Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for March, 2007

Lithgow mega-cat footage goes live

Those of you interested in the whole Australian mega-cats issue may recall my discussion of the Lithgow footage, filmed in 2001 by Gail Pound and her husband Wayne on their camcorder. I first saw the footage at a 2006 conference where it was shown and discussed by Australian cryptozoologist Paul Cropper…

PVP : Predator vs Predator

Predators don’t just kill ‘prey’ species; they also kill other predators whenever given the chance. Lions kill hyenas and cheetahs, tigers kill dholes, dholes kill tigers, wolves kill bears, otters kill mink… dinosaurs kill dinosaurs…

Biggest squirrel ever

This one’s doing the rounds at the moment, you’ve probably already seen it. Funnily enough I have an old article on file (well, on my office wall) about a giant Red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris that attacked a bunch of cub scouts back in the 1980s.. it would have been about this size. The article was…

Most of us have grown up with the idea that the Mesozoic Era was, excepting the Early Triassic, a time when dinosaurs dominated life on land. Or, put another way, a time when dinosaurs were the most ecologically significant and most obvious of all land animals. The familiar generalization, recounted in every book on Mesozoic…

It’s not all dinosaurs, killer eagles, blue whales, vampires and giant feral cats you know… as planned, I did spend Wednesday evening out in the field looking for newts (for the purposes of this discussion, newt = any member of the amphibian clade Salamandridae that is aquatic during the breeding season). Admittedly ‘the field’ may…

Dinosauroid cave art discovered

It started with a visit to the zoo. Those remarkable African birds, the ground hornbills, got me thinking about Dale Russell’s hypothetical thought-experiment (Russell 1987, Russell & Seguin 1982): what if non-avian dinosaurs (specifically, troodontid maniraptorans) had not bought the farm at the end of the Cretaceous but, instead, had continued to evolve? One thing…

Australia’s new feral mega-cats

A few bits of circumstantial evidence suggest to some that feral cats in Australia are now reaching enormous sizes, equivalent to that of a small leopard. This sounds incredible: how does the evidence hold up?

Coming next: that long-promised post on Australian giant cats. If this stuff is unfamiliar to you, prepare to be surprised. I still can’t believe it. After that: the beluwhals, newts (pending fieldwork to be carried out on Wednesday), maybe more feathered dinosaurs…. and rhinogradentians. Spent today watching swimming rats. Only Rattus norvegicus but still cool.

In the previous post we looked at the feathers and filament-like structures that covered the bodies of coelurosaurian theropods. While basal coelurosaurs – compsognathids and tyrannosauroids – possessed filament-like ‘Stage 1’ structures alone, members of Maniraptora (the coelurosaur clade that includes oviraptorosaurs, therizinosauroids, birds, deinonychosaurs and, probably, alvarezsaurids) possessed indisputable vaned feathers. That is, complex…