Monday, May 20, 2013

Dino parenting, reading the past, and a great explorer

We don't know everything about how dinosaurs protected or raised their young, but we're learning more. It wasn't that long ago we presumed the eggs were just left to survive or not, and we didn't know about herd behavior or nesting grounds.  (Remember, we didn't even have dinosaur eggs until Roy Chapman Andrews, one of the inspirations for Indiana Jones, found them in the Gobi Desert in 1923.)

This interesting tidbit indicates that, while it's not conclusive, it looks like dads, too, watched the nest. This belief is based partly on comparing dinosaur information to our knowledge of their descendants, the modern birds.
Thanks to Julia Vollmers for this article.

To continue for a bit about Andrews, he wrote four books that I devoured repeatedly as a kid - they began a lifelong fascination for me.

All About Dinosaurs (1953)

All About Whales (1954)

All About Strange Beasts of the Past (1956)

In the Days of the Dinosaurs (1959)

 - I wrote to Andrews as a kid: I didn't know he'd died in 1960.
 - Mongolia was as wild as a land could be to a Western explorer when when Andrews was there. There were clashes with bandits (the paleontologists always went armed), Chinese officials, near-starvation, and getting very lost.
 - Andrews tried testing the Jonah story by sliding his body partly down the throat of a dead 60-foot sperm whale.  He could do it, but it was very tight - he wrote that a human would be dead long before he reached the stomach.
- Andrews once saw a whale with two dorsal fins and shouted to the whaling boat captain, "Catch it! If you catch it I'll name it after you!" Alas, it was a mother and calf pressed tightly together
 - Andrews' (unique) opinion was that the Surgeon's photograph from Loch Ness showed the high dorsal fin of a killer whale. 

Visit the Roy Chapman Andrews Society

No comments: