Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Krampus (and a Grimm New Year)

You better watch out, you'll probably cry, and I have a good reason to tell you why. Krampus is coming, to town.

Well, I should have done this review before Christmas, but I am doing it now, and so it will be short. This Christmas special was absolutely creepy, and Krampus is probably my favourite paranormal creature on the show so far. Now I have read that NBC calls him a Wesen, and many people presume he is Wesen, but I disagree on several fronts. First, Silas Weir Mitchell in an interview said he is not Wesen, but his taxonomy is very confusing. Some people say that could have been before they found out he was Wesen. Another thing. If he is Wesen, why aren't there other Krampus' around? Or are there but they weren't mentioned? Some people say he is a special one of a kind Wesen, but I think there should be a boundary between what is and isn't Wesen. From what other people are saying, if something can Woge, it is Wesen. I don't think I agree. Remember, in Episode 3.6 "Stories We Tell Our Young", the boy was infected with a protozoan, otherwise known as the Grausen. He kind of woged, but he wasn't Wesen.

This has many similarities between El Cucuy and La Llorona. Many people presume that El Cucuy was Wesen, because she could woge. Not only that, but (and this goes for El Cucuy too), if Krampus is Wesen, then how come he has been in Wesen mythology for so long? Centuries back, naughty kids where beat up, put into his sack, hanged from the highest tree, and then eaten on the winter solstice. If he was Wesen, then how come there aren't more of him around? It has been mentioned that there is only one Krampus. That is the one question that I believe shows he is not Wesen. This isn't a recent phenomenon. An argument could be made that Krampus and El Cucuy are just very special one of a kind Wesen who live for an incredibly long time. As far as I know, Wesen can be killed, and they don't live for ever. If that is true, then Krampus and El Cucuy are likely not Wesen, and they will exist as long as humans do.
The only known two non-Wesen on the show have been La Llorona and Volcanalis. For La Llorona, she has existed for a very long time, and she doesn't really woge (or they never showed it, they did show her demonic form) and can travel from place to place in a blink of an eye, has hypnotic power with children, and always vanishes on Halloween.
Now lets take that with Krampus. He has existed for a very long time, he does kind of woge, and seems to just know who is naughty and who is nice, and always disappears after the winter solstice. Another thing, Krampus has a sack of coal, from the north pole. How does someone get that much coal from the north pole? I believe for that reason that Krampus is not Wesen.

Now, enought about the almost too confusing taxonomy of Krampus and the episode itself. I did get scared of Krampus, and I think they did a great job with him. I am glad I was a good boy this year, because I do not want to be whipped, put into a sac, hung from the tallest spot of the tallest tree, and then be eaten by a man dressed up as santa with a terrifying face, mountain goat horns, and an unexpected flaming red forked tongue that scared the living crap out of me!

It did have it's flaws, and the writers could have made Krampus clearly non-Wesen, but I did enjoy the episode. I should also add this is the first time in a very long time that Nick fought against someone who was able to overpower him in a fight. Krampus didn't just match Nick, he positively kicked his butt in the second half of the fight.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Walking with Dinosaurs Review

In 1997, a wonderful man came up with an idea for creating a new type of documentary on dinosaurs. Like you could go back in time and feel like you are actually watching these incredible animals live their lives. His name was Tim Haines. And so, he created one of the best ideas in television history. Not to view dinosaurs as dusty dirty old bones in the ground and in dingy museums, but to see them as real animals. 
It may be outdated and inaccurate, but Walking with Dinosaurs was to start a whole new generation of television making. Using animatronics and CGI to bring lost worlds to life. It was positively the spark that ignited the interest in dinosaurs for children, especially me. 

That being said, the recent movie adaption doesn't even give off an iota of light. Sadly, it is full of cliches, useless voice overs, and insults to the original series.

Before I bash this movie repeatedly in the head with my words, I will talk about the positives. I was happy to see lesser known animals on the big screen, especially those who have never been depicted for the first time. Those include Hesperonychus, Alphadon, Chirostenotes, and Parksosaurus. 
The other cool part was about how accurate this film was. I have never been happier about an accurate depiction of dinosaurs than this. I enjoyed seeing feathered dinosaurs on screen, and they where correctly feathered. Primaries on the second finger, no noticeable shrink-wrapping, and no half-ass feathering. However, despite that there is one caveat that I will go into a little later in this post. 
I was also happy to see that none of the theropods had pronated hands. At least form what I saw. There where a few times when the hands kind of moved, but never full pronation. There could have been a few slip ups I didn't focus on, but for me it has past the accuracy test, not 100%, as paleontology always progresses, but I have never seen such an accurate depiction of dinosaurs anywhere.
I also loved the colours on the animals. The dull patterns on the Pachyrhinosaurus, Alphadon, and Quetzalcoatlus where not impressive, but the Hesperonychus was beautifully coloured after the golden pheasant, Alexornis resembled an ivory-billed woodpecker, the Gorgosaurus was a beautiful iridescent blue, and Troodon resembled a hoatzin. However, the best, best animal of the entire film, was Chirostenotes, which was by far, the most beautiful feathered dinosaur I have ever seen! Oh boy was I laughing like a second grade girl when I saw them move!
The movie itself was also beautifully filmed, and the shots of the Alaskan and New Zealand landscapes where breathtaking, especially that brief shot of the north pole in space. 
The animation and CGI felt right in all places, and the interaction of the CGI animals and the live backdrop was also spot on. I also got to see it in 3D, and the 3D was absolutely breathtaking, and when two azhdarchids are pecking at the main characters eye, your eye is being pecked out too!

