Sunday, 30 June 2013

Is the T-Rex a coward or the most terrifying predator to ever exist?

I seem to have dinosaurs on the brain at the moment. This is due in no small part to my love and fascination with them. Also, if you haven’t been following, I’m currently working on a novel which will feature these magnificent creatures.

It’s a lot of fun writing a novel with dinosaurs. But I do have a dilemma: Which dinosaurs to include?

I’ll be honest. The dinosaurs that make the cut are probably going to be my favourites. Most will be familiar to the reader, and at least a few will be terrifying. And you can’t get more terrifying than the Tyrannosaurus Rex, right?

Maybe not.

There’s a rumour going around that it’s not the greatest predator to walk the earth. Some scientists (You know, the ones that destroy childhood memories) are saying it’s not a predator at all. It is in fact a scavenger, very similar to the hyena. Its prey wasn’t other living dinosaurs (Hadrosaurs, Ceratopsians such as the Triceratops, and Sauropods like the Brontosaurus) which the T-Rex stalked, chased down and killed. Instead it fed on the left-over carcases that other predators had killed and left lying around.

What a load of ... err, rubbish. I was going to say rubbish.

Okay, let’s look at the facts.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex, otherwise known as the T-Rex, or Tyrant Lizard, is a very large dinosaur which lived in Jurassic Park. Err, hang on, that isn’t right; Jurassic Park is fiction.

Let’s try again. The T-Rex lived millions of years ago during the Jurassic Period, which is why Michael Crichton called the book Jurassic Park. Oh, crud. That isn’t right, either. The T-Rex actually lived during the Cretaceous period.

Hmm, now I'm wondering if any of those creatures featured in Jurassic Park were actually, you know, from the Jurassic period?

Anyway, getting back to the T-Rex. This is what you really need to know:

The Tyrannosaurus Rex had huge teeth and a massive jaw that could quite literally crush a car, if there had been any automobiles around back then. And despite some scientists thinking it was cowardly and timid, like the hyena, and a scavenger, not a predator, the T-Rex is a very fearsome monster of a dinosaur which was an apex predator, preying on other dinosaurs.

In short: It was one huge killing machine that scared the living daylights out of every other dinosaur around at the time. And scared the living daylights out of me when I was a kid. And still does, if I’m honest.

So, to put it bluntly, don’t let those nasty scientists and their made-up facts (they really can’t know for sure, they’re only guessing), tell you otherwise.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex was, and still is, the most terrifying predator to ever walk this planet.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Is the mighty Brontosaurus really dead?

When I was a kid, I loved dinosaurs. I couldn't get enough of them. I had books, little dinosaur toys and even a poster or two. My love of dinosaurs hasn't diminished. This is probably why I decided to write a novel with dinosaurs. Don’t get your hopes up just yet, though. The completion of the novel is some way off. I will, however, update this blog from time to time with news and stuff about my Work In Progress, or WIP, as it’s called.

There you go. For anyone not familiar with writing or publishing, you've just learned a new term. WIP. The Work in Progress. I may give you more terminology as they come up. How lucky do you feel right now?

Anyways, getting back to today’s post. The Brontosaurus. Yep, the Brontosaurus. One of my favourite dinosaurs when I was a little nipper. I had the little green Brontosaurus toy and would play with it often. It had a huge majestic neck and dumpy face, great thick legs and massive flat feet. It was one monster giant of a dinosaur. Not many came anywhere near the size of the mighty Brontosaurus, not even my other favourite, the T-Rex.

However, and this is going to upset a few people, the Brontosaurus never existed. Nope, it never was. The Brontosaurus was entirely made up. A hoax. A cruel hoax that shattered my world and has probably now shattered yours.

Are you in tears yet?

I can hear you shouting at the scream, “Please, let it not be true.”

But, yes, it is true. I’m still in shock.

The Brontosaurus was discovered by palaeontologist O.C. Marsh in the late 1870s. It still is one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever found. However, thirty years later, scientists determined the skeleton Marsh found was not of a new species, but from one he had all ready discovered, the Apatosaurus.

But, although scientists and palaeontologists knew of the mistake, or as some have said, hoax, it took a hundred years for the name Brontosaurus to be removed from the records of palaeontology.

But why the mix up? I hear you ask.

Well, it may have been a mistake on Marsh’s part or a deliberate attempt at deception. He dug up a skeleton of a massive dinosaur which wasn't complete. It lacked a skull. This didn't put Marsh off. He decided to place the skull of another dinosaur he happened to have lying around (actually it was over 4 miles away), which turned out to be a Camarasaurus, to complete the skeleton. Either he thought the skull fit, or he just wanted to get one over on another dinosaur hunter, Edward Drinker Cope, who he was in competition with at the time to discover as many knew dinosaur skeletons as they could. Who knows?

What we do know is that the Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus are the same creature. But does this mean the Brontosaurus never existed? Some would say yes (those pesky scientists). Since the name Apatosaurus came first, that is the name used for these dinosaurs in the scientific community (What is wrong with you people and your facts? Pfft, I say. Pfft, and Pfft again).

However, who says a dinosaur can’t have two names?

There can be the scientific name and the popular name. And I choose to remember the popular name, the name I grew up with and grew to love. The Brontosaurus is the Apatosaurus. But the Apatosaurus is also the Brontosaurus. Hence, therefore, the Brontosaurus did exist.

Long live the extinct Brontosaurus.