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Throughout history people have been locating dinosaur fossils and incorrectly classifying them. The Greeks and Romans thought they belonged to ogre’s, the Chinese thought they were dragon bones, and the English thought they were from giants. Despite all the wrong predictions, there were three British fossil hunters in the early 1800’s who began to dig deep into the exploration of the unknown world of dinosaurs. Keep in mind, at this point in time there was no such thing as a dinosaur and the word dinosaur had not yet been invented. In 1824, William Buckland was the first individual to scientifically name a dinosaur, calling it a Megalosaurus. Gideon A. Mantell discovered other early dinosaur fossils including the Iguanondon (duck-billed plant eater) and the Hylaeosaurus (armed plant-eater). A few years later a man named Benjamin Waterhouse Watkins made the first life-size dinosaur model out of concrete as an amusement at a house party for scientist.

“Dinosauria” was the first name given to dinosaurs and they were believed to be a suborder of large, extinct reptiles. Sir Richard Owens, a British pioneer, coined the term dinosauria in 1841, from the Greek word “deinos” meaning fearfully great and “sauors” meaning lizard. He also noticed some similar characteristics between the Megalosaurus, Iguanadon, and Hylaeosaurus such as their upright legs and their unique vertebrae structure. Owens introduced “dinosauria” as a new taxonomic group among other reptiles and since then over 330 species of dinosaurs have been discovered. Every few months paleontologist find new dinosaurs and help increase our knowledge about the creatures that roamed the earth during prehistoric times.

To get your dose of dinos, don't miss Fossil fest, taking place Saturday, March 20 from 11am - 4pm!

Dino3


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Dinosaur enthusiasts unite for the exciting return of the Orlando Science Centers Fifth Annual Fossil Fest this Saturday, March 19 - 11 am to 4 pm.

This Scienterrific Saturday event is a celebration of dinosaurs, paleontology and everything that's fantastic about fossils! Join the Florida Fossil Hunters as they share specimens unearthed on local expeditions.

See huge bones and teeth from the Mega Beasts that thrived here during the Ice Ages or learn about methods used to find and preserve these prehistoric wonders. Marvel along side the Central Florida Shell Club as they display shells and corals from when Florida was just a reef. The Dr. Phillips CineDome will submerge guests into prehistoric screenings of the giant screen spectacular - Sea Monsters.

Activities include dino-crafts like design your own triceratops hats, plus battle against extinction with emamosaur racing, take a leap into the Jurassic period with fossil making and create your very own unique dinosaur replication model! Hands-on geology and paleontology experiments will be taking place in Dr. Dares Lab.

Admission to the event is included with a general admission ticket.  As always admission is included with an Orlando Science Center membership.


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National Geographic reported that a new dinosaur species, Brontomerus mcintoshi, was discovered. This new dino is a type of sauropod, four-legged plant-eater, and is beginning to be known as the Thunder Thighs thanks to its immense hipbone blades. The blades on its hips suggest that very large muscles were attached there; these muscles could have been used for maneuvering over hilly land or giving its predators a swift kick.

In 2007 Mathew Wedel, professor of anatomy at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, and his team were examining bones from a fossil quarry in Utah when they discovered that the bones weren’t from any known species. Since the shape of the thighbones suggested that this dino had the largest leg muscles of any sauropod, it was named accordingly since Brontomerus means "thunder thighs" in Greek. Wedel and his team have studied the bones and done artist concepts of what this dinosaur might look like close up. Although he thinks it’s probably safer that we never came in contact with b.mcintoshi. Wedel explains that this dino had a little brain, was constantly paranoid about all the meat-eaters around, always on the lookout to protect it’s young, and was not afraid to use its enormous legs to do so. He adds that the, “ sauropods were probably beautiful animals if you were a long way away with binoculars.”

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The earliest horned dinosaur fossil-skull can now found at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman, Oklahoma, and has been coined Titanoceratop ouranos. The new species of dinosaurs is uniquely known for the size of its head, estimated at 8-feet long, and its overall weight, estimated at 6,550 kilograms.

The fossil skull was discovered in 1941 in New Mexico, and spent fifty-four years in museum storage before it was pieced together and ready to be displayed. Paleontologists are currently facing some difficulties placing the species into a family tree; arguing if it resembles the Pentaceratops or the Triceratops. Until recently, the beast was considered to be related to the Pentaceratops, but new inclinations regarding its physical face structure suggest relations to the Triceratops. This theory would place its evolution 5 million years earlier than originally considered and would propose that there are a lot of other horned dinosaurs yet to be discovered.

On the flip side, there are some paleontologists that still believe the Titanoceratops is part of the Pentaceratops family. They are claiming that although the fossils bones are oversized compared to the “not-so-titanic” species, it may be in its growth stage.  The debate still continues, but either way the Titanoceratop is a colossal dinosaur with an oddly enormous skull.

Pentaceratops


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Two new species of freshwater stingrays have been discovered in the Amazon rain forest! They are being called “Pancake stingrays” because they look like pancakes with tails. The last new Amazon stingray found was in 1987. Researchers have also found a new species of catfish that has a pattern that resembles a jaguar’s spots. This just shows that there are so many species on Earth we have yet to discover!

Don’t forget that we have daily stingray feedings here at the Orlando Science Center, so stop by and watch our local stingrays enjoy a meal and learn more about these interesting creatures!

 

Pancake_Stingray

Misty is an Animal Care Technician at the Science Center and is found in NatureWorks. Animals and Ecology are her passions and she jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!


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Jane Goodall was one of three women that the famed anthropologist Louis Leakey sponsored to study primates in the wild.  Raised by missionaries in a Kenyan village, Leaky was fascinated by the connections between man and animal. Leakey made several discoveries in the study of human evolution. He sent Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas into the wilds of Africa and Indonesia to learn about primates in their natural habitat and gain incite into what our own pre humans ancestors might have been like.

While Goodall studied chimpanzees, Fossey observed gorillas and Galdikas investigated  orangutans - all at a time when field work was seen as a job only for men.  Their discoveries changed the way the world saw not only women but also our closest animal relations.

Leakeys_Angels


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Solar storms may be a problem of the past due to prevention in the future. For the first time ever, scientist are able to see a 360-degree panorama view of the sun! NASA released these images in early February, recorded from the Solar Dynamic Observatory with those from NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft. Scientists are now embarking on an 8-year exploration, primarily to look at the rotating sun’s far side. The goal is to be able to better predict solar storms.

A solar storm is an electrified gas cloud that erupts from the surface of the sun into space, which can damage satellites and disrupt communication systems on earth. Scientists hope that being able to predict the future of solar storms will help them find a way to prevent them. For the first time ever, the video below allows us to watch solar activity in its full 3-D dimensional glory. The video shows us a 360-degree panorama view of the sun and then zooms in on a solar eruption.


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