Unfortunately, all those positives above are no match to the enormous amount of negative to follow. Head bashing words are about to flood.
This is an insult to the BBC series in everyway. It is marketed at one audience; children, and very young children at that. It is pretty evident in the annoyingly non-stop shitty voice-overs with terrible puns, shit and vomit jokes, and modern day uses.
The voice overs where pretty needless, and while the main characters are slightly anthropomorphized, the voice overs seemed out of place with the animal like behaviour of the characters, and it really took me out of the film more than once. During the Gorgosaurus attack sequence, the voice overs where so frequent, I didn't really feel like the Pachyrhinosaurus where in peril, and that they had nothing to fear. Way to go with immersing your audience, Fox! However, I will say that the very brief second on the beach with the male and female Pachyrhinosaurus, with no voice overs and the female making a dinosaur noise was at least fun. However, the best part of the film was the moment of silence as the two Pachyrhinosaurus brothers where just sizing each other up, and it was just animal noises, for about 30 seconds. I wish the whole movie was like that!
At times it felt like the movie was having trouble deciding which genre it is. First it is paleontologist uncle wants to show nephews dinosaur bones, with the teenage boy not interested in dinosaurs and wants to text to friends (like I've encountered a teenage boy who hates dinosaurs), and then turns into family adventure, but then turns into educational movie, which then turns back into family adventure, but then turns into an educational movie, and then turns back into a family adventure, and then turns into documentary (not a very serious one), and then turns back into family adventure, ect, ect. By educational, I mean, everytime a new dinosaur or animal is encountered the movie pauses for a brief second, and has text on screen showing the animal's name, its meaning, and diet, which is then read in, get this, a kids voice! It's totally appealing to a wider audience! I was also disappointed that they indentified Edmontonia simply as, ankylosaur, because they thought the audience would confuse it with Edmontosaurus which is sort of excusable. But then, in some translation of the film, they could be saying Ankylosaurus! However, they just identified the Quetzalcoatlus in the film as, pterosaur. Not even azhdarchid. If it is because they though the audience couldn't pronounce it, then that's a pretty freaking young audience!
They could have worked that identification better in the script than pausing, and then you're not even sure if what's on screen in trustworthy, which it is! 
The big problem is that the movie is trying to be something it isn't, and was never intended. A family film. From what I heard, it was originally designed as a silent film, with narration only coming in very briefly to provide continuity to the audience. That would have made it into the best dinosaur film of all time.... But oh, no! One freaking studio had to come in and stop the party, and say "Oh, shit! Kids will find this boring, lets add voice overs! And pop songs, and stop the movie so that people can hear a kid read out facts about a dinosaur- oh their not all dinosaurs? Whatever- and then say where reaching a wider audience!" That's basically what Fox did. Jeez, this is the film Dinosaur all over again, in more ways than one!
David Krentz was a character designer for both Dinosaur and Walking with Dinosaurs and both times the same thing happened. In the case of Dinosaur, it was meant to be a silent film, but then Disney decided that the animals should talk! That is excusable since it was Disney. In Walking with Dinosaurs, it was also meant to a silent (but more accurate) film, but literally at the last minute (the voice cast was casted in November 2013, that's how last minute it was) Fox (not BBC Earth) decided to add voice overs! At least this time the mouth doesn't actually move when they talk. Fox also made a very American decision. "The audience won't understand this, let's dumb it down!" I think that BBC Earth was just fine with no voice overs, and also, out of all the possible options to get a wider audience, voice overs? Really? They could have had just Morgan Freeman narrate it... or Kenneth Branagh. 
Also, the storyline of the film is just a copy and paste of Dinosaur. Migrating dinosaur, family gets separated, trying to win his love with a female but another male is in his path, but then he leads the herd and gets the female. 
The scene when the lead character runs from the dark forest and towards the herd reminded me of when Aladar was trotting to get to the herd and warn them not to go on the cliff and the follow him. 

Now, enough about the movie itself, and onto some not-really-negatives-but-controservial-stuff. The first is about the depiction of the feathered dinosaurs. Yes, accurate feathering, except when you get to the face. It's scaly! It's scaly! It. Is. Scaly!!!!! It is more likely that they had bird like faces, since they are more related to birds than they are to other reptiles. The same can be said of Gorgosaurus.
It's scaly! It's scaly! It's. So. Freaking. Scaly!!!!! What's so wrong about a scaly Gorgosaurus? Oh, yes, science happened! This is really not that bad compared to the scaly-faced feathered dinosaurs, but they did miss an opportunity to show a feathered tyrannosaur kick ass on screen! The models for the Gorgosaurus where made just before the announcement of the giant feathered tyrannosaur, Yutyrannus. However, I think they should have put feathers on it, because Gorgosaurus did live in a cold climate, and probably would need feathers. And despite the find of skin impressions found on the base of a Gorgosaurus tail, I could argue that it didn't preserve the feathers. But still, this is a small caveat, that actually got more controversy than I expected. They did give the antagonistic Gorgosaurus iridescent blue scales, but I'm okay with that. I also notice that the juvenile Gorgosaurus, or what I thought where juvenile Gorgosaurus, lacked feathers too!

So in the end, we have an Americanized version of an inspirational BBC series. Seriously. I used to watch it on a daily basis when I was young, and I still do if I want to know what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. All in all, no laughs are coming out of the mouths of the audience, only tears from the eyes, and negative thoughts.
A massively missed opportunity. 

For this movie, I was hesitant for this rating, and it has nothing to do with the visuals. My final score is: 3.5/10. 

Aurora borealis can't save it. Not even the golden pheasant Hesperonychus or the bright blue Chirostenotes can save it. A disappointment, and a waist of $85 million.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rise of the Obscure Species, Part 2

Last time, I brought you many wonders of the obscurity world. Acrophoca, Arctotherium, Inostrancevia uralensis, Ichthyovenator, Lythronax, Dinofelis, Xenosmilus, and a few more. Now, I will continue with more obscure species that have yet to receive the light they deserve. This post, I will focus more on Mesozoic animals, mostly dinosaurs. Some have never been restored, others, have a unique restoration. All illustrations where kindly provided by Yutyrannus form the Dinosaur Toy Forum,who did them as soon as he could. Thanks!

The new name for an old friend. 

We all remember him. Acheroraptor was the name recently given to the Hell Creek dromaeosaurid. At first, there was no evidence droameosaurids lived with Tyrannosaurus, but now there is irrefutable evidence. I have nothing to say except that the illustrator based the colours off of the Guam Rail, a very cool bird. It is flightless and as of now extinct in the wild.


Jurassic Antarctica has been the new frontier in paleontology for me. It was populated by some pretty awesome dinosaurs, one of which, Cryolophosaurus, is one of the most complete Antarctic dinosaurs yet found. Another group of dinosaurs that lived there where the sauropods. You may be familiar to the primitive bipedal sauropod, Glacialisaurus, but there is also another, quite large sauropod from there. It has no formal name, and so the name I identify it as, is not the actual name. For now, I call it, Antarctotitan. Antarctotitan is not new to paleontology. It has been known from almost  decade, but I haven't seen a restoration of it. Since there is no published skeletal of the dinosaur available, we have to look at relatives. In this case, the artist used Malawisaurus as a reference. Even though it is a Cretaceous titanosaur, I think of it as a good reference. I especially like the red head. I'm sure sauropods where not all dull coloured. 

Australian spinosaur

I have another obscure animal from the South Pole, only it's from the Cretaceous and from Australia. For namesake, I'll call it Australospinas. It has no formal name yet, but we'll call it that. Australospinas has been known for a few years, and only from vertebrae and a few other bones. It is mostly based on Baryonyx, but here it is featured as iridescent, even though it isn't seen in the picture. This is the second restoration of Australospinas I have seen, and I am surprised I haven't seen more. 


Alverazsaurs are cool. They have the most interesting hands of any theropod. A very short arm, almost the mini-tyrannosaurs, except not as ferocious, but it only has one functional finger and claw. It has since been speculated that they hunted colonial insects, such as termites, or ants. Above is one of the rare alverazsaurs that only people like me and paleontologists know about. You may remember in the 2011 BBC documentary, Planet Dinosaur, depicted Bradycneme has a troodontid. However, it was recently classified as an alverazsaur. It should be noted that Bradycneme is known from very fragmentary remains, so it could be a troodontid. The one thing I like about this restoration is that it isn't shrink wrapped, with long feathers all over its body, and the hoatzin like head. 


One thing I am surprised to see is dinosaurs that have speculative soft-tissue that doesn't really fossilize, as I am sure that just like birds, they have bizarre fleshy structures used for mating that you wouldn't expect for it to have by looking at the skeletons. This seldom seen dinosaur above, Melanorosaurus, has a small red dewlap, used for attracting mates. It is unsure wether or not it had it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had it. Relatives like Diplodocus get more attention, because they are larger than their early ancestors, but relatives like this are also very cool. 


For all of this post, we have been talking about dinosaurs, but we will end with a very cute and tiny Mesozoic mammal, Zalambdalestes. They were like the elephant shrews of the Cretaceous. They may have lived in underground burrows, and ate small insects. Overall, it was a perfect example of the typical Mesozoic mammal, and you would be seeing a lot of mammals looking like Zalambdalestes, although not all mammals where small and shrew-like. The Zalambdalestes in the picture above, is also albino, something so rare, I wish it was depicted more often. The only other piece I've seen features an albino Microraptor. 

Overall, these animals are considerably more obscure than my first obscure species post, two of them don't even have formal names. This is not the last post on Obscure Species. I will have many more, and soon, an entire army of Obscurities will dominate this blog. 

Grimm, Season 3, Episode 7; Cold Blooded Review

Sometimes, Nick encounters a Wesen that is just so freaking powerful, you wonder if he can take them down. Then again, Nick is just badass enough to take on anyone. This episode is an example of just how far Nick really has come in terms of his fighting skills. Back in episode 1, when he tried to help Aunt Marie while they were attacked by a Reaper, Nick just didn't have good reaction time, didn't know what type of maneuvers to do to counteract the attacks his enemy threw at him (sometimes literally).

This episode, it seemed like he has unleashed his fighting skills in a tremendous way. If you remember episode 2 of season 3, "PTZD", Nick, as a zombie, took on Renard, Monroe, and Hank and was able to overpower all three without any problem. They are all very strong men. In this episode, Nick had to save Hank, who was kidnapped by alligator like Wesen called Gelumcaedus. Nick was forced to bring the two Gelumcaedus brothers their brother, who was arrested, or Hank dies. Nick gets there, and begins to free Hank, but suddenly, he is surrounded by three Gelumcaedus, all woged, all intent on killing him. To keep in mind, at the beginning of the episode, we saw one easily pick up a young man by biting his arm and lifting him up,  and then shaking him around viciously and ripping his arm clean out of his socket. It is virtually impossible to escape this Wesens nasty bite. Luckily, Nick has an arm shield with a hidden blade to keep his arm safe.

So, Nick is able to hold onto his own against three of the most powerful Wesen introduced this season, and they just have no idea who skilled he is. Nick has killed two Reapers, a Mauvais Dentes, a Nuckelavee, and four Hundjager. He's made a lot of heads roll onto the floor. So, yes, Nick just basically used almost no effort in taking on these monster Wesen. He is badass after all.

