In our twenty fourth episode of I Know Dino, we had the pleasure of talking with Amaury Michel, the winner of our I Know Dino podcast giveaway in March, who has additionally been on two dinosaur digs: one within the Morrison Formation in Wyoming and one within the Prince Creek Formation in Alaska.
He was type sufficient to share some footage from his experiences:
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On this episode, we talk about:
- The dinosaur of the day: Carcharodontosaurus saharicus (Carcharodon is the group together with the good white shark and megalodon) identify was chosen as a result of the enamel are sharp and serrated in an identical method to the good white sharks, one thing that meant they might slice by the flesh of prey like sharp knives
- Initially described as Megalosaurus saharicus as a result of as we talked about earlier than Megalosaurus was used as a “catch-all” taxon on the time.
- As a result of bones have been destroyed throughout a bombing raid throughout WWII it hasn’t been as widespread as T-Rex, however because the massive cranium was re-discovered in 1995, it’s rising in recognition once more (seen in a number of video video games and the BBC sequence Planet Dinosaur)
- Carcharodontosaurus fossils have been first printed by Charles Depéret and J. Savornin in North Africa in 1927. Initially referred to as Megalosaurus saharicus, its identify was modified in 1931 by Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach.
- The Carcharodontosaurus is a big theropod dinosaur. These massive dinosaurs usually walked on two legs (Theropoda is Greek for “beast toes”)
- Like Giganotosaurus it had 8-inch-long serrated enamel.
- It was about 13,000 kilos and was about 43 toes lengthy most likely barely bigger than T-rex. Additionally had a large tail, a cumbersome physique, and heavy bones. Its arms have been brief and had three-fingered arms with sharp claws.
- Closest widespread lineage to the T-rex is that they’re each within the Tetanuran clade which began about 100my earlier than Carcharodontosaurus.
- Carcharodontosaurus is commonly falsely dubbed the ‘African T-rex’, one thing which has misled many individuals into considering that they’re the identical.
- Carcharodontosaurushas laterally compressed (flattened) enamel that slice by flesh. Tyrannosaurus in distinction has spherical conical enamel for crushing bone. Embody different variations corresponding to measurement and form of the cranium and general physique proportions, and it’s clear that the 2 are utterly unrelated.
- Paleontologists as soon as thought that Carcharodontosaurus had the longest cranium of any of the theropod dinosaurs. Nevertheless, the premaxilla and quadrate bones have been lacking from the unique African cranium, which led to misinterpretion of its precise measurement by researchers. A extra modest size of 5 toes, 4 inches.
- The Carcharodontosaurus lived throughout the Late Cretaceous Interval (100-93mya).
- The Carcharodontosaurus most lived on what’s now modern-day northern Africa
- South America had probably simply damaged other than Africa throughout that point, and it’s most likely why Carcharodontosaurus and its family members from South America are so alike in look. It’s atmosphere was probably very heat and humid, with many rivers and lakes flowing by, contemplating Spinosaurus and Sarcosuchus (each aquatic/semi-aquatic predators) have been present in the identical location.
- Though it was probably top-predator within the space, Carhcarodontosaurus was most likely very territorial and had massive areas of territory, which might probably should battle for in opposition to rivals and different big predators within the space, like Spinosaurus and Sarcosuchus, and even family members like Sauroniops, Deltadromeus, and Bahariasaurus.
- The large enamel have been most likely a key to the searching technique of Carcharodontosaurus. Carcharodontosaurus would most likely create a large open wound which might most likely trigger the animal to enter shock and disoriente it permitting Carcharodontosaurus to simply end it off or simply anticipate it to bleed to loss of life.
- Most likely got here into battle with the most important carnivorous dinosaur of all time – Spinosaurus
- Carcharodontosaurus was a carnivore, with huge jaws and lengthy, serrated enamel as much as eight inches lengthy. It could have hunted in packs like its smaller cousin Allosaurus, however no fossil proof of this exists. It could have been a scavenger in addition to an lively predator. It had a big head with over 60 8-inch (19 cm.), blade-like enamel, which have been designed to pierce and tear aside the flesh of its prey, which largely consisted of the massive sauropod Paralititan and a hadrosaur referred to as Ouranosaurus. It’s arms have been considerably brief, however nonetheless longer than T. rex’s and nonetheless fairly sturdy. That they had three claws on every of its fingers, which may’ve been used to get a greater seize on a few of its smaller prey.
- Carcharodontosaurus had lengthy, muscular legs, and fossilized trackways point out that it may run about 20 miles per hour, though there may be some controversy as as to whether it truly did, due to its big physique mass.
- The smaller mind measurement of Carcharodontosaurus was most likely pre-determined by its archosaurian ancestry as many theropods of its ancestral line even have related mind sizes which means that whereas their our bodies grew larger, the brains stayed the identical bringing a halt to additional organic improvement. The coelurosaurian dinosaurs nevertheless, the lineage that would come with Tyrannosaurusand the transitional line to birds developed their brains away from the older archosaurian type permitting for the potential of larger reasoning.
- The inside ear anatomy of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus resembled trendy crocodilians. The portion of the mind involving odor is sort of massive in Carhcarodontosaurus, suggesting an excellent sense of odor, most likely even higher than right now’s canine and rivaling the Tyrannosaurus.
- Enjoyable reality:
For individuals who could desire studying, see under for the total transcript of our interview with Amaury Michel:
Sabrina: So, how have been you capable of go on these two digs?
Amaury: The primary one was truly a category journey. Should you have been taking the category, you have been happening today. It was with a professor of (? 0:10) course and I assume he simply wished to get everybody a background in Paleontology. The second, he simply requested me if I wished to go on one other dig. So I mentioned, positively, I’m able to go on some other dig, sure.
Sabrina: So for individuals not aware of the category or the professor, the place did you attend college?
Amaury: I attended my undergrad on the College of Chicago and I took the Paleontology course the third quarter of my fourth yr.
Sabrina: Now that you’ve got taken this course and you’ve got been on a few digs, has that influenced what you need to do, now that you’ve got graduated?
Amaury: Oh sure, like 100%. I want I had taken this course once I had began (volunteering and ? 00:51) as a result of it is rather like such a cool class. Even similar to in-class volunteering is so enjoyable since you get to…I don’t know, cleansing previous bones is simply actually thrilling, nevertheless it has positively modified what I need to do. I truly had a job working within the Chicago faculties earlier than I obtained requested to go on the second dig. It form of simply modified every part that I used to be doing.
Sabrina: Are you able to speak somewhat about every of the digs that you simply went on?
Amaury: So the primary dig was in Wyoming and we have been working within the Morrison formation, proper subsequent to our (? 01:21) and after the solar rose we’d have breakfast after which you might be simply working beneath the solar. The location was like…our professor had been there earlier than. She knew usually the place issues have been, so we have been working at a website that had beforehand been labored at. In Alaska it was so much totally different. We have been working with shale and it was so much wetter website. So we have been on the North slope, working off a river. The shale was nowhere close to as onerous because the sandstone. So we’d simply hammer away on the shale and we might take away large chunks at a time. Typically you possibly can cut up up the shale and [02:00] simply discover bones in it and so they have been completely preserved. They have been so much smaller bones at that website.
Sabrina: What sort of bones did you discover?
Amaury: So in Wyoming, I discovered a Camarasaurus rib and two Stegosaurus bones. We discovered a scapula and an ilium. In Alaska, it was simply numerous Hadrosaur bones, tons of juvenile bones. We discovered some centenary components, numerous femurs; hips and I discovered a number of Troodon enamel. It was fairly thrilling as a result of you will have all these Hadrosaurs after which you will have a number of, simply Troodan, like some carnivorous enamel within the combine. So I don’t know what the story was there, nevertheless it was actually thrilling to search out these.
Sabrina: So what do you do as soon as you discover the bones? How do you deal with them, get them out of the bottom or the rock?
Amaury: So you discover the bones and then you definately begin making what are referred to as ‘jackets.’ Folks use totally different strategies, however as you clear the bone out of the bottom, you’ll put consolident on it. Which is sort of a glue that may preserve the bones collectively. In order that when you find yourself hammering on the bottom subsequent to it, it’s a little stronger as a result of numerous these bones are fairly fragile. Upon getting sufficient consolident on the bone, you’ll both, some individuals use aluminum foil and a few individuals use bathroom paper and they’ll put that over the bone, earlier than you set burlap and plaster sheets over the bones. So you set tons of plaster and burlap over the aluminum, which is over the bone. So you retain surrounding the bone and also you mainly preserve reinforcing it. You may’t simply take away it immediately, as a result of it crushes; this stuff are tens of millions of years previous so that you simply preserve digging across the bones. In some fields you’ll get numerous bones overlapping one another, so it’s actually onerous, however if you’re fortunate, you’ll be able to simply dig down and across the jacket that you’ve got manufactured from burlap and plaster and also you simply preserve digging down and round it. [04:00] Ultimately, if you get a comfortably secure distance from the bone, you begin hammering beneath it or chiseling beneath it, regardless of the case could also be, it will depend on the form of bone that you’re digging out of the bottom and as you might be doing this course of, you retain jacketing the bone. So you retain reinforcing the bone after which when you find yourself snug, you’ll flip it. Typically, you’ll most likely need to do that with different individuals relying on how massive the bone is. When you will have a sufficiently massive jacket over the bone, you should have a sequence of ulls beneath the bone, nevertheless it relies upon as a result of some come out simpler than others. Then you definitely simply flip it in some secure path and you’ll expose an underside. It ought to primarily be simply sandstone or shale or no matter rock you might be working in, then you’ll jacket that in. Then within the lab, which is a extra managed atmosphere, they may clear out all that extra rock that’s across the bone, in an effort to get a clear pattern.
