dinosaurs

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Design

Mix and Match Magnetic, Wooden Animal Parts to Invent Bizarre New Creatures

July 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © ESNAF Toys, shared with permission

As interest in analog entertainment for children grows, a new collection from ESNAF Toys prompts kids to piece together giraffes, foxes, and T-rexes from simple, wooden blocks. Each geometric shape is handcrafted and color-coded. To create an anatomically accurate animal or dinosaur, simply match and connect the magnetic joints.

Helmed by architects Bistra and Anastas, ESNAF Toys was born out of the duo’s desire to provide their son with higher-quality entertainment. “Our home became cluttered with baby toys, and we didn’t like it. Looking at all those toys, we realized that very few of them were made with natural materials that would last for decades. Few were what we would call ‘smart’ toys, objects whose use could evolve together with our child,” Bistra says. This dissatisfaction inspired Anastas to utilize old floorboards to create the prototype for the minimal toys that the company offers today.

Check out the video below to dive into ESNAF Toys’ history and see more of its new dinosaur collection, which recently surpassed its fundraising goal on Kickstarter. Until that prehistoric line is released, you can pick up some of the mammalian designs from Etsy or its shop.

 

 

 



History Science

A Hummingbird-Sized 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 creature 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 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)

Update: This article has been corrected to acknowledge an update from Nature that says the skull is no longer believed to be a dinosaur.

 

 

 



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.

dino-2

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.

 

 

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