Along with the fight scene, the episode itself was wonderful, the scenes in the sewers where very dark (sometimes too dark) and made you feel as if something is going to leap out at any minute. I really though Wu was going to be attacked. He is just found a severed leg instead.

My only complaint was that the scenes, even in day time, were still way too dark. I am unsure why the lighting is so dark, but it is something I haven't noticed before, just this season. I hope they fix it sooner or later. Or it's my TV.

I also like that we learned just a few more bits of mythology. So, Gelumcaedus are some of the oldest known Wesen, and Grimm's go by other names in other cultures, such as Decapitare, which Nick apparently likes, as that's basically all his ancestors did.

I am going to review the Christmas special next featuring Krampus. And two hours of Grimm was really worth it, for what I call fantasy night. First I see the new Hobbit movie, and then two hours of Grimm. Awesome!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Grimm Season 3, Episode 6 Review; Stories We Tell Our Young

The Grausen. And the kid wasn't possessed by a demon...

The first episode of season 3 was one of the few times I was upset about this show. It seemed like Season 3 was shaping up with some average episodes. However, that all changed with the latest episode, "Stories We Tell Our Young", which is so far the best episode of season 3. First off, I love that another non-Wesen has been portrayed, this time a protozoan, not a demon, ghost, or anything like that.   At first, the episode was about figuring out what happened to the boy, and how to cure him. However, then, upon the Wesen council's arrival, things took an unexpected twist. The council entered the boys room and took him, but lost him and chased him into the woods. The possible highlight of the episode was the entire scene. He enters the room, woges into a snow leopard-like Wesen, and tries to take the boy who runs into the woods, and the leopard Wesen follows him, but Nick tackles him down and they fight. I did not see any of that coming.

The council member comes to take the boy.

This is also the second episode that we see Nick writing an entry about a creature, caring on the tradition of profiling these creatures, just like his ancestors did. I also liked that Renard is now out of town, and then getting attacked by the Verrat in the "safehouse", was unexpected and made things so much more complicated. Either way, it is setting up for something good.

The next two episodes airing next week look awesome. First we have alligator Wesen in the sewers, and then a very special Christmas episode, with Krampus!

My scoring for this episode is a 9/10. Best episode this season, and a great episode for their 50th episode milestone.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Grimm; El Cucuy Review

This episode begins with a unique quote. First, it is seen in Spanish, and then in English. It reads "Sleep child, sleep now... Or else the Bogeyman will come and eat you."El Cucuy is the Spanish version of the bogeyman, but is known by different names in other cultures. Now, this post does not contain many spoilers, so read on.

I didn't immediately get the reaction I did from La Llorona, but after the episode, I can feel the effect. I can't stop looking behind my back. Then again, I don't like being in the house alone at night. I got scared, and now I like the episode more because it scared me. However, no other episode of Grimm will be scarier than La Llorona. I couldn't sleep for a week. Even though I don't believe in El Cucuy, ghosts, demons, or any supernatural entity, it still scares me.

The one thing that didn't go into detail was if El Cucuy was Wesen or not. It hears the cries of help from many miles away. Maybe it's a Wesen that has supersentive hearing, but are there other El Cucuies out there? Well according to El Cucuy itself, it's known by many names, and has been in cultures around the world for centuries. I don't think El Cucuy is a Wesen. I think it is another supernatural entity. Not a ghost, not a demon. I don't know.

And I thought that this week's creepy episode was just a brief pop in of creep in Grimm, but next week looks even creepier. A case of demon possession, with a boy who woges into a... well, I'm not sure. And for the first time in a year, I couldn't sleep till 4:35 am because of Grimm.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Old Friend, New Name

Well, we've known the existence of dromaeosaurids from the Hell Creek Formation from tooth fragments, but whether Dromaeosaurus lived alongside Tyrannosaurus or not was not proven yet. Not until know. These tooth fragments didn't belong to Dromaeosaurus, but it was for sure a dromaeosaurid.  Now, we finally have conclusive proof, that dromaeosaurids lived alongside the King of Dinosaurs. Meet, Acheroraptor temertyorum, the geologically youngster dromaeosaurid to date. Bizarre thing I realized. Dromaeosaurus is a dromaeosaurinae, (well, duh) but Acheroraptor was a velociraptorinae. This still means that dromaeosaurinae's did not live with the King, but hey, at least we got velociraptorinae's living with him.

So, I think this finally proves the depiction in Walking with Dinosaurs (TV Series) of dromaeosaurids living with Tyrannosaurus. However, instead of the bulky Deinonychus like skull, it had a more Velociraptor like skull, because it was a velociraptorinae.

I should mention, that my obscure species post will be the first of many, and the next ones will feature many new guys, including Zalambdalestes, Acheroraptor, and the unnamed Antarctic Sauropod (which I will identify for namesake as Antarctotitan), and the unnamed Australian spinosaurs (for namesake, Australospinas).

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Time for my second Walking with Dinosaurs dinosaur review (the children's version, not the TV) and this time it's my third favourite Arctic dinosaur after Parksosaurus and the Alaskan Troodon. Gorgosaurus.


The Gorgosaurus in the movie is a beautiful iridescent blue, with white and black marking on its skull. I will first say before I go on, is that iridescent blue is unlikely for such a large predator. However, it could be seasonal, or it didn't need to be dull coloured to blend in. To be honest, this is not as big as a deal as another part of the design that I will talk about later. 

The design of the Gorgosaurus seems to be very accurate, and the fact that we have Gorgosaurus instead of Tyrannosaurus on the big screen makes me want to smile. As I've stated before, I don't have such high hopes for the film, but the earplugs will hopefully make me enjoy what I wanted: silent dinosaur film. 

