March 6, 2014

An artist's rendering comparing Torvosaurus to humans.     Photo: Scott Hartman/Carol Abraczinskas

Mega-dinosaur discovered

Largest land predator to roam Europe

Kids have a new dinosaur to fantasize about—and it might be the largest land predator that ever roamed Europe.

Scientists discovered the species, Torvosaurus gurneyi, in Portugal's Lourinhã Formation, an archaeological site north of Lisbon known for its diverse collection of dinosaur fossils. According to a report in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists first thought the dinosaur was a close cousin, Torvosaurus tanneri, which archaeologists discovered in North America's massive fossil site, Montana's Morrison Formation.

The two species share many traits. Dinosaurs in the Torvosaurus family could reach 10 meters long and weigh up to five tons. Their 10-centimeter-long blade-shaped teeth suggest they hunted other large dinosaurs and likely resided at the top of the food chain. The creatures also may have been covered with protofeathers.

But T. tanneri fossils typically have 11 or more teeth; T. gurneyi has fewer than that. As a result, the two species have differently structured mouth bones.

Now the important question: Who would've won in a battle royale between T. gurneyi and T. rex? For one, scientists estimate that T. rex had about two tons on T. gurneyi. Although T. gurneyi may have been the largest carnivorous dinosaur to roam the earth when it lived during the late Jurassic Period, about 150 million years ago, dinosaurs got much bigger before their extinction. The Tyrannosaurus, which lived about 85 million years after the Torvosaurus, associated with much larger beasts.

So this showdown might not be historically plausible, but that's okay—we don't have to tell the kids.


Weather prevented the use of motorized vehicles and all search efforts until Sunday morning.     Photo: thomasmales/Thinkstock

L.A. Mt. Biker Death Prompts Questions

Weather hinders rescue efforts

On Saturday morning, Andres Marin set out for an 18-mile mountain bike ride near Los Angeles on his 34th birthday. He was found dead on Sunday morning, leaning against a hill and still sitting on his bike.

With the cause of death still unknown, Andres Marin’s wife, Christyna Arista, has expressed anger and disappointment that rescuers were deterred by poor weather and didn't begin the rescue efforts until Sunday morning. Arista had received a call from Marin during his ride and explained, “His speech was low and slow,” admitting that he seemed “disoriented.” Arista also said that Marin told her he had fallen.

Arista and six other family members went looking for Marin very early Sunday morning, several hours before the search crews started. She later told the L.A. Times, “I took an inexperienced hiker up there and he made it. … They should have done more.” 

Authorities said that heavy rain, thunderstorms, and fog in the area made rescue efforts unsafe. The trail Marin set out to ride had some 4,000 feet in elevation gain. A local bike shop salesman told Press Enterprise that the trail would have been nearly unrideable after last Friday's rains.

Andres Marin’s body was found near the North Main Divide Road in Cleveland National Park around 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. He was still sitting on his bike with his hands on the handlebars and his feet on the pedals.

Official autopsy results have not yet been released, but Arista thinks her husband froze to death. He was the father of four.



Wake Up to the Smell of Bacon

Yup, there's an app for that

There's nothing like waking up to the sound and smell of bacon sizzling in the skillet. But what if you live alone? In desperate times, you might’ve considered the Michael Scott method (see video below). But fear no more, as of Wednesday, there's an app for that.

Oscar Mayer introduced a gadget called Wake Up and Smell the Bacon, which emits—from your iPhone—a bacon scent and the sound of bacon crisping in a pan, NPR reports.

The add-on plugs into the bottom of your device, and when the time is right, the attachment lets out little poofs of bacon goodness.

Don't get too excited: it's not for sale yet. But if you enter this contest, there's a chance you might win one. Something to consider though: The app doesn’t actually cook bacon for you. You'll have to do that yourself.


You will believe a man can ride a bike.     Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Own a Pee-Wee Piece of Herman History

Auction for the "Big Adventure" bike ends today

Pee-wee Herman exclaimed he wouldn't sell his cruiser bike for a million, trillion, billion dollars, but eBay user usmc_vet2008, the bike's third owner, is asking for a lot less.

The red cruiser bike was posted on eBay on February 27 for only $8,000. Eight days and more than 40 bids later, the current bid for the red cruiser is more than $25,000, with only hours remaining in the auction. In addition to the bike, the winning bidder also receives an autographed photo of Paul Reubens, a photo of him signing the photo, a certificate of authenticity, and the cruiser's Warner Bros. spec sheet.

"It is in pieces now, but everything is there," reads the description. "I bought it in 2010 for $10,000. Selling because my family is getting larger."

Endless bike chain not included.