Wildlife tracks in the snow indicate of a lot of coming and going in the nighttime world. Why are so many animals active, given their limited ability to see in the dark?
There's the obvious reason: division of resources helps avoid competition. A red-tailed hawk hunts the same fields by day that a great horned owl hunts by night. Night also offers some animals protection from their main predators. Mice lie low by day, but in the wild—and in my house—they come out at night.
A lot of kids go through a “dinosaur phase,” begging parents to buy every book with a Tyrannosaurus on the cover. While the T-Rex, Velociraptor and Tricerotops have a kind of celebrity status among dino-crazed kids, the truth is not so static. For nearly three centuries, an ever-growing fossil record and scientific progress reveals the importance of a number of unsung species that may have far more to tell us about ancient biology than our popular paleo-crushes.
Brian Switek is author of My Beloved Brontosaurus, a book about the history of paleontology and the transformation of dinosaurs in the popular imagination.
Love dinosaurs? Want to learn more about the latest in paleontology?
This Saturday, the Museum of Science, Boston offers dinosaur enthusiasts the rare opportunity to hear first-hand from paleontologists from around the U.S. about their research and theories. Dinosaur Daybegins at 10 am, with presentations and panel discussions throughout the afternoon. The not yet annual event, will focus on the Ceratopsidae family—frilled and horned dinosaurs—much like “Cliff”, the 65-million-year-old Triceratops fossil currently on-loan at the Museum.