Titanosaurs and wonder

Titanosaurs! Such extraordinary things. Why didn’t I become a paleontologist? I could have been in the Argentina deserts looking for bones. Driving the straight-backed midnight blue Chevy of my dreams. I might have been trekking across a huge sandy plain littered with Titanosaur eggs and shells. I might have been the first to see a fossilized fragment of a baby dinosaur’s skin. But I wouldn’t mind being the 500th or 500,000th.

I could have been dishy Diego Pol curled up next to a femur:

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I could have been unraveling the mystery of these incredible creatures.

I love that now we watch ostriches for possible clues. The way their (absurdly cute) babies can walk after an hour and band together for safety. I love that we look to elephants to learn how dinosaurs of such immense mass could ever possibly move across the earth — though the Titanosaur weighed over 70 metric tons. 15 elephants worth. This dinosaur had tendons connecting its femurs to its tail, a swathe of muscle and tissue so the massive swinging weight of its tail could help move those massive legs.

Guess. What. Komodo dragons have those too!

With such legs, such weight, Titanosaurs (and elephants, don’t you know) developed elastic bands of skin around their ankles that work much the same as airplane socks — even with hearts weighing more than four grown men they were vulnerable to blood clots and bad circulation.

But they weren’t as heavy as you might think. Their bones were not solid, they were full of holes, like those of birds to provide strength without weight. Giant sacs helped fill the lungs with air, lessened more weight. This incredible creature…watching this documentary is like staring at the stars, full of wonder and enormity that makes you feel small, fragile, part of a world that is more amazing than you could ever imagine it.

Here’s how these guys compare to other enormous thunderlizards.

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I’m quite charmed that someone is probably kicking themselves for having named the dreadnoughtus too early…

What could possibly have fed such creatures? Monkey puzzles! Or something very like. No competition for food way up there. And now I know where those amazing trees come from. Huge forests of them crowning hills, they are amazing. And endangered. I shall love them more now when I see them standing solitary and enigmatic across the English landscape.

Hear the warble of exotic birds as you walk through an enchanting Monkey Puzzle tree forest in Nahuelbuta National Park, Cordillera de Nahuelbuta, a coast range near Angol (north of Temuco), Chile, South America. Mysterious mists water a garden of yellow lichen draped over the trees. Branches form an umbrella of sharp leaves on a straight trunk which grows to over 100 feet high. Monkey Puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana) are conifers which are usually dioecious, where male and female cones grow on separate trees, though some individuals bear cones of both sexes. Its edible seeds (about 200 in each female cone) are similar to large pine nuts. Araucaria araucana, the national tree of Chile, is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina. As the hardiest species of its genus, this tree has become popular in gardens. Unfortunately, due to logging, burning, grazing, and habitat conversion to Pinus radiata plantations, Araucaria araucana is listed as an endangered species by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). In France, the Monkey Puzzle tree is known as désespoir des singes or "monkeys' despair." What international tourist literature calls the "Chilean Lake District" usually refers to the foothills between Temuco and Puerto Montt including three Regions (XIV Los Ríos, IX La Araucanía, and X Los Lagos) in what Chile calls the Zona Sur (Southern Zone). Published in: 1) The "Dinosaur Encyclopedia" 2007 by British publisher Dorling Kindersley; and 2) United States Fish and Wildlife Service, International Affairs web site concerning Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Hear the warble of exotic birds as you walk through an enchanting Monkey Puzzle tree forest in Nahuelbuta National Park, Cordillera de Nahuelbuta, a coast range near Angol (north of Temuco), Chile, South America. Mysterious mists water a garden of yellow lichen draped over the trees. Branches form an umbrella of sharp leaves on a straight trunk which grows to over 100 feet high. Monkey Puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana) are conifers which are usually dioecious, where male and female cones grow on separate trees, though some individuals bear cones of both sexes. Its edible seeds (about 200 in each female cone) are similar to large pine nuts. Araucaria araucana, the national tree of Chile, is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina. As the hardiest species of its genus, this tree has become popular in gardens. Unfortunately, due to logging, burning, grazing, and habitat conversion to Pinus radiata plantations, Araucaria araucana is listed as an endangered species by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). In France, the Monkey Puzzle tree is known as désespoir des singes or “monkeys’ despair.” What international tourist literature calls the “Chilean Lake District” usually refers to the foothills between Temuco and Puerto Montt including three Regions (XIV Los Ríos, IX La Araucanía, and X Los Lagos) in what Chile calls the Zona Sur (Southern Zone). Published in: 1) The “Dinosaur Encyclopedia” 2007 by British publisher Dorling Kindersley; and 2) United States Fish and Wildlife Service, International Affairs web site concerning Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

I love trees. But enough about them.

So what fed on this enormous Titanosaurus?

Tyrannotitan, that’s fucking what.

To build a model of the dinosaur they found an enormous abandoned wool warehouse…the industrial skeleton of one age to house the reptilian bones of another. 101.6 million years in between.

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It is incredible.

And incredibly cheesy that final CGI Titanosaur waving its head over a tiny spotlighted David Attenborough, but I damn well loved it.

 

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