Impurest's Guide to Animals #170 - Carnotaurus sastrei

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Long-time readers of Impurest’s Guide to Animals (IGTA) may remember a special one off issue I wrote regarding the dromaeosaur Balaur bondoc. As it often does however, science marches on and Balaur was reclassified from dinosaur to flightless bird, meaning we are in need of a replacement ‘terrible lizard’. Happily I found such a creature, one that’s fast, mean and very interesting. Hope you guys enjoy.

_________________________________________________________________

Issue #170 - Carnotaurus sastrei

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Chordata

Class – Reptilia

Order – Saurischia

Family – Abelisauridae

Genus – Carnotaurus

Species – sastrei

Related Species - Carnotaurus is one of the Abelisaurs, a group of medium to large carnivorous dinosaurs predominantly from the Cretaceous Period.

Range - The remains of Carnotaurus have only been found in the La Colonia Formation in Argentina

Not a Flightless Bird!

Carnotaurus was a large therapod dinosaur (about 8m in length and just over 1250kg in weight) that lived in the Late Cretaceous Period between 72 and 68 million years ago (1). Like most large therapods, Carnotaurus had a large powerful head and short arms, in the case of this species and its relatives the forelimbs were virtually vestigial, being shorter than those found in Tyrannosaurus rex. While many dinosaurs, including some of the larger therapods, are now considered to have down or feathers covering their body, traces of the skin of Carnotaurus was fossilised, and seems to be covered in a mosaic of small scales and thorn like scutes running down the back and flanks (2). The most defining feature of this dinosaur however, where the two bull like horns on the animals forehead, something that leaded itself to the naming of this species, with Carnotaurus literally translating from Latin as ‘Meat Eating Bull’.

Carnotaurus is known from one almost intact (it was missing the tip of its tail and the foot bones) skeleton [2]
Carnotaurus is known from one almost intact (it was missing the tip of its tail and the foot bones) skeleton [2]

Like the vast majority of the large therapods Carnotaurus was a carnivore, using the long and slender teeth in its jaws to deliver quick bites to its prey. To aid it in capturing its victims, Carnotaurus’s jaw was hinged in a manner akin to snakes, allowing it change the orientation that its attacks struck from, allowing it to adjust its bite to pin prey or to force it back into its throat. Prey was likely ran down from an ambush position, with the leg structure of the species suggesting that the bones were designed to withstand high bending pressures and that the muscle on the femur was likely considerably larger than other therapods of equal or greater size (3), both signs of a powerful and fast runner, with a maximum speed of 35 miles an hour estimated. All these factors suggest that Carnotaurus was predominantly a hunter of small game, although it probably included larger animals in its diet when the opportunity presented itself.

Despite early hypothesis that Carnotaurus gored its prey with its horns, it is more likely that the dinosaur used them in sexual selection. Suggestions that Carnotaurus butted heads over territory or mating rights has some credibility since the skull of the animal is shortened and partially reinforced to withstand high speed impacts, although this could also be a trait to protect the cranial organs from the crashes that come from a high speed lifestyle. Far more likely is that the animals gently placed heads together before pushing against each other to determine each other’s strength in a relatively non-violent way (4). While no eggs of Carnotaurus have been discovered, studies of the bones of the closely related Majungasaurus crenatissimus suggested that all the Abelisaurs were slow growers, taking many years to reach sexual maturity (5).

Impurest Cheese: Urban Legend Quashers #3 - Dilophosaurus

[3]
[3]

Statement:Dilophosaurus, you mean that ‘little spitter’ from Jurassic Park. Man that thing is creepy, that noise and the frill thing really make it unique among the dinosaurs in that film.

Fact: Ah well the Dilophosaurus in both the novel and film of Jurassic Park added a lot of features that the actual dinosaur didn’t have. For example while the Dilophosaurus in the film is about four to seven foot (approx.) in length, the actual animal was probably just shy of seven meters in length and half a ton in weight.

Statement: Oh wow not so little then! How about the spitting venom thing, could it do that then?

Fact: I suspect not. Being venomous doesn’t fossilise unfortunately, but considering that Dilophosaurus was the largest carnivore of its day, I strongly suspect that it being venomous was an invention of Michael Crichton (and should have been explained in book as being down to the DNA code being filled in with the genetic structure of a Rinkhals Cobra (Hemachatus haemachatus)

[4]
[4]

Statement: Uhm the frill then? Surely that would fossilize…

Fact: Elements of it would, and since we have no proof of that I suspect Dilophosaurus made do without it. In fact I suspect that we can blame this feature on Steven Spielberg, since the feature was not in the book, and was likely based on the ‘frill’ of the Frilled Necked Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii)

Statement: Is anything correct? Did it even have those crests on its head?

Fact: Those are indeed accurate and were likely used in sexual competition between males for breeding rights. They may have also been combined with brightly coloured feathers since its probable that most (but not all) therapods had some kind of down covering their bodies.

Statement: Thanks I guess. You must hate Jurassic Park judging by how easily you ripped that cute ‘little spitter’ apart

Fact: Wrong again, I love it ;-)

Bibliography

1 -Bonaparte, José F. (1996). "Cretaceous tetrapods of Argentina". Münchener Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlung. A (30): 89

2 - Czerkas, Stephen A.; Czerkas, Sylvia J. (1997). "The Integument and Life Restoration of Carnotaurus". In Wolberg, D. I.; Stump, E.; Rosenberg, G. D. Dinofest International. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. pp. 155–158

3 - Persons, W. S.; Currie, P. J. (2011). Farke, Andrew Allen, ed."Dinosaur Speed Demon: The caudal musculature ofCarnotaurus sastreiand implications for the evolution of South American abelisaurids".PLoS ONE.6(10): e25763

4 - Mazzetta, Gerardo V.; Cisilino, Adrián P.; Blanco, R. Ernesto; Calvo, Néstor (2009). "Cranial mechanics and functional interpretation of the horned carnivorous dinosaur Carnotaurus sastrei". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 29 (3): 822–830.

5 - http://www.livescience.com/56897-slow-growing-theropod-dinosaur.html

Picture References

1 - http://images.dinosaurpictures.org/carnotaurus_096a.jpg

2 - http://www.praha.eu/public/b/3f/68/115037_4_chlupacovo_muzeum_kostra.jpg

3 -http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/wp-content/blogs.dir/471/files/2012/04/i-120f413e1673702bd56eb3b6a47f778e-Dyzio_Andy_6-9-2009_resized.jpg

4 - http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/jurassicpark/images/b/b0/Dilophosaurus.gif/revision/latest?cb=20150305184526

There we have it, I dare science to tell me this is just a flightless bird. Anyway I’d like to say normal service will be restored next week, but to lie to yew would be totally toxic. Until then though make sure to critic, comment and suggest future issues as well as making sure you check out past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

Want more IGTA? For last week’s issue on the Common Pill Bug, click here. Or for something completely different, click here to see a ‘modern sabre toothed cat’ in the form of the Clouded Leopard.

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amazing_webhead

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oh yeah, i remember those from that movie i saw as a kid. you know, the one about the Iguanodon that was adopted by lemurs?

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@amazing_webhead: Yes that film. Actually besides being too large, those Carnotaurus were biologically accurate. Thanks for the comment.

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Galactic_1000

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Wow looks like T Rex dinosaur.

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@galactic_1000: Well there are a few similarities between them but Carnotaurus is smaller and has bull horns

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#6  Edited By Emperor339

How many Carnotaurus' does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Steven Spielberg: Just one. Yeah, they can totally do that, I swear!

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@emperor339: None they can't pick up a box with their useless arms!

LOL thanks for the comment :-)

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WollfMyth209

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Oooh.... Awesome!

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amazing_webhead

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@amazing_webhead: Yes that film. Actually besides being too large, those Carnotaurus were biologically accurate. Thanks for the comment.

you're welcome :)

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That's pretty cool but you know what would be cooler? A T-Rex! >:(

But seriously, more dinos please! :D

Hehe every time I watch Jurassic Park with my wife, I helpfully inform her there's no evidence Dilophosaurus spat venom or had a frill and every time she appreciates that piece of trivia just a little bit less. :)

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@impurestcheese: I loved this issue even more than most. Dinosaurs hold a special place and the spread and Proliferation of the Abelisaurids/Allosaurids in the southern hemisphere during the late cretaceous, in contrast to more derived therepods was something that always interested me. I remember the very first essay I wrote in my Zoology degree I talked about the respiratory system of Majungasaurus, and its similarity to birds. I think I also talked about the how some of them where also adapted to fast running as evidence for an endothermic metabolism.

Also I heard that Dilophosaurus had relatively weak jaws? While I certainly doubt it had venom, it would have helped if preferred to hunt large game (Although it did have quite powerful forelimbs which could have helped).

Anyway, this was even more awesome than usual, and I hope these prehistoric annuals happen more :)

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Very cool little overview of the carnotaurus! Could have gone into some minor details like relatively weak jaw structure or marks on the skull fossils indicating keratin build up or even bulldog esque skin folds but overall well done. Also it's relatively long and powerful neck which would have either been really good at holding smaller prey in place OR at bringing it's axe like upper jaw down in a chopping motion on larger prey... but solid overview for sure.

