Sunday, August 03, 2008

carcharodontosaurids, rebbachisaurids, saltasaurids

I’m reading Dinosaurs, a new overview by Thomas Holtz. It’s pitched to younger readers but it incorporates lots of recent research. I skim some of the more familiar stuff – like the plate tectonics discussion. The book incorporates dynamic new illustrations by Luis Rey. Sometimes, however, I come upon paragraphs thick with dinosaur names and reel a little. I don’t always bother to sound them out, but I often do, just to see if I can. It makes me feel like a kid again – uncertain, insecure, like I’m learning a magic incantation. Check out this paragraph as example:

Making the point that the carcharodontosaurids (that’s one of the hardest words right there) preyed upon those big brontosaurapatosaur-like long-necked plant-eaters Holtz says, “Big carcharodontosaurids are … typically found with some of the biggest of all sauropods: Acrocanthosaurus with the brachiosaurid Sauroposeidon; Carcharodontosaurus with the titanosaur Paralititan; Giganotosaurus with the rebbachisaurid Limaysaurus and the titanosaur Argentinosaurus and an unnamed rebbachisaurid; and an unnamed Argentine carcharodontosaurid with the saltasaurids Antarctosaurus, Neuquensaurus, and Saltasaurus. It seems likely that these giant carnosaurs were specialists in eating the largest of all herbivores.”

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