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Episode 369: Dinosaurs in Victorian Pop Tradition


    Episode 369 is all about Saturnalia, a small Late Triassic sauropodomorph which will have hunted small prey.

    We additionally interview Richard Fallon, a Leverhulme Belief Early Profession Fellow on the College of Birmingham,  who research the interactions and overlaps between literature and  science. He’s additionally the writer of the guide, Reimagining Dinosaurs in Late Victorian and Edwardian Literature. Observe him on Twitter @dr_r_fallon.

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    On this episode, we focus on:


    • A T. rex skeleton which was not too long ago mounted in Higher Bavaria, Germany will probably be returning to the US supply
    • London’s Pure Historical past Museum dressed up their animatronic T. rex in a “Jurassic jumper” supply
    • Jurassic World: The Exhibition goes to Denver, Colorado on March 4, 2022 supply

    The dinosaur of the day: Saturnalia

    • Basal sauropodomorph that lived within the Late Triassic in what’s now Brazil (Santa Maria Formation of Rio Grande) and presumably Zimbabwe (Pebbly Arkose Formation)
    • Had a mixture of sauropodomorph and theropod traits (laborious to categorise)
    • Small, with an extended neck and lengthy tail, and brief arms
    • Gracile physique
    • Estimated to be 5 ft (1.5 m) lengthy
    • Sort species is Saturnalia tupiniquim
    • Named in 1999 by Max Langer and others
    • Genus identify means “carnival” in Latin and refers back to the fossils being discovered throughout the feasting interval
    • Species identify comes from Portuguese and Guarani and is “an endearing means of referring to native issues from Brazil”
    • Saturnalia was a well-liked Roman competition, devoted to the Roman god Saturn
    • Initially celebrated on December 17, then prolonged to final a full week
    • Celebrated with a sacrifice on the Temple of Saturn, banquet, present giving, and plenty of events/carnivals (additionally allowed to gamble)
    • Additionally named a mock king (Saturnalicius princeps)
    • Items included wax collectible figurines, cube, combs, toothpicks, axes, perfumes, parrots, clothes, books, and extra
    • Typically had verses to go along with the presents (like playing cards right now)
    • Most of the Saturnalia customs grew to become customs or influenced Christmas and New Yr
    • Saturnalia named based mostly on three partial skeletons, all present in the identical space in 1988
    • Holotype features a well-preserved, semi-articulated skeleton (vertebrae, pectoral girdle, proper humerus, partial proper ulna, pelvic girdle, left femur, a lot of the proper hind limb)
    • Paratypes embrace partial mandible with enamel and partial skeleton (vertebrae, pectoral girdle, proper humerus, proper aspect of the pelvic girdle, a lot of the proper hind limb)
    • Doable a partial femur present in Zimbabwe belongs to Saturnalia
    • Second dinosaur discovered within the Carnian “Alemoa-beds” of southern Brazil, one of many oldest strata with dinosaur fossils
    • Discovery helped present proof of widespread distribution of early sauropodomorphs within the Late Carnian
    • In 2003, Max Langer printed extra particulars concerning the anatomy
    • Discovered the primary metatarsal to be a lot shorter than second and third ones (60% the size of the second, 55% the size of the third)
    • Had scars and different traces of muscle attachments
    • Discovered it had limbs tailored to working, extra so than typical sauropodomorphs
    • May stroll on two or 4 legs, however in all probability bipedal when transferring quick
    • In all probability not an compulsory biped
    • In all probability walked on two legs extra usually than different prosauropods, to run away from predators or hunt for small prey
    • Gait was “in all probability someplace between that of a totally bipedal dinosaur like Coelophysis and that of kinds reminiscent of Plateosaurus, which have been primarily quadrupedal, changing into bipedal solely at excessive speeds”
    • In 2017, Mario Bronzati and others studied the endocast of Saturnalia
    • Appeared on the floccular fossae lobe (FFL), which is “a part of the techniques working to regulate eyes, neck, and head actions”
    • The obvious smaller quantity of FFL in sauropods has up to now been regarded as linked to sauropods being quadrupedal (thought is you want extra stability management when bipedal versus quadrupedal, and stability entails the FFL and inside ear)
    • However, FFL quantity has been discovered to fluctuate in different dinosaur endocast research, together with theropods, so FFL will not be associated to locomotion
    • Doable {that a} well-developed flocculus may very well be linked to predatory habits, as a result of it helps the dinosaur transfer its neck and cranium shortly
    • Additionally studied the enamel and located recurved enamel with small serrations
    • Primarily based on finding out Plateosaurus and Saturnalia, attainable FFL went down in bipedal sauropodomorphs earlier than they developed to be quadrupedal, and should have been linked to their herbivorous eating regimen
    • In 2019, Mario Bronzati and others studied the cranium stays of Saturnalia
    • CT scanned the cranium bones of one of many paratypes
    • Discovered that the small cranium could also be associated to “an elevated effectivity for predatory feeding habits, permitting quick actions of the pinnacle with the intention to safe small and elusive prey” (helps the endocast research)
    • Had a brief cranium
    • Cranium light-weight and was about 3.9 in (10 mm) lengthy, small in comparison with the remainder of the physique
    • To recap, small cranium helped with the lengthy neck, which helped later sauropods eat crops different animals couldn’t attain, and ultimately gave them a bonus and helped them develop so giant
    • Could have been in a position to transfer its head shortly, and go after small prey
    • Had heterodont enamel, the place some have been extra leaf-shaped and others increased and coarsely serrated
    • Could have been omnivorous, consuming lizards, mammals, bugs, and should have additionally eaten crops

    Enjoyable Truth: In 2017 a nest of about 20–30 fossilized dinosaur eggs was discovered on Christmas morning.


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