only one or two has been featured in dinosaur books, and only one in my memory has made the headlines.  Remember Pristichampsus? Well, prehistoric crocodiles are fascinating to me so you can expect more. This time, it’s about a niche crocodilians exploited multiple times. Don’t worry, I won’t do them all in one go. The Philodosaurs, Dyrosaurs, and Teleosaurs can wait. Today I will restrict myself to a single but giant family of marine crocodiles. Yes, I said marine crocodiles. These are the Metriorhynchids.

Friday, July 11, 2014

An overview of Dinosaur Exhibits part 5: The Royal Ontario Museum

I have held off talking about this museum for a while now, as it has been nearly 15 years since I’ve been there last, and not only have I forgotten a great deal of it but also it has undergone extensive renovation in 2008.  Canada, like the USA, is rich in dinosaur fossil material, and sort of acts like Mongolia to China in terms of fossils-the hotbed of Cretaceous rock. British Colombia brought us the Cambrian explosion in the Burgess Shale, but for dinosaurs, Alberta and Saskatchewan are the real treasure trove. There’s really nothing like them outside of Montana and Wyoming to the south and Mongolia across the Pacific. Lambe, Brown, and the Sternbergs found a gold mine of Cretaceous fossils, one that is still being excavated today. 

Like the southern American West, while a lot of fossils are stored and studied nearby (in this case, the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller near Edmonton), a great deal have made it to the East. While the US fossils were shipped to Chicago, Pittsburg, Washington, New Haven, Philadelphia and Washington DC,  the Canadian fossils were sent to Toronto and Ottawa. The National Canadian Museum of Nature will be covered next in the series, but today we’re looking at the Royal Ontario Museum.