Figure

Variation in body size of the Morrison Formation theropod dinosaur fauna. From top to bottom (and left to right where applicable) Torvosaurus, Coelurus, Allosaurus, Stokesosaurus, Marshosaurus, and Ceratosaurus. Human added for scale. Back in the Late Jurassic, the Morrison Formation was also home to a diverse bunch of carnivores, some of which grew surprisingly large. At the small end of the theropod spectrum is bobcat-sized Koparion, followed by coyote-sized Tanycolagreus, cougar-sized...

The Goldilocks Hypothesis

Dinosaur physiology is ONE of the great paleontological mysteries. Were dinosaurs warm-blooded, like birds and mammals, or cold-blooded, like lizards, crocodiles and most other animals Among vertebrates, these divergent strategies are often associated with active or sluggish lifestyles, respectively. The recognition of birds as direct descendants of small, carnivorous dinosaurs makes this enigmatic question all the more intriguing. Did the warm-blooded metabolisms of birds arise after the split...

Stardust Saurians

Being both famous and extinct, dinosaurs tend to be portrayed as poster children for failure. Yet they are one of Nature's great success stories, having persisted for about 160 million years. (In contrast, primates have been around about 55 million years, our hominid cousins 7 million years, and humans a mere 200,000 years or so.) During that time, they evolved into a wondrous diversity of forms and occupied every continent, from pole to pole, becoming the dominant large-bodied land animals of...

Chapter Solar Eating

A tiny fraction of life on Earth exists entirely off the solar grid, obtaining energy from deep sea hydrothermal vents, which channel energy from within the planet. 2. Humans have become extremely adept at exploiting the solar energy stored in these fossil fuels. These ancient remains in actuality, the energy of the sun stored in solid form drive our economies and act as another pathway that returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. It is often stated incorrectly that fossil fuels are made from...