Sabrina: To your Camarasaurus bone that you simply present in Wyoming, how many individuals did it take to carry that up?
Amaury: So the Camarasaurus bone, two individuals labored on it, my pal Justin and I had been engaged on it. Then as soon as we had lastly jacketed it sufficient on it, which this one superbly got here out of the bottom, it wished to come back out of the bottom. It was simply three of us simply gently placing ulls beneath it after which we flipped it and it was simply painless, however that was three of us that flipped that one. Then there have been numerous different actually massive jackets, just like the Stegosaurus hipbones, that factor was over 1,000 lbs. In order that took simply like six individuals to flip.
Sabrina: Did you will have any coaching earlier than you went on the digs, for a way you cope with the bones or something like that?
Amaury: That first dig, like I mentioned, it was a category journey, so it was actually that coaching train and it was not like we simply obtained on the market and began hamming away. On day one, numerous issues have been being defined to us, nevertheless it was [06:00] simply realized by doing. The second journey, I had some expertise as a result of I had gone to Wyoming, however the shale was a lot totally different than the sandstone, however I needed to additionally be taught once more, how are we going to work with this sort of rock? You may’t simply use the identical strategies in every single place.
Sabrina: Positive, may you elaborate somewhat bit on the totally different strategies that you simply used for each websites?
Amaury: Sure, in Wyoming, you simply should be much more affected person with the sandstone. It’s so onerous; you simply hammer down into the sandstone. You should have a decide and your geological hammer. So customary, wherever that you’re digging, you’ll have your hammer, your decide, some brushes and you’ll have some ulls. So for the Stegosaurus bones for instance, these have been actually massive bones, as soon as we had the jacket round them, we have been simply hammering down into the bottom. So most of our time wasn’t even hammering across the bone, it was simply hammering down sufficient, in order that we have been capable of flip this huge jacket. Whereas in Alaska, the bone that was means totally different as a result of it was so dense, there have been so many fossils. On day one, this website that had been beforehand established by Anthony Theorell and his teammates earlier than, I assume he had a good suggestion that there have been going to be bones, however as soon as we confirmed up, on day one, I began discovering every kind of Hadrosaurus tailbones and vertebrae. The shale would come off in sheets. So you’ll hammer down in a transparent floor and then you definately would be capable of both pull a sheet out or so much would come out without delay. It was simpler to dig into that than into the sandstone and it was additionally so much wetter.
Sabrina: Was it so much simpler to identify a bone within the rock?
Amaury: I assume some websites are simpler to identify bones. So in Wyoming, we obtained numerous charcoal, which you’ll inform it’s charcoal as a result of you’ll be able to simply rub it together with your finger [8:00] and it’ll simply rub off, whereas a fossil is not going to rub off onto your finger. Once more, you must watch out when you find yourself touching this stuff. I assume it relies upon what you might be getting as a result of some actually small issues are actually onerous to establish. In Wyoming, the bones have been only a a lot totally different coloration than the sandstone. So in case you have been taking your time when you have been happening into the sandstone, you’ll be capable of see, okay it is a dinosaur bone, however in Alaska, we truly labored at two totally different websites and one was immediately within the shale and it was fairly apparent what was bone and what wasn’t bone as a result of the shale could be very black and the bones didn’t have that very same coloration. We additionally walked alongside subsequent to this river, on this huge bar of simply rocks. We simply spent sooner or later simply strolling alongside these rocks and in search of bones that simply washed up and that was so much tougher since you are mainly looking and throughout have been simply rocks, branches and every kind of issues and you might be in search of largely bone fragments. In order that was somewhat tougher, however I imply bones are porous, there are particular properties that bones have that you’re not going to search out in only a rock or a bit of wooden. So even that wasn’t too onerous to establish, I assume in case you had seen a fossil or a bone earlier than.
Sabrina: So what are a number of the bone properties that you simply search for?
Amaury: So the very first thing that you simply search for is the form. So you recognize what bones usually appear like. They’re additionally typically very porous, so if you’re wanting down at a hip bone and it’s lacking a part of it and you’re looking not on the lengthy half, however if you’re it horizontally, then you’ll be able to see very high quality pores. Different issues that you simply search for, I assume a few of our dredges are very clearly formed, like this isn’t a rock, I can inform that that is from one thing that was dwelling.
Sabrina: How lengthy do these digs final?
Amaury: The primary dig, I feel we have been out within the subject a couple of week. We pulled numerous jackets from the bottom. Most likely round 1,000 lbs. as a result of a few of them have been so huge. The second was longer; we have been within the subject for about two weeks.
Sabrina: What was day-to-day life like on the dig? Did you’re feeling such as you have been ready as a result of I do know that you must go to a distant location and possibly it’s actually sizzling or possibly it’s actually chilly, issues like that, that have to be considered?
Amaury: So I feel I positively over ready for each journeys, however the second journey once I went to Alaska, it positively took much more preparation as a result of it wasn’t like a category subject journey. There have been a pair paleontologists, a geologist, and a bone preparer and we have been going out to the location. So I wished to carry numerous my very own instruments, I needed to carry my very own every part mainly. I wasn’t actually ready for a solar that by no means set. That was a really fascinating a part of that journey, the solar was simply all the time within the sky, however the different journey that was in Wyoming was much more…listed here are all of the instruments and let’s simply work, let’s discover ways to extract bones from the bottom.
Sabrina: If you have been in Alaska, it should have been someday throughout the summer time, proper?
Amaury: Sure, I used to be in Alaska in August, so in the direction of the top of summer time.
Sabrina: For the reason that solar is all the time up, do you simply should schedule, like okay with these X variety of hours you might be simply going to should sleep and power your self to sleep?
Amaury: I don’t need to make it sound prefer it was immediately overhead, it could form of set, it was somewhat dimmer at night time, however you possibly can mainly get up naturally at any time. We weren’t preventing for daylight, then we’d work for eight hours or no matter quantity of labor we wanted to do in sooner or later. It was truly actually handy since you may work at no matter hours you wished to. Should you began working later within the day that’s high quality [12:00] as a result of the solar wasn’t actually going to set.
Sabrina: That’s simply what I used to be going to ask since you do want daylight to have the ability to do these digs; I do know typically that may be a constraint so sure that needed to have been fairly good to have that flexibility.
Amaury: Sure, it was good. In Wyoming it was much more like…you need to work when the solar is out since you need to see every part, but in addition although that was earlier in the summertime, with out the solar it simply will get actually chilly as a result of it’s this dry warmth so it doesn’t linger or something.
Sabrina: Would you think about happening extra digs now?
Amaury: Oh positively. Since then, I presently have a job someplace else, however I’m simply making an attempt to learn scientific papers, I’m making an attempt to learn scientific books and I attempt to discover a place the place I can volunteer if I’ve that chance, however positively I might go on a dig in a coronary heart beat.
Sabrina: For those that haven’t had this expertise but, however possibly they need to go on a dig, how would you go about discovering a spot to volunteer, do you will have any recommendation for that?
Amaury: Sure, if you’re lucky sufficient to dwell in a giant metropolis that has a museum that has fossils, attempt to volunteer. Clearly there may be by no means any assure that you’re going to go on a dig, however you aren’t going to go on a dig by not being round. So if you’re at a college and you may take any programs associated to paleontology or geology, simply an enormous array of issues, take these lessons, volunteer at fossil labs at your faculties. You can too, if you’re not lucky sufficient to dwell by a giant metropolis or have entry to fossils, you’ll be able to take a look at surveys of land and discover out what fossils may be round you after which you’ll be able to simply exit and see, oh that is this (? 13:37). Don’t take something if you’re not working with a gaggle, however it’s a good strategy to even get that have for your self. To say, okay that is the kind of rock I’m , possibly there are fossils right here.
Sabrina: Had been you interested by dinosaurs earlier than you took this class and even went on these digs?
Amaury: I used to be concerned with dinosaurs, so sure I used to be as a lot as any science particular person is , I assume [14:00] as a result of dinosaurs are superior and it’s a cool half within the story of life on Earth, however I wasn’t psyched about them. What I’ve come to comprehend with Paleontology is, lots of people have been loopy about Paleontology since they have been kids, and so they simply by no means stopped being loopy about dinosaurs. Which is superior as a result of you will have individuals which might be tremendous passionate concerning the topic by there entire lives. I form of obtained into it in school.
Sabrina: What’s your favourite dinosaur?
Amaury: My favourite dinosaur, oh man, there are such a lot of cool ones. I feel and possibly it will change quickly, however I feel my favourite dinosaur now could be a carcharodontosaurus. It was huge to begin with it was this loopy Theropod. It has actually cool enamel, but in addition it has such a cool identify…Carcharodontosaurus and then you definately simply apply that identify to this large and I simply assume it’s so cool.
Sabrina: Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with me right now.
Amaury: Sure, no drawback