Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Fun Day 33 - Ontogenetic Triceratops Cookies




We had the privilege of sitting in on a small group presentation by paleontologist Jack Horner, the Museum of the Rockies' Curator of Paleontology.  He talked about, among other things, triceratops ontogeny (or how triceratops changed and developed as it grew from birth to old age).  

The video below, from the California Academy of Science, explains the same thing...



...except, as we learned from Jack Horner, there is an ongoing debate between scientists like himself (with a triceratops home-field advantage) and those at Yale (the smart guys, whose predecessors originally named the beasts), as to what a grown-up triceratops looked like.  If you click on the links you can hear what each camp has to say, or check out an actual "smack down" between the two sides, here.

Living in Montana, we're apt to side with Jack Horner and home team.  But, keeping in mind these are some of the same folks who are trying to de-evolve a chicken embryo into a dinosaur...


...we might just stay home, and make cookies instead, and let the scientists slug it out, themselves.

If you'd like to join us, you'll need a batch of chocolate sugar cookie dough...



...triceratops body and leg templates printed so the longest body is around nine and half inches long, and the tallest leg is two and three quarter inches high (you will need two sets of legs for each cookie).

The frills can be cut using 1 inch to 4 inch, heart cookie cutters.  Cut a small indent into the bottom of each heart, removing the point, so they will be able to slip over the neck of the body pieces, and pinch them around the edges, to give them a bumpy sort of look.  

We used a four inch heart for both the large triceratops, and the larger torosaurus/grown-up triceratops, just pressing out the center of the larger's frill, to elongate it.  I would also suggest pushing the top lobes together, to lessen the v at the top of the heart - this will help them to look more like triceratops frills, and less like giant ears.


Tip:  Cut properly, the cookies will stand on their own when pieced together...


...but it doesn't hurt to pipe frosting under the feet, and in the joints to hold everything in place.


Oh, and be careful not to roll the dough too thick for the heart/frills, or they will be too heavy, and will take the whole dinosaur down.


Interestingly enough, that's one of the reasons Jack Horner believes the triceratops would have needed to develop torosaurus like holes in their frills as they grew larger.


It's great to be a homeschooler.

5 comments:

Raising a Happy Child said...

This is way too cool! As for "deevolving" a chicken into a dinosaur - I'll settle for a genetically engineered mammoth for now :)

Ticia said...

I love your cookie constructions.

Christy Killoran said...

Wow!!!!

Phyllis said...

Those are very cute cookies.

Amber Hockman said...

You are simply AMAZING...