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@black_wreath: More dinosaurs...okay maybe a few. Thanks for the comment

@laflux: Dilophosaurus was exceptionally light on its feet it turns out, the ware on the foot bones is much lower than other animals of the same size. It propably used its feet and hands to subdue prey over its jaws. Sounds like a cool essay, and yes the Allosaurid family always held a special place in my heart, especially Neovenator, my second favourite dinosaur after Baryonex. Unfortunately next weeks issue is an extant species, albeit one with needles and a bark far worse than its bite

@phillip33: Yeah dinosaurs aren't really my thing since I prefer extant species. Didn't know about the keratin build-up, and kind of forgot about the potential of its jaw for hatchet style attacks on larger prey. Thanks for the comment though.

@xlr87t3: Yes, not a fan, too talky for me TBH

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@black_wreath: Also we had a T.rex a few weeks ago, don't get greedy

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@impurestcheese: you did one on a dinosaur and I was here to witness it ! (even though I'm sure you've done it before but oh well).

Do you think the T-Rex would look more threatening if it was covered in feathers?

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@solid_snake97: Not covered with feathers but certainly a ruff of feathers around the neck or back certainly, especially if like birds it could puff them up to make itself look bigger

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Balaur was reclassified as a bird? That's news to me.

Anyway, informative as always. Thanks.

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@toratorn: No problem thanks for the comment. And yes it was news to me too.

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Once again, highly cool. Looking forward to more as always.

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deactivated-5b5405244e89c

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The first Dino ? :O

Very nice read

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IceDemonKing

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Wait this thing a bird? Or did I read wrong

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@bella_blackstar: @jaycool2: The original dinosaur issue I wrote was classified as a bird, so technically this is now the first (and only) issue on Dinosauria

Thank you both for the comment(s)

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_Logos_

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Meanwhile in the south...

the Earth is 10,000 years old.

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ImpurestCheese

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@princeleif: Well I had a good run, 170 issues before someone brought that little nugget of 'religious fact' up.

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black_wreath

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@black_wreath: Also we had a T.rex a few weeks ago, don't get greedy

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Bah! Looks like it just burst out of John Hurt's chest. >_>

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@black_wreath: I wish, eagerly counting down the days to the Alien Covenant premiere

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@princeleif: Well I had a good run, 170 issues before someone brought that little nugget of 'religious fact' up.

I think he was trying to be funny, while presenting a great point. The Bible doesn't date the age of the Earth, it's just that a multitude of other dating methods shows an Earth around that age.

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black_wreath

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@dshipp17: Yeah not buying it, haven't seen any of these 'dating methods' especially when we have sedimentation from far older beds on this planet. Personally I think everyone should believe what they want to about religion (as long as its not harming anyone else) and not force their points of views on other people these days. I honestly am fed up of people coming to my door and telling me that I'm going to hell despite the good things I do, and that I'm dooming my loved ones to the same torment despite their faith. As such I'm not going to drop to their level and bug people about evolution and my eccelectic wicca views.

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Well, during my undergrad, I had a hard time accepting that quite a few representations/descriptions of the dinosaurs both in the movies and in the novels were not exactly... accurate, lol. But just like you, I still love Jurassic Park. It made me really fond of Paleontology and evolution when I was just a kid.

And for some reason, I like ornithischians more. :P

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_Logos_

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@impurestcheese: My apologies you're right I should keep such useless discussions out of this actually interesting topic.

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@anna_karenina: Yeah I liked it so much that I almost took Paleontology as my undergrad, in the end I went ecology because I was jet-lagged when I chose my courses.

@princeleif: No harm done TBH. ?

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Dino-roars! :D

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#39  Edited By ImpurestCheese
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dshipp17

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@dshipp17: Yeah not buying it, haven't seen any of these 'dating methods' especially when we have sedimentation from far older beds on this planet. Personally I think everyone should believe what they want to about religion (as long as its not harming anyone else) and not force their points of views on other people these days. I honestly am fed up of people coming to my door and telling me that I'm going to hell despite the good things I do, and that I'm dooming my loved ones to the same torment despite their faith. As such I'm not going to drop to their level and bug people about evolution and my eccelectic wicca views.

I found this article which is related to sedimentation and how it is connected to the Flood. I agree that people should be restricted from allowing their religious belief to harm others. When evangelizing, it is not the usual practice of most Christians to threaten people with hell fire, but to spread the Gospel; I'm so sorry to hear of these experiences. But how do you have a strong belief and Wicca at the same time? Isn't that somewhat contradictory?

Transcontinental Sedimentation and the Flood

by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

Sand and other sediments can be transported by rivers and floods, but what kind of forces—and how much water—would it take to move thousands of cubic miles of sand from one side of a continent to the other?

