Dinosaurs and grass snakes


This is a video about the dinosaur forest in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Last Saturday, to Amersfoort zoo, as I wrote earlier.

The zoo also has a dinosaur forest.

Among the trees and undergrowth are about 70 life size dinosaur models, plus a few models of non-dinosaur animals from before and during the age of dinosaurs.

Some of the models move and make sounds.

In the beginning, there is a model of the big fish Dunklosteus from the Devonian period. Then, the Permian period, with models of the mammal-like reptiles Edaphosaurus and Dimetrodon.

Then, the Triassic, when the dinosaurs first arose.

Among the models, a Kentrosaurus. And the late Triassic gliding reptile Kuhneosaurus.

And the flying reptile Pterodactylus.

The biggest model of the forest is the tall Brachiosaurus.

Then, later along the path, the carnivorous Albertosaurus.

Then, the herbivorous Centrosaurus.

And two Pachycephalosaurus models in a fighting pose.

And a Triceratops with a baby.

Near the final model, Tyrannosaurus rex, also a baby. And living, twenty-first century, common ink cap fungi.

There are not just reconstructions of ancient wildlife in the dino forest. Sulphur tufts and other fungi grow there.

And a zoo worker told me that near the brook flowing through the dinosaur forest, they had seen four young grass snakes this spring.

The late Triassic reptile Uatchitodon is known only from its teeth, which resemble tall, serrated crocodile or dinosaur teeth. Several have been found, and the two youngest ones, dating from 220 million years ago, have what look like venom canals. An older set have grooves of different depths but no canals. Until now it was unknown whether the variations reflected evolutionary changes, different stages of tooth development, or even teeth from different positions in the mouth: here.

In 1854—long before galleries of robotic dinosaurs would become a common sight—artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins unveiled a menagerie of sculpted dinosaurs that was unlike anything seen before. Constructed with the scientific guidance of anatomist Richard Owen, the massive restorations were placed in what has come to be known as “Dinosaur Court” at Sydenham Hill, South London. The site has become one of the must-see sites for paleontologists and dinosaur fans: here.

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