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2023-08-12 📌 Dinosaurs! Or, strictly speaking, pliosaurs

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Today in special interest show and tell... a while ago I half-seriously designated as the mascot of this site Kris the Kronosaurus, based on a neat piece of art by ДиБгд/DiBgd (Dmitry Bogdanov) found on Wikimedia Commons that became the splash image (weak pun intended) on the front page for a while. Here's another by him with the tail fluke. Fast forward to now and I've got a model of Kris on my desk, from the Jurassic World toy line. Neither is necessarily very accurate to fossils of said bitey Early Cretaceous marine reptile, a 10m long variation on the huge-jawed-tube-with-four-limbs type body that apex predators often arrive at, and anyway it's difficult to be certain about creatures that don't fossilise well, but I'm easily pleased by pareidolia.

There's a good proper review wth lots of photos here:

I'm guessing I remember Kronosaurus from the early 90s Orbis Dinosaurs! partwork, which was a pre-internet, pre-CD-ROM encyclopedia educational publication that was wildly successful because it doesn't take ASD to get kids to obsessively collect and catalogue facts (it just helps). Unlike the card sleeve Discovery and Quest, its additional selling points were parts of a t-rex model; first you'd build the skeleton, then the green outer shell. And I can't remember if trading cards from the same brand were bundled, sold separately or both. Some pics appear in this thread on Xitter. Google notes a text reference to Kronosaurus in issue 47 on the Internet Archive and also points to a complete archive of the issues that I might be download hoarding very shortly.

I don't know, I might be misremembering an Usborne book, or any number of articles or image searches since then. The information sloshing around in our heads isn't exactly linear. And in 2021 researchers apparently tried to argue that the Harvard/Queensland specimen and a Columbian one are distinct genuses and for renaming both. Which will doubtless go down in casual paleontology circles and popular culture about as well as shenanigans with the classification of Pluto, because Greek mythology keywords like titan and devourer are evocative, people are made of stories and we're still enjoying reinterpretations of the Ancient Greek equivalent of comic books to this day. Brontosauruses seem to be back in now too as of 2015. If you haven't already go and watch Jack Horner's TED Talks about subjects such as taxonomy, and there's been some interesting research that whilst far short of Hollywood film fantasies involves reactivating dinosaur genes in modern birds.

Whilst looking back at that stuff, I also spotted that Chinese company PNSO Marine Museum has added a premium Jeff the Kronosaurus 1:35 model. It looks very cool, if possibly a touch more mammalian than reptiles usually do. Video here: