Blackbeard (our first Mesozoic dinosaur!)

Name: Blackbeard

Species: Suchomimus tenerensis*

Description: Suchomimus is a spinosaurid from early Cretaceous Niger. As with other spinosaurs, it has a long snout filled with many conical teeth, which form rosettes; this is an optimal tooth arrangement for a pescatarian lifestyle! The raised vertebral column along the back is a middle-ground between its flashy cousin Spinosaurus and the hump/sail-less Baryonyx. Like many other theropods residing at the paleozoo, Suchomimus also bears a soft protofeather coat with a scaly face, scaly feet, and a scaly tail.

Location: Take the tram system to the easternmost section of our park to Deadly Shores, a coastal marsh where all of our spinosaurids are on display! Blackbeard and our resident Spinosaurus are within earshot of one another and enjoy morning “arguments” that involve coarse barking back and forth.

Fun Fact: Blackbeard was the first Mesozoic dinosaur successfully born and raised to adulthood at Huxley Paleozoo! 

Personality & History
Among one of the first of our large animals, raising Blackbeard proved to be a challenge for husbandry and veterinary staff. Vital scans of Blackbeard’s egg showed a developmental deformity in his right leg, which eventually progressed to the extent where everything from the knee-down hadn’t formed by the time of his hatching. Luckily, veterinary advancements in recent years (in addition to supplemental technologies such as 3D-printing) allowed for the creation of a custom-tailored prosthetic limb, and he’s had one ever since. Visitors can view all of Blackbeard’s outgrown prosthetic legs (save for the ones completely obliterated by wear) in the visitor complex right outside of Deadly Shores. He’s just about ready for a new leg that’ll allow him better mobility in the water.

Blackbeard is, though grumpy and a little hissy at times, still very much active and spry despite his status as our oldest Mesozoic dinosaur. The secret, perhaps, is the mud baths he’s fond of taking. He likes to lie in the wetland’s muddier patches, especially on hot days or after he’s eaten. His protofeathers are often caked with mud as a result. It isn’t fun to clean, and if he doesn’t want to, he isn’t afraid to let it be known. Blackbeard is excellent at wading at the water’s edge and pulling out the fish stocked in his enclosure - his favorite is catfish. He tends to fish from a different spot in his habitat each day. Sometimes he spends hours on end waiting and anticipating. Though still as a statue, you can tell he’s thinking, calculating as best as a theropod brain can…

27 April, 2017: *confused honking*

Some people (and by “some people,” I mean exclusively my mother) have been wondering, “Where on Earth has he been?” Yes, yes. I have been working sixteen-hour shifts for the past… Uh… Well, I’m not too sure how long it’s been, to be perfectly honest. When you’ve got a zoo full of wonders, laughter, and horrors, you just kinda forget about that funny thing called time.

For our long-distance guests (yes, YOU!), you’ll all be happy to learn the park and her inhabitants been doing wonderfully – flourishing, even. It’s a little strange, actually. Some days I wonder what’d happen if we just killed all the barriers and let the animals roam amongst themselves… It’d be an expensive science project, indeed. Even with our mile-long laundry list, I think our animals have all pretty much fallen into the swing of things. They’re celebrities. And, like every celebrity, all circumstantial events and planning revolves around them. Satiated for the time being, I do believe it’s time to shed some light on what we’ve been working so hard on planning and integrating:

Our spinosaurid enclosures – Deadly Shores – and the Campanian Plains (hadrosaurs…hadrosaurs everywhere – and a random ceratopsid) are ready to receive visitors this weekend!

Some may wonder – “Your first dinosaur was a Suchomimus. Why on Earth did it take so long to put these things on display?” To which, I respond: “Ever try to make a Suchomimus and a Spinosaurus play nice?” The logistics of housing so many large theropods (that are not a family unit) in such close quarters had our engineers and behaviorists scratching their heads. Original plans called for a loosely-partitioned wetland. Some in upper management wanted full integration between all the spinosaurs. Back and forth, back and forth. We’ve come to a lovely middle ground that I think you’ll all appreciate!

