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Know Your Bones: February 2015

Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:57 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge was extremely hard. Once again, the bone fragments cause the most problems for the participants. However, Isotelus came  the closest with:


At least in the photo it doesn’t look to be very old relatively speaking, so I’m going to guess it’s an Ice Age-ish horn core and partial skull of an ancient bovid, possibly Bison of some sort. Size is hard to assess definitively, but I’m guessing it’s not a modern Bison or B. latifrons. B. priscus or antiquus?


Isotelus was correct in that this is an Ice Age critter; it was indeed a horn core and partial skull of a Bison. Still, she did not think it was a Bison latifrons when this partial skull is indeed from B. latifrons. Nevertheless, I believe that if I used a scale in that photo, she would have come up with the correct answer.


(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

B. latifrons lived throughout North America 500,000 to 20,000 years ago during the Pleistocene. B. latifrons is the largest species of Bison (and possibly bovid) known. An adult male was ~2.5 meters at the shoulder and weighed over 2,000 kilograms. From tip to tip (including the outer sheath that grew over the bone core), B. latifrons had horns that measured ~2.4 meters across.


B. latifrons inhabited mostly woodlands and open forests, which means it was most likely a browser, feeding off shrubs and trees, unlike modern Bison. B. latifrons most likely used its large horns defending itself from predators and fighting for territory and mates. B. latifrons is not only possibly the largest bovid, but also one of the largest artiodactyls to have ever lived (on land).


Moving on to thiqs month’s challenge:


 photo 2014-01-03095825_zpsccbfb783.jpg
(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

This one should be an easy one, so easy in fact that I would like to know the name of the critter and why it is so important.

Know Your Bones: January 2015

Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:43 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge appeared to give everyone a hard time since it went a whole two days before someone took a guess. However, after a few days of silence, Isotelus once again correctly named this critter.


Rhamphorhynchus muensteri


This critter is indeed Rhamphorhynchus muensteri.


(Taken at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

R. muensteri lived during the late Jurassic 156 to 145.5 million years ago. Its fossils are found in Germany, with several possible specimens of Rhamphorhynchus found in England, Spain, and Tanzania. R. muensteri reached a size of ~1.26 meters from snout to tail with a wingspan of ~1.81 meters. However, the smallest known specimen is a (hatchling) ~290 millimeters in length, but would have still been capable of flight. R. muensteri was a long-tailed genus of pterosaur, and was less specialized than the contemporary short-tailed pterosaurs.


R. muensteri had needle-like teeth that were forward facing, the tip of its beak was sharp and curved up, and lacking teeth. When the jaws were closed, the teeth fit together like a closed zipper. This suggests that R. muensteri had a diet mostly made up of fish and other marine animals. Adult R. muensteri had a diamond-shaped vane at the end of their tail, which possibly was used to signal for mates; the diamond-shaped vane does not appear on smaller specimens assumed to be juveniles, and their beaks are not as sharp and curved.


Moving on to next week’s challenge:


(Taken at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)


Good luck to everyone who is playing and I promise that this one will be the last difficult one for a while.

Know Your Bones: December 2014

Sun Dec 07, 2014 6:00 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge was not very challenging seeing as how Isotelus was able to give the correct answer within hours of when the blog was posted. She said it gave her some trouble, but I actually highly doubt that.


Partial skull of Parasaurolophus. I would say P. tubicen because the crest is a bit different from P.walkeri, and it’s definitely not P. cyrtocristatus. Also it’s from New Mexico so it makes sense to be in the NM museum. SCIENCE.


This skull did indeed belong to Parasaurolophus tubicen, which stands for trumpeter-crested lizard.


(Taken at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)


Parasaurolophus are extremely rare animals in the fossil record. There are three species known to science found in Alberta (Canada), New Mexico (USA), and Utah (USA). In each area, only a few specimens have been found and all specimens are incomplete. P. tubicen is only known from New Mexico with three specimens discovered. Parasaurolophus lived during the Late Cretaceous 76 to 73 million years ago. P. tubicen reached a size of ~2 meters in length and weighed ~ 2.5 tons. P. tubicen was an herbivore and most likely walked on four legs, but was able to run, walk, and brows on its hind limbs.


