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Upgrading Dinosaur Diets

Upgrading Dinosaur Diets

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Have you ever tried to imagine what a world without grasses would look like? The scenery might well be pretty bleak. Scientists have long declared that there were no grasses present in dinosaur communities. The plant-eating dinosaurs had to make do, we have been assured, with cycads, ferns, horsetails and trees of flowering plants such as palms and magnolias. Read the rest of this entry »


In Nova Scotia, as elsewhere in the Maritimes, we discover that fossils are an exciting part of the landscape. Not the least of our discoveries are the dinosaurs of Parrsboro. Dinosaurs?? We thought western Canada had exclusive claim to such Canadian artifacts. Not quite. West of Truro, along the north shore of the Minas Basin, we find the touristy town of Parrsboro. The scenery is beautiful, with blueberry crops growing on local hummocky hills. Furthermore the beaches along this stretch of coast are famous for fossils, dinosaur fossils to be specific. Read the rest of this entry »


The Big Splash

The Big Splash

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Have you heard the sad story of the dinosaurs that succumbed to a watery catastrophe? Most young people in our province have heard the story of the Centrosaurus herd in Dinosaur Provincial Park. No doubt it would take quite some force to sweep huge, four-footed horned dinosaurs off their feet. The Centrosaurus dinosaurs of Alberta were only moderately large compared to some other horned designs such as Triceratops. Centrosaurus, for their part, were about 5 m (16 ft) long and perhaps 2.5 m (8 ft) tall. But they were certainly chunky and heavy. Read the rest of this entry »


What Big Eyes They Had!

What Big Eyes They Had!

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A tiny news item caught my eye: “Creature liberated from oilsands” (Edmonton Journal November 4, 2000 G1). Apparently a rare marine fossil was found earlier this year near Fort McMurray. The oilsands are making quite a name for themselves as a source of fossils. Besides unfossilized remains of trees, excavators have turned up nine marine reptiles, mostly plesiosaurs, from the oilsands. One of the earlier specimens, like the recent find, was identified as an ichthyosaur. Read the rest of this entry »


That Fossil is a Fake!

That Fossil is a Fake!

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Have you ever wished that you could rewrite an event in your life? It happens to all of us once in a while, of course. However the results are a little worse when something has been published. It’s harder to imagine that the event never happened. Thus it was in 1999 that some palaeontologists positioned themselves far out on a limb (metaphorically speaking), and in early 2000 somebody cut the branch off. Oooops…… Read the rest of this entry »


Dinosaur Feathers or What?

Dinosaur Feathers or What?

It’s not hard to imagine the scene. A lush forest crowds the shores of a glittering lake. Chicken-sized birds perch on tree branches or fly ponderously over the lake. Smaller birds also perch or flit joyously hither and thither through the sky. A frisky bipedal (runs on two feet) dinosaur pursues its own agenda in the adjacent woods. One consumes a small sharp-toothed little mammal, perhaps a type of rodent. Insects buzz lazily over the lake while fish and various tiny crustaceans lurk in the watery depths. It all seems so placid. What could mar this moment? Read the rest of this entry »