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l -- THE OGDEN STANDARD-EXAM tNER SUNDAY WARNING. AUGUST 15, 1926: 1 1
IT A ""''D ; ' M Y: ; Afo 1 - Iln " Science Reconstructs One of tke V I r" Weirdest of Prehistoric Monsters (a l I fij-' " n with Hollow .Bones, Great Air j I l-V Cavities WitkinTkem and a Series of J I I VBHffi W Enormous Plates Along Its Back for O Tyy I r: V'BBk ctrocuon Coasting Tkrougktke Tu- fs-- V) w v. 1 -tyr ''; sh " -lhe nsirBird A T 1 C1 Skull of The ciidin, y S-s. pWia- ""nd h6 0 Air Like uome Vjian- -WV J& kJSP i U " VV Movable Plates & Centra Is Seen th ' J ' Which Served It as 0 ""II 1' " T 1 Little Two-and-a- VV " 1 --J",- -Klt,, . tlc iiaing Machine T;' An a ... . American Museum Controlled st 4t8b$' of Nntural Hitory ) Its Movement.. ' I I By Dr. W. H. Ballou. ACK about n million or so years ago, j- during what Is now called the Juras sic Period, When most of the earth was a steaminc swamp, Nature carried on what was certainly her most fantastic ex periments in animal making. This was the time of the dinosaurs, gigantic replil lian creatures whose weird, nightmarish shapes were strongly suggestive that Mother Nature had an extreme case of creative indirection after a course of cos mic Welsh rarebit. As a matter of fact she was specializing in bulk at that time at the expense of brain Ages afterward she had learned her lesson and the dino saurs were wiped out. But among this collection of monster -none has so interested modern men ot science, who by studving the fossil book of the earth are restoring this erased pag than the creature named Stegosaurut Stegosaurus ran from fourteen to twenty eight feet between the shoulders of his forelegs and those of his back legs. 1 1 is tail ran about the same length. Neck and head ranged from six to ten feet. The average Stegosaurus was about thirty feet long from the tip of his bird-beaked head to the end of his pronged tall, and stood Ibout twelve feet high at the hips The forelegs were extremely short; the back legs almost three times as long and in a fcianner kangarooish. It was not, however, bis size that aroused the curiosity of science and set Stegosaurus apart. It was a most extraordinary equipment of huge plates In double file all along Its back. For nearly half a century every paleon tologist in the world has attempted to ex plain the reason for these plates and there have been more harsh words passed over the remains Stegosaurus than over any other animal past or present. This controversy has now been set defl jj nitcly at rest by the astonishing discovery, jl that in the Stegosaurus Nature was try ing her apprentice hand at the first aeroplane' Ii This discovery came about through the finding of a perfect specimen with skull and the masses of skeleton bones joined togelher Just as they were in life, a speci men so complete that from it the experts of the National Museum at Washington, where it was sent, had no difficulty m re. constructing the v. hole musculature of the creature and what they believe to be al most a photographic appearance of it In life, l lie first inkling of the truth came when it was certain that the series of myster 0HS plates which ranged from just behind its bead two-thirds down Us tall were not attached to the spinal column, as had been thought. They were not bone, but of a horny nature, flexible and easily manipu lated by the muscles of the great body Tbo plates were, in fact, gliding sur faces Immeasurably like those of the planes of to-day, which could be raised or lowered at the instance of tlx lr owners, cairylng the huge bodies through th air in gigantic leaps or enabliug their owners to glide down through the air from one elevation to a lower one. Furthermore, it , was. found that the weight of this dinosaur was not nearly so great as had been surmised. Its great bones were hollow, like those of the birds, and contained large air chambers. There is evidence that the plates or planes were very light and buoy ant. The little flying squirrel progresses through the air to-day somewhat as this dinosaur did ages ago. Its skin forms a surface by which it is enabled to volplane from heights to the ground or from limb to limb of the trees Back in the steaming Jurassic time the Stegosaurus was the weird and titanic flying squirrel of its age. With its huge plates placed alternately on each side of its back it could depress these to form planes that buoyed it In a swift rush