Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Dinosaurs by Zack Neher (Part 4)

Part four of my Top Ten Favorite Dinosaurs list.  Enjoy!

2. Struthiosaurus
Just like Masiakasaurus, Struthiosaurus also lived during the Late Cretaceous Period.  Also like Masiakasaurus, Struthiosaurus was small.  But Struthiosaurus was small in a very different way than Masiakasaurus.  Remember when we talked about island/insular dwarfism in the context of the Channel Island fox?  Well, island dwarfism is back, in all of its glory!  A brief refresher, island dwarfism is what sometimes happens to animals that have become trapped on islands.  Over many generations, they shrink in order to match the limited food supply.  If there is a limited supply of food, then the smallest of your species, not the largest, are much more likely to survive.  Another factor that often helps island dwarfs is that predation is typically not as intense on islands as compared to mainlands, but that is not always the case.  Anyways, around 75 MYA, global sea levels were much higher.  In North America, we had the Western Interior Seaway dividing the continent, while Europe was simply reduced to a number of individual islands, one of which is now known as Hațeg Island.  And, if you are any good at guessing how stories end, you can probably see where this is going.  Yes, Struthiosaurus was an island-dwarf!  He is also really cool because he is an ankylosaur, a group of dinosaurs that are incredibly interesting!  Another thing that I absolutely have to mention here pertains to the picture of Struthiosaurus that we have below.  This picture was drawn by an incredibly talented young artist named Sam Lippincott.  Only in eighth grade, he is well on his way to achieving artistic greatness!  Below are some more pictures of his, all of them absolutely fantastic!  He made these pictures for my last lecture and I have the Struthiosaurus and Magyarosaurus pictures framed on my wall, I love them so much!  Let's all give Sam a round of applause! 
Struthiosaurus, an ankylosaur, by Sam Lippincott
Telmatosaurus, a hadrosaur, by Sam Lippincott
Magyarosaurus, a sauropod, by Sam Lippincott
Hatzegopteryx, a pterosaur, by Sam Lippincott
Europasaurus, another dwarf sauropod dinosaur, but from an island other than Hațeg Island


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