As for the Campanian Plains, our experimental guest-to-animal interaction technology has finally been greenlit by our behaviorists! Callboxes on tall observation decks will allow our visitors to “talk” to the chatty Parasaurolophus!

Aren’t they handsome?

One of our biggest issues was sorting out the meaning behind every para call we’ve cataloged for this project (can you imagine what’d happen if every honk in our callboxes caused a stampede?). For months, I’ve been sitting with other ornithodira handlers watching candid footage of our parasaurs filmed from drones, security cameras, and what have you to see which behaviors followed each call. Many cups of coffee and greasy boxes of pizza were consumed.

Thank you so much for giving us such wonderful feedback and comments! I heard we’ve broken the 500-follower mark.

And by that, I mean I was the one who had to tackle the kulinda carrying the banner.

- Erick

Austroraptor cabazai

By Fred Wierum, CC BY-SA 4.0

Name: Austroraptor cabazai 

Name Meaning: Southern Thief 

First Described: 2008

Described By: Novas

ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Eusaurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Orionides, Avetheropoda, Coelurosauria, Tyrannoraptora, Maniraptoriformes, Maniraptora, Pennaraptora, Paraves, Eumaniraptora, Dromaeosauroidea, Dromaeosauridae, Unelagiinae 

Austroraptor was a fairly large species of raptor from the Bajo de Santa Rosa locality of the Allen Formation, in Río Negro, Argentina. It lived in the Maastrichtian age of the Late Cretaceous, about 70 million years ago. It actually is on the upper end of dromaeosaurid size, growing up to 5 meters long and 1.5 meters tall. Only Achillobator, Dakotaraptor and Utahraptor approach its length. It is also the largest dromaeosaur found in the Southern Hemisphere. Its known from a partial skull fragment and partial skeletal remains. It had relatively short front limbs, similar to Tianyuraptor and Mahakala. It had conical, non-serrated teeth like spinosaurids. It had a long, narrowing skull, rather than a box like one like most dromaeosaurids. This indicates that it possibly was a fish eater, given that similar adaptations have been found in Spinosaurids. It lived alongside many early mammals, pterosaurs and the titanosaurids Saltasaurus and Rocasaurus.



Shout out goes to edorable-ginger!

anonymous asked:

Everytime I see a therapod dinosaur that doesn't look like a spinosaurid but still has a sail, I always end up calling it a becklespinax. I think I need help.

Becklespinax is the disease, Concavenator is the cure

Jurassic Park: Animal Bios #10: Dilophosaurus

One of the most iconic dinosaur depictions in history, it’s Dilophosaurus wetherilli.

One of the earliest theropod dinosaurs, Dilophosaurus’ likeness is known and loved by all. Although we love Jurassic Park’s portrayal of Dilophosaurus, it did not have an extendable neck frill in life, or spit venom. It was also a much larger animal than portrayed in the film, reaching lengths of around 20 feet. Dilophosaurus’ distinguishing feature was that of two crests on the top of its skull, for which it was named. It also had a notch in its snout typically seen in spinosaurids, although Dilophosaurus is an unclassified neotheropod. This notch probably existed because of the weak connection between the premaxillary and maxillary bones in the skull. One of the reasons this dinosaur is so recognizable is because of the Jurassic Park franchise, so we have Spielberg to thank for showing the world this wonderful creature (even if a few creative liberties were taken in its portrayal). Because of its posession of deadly venom in the Jurassic Park franchise, some fans have replaced this iteration of the anima’s species name with “venenifer” as a tribute to Crichton’s creative portrayal of the dinosaur.

NAME MEANING: Two-Crested Lizard
DIET: Carnivorous
TEMPORAL RANGE: Early Jurassic Period
HEIGHT: 10ft (3m)
LENGTH: 20ft (6m)
WEIGHT: 1t (2000lbs)

Within the Jurassic Park universe

In the novels

Dilophosaurus was cloned by InGen on Isla Sorna for Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. Though, as we know, the park failed, and all specimens on Isla Nublar were killed in the subsequent bombings. The specimens on Isla Sorna were left to live on their own. In the novels, the Dilophosaurus are portrayed as the correct size, and they do not posess neck frills, although they still spit venom, which contains 7 enzymes.

