Akainacephalus johnsoni. Image © Andrey Atuchin/DMNS 2017.
Akainacephalus johnsoni. Image © Andrey Atuchin/DMNS 2017.

Dinosaurs 101, with Dustin Growick

Akainacephalus johnsoni. Image Credit: © Andrey Atuchin/DMNS 2017

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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk All-Stars we’re taking a class in Dinosaurs 101 with an all-new All-Stars crew. Stepping into the hosting seat is Dustin Growick, science communicator, author, and host of The Dinosaur Show. To help us explore the world of dinosaurs, Dustin is joined in studio by first-time comic co-host Meg Pierson and paleontologist Shaena Montanari. We start things off with the most pressing question of all – what’s your favorite dinosaur? You’ll find out what Meg and Shaena’s favorite dinosaurs are, and, Dustin gives us a simple way to tell if something can be classified as a dinosaur. Our dino-trio explores why certain dinosaurs were able to grow so large, like the brontosaurus and patagotitan, and we look at the downsides of being a large creature. Dustin explains why the unanswered questions of dinosaur research is one reason he loves being a dino-nut. You’ll find out more about hunting for fossils as Shaena and Dustin tell us about the randomness and rarity of the fossilization process. Shaena also tells us why we mostly search for fossils in deserts. You’ll learn about permineralization – the fossilization process of a bone being encased by rock. We discuss the difference between body fossils and trace fossils. Dustin and Meg then play a wonderful game of “Dinosaur or Not a Dinosaur”. We get back to serious dinosaur inquiries as we take a look at how and why non-avian dinosaurs went extinct. You’ll hear about the asteroid theory and why volcanism might have played a role in the extinction. We ponder what life would be like if the extinction never happened. On the flip side, we discuss the current relatives of dinosaurs – birds – and how they managed to survive the mass extinction. Then, we answer Cosmic Queries from our dino-loving fans. Discover more about the changing climate and if dinosaurs could ever be re-introduced to the world. You’ll also learn about cold and warm-blooded creatures and where most dinosaurs fall on that spectrum. We investigate coprolite and dino-diets. All that, plus, Dustin tells us how fast a T-Rex could really run…because he raced one.  Be warned, a plethora of Jurassic Park references await.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Dinosaurs 101, with Dustin Growick.

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