HubPages is a content creation site, and a great platform for budding writers. The author shares his experience of HubPages on several pages
It seems every little boy is fascinated by dinosaurs - grotesque yet very real monsters. It is an understandable fascination, yet it is all too often lost with maturity. For some however, the wonder remains and later extends to include other prehistoric life - the first creatures in the sea, the first birds and early mammals. Such is the way it was with this author, and hence the decision to review the best of the pages associated with this subject matter on the HubPages website.
This is the third of a series of articles I will be publishing reviewing some of the best 'hubs' (web pages) on particular subjects at the HubPages site. The home page for these reviews and a list of published reviews can be found at:
HubPages is a site on which anybody from any background and level of experience or ability, can publish articles on any subject about which they feel passionate or on which they have knowledge to impart. As a member of HubPages, I use the site to write my own pages and to seek out articles on subjects which are of interest to me.
If you would like to write on HubPages:
The Topics Page shows the variety of subject matter published.
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The HubPages Sign Up page is here. Sign up and start writing!
REVIEW AND SELECTION CRITERIA
Hubs for this review were taken from 'Prehistoric Life' in the 'Pets and Animals' topic category (dinosaurs as pets?), 'Natural History' under the topic of 'Geology and Atmospheric science', 'Palaeontology' under 'Life Sciences' and 'Prehistoric Times' under 'History and Archaeology'.
To be honest, the range of subject matter available for review here, proved somewhat disappointing. Life has existed on this planet in all kinds of weird and wonderful forms for hundreds of millions of years. The sheer range of extraordinary species of both animals and plants is a source of endless appeal. Yet on HubPages, the few hundred pages currently published are sadly a little deficient. They may do justice to the wonder of dinosaurs - the creatures which thrill the minds of every child - but almost very other group of ancient creatures gets short shrift, and prehistoric plant life is scarcely mentioned. Of the pages which do exist, too many have a child-like naivety, and contain factually inaccurate information. Some hubs are focused on very bizarre theories such as the idea that mankind existed alongside dinosaurs, or that T.rex was vegetarian, or that aliens killed the dinosaurs! Genuine scientific evidence is too often trivialised or ignored. Even the more serious and informative articles perhaps inevitably show a preponderance of attention to the vicious and spectacular aspects of prehistoric life.
Of course, there are exceptions, and happening upon these became all the more welcome an experience as a result. The articles chosen are basically those which have genuine information - accurate and well written articles which can be relied upon to present facts and theories in a logical manner. Most are well illustrated and enjoyable reads for anyone with a fascination for the reality of life long gone.
THESE 10 HUBS
Inevitably, dinosaurs have always grabbed the lion's share (T-rex's share?) of the attention. They are the biggest, the most extraordinary and potentially terrifying of ancient creatures. But apart from these, what else is there? Sabre-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths and ... anything else? I've decided not to include prehistoric man in this review, but all other species in history were potential subject matter. And so I've made sure to include a few hubs which cover wildlife other than dinosaurs. So there's one that looks at wildlife in the hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs appeared, and one that looks at a cataclysmic event which brought about the end of many of these creatures 250 million years ago. Another page looks at a very small problem which affected ancient birds. Just one looks at life after the dinosaurs and the perennial favourite sabre tooth tiger. There really aren't all that many hubs at present dealing with life before the dinosaurs or indeed life after the dinosaurs until we get to the Ice Age and the creatures early humans encountered. In due course I may therefore amend this review as other hubs are published in order to achieve a greater representation of prehistoric life. Alternatively non-dinosaur species may one day form the basis of a separate review.
Earth's Earliest Gigantic and Bizarre Creatures
Presenting these ten hubs in (more or less) Earth chronological order, this page looks at some of the earliest creatures to make their significant marks on our palaeontological history. As this is an era comparatively little known to the majority of people, the hub features many bizarre animals which the reader may not have heard of before. Creatures like the strange Anomalocaris, the giant Orthocone and the giant, lethally dangerous fish, Dunkleosteus. All are illustrated, with many artists impressions and with photographs of fossil specimens, making this the most comprehensive hub featuring the first life on Earth. There are also several accompanying videos - I must admit that the taste in music of the video providers is not mine, but the visual content is well worth watching!
Earth's Earliest Gigantic and Bizarre Creatures by Fossillady
The Permian Mass Extinction: 250 Million Years Ago
This is one of the more intelligently written hubs on prehistoric life, and it examines what was a devastating event in the history of life on Earth. Everybody is aware of the event which brought about the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago to but few know of the even more catastrophic disaster which took place 250 million years ago at the boundary of the two periods of Earth history known as the Permian and the Triassic. It is believed more than 90% of all life on Earth was wiped out by a devastatingly extensive climate change brought about by massive volcanic outpourings in the region of Siberia. JKenny describes the effect of this event and looks at three of the creatures which lived on Earth during this difficult time before the Age of Dinosaurs. At the time of publishing this review, JKenny - one of the best writers on the site - is also writing several hubs on the subject of the megafauna which early mankind encountered. Some of these are really good and would feature on this page save for the fact that I wanted to feature only one hub per author, and I wanted to include two hubs from the long Palaeozoic Era which preceded the dinosaurs. Links however will allow the reader to access these hubs about The Australian Megafauna, The American Megafauna, The Island Megafauna (first of three hubs), and The European Megafauna.
different types of dinosaurs
Ever since dinosaurs were first discovered, scientists have identified certain similarities as well as many differences in skeletal structure and body form exhibited by the various fossils. Consequently, as with modern animals, dinosaurs have now been classified into a number of suborders and families, the members of which appear to have an evolutionary relationship. Although the classification of dinosaurs is very complex, this page gives a basic visual primer of the major divisions and body types within the wide variety of animals which we call dinosaurs. Gretchen Hill has written several nice hubs about prehistoric animals including how dinosaurs learned to fly, and Cold Blooded Lizards and dinosaurs.
different types of dinosaurs by GretchenHill
Brontosaurus - The Dinosaur that Never Existed - Mystery Files
The Brontosaurus is one of the most fondly remembered of all dinosaurs from the childhoods of many of us - a great lumbering herbivore, powerful, yet harmless. For much of the 20th century this was the most famous of all dinosaurs. Yet this article shows how the Brontosaurus never really existed. The skeleton on which its legend was built turns out to have been a composite of two different animals. Although I am a passionate believer in science and the validity of the palaeontological record, the hub does provide a warning that all evidence needs to be scrupulously assessed before being accepted as fact - that is the scientific approach to uncovering the truth.
Pterodactyls, the 'flying reptiles' of the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, were among the most bizarre of ancient creatures, and with a lifestyle which is still very much debated by palaeontologists and zoologists. How they launched their ultra-light yet sometimes ultra-large bodies into the air, how much of their lives was spent aloft, and how they fed and bred, are all matters of conjecture. This page gives a good overview of the group which contained many varied species, and the information contained in the hub appears accurate within the constraints of our current knowledge, and this is therefore probably the best hub about these creatures on this site.
The Pterodactyl by Bits-n-Pieces
Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Purgatoire River Trackway
Hal Licino was one of the earlier contributors to HubPages and wrote many hubs about palaeontological sites more than two years ago. The pages of Hal Licino broadly cover three main themes:
- How to find fossils.
- Great fossil bed locations.
- Museums in North America.
All pages are headlined 'Diggin' for Dinosaurs' and some are intended to be read sequentially. I've chosen just one hub which can be read in isolation. It concerns fossil tracks in Colorado which tell us something of how the dinosaurs which made them might have lived. It is just a representative page, and I could have chosen one of many others, but this one illustrates the quality of writing and description. If ever you are visiting a part of the of the USA or Canada and have an interest in visiting a palaeontological museum or a palaeontological dig, I suggest you take a look at Hal Licino's hubs, and maybe you will find one which prepares you well for what you see when you arrive. Despite Hal having more than 1000 'followers', these hubs have mostly received very few comments, presumably because of the specialised nature of the subject matter. What's more the author has moved on apparently and does not write on HubPages any more - perhaps in view of the quality of his descriptive narrative, he is writing professionally elsewhere? Other selected hubs he has written include articles on Wasson Bluff, Nova Scotia and Fossil Butte, Wyoming. Peabody Museum, Connecticut, the George Page Museum, California, and the Denver Museum of Natural History.
Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Purgatoire River Trackway by Hal Licino
The Itchy Feathers of an Ancient Bird
This short hub includes some nice illustrations of prehistoric birds which many readers will never have seen before. I've chosen the article though, because of the subject matter which is off beat and highly novel. Almost everybody thinks of prehistoric animals in clichéd terms - giant snarling monsters which spend all their time fighting with each other and killing each other - if that was the case, no wonder they became extinct! This article shows us the normality of ancient life. It shows us that prehistoric animals were just animals which had their trials, minor tribulations and day-to-day behaviours exactly the same as modern animals - in this case the tribulation is with parasitic mites, discovered in the fossilised impressions of a 115 million year old feather. A fascinating revelation of the discomfort one ancient bird (or conceivably a feathered dinosaur) may have suffered.
The Itchy Feathers of an Ancient Bird by RomerianReptile
Misconceptions on Velicoraptors
I've chosen this hub for inclusion because it highlights an issue of accuracy which may concern those who feel that scientific evidence is too often abused and distorted. It's a fairly inoffensive example in this case - done for no more nefarious reason than to produce an entertaining movie - but nonetheless the inaccurate portrayal of dinosaurs in a film like Jurassic Park does grate, because movies reach and influence a far wider audience than scientific papers and serious documentaries ever do. The Velociraptor in Jurassic Park was not accurate by any stretch of the imagination - hopefully this article will help put the record straight for thousands whose thinking on the subject has been influenced by the film. If nothing else, the hub should emphasise that a note of caution has always to be maintained when watching feature films which purport to show scientists in action.
Misconceptions on Velicoraptors by Austen Stevens
The foremost contributor to hubs about dinosaurs in the past year has undoubtedly been ChrisIndellicati, who has focused many articles on specific species of dinosaur. Among several other hubs in this series by this author are articles about the well known Triceratops, and lesser known species such as Edmontosaurus and Majungasaurus. This particular page is possibly the most detailed, and features the most famous of all dinosaurs, the renowned Tyrannosaurus rex, and emphasises the current debate on whether the great meat eater was primarily a hunter or a scavenger. All of chrisindellicati's hubs on dinosaurs are very worth checking out as they are informative, nicely written and illustrated, and seem to be up to date with current knowledge.
Tyrannosaurus Rex by ChrisIndellicati
The Saber Tooth Tiger
Wesman Todd Shaw has recently written some very informative articles about animals encountered by early man. In one hub he wrote about the short faced bear, which appeals because it is one of the lesser known creatures from our past, and therefore much of the information will be new even to those with an interest in this subject matter. However in this review I focus on a hub about one of the best known animals from our past, the sabre tooth cat. It's nice to see that the author identifies that sabre tooth cats were not just one species, but many, and he includes many illustrations and videos to accompany the piece which makes for a good read.
The Saber Tooth Tiger by Wesman Todd Shaw
A NOTE ON COPYRIGHT
In order to make this page attractive and well presented, and to give a much better indication as to the reviewed hubs' content, I feel it is necessary to include one photo from each hub. Usually these will be public domain images. If they are copyright work, I will inform the author, and seek permission. Although my intention is only to increase visits to the hubs, if authors do not wish me to use the photos, I will of course, happily remove any copyright pics, or would be happy to use an agreed alternative image if requested.
THE LIST OF MY HUBPAGE REVIEWS
LINK TO ALL MY OTHER PAGES
- Greensleeves Hubs on HubPages
I write my own hub pages on a wide range of subjects including astronomy and linguistics, as well as travel guides and film reviews. A full list can be found at the above address.
I'D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS. THANKS, ALUN
Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on August 27, 2012:
Derdriu; most of the fossils I've found (on the southern Welsh coast) are not really good enough quality to display, or even to identify with sufficient accuracy down to species or genus level. That's why I occasionally go out to buy fossils at rock and gem shows, where most of the dealers are reputable. I only buy fossils which have data supplied, such as the specimen name, age and locality. Maybe sometime I'll take photos of these and put them in a hub.
Incidentally my next page of hub reviews will be on folk music, and that one will probably require me contacting Stessily! One of her hubs is among my favourites in that category.
Thanks for commenting and for the votes, Alun.
Derdriu on August 27, 2012:
Alun, Have you thought about sharing your bought and found fossils in a hub? It's interesting to think of the criteria by which you decided that the seller's reputable as well as of the information about the species.
Up + UFABI.
Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu
Highland Terrier from Dublin, Ireland on August 01, 2012:
Brilliant idea. Nicely done.
Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on August 01, 2012:
Mr Archer; I wish I could say I was still a kid, but perhaps I still am at heart! Shame about your tooth; I've got a couple of nice fossil teeth - one from a shark and one from a Spinosaurus, but they were bought. The only fossils I've ever found are those of marine invertebrates from the Palaeozoic Era before the dinosaurs. My appreciation for your generous comment. Alun.
Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on August 01, 2012:
JKenny; Thanks very much for the comment. There was never any question of not including one of your hubs because you provide a quantity and clarity of accurate information which is of a very high standard. I look forward to commenting in due course on some of your megafauna hubs. Alun.
Mr Archer from Missouri on August 01, 2012:
I am slightly older than a kid, but still these fantastic animals fascinate me. Once, when I was oh so much younger, I found and actual fossilized tooth. Not large, perhaps an inch long, it resembled a fang tooth of some sort. Alas, my mother tossed it while cleaning my room one day. Never have forgiven her for that. You presented a solid grasp of the subject matter, and presented it in a manner that is very interesting and organized. Well done!
James Kenny from Birmingham, England on July 31, 2012:
Great hub Alun, a fantastic overview of some great prehistoric related hubs; and thank you very much for the mention. Voted up etc.
Greensleeves Hubs (author) from Essex, UK on July 31, 2012:
Thanks Jackie; I appreciate that very much. Alun.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 31, 2012:
Fantastic info and pictures! Great fun hub, voting up.