Even though it is rare, it is still one of the most famous dinosaurs, and that is most likely due to the eye-catching aspect of P. tubicen. The crest that grows from the rear of its skull is fairly unique. The crest is hollow and allowed air to be pushed through it. This would have allowed P. tubicen to make very loud trumpeting noises. The crests were also most likely colorful and could have acted as visual displays. P. tubicen would have filled the Late Cretaceous with beautiful music while communicating with one another over large areas. P. tubicen belongs to the hadrosaurid clade, which is one of the most famous ornithischian clades as well.


Moving on to this month’s challenge:


(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)


Good luck to everyone that plays.


Know Your Bones: November 2014

Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:49 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge was more of a challenge than I actually thought it would be, but that was not because of the crazy looking critter. That was because of my poor photo quality. I just want to say that I am sorry about that. I guess, since I know what it was, I thought the photo was okay, but it obviously was not. I will do better in the future.


With all that said, who was able to identify the weird looking critter in the bad photo? It was Mugnuts and he was the only person to guess the correct answer.


Eobasileus cornutus!!! This is what He-Man should have rode.


This crazy looking critter is Eobasileus cornutus, and I agree that it would have been a much better companion for He-Man than Battle Cat.


(Wikimedia Commons Image)


E. cornutus is very rare in the fossil record and is only known from Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. It lived during the Eocene 46.2 to 40.4 million years ago. During that time, E. cornutus would have been one of the largest animals on earth. It was ~4 meters from snout to tail, ~2 meters at the shoulder, and weighed in at ~4000 kg. Like all large animals, E. cornutus was an herbivore. It is not known if E. cornutus lived a terrestrial life like a rhinoceros or a semi-aquatic life like a hippopotamus.


E. cornutus belonged to the Uintatheriidae clade. This is a family of large herbivorous mammals with unique skulls. E. cornutus had saber tusks that extended from their top jaw. Their bottom jaw had a bony protrusion that protected the tusk when the mouth was closed. E. cornutus also had three pairs of blunt horns. The first pair was behind the eyes, the second was between the eyes and nostrils, and the third was atop the nostrils. This assortment of horns and tusks is shared among most of the Uintatheriidae. Judging from related animals in the Uintatheriidae clade, the horns and tusks were most likely sexually dimorphic, wherein males would have used them to joust for females. However, there are not enough fossil remains to determine any use of the horns and tusks at this time.


Moving on to this month’s challenge:


(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)


Once again, sorry about the quality of last months photo and I hope this month’s is better. Good luck.

Know Your Bones: October 2014

Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:49 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge took some backbone in order to make a guess. The correct answer was given a few times within the first day of the blog going up. However, Isotelus was the first person to answer correctly.


Genus Eurypterus. I’m obviously not a Eurypterid worker, so the only species I know are remipes and lacustris, and I don’t know the differences between the two. Um. E. remipes, because remipes is everywhere lol. Science! :lol:


This critter is Eurypterus remipes, the first invertebrate to appear on Know Your Bones.



(Wikimedia Commons Image)


E. remipes lived during the late Silurian 432 to 418 million years ago and are found in North America, parts of Asia and Europe, which made up one continent. They had an average length of 13 to 23 cm. E. remipes were a shallow marine animal that lived near the coast and unable to travel the open ocean. E. remipes had one pair of swimming appendages that they would have used to travel longer distances, but would have spent most of their time walking across the sea floor. They most likely were generalists, feeding on whatever they could find.


E. remipes is one of the most abundant fossils in the world. They are mostly found as disarticulated exoskeleton remains. Whole specimens are extremely rare. E. remipes appears to have been able to walk on land based on a few anatomical structures. However, if that is the case, it probably only spent a limited amount of time out of water, much like modern horseshoe crabs.


Moving on to this month’s challenge:



(Taken at the Denver Museum of Natural History and Science)


Good luck.

