Author Archive

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.

Know Your Bones: June 2014

Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:49 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge will have a huge contrast to this month’s challenge. Before we get to that, we must name the winner. Isotelus came the closest with:


Those dainty little toes remind me of

Hyracotherium (vasacciensis…I think)


Hyracotherium vasacciensis is now considered a junior synonym for Eohippus angustidens.


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


When I posted this challenge, I actually did not know that the classification of H. vasacciensis had changed; I found that out doing the research for this post. It turns out that H. leporinum has more basal features shared with several perissodactyls (odd-toed ungulates) outside of the horse clade. Eohippus has features that are only present in Equidae, which is the reason behind the change.


Eohippus lived during the Eocene (56 to 33.9 million years ago) and ranged across North America. Eohippus was most likely a forest dwelling animal that fed on soft vegetation as a browser. Eohippus was ~20 cm tall and ~60 cm in length. This tiny critter had five toes on its forelegs and three on the hind legs, and would probably make an adorable pet.


Moving on to this weeks challenge:


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


In honor of the giant critter found in South America, I thought I would share another giant that once roamed the earth.


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


This second viewpoint is to help one get an idea of how large this critter once was.


Good luck.

Know Your Bones: May 2014

Sun May 04, 2014 6:14 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month’s challenge was extremely easy, so easy in fact that just an hour after being posted Inferno gave a correct answer. However, and this seems to be a theme for this series, WarK posted an even more correct answer a few hours later.


 Stegosaurus stenops

I’m guessing with the latter part of the name. From what pictures I could find online that one looked the closest to the picture posted by the Bone Torturer


This is indeed Stegosaurus stenops, a very famous dinosaur.



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


Stegosaurus ranged across most of western North America during the late Jurassic 150 to 145 million years ago, and one specimen was discovered in Portugal. Stegosaurus is found in the Morrison Formation in North America. Stegosaurus stenops could reach a size of ~7 meters in length, although some species of Stegosaurus could reach lengths of ~9 meters. This sounds impressive, but one has to remember that Stegosaurus would have been dwarfed by the sauropods found at the same time and place.



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


There are two main branches of dinosaur, ornithischians (“bird” hip) and saurischians (“lizard” hip). Stegosaurus belongs to the ornithischian clade. This means that Stegosaurus possesses a pelvis that superficially resembles a modern bird pelvis. Stegosaurus also belongs to the Thyreophora (armored dinosaur) clade. This clade includes all the dinosaurs that had armored backs and tales. The plates found on the back of Stegosaurus and the spikes on its tale make Stegosaurus one of the easiest dinosaurs to identify. The spikes on its tale were most likely exclusively used as defensive weapons against the predators of its time. However, the plates on the back of Stegosaurus may have been used for thermal regulation as well as defense. The plates show blood vessels ran across their surface. This could have also been used for colorful displays when blood was pumped into them.


Moving on to this month’s challenge:


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


Good luck.

Know Your Bones: April 2014

Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:00 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month was a really challenging, some might even say diabolical, fossil. After a whole month, no one was able to guess the correct answer. I guess that makes me the winner for stumping everyone. Now I know that showing fossil/bone fragments is the way to go if I want to win at this game.


What was the critter that owned the jaw from last month’s challenge? The jawbone belonged to Deinosuchus, which stands for terrible crocodile.


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


Deinosuchus lived 80-73 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous, in North America. Fossils of this critter have been found in Canada, Mexico, and several states in the U.S. During this time, North America was cut in half by the Western Interior Seaway. Deinosuchus lived on the coastline of this seaway feeding on large fish and marine reptiles in the sea and large animals (dinosaurs) from the land.


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


The image above shows a lower jaw from a modern American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) compared with the partial jaw of Deinosuchus. Deinosuchus could reach a length of 12 meters and a weight of 8.5 metric tons. This makes Deinosuchus one of the largest crocodilians to ever live. Although it’s name means terrible crocodile, Deinosuchus was actually an alligator, making it the largest alligator to have ever lived.


Time for next months challenge.



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


Because last month’s was so difficult, I decided to be nice and choose an easy one. I would wish everyone luck, but it is not needed this time.

Answers for Eight questions for Evolutionists

Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:48 pm by he_who_is_nobody

(Ian Juby, seen here playing a scientist)

Last month Ian Juby asked eight questions for us silly evolutionists to answer. Here are my answers in the order they were asked.


