Zen’s eyes. They gazed, into yours, not breaking contact even when you squirmed away from him. His eyes were wide open, shining with joy. Your reflection was wavering in them, fading in and out as the light changed in the room.
The sun was rising behind the thin curtains and the birdsong was becoming louder. Zen yawned, his arms stretching above his head and creases forming by his eyes. You watched as he sat up, the blankets falling away from his bare body. Even though you’d spent years sleeping besides Zen, every morning felt like the first. The light flitted across across his prominent collarbones, the muscles bulging in his arms and the sculpted abs in his stomach. Damn, he had one good body. ‘Where are you going?’ You mumbled, reaching out a hand to grab onto his wrist. 'Someone has to get our son ready for his first day at nursery, MC.’ His face was bright, a grin evident on his lips. You pulled the covers off yourself, rapidly, and began to get dressed into jeans and a sweatshirt. How had you been so enthralled with Zen’s body that you’d forgotten your own child’s first day at nursery? 'What time is it?’ You asked, running a brush through your hair and starting on your make-up. 'It’s only 8 am. We have another hour before he needs to be there.’ Zen reassured you, wrapping an arm around your waist and leaving a trail of kisses down your neck. You swatted at him, playfully, relaxing a little now you knew you had time. 'Zen, stop!’ You giggled 'I need to finish my make-up.’ He pulled away and left the room, to wake your three year old son. Nerves crept into your head, making it hard to concentrate on what you were doing. What if your son didn’t like nursery? What if he cried when you left him? What if he didn’t make friends at nursery? There were too many things for you to worry about. Your son had always been sheltered from interacting with other children. With Zen’s work, you’d had to travel around a lot to be close to where Zen needed to be. Therefore, there hadn’t been much time for your son to have play dates and make friends with other children. It wasn’t as if your son had been raised badly, you and Zen had given him everything you could. You spent all of your time talking to and playing with your son and whenever Zen was home, he entertained him. There had been many early mornings when you’d woken up to an exhausted Zen cradling your son in his arms and singing to him, softly. Zen’s lullabies never failed to send your child to sleep, whereas your out of tune songs kept him awake even longer. It was strange to think that little boy wasn’t so little anymore. You could barely hold him in your arms anymore. He’d wriggle around, crying out to be put down until you released him. He barely ever sat still, instead spending most of his time toddling around and playing with his toy dinosaurs. 'MC, come help me put socks on your son.’ Zen called from the other bedroom. 'Why is he my son when he’s misbehaving?’ You joked, looking at the writhing mess of son, Zen and clothes on the floor. Quickly, you swiped a pair of socks off the floor and put them on your son’s feet while Zen held him in place. 'You have to wear socks or they won’t allow you into the nursery. They prove that you’re a big boy.’ You explained, trying to persuade your son to wear socks more often. He was still tentative to wear them, preferring to run around bare foot with the grass between his toes. To be honest, who could blame him? 'That’s why I wear socks all the time. Because I’m a big boy.’ Zen added, with a wink at you. 'That’s debatable.’ You countered. Zen poked his tongue out at you. 'Naughty Daddy!’ Your son scolded. You nodded in agreement with him, hiding a grin. 'Come on.’ Zen said, rising to his feet and grabbing your son by the hand. 'Time for breakfast. Is it cereal or toast today?’ 'As it’s your first day of nursery, you can have whatever you want.’ You told your son as they three of you walked to the kitchen. 'Waffles for me and Dexter!’ Your son called, waving his soft toy dinosaur around and making roaring noises. Dexter the dinosaur rarely left your son’s hand 'We’ll have to make a whole mountain of waffles to feed you and Dexter!’ Zen said. 'I’ll go help Mummy in the kitchen while you play in the living room.’ Your son was more than happy to play alone with his dinosaurs while Zen helped you. 'Can you pass me the eggs?’ You asked Zen. He passed them over to you and you placed them on the counter before you dropped them. Your hand was shaking. You were more anxious than you had realised before. 'What’s wrong?’ Zen asked, closing the fridge door and crossing the room to stand behind you. 'He won’t be here today. I haven’t spent a day in this house without him in three years.’ Your voice caught in your throats and tears formed in your eyes. 'He’s still our little boy, you know? He hasn’t moved out to college yet.’ Zen comforted you, placing his hand in yours and turning you around so you were face to face. 'That won’t be long though. I remember when he was just an idea, a wish. Then when I was pregnant with him and we thought he’d never actually come. It seemed to take forever before we were holding our tiny baby in our arms and now the time is passing so fast. He’s already three years old, for God’s sake.’ You felt pitiful, resting your head against Zen’s shoulder. 'What will I do when you’re at work and he’s in nursery? I’ll be all alone.’ 'You don’t have to be alone. The other members of the RFA will always be there for you to talk to and visit and you have other friends who you spend a lot of time with. And if you wanted, you could join me at work sometimes.’ Zen reassured, his arms wrapping even tighter around you. 'I just don’t want to lose my baby, I guess.’ You murmured. 'I know. I don’t want to see him grow up either but we both knew it was going to happen soon. He’s still going to need us for many more years though. He can’t even tie his own shoe laces properly yet’ You could hear your son mimicking the roars of dinosaurs in the adjacent room, which brought a smile to your face. You laughed to yourself, imagining his little face filled with innocence. 'You’re right. And we’re going to have one angry dinosaur if we don’t hurry up and make these pancakes.’ You continued to make the breakfast surrounded by the presence of your little family and the loud roaring of Dexter the dinosaur.
Dust rose in a great cloud as he yanked at the tarp. They both coughed. Deidara waved his hand in front of his face. He staggered back a big step. But Itachi, determined to press on, pulled harder at the plastic sheeting. It snagged. With a little more persuasion, it fluttered off, landing in a quiet heap in the sand.
