Tetrapod Zoology

The Bere Regis polecat corpse

i-92c7d0c64d077dcfbc1eb54161312a41-Bere Regis polecat 20-8-2007.jpg

Have now returned: much more on the details later. Think chickcharnies, giant pigeons, mekosuchines, 40 years of the Patterson footage and Patty’s hamstring tendon, Siberian roe deer Capreolus pygargus in England, and statistics and sea monsters. A fun time was had by all.

Oh, and on the way back home Jon McGowan and I discovered the adjacent road-killed Polecat Mustela putorius at Bere Regis, Dorset. Anyway, all I have to do now is prepare for conference # 2. Yikes, a week to get ready. Alas, the silence will continue.

And many, many thanks to Michael Traynor, Aaron Kralik and T. Keesey!

And – what the hell – I thought I’d add this picture (thanks to Mark North). Why didn’t anyone tell me I’m that fat? As usual, a prize to anyone who knows the significance of all three images on the screen (and don’t bother commenting on the big image on the left.. I think it’s a given that we all know what that is). True Tet Zoo addicts should know the answer.

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Comments

  1. #1 T. Michael Keesey
    August 21, 2007

    Eh? What did I do?

  2. #2 Zach Miller
    August 21, 2007

    Darren, while you’re back, I’d love it if you could head over to my current blog (whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com) and check out my Henodus picture. Tell me what you think, sir! The little bastard took forever!

  3. #3 Mike
    August 21, 2007

    “road-killed Polecat”

    If I ever form a band, I might go with that name. Got a nice ring to it.

    And you’re welcome, Darren.

  4. #4 Aaron Kralik
    August 21, 2007

    No problem my friend, least i can do for someone who helps fill the void in my life between work and sleep.

  5. #5 Anthony Docimo
    August 22, 2007

    welcome back!

    tiny question – do you think Caseids could have (like cicadas) used their whole body to amplify their calls?
    just wondering.

  6. #6 David Marjanovi?
    August 22, 2007

    tiny question – do you think Caseids could have (like cicadas) used their whole body to amplify their calls?

    They were deaf like snakes. This is, incidentally, the normal (plesiomorphic) condition; the ability to hear airborne sounds of reasonably high frequency is unique to frogs, mammals, turtles, crown-group diapsids (with several reversals in lepidosaurs, such as the snakes), perhaps procolophonoids, and perhaps (postmetamorphic) seymouriamorphs.

    So… it’s very unlikely they made any noise deliberately.

  7. #7 johannes
    August 22, 2007

    > do you think Caseids could have (like cicadas)
    > used their whole body to amplify their calls?

    And would they have been able to hear each other calling – were they able to detect airborne sounds (If I remember Bakker’s Dinosaur Heresies right, the bones in the ears of many permocarboniferous amniotes were not delicate enough for hearing)?

  8. #8 johannes
    August 22, 2007

    > the ability to hear airborne sounds of
    > reasonably high frequency is unique to
    > frogs, mammals, turtles, crown-group
    > diapsids (with several reversals in lepidosaurs,
    > such as the snakes), perhaps procolophonoids,
    > and perhaps (postmetamorphic) seymouriamorphs.

    What about non-mammalian therapsids in general and non-mammalian cynodonts in particular?

  9. #9 chris wemmer
    August 23, 2007

    Are you sure that soggy ferret isn’t the victim of a ferret-legging match that turned mean in a pub? I know how you laddybucks get stoked up at meetings.

  10. #10 David Marjanovi?
    August 23, 2007

    What about non-mammalian therapsids in general and non-mammalian cynodonts in particular?

    There’s a nice, very detailed paper on the ear apparatus of Chiniquodon in the latest JVP. Yes, it did use the postdentary bones + quadrate for hearing — but not above 2 kHz or something.

  11. #11 Anthony Docimo
    August 24, 2007

    >They were deaf like snakes
    I think cicadas are deaf too.
    hm.
    *shrugs* twas just a thought.

  12. #12 Alan Kellogg
    August 24, 2007

    Any discussion of Patty’s herniated thigh muscle?

    [from Darren: yes]

  13. #13 Tommy Tyrberg
    August 26, 2007

    Thatlittle bird looks like it might be a Cryptic Warbler (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi), but then it might be any of several recently described or not-yet-described LBJ’s (ornithological shorthand for “Little brown jobs”).

  14. #14 Sam Heads
    August 28, 2007

    On an entomological note, cicadas aren’t deaf… they have a complex tymbal accoustic system: on each side of the proximal part of the abdomen (either tergites one or two) is a tymbal and a tympanum (you have to lift the wings forward to see these). The tymbal is composed of thin plates that vibrate to produce the call. The membranous tympanum detects sound. All Auchenorrhyncha have this unique sound production-detection system, though most are inaudible to humans. Cicadas are the exception and have extremely loud calls owing to their large and elaborate tymbals. Interestingly, some male cicadas fold their own tympana when calling so that they don’t damage them!

  15. #15 Neil
    August 28, 2007

    I believe the polecat photo spread an important message about using your mobile when crossing the road….:D

  16. #16 Sam Heads
    September 4, 2007

    In addition to my earlier comment about cicadas, there’s an interesting news report in this weeks Nature about the tibicenine Cryptotympana facialis causing havoc in Osaka, Japan. The population increases year by year over a four year cycle (dropping again in the fifth year); this year the population is set to reach a peak, with over twice as many individuals as last year. This means that noise levels are likely to reach deafening point (in excess of 94 decibels!). These cicadas are also mistaking fibre-optic cables for withered branches and attempting to lay their eggs in them; females are piercing the cables with their ovipositors and in some cases, severing them completely!

    [from Darren: whoah whoah whoah Sam, this is Tetrapod Zoology. But nice to see you hanging around. And I don't dislike cicadas.]

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