Tags Posts tagged with "Dinosaurs"


The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo’s First-Ever After Dark Haunted Experience

New for 2022, the Bronx Zoo is adding an after-hours event – Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching. This is the zoo’s first-ever Halloween nighttime event for older audiences. Dinosaurs in Darkness transforms the fan favorite Dinosaur Safari into a thrilling nighttime experience each Friday and Saturday night from October 7-29 (including Monday Oct. 10). The Hatching is a scary Halloween walk-through experience that sends participants on an adventure that brings them up close with prehistoric creatures in a whole new way as they follow the story of a rare dinosaur egg, found intact after 66 million years, that is finally ready to hatch! What could possibly go wrong? This  is an after-hours event and is ticketed separately from Bronx Zoo admission. It is recommended for ages 13 and up. More information and tickets are available at https://bronxzoo.com/dinos-in-darkness.

See a video here: Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching

The tradition of Boo at the Zoo will operate at the Bronx Zoo during normal open hours each Saturday and Sunday from October 1 to 30 (including the holiday, Monday October 10). Outdoor activities will include the popular professional pumpkin carving demonstrations and displays; magic and mind reading shows; trick or treating on the Candy Trail; and the spooky extinct animal graveyard. Animal-themed costumed stilt walkers and Halloween animal puppets will headline the costume parade, and everyone can meet live vultures, owls, ravens and other birds each day on the zoo’s historic Astor Court. Finally, October and Boo at the Zoo is the last chance to catch the Dinosaur Safari. The experience will go extinct on October 30.

See a video here: Boo at the Zoo

For more information, tickets and a full schedule of activities, visit the website at BronxZoo.com/Boo-at-the-Zoo.

About the Bronx Zoo: The Bronx Zoo, located on 265 acres of hardwood forest in Bronx, NY, opened on Nov. 8, 1899. It is world-renowned for its leadership in the areas of animal welfare, husbandry, veterinarian care, education, science and conservation. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the flagship park of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which manages the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium. Our curators and animal care staff work to save, propagate, and sustain populations of threatened and endangered species. We have educated and inspired more than 400 million visitors at our zoos and aquarium since our opening and host approximately 4 million guests at our parks each year – including about a half-million students annually. The Bronx Zoo is the largest youth employer in the borough of the Bronx, providing opportunity and helping to transform lives in one of the most under-served communities in the nation. The Bronx Zoo is the subject of THE ZOO, a docu-series aired world-wide on Animal Planet. Members of the media should contact [email protected] for more information or with questions.

A scene from 'Jurassic World: Dominion.' Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

The Jurassic Park franchise launched in 1993. Based on the 1990 novel by Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg directed the film from a screenplay by Crichton and David Koepp. Featuring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, B.D. Wong, Samuel L. Jackson, and Richard Attenborough, the special-effects packed film became the highest-grossing film released worldwide until that time, besting Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Jurassic Park perfectly combined taut structure, grounded humor, and effective effects.

Spielberg and Koepp returned for The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), along with cast members Goldblum and Attenborough, joined by Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn. The film received mixed reviews but a positive audience response, breaking multiple box office records. Jurassic Park III (2001) was the first without Spielberg as director. And while it brought back Dern and Neill, the film received a predominantly mixed-to-negative response. 

A scene from ‘Jurassic World: Dominion.’ Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Jurassic World: Dominion, directed by  Colin Treverrow, reunites cast members from the entire network: Dern, Neill, Goldblum, Wong, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Omar Sy, Isabella Sermon, Justice Smith, and Daniella Pineda. Rounding out the starry cast are DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Campbell Scott, Scott Haze, and Dichen Lachman. 

The initial premise is fascinating. A news report explains that following the destruction of the Central American island Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live among us, always hungry and often violent. The new normal raises ethical questions of accountability and coexistence. These de-extinct animals result from man’s manipulation of science and, therefore, society’s responsibility. Quick cuts of dinosaurs attacking juxtapose with compelling images of these wandering creatures living out of time and place. One powerful clip shows a dinosaur eating garbage next to a train track. Beauty, danger, nobility, and abandonment are all on display. 

However, after this brief prologue, the film denigrates into a mess of science fiction and thriller clichés that are hopeless retreads of the first three films. The convoluted machinations include the corrupt Biosyn (sin?) Corporation, Sir Benjamin Lockwood’s cloned granddaughter, biogenetically engineered locusts the size of Dachshunds destroying the food chain, altering DNA and splicing of genomes, black market breeders, and a few other threads not so much woven into the narrative fabric as clumsily stapled. 

A scene from ‘Jurassic World: Dominion.’ Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

However, with all the plot, there is something ploddingly by the numbers, with one predictable action sequence after another, repetitions of previous Jurassic outings, or pale copies of Indiana Jones. Dominion recalls Godzilla vs. Rodan more than the earlier focused and well-crafted incarnations of the Jurassic universe. Strangely, Dominion nods more to the work of animator Ray Harryhausen and the Sinbad series than to Crichton’s world.

And while strong actors populate the cast, they cannot elevate the stiff dialogue of Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow’s witless screenplay. It is nearly impossible to play multiple notes in a one-dimensional character. Stock outlines substitute for human beings, with everyone talking in breathy, important voices. Fortunately for them, they are mostly directed to look up when they hear dinosaur footsteps. There is lots of running (the people) and chomping (the dinosaurs) and disinterest (the audience).

Dern and Neill give vague performances and are uncomfortable in the cringe-worthy romance awkwardly forced onto their characters. Goldblum’s quirky mannerisms make his Apartments.com commercials appear subtle. Scott plays the corporate villain like Tom Hanks channeling a neurotically twitchy Steve Jobs. Platt and Howard show up. Wise and Athie almost—but not quite—manage to rise above the swamp. As the clone, Maisie, Sermon finds a few more shades than the rest of the company, bringing honesty to the struggle with personal revelations. But these glimpses hardly save the film.

The special effects seem tired, with a ragtag combination of CGI (the locust swarm is particularly unimpressive) and animatronics (basic Disney World). As a result, Dominion feels less blockbuster and more thrill ride without the thrill. Michael Giacchino’s generic score does most of the heavy lifting, with dark chords and lush strings substituting for emotion, style, and actually earned tension. 

The final moments of the film return to the movie’s initial potential. But at the end of a bloated two and a half hours, it is far too late. Let’s hope, as with the real dinosaurs, Jurassic World: Dominion marks the extinction of the franchise.

Rated PG-13, the film is now playing in local theaters.

Studying parts of dinosaur bones that are smaller than the width of a human hair, Michael D’Emic specializes in sauropods, which includes the long necked Brontosaurus. Photo from SBU

They didn’t mark the wall in crayon or pencil with a date to monitor how they grew, the way parents do in suburban homes with their children. Millions of years ago, however, dinosaurs left clues in their bones about their annual growth.

Dinosaur bones have concentric rings, which are analogous to the ones trees have in their trunks.

A diagram represents the growth rings in dinosaur bones. Image from Michael D’Emic and Scott Hartman
A diagram represents the growth rings in dinosaur bones. Image from Michael D’Emic and Scott Hartman

Michael D’Emic, a paleontologist and Research Instructor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook, studied these bones and the size of these rings and concluded that dinosaurs were warm-blooded.

In a paper published in the journal Science, D’Emic demonstrates how the growth rates of these bones indicate dinosaurs were much more like birds than reptiles in their metabolism.

“This supports the idea that dinosaurs were warm-blooded,” said Holly Woodward Ballard, an Assistant Professor of Anatomy in the Center for Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

D’Emic re-analyzed data that appeared in a 2014 Science article, in which other scientists had suggested dinosaurs were mesothermic, which is somewhere in between cold blooded organisms, like reptiles, and warm-blooded creatures, like birds, three-toed sloths, and humans.

D’Emic was on a dinosaur dig in Wyoming when the paper came out last June. When he returned to Stony Brook in July, he took a closer look at the results. “When I read the paper, I thought they hadn’t accounted for a couple of factors that would bias the results,” he said. “I was curious how changing some of those factors” would affect the conclusions.

D’Emic studies the smallest parts of bones. Indeed, for creatures that lived millions of years ago and weighed as much as 40 tons, he looked closely at cells that were a fraction of the width of a human hair.

In his approach to the data, D’Emic adjusted for seasonal growth patterns. Typically, dinosaurs grow only half the year. In the other half, when food is scarce or the temperature drops enough, the dinosaurs would have needed that energy to survive. When he accounted for this, he said the rate of growth doubled.

Comparing his estimated growth rate for dinosaurs with the rate for mammals and reptiles of similar size suggested the dinosaurs  “fell right in line with mammals,” he said.

Michael D’Emic enjoys a Lord of the Rings moment in Beartooth, Wyoming, near an excavation site in 2010. Photo from D’Emic.
Michael D’Emic enjoys a Lord of the Rings moment in Beartooth, Wyoming, near an excavation site in 2010. Photo from D’Emic.

A dinosaur’s metabolism could affect life histories including how the dinosaurs raised their young, as well as elements to their physiology, he said. “Such a fundamental aspect of an organism has implications for the kind of animals we expect them to be,” he said.

D’Emic recognizes that some paleontologists will question his conclusions about dinosaur metabolism. When looking at a broad group of paleontologists, he “still finds a pretty big spectrum of ideas” about metabolism and the “debate is probably still open.” After this recent work, D’Emic reached out to partners from around the world to explore bone growth in other groups of dinosaurs.

Ballard, who studies the growth and development of Maiasaura (duck-billed) dinosaurs from hatchling to adults primarily in Montana, supports D’Emic’s conclusions. She said his analysis will reinforce some of the hypotheses she had about dinosaur metabolism. Ballard said D’Emic was “well thought of” and has“definitely made an impact in the histological field.”

When he was in high school, D’Emic had the opportunity to join a dinosaur dig in New York, where he found a mastodon tusk. He was living in Manhattan at the time and went to Hyde Park with a summer class. After two weeks at the site with the class, he asked if he could come back, and wound up returning regularly for months, until school started.

“I didn’t want to go back to high school when September rolled around,” D’Emic recalled.

D’Emic, who recently left a dig in Utah and was on his way to join other Stony Brook researchers in Madagascar, said he still feels inspired by the opportunity to learn about dinosaurs. When he came to the University of Michigan in 2006 to start his PhD program, he planned to focus on Titanosaurs. By the time he left, the number of species of Titanosaurs scientists had discovered and categorized had doubled.

“It’s a cool time to be a paleontologist,” he said.