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The Ogden standard-examiner. [volume] (Ogden, Utah) 1920-current, August 15, 1920, COMIC SECTION, Image 32

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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
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
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
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
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
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-
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.

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