“Holy shit, Itachi. How old is this thing?” Deidara said, still coughing. He took a step closer, squinting at the machine in the dark.
Itachi flicked on the lights in the shed. The bare bulbs flickered to life, illuminated the dusty thing. He pulled down the cloth covering his mouth and nose. It hung at his throat, a faded strip of blue fabric.
“Not sure. Our old man used to ride this around when he was my age, I think,” replied Itachi. Deidara let out a long whistle. Tapping the side of his glasses, he cycled through the settings so he could zoom in closer. He examined the rusted parts and the dirt-clogged gears.
“Heh. This thing looks like it was built when his old man was your age too,” Deidara remarked. Itachi shoved him a little before he walked past him to the workbench pushed up against the wall.
“So what’s the sudden hurry to fix up this dinosaur? You short on money or something?” Deidara probed. He sat down on an old bucket in the corner, out of the way as Itachi got to work. Itachi wrestled with the hatch on the side of the machine for a moment. But it stuck. He dealt it a sharp kick and it opened with a dull snap.
Allosaurus is my favorite dinosaur, could you do a post on them?
Unlike a lot of big theropods, Allosaurus is something of a success story - at least in how it’s portrayed in media. It rose from relative obscurity to a position of prominence as one of the super-predators of its era, while avoiding comparisons to T. rex almost entirely. How? Why? Let’s find out!
Allosaurus was discovered during the “Bone Wars”, a fifteen-year period of mass fossil hunting in the late 19th century, sparked by a mutual personal rivalry between eminent American paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. While the details of the Bone Wars are too complex to get into right now (perhaps a separate post is in order!), suffice it to say that they led to the discovery of hundreds of new dinosaur species. Unfortunately, Cope and Marsh were each in such a hurry to prove themselves the superior paleontologist over the other that they frequently assigned genii and species too hastily, and very few of those genii and species are actually valid today.
When Allosaurus was first discovered in 1869, it was named “Antrodemus”, based on half a tail vertebra. Cope and Marsh would each discover additional Allosaurus bones over the course of the Bone Wars, and would assign each specimen to a new genus, in order to rack up more new discoveries than the other. The genii “Allosaurus”, “Creosaurus”, “Labrosaurus”, and “Epanterias” were all established based on fairly sparse material.
It was eventually determined that all these fragmentary specimens belonged to the same species, for which the name “Antrodemus” had priority. It was known by this name until the 1970s, when it was argued that the original specimen of Antrodemus was too fragmentary to be officially considered part of the species. It was decided that the name given to the most completely known specimen - Allosaurus - should take priority.
Since being renamed, Allosaurus has become much more completely known, thanks to a wealth of more complete fossil finds, including an almost entirely complete subadult skeleton discovered in 1991, nicknamed “Big Al”. Even before thorough scientific documentation, however, Allosaurus was notable as one of the first well-known American large theropods - discovered several decades before T. rex.
Allosaurus is known to have lived in Portugal, Tanzania, and the western United States, from 155 to 150 million years ago. It was not the biggest predator of its time and place; that distinction goes to Torvosaurus, a relative of Megalosaurus. (For real!)
Based on the relative shortness of the legs in comparison to the body size, and the flattened, hooflike toe claws, Allosaurus was slower than similar large theropods, but able to run for longer periods of time. Juveniles were comparatively longer-legged, meaning they likely had different feeding habits in order to avoid competition with adults.
Allosaurus is known to have attacked and eaten stegosaurs, and definitely scavenged sauropods, although it likely was not able to kill them. Based on its anatomy, it fed in a fashion similar to birds of prey, gripping prey with the feet and pulling off pieces of flesh with vertical movements of the head - a method quite different from the more crocodilian feeding habits of tyrannosaurs.
Allosaurus is also physically distinguished by the short horns over its eyes, which were positioned such that they may have acted as sun shades.
Allosaurus has proven difficult to classify. The theropod clade “Carnosauria” - once a sort of dumping ground for any large theropod of uncertain classification - has since been narrowed down to contain only the metriacanthosaurs, the carcharodontosaurs, and… Allosaurus, which forms a subgroup of Carnosauria by itself. It’s currently believed to be more closely related to the carcharodontosaurs, while still belonging to its own exclusive group. No direct relatives of Allosaurus are known; all other dinosaurs thought to belong to the family Allosauria have turned out to be physiologically indistinguishable from Allosaurus.
As you can probably tell by the huge amount of words I wrote about it, I also think Allosaurus is a pretty cool dinosaur. It’s a very unique large theropod, and we know a great deal about its life and habits. Hopefully, we will continue to find out even more.
Tom was my best friend when I was a kid. We’d bonded over a deep obsession of Jurassic Park and our subsequent passion for Paleontology.
We used to spend every weekend out in the woods excavating the forest floor for dinosaur bones.
But one day our parents wouldn’t let us go. We heard the adults whisper about another body being found “after all these years”. The whispers scared us and we agreed to play in the backyard instead.
That was the day we finally hit pay dirt. After a year and a half of looking we had finally found our first section of dinosaur skeleton – and in my backyard no less! We hurried inside to tell our parents but only my father was home. He was excited and agreed to take us to the university the next afternoon to present our findings.
Sometimes in life, you will meet people who will make you think something along the lines of, “This person would definitely make a good mother or father.”
Maybe it’s because of their kindness or their ability to diffuse situations quickly and fairly. Sometimes it’s because of how capable they are of handling themselves and others. Oftentimes, it’s just an aura that you feel whenever you’re with them.