 1) Let’s start at the beginning: How did the first life arise? If you have no life, then you have no evolution. Following the laws of science and nature, how did that first life arise?


We do not know, yet. However, saying that we do not know does not open up the question for Juby to insert a god(s). Modern science’s inability to answer this question completely is not a victory for magic (a.k.a. creationism).  However, I would encourage Juby to look into the field of abiogenesis. Lots of progress has been made in that field in the past decade.


 2) How do you explain the origin of Grand Canyon without a world wide flood?


Seeing as how a worldwide flood does not and cannot account for the Grand Canyon, I will give a truncated explanation for it. The layers one observes in the Grand Canyon were laid down at different times. Near the bottom of the canyon, one can easily see an angular unconformity, where the land was laid down horizontally, than uplift happened to one side raising that side higher than the rest. Erosion than happened, which flattened down the raised layers to an even plain, after that, more layers of sediment were laid down on top of the angular unconformity. Some of these layers are made up of limestone, which cannot form rapidly in an aquatic environment; others are made up of sandstone that had to have come from a vast desert. Both of those observations alone expose that the earth is not young and there was not a worldwide flood in recent history.

After all the layers were formed, the Colorado River started to make its way across the area were the Grand Canyon is now found. It was once a slow meandering river, which one is able to see when looking down on the Grand Canyon (it meanders around the Colorado Plateau). Slowly the Colorado Plateau uplifted making the Colorado River cut down into it more and more. This is how the Grand Canyon was formed.

Again, this is a truncated response, one could write a whole book about the history of the Grand Canyon.


 3) How do you explain the copious numbers of dating methods which point to a young earth, and a young universe?


One wonders what Juby means by copious, because as far as modern science is concerned there are no dating methods that point to a young earth or young universe. Perhaps Juby could point some out.


 4) What scientifically factual information can you supply to support your contention that the universe is billions of years old? Don’t give me your assumptions and theories, and don’t give me the speed of light problem because it’s also a problem for you, and I already answered it with my response. I want scientifically factual information.


Seeing as how Juby will not accept the speed of light (i.e. the only reason we can see stars billions of light years away is that their light had to travel billions of light years to get here) I guess we will have to settle for our observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation, globular clusters, white dwarf stars and radiometric dating. All of those establish the universe to be billions of years old.


 5) How do you explain the origin of information, such as the information contained in the DNA, without violating the laws of thermodynamics?


Well, it would be nice if Juby defined information for us. Using the correct definition of information when talking about DNA (Shannon information), information can arise in a system without violating the laws of thermodynamics. No doubt Juby will take issue with this, but that is because Juby tries to equivocate the different definitions of information in his arguments.


 6) How do you explain the PRESERVATION of the information in our DNA over MILLIONS and MILLIONS of years, seeing as how thermodynamics is observably and quickly removing bits and pieces of that information in every single generation? 


Since Juby again does not define information, one can only assume he is talking about Shannon information. It is untrue to say that thermodynamics is removing bits and pieces every generation. Thus, this question is invalided because it is based off a flawed premise.


 7) How did sex arise? Seeing as how there are miriads of sexual reproduction systems in organisms, pretty much NONE of which are compatible with one another in reproduction. See CrEvo Rant # 13 Ian’s Sex Video for the quick low down on the problems you face in explaining this dilema. I’m not interested in sexual fantasies of how one system evolved into the other, I’m interested in factual, scientific evidence – observed changes, like any good scientist would expect of a theory.


Once again, we do not know the exact answer, yet. However much like the first answer I gave, science not knowing an answer does not make room for Juby’s god(s).


 8) Do you think your brain was intelligently designed? And if not, then how can you trust your thoughts if they are the result of unintelligent, undirected forces? Random chemistry?


This question is a vague attempt to insult proponents of evolution, and never fails to make me laugh when I see it. Of course our brains are not intelligently designed; they are a product of natural and sexual selection. However, just because they were not intelligently designed does not mean our thoughts are based on unintelligent, undirected forces. The reason we can trust our thoughts is based on knowledge that we obtain through experience or learning. Because we live in a natural world, were the laws of physics do not change on a whim, we can base our prior experiences and knowledge on the facts of reality in order to gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Hat tip to Bill Needle for transcribing the questions used above.