Recently, a team of researchers explored transcontinental sedimentation in Siberia. As described in their study in the journal Geology, the scientists traced uranium signatures in zircon crystals from a remote area called Verkhoyansk back to their original southern sources east of Lake Baikal. These crystals and their surrounding sediments had traveled over 1,200 miles to the northeast to form an “immense wedge” of strata.1

Creation researchers are interested in transcontinental sedimentation because this kind of deposition would be expected from a worldwide flood. Geologist Andrew Snelling recently reported that the Coconino Sandstone, visible in the walls of the Grand Canyon, is part of a vast slab containing a colossal 10,000 cubic miles of cemented sand.2 Where did all this sand come from? The first clue is that “cross beds within the Coconino Sandstone (and the Glorieta Sandstone of New Mexico and Texas) dip toward the south, indicating that the sand came from the north.”3 The nearest northern source of similarly colored sand was likely from far away Utah, and must have been washed down by a widespread sheet of water.

In another instance, the Navajo Sandstone, exposed in portions of Utah, appears bright white because of the purity of its sand grains. Again, where could these sediments have come from? Researchers found that radioactive uranium within the sand has a signature that matches rocks from the Appalachian mountains, about 1,250 miles away.2 Another study verified the direction of water flow that formed many of these sedimentary layers. Scientists “accumulated data from over half a million paleocurrent vectors” across North America that “verified the “stable southwesterly pattern” that had been documented by other researchers.4 Although park rangers and posted signs tell area visitors that all this sand was blown in by wind, the evidence strongly indicates water deposition.5

So how, in all these examples, did these massive amounts of sand move from one side of a continent to another? The Siberian research team proposed that the “zircons originated from the southern margin of Siberia …and were transported to the Verkhoyansk margin by a major transcontinental river system that existed for ~200 million years, the paleo–Lena River.”1 However, there is no evidence of channels or deltas from such a river. Today’s rivers do not build anything like the massively thick sedimentary layers observed in Siberia and North America. Indeed, “how could water be flowing across the North American continent consistently for hundreds of millions of years? Absolutely impossible!”2

Only an event as cataclysmic as the worldwide Flood that is recorded in Genesis could have done this kind of continent-wide rearranging of sediments.6

References

Prokoviev, A.V. 2008. The paleo–Lena River—200 m.y. of transcontinental zircon transport in Siberia. Geology. 36 (9): 699-702.

Snelling, A. 2008. Sand Transported Cross Country. Answers. 3 (4): 96-99.

Austin. S. 1994. Grand Canyon, Monument to Catastrophe. Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 36.

Chadwick, A. V. 2000. Megatrends in North American Paleocurrents. Posted on origins.swau.edu

Hoesch, B. 2008. Marketing the Navajo Sandstone. Acts & Facts 37 (6): 14.

2 Peter 3:6.

Photo taken by Daniel Mayer in August 2004.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

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ImpurestCheese

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@dshipp17: It's more Wicca modified with science to be honest, hence the 'ecelectic' infront of it. My belief is that the goddess and horned god are representations the benevolent and destructive aspects of Earth and her events respectively, and that the planet as a whole is a reactive living system that is altered and effected by factors within each of these.

We have a religon thread however, so can you please stop posting religious articles here. While I'm not a follower of your faith, I'd much prefer to turn the other cheek and let others have their beliefs, mostly because I become a stressed out horrible person when discussing this kind of thing, and I'd rather not ruin whatever kind of reputation I have here on something I didn't want to do in the first place.

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dshipp17

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#44  Edited By dshipp17

@impurestcheese said:

@dshipp17: It's more Wicca modified with science to be honest, hence the 'ecelectic' infront of it. My belief is that the goddess and horned god are representations the benevolent and destructive aspects of Earth and her events respectively, and that the planet as a whole is a reactive living system that is altered and effected by factors within each of these.

We have a religon thread however, so can you please stop posting religious articles here. While I'm not a follower of your faith, I'd much prefer to turn the other cheek and let others have their beliefs, mostly because I become a stressed out horrible person when discussing this kind of thing, and I'd rather not ruin whatever kind of reputation I have here on something I didn't want to do in the first place.

The article and video was in response to comments that you made of a scientific nature that you thought rebutted my comment; that article is scientific (e.g. a reference to the scientific journal, Geology), not religious; it's not intended to be religious; the subject of this thread is based largely on speculation, not established science, so, that's how the conversation turned into this rebuttal.

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ImpurestCheese

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@dshipp17: Sorry I meant to say religious science. Now can you please stop trying to bait me into a debate I don't want to have. You have your beliefs and I have mine, there's enough room for both of them (and a whole lot more) to exist on this site in harmony.

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deactivated-097092725

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Quite a discussion on this segment, isn't there. Some of it unfortunate. Glad to see you power through and reinforce your intent for information sharing as motivation. Which you did here, again, wonderfully.

I especially enjoyed the back and forth at the end, haha, well done.

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@ms-lola: Cool thanks for the comment, basically I decided to stick to my original statement no matter how much prodding occured