One of my biggest problems with the model is the integument. The Gorgosaurus in this movie are scaly. While it does look like what we always thought tyrannosaurs look like, recent new fossil discoveries show that even big tyrannosaurs can be feathered. In 2011, 3 specimens of the Chinese giant feathered tyrannosaurs, Yutyrannys huali, where found, but they weren't described until 2012. However, I can slightly forgive the scaly Gorgosaurus in the movie, because the models where made in 2010, a year before Yutyrannus was discovered, and a full two years before it was formally described and released to the public. 

Many people use the discovery of Yutyrannus to argue that giant tyrannosaurs, specifically Tarbosaurus  and Tyrannosaurus where fully feathered. Some argue that these animals lived in a much warmer environment than Yutyrannus. Yutyrannus may have experienced snow. Tyrannosaurus didn't, so for now, I am unsure if Tyrannosaurus was scaly or feathered, but I hope for it to be feathered because that would be more interesting. However, with Gorgosaurus it is different. It is around the same size as Yutyrannus, and lived in a much colder place than Yutyrannus did. Four months of darkness and freezing cold every winter. Therefore, it seems that Gorgosaurus was more likely to have feathers. It should be noted that impressions of scales on the base of Gorgosaurus' tail have been found, but it is possible that other parts of it's body are feathered, or that the tail was covered in feathers, but the type of preservation didn't preserve feathers. Also, it seems like the film makers thought that scaly tyrannosaurs would be more recognizable to the audience. 

I give this Gorgosaurus a 8/10.

In the end, I think if the Gorgosaurus won't talk, he will be my favourite character in the entire film. And below, is what the movie tyrannosaur could have been. Until next time. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Rise of Obscure Prehistoric Animals

This post is about obscure species of the past. They are rarely represented in paleoart and deserve to get more attention. Animals like Smilodon, the woolly mammoth, Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus, all, are in the way of people knowing about these fantastic animals.

Acrophoca lonairostris

Our first creature, is Acrophoca. I never even knew this animal existed until about two months ago. Acrophoca is an ancestor to the modern day leopard seal, but unlike leopard seals, they lived in the waters around Peru or Argentina, have claws on their flippers, and ate fish, instead of penguins. They lack the canines that grip and tear up penguins, but have the teeth for noming on fish. Overall, the restoration above it similar to the only skeletal of this animal, and gives it brown fur, unlike the few restorations that have leopard seal patterning. Overall, a unique and beautiful Pliocene pinniped. 

Arctotherium augistidens

We are now moving on to the pinnipeds closest living relative, bears. Above is one of the very few reconstructions of a contender for the largest carnivorous land mammal on Earth. Arctotherium, the South American Short Faced Bear. The short faced bears are all but extinct today, the only relative being the speckled bear in South America. Bears are not native to South America, but around the start of the Pleistocene, a land bridge formed, allowing animals from North and South America to invade either area. One of the North American migrants where the short faced bears. 
Above, you are looking at Arctotherium. It is thought to be weighing close to a tonne, and be 3 meters long. This alone makes it bigger than Arctodus, its North American cousin. Why it got so big is still a mystery, but the restoration above is on the few (sadly) of this animal, and really shows just how robust they were. 

Dinofelis pivetaui

When thinking about Cenozoic carnivorous mammals, you just can't forget one very deadly one. The Machairodonts, or the sabre-toothed cats. The most famous is Smilodon fatalis, from North America of the Pleistocene, but many are left in the dark and often not known. Another moderately well known Machairodont is Dinofelis, which got its popularity thanks the the fantastic Walking with Beasts. However, in most restorations, this cat is depicted robust, like in WWB, and also a similar pattern. This type of art is very common in the paleoart community, and it wasn't until All Yesterdays that we managed to finally think outside the box. Above, I would categorize this as All Yesterdays. Instead of the robust WWB Dinofelis we all know, we have a cheetah like Dinofelis. While I think Dinofelis was not as fast as a cheetha, it was certainly deadlier. With its small but incredibly dangerous sabre-teeth, there is no way an early hominid could survive a bite to the head, from this predator. 

Ichthyovenator laosensis

We recently learned of the discovery of Ichthyovenator, the most appropriately named spinosaur to date, and its bizarre sail. I will say one thing. I think a skin membrane or a fat storing area would fill the gap between the sails, but this is speculation and has nothing to do with the illustration above. The pose and basic build of the animal is based off of Scott Hartmans Suchomimus skeletal, and it is possible that Ichthyovenator was closely related to Suchomimus. However, this animal is restored in a way that I haven't seen before. It isn't shrink wrapped! The animal actually looks like something that can swim and catch prey with his arms, and use its tail to help swim through the swamps of Cretaceous Laos, and this should be depicted more often. 

I don't need to explain

Recently, we learned about HIS existence, but I won't rehash that. Instead, I'll talk about a unique way the artist depicted him above. I learned that the artist was trying to portray Lythronax as a scavenger. In my blog post, I stated that someone was not to far off saying that it was a scavenger. However, I don't find it infuriating. I find this theory intresting, and it is possible that Lythronax was part of a group of tyrannosaurs that scavenged, rather than hunting. 

Inostrancevia uralensis

I love this restoration. I am in deep love with it. When we see Inostrancevia, we also see the most well known species, I. alexandri. Instead, we have I. uralensis. I haven't seen another restoration of this species ( may have missed something) and it's good to see it instead of another I. alexandri. It is also good to see a rare restoration of a rarely depicted Inostrancevia species in a rare way. The colours are based off of wolverines, and it has fur all over its body. This shows the reptiles relationship to mammals. It has long fur on its belly and arms, something I've never seen before. It also has whiskers, something rarely depicted too, and it even has a mammal like nose. It may be that gorgonopsids where not covered in fur, but maybe they where. I speculate that while they lay eggs, they may have suckled their young. However, that is my theory, and has nothing to do with the rare restoration of a rare species of Inostrancevia. 

