Paleontology

Category archives for Paleontology

Pterosaurs by Mark Witton

Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy by Mark P. Witton is a coffee-table size book rich in detail and lavishly illustrated. Witton is a pterosaur expert at the School of Earh and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. He is famous for his illustrations and his work in popular media such as the film “Walking…

Giant Semiaquatic Predatory Dinosaur

It is called Spinosaurus aegyptiacus but it sounds a bit more like Godzilla. Spinosaurus is a theropod dinosaur (that’s the groups birds evolved within) found in what is now NOrth Africa, between about 112 and 97 million years ago. It was first discovered about one century ago, though those bones were destroyed during WW II.…

Titanic Fearless Dinosaur Unearthed

I’m sure you’ve heard. The most complete skeleton of a titanosaur, a newly named species, Dreadnoughtus schrani, is being reported from Argentina. It is not a bird. I mention that because we’ve been talking about how birds are dinosaurs lately (see:”Honey, I shrunk the dinosaurs” and “Flying Dinosaurs: A new book on the dinosaur bird…

Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds by science writer John Pickrell is coming out in December. As you know I’ve written a lot about the bird-dinosaur thing (most recently, this: “Honey I Shrunk the Dinosaurs“) so of course this sounded very interesting to me. In a way, Pickrell’s book is a missing link, in…

I remember finding out about the Tethys Sea and being really excited. I was just beginning my studies of Old World prehistory, Africa, and Human Evolution. What I learned about was the remnant sea separating Africa and Eurasia called Tethys, though it is much more than that (see below). Imagine a Eurasia with no Alps,…

Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs

You all know Don Prothero. He is an active member of the Skeptics and Science Blogging community. He is the author of several books, one of which you are totally supposed to own and if you don’t it’s kinda lame: Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. It occurred to me today that…

How to find dinosaurs!

Study hard and get this guy’s job: I love that book, but when I was a kid they didn’t have dinosaurs yet.

How does David Attenborough crawl through a marshy Cycad forest toward an exposed rocky ledge overlooking a vast plain of grazing dinosaurs, drawing ever closer to a nesting colony of Quetzalcoatlus Pterodactlyoids (known in the business as “Flying Giraffes”) camera crew in tow, nearly out of breath, turning to the camera and speaking of how…

A Very Cool Ancient Crocodile

I have never actually seen a snake eat a crocodile or a crocodile eat a snake, but I am pretty sure I’ve seen a snake planning to eat a Nile Croc. And that was in the geological present. In the geological past, about 60 million years ago (during the “Eocene” a.k.a. “dawn age”) there was…

Sometimes interesting scientific evidence shows up in unexpected places. Years ago, there had been discussion of the possibility that immediate post glacial climate in the North Atlantic coastal region was unusually warm, but the evidence was spotty. Then, I was looking through material taken from a geotechnical boring placed to assess the geology of a…