Paleontology in Yonderre

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Paleontology in Yonderre refers to the academic discipline of studying pre-Holocene lifeforms in Yonderre and its associated influences on Yonderian culture and society. Paleontology developed as a scientific field at the height of the Yonderian Golden Age, a period of substantial scientific advancement and moreover a period of unprecedented printing and readership in all levels of society owing to skyrocketing literacy. Although initially confined to the world of academia, paleontology became a subject of public interest after high profile finds like Vollardisaurus and Joanusaurus were made in Yonderre. Such finds became headlines in Yonderian newspapers and thousands at a time would gather to attend open air lectures on paleontology by leading scientists of the time, and indeed the word "dinosaur" itself was coined by Yonderian paleontologist Killian Lange. Some sociologists like Nicolas Boucault argue that the "dinosaur craze" was in many ways a Yonderian equivalent to the exploration and colonizing carried out by the Bergendii in the years after the Great Confessional War, stating that "where Brother Auggie travelled out into the world, Brother Joanus dug into it".

Since Killian Lange in the early 1840s discovered and described Vollardisaurus, the first described theropod dinosaur in the world,[1][2] paleontology, particularly of extinct Archosaurs like Dinosauromorpha and Pterosauria, became an intensely studied subject in Yonderre. Further work by Lange's prodigy Thibault d'Avignon in the latter half of the nineteenth century established a strong academic tradition of paleontology centred initially around the University of Collinebourg, and his discovery and description of Joanusaurus in the mid-1870s sparked renewed public interest in the subject. With Phillipe d'Everard's discovery and description of Caphirosaurus in the early 1900s, paleontology was cemented as a topic of general public interest and fascination in Yonderre; some writers of fiction had already begun incorporating extinct creatures like pterosaurs and icthyosaurs into their work in the early eighteenth century, adding dinosaurs to their work soon after the discovery of Vollardisaurus in the 1840s. Primo Kino's second ever movie, World of Ancient Reptiles, premiered in 1906, whose 1993 reboot Dinosaur Island became an internationally acclaimed media franchise.

While the fossil record in Yonderre stretches in places from the Precambrian period up until the present period offering substantial fossil beds, Yonderian paleontologists have also done considerable work abroad and earned a reputation as among the world's best in the field. Paleontology has on occasion been a driver of Yonderian diplomacy, a notable example being the 1887 Treaty of Winsome signed between Yonderre and Anglei, allowing Yonderian paleontologists into Anglei for the purpose of uncovering fossils, the first ever official treaty between Yonderre and any Ænglish state.


Paleontology as a science

Urcean polymath and historian of science John Piermes (1769-1836) coined the term "paleontology" in 1815, classifying it as a historical science on par with archaeology, geology, astronomy, cosmology, philology and history itself. Prior to Piermes, the study of pre-Holocene life had been little more than a hobby for eccentrics, some arguing that the fossil record was too random by nature and would remain too incomplete to be taken seriously. Paleontology takes its name from the Istroyan παλαιός (palaios, "old, ancient"), ὄν (on, (gen. 'ontos'), "being, creature"), and λόγος (logos, "speech, thought, study"). Yonderian paleontologist Killian Lange coined the term "dinosaur" in 1842, meaning "terrible lizard" in Istroyan.[3]

Bergendii doctor and hobby geologist Gideon-Raphael Mantelleaux (1786-1849) was the first to describe a dinosaur when he published an article in 1833, naming the world's first recognized dinosaur Iguanodon (now reclassified as Mantellisaurus), an early Cretaceous herbivore. Iguanodon was named largely from fossilized teeth discovered on the Ile Burgundie, named for their similarity to iguana teeth. Mantelleaux argued that the animal the teeth came from was obviously reptillian and herbivorous, for which he was ridiculed as there are no extant toothed herbivorous reptiles. Mantelleaux's claims were supported by John Piermes however and were soon accepted by many, though skeptics remained. More Iguanodon material was soon discovered not far from where the original teeth had been found, although the total remained less than 10% of a complete animal until the discovery of the Carveaux Slab in 1843 containing numerous vertebrae and assorted other bones belonging to another Iguanodon.[4]

First finds in Yonderre

Fossils have long been excavated in Yonderre due to mining, particularly in places like the Black Forest and Vollardic Mountains, now recognized as the extreme north of the Greater Levantine Formation. Prior to academics taking an interest in these fossils, they were variously thought of as petrified bones of various animals, monsters of folklore or even Biblical giants. Many finds from the pre-modern period that survive into present day are now recognized as remains of archosaurs, cephalopods, icthyosaurs, mammals and other pre-Holocene fauna.

Spurred on by Mantelleaux's discoveries in the 1830s, Yonderian polymath Killian Lange (1799-1870) mounted his own expedition to the mountains of the Black Forest in 1834. The small team Lange paid for out of his own pocket turned up countless fossiles of flora and fauna from after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Another expedition in the Vollardic Mountains in 1840 uncovered sparse remains of Vollardisaurus, which became the first theropod and fourth dinosaur ever named when Lange published his findings in 1842.[5] While on a dig in 1845 in Azikor, Kiravia, Lange discovered the first fossil remains of the early rodent Rattusfukus, an animal speculated to be the most recent common ancestor of all rodents.[6] Lange soon took up a lecturate at the University of Collinebourg teaching the very first classes of paleontology in Yonderre. Lange was an early adopter and proponent of Carl-Auguste d'Arvinne's theories of evolution, a controversial stance even in the scientific communities of the time whose stance was of the biblical inclination that all creatures were created simultaneously.

Joanusaurus and international expeditions

Paleontological digs increased in number and scope during the 1860s but were still hampered by a relatively modest number of working paleontologists. The first Mantellisaurus specimens in Yonderre were discovered in the Vollardic Mountains in 1866 by Thibault d'Avignon, a student of Killian Lange. While not as complete as the Carveaux Slab discovered in the Ile Burgundie in 1843, the specimen included a complete pelvis and several vertebrae, both very well preserved for their time. d'Avignon would continue to uncover fossils in the Vollardic Mountains, most notably when the discovery of Joanusaurus came in 1878, when a friend of d'Avignon bought a petrified bone from a curio shop in Koop, Yonderre. When examined by d'Avignon, the bone was recognized as the radius bone of a large theropod, and d'Avignon tentatively assigned it to the genus established genus Vollardisaurus. d'Avignon would go on to uncover more remains of Joanusaurus in the Vollardic Mountains and eventually describe it as a seperate genus in 1878.[7]

Golden age of paleontology

Dinosaur renaissance

Modern developments

In popular culture

Dinosaur craze

In media

Notable specimens

Big Yon

Big Yon (UJMN 872) on display at the Vollardie Paleontological Museum

Big Yon is a 95% complete Joanusaurus with several interesting pathologies presesnt in the skeleton. Paleontologists were able to piece together a hypothetical life story for Big Yon based on these pathologies that was turned into a 45 minute long television documentary by Primo Kino in 2000 as the Life and Death of Big Yon.

Big Yon was discovered on accident in 1980 by miners in Marsbury in the northern Ionian Mountains, Urcea. A joint team of Yonderian and Urcean paleontologists painstakingly uncovered the specimen, named UJMN 872 and quickly nicknamed Big Yon. The specimen measured about 9 meters (about 29 ft) in length and showed remarkable signs of healed or partially healed injuries. Nineteen of its bones were broken or showed signs of infection, which may have contributed to Big Yon's death. Pathologic bones included five ribs, five vertebrae, and four bones of the feet; several damaged bones showed osteomyelitis, a bone infection. A particular problem for the living animal was infection and trauma to the right foot that probably affected movement and may have also predisposed the other foot to injury because of a change in gait. Big Yon had an infection on the first phalanx on the third toe that was afflicted by an involucrum.[8]


Fossil beds

The Greater Levantine Formation (tan) in central Levantia (gray)

Notable fossil beds in Yonderre include:


Notable pre-Holocene species relevant to paleontology in Yonderre include:

See also


  1. Unless otherwise noted, all mentions of dinosaurs refer to extinct species that lived prior to the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
  2. While Scrotum humanum, part of a theropod tibia, had already been described in 1677, it was not recognized as a dinosaur fossil until the late nineteenth century.
  3. Lange, Killian: Of Vollardisaurus and dinosauria, their traits and their life, University of Collinebourg. 1842.
  4. Balboa, Maximus: A comprehensive history of paleontology, pg. 2-7. 2004.
  5. Lange, Killian: Of Vollardisaurus and dinosauria, their traits and their life, University of Collinebourg. 1842.
  6. Lange, Killian: Rattusfukus, a rat-like mammal from Azikor, University of Collinebourg. 1847.
  7. Balboa, Maximus: A comprehensive history of paleontology, pg. 14-19. 2004.
  8. Horner et al.: The Curious Case of Big Yon the Joanusaurus, University of Collinebourg. 1989.