Guest Video: Hateg Dinosaur Park, Romania

Let’s get one thing straight right now: Transylvania has a dinosaur park. Dwarf dinosaurs. And giant flying reptiles.

Wait! Before rushing off to book a flight, check it out:

This area was an archipelago of islands 90 million years ago because continental collisions had not yet closed off the Tethys Sea (called Tethyshavet here):


Bakke43 via Wikimedia

Tethys was a tropical sea and also part of a vast current of warm water that encircled the globe–a major reason why Earth was as toasty as a greenhouse during the dinosaur age and the early age of mammals. (Carroll)

This may even have played a role in the evolution of cats, though I’m just speculating here. After ice appeared in Antarctica and elsewhere during the “icehouse-greenhouse” transition of the Eocene and Oligocene epochs, things remained warm in lands whose coasts were bathed in Tethys waters (at least until Eurasia, Arabia, India, and Africa started jammin’ and completely blocked the global circulation of tropical water).

Very old mammal lineages lived on in the European archipelago for a while, even after their relatives in chillier parts had died off. Among these were very early carnivorans, some of whom likely were distant ancestors of the first cats, which later appeared in this part of the world during the Miocene.

OK, now we’re on subject matter that must wait until at least two of my cat-evolution ebooks have been published and I’m still working on the final draft of book #1 about the domestic cat today.

Go to Transylvania and see the dinosaurs of Hateg!


Agustí, J. 2007. The biotic environments of the late Miocene hominids, in Handbook of Paleoanthropology. Vol. 2: Primate Evolution and Human Origins, Henke W. & Tattersall I. (eds), 979–1009. Springer, Berlin.

Agustí, J., and Antón, M. 2002. Mammoths, sabertooths, and hominids: 65 million years of mammalian evolution in Europe. New York and Chichester: Columbia University Press.

Carroll, R. L. 1988. Vertebrate paleontology and evolution. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.

Francis, J. E., Marenssi, S., Levy, R., Hambrey, M., Thorn, V. T., Mohr, B., Brinkhuis, H., Warnaar, J., Zachos, J., Bohaty, S., and DeConto, R. 2009. From greenhouse to icehouse – the Eocene/Oligocene in Antarctica, in Developments in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Vol. 8, eds. Florindo, F., and Siegert, M., 311–372. Elsevier.

Hateg UNESCO Global Geopark (Romania). 2017. Last accessed June 17, 2018.

Lyle, M., Barron, J., Bralower, T. J., Huber, M., Olivarez Lyle, A., Ravelo, A. C., Rea, D. K., and Wilson, P. A. 2008. Pacific Ocean and Cenozoic evolution of climate. Reviews of Geophysics. 46. RG2002.

Prothero, D. r. 2006. After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Retrieved from

Zachos, J., Pagani, M., Sloan, L., Thomas, E., and Billups, K. 2001. Trends, Rhythms, and Aberrations in Global Climate 65 Ma to Present. Science. 292:686-693.


Guest Video: Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

There will come a point in this drone video, made in the UNESCO Tumbler Ridge Geopark, when you will wonder where the dinosaurs came from. Here you go.

Seriously, look at those flat rock formations: that’s all undisturbed sedimentary rocks that have accumulated over a vast amount of geologic time. Of course there are fossils in there! (Bonus points if you can spot the cirques; here’s more geological background.)

Here’s a bit more about the dinosaurs. To show how far out in the wilderness this geopark is, note the hope expressed that they won’t need much helicopter support:

Continue reading

A Very Addictive Online Dinosaur Site

Between working on the ebook and keeping up with Kilauea (see “live” blog link in upper right corner of the page), I can only put up some guest videos to thank people for coming here.

However, I found this site, first with the interactive globe that shows what position the continents were in down through geologic time.

For example, you have heard that a big asteroid hit the Yucatan 65 million years ago and caused a mass extinction, right? And you picture an impact on modern-day Mexico.

But the continents were arranged somewhat differently back in the day:

Continue reading