from elevation to elevation, or that like the old gliders from which the aero plane was evolved, lifted up the body un der the driving impetus of the enormous hind legs.arrying It in flight for hundreds of feet, a weird spectacle, indeed. If man could have seen it, must have been the soarings of these monsters. But many thousands of years had still to pass before even the hairy ancestors of man could evolve. Of course, the Stegosaurus could not fly like the birds. Even if the reptile had flapped Its plates ever so swiftly it could not have risen above the ground by their means alone. It had, nevertheless, partial command of the air and so Is entitled to be considered the father of all heavier-than-air machines wi r fell' ' 1 I And in some ways even more astonish ing, it would seem to be the father of the birds He Was the factory in which the first bird was built. Science is asking the oucstlon if these plates were not the first step toward the feathered wings of the air dwellers. The only actual wings existing when Stegosaurus lived were those of the primi tive dragon fly who was about three feet long and whose scientific name Paleodic tyopterbn is thus justified by Its size. It took this dragon fly, science believes, about nine million years to get out of the water and convert its legs into wings. If the birds evolved from Stegosaurus they beat the record of the dragon fly consider ably The Stegosaurus started in early In the Jurassic era and spread from the far north in what is now Alberta down through Wyoming and Colorado, where their herds v. re the most numerous: to the Gulf of Mi'.xico. Out of this period certainly came the birds. After the reptile bird the fossil scaled and feathered Archaeopterlx fol lowed the first mammal flier, the bat The Jurassic might well be termed the wing evolving era of the geological ages. Of Stegosaurus's relationship to the birds Professor Osborn. of the American Museum of Natural History, has written and this before the recent discoveries have confirmed and gone so much further than his own conclusions that the partly armored dinosaurs, "known as Stegosaurs. are related to the lguanodonts and belong to the bird-pelvis irroup, Ornithischla. Tho small Trlasslc ancestor- of this great group were herbivorous, ornithiichian dinosaurs " So, not only the Stegosaurs. but .also their ancestors, were evolving flight func. Hons. We know with fair certainty that out of this group finally arose the living fossil the ostrich part reptile, part mam mal and part bird which, although it baa w ings, cannot fly, but uses its wings as an aid to swift walking and running Also out of this group arose the liwng fossil diving birds, such as the penmiln. which although it cannot fly in air. can fly under water by aid of its wings, and swiftly, too. '"' ' - "Slejotaurus was the weird and titanic livinp aeroplane of its age. It coidd move tho huge plates to form surfaces that buoyed it in swift coasts from elevation to elc ' ---.. vation or glide hundreds of fect through air under the impetus of his enor- i' 1 i ";, mous hind legs What a weird spectacle, indeed if man could havo N been there to witness it would have been the flights of these ; . ' . : The Little Flying Squirrel of To-day, Which Coasts Through tba Air by Means of the Wide Surface cf Skin Beneath Its Legs, Precisely as the Gliding Dinosaur Was Enabled to Do by Means of Its Movable Planes. Note, by the way, in the illustration ot Stegosaurus. the crouching attitude of the bird just before it leaps into the air. A"d with all of its handicaps to flight, it went on specializing in functions of flight for tho benefit of its descendants, carrying ou with a considerably larger scale, the evolutionary processes of its an cestors. Of these Professor Gregory states: "Each year we hold a seminar on this subject, in which the rival claims of the dinosaurs and other reptilian groups to close kinship with birds are considered. Far back in the carboniferous cges tho (C) International K-ture Service. liiC remote common ancestors of birds, dinosaurs, flying reptiles and other reptilian groups were very primitive lizard like reptiles with extremely small brains, compara tively sluggish habits and a high ly variable body temperature. " S t e g o s aurus, then, retained the sluggishness, slow movement and infinitely small bralus, but got as far as flap pers on his back and a beak. If ho could come back to-day the aviators could rig him up in a few minutes. Further evolu- toward me in tnc air was made by Stegosaurus in hollow bones aud hollow air chamber in some of its larger bones, making for skeletonlc lightness, and also showing that his weight, estimated by his bulk, has been largely overestimated. Dr. Barnum Brown re duces to seeral tons, hollow boned dinos aurs accredited by their discoverers with twenty or more tons In the bulk of an animal the chief weight lies In its bones rather than Its flesh and cavernous abdo men. Dr. Gilmore has presented the inter esting features of tins -reat reptile as shown by reconstructing Its entire skele ton, listing its associate creatures and Great Dntsin Richls Reserved. monsters ; working out its peculiar environment, as follows : "The extensive collections of Stegosaur inn remains in the National Museum have, with few exceptions, been obtained from two important, though widely separated fossil deposits These aro the quarry in Albany County, Wyoming, and the one In Fn mont County, Colorado. The former was the source of the greatest accumula tion of fossil remains of this reptile known and from which the wonderfully complete skeleton of the species Stenops, herein fig ured, was obtained There were obtained in this quarry the fossil remains of eleven other species of dinosaurs, some turtles, fish and one small mammal The Stenops skull was the most perfect yet found. "Tho skull shows that the drawings which have appeared in numerous world's periodicals arc wrong, incorrect in their details and wrong in their interpretations. The cranium was long and slender, wedge shaped, the apex directed well forward; tli nasal openings were long and well for ward, and the eye-sockets were large, cov ering one-fifth of tho length of the skull. While the horned dinosaurs, with skulls from seven to nine fect long, were the largest-headed vertebrates ever known, the Stegosaurs are the smallest-headed, when the great bulk of their bodies are considered. The eye cavities aro larger than the brain case. An alligator has a brain ten times larger Th elephant has a brain of eight pounds, or twenty times larger than that of Stegosaurus. "The jaws have 184 functional teeth, so small and weak as to be a source of won. eer and conjecture as to the real feeding habits (This was a step forward to got nd of teeth and substitute the sheath Dill of birds.) They would at least indicate i tiifir food consisted of Hie most suc culent plants." The neutral, or spinal canal, was excep- Li tlonally large, to make way for nerve. ; brain matter, for which there was little room in the skull. At the lower end was a sacrum brain, twenty times larger than V the skull brain for lli control of limbs W f and tail of the reptile. V A Dr. Gllmore's description of how was ' $f found the perfect specimen from which the conclusions under discussion were '')', made, is must Interesting: L H ! Stegosaurus died either In water or x2' along the banks of one of the large stream! 2' of Colorado. If he died on the hanks, be fore decomposition set in, a freshet bore the carcass down stream, and when the t'i water subsided the body stranded on an old river bar. Before reaching the bar the softer tissues relaxed and allowed the Wi projecting plates along the hack to droop, L rnd upon coming into shallow water their MM points were caught in the sand The cur- K$ rout acting against the carcass forced it -v Bt r.er ou the plates, folding them back un. derneath the ribs on the lower side. The larger plates above the hips and base of I i;'- lail. which were doubt less strongly at- Cl tached. retained their natural positions. El As decomposition proceeded the lower L f Itl side bones settled in the sand, spaenrj Kll much as in life, while the bones of the Hl rlirht side were piled above the back-bone, (H above the upstanding hip bone-;. The action of the current laid out all of tho Iwi bones In the same direction.. Sand speed- wSvJt ily covered the settled skeleton, making K2 conditions right for fossilizatlon. HH During the oncoming ages the sand Wv accumulated to a depth of thousands o 5 feef, lhe great pressure finally consolidat WZA ing tho skeleton into hard sandstone, in , Jf t which our perfect fossil was found lm- twSk bedded." Sflr Crude aeroplane or glider as the Stego- saur was, the principle of all Might was m there in the parallel rows of flaps upon W! his back. Certainly he was the factory la which the first bird was built.