dinosaurs

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History Science

A Hummingbird-Sized Dinosaur Skull Found Preserved in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber

March 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

Protected in a small piece of amber dating back 99 million years, an ancient skull is changing the timeline researchers have for when reptiles transitioned into the descendants of current-day birds. Found in Myanmar, the oculudentavis khaungraae had at least 23 sharp teeth on its upper jaw, which suggests that the dinosaur ate insects, according to an article published in Nature this week. Its eye was canonical with small pupils and resembles those of a modern lizard, while the edge of the socket indicates that it was well-equipped to see in bright light. About the size of a hummingbird’s, the skull totals .6 inches, although this avian species is thought to be 70 million years older. After archaeopteryx, it’s the most ancient bird and the tiniest dinosaur ever discovered. To prevent damage to the bone, researchers used X-rays to construct a 3D model that’s shown below. (via The History Blog)

 

 



Animation Music

A New Film in Pastel Animates the Viral Tragicomedy Tune ‘Dinosaurs in Love’

February 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

Made in an impressive time span of 24 hours, “Dinosaurs In Love” is the official video for a 3-year-old London girl’s song of the same name. Directed by Hannah Jacobs, Katy Wang, and Anna Ginsburg, the pastel work features two dinosaurs snacking on a cucumber and enjoying a party, before it takes a sad turn and shows the pair blown to bits by the Big Bang. The trio created the surprisingly tragic film using 2D frame-by-frame animation.

In late January, Tom Rosenthal posted a video on Twitter of his daughter Fenn singing the short tune that speaks frankly about life and death. Since then, it has garnered viral attention, although according to Tom, Fenn hasn’t recognized her newfound fame. “She literally did this song, we listened back to it five or six times, and then she’s on with the rest of her life,” he told BuzzFeed.

For more animated projects from Jacobs, Wang, and Ginsburg, head to Instagram.

 

 



Craft

Handcut Paper Models by Seba Naranjo Welcome Dinosaurs Back From Extinction

March 23, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Images courtesy of Seba Naranjo

Inspired and informed by the work that paleontologists have done over the past few decades, Chile-based artist Seba Naranjo designs and builds 3D paper models of dinosaurs for a project called Khartosauria. Through careful planning, cutting, and folding, he forms fun and expressive sculptures that roam desks and table tops the way their organic counterparts did millions of years ago.

With a background in graphic design and children’s illustration, Naranjo tells Colossal that his fascination with dinosaurs and paper started when he was just a kid playing in the printing shop where his mother worked. After honing his skills significantly over the years, Naranjo now spends upwards of 20 hours a week cutting and constructing figures such as a red and beige Styracosaurus, multi-colored mini Dromaeosaur, and an elegant Apatosaurus.

Model kits complete with scientific biographies and instructions for building are available online. Follow Naranjo’s experimentation process and see more of his creations by following the dino-enthusiast on Instagram.

 

 



Illustration Science

A Neural Network Generates Surprisingly Elegant Images of Dinosaurs Composed of Plants

June 20, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Artist and writer Chris Rodley utilized a deep learning algorithm to create these really lovely illustrations of dinosaurs composed of plants. The images were generated with an online service called DeepArt that lets you upload a “target” image and then apply a visual style to it. For step one he fed the network images of common dinosaurs and then applied the styles of 19th-century fruit engravings and botanical illustrations. The results are a sort of 21st-century artificial intelligence channeling Giuseppe Arcimboldo. You can read a bunch more about all the technical mumbo jumbo over on Sploid. (via Kottke)

 

 



Amazing History Science

The First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber is Covered in Feathers

December 8, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Photo by R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Courtesy National Geographic.

Photo by R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Courtesy National Geographic.

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A micro-CT scan reveals the delicate feathers that cover the dinosaur tail. Photo by Lida Xing, courtesy National Geographic.

The first known dinosaur tail preserved in a piece of amber was recently discovered by paleontologist Lida Xing while collection samples in Myanmar last year. Dating back to the mid-Cretaceous Period some 99 million years ago, the roughly apricot-sized piece of amber contains a 1.4-inch appendage of 8 vertebrae unmistakably covered in primitive feathers. Scientists ruled out the possibility of the tail belonging to a bird, and based on its structure believe it came from a juvenile coelurosaur, a group of dinosaurs that includes tyrannosaurs. Via National Geographic:

While individual dinosaur-era feathers have been found in amber, and evidence for feathered dinosaurs is captured in fossil impressions, this is the first time that scientists are able to clearly associate well-preserved feathers with a dinosaur, and in turn gain a better understanding of the evolution and structure of dinosaur feathers.

The findings were first published today in a report co-authored by Ryan McKellar in Current Biology and you can read more on National Geographic.

 

 



Art Craft

New Ceramic Dino Designs by Brett Kern Made to Look Like Inflatable Toys

August 29, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Since we last visited with artist Brett Kern (previously), the West Virginia-based ceramicist has continued to produce new models of his ingenious inflatable toy dinosaur sculptures. Kern has added “baby” versions of Plesiosaurus, Carnotaurus, and T-rex to his lineup, and earlier this year released a few pieces in gold glaze that were made available for auction. You can see more in his Etsy shop, and he shares tons of process videos and photos on Facebook.

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Photography

Toy Dinosaurs Add a Prehistoric Dimension to Travel Snapshots

March 15, 2016

Christopher Jobson

All photographs courtesy Jorge Saenzs / Caters News

Over the last few years we’ve seen several series where people use toys, pets, and unwitting significant others as props to liven up their travel photos. Photographer Jorge Saenz decided to pounce on the idea with his “#dinodinaseries” that incorporates a small herd of plastic dinosaur toys turned tourists who join him on his adventures. It all began when Saenz purchased a green brachiosaurus toy at a flea market in La Paz, Bolivia and shared a few shots of it exploring the local surroundings. The miniature reptiles have since accompanied him to other South American countries like Paraguay and Peru where they’ve braved rapids, climbed mountains, and explored Incan ruins. You can see many more on Saenz’s Instagram. (via Lost at E Minor)