APPEARANCE: Initially, it was thought that there were two “types” of Dilophosaurus - Both had bright yellow with light green underbellies, and black, leopard-like spots everywhere on the body. The crests are red with black stripes. One “type” tended to have darker crests, and one “type” was visibly smaller than the other. It is discovered later that this was sexual dimorphism.
BEHAVIOR: Reclusive creatures, tend to keep to themselves. They could be seen in the park drinking from rivers and emitting soft hooting cries. Very dangerous if confronted while hunting. The animal will blind its prey with venom, and then rip them open and devour them violently.

Jurassic Park (1990)

In Jurassic Park, the Dilophosaurus is first seen on the park tour, when Dr. Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm see an individual drinking from a river and making soft hooting noises. The endorsement teams later learn that InGen found out the hard way that the dinosaurs were poisonous - one Dilophosaurus had spit at a handler. After the incident, Jurassic Park staff attempted to remove the venom sacs from the animals, but they could not locate or remove them without doing an autopsy, which InGen was against due to the cost of creating the dinosaurs. The Dilophosaurus are not seen again until later, when Dennis Nedry got lost while trying to smuggle dinosaur embryos from the park. Instead of arriving at the docks, he arrived at the river, near the Dilophosaurus enclosure. After Nedry left his car to investigate the area and began to head back, he heard the animal’s distinct hooting call behind him. As he turned, he was blinded and ripped open by the large dinosaur, and then killed when it closed its jaws around his head. Later in the novel, Dr. Grant spots two Dilophosaurus in a mating ritual, which is curious, because it is claimed that no frog DNA was used in the cloning of the park’s Dilophosaurus. After the events of the novel, all remaining Dilophosaurus were killed in the Isla Nublar napalm bombings.

In the films


Similarly to the novel Dilophosaurus’ origins, the film-canon dinosaurs were cloned on Isla Sorna, and shipped to Isla Nublar for Jurassic Park. Unlike many of the species created by InGen, Dilophosaurus was one of the few actually present on the island when the park failed. The Dilophosaurus on Nublar were one of the newest attractions, and were therefore still small and juvenile, according to Laura Sorkin’s notes in Jurassic Park: The Game (which is considered film-canon). When Hurricane Clarissa struck Isla Sorna, the staff evacuated and all Dilophosaurus were left to survive on their own, although they are not sighted on the island in The Lost World: Jurassic Park or Jurassic Park III.

*Note: The lighter colouration of the “female Dilophosaurus” depicted here is fan speculation and should not be taken as canon.

APPEARANCE: Olive green, with darker green blotches and white striping on the body, tail, and crests. The frill is bright yellow and red. Colouring could have changed as they grew, as the specimens seen in the film are juvenile.
BEHAVIOR: Like in the novel, are reclusive and shy. They don’t even show themselves to the endorsement team in the film. Although small, they are vicious and deadly, extending their frills in a threat display, spitting venom in the eyes of their prey, blinding them, and promptly devouring them.


It is assumed that Masrani Global either created their own Dilophosaurus, or captured some of InGen’s old specimens. It is extremely likely that they are an attraction in Jurassic World.

Jurassic Park (1993)

The portrayal of Dilophosaurus in the 1993 film Jurassic Park is what gave it its fame. In the film, the Dilophosaurus paddock is the first attraction witnessed by the Jurassic Park endorsement team on Isla Nublar, during the tour. However, no individuals show themselves, much to Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler’s disappointment. Later in the film, while Dennis Nedry is attempting to smuggle dinosaur embryos from the island, he loses his way and crashes his jeep. While attempting to tie an anchor to free his stuck car, a small Dilophosaurus observes him curiously, evading his sight and making small chirping noises. When Nedry goes to return to the car, the animal makes a loud, bird-like noise, and Nedry turns to see it standing in front of him, cocking its head at him curiously. Nedry is relieved at first, thinking the Dilophosaurus may have been a larger dinosaur. He proceeds to talk to it like a dog, even throwing a stick for it, which the dinosaur is uninterested in, and quickly turns its attention back to Nedry. Disgruntled by how boring the Dilophosaurus is, Nedry goes to climb back up the rock face to his jeep, the animal following him the whole way. Nedry turns around again, and the Dilophosaurus extends its neck frill, hissing loudly at him, and spitting venom on to his body. Frightened at this point, Nedry goes to get in his car and turns around one last time, allowing the small theropod to spit venom in his eyes. Screaming, blind, and in pain, Nedry slams his head on the jeep and falls over, the Barbasol shaving cream can of embryos falling out of his raincoat pocket and into the mud. He quickly regains his composure and rushes into the jeep, slamming the door behind him. His feeling of safety is short lived however, as the Dilophosaurus had circled around the car to the other open door. The animal’s hissing is the last thing Nedry hears before he is killed and devoured, his screams heard as the camera pans down to the Barbasol can, covered by the mud created by the rain.

