These were among my very favorite toys as a kid–Miller Co. wax dinosaurs. I’m so glad I still have two of them left–a big Stegosaurus and a smaller one. These wax toys had a regrettable tendency to break. I’ll bet the Dimetrodon’s and Triceratops’ tails broke off while they were taking this picture.
Our snow is turning into slush today–but not to worry, we’ve got some more snow in our forecast–and if I were ten years old, today I’d be building skyscrapers with our plastic skyscraper kit and working out stories involving dinosaurs and skyscrapers. We also had a Cape Canaveral play set whose rockets came in very handy when you had to defend the skyscrapers. A rubber-tipped Atlas rocket would take out even a Tyrannosaur with a direct hit. But I usually rooted for the dinosaurs, so they had spring-powered missiles, too.
Ah, the imagination! Cavemen lined up on the roof of a skyscraper, armed with rocks and spears, fending off a giant Pterodactyl, commanded by a plastic figurine of Davy Crockett–even the movies couldn’t match it. With Sir Lancelot riding out in armor to do battle with creatures he supposed, not unreasonably, to be dragons.
These stories could go on all the way to suppertime.
I don’t know how seriously, anymore, to take reconstructions of dinosaurs.
This newly-described critter, Gigantoraptor, judging by the shape of its skull, belonged to a group of dinosaurs called Oviraptors. Those were small as dinosaurs go, less than the size of an adult human. But Gigantoraptor was… well, gigantic. It’s, like, hamsters are these little furry guys that fit in the palm of your hand–except for this one kind that’s as big as a Great Dane. How does that happen? Should we be looking for in-between Oviraptors?
Most of the reconstructions (I’ve only posted one) show the dinosaur richly covered with feathers. The feather thing has gotten completely out of hand. Some of these guys would reconstruct a parking meter with feathers, if they had the chance. It should be pointed out that most of these feathery dinosaurs are imaginary: traces of feathers have only been found with the fossils of a few kinds of small dinosaurs.
We don’t have anything like a complete skeleton of Gigantoraptor (this is true for many kinds of dinosaurs, even some of the most famous ones), but the skull pretty much nails it as an Oviraptor, so it seems reasonable to reconstruct it as an Oviraptor, albeit several magnitudes too large.
But look at Stegosaurus, a very famous dinosaur, discovered in the 19th century–and they’re still fiddling around with it today, trying out various possible arrangements of the plates on its back and the spikes in its tail. The jury’s still out. What’s settled science today will be laughed at tomorrow.
At least they aren’t suggesting anymore that maybe it could fly.
Oh, well! Dinosaur science is fun and I like to follow it as closely as I can. The next critter they come up with, I might find a place for in my books.
This clip has two of my favorite dinosaurs in it, Stegosaurus and Ceratosaurus. All you have to do is ignore the apparent suicidal stupidity of the Ceratosaurus in attacking two adult Stegosaurs. You might want to ignore the pipe-stem necks, too.
I’ve got a feeling you could find some of these in Obann, if you knew where to look.
Of all the Miller Co. wax dinosaurs I had in my childhood, only a couple of these Stegosaurs survive, a big one and a little one. For some reason, these were much less apt to be broken than the others.
And speaking of Stegosaur survival, there are persistent rumors that in the largely unexplored Likouala Swamps of the Republic of the Congo, a creature very like a Stegosaur still lives. The few people who live there call it mbielu-mbielu-mbielu, which means, I think, “What the hell was that?”
In western North America are found the best and biggest fossil Stegosaurs, Stegosaurus ungulatus and S. Stenops. Other species have been discovered in Europe, Tanzania, China, India, and, most recently, Australia (just footprints there, so far). So they must have been quite a successful group of animals.
There’s only so much we can learn from bones, though. Still puzzling are the exact arrangement of the armored plates along the Stegosaurus’ back and the seemingly inadequate size of its brain, indicative of a belief in socialism.
But we will learn much more when somebody finally captures a live mbielu-mbielu-mbielu.
And no, it’s not a fake fact I made up on the spot!
P.S.: Edgar Rice Burroughs, in his “Pellucidar” (prehistoric world inside the hollow earth) novels presented the Stegosaur as being able to glide through the air by lowering its back-plates, but he never found many takers for that theory.