|Dinosaur bones aren't the only things that fossilize; dinosaur eggs did so too! Keep reading to learn about the new previously extinct reptiles that will soon be making an appearance at Animal Adventures Inc!|
Last year, Animal Adventures Inc. celebrated the birth of their newest addition – a female baby Parasaurolophus named Morgan. Now, some species of extinct creatures are preparing for the hatching of the newest babies. Who will the proud parents be? None other than AAI.'s pair of Velociraptors and Pteranodon. Buck and Ginger Velociraptors were quite excited when they found out that Ginger was bearing eggs. When I found out about this, I thought it was definitely newsworthy. So my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I went to the raptor's apartment to get an exclusive interview. Buck is quoted for saying, “This won't be our first batch. A couple years ago, we had Molly, who's now in her teens.” Molly is quite up and coming of age as any who knows her will tell you. Buck's proud to have raised her the way he did and both he and Ginger were kind of bummed that parenthood with Molly was ending. “But that's the great thing about dinosaurs!” Ginger announces. “Unlike a lot of humans, dinosaurs have multiple 'litters' in their lifetimes. So when one 'litter' grows up, another will be on its way.” Ginger also cautioned me not to use the term “pregnant” when referring to a reptile bearing eggs. “The technical term is 'gravid',” she says. “Tell your readers to look it up if they don't believe me.” After the interview was over, Daniel and I went to AAI.'s lead paleontologist, Dr. Samuel Adamson, a man who was able to tell me much about the reproductive habits of Velociraptors in the wild. Dr. Adamson is quoted for saying, “Velociraptors are turkey-sized dinosaurs from the family of dinosaurs known as the dromaeosaurs, or 'raptor dinosaurs' (and as Buck and Ginger will tell you, being turkey-sized doesn't make them not dangerous). What makes them unique is the special three-inch retractable claw on their middle toes, used . . . [for] finishing off their prey and . . . oh! Reproductive habits! I'm going off topic . . . let's see, reproductive habits . . . Well, Velociraptor was very similar in many ways to modern birds (despite not being related to them, as birds were made on Day 5 of the Creation week described in the book of Genesis in the Bible and dinosaurs were made on Day 6) and we know many dinosaurs brooded their eggs, just like birds. We even find fossils of dinosaurs similar to Velociraptor sitting on nests. Also like birds, they probably turned the eggs and would incubate them until it was time for them to hatch. Nests of these dinosaurs often resembled the nests of many ground-dwelling birds today. They also would have been cared for after they hatched.” But that's not all that's happening here at AAI.; as I mentioned before, the other pair of proud parents is AAI.'s own pair of Pteranodon, Mr. Fire and Mrs. Thunder. Unlike the raptors, this will be their first batch of eggs. By the way, Dr. Samuel had some interesting information on Pteranodon as well. “Contrary to popular belief,” says Dr. Samuel, “there is no such species of dinosaur as a pterodactyl. First of all, dinosaurs don't fly, so any reptile with the ability of flight is called a flying reptile. The correct name for the group of flying reptiles Pteranodon belongs to is called pterosaurs and while there is a species of pterosaur called Pterodactylus, and the group of pterosaurs Pteranodon belongs to is referred to at pterodactaloid, people are using the incorrect name when referring to Pteranodon itself. Anyway, Pteranodon was a pterosaur with a 25-30 foot wingspan and was a terrific glider. Like modern birds, they probably nurtured their young as well. It's likely that pterosaurs such as Pteranodon nested in large colonies on coastal cliffs, like many of today's sea birds. We've . . . actually discovered some fossilized pterosaur eggs and by using CAT scans to peer inside them, we can tell the development of the baby inside. Based on these CAT scans, we know pterosaurs grew very quickly and were ready to take their first flight soon after hatching.” He went on to explain that they probably were too inexperienced to catch their own food, so their parents must have still done some caring for them until they could take care of themselves. “I can't believe I'm going to be a mother! It's so exciting!” says Thunder. “Since our species went extinct thousands of years ago, I've never been able to witness another Pteranodon rearing young, but I've been doing some research on child-rearing for pterosaurs and I think I'm ready.” Fire says that he feels, “it's my duty to help bring on the next generation of Pteranodon, with our species being pretty much extinct and all.” In closing, Daniel gave me the idea of going to Dr. Steve Stevenson (head of Animal Adventures Institute, the lead scientist of the team that brings AAI.'s dinosaurs to life via cloning) to get his thoughts on the fact that his dinosaurs are breeding. “It's really awe-inspiring . . .[to] me,” he says. “I mean, these creatures that you worked hard to recreate – watching them grow up and become adults is fascinating. And every time they reproduce it just makes me imagine how powerful God must be to have created the original dinosaurs all those thousands of years ago and how complex he made their reproductive behaviors, everything from laying the eggs to rearing them. It's simply awesome every time I think about it.”
Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond
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