Giant Atlas Beetle
One theory of the dinosaurs extinction is that a giant meteorite struck the earth and caused a nuclear winter which impacted the plants and entire food chain. While a giant meteorite could cause tremendous destruction, there were also many other forces at work which were responsible for the dinosaurs extinction.
Plate tectonics would have played a great role as the plates composing the crust of the earth have continually shifted, relocating entire continents, uplifting mountain ranges, and draining seaways. At the end of the Cretaceous Period, continental drift had changed the world's climate and global environmental conditions which would have significantly contributed to the end of the dinosaurs.
Animals living under the Permian trees. A sail-backed pelycosaur splashes after a reptile-like amphibian. Two Diadectes and the amphibian remain atop a fallen log.
This skull of a primitive mammal-like reptile is from an animal called Estemmonsuchus. It was found in Russia and lived during the early part of the Middle Permian Period. It was a large and bulky animal which fed mostly on plants. The only known skin impressions of any mammal-like reptile are from the Estemmonsuchus. These rare skin impressions revealed that their hide was not scaly like other reptiles, but smooth and more like the skin of modern day mammals.
Protorosaurus is the earliest known archosauromorph from the Upper Permian Period of Europe. While technically considered too primitive to be called a dinosaur, animals such as Protorosaurus were ancestral to true dinosaurs such as the prosauropods and later sauropods. They lived approximately 260 million years ago. Fossilized stomach contents reveal that despite its sharp, pointed teeth, it was an omnivore which ate both plants and animals.
This shoulder blade was discovered in 1972 by Dr. James Jensen from Brigham Young University. Measuring just over 8 feet, this scapula represented the largest known dinosaurs until Dr. Jensen found another shoulder blade in 1979 from the same dry Mesa Quarry in Colorado, which was over a foot longer. Since then, several sauropods have been discovered in Argentina and China which are even larger than the Supersaurus. Supersaurus was an extremely long sauropod, resembling Diplodocus, and could well have been over 120 feet in total length.
|Dinosaur Collection from the 1950s|
Stegosaurus -- the rubic's cube of dinosaurs. For over a hundred years there has been a controversy as to how the bony armored plates were positioned upon the Stegosaurus. Initially, there were numerous concepts of what the Stegosaurus might have looked like. Based upon one nearly complete specimen which still had the plates in their original natural positions, two conflicting theories have been responsible for how stegosaurs were depicted. Both theories agreed that the bony plates were aligned in two rows. But these theories differed in that the two rows were placed in either a paired or alternating position. The nearly complete specimen clearly shows that they were preserved in an alternating pattern. However, since no animal is equipped with two rows of alternating dermal structures, the theory of the two rows with paired plates was largely accepted instead. This is despite the fact that no two plates are of the same size or shape. Also, an extra 2 to 15 plates have been erroneously added to support either theory.
In 1986, a new variation of the alternating theory was published by Stephen Czerkas. The significant difference was that the bony plates were aligned in an alternating pattern in a single row, instead of two rows. Also, 17 plates were suggested to be the total number instead of the over-estimated 19 to 32.
Numerous lizards living today show that a single row of dermal spikes can develop an alternating pattern as they grow, increase in size, and crowd together. This strongly suggests that a single row, instead of two rows, is the most natural possibility to explain how an alternating pattern of plates existed on stegosaurus. The recent discovery of a second Stegosaurus which is virtually complete appears to verify this interpretation. It also confirms that 17 is the total number of bony plates.
|The King Kong Brontosaur|
This is the original that was used as the Brontosaurus in King Kong and the more fanciful sea beast in Son of Kong. It is very unique because it was designed like a stop-motion model, but modified with cables so that it could be used for live-action photography. This was necessary for scenes in which the model had to rise out of the water and splash about while attacking the actors. The "actors" in these scenes were also miniature puppets that were loosely jointed so they would move naturally as the dinosaur tossed them about. Behind the scenes photographs show the model during the actual filming of the sequence in Son of Kong.