Explore Park: T-Rex Trail
Stinky is super excited to see Periwinkle when she arrives. He’s certain she’ll love this adventure; though, she might find it a bit scary. After some quick whisker kisses upon her arrival, Stinky takes Periwinkle’s paw and leads her right back into the teleportation tunnel.
When they arrive at their destination, Periwinkle asks Stinky if they’ve been there previously.
“Yes, we were here, Periwinkle, in December for Illuminights,” he tells her.
“Oh, I remember that. It’s one of my favorite adventures,” Periwinkle exclaims. (If you missed that adventure, check it out here: “The Adventures of Periwinkle & Stinky: Part CXIV”.) “But it’s now summertime, so what’s happening today?”
“We are going to take a dinosaur adventure.” Stinky tells her.
Periwinkle’s eyes get very large and she asks, “Aren’t they extinct?”
Stinky explains that they are, but she won’t think so after they take a tour of the T-Rex Trail. He then takes Periwinkle’s paw and leads her to the entrance.
Stinky tells Periwinkle they will be starting with the oldest dinosaurs.
Triassic Period Dinosaurs
The Triassic period (250 to 203 million years ago) saw the first dinosaurs and is the beginning of the dinosaur evolution ladder. Before the Triassic Era there were large reptiles. The dinosaurs of the Triassic era were much smaller than in the later periods as well.
The Lessemsaurus was present on the earth about 213 to 205 million years ago. These were slow moving, quadrupeds and herbivores. Their diet consisted of plants, leaves, shrubs and grasses. The Lessemsaurus was a fairly large creature with adults growing to 29.5 to 32.8 feet and weighing from about 6,613 pounds to 8,818 pounds. Although this size seems substantial, the largest sauropods could weigh as much as 10 times more.
“Stinky, I cannot imagine a creature 10 times bigger than this one and weighing around 80,000 pounds. It sure would have to eat a lot,” Periwinkle exclaims.
Pterosaurs means winged lizards. They were reptiles…not dinosaurs, and they hold a unique place in the history of life here on earth. Also known as pterodactyls, they existed around 225 million years ago. Pterosaurs’ brain had more advanced coordination centers as compared to other reptiles. This helped them to find their prey easily. Pterosaurs might have been of two different types: Early Pterosaurs had long tails and could not fly. Tails grew shorter over time. The later Pterosaurs had rows of sharp pointed teeth, long jaws and a flexible neck. The main similarity between these two Pterosaurs is their warm-blooded metabolism. The Pterosaurs differed in size from a few inches to over 35 to 40 feet. Some dinosaurs, which came later than Pterosaurs, were regarded as closely related to Pterosaurs.
“Stinky, I know I climbed on the Lessemdarus with you, but I think you should get down. What if that guy decides to fly away?”
Stinky giggles and reminds Periwinkle this is only an exhibition. She tells him that it’s hard to remember that, as these creatures look so real.
Jurassic Period Dinosaurs
The Jurassic period took place 203 to 135 million years ago. For the most part, the dinosaurs during that period were very large.
The Dilophosaurus was an early Jurassic dinosaur. It existed about 199 to 189 million years ago. It was a carnivorous, bipedal dinosaur, which was moderately large in size, growing to an average of 19 to 24 feet and a weight of 1,102 to 1,322 pounds. The most prominent features of the Dilophosaurus were the ridges present on its skull. Though these ridges formed a large part of the Dilophosaurus’ head, they are believed to be embellishments. They were too fragile to be used as a weapon.
“Stinky, are you going to climb on every dinosaur?”
“Maybe,” says Stinky as he winks at Periwinkle.
The Stegosaurus (roof lizard) existed during the late Jurassic period, approximately 150 million years ago. They were generally herbivorous by nature. It had a characteristic presence of two rows of large bony-like plates on their back and a tail that had spikes. The head was generally small when compared to body size. The Stegosaurus was 30 feet long, 14 feet tall and weighed up to five tons. It is surprising to realize that Stegosaurus operated itself even though its brain was the size of a walnut and weighed only 2.8 ounces. The presence of the plates are believed to be used for defensive purposes, as they were hunted by larger predators. There were several species of stegosaurus.
“See Periwinkle, isn’t it fun to climb on these dinos?”
“Yes, it is, Stinky; though, we need to be careful that this guy doesn’t knock us off when he whips that spikey tail around.”
“Come on, Periwinkle, it’s time to move on to the Cretaceous period,” Stinky says as he helps her down from the Stegosaurus.
Cretaceous Period of Dinosaurs
The Cretaceous Period was the last period of three, which made up the Mesozoic Era. It was during this time, which ended close to 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs last ruled the Earth. During this time period the look and environment of our planet began to change into the world of today. At the end of the Cretaceous period modern animals began to appear.
