Pachycephalosaurus

DRACOREX
“Dragon king”
Late Cretaceous, 66 million years ago

Once considered its own genus, many scientists now believe Dracorex to be a juvenile Pachycephalosaurus. It is known from only one specimen – named “Dracorex hogwartsia” in reference to the Harry Potter series of novels and films. This intersection of Potter fans and paleontologists is not surprising, as both share a penchant for fabulous beasts, social exile, and haphazard use of Latin.

Saurian Stretch Goals

So, as many of you know, the game Saurian is having a kickstarter to raise money right now. What is Saurian? It’s an in-development open world dinosaur game, dedicated to providing a scientifically accurate, fun game experience.

I’m lucky enough to be in contact with several members of the dev team, and they’re some of the biggest dinosaur lovers I know. They’ve been working extensively over the past three years to create a game that not only looks amazing, but is also extremely scientifically accurate. You can view their trailer below!

The good news is that the fan response has been extremely enthusiastic, raising the $55K that the dev team asked for in under a day and a half! But now, they’ve set their sights on even bigger goals to give an even more amazing experience.

$60K: Genetic Variant Skins (Achieved!)

Not all individuals in a species are exactly the same - every now and then, an individual’s DNA happens to encode atypical colouration. Saurian will be no different! Players may choose any of four different colour variant skins: Albinistic (No melanin [black and brown pigment], pink eyes), Leucistic (Missing other pigments, not just melanin, throughout body; coloured eyes), Piebaldistic (Clean splotches throughout the body without pigment), and Melanistic (Excess melanin, making the individual appear very dark).

(Art by RJ Palmer [Source])

However, real world animals with colour variantions face challenges - their colours make them easier to spot, and may deter possible mates. Animals in Saurian will face the same challenges! 

$62.5K: Spectator Mode (Achieved!)

Instead of constantly trying to survive, this will allow you to sit back, relax, and watch the game’s AI ecosystem in action!

$70K: Character Customisation (Achieved!)

As stated before, not all individuals within a species are identical. But not all variation is due to mutations that affect pigment production throughout the animal’s body! Players will be able to choose individual features like body type, colour hue, variations in pattern, and birthmarks in order to make their character unique.

$80K: Dynamic Environment Events (Achieved!)

No ecosystem is ever still. Every environment is shaped by natural phenomena. Saurian will be no different! The Hell Creek Formation had two main seasons - the wet season and the dry season. The game will be no different, offering realistic changes in weather. And speaking of weather, there will be natural disasters, just like the Hell Creek ecosystem experienced! Flash floods, thunderstorms, wildfires, and even hurricanes will challenge the player to survive even in the most dire times.

$105K: Post-Impact Survival

The Hell Creek Formation ecosystem faced one of the most destructive events in the Earth’s History - the K/Pg extinction, ending the Mesozoic Era and killing all dinosaurs other than birds. After the meteor strikes and dust clouds blot out the sun, Impact Winter begins. How long can you survive?

$130K: New Playable Dinosaurs

Currently, Saurian is planning four playable dinosaurs - Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Dakotaraptor, and Pachycephalosaurus. But the Hell Creek ecosystem was much more diverse, including beasts like Hadrosaurs, Ornithomimids, Thescelosaurs, Caenagnathids, Alvarezsaurs, and more. If this goal is reached, backers will be able to choose one carnivore and one herbivore to add to the cast of playable characters.

$155K: Multiplayer Mode

The main game mode is solitary, but how will you fare against dinosaurs controlled by other human players? This mode will allow you to experience Hell Creek with others!

$205K: Virtual Reality Support

Get out your virtual reality goggles, because if this goal is met you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the world of Hell Creek and experience the ecosystem as a dinosaur would!

$300K: Two Medicine Formation

So far, the game is only focused on the Hell Creek Formation. But slightly earlier in a similar location was the Two Medicine Formation, with a similar but different ecosystem and cast of dinosaurs. An entire new ecosystem and environment would be included in the game, with two new playable characters: Gorgosaurus and Styracosaurus/Rubeosaurus.

$400K: Console Support

Right now, the game will be only playable on computer. If this goal is met, the game will be made compatible with PS4 and/or Xbox One.

Right now, we’re at $88K, and there are 25 days left to go. Go donate!

The signs as dinosaurs

(Note: these are real photographs of dinosaurs. They are in no way artist’s renditions. Dinosaurs are real and I will fight you on that)

Aries: Pterodactyl

Taurus: Apatosaurus

Gemini: Megalodon

Cancer: Ganeosaurus

Leo: Liopleurodon

Virgo: Pachycephalosaurus

Libra: Hadrosaur

Scorpio: Velociraptor

Sagittarius: Triceratops

Capricorn: Ankylosaurus

Aquarius: Diplodocus

Pisces: Stegosaurus

Celebrate #FossilFriday with Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis

Pachycephalosaurus, meaning “thick-headed reptile,” lived 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period and was the largest bone-headed dinosaur ever found, with 10 inches of bone crowning its rather small brain. This specimen was found in 1940 in Carter County, Montana. 