Jurassic Park: The Game (2011)

At the very beginning of the game, Nima Cruz and Miles Chadwick go into the jungle to search for Dennis Nedry, who had not shown up to exchange the Barbasol can with smuggled dinosaur embryos. They eventually find him dead in his jeep, and Cruz catches a glimpse of the Dilophosaurus feeding on his corpse before it runs away. A bit put off, the two set to work trying to find the can. Once they find it, another Dilophosaurus lunges out of the foliage and spits at Chadwick. Startled, he pulls out his pistol and shoots at the animal, effectively scaring it off. Wanting to get out of there before more trouble shows up, Cruz sets to work repairing the crashed jeep. While she’s working, however, a whole pack of the animals shows up, and attacks. Cruz, upon suggesting a distraction, is pushed over by a terrified Chadwick who apparently hopes the dinosaurs will go after her. He’s mistaken, and two Dilophosaurus jump on and devour him. Terrified, Cruz runs back to the jeep and is accosted by several of the dinosaurs, but evades them, eventually being able to get in the car. After driving frantically for a time, and even running over one of the Dilophosaurus, she manages to crash the jeep again. She is forced to leave the car, and is punced on. Before the Dilophosaurus can kill her, the pack hears the clicking noises of the Troodon pack, and retreats. Later the next night, mercenaries Billy Yoder and Oscar Morales are patrolling the jungle, and Yoder accidentally steps on an egg in what is presumably a Dilophosaurus nest. He is attacked and pinned by a Dilophosaurus, but Morales thinks quick, kicking the dinosaur off of Yoder. Preparing to kill it, Morales is stopped by Yoder, who claims there is no reason to kill it now that it is injured and outnumbered. The Dilophosaurus uses this time to scurry away.

Jurassic World (2015)

It is unknown whether the Dilophosaurus will appear in Jurassic World, but fans consider it extremely likely, due to some hints. One of the biggest hints is the existence of a “Dilophosaurus Ambush” LEGO set, which was sold alongside a few other LEGO sets that depict canon moments seen in various trailers and TV spots.

Dilophosaurus wetherilli

By Sam Stanton on @artisticthingem

NameDilophosaurus wetherilli

Name Meaning: Two crested lizard

First Described1954

Described By: Welles 

ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Eusaurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Dilophosauridae 

Dilophosaurus is a fairly well known - and fairly misunderstood - early theropod dinosaur. It lived around 193 million years ago in the Sinemurian stage of the early Jurassic Period. At first it was named a species of Megalosaurus, however upon the discovery of a second specimen in which the crest was clearly visible it was renamed Dilophosaurus. The fossil evidence of Dilophosaurus indicate that the fossils found are probably from subadult individuals. It was discovered in the Kayenta Formation in Arizona. Dilophosaurus was a bipedal predator, and was probably a fast and agile runner. As several individuals were found together as fossils, there is some evidence that Dilophosaurus might have lived in social groups (however, this could have been attributed to other reasons as well, such as all having been swept away together in a flash flood.) It probably lived near river environments, allowing it to prey on a variety of organisms. It lived in the same environment as many other early dinosaurs, such as Megapnosaurus, Kayentavenator, Sarahsaurus, Scelidosaurus, and Scutellosaurus. It also lived in the same environment as the pterosaur Rhamphinion. Dilophosaurus remains have also been found in the Dharmaram Formation in Andhra Pradesh, India. This specimen shared its environment with a crocodilian, a sauropodomorph, and Lamplughsaura

