Episode 433: Tolkien’s curiosity in dinosaurs and the way it formed his writing

Episode 433: Tolkien’s curiosity in dinosaurs and the way it formed his writing

Episode 433: Tolkien’s curiosity in dinosaurs and the way it formed his writing. Professor John Holmes—who not too long ago re-enacted Tolkien’s 1938 dinosaur presentation in full—joins us to share how Tolkien used his data of dinosaurs whereas writing The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit.


  • A brand new examine exhibits that dinosaurs weren’t declining earlier than the asteroid impression, however a shift through which herbivores have been most vital of their ecosystems might have made dinosaurs extra susceptible to extinction supply
  • Scientists discovered that local weather might have affected the early evolution of dinosaurs together with how and the place they lived supply


John Holmes, Professor of Victorian Literature and Tradition on the College of Birmingham. He’s an professional on the Gothic Revival and the Pre-Raphaelite motion. He not too long ago recreated Tolkien’s 1938 Christmas lecture ‘On Dragons’ which featured a number of dinosaurs from Oxfordshire. He’s additionally on the committee for the Symbiosis Community which seeks to spark collaborations between museums, researchers and artists. Try their YouTube playlist right here.


Terror bird

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Picture by Alexoatss

The dinosaur of the day: Atlasaurus

  • Sauropod that lived within the Center Jurassic in what’s now Azilal Province, Morocco (Guettioua Formation)
  • Appeared considerably like Brachiosaurus, with an upright neck
  • Carefully associated to Brachiosaurus, with similarities within the vertebral column and limbs
  • However totally different from Brachiosaurus, with a proportionately bigger cranium, a shorter neck, longer tail, and longer limbs
  • About 15 million years older than Brachiosaurus
  • Authors that named Atlasaurus described it as a reasonably massive, grownup sauropod with unusually lengthy forelimbs and reasonably lengthy hindlimbs
  • Cranium is massive, neck is brief, tail is lengthy, and the limbs are very lengthy
  • Discovered a minimum of 13 neck vertebrae
  • Neck was about 12.7 ft (3.86 m) lengthy
  • Estimated to be about 49 ft (15 m) lengthy and weigh 22.5 metric tonnes
  • Had spoon-shaped enamel
  • Sort species is Atlasaurus imelakei
  • Fossils present in 1981, an almost full skeleton with a cranium
  • Described in 1999 by Monbaron, Russell, and Taquet
  • Genus identify means “Atlas lizard”
  • Genus identify refers back to the Atlas Mountains, the place the fossils have been discovered, in addition to its measurement. Atlas Mountains named after the Titan Atlas, who held up the sky
  • Species identify means “big” in Arabic
  • In response to the 1999 paper, “The relative completeness of the skeleton means that the animal was borne away and drowned in a flood, then caught on an oxbow or meander and quickly coated by fluvial sediments combined with vegetation”, which partially protected it (although theropod enamel have been discovered close by and related to the skeleton)
  • A second specimen with an almost full tail was present in Morocco within the Eighties, that took 300 hours to wash and put together
  • Second specimen ended up in Mexico and was on show within the foyer of BBVA Bancomer tower in Mexico Metropolis
  • Then in 2018 it was auctioned off to an nameless businessman, to assist pay to rebuild a number of the 5,000 colleges that have been broken within the 2017 Puebla earthquakes, which killed 480 individuals and prompted billions of {dollars} in injury
  • Tail was about 13 ft (4 m) lengthy and weighed 396 lb (180 kg), and was about 70% full
  • Tail was to be auctioned at a reserve worth of about $95,805 USD, and if it bought for extra, something over the reserve worth was to go to the faculties
  • Ended up promoting for about $96,000 to $97,000 USD (although some websites mentioned the ultimate sale worth was unknown)
  • At the least one article advised about $21,500 USD ended up being donated
  • After the public sale, authorities in Morocco opened an inquiry about how the tail ended up in Mexico (if it was legally exported or not)
  • The Head of Morocco’s cultural heritage division Abdellah Alaoui mentioned they might repatriate the fossil
  • First they contacted the public sale home to substantiate the vendor was legally allowed to promote the fossil
  • Mentioned it that was the case they might purchase the fossil again from the brand new proprietor and convey it again to Morocco
  • If that wasn’t the case, the Moroccan embassy in Mexico Metropolis would use a particular process to cancel the sale and repatriate the fossil
  • In 2017, Morocco had efficiently eliminated a plesiosaur that got here from Morocco from an public sale in Paris
  • Seems the tail was bought to an unspecified company
  • The public sale home, Morton, mentioned the tail was acquired from the Petra Gallery, which mentioned the fossil was legally bought within the U.S.
  • Couldn’t discover an replace on what in the end occurred
  • Curiously, it’s unlawful to promote fossils in Mexico that have been present in Mexico (however can promote fossils present in different nations)
  • Featured within the 2002 documentary printed by Discovery Channel, Monitoring Africa’s Dinosaurs

Enjoyable Truth:

There aren’t any “residing fossil” species which have survived for the reason that Mesozoic.

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