Skip to content

I Know Dino Podcast Present Notes: Falcarius (Episode 59)


    Episode 59 is all about Falcarius, one of many earliest theropods to change from consuming meat to consuming vegetation.

    Fast shout out to our Patreon supporters; with out you, we wouldn’t be right here. In case you get pleasure from our free weekly podcast then please contribute by way of our Patreon web page at:

    You may hearken to our free podcast, with all our episodes, on iTunes at:

    On this episode, we focus on:

    • The dinosaur of the day: Falcarius
    • Identify means “sickle cutter”
    • Falcarius is called for its sharp claws
    • A therizinosaurian dinosaur that lived within the early Cretaceous in Utah
    • Falcarius bones have been first present in 1999 by Lawrence Walker (a industrial fossil collector). He informed paleontologist James Kirkland, and in 2001 Kirkland and a workforce from the Utah Geological Survey helped uncover bones in Utah’s Cedar Mountain Formation
    • Lawrence Walker bought fossils on the black market, however he thought Falcarius was an necessary discover, so he got here ahead (and spent 5 months in jail and paid a $15,000 fantastic). Kirkland mentioned “He stands out as the first individual to ever go to jail for fossil theft on public land.”
    • Two bonebeds have been discovered, of hundred (perhaps hundreds) of Falcarius people (in 2006, estimated there have been at the very least 300 people, in 2005, greater than 2,000 specimens excavated, many disarticulated bones, additionally juveniles); in 2010 there have been over 2,700 people discovered, by the top of 2010 over 3,000
    • A second web site was present in 2008 (Suarez Quarry) with many adults, probably a barely totally different kind of Falcarius
    • Each graveyard websites might have been related to a spring (cause for therefore many people there), and will have died resulting from drought, poisonous gasses, or micro organism (all of them come togehter at these springs, at the very least periodically)
    • As a result of there are such a lot of people of various sizes and ages, it will likely be nice for analysis and discovering out how briskly they grew, after they matured, how a lot variation was between them
    • Falcarius was first described in 2004, although it wasn’t formally named till Might 2005. Co-authors, together with Scott Sampson and Lindsay Zanno (however not Jim Kirkland) mentioned that Falcarius “is the lacking hyperlink between predatory dinosaurs and the weird plant-eating therizinosaurs.”. Lindsay Zanno additionally mentioned Falcarius is “The final word in weird: a cross between an ostrich, a gorilla, and Edward Scissorhands.”
    • Kind species is Falcarius utahensis
    • Falcarius helps to point out the early evolution of Therizinosauria (its group) and their relationship to different theropods (Falcarius reveals a transition between older theropods and Therizinosauridae)
    • Falcarius reveals the change from a meat eater to a plant eater (some suppose it was an omnivore)
    • Not clear why these dinosaurs switched from consuming meat to consuming vegetation (particularly since they have been tailored to achieve success meat eaters)
    • Falcarius lived across the time of the primary flowering vegetation within the fossil report (could possibly be a cause to change)
    • Therizinosaurs advanced from raptorlike group of dinosaurs (Maniraptora)
    • Falcarius appears to be proof that therizinosaurs advanced from raptor-like dinosaurs, although in a roundabout way from Velociraptor, however from a standard ancestor not but identified
    • Within the Nineties Kirkland discovered the primary therizinosaur in North America, Nothronychus, which was youthful than the oldest therizinosaurs from Asia (so that they initially thought therizinosaurs began in Asia and migrated on the land bridge between Alaska and Siberia to get to North America)
    • Falcarius is 125 million years previous, as previous because the oldest identified Asian therizinosaur, Beipaiosaurus, and is extra primitive (additionally, some proof that the land bridge didn’t exist 125 million years in the past)
    • Falcarius is essentially the most primitive dinosaur within the therizinosaur group, and reveals they most likely used to reside everywhere in the northern hemisphere
