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Date:11/25/2014 11:54:56 PM
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Hi Spirit Cloude
Wow, it's great to see you again! Yesterday we saw protoceratops, who is a tiny ceratopsian from China, and today we are looking at its North American counter part, Triceratops. This is the iconic ceratopsian that everyone knows, but later, I'll show you some others, too. These plant eaters defy the general rule about dinos. If it has a small head and big body it's a plant eater, but this guy has a gargantuan head! It's a question that many people ask when they see this big animal and the little protoceratops: How did they stay so small in China and get so big in North America? The answer has to do with geology and island biogeography as much as anything else. In the Cretaceous, North America was bisected by the Niobrara Seaway, effectively isolating the western part of the continent from the rest. Do you know about evolution on islands? Well, on islands, most mammal species shrink to fit in and be successful, like the pygmy mammoths on Catalina. Some mammals, like rodents, can get to be pretty big, due to lack of predation. Birds and reptiles get huge! Look to the Komodo dragons today for an example, or in the recent past, the elephant bird on Madagascar and the Moa in New Zealand. These were absolutely huge birds. We know that dinos had an avian skeleton, so guys like triceratops and T Rex got immense on their western island! By the way, I should remind you that I've been showing you real fossils all along, but this guy has only a real head. His body is a cast. Our museum traded a cast of his head to another museum that had a body but no head, so we got a body cast in exchange. Thanks for your continued support, here's a big hug and a vote for you. Gizmo
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