The Deinonychus (formidable claw) was a bipedal dinosaur present during the early Cretaceous period and lived about 118 to 108 million years ago. It belonged to the group of dinosaurs more closely related to birds. The Deinonychus was a carnivore, and its body was probably covered by feathers. It was a medium-sized theropod, with an adult length of about eight feet and weight of 100 to 150 pounds. This dinosaur stood about three feet tall. It was evidently a fast, agile predator whose large brain enabled it to perform relatively complex movements during the chase and kill. Swamps and marshes were its habitat.
“Periwinkle, if we each jumped on a different one of these guys, we could race,” Stinky says. Now it is Periwinkle’s opportunity to remind Stinky that this is only an exhibition.
Probably the best known of all dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex (king of the tyrant lizards), lived on earth 90 to 66 million years ago. It had perhaps the largest brain of any dinosaur and a keen sense of smell. Its head & jaws were large in proportion to its body and small arms. Forward facing eyes helped T. Rex judge distances well. T. Rex was a carnivore that feasted on herbivorous dinosaurs. It had serrated teeth with the largest being a foot long. The T. Rex replaced its teeth on a regular basis, dropping old teeth, much like sharks. The largest most complete fossil find, Sue, measured 42 feet long, and 13 feet tall at the hip.They weighed 11,000 to 15,500 pounds and could sprint at up to 20 miles per hour.
“This is the biggest thing I have ever seen, Periwinkle, but look at those silly little arms,” Stinky says with a giggle.
Triceratops also existed during the late Cretaceous Period (83.5 million to 66 million years ago) and lived in herds. This dinosaur resembled a rhinoceros in some ways. It had three horns and a solid, armor-like shield around the neck. They had big cheek pouches to grab and eat mouthfuls of food. Adults were 9.5 to 9.8 feet in height, 26 to 30 feet in length and weighed 13,000 to 26,000 pounds. These were the last dinosaurs dated before extinction, making them the last species of these enormous lizards.
“Hey, Periwinkle, this guy is a hat thief. He must have a sense of humor.”
The Parasaurolophus was a herbivore from the late Cretaceous period (76 to 73 million years ago). It is from a unique family of dinosaurs, the hadrosaurid family. Dinosaurs from this group had strange shaped heads with a cranial crest, resembling a long, curved tube, projecting upwards and back from the skull. It stood 16 feet high with a length of 33 to 36 feet and weighed from 6,000 to 8,000 pounds.
“Stinky, this is the strangest creature I have ever seen. I bet it’s hard for this fellow to see around that big thing on his head.”
“Stinky, come quick. Look at the Parasaurolophus eggs and babies. They are so cute. Do you think we can each take one home and raise it?”
“Periwinkle, your mom won’t even let you keep a tiny lizard. I’m pretty certain she won’t let you have a dinosaur.”
“Shucks, you’re right. That sucks!”
The Pachycephalosaurus was a medium-sized, bipedal dinosaur, which lived on the earth from 72 to 66 million years ago. It had long hind limbs, small forelimbs and a length of 14 to 16 feet. It weighed approximately 1,102 pounds. This would make its size comparable to modern day bulls. This dinosaur is known by its extremely thick cranial bones. They were possibly flat in its growing years and formed a dome shape as it matured. The function of this adaptation is debated by scientists. It’s feeding habits are not well established. It possibly was an herbivore or an omnivore—not a meat eating dinosaur.
“Stinky, look at this guy. Now it’s my turn for my hat to be grabbed right off my head.”
“He sure looks silly, Periwinkle. I hope you can get it back.”
“Periwinkle, I see you managed to get your hat back. Good job. I also have something for you since you cannot take one of those baby dinos home with you.”
Oh goodie, what is it, Stinky?”
“Wow, Stinky, my very own Triceratops. Thank you. It is so cute.”
“I’m happy you like it. Sawyer gave me some of his allowance, and I got a dino stuffy for Noelle as well. But you can’t tell her. Sawyer wants it to be a surprise when it arrives.”
“My lips are sealed. She is going to be so excited. You and Sawyer are the very bestest boyfriends.”
National Selfie Day
In addition to this being adventure day, it is National Selfie Day. With that in mind, Stinky took a special selfie to share with all of you.
“Oh, Stinky, you are so silly. It looks as if you were swallowed up. This certainly has been another exciting adventure. I never thought in my life that I would see dinosaurs. I think, however, we need to learn to make videos. It would have been so much fun if we could have shown our readers how these dinos moved and let them hear their vocalizations.”
“Periwinkle, that’s definitely something we’ll have to consider for the future. But now it’s time to jump back into our tunnel and head to my house for a snack and a nap.”
Stinky leads Periwinkle to the tunnel, and they are gone with the usual whoosh.
Stinky & Periwinkle are joining the Happy Tuesday blog hop at Comedy Plus.
Note: All photos were taken by Tom Blue and used with permission.