Xenosmilus hodsonae

I will end my longest blog post on another rarely depicted Machairodont, Xenosmilus. It has the look of a tiger, but more robust, with a shorter tail, and longer canines. I should also note that while the artist was making it, he let people suggest what pattern and colour it should be. I suggested the golden tiger (a very rare breed of tiger) and he went with it. 

I have to thank Yutyrannus from the Dinosaur Toy Forum for letting me use his artwork as I ramble on about the fantastically obscure species he chose to restorate. Until next time, have a great day!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Grimm; Season 3, Episode 4 Review; One Night Stand

The Little Mermaid

Last week, we had no new Wesen, and a little disappointing storyline. This week, we had a great storyline, a totally new awesome Wesen, and good action. 

I loved the new and very interesting Wesen, the mermaid-like Naiad. The females look very pretty, with deep blue eyes. On the other hand, the males look ugly and mean, with bright orange eyes, and sharp nasty teeth.



Apparently, Naiad males are born sterile, and because of that, female Naiad's must mate with humans in order to continue the species. Because of this, it is considered that all Naiad's are half-Naiads. There are old traditions of Naiad males being uncomfortable to have a human raise their own young, and the punishment of that is cutting the webbing between their toes and fingers. However, not many Naiad's follow the old tradition, but in this episode, a pair of males from Alaska are following the old traditions, and try to cut a female, but Nick and Hank arrive to kick their asses down (sometimes literally). 

Also, it seems like Nick has a new superpower from the Cracher-Mortel toxic spit. He was underwater for far longer than ever before, and when he returned to the surface, he looked gray and cold again. How long will the zombie hangover last?

Overall I give this episode a 8/10, because of the introduction of a new and awesome Wesen, and new mythology, and great action scenes. 

Next week's episode looks scary as hell, and I love that. El Cucuy? Apparently it is a "real" legend, the Spanish version of the Boogeyman. I have a feeling this episode will be creepy. I had a similar reaction when looking at the trailer of La Llorona. That trailer alone scared the hell out of me, and the episode itself is one of the very few times I actually got scared watching this show. I will never again watch that episode at night. I hope I get the same thought from El Cucuy in two weeks.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

All Hail the King of Gore

And thank you Scott Hartman for inspiring my blog title.

Yes,, Lythronax has been all the rage lately. Not only does it have importance in tyrannosaur evolution, its name is also insanely awesome. King of gore? Look out Tyrannosaurus!

In 2009, in the Wahweap Formation, the first fossils of Lythronax where found. It consisted  of a partial skeleton, including a skull, which is also terrifying. It had good vision, with depth perception, and a massively powerful bite you do not want to be given if you piss it off. Its teeth are quite beefy, with a serrated edge like that of a steak knife. Clearly, this animal could not only slice through meat, muscle, and tissue, but also could crush bone.

Which makes me raise an question that I haven't seen (or noticed) yet. Will someone turn this around and say that because its teeth could crush bone it was a scavenger? I bet you someone has, but I haven't noticed it yet. Bone crunching teeth isn't really a sign of a scavenger, because while hyenas crush bone,  they will also hunt in packs and take down a wildebeest. However, whether it was a scavenger or not, when it ate, guts would be spilling all over the place.

Another interesting thing about Lythronax, is that it is currently the oldest known tyrannosaurinae, dating to about 80 to 79 million years old. So, it seems that bone crunching gore lovers where present before the reign of Tyrannosaurus, which isn't that surprising.

I have also noticed that some articles on this animal say it was feathered. While it is not unreasonable to be feathered (I think it is feathered) I couldn't find any evidence to suggest it was feathered. While it is likely to be feathered, there is still no feathers, and I consider this misleading.

Teratophoneus crashes Lythronax's birthday party. Thanks to Julio Lacerda for letting me use this picture for this post. 

In other tyrant news, more Teratophoneus material was found. Apparently the skull is a little, narrower, and also is certified as the most terrifying predator, as its tearing out intestines from its hapless, unnamed victim. Oh, wait, Lythronax is supposed too.... never mind me. 

So, you get a post about two tyrannosaurs, Teratophoneus and Lythronax, for the price one! Have a bloody good day!

New Walking with Dinosaurs Japanese Trailer

A new trailer for Walking with Dinosaurs has been released, and is available on Youtube. It is such a shame that it looks so awesome, but the fact that there will be voices just makes me angry. I am for sure buying ear plugs. And of course, they could have done Gorgosaurus with feathers, but I will justify this since Yutyrannus existance was not known at the time the models where made.

It is a real shame that they had to do this, but I guess we don't get what we want. Let's just hope this is successful enough to warrant a sequel that won't be like this.

Here is where to go to see the trailer. Intense, but just childish. I apologize for being such a pendant, but I guess they've missed what could have been an awesome movie. I'll just pop in the original series this weekend and eat a bowl of ice cream, and I'll be all set.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Grimm; Cracher-Mortel Biology

So, for people who know what a Cracher-Mortel is, than you will follow along great. For those who know what Grimm is, even better.

So, as it turns out, my favourite Wesen are usually those who spit something in people's faces. As an example we have Jinnamuru Xunte, a fly-like Wesen from South Africa and Kenya, which blow red hook worms into peoples eyes, and then feeds on their tears, and the worms cause blindness on direct contact, and then grow, until they eat out the eyes and there's only worms sticking from their eyes. Delicious.

Jinnamuru Xunte

Anyways, one of my other favourite Wesen turns out to be the Cracher-Mortel, a pufferfish like Wesen, who spits a green substance that includes tetrodotoxin, paralyzing the victim and putting them into a death-like state, similar to Lazarus-Syndrome. Before I go on, Lazarus-Syndrome is a real phenomenon, although extremely  rare, with only 38 known cases. For more, click here

So, what exactly happens when a Kehrseite gets a face full of this stuff? Well, it seeps into the victim's skin and shuts down the neurosignals of nerves and heart cells and causes the suspended animation stage, making the victim appear dead, when they are actually alive. Then, they wake up. In this trance like state, they are controlled by the Cracher-Mortel and do whatever task the puffer fish man desires them to do. They have a higher pain tolerance, and are in a constant rage. 

This entire process is called Dammerzustand. Fancy name huh? 

Well, what happens when a Grimm gets hit with this painful dose of green stuff? In the first two episodes of Season Three, we get to see what happens. They wake up much earlier than a Kehrseite (the Wesen name of a regular human) and the Cracher-Mortel can't control them. Being Grimms, they become much, much stronger than normal, and keep their reflexes and incredible fighting skills. This is evident when Nick was trapped in a barn, and Monroe, Renard, and Hank tried to subdue him (with Monroe and Renard in their Wesen forms, nonetheless) but to no avail. However, when cured, unlike regular humans, Grimms react more differently. Occasionally, they will turn gray and appear dead, and their heart rate will stay slow and the same, even if they are running and doing things to try to keep their heart rate up. And apparently, in the next episode, it will allow them to hold their breathes underwater much longer, but it is unknown what other effects there are. I guess time will tell. 

The reason why I prefer Cracher-Mortel and Jinnamuru Xunte over other Wesen is that they have actual (of course their not real) biological explanations behind their acts. I hope to see another face spitter soon. 

Too bad he died in the 'The Ungrateful Dead'. Same goes for Eric Renard.

For those who await my dinosaur posts, I am currently getting permission to use some artwork, and once I get that I'll post about new Teratophoneus material and Lythronax, most likely will be tomorrow. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The New Deinocheirus

A pair of sunbathing Deinocheirus. Thanks to Joschua Knuppe for letting me use his artwork for this post.

So, I am going to talk about the new material from Deinocheirus. It has long since been a mystery of what these gigantic arms where attached to, but it's a mystery no more. 

On July 9th, 1965, Polish Paleontologist Professor Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska and her team found a few ribs, some vertebrae, and a massive pair of arms. These arms where over 3 meters long, and they where certainly from a very large theropod. But what kind? Some thought they where from a giant ornithomimosaur, others thought they where from a gigantic flesh eating theropod, that used its massive arms to rip open the stomachs of sauropods. 

What the hell is that?

However, soon a consensus came in. It was thought to be an ornithomimosaur, albeit a very large one. But what the rest of it looked like was only guess work. By studying relatives of it, many came to the conclusion of what it looked like. 

This is what it looked like then. 

Above, you see the picture of the Deinocheirus toy in the CollectA line. It seemed pretty much like a gigantic oversized Gallimimus. Well, it wasn't. 

Finally, after nearly 48 years of mystery, the fog of time has cleared with new fossils. It turns out, Deinocheirus was weirder than anyone could have imagined. It had a sail on its back! And it had a robust look, not normal for the usually gracile smooth backed ornithomimosaurs. The most incredible thing for me is the sail. It is something that I never thought would come out from the ground. A sailed-backed coelurosaur? 

All known sail backed dinosaurs (Spinosaurus, Ouranosaurus, ect.) have all been non-coelurosaurs. This makes Deinocheirus the first known Coelurosaur with a sail on its back. A skull was also found in the new remains, but unluckily, poachers stole the skull. Lets hope that we can either retrieve that stolen skull, or find a new one, and maybe it's skull would fit the new bizarre look of Deinocheirus. 

Overall, this is one of most exciting finds in my so far short lifetime, solving a nearly 50 year-old mystery. However, with the skull still missing, its complete appearance is still a mystery, and so the hunt for the mystery dinosaur, continues. 

I would like to thank Joschua Knuppe again, for letting me use his Deinocheirus restoration for this article. And, for the readers, have a great day!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This post, I am going to talk about this little guy who will be appearing in the Walking with Dinosaurs movie. Since the movie is not out, I am going to talk just about its appearance based on the photo above and from other places.

I am going to start by saying I like this design. I like how the design in hoatzin like, with blue around the eye, and the feathers sprouting from the back of its head. I like how the designer didn't just make a Troodon with feathers, but a Troodon that feathers it may not have had. I also like that it has tiny feathers similar to its wing on its back leg, maybe it was derived by a gliding ancestor of its. I also like that the feathers go past the ankles, not that it is more realistic, it's just that I like that style better for some reason. It also doesn't look shrink-wrapped, which is good, and gives it a more realistic appearance.

That's the good part. Now I am going to talk about the negatives. And theres more negatives than I wanted there to be. While the feathers look good in the picture above, in the trailer it doesn't look that good, as if it where super-glued on.

Like that picture. 

However, it could be the pose the animal is in, but I'll just leave it at that. Now lets talk about the scaley lizard face. There are fossils of troodonts with feathered faces, and while we haven't found feathers on Troodon yet, given it position in the dinosaur family tree, it certainly had feathers, and if it did have feathers, it is unlikely it had a scaly lizard face. It is more likely it had a feathered face, or an unfeathered (and unscaled) face. However, since we will never see them, we may never know. Also, the scaly face was probably artistic license, giving the animal a villainous look. Obviously its the villain because it punches a hole in Patchi's frill when he was little. However, apart from the scaly face, I think he looks cute. 

Another problem I am having with the animal is its wings. I am very happy they have wings, but it seem like the primaries are.... off. The primaries should be on the second finger, and based on the first picture, it seems like the primaries are sort of attached to it. I guess I'll give that a pass. 

However, a little thing I've noticed (I'm not sure if anyone else has) is the shape of the skull. The skull has a little bump on the top of the skull, something I have not seen in Troodon skulls before. It is also ambiguous  about what species of Troodon they are portraying. The movie is set in Alaska, and teeth of 4 meter long Troodon have been found there, but if they are the species seen in the movie or not is unclear. If they are, then I'll let that pass because it may have looked slightly different from its relatives. After all it was larger. 

So the Troodon has an overall great appearance, but the head is the biggest issue, with the bump and being scaly. 

As I do these reviews on the animals in Walking with Dinosaurs, I will score them based on my opinion and accuracy. I do have to say before I move on, I am not a paleontologist, but I think I know enough to look out for inaccuracies. 

In total I give the Troodon a 9 on the accuracy scale, as it portrays a somewhat non-shrink wrapped feathered animal, and for having the primaries barely on the second finger, and a scaly face. 

Watch out for more reviews, and if I got anything wrong, you can correct me and I'll update the post. Until tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Grimm, Season 3 Episode 3 Review; A Dish Best Served Cold

That is the opening quote for last night's episode of Grimm. For anyone who doesn't know this TV show, this is a good place to start. Anyway's I'm going to gone on now. So, the episode begins with Nick on a treadmill, while doctors monitor his heart rate. No change to the heart rate, no matter how fast he goes. Wow.

We then go to Raven & Rose and join Monroe and Rosalee on their date. After hemming and hawing a little, Monroe finally asks Rosalee to move in with him, to which she replies yes. Then they admit their love for each other for the first time. Then, an old friend of Monroe's arrives, Sam and his wife. By the way, there are SPOILERS galore.

That was just the set up. Now I'll go quick. A Blutbad has his stomach bloat, and grow and he climbs up into a tree and his stomach explodes.

This episode basically brought back the old feud between Blutbad and Bauerschwein. This meant that while no new Wesen where introduced, we did re-introduce the feud, first seen in the Season 1 episode, "The Three Bad Wolves".

This episode could have been better. It just lacked some sort of action. However, I did thoroughly enjoy it, especially when Monroe completely lost it and wanted to kill that Bauerschwein. However, some scenes where just implausible, especially the set up where a TONNE of Blutbaden cornered chef Ostler, and the scene where Monroe and Nick play fought was hilarious. I totally thought they where actually fighting! "You will never stop us," {dies again}.

Overall I give this episode a 7/10.

And I think I'll close on a quote by the Captain.

"And this little piggy went to jail."

Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie

In 1999 the BBC aired a fantastic series, Walking with Dinosaurs. A six part programme with half hour episodes. It made you feel immersed in the past, and even if the animation and CGI was a bit off, the narration kept you on track. This programme inspired me to become insanely interested in special effects and television production, but of course, I was more inspired to become interested in dinosaurs, my biggest interest of the three topics I just mentioned.

That begin said, next month, the movie based off the series will come to theatres. And now this is where things go downhill from here.

We've known that a movie was in the making ever since November of 2010. So I've been waiting for this epic movie for three years. Even though It hasn't come out yet, this movie just destroyed my childhood. It is hard to believe this movie was even made by BBC Earth. It looks like a freaking Disney film!

On the positives: I am glad obscure species are finally getting well deserved screen time. We have Alexornis, Hesperonychus, Alphadon, Edmontonia, and Chirostenotes get their first on screen appearances! Also, we have feathered dinosaurs in cinemas! It looks like to be the most accurate representation of these animals yet. (With the exception of scaly Gorgosaurus and scale faced Hesperonychus and Troodon)

But, it is not like the 1999 series at all. This is aimed at children, with actors voicing their thoughts, and names for the animals. This is what upset me. You spend nearly 65 million dollars, trying to make accurate animals, animate it, edit it ect. to make a movie that already exists. Its called Dinosaur. You can call this movie Dinosaur 2 as a matter in fact. I am glad children will be given awesomely realistic and accurate dinosaurs, but the fact that they turned this movie into an infintile-fest sickens me.
When the first trailer was released, I was really hyped. It wasn't like the BBC series, but it looked good. None of the dinosaurs had names, it looked like there was no narration. It was all good.
It looked like it was marketed to all ages. But the news that big names are voicing the dinosaurs is shattering my childhood more.

If they wanted talking dinosaurs, they could have done that. Instead, everything has been ruined by voices. It seems like they are afraid to try, afraid to try something different. Instead, they want money and they want to draw children in. I actually have no problem with that, but I have a problem with marketing it only to children. You don't need to have voice actors voicing the dinosaurs thoughts to make children watch it. My cousin is in love with dinosaurs, like me, and it doesn't matter if its a documentary or not, his eyes are glued to the screen when he sees those dinosaurs. The voices don't exist to them. Its just a distraction.

This is a warning for anyone who wants to make something like this again, don't add voices. You can just show these animals with a little Kenneth Branagh sprinkled here and there and people will love it even more.

I will still see this movie, but with low expectations, and ear plugs.

First Post Ever

Hello all, I am the Pendantic Paleogeek, or Jacob if you want my real name. I have strong interests in skepticism, science, and dinosaurs, all topics I will be covering in my blog. I will try to post as often as I can. This blog I will talk about dinosaurs, skepticism, other fields of science, and maybe review some episodes of Grimm. Possibly.... Anyways, I hope you enjoy my posts and blogs, and have a great day!