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Ultimate Dinosaurs Stomp Into theNAT

February 28, 2017 1:13 p.m.

Ultimate Dinosaurs Stomp Into theNAT

GUEST:

Tom Demere, paleontology curator, San Diego Natural History Museum

Related Story: Ultimate Dinosaurs Stomp Into theNAT

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Something big is coming to the San Diego natural history Museum. It is also the dinosaurs. You will not find the dinosaurs he learned about as a kid. KPBS arts reporter says it is a whole new crop of dinos from the southern hemisphere that you may not have seen before.
Ultimate dinosaurs just arrived at the San Diego natural history Museum. It is not the usual suspects of two reps -- T Rex Triceratops and Stegosaurus. There is a new lineup of dinosaurs.
I'm learning to venture a guess at [Indiscernible].
[Indiscernible]
It is the oh that is selling me.
I thought it would just be like --
I am just going to go with [Indiscernible]
All of these are a lot more difficult to pronounce than T Rex. I miss the familiar ones for my childhood.
The new names are [Indiscernible].
Is the curator of alien trilogy with the correct pronunciation at some of the new dinosaurs at the net.
They interacted with one another in the lost world. The lost world that they tried to re-create with the traveling exhibit ultimate dinosaurs.
These are dinosaurs that people are not usually familiar was is there southern hemisphere dinosaurs. Them for -- evolved in isolation from the northern hemisphere ones. These are the southern hemisphere counterparts in a away weirdo.
Take the plant eating sauropod from Argentina.
She has these weird spikes on the back of her neck and they do not know what the purpose is and what it looked like. Been water skeleton looks likes. They asked us to imagine it through augmented technology. Their skeletons cast from the original fossils if you hold the tablet up to the skeleton you can see what it looked like with the skin on and moving around.
It is hard for people to picture dinosaurs in our world. It is so hard to think about them existing at all ever so being in front of them and realizing their size is just mind blowing to me. Stand fully upright at the exhibit. The prognosis cockeyed all -- the director of programs is excited about welcoming people to this lost world.
We are well -- all about dinosaurs and this is one of the better exhibitions we have seen and it is something that most of us have never seen.
Been of the dinosaurs intimately they have been on the road for the last few years.
They all have affectionate nicknames. Margie we say that she works in a diner and Jersey. She works the night shift
They go on all sorts of ventures together.
As a paleontologist she is more interested in the story that the science can tell us about the creatures that walk the earth hundreds of millions of years before we did.
The earth has a past history. It is really quite fascinating how diverse past is in terms of the organisms that inhabited this planet. It is interesting to know about the history of the planet but it is also instructive to see what lessons they provide for us. For the moment some southern hemisphere dinosaurs are paying a visit to the net for ultimate dinosaurs. Do not miss this opportunity to look into the jaws and ponder if they could swallow you in a single bites.
For more on what makes ultimate dinosaurs so unique KPBS producer Michael Lipkin spoke with Tom the paleontology curator.
They evolved in the southern hemisphere basically in isolation from the dinosaurs we are more familiar with. Why is there so much research into dinosaurs like Triceratops opposed to these ultimate dinosaurs?
The southern hemisphere dinosaurs have not attracted the attention of the northern hemisphere dinosaurs have primarily because of where paleontologist have lived and operated out of the last 150 years or so. Primarily northern hemisphere universities and museums send their expeditions out to their own backyards and southern hemisphere has not and a playground for paleontologist as much as it has been within the last 30 to 50 years.
Paleontology was kind of Eurocentric since the 18th century. Is that basically it
There were some expeditions into Africa and North Africa which is part of the southern landscape of -- but finally it was Asia Europe and North America.
One of the notable things people know is the short stubby arms of the T Rex. There were a few dinosaurs in this exhibit that have even shorter on Sunday also look like the arms are facing backwards kind of awkward. What do we know about these arms.
These are theropod dinosaurs. These are the large group on the family tree that we recognize as the top predators.
This particular group you are referring to have very reduced forelimbs. Be retained for digits but they are really reduced and the hand is a mobile in the forearm bones like the Oma and radius are very reduced as well. They do not look like an arm. They were an evolutionary vestige that they inherited from their well endowed for limbed ancestors.
Is this somewhat specific to the dinosaurs found in the southern hemisphere? It is specific --
It is specific to these ones. They have relatively large heads powerful legs and a very powerful tail and musculature associated with that. They did not really need four limbs. All they needed was ahead. And teeth and a powerful body to drive them into the pray.
The number of locally found dinosaur fossils including an ankle a source. He brought a couple of those fossils that were found in the San Diego area here with you today. Describe what this ankle source look like and why it is so important.
This has been names scientifically -- this is an armored dinosaur related to Stegosaurus. They have these plates along with back and spikes lung material and those plates and spikes are the phone that forms in the skin of the animal and it is kind of an interesting evolutionary quirk. They have a lot of bone in their skin as well they were much smaller than the Stegosaurus so this is the only one found in California it was the first name dinosaurs in California as well. It was about the size of the -- of a Volkswagen beetle. I have a lot of armor on its backside covering its pelvic region and how these bony plates and some spikes probably on his shoulder is fairly complete we don't have the head but we have the teeth. One processes plates that would be on the backside and it's like a plate on Stegosaurus would be along the back. There's a vertebra for motel region and another piece of dermal armor from above the pelvis. This one is kind of shaped like a paramedic but it is all me to form -- phone that formed in the skin. It's not part of the skeleton but within the skin itself.
These were defensive mechanisms.
The only ones we found these ones and had resource and is a theropod for many California. Dinosaurs are rare in California because the box they are preserved and are typically rocks that were deposited on land and lakes and streams and River and here in California those rocks have been removed by erosion so the only rocks of the right age that we have. In this case we have rocks at about 70 to 75 million years old. So this dinosaur in the had resource that we found that are the few individuals that died on land and washed out to sea and the carcasses settled to the seafloor. There is this geologic filter that removes from the fossil records some animals that we would see in other places.
You mentioned in that story that the fossil record is not just about's history but it has lessons for us going forward. What did he mean?
We can talk about climate change and its impact on the planet both the physical planet and the biological parts of the planet so we can talk about that but we cannot really model that because it has not happened yet. In the fossil record we can see examples of climate caused extinction events and we can see what is happened after that event going and see what was affected and how damage -- devastated the ecosystems are and how depleted they are in terms of their diversity and ecological roles.
That was San Diego natural history museums paleontology curator Tom Demaray. Ultimate dinosaurs runs through September.