Total Pageviews

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

E-femur-al Find: Largest Dinosaur Bone Discovered in Argentina

    The discovery of the largest dinosaur bone in Argentina is the source of an e-femur-al delight today. It is nearly 8 feet long! The dinosaur, as yet unnamed, belongs to the class of dinosaurs called titanosaurs, due to their large size:

      The bones were discovered 160 km from Trelew, Patagonia, Argentina:

     Here are a couple of links to the announcement from earlier this week:

Titanosaur Femur Found--7.9 feet long

Patagonian Dinosaur Bones Found

     These vegetarian dinosaurs weighed as much as 14 full grown elephants. That's a lot of plants consumed. They lived during the Cretaceous Period, about 95 m. y. ago, represented below:

     What would you name the new species of dinosaur? Here's a link to the names of other Patagonian dinosaurs for inspiration:

             Patagonian Dinosaurs

Can you top Piatnitzkysaurus Floresi?


Word Woman (Scientific Steph)

Bonus random-dot stereogram or autostereogram: What animal do you see?

Bonus opalized wood:

Bonus Australian Opal

        Hmmmm, maybe a week on opals may be in our future, o pals ;-).


  1. Steph,
    I understand that titanosauri were originally aquatic creatures but kept bumping into icebergs and so eventually, and evolutionally, waddled up onto dry land.

    My nominees for names of this dinosaur species are:
    1. Ginormosaurus Rexhavoc (because I still have havoc and ado on my brain).
    2. Rogethesaurus Lex (because you need stacks of reference books to understand these darn multisyllabic species names! Piatnitzkysaurus Floresi, indeed!

    1. Yeah, Lego, those titans sure clashed, especially when wearing different tartan plaids. Not many icebergs there then, but titan is far too enticing to pass up the iceberg tie-in.

      Your names are inspired, especially Rogethesaurus Lex. I wonder if students learn about Roget these days?

  2. Conveniently, today's Google Doodle celebrates the 215th birthday anniversary of British paleontologist Mary Anning.

    See that little bump on the Atlantic coast of Argentina just northeast of Trelew? See the little blue notch on the northern edge of that bump? That Golfo San Jose, a favorite waypoint on the migration routes of Southern Right Whales and Dusky Dolphins. While I was in grad school, sticking electrodes into leech neurons, some colleagues were studying marine mammals in Patagonia. They'd set up theodolites (surveyor's transits) on a cliff overlooking the bay, and came back with reams of azimuth, elevation (depression, actually), and time data, that needed to be translated into position, heading and speed. I programmed a desktop calculator to crunch the data, which was complicated by the need to account for the fact that the surface of the sea isn't flat, but has this annoying curve to it.

    1. Complete coincidence about Mary Anning and this week's PEOTS?

      Very cool about the Golfo San Jose and the Southern Right Whales and Dusky Dolphins. Your description of the spot is spot-on. Sounds like some fun number crunching. How did you account for the annoying sea curve?

    2. Like the acorn said when he grew up, "Geometry!"

    3. This was all pre-GPS so a bit more complicated number crunching for that geometry?

    4. Oh, yeah. As I recall, I used a successive approximation algorithm. In BASIC.

    5. Wow! BASIC. Stone Age. Fred Flintstone and all that.

      I remember using punch cards in a high school computer class. It was a lot of fun, though.

    6. I used punch cards too, on an IBM 1620 during a January Term computer class during my freshman year in 1970. (I tried bringing the punched cards to Starbuck’s but they never gave me any free coffee!)

      I recall using Fortran, Gotran and Machine Language. I wrote a program that would list all the leap years from 1970 to 2070. I thought I was so smart when I “programmed past” the year 2000, because years divisible by 100, although divisible by 4, are not leap years. What I didn’t realize, of course, was that years divisible by 400 are leap years. All projected leap years after 1999 were off by a year.

      I spent hours trying to ferret out the bug in my program, to no avail. No bug, of course. Garbage in, garbage out.

      The other thing I remember about that January. A fellow freshman, blond-haired guy from Iowa named Tom McGuire (not Barney Rubble, SS!), spent his every waking hour in that computer lab writing programs and running them on the 1620. They subsequently hired him as a student aide/computer tutor. Often wonder what became of him.


