He was eighteen years old. He had raised almost as many broods, watched them grow and become mothers and fathers themselves. He was clam-fisher and crab-catcher, nest-builder and egg-keeper. He’d faced skulking velociraptors, puffed and squawked at rummaging protoceratopses, and dodged the crushing feet of nemegtosaurs. He knew to follow the termite-loving, spade-handed Shuvuuia so he could plunder the lizards attracted to the digger’s insect nest destructions. He was Hermes via Quetzalcoatl.
But now the old tom had lost some of his luster: his once-cerulean wattle was dusty gray, and his plumage had gone pale under the Mongolian sun. Regardless, he still clucked and strutted, watching his grandchildren gather by their mothers in the sand along the arroyos.
Drawing by Mick Ellison of the American Museum of Natural History, NYC.
When: Early Cretaceous (~125 million years)
Where: Liaoning, China
What: Mei is a paravian dinosaur. Paraves is the clade comprised of birds and two families of non-avian dinsaurs; Troodontidae and Dromaeosauridae. As Mei is a fairly basal member of the troodontids, it is not very far removed from the common ancestor of all paravians. Its bird-like heritage can be easily seen in this extraordinary articulated fossil shown above. This specimen was found in a sleeping pose, which is very much like the resting posture of many modern birds, with the legs folded underneath the body and the head folded back and resting on the shoulder. It is this pose that gives the taxon its full name: Mei long, which translates to ‘sleeping dragon’. This animal is a sub-adult, determined via the ends of its bones not yet being fused, and would be roughly 21 inches (~53 cm) long, if it was not curled up as it is.
The find of a basal troodontid in this pose gives us far more information than just when the sleeping posture was adapted by this clade. It has been determined that modern birds commonly sleep like this to preserve their body heat, covering up the areas that are most prone to radiating heat. If Mei long and its kin were not ‘warm blooded’ than there would be no benefit to sleeping in this pose. Thus, this provides another compelling bit of evidence that the ‘warm bloodedness’ of modern birds was present in their mesozoic non-avian relatives.
"There’s a bunch of squawk on the web coming from people who think that feathered dinosaurs aren’t scary. On behalf of anyone who’s had hands-on experience with or even basic working knowledge of bird biology, please, shut the fuck up. Birds are fucking creepy murderous motherfuckers. Don’t believe me?" Keep reading: Feathered Dinosaurs Are Scary as Hell
This was the last afternoon the brothers would spend together. Their adult plumage was almost completely grown in: just a few gray-green plumes hung from frames becoming sleek and iridescent with vibrant blues that almost shone in the sunlight.
The following day, the older one snapped at the younger. He whistled a territorial song—a tune that dipped low, then rose to end in three trill and angry notes—spread his arms and shook his great blue tail, fanning his feathers, trying to look as big and threatening as he could.
The younger one was confused, not ready to be chased away. He cocked his head and chirped, then dodged his older brother’s kicks. He moved a few paces away, and the brother glared at him, sang “lu-ohn-a-ree-ee-ee” again. The younger one paced, keeping a few body-lengths between them, but edged too near, and his older brother was jumping again, lashing out with long, skinny, barb-tipped legs, mouth wide, feathers puffed. They croaked and chittered and rolled through the undergrowth, as if being tossed by the wind, one brother trying to climb on his sibling, the other spinning to stay out from under him.
After this second attack, the younger one ran away—his brother scolding a few more territorial announcements behind him—and stopped only when he could no longer hear his brother. He inspected a scratch he’d received in the fight. Blood beaded between plumes. After nursing it, he looked around. The forest seemed larger than before.
Shortly after the rock fell from the sky, the land had been purged. The initial explosion turned life into vapour, and the following waves flooded the world with fire. Most perished soon, while many others faded during the dark and cold days when the rain stung and the snow burned inside the lungs.
The K-T extinction event, signalizing the end of the Cretaceous period and Mesozoic era.
"Doug Henderson’s work is frequently distinguished by its expert use of elaborate foliage, so it’s interesting to see a piece like this, in which two drowned centrosaurs appear (at first glance) to be suspended in an ethereal void. There is a wonderful dreamlike quality here - we are strangers in this alien world, which belongs to the plesiosaur, itself heedless to the dramatic sight of the giant animals’ bodies drifting idly by above. Equally, there is a beautiful melancholy, as in so much of Henderson’s art" Marc Vincent on Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs
There is something frightening about listless predation.
When the morning sun illuminated the trench, the ammonites began to sink. They had fed all night on the plankton and tiny fish that came to the shallows. Their long tentacles had hung motionless, waiting the tiniest brush of small prey. Copepods, krill, and tiny fish had all been snagged and suddenly pulled into tentacle-surrounded mouths. With the sunlight came the mosasaurs and the schools of Xiphactinus, so the ammonites withdrew into the trench and allowed more active predators have their turn in the shallows.
Dracorex hogwartsia. Okay its name always annoys me… but.. This was a Pachycephalosaurid, and is known from only one skull specimen and a few vertebrae. It may have been a juvenile Stygimoloch or Pachycephalosaurus- if the idea that their skull changed that drastically during their lifetime is correct.
A Series Of Paintings That Bring Dinosaurs To Life In Industrial Ruins
By Flex McCool
Concept artist, Simon Stålenhaghas creates a series of paintings featuring dinosaurs roaming fields filled with industrial relics. The artwork creates an atmosphere that is relaxing to the eye and yet, at the same time, exiting to the mind. You can find more of Simon's brilliant work on his website.