Let's talk about dinosaurs, man!

You've probably seen the headlines that the American Museum of Natural History is unveiling a replica of the Titanosaur, which doesn't even fit in one room. This was an animal that was a 122 feet long and approximately 100 tons. That thing walked around on this Earth! And many more like it (and very much unlike it) did, too!

But...and this is what makes me kinda sad, but also deeply intrigued...we have no idea what it really looked like. Sure, we can make estimates based on fossils and anchor points for its muscles; look at similar structures in animals alive today, but what sort of frills did it have? You look at the skeletons of birds and you don't know that a peacock is looking all crazy majestic. Now, the fossil record has started to bear out that many dinosaurs (and forgive me, I know "dinosaur" is a catch-all, but I'm talking about dinosaurs, man!) had plumage, nature's early drafts of feathers, if not outright feathers. Some think science has ruined the "terrible lizard" appearance a lot of us grew up with. Screw that. Feathers are rad and there are very few "boring" looking animals in the world today, so I bet dinosaurs looked awesome as hell. Including Titanosaur and its ilk.

Look at this rooster:

Look at this rooster skeleton:

We have so very little to go on with the dinosaurs!

Here's an artist's rendering of what a Tyrannosaurus Rex may look like with feathers:

Personally, I think the head is still adhering to classic concepts of T-Rex. I like Cassowaries and their bright flesh:

Now, those dinosaurs that look similar in shape to birds, theropods, the imagination can get you pretty far. But what about the sauropods like Titanosaur? Skin impressions from younger sauropods indicate scaly skin, so maybe they looked more like monitor lizards, the likes of which we classically associate with dinosaurs. However, plenty of lizards are quite dazzling, even among the more mundane examples.

Look at this studly Komodo Dragon:


We need to give dinosaurs more expression. Sure, a Komodo looks like a handbag, but we pay quite a pretty penny for that look. There's something interesting to that scaly, yet soft looking skin.

Another artist's rendering:

Their posture is not all just lazy and dopey. There's a majesty to be appreciated in these titans of animalia.

And not just in appearance! We see plenty of animals display behavior we associate with play and joy. You know damn well there were some adolescent hadrosaurus' getting a kick out of something new and strange in their environment, like a tumbleweed.

Dinosaurs are rad and I wish we knew more about them. I wish when we "glorified" them in film, like Jurrasic Park, there was more effort in making them interesting. Go wild with the appearance. Paint them in wild colors and put strange flaps of flesh and displays of feathers. Give us strange movements and behavior.

If you get to go see the Titanosaur, or any dinosaur displays, this weekend, let your imagination go nuts. No one can tell you you're wrong.

Dinosaurs, man. Dinosaurs!

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