Know Your Bones: September 2014

Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:55 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Once again, last month’s challenge brought in a few good guesses and several participants guessed the correct answer. However, Dragan Glas was the first to give the correct answer.


 It’s likely to be one of the following three:

a) M. Comlumbi – most common in NM;
b) M, Meridionalis;
c) M. Imperator.

Since I don’t know how to tell the difference between them, I’ll go with the numbers – M. Columbi.


This is indeed Mammuthus columbi (Columbian mammoth). I also want to say that I loved seeing the deductive reasoning that brought Dragan Glas to this answer.



(Taken at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)


The Columbian mammoth roamed across the southern half of North America during the Pleistocene (2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago), also known as the Ice Age. The northern and southern boundary of their range would have changed with the movement of the ice sheets, but their fossils have been found in southern Canada thru Nicaragua. The Columbian mammoth inhabited the grasslands of North America and was an herbivore.


The Columbian mammoth was larger then its more famous cousin to the north, the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius). The Columbian mammoth could reach a height of 4 meters and weighed in at 9 tons. The males had tusks that could reach a length of over 4 meters. This makes the Columbian mammoth the largest animal to have inhabited North America since the Mesozoic and one of the largest land mammals to ever walk the earth. It is believed that the Columbian mammoth would have little body hair, much like modern elephants, because it inhabited warmer areas of North America during the Pleistocene and had such a large body size.


Moving on to this month’s challenge.



(Taken at The Dinosaur Museum and Natural Science Laboratory)


Good luck to all those that read this.

Know Your Bones: August 2014

Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:57 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge brought in a few good guesses, but only one correct answer. Once again, Isotelus guessed correctly, and within hours of the posting of the challenge.


 While it looks like a Wiener dog T-rex, I’m going to guess: 


This prehistoric wiener-dog is indeed Postosuchus.


(Taken at the Dinosaur Museum and National Science Laboratory)


During the late Triassic (288 to 202 million years ago), Postosuchus roamed across most of what is now North America. During this time, it was one of the largest predators on earth. It could have hunted and killed any of the dinosaurs that were alive at the same time. Postosuchus could reach a length of ~4 meters, stood ~2 meters tall, and could have weighed 250 to 300 kilograms. Postosuchus possessed a skull that was 55 cm long and 21 cm across.


Postosuchus had protective plates that covered their back, neck, and tail. These plates are something they share with their closest living relative the crocodilians. However, Postosuchus was a terrestrial predator and walked with its legs directly under the body. This armor probably protected them from other Postosuchus. During the late Triassic, there were not many other critters in the world that could challenge a full-grown and healthy Postosuchus, except another Postosuchus.


Moving on to this month’s challenge:



(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)


Good luck and thanks to everyone that reads and guesses.

Know Your Bones: July 2014

Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:04 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge is a true titan. It held the record for being the largest dinosaur for several decades. So, who was able to name this giant? Isotelus once again named this critter.


 Brachiosaurus. I would guess the species name starts with an ‘a’ :P


This is indeed Brachiosaurus altithorax.



(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)


Brachiosaurus roamed 145 to 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic (and possibly the early Cretaceous) across the Western U.S. Brachiosaurus shared its range with several other sauropods and an earlier Know Your Bones critter. Brachiosaurus was ~25 meters in length, ~13 meters tall, and it had an estimated weight of ~28 tons, making it a true giant by any standard. Unlike most other dinosaurs, Brachiosaurus had longer forelegs than their hind legs. This curious trait is where it gets its genus name from (Brachiosaurus literally means, “arm lizard”).


Brachiosaurus was an herbivore, most likely feeding off the tops of fern trees that the other sauropods could not reach. Its large body would have been more than enough protection from predators that lived at the same time. It probably took a Brachiosaurus ten years to reach full size and could eat up to (if not more) ~182 kg of plant matter a day as an adult.


Moving on to this month’s challenge:



(Taken at the Dinosaur Museum and National Science Lab)


Good luck to all.