    • So, therizinosaurs might have originated in North America after which gone to Europe and Asia (almost definitely migrated by way of Europe, some paleontologists suppose we might sometime discover a therizinosaur in England)
    • Falcarius was an in-between therizinosaurid: had an extended neck, small head, and tooth for consuming vegetation, but in addition had an extended tail, propubic pelvis, and lengthy leg and foot with one toe that didn’t contact the bottom (like different theropods)
    • One of many earliest theropods to eat vegetation
    • Scientists know this as a result of it had a big intestine (extra proof it digested robust plant matter)
    • Vast pelvis to accomodate the bigger intestine (used to get vitamins from vegetation)
    • Digesting vegetation is tougher than digesting meant (want larger digestive programs to course of vegetation)
    • Earlier than Falcarius, it was very uncommon to see the transition between meat eaters and plant eaters
    • Lengthy neck, so may doubtlessly eat leaves about 5 ft (1.5 m) off the bottom
    • Tooth good for shredding leaves (just like trendy iguanas)
    • Had at the very least 16 tooth within the maxilla of the higher jaw, and 28 tooth within the decrease jaw
    • Tooth have been leaf-shaped, and maxillary tooth have been finely serrated (confirmed it ate plant materials)
    • The entrance 5 tooth of its decrease jaw are longer, straighter, and extra pointed (might have been omnivorous–consuming small animals equivalent to lizards)
    • “Craniocervical Myology and Practical Morphology of the Small-Headed Therizinosaurian Theropods Falcarius utahensis and Nothronychus mckinleyi” by David Ok. Smith, printed Feb 2015
    • The research reconstructed craniocervical musculature in Falcarius and Nothronychus primarily based on Tyrannousaurs, Allosaurus, and a few extant birds as fashions
    • Figuring out this data makes it simpler to grasp their feeding habits
    • Had a diminished chew power, in comparison with carnivorous theropods
    • Might have eaten at a continuing stage or low grazing
    • Most likely used its arms lots for gathering meals
    • Bipedal herbivore/omnivore
    • About 12-13 ft (3.7-4m) lengthy and simply over 4 ft (1.2 m) tall
    • Gregory S. Paul estimated it weighed about 220 lb (100 kg)
    • Smallest juvenile discovered was about 1.6 ft (0.5 m) lengthy
    • Small head and lengthy neck and tail
    • And had pretty lengthy arms
    • Hand claws that have been giant, barely recurved (4-5 in or 10-13cm) lengthy claws, most likely used for protection
    • Not a lot identified about its head. Small, and elongated
    • Had comparatively giant braincase
    • Comparatively lengthy leg, so may simply run
    • Thigh bones have been longer than shin bones (may run quick, tailored for operating after prey, in comparison with later therizinosaurids with lengthy shin bones, and doubtless waddled round)
    • Had three-weight bearing toes in foot (first toe didn’t contact the bottom)
    • Based mostly on kin from China, paleontologists suppose Falcarius had downy feathers
    • Can see Falcarius on the Utah Museum of Pure Historical past
    • Falcarius is a part of Therizinosauridae
    • That they had huge hips, a fairly large braincase, and lengthy necks
    • Asian Therizinosauridae had quill-like feathers
    • Most therizinosaurs have been present in Asia
    • Just one different therizinosaur present in North America to this point: Nothronychus
    • For years therizinosaurs have been regarded as large sea turtles, or long-necked sauropods
    • Scientists have in contrast them to large sloths (large and gradual)
    • Enjoyable Truth: In keeping with a paper in 2006 in PNAS, Steve Wang and Peter Dodson acknowledged that 527 dinosaur genera had been described to this point and estimated that there have been about 1300 left to find. They present a predicted S curve within the article which reveals us within the steep improve thus we’re within the “golden age.” And in line with the “Dinosaur Genera Record,” there are presently 1007 effectively established dinosaur genera. Only for enjoyable: Evaluate that to the variety of (clearly fictional) Pokemon at 721