By Fraizer on @saint-nevermore

Dilophosaurus was a large predator, around seven meters long, and around the height of a person. It had a pair of rounded crests on its skull, which were most definitely used for display. A notch in its upper jawline allowed for Dilophosaurus to have an almost crocodile like mouth, similar to the later Spinosaurid dinosaurs. This could indicate that Dilophosaurus would occasionally prey on fish as well as terrestrial animals. There is no indication of sexual dimorphism in the species. The crest could have been used for attracting mates or intimidating other members of the social group, or it could have been used to distinguish separate species from one another. It grew rapidly, according to the bone structure. Trackways have been found that are attributed to Dilophosaurus, or at least a similar species, in Arizona, Poland, Sweden, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Furthermore, trackways in Massachusetts also have what appear to be feather imprints alongside the footprints, suggesting that Dilophosaurus - a still very early theropod - had feathers! (Or at least, a very early form of feathers). This would indicate that the evolution of feathers started very early in the dinosaur family tree, allowing for Archaeopteryx to be a real contender for one of the earliest birds.

By Leandra Walters, Phil Senter, James H. Robins, CC BY 2.5, from Wikipedia

Dilophosaurus is very well known in popular culture due to the Jurassic Park franchise. However, the film (and the book) got Dilophosaurus quite wrong. Dilophosaurus was, to begin with, much larger than the film DilophosaurusDilophosaurus in the film was made much smaller than usual so as not to be confused with the Velociraptor. However, Velociraptor in real life was much smaller than in Jurassic Park, and Dilophosaurus was bigger. Furthermore, there is no fossil evidence that Dilophosaurus supported a neck frill, or that it could spit venom. However, many further pop culture depictions of dinosaurs depict Dilophosaurus with these features, creating a large misrepresentation of the animal, which is rather unfortunate. 



Weishampel, D. B. (2007). The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

Dixon, D. (2007). The Complete Book of Dinosaurs. London, England: Anness Publishing.

Shout out goes to icedteawithstrawberries! 

The pterosaurs are coming!

More than 65 million years ago, in the lost world of the Cretaceous, dinosaurs—from Tyrannosaurus rex to spinosaurids—were the largest animals to walk the land. Meanwhile, in the air, a diverse group of winged reptiles known as pterosaurs soared overhead.

This spring, you’ll have the chance to get a pterosaur’s-eye view of prehistoric Earth, in Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs, opening Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Learn more.

rowantreeisme  asked:

got any spinosauruses?

Well Spinosaurus is a confusing paleontological question right now! 

See, we used to think it looked like this, yes? 

Except, you know, not shrinkwrapped or with pronated hands. Like a living animal and all that. 

Except then in 2014 a new paper came out with a reevaluation of Spinosaurus - before we really didn’t have much material of it, we extrapolated off of related species, but this new paper presented Spinosaurus as a semi aquatic animal: 

By David Bonadonna

However, the proportions of this Spinosaurus were a bit weird - some even though it might be quadrupedal, though that doesn’t make much sense based on the skeleton and musculature and posture of theropods: 

By David Bonadonna

So this is highly unlikely, and also, it seemed that the measurements of the bones may or may not have been off? 

So that would yield the new Spinosaurus as looking as such: potentially semiaquatic, with short hindlimb, but not quadrupedal - kind of like a Pangolin: 

From http://delirio88.deviantart.com/art/Spinosaurus-aegyptiacus-2015-507626304 

However, there is some confusing science at hand, here - it may be that this Spinosaurus finding wasn’t Spinosaurus at all, but one of the other major large theropods of North Africa in the middle-Late Cretaceous - Sigilmassasaurus. There is a taxonomic mess surrounding these new samples, leaving Spinosaurus - and valid reconstructions thereof - in the lurch 

tl;dr: There was a weird Spinosaurid in North Africa that had short hindlimbs compared to its forelimbs. This Spinosaurid may, or may not, have been Spinosaurus. More research required.