Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ancient Monsters: Triceratops and Mamenchisaurus

This blog begins a series of blogs about my most recent visit to the L.A. Natural History Museum. It had probably been a good 15 years since I was last there. What brought me back is the new dinosaur exhibit they opened during the summer.

Since we are getting close to the day when little monsters will be wandering around at night I thought now would be a good idea to share this. Even though these creatures are not the traditional ones you think about during Halloween, I am considering this part of this years Halloween Monsters and Strangeness series.

One thing that I remember about this new exhibit is that it opened on the weekend of July 16, and that was when the infamous Carmageddon situation regarding the closing of part of the 405 freeway. Everyone was told to stay home, and nothing really happened that weekend. However, I remember seeing people on the news say that whoever thought of opening this new exhibit probably did not think it through. As it was, it did not really matter as many people showed up there. I did not go because I did not want to get stuck on the freeway. ;) So, I went at a later time.

As soon as you enter the new exhibit you get to see a favorite dinosaur of many: Triceratops. Roughly around 68-65 million years ago this creature was running around. With this particular reconstruction you are seeing four different animal specimens combined into one. It is very rare to get a complete animal fossil set. So, what you see at this exhibit is usually either a few real fossils combined with a model, a lot of real fossils combined with model, or just a model itself just to illustrate what the dinosaur would have looked like. They have signs that indicate which parts of the dinosaur are the original real fossils and which are just part of a reconstructed model.
This right leg and foot were found on a dig in southeastern Montana. The skull was also found at the same dig and is part of the same animal. The other fossils you see that were used to make up this composite were found at three other spots in either southeastern Montana or northeastern Wyoming.Another look at the Triceratops (aka the three-horned face). This creature would have been living just east of the Rockies in a warm area that would have had lots of plants to eat.Now if you look at the above picture there is a tall and long necked dinosaur in the background. This is Mamenchisaurus. This one lived around 160-145 million years ago. It was a plant eater, and fossils of this animal are known to be found in China.This particular fossil specimen was the hardest to get into a picture or video of because it is just so long. Check out that neck:

Ancient Monsters: Triceratops and Mamenchisaurus (Youtube Version)

Ancient Monsters: Triceratops and Mamenchisaurus (Vimeo Version)

As I do this I will list a few links, but as you would guess there is so much out there on dinosaurs that I really do not think I have to do this. When I was preparing the videos for this one I just spent some time at a local library along with what they had at the museum.

Triceratops (Wiki Article)

Mamenchisaurus (Wiki Article)

The Los Angeles Natural History Museum (Official Site)

For this series I referred to a couple of sources at the library along with a few things online, but my basic reference was the book Dinofile by Richard Moody.

The title of the music used is the video is Invariance from