This fossil is located in the Museum’s Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs. 

JURASSIC WORLD musings

So Jurassic World.
Yeah.
Let’s….yeah, let’s talk about it.

First and foremost, this isn’t going to be much of a review. More of a list of collective thoughts I’ve been able to awkwardly slap together so I could get it out of my system.

- It’s been a good while since I’ve felt the same raw, unfettered childlike fervor as I had felt in JW. My jittering legs, restless hands, and strained facial muscles were all testaments to just HOW EXCITED I was. I literally hadn’t realized how badly I wanted another Jurassic movie until mere days before the release, when I realized that, due to my trip to Atlanta for Shatterdome I would be waylaid in my viewing of the film until the Monday following the weekend release. Thus I spent the weekend in a perpetual storm of frustration rivaling that of the sexual variety.

- The most recent time I had the same crippling elation was during SXSW when Gareth Edwards showed off the partially-finished clip of Godzilla’s arrival in Honolulu. Granted that was on some other nigh-spiritual level of personal awakening than pure nostalgic childhood bliss.

- My initial impressions was one of being impressed with the direction, the relatively snappy, fun dialogue, and the characters, though archetypal, are handled reasonably well and are at least entertaining archetypes. Not unlike Pacific Rim. Though UNLIKE PacRim, these archetypes don’t exactly break new ground. Still, everyone is clearly doing their damndest in their roles and having a wonderful time playing these comfortable, unchallenging characters.

- There have been quite a few accusations of sexism leveled at the film, and while they’re not entirely unwarranted, I do feel that the tropes presented are neither malicious nor hurtful. Though Claire is something of a Sandra Bullock-esque archetypal career woman, she has plenty of quirks to make her endearing and entertaining, despite not being terrible well realized. She also becomes a 100% legit badass by the end so let’s at least give her that.

- On the subject of sexism, there were some reversals on the tropes that were present. Though Claire has some unfortunate tropes thrust at her, Vincent D’Onofrio’s character was presented as an somewhat witless member of the patriarchy by refusing to internalize the concept that the dinosaurs are all female. It wasn’t conscious, but it was a funny character quirk that, if only a little, helped balance it out somewhat.

- Chris Pratt as Owen “Best Human” Brady is a pure male power fantasy wrapped up in a sex symbol. And dammit, it was glorious.

- There were a few welcome surprises in how characters and plot threads were handled. I particularly enjoyed the new park owner (Simon Masrani) and his somewhat foolhardy but well-intentioned hands-on attitude.

- I was honestly surprised at the violence and horror movie elements present in the film. It’s kind of easy to forget that the last 3 films contained some rather terrifying moments, even though they’re all fairly tame looking back on it. Somewhat appropriately, the terror is ratcheted up and the kills climb to new levels of intensity.

- There WAS a scene towards the latter part of the film that I was decidedly against. It was extraordinarily violent, and borderline fetishistic in how incredible obscene it was. It was unnecessary, served no purpose, and was unwarranted. I understood why they WANTED it, but it went on way too damn long.

- There was also a superfluous and melodramatic subplot that did nothing other than remind me how much more deftly Fury Road handled character motivations and backstory.

- The dinosaurs. OH THE DINOSAURS. Now, much ink has been spilled over the presentation of the characters and the insistence of making the beasties appropriately JP-branded, and personally, I’m taking the approach of understanding that Jurassic, as a franchise, can’t innovate like it did in the 90′s. It’s a slave to its own branding. Still, a Microraptor or two wouldn’t have been missed.
Thankfully there IS a wonderful line in the movie that addresses these inaccuracies, and is almost delightfully meta in its addressing of how marketing is presented as a concept in the film.
Ultimately, the dinosaurs look fantastic. There’s a sore lack of puppetry in the film, but there is at least one Apatosaurus animatronic that is GORGEOUS in its execution.

- Doctor Wu presents perhaps one of the juiciest, most fascinating character motivation and potential sequel set-up I’ve seen in a while. Love the Magical Unicorn B.D. Wong.

- DAT. ENDING.

Just preordered the special edition blu-ray with the dino statues.

Dakotaraptor by tuomaskoivurinne

Even with its blood soaking into the cold forest floor, its windpipe crushed, and its body pinned, the young pachycephalosaur kicks and chokes. It’s a silent struggle—just the sound of its limbs and tail against the leaves punctuate the herbivore’s refusal to die. But Dakotaraptor is patient. Nothing dies easily. 

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Dinosaurs of The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

1. Compsognathus
2. Stegosaurus
3. Parasaurolophus
4. Pachycephalosaurus
5. Gallimimus
6. Mamenchisaurus
7. Tyrannosaurus
8. Velociraptor

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Armored dinosaurs in the AMNH
You can even touch some of the fossils :)!
Photos by me

Dinosaurios acorazados en el AMNH
¡Incluso puedes tocar algunos de los fósiles :)!
Fotos mías.