    7. Leaping Lizards, Lego! Y2K indeed!

      I remember it was a very simple addition problem we solved...but it was so cool to see the text printed out.

      I think it was FORTRAN, but it could have been BASIC (in 1974).

      Tom McGuire is probably a big wig at Apple. Yabba Dabba Doo!

    8. P. S. We have a Barney Rubble kind of day here with a tornado warning, dinosaur toe-nail-sized hail, and "big, juicy wet cells."

  3. Not sure what photo you're using for wallpaper these days, Steph, but I sort of spaced out while staring at it just now, and got the same vertiginous feeling I used to get from those Magic Eye random-dot stereograms.

  4. Time for a change?

    It's the new mineral, putnisite, discovered in Australia earlier this year.

    Or maybe you like that vertiginous feeling ;-).

  5. Of course! PUTNISITE! How soon we forget!

    No problem with vertigo. I just throw the TINIEST bit UP (anagram alert).

    Used to work in the same center at Bell Labs as Bela Julesz, the guy who invented/discovered random-dot stereograms, apparently while working on recognizing camouflaged objects from aerial pictures taken by spy planes. That was quite the place to be, for a while.

  6. jan, so now that you pointed out PUTNISITE anagrams to TINIEST bit UP, I have that image stuck in my head. First, puddingstones, now putnisite. SMH.

    I have added a bonus random-dot sterogram above. See if you can figure out what it is. Hint: look to the back wall of the image.

    What was Bela like? The Bell of the Ball?

  7. A little more sharkasm, eh WW?

    Bela was a nice guy, though we never worked closely. I had friends who worked in his department (one of whom is now a patient, oddly enough).

    1. Natch, you got my sharkasm, jan. Did you see the shark?

      I worked with stereograms in the oil biz so the image lept right out at me.

      Pretty wild about your patient who used to work with Bela. Small world.

  8. Worst metric conversion statement about French trains: "Nearly 1,300 stations are just a few centimeters (inches) too narrow for the 341 new trains that were to be introduced between now and 2016."

    The full article about this and other engineering miscalulations:

    1. In my vocabulary a few centimeters is a little more than an inch, several centimeters is a few inches; several centimeters might be several inches, but that's a skosh of a stretch.

      68 million here, 50 million there ... pretty soon you're talkin' real money.

    2. I concur, I think, Paul.

      I read it as saying centimeters were equivalent to inches because, hey, they're all small units of measurement and what does it really matter? Of course, I think it does matter.

  9. And the difference between petrified and opalized wood is...?


  10. A wide variety of names are commonly used for petrified wood. "Fossilized wood" is a general term for wood that has been petrified (permineralization) or preserved by other methods of fossilization. "Opalized wood" is petrified wood that has been replaced by opal, an amorphous form of silica. "Agatized wood" is wood that has been replaced by agate, a form of chalcedony or microcrystalline quartz. "Silicified wood" is wood that has been replaced by any form of silica, including opal and agate.

    Hope that helps, jan. Opal is such a stunning stone. I have several cabochons.

    1. Most stones are stunning if you throw them hard enough.

      So, all opalized wood is silicified, all of which are petrified, all of which are fossilized. Sounds sili, but I think agate it now.

      The birds and I will try to avoid glass houses.

    2. jan, I really did laugh out loud when I read your post (and I needed that today).

      By George, I think you've got it! If you had a different name, I might call you Sili Cate.

      I would guess that this specimen above was agatized first with secondary replacement by opal in the rings of the wood.

    3. Australian opal added as third bonus photograph this week.

  11. That Patagonian dinosaur was buried for so long, in total privacy, with no friends or social network. Must be a Zuckasaurus.

    1. A dinosaur as your "mascot?" Wow, FaceBook really is going the way of the dinosaur. . .

      That Microsoft "Clippy" was the most annoying paper clip ever.

      Thanks for sharing.

  12. Here's hoping the new background here at Partial Ellipsis of the Sun is copacetic for all.

    We strive for excellent order here after all: