I used to have a deep-seated sense of guilt that I didn’t post enough dinosaur stuff here at Tet Zoo. After all, I might be the only writer at scienceblogs involved in palaeontology, so I have a duty to remind the world how incredibly cool and scientifically relevant long-extinct dinosaurs are. Well, yeah, you can argue that Mesozoic dinosaurs aren’t that ‘relevant’ to the big things we all worry about* – but, as is so often pointed out, an interest in dinosaurs is actually one of the first things that gets a lot of people, particularly kids, interested/involved in science. Vertebrate palaeontologists, more so than many other scientists, are therefore on the front line when it comes to science education.
* Yes, you can argue that, but it doesn’t mean you’re right.
Anyway, sorry, I’m spinning off at a tangent. Now that I’ve blogged about Holtz and Rey’s new book, the dinosaur talks at SVPCA, my thoughts on Becklespinax and Valdoraptor, and on a few other things, I feel a bit better about the quantity of dinosaur-coverage. Don’t worry though: I like to keep things balanced, and the urge to get back to endangered frogs, pipistrelles, ground squirrels and geckos is strong.
But one more dinosaury thing is now on the radar. I have limited experience with sauropods, and most of the experience I have involves, in some way, my good friends Mike P. Taylor and Mathew [sic] Wedel. Mike and Matt are, like, seriously seriously into sauropod vertebrae. Like, way too seriously. Such is evident from Matt’s publication record (free pdfs available here: you have to first look at a photo of Matt dressed as Australia Man however)… it involves lots of work on pneumaticity (Wedel 2003a, b, 2004, 2005a), neck musculature (Wedel & Sanders 2002), and on the morphology, relationships and palaeobiology of Matt’s pet brachiosaur, Sauroposeidon (Wedel 2005b, Wedel & Cifelli 2005, Wedel et al. 2000a, b). Mike’s body of work has yet to hit the journal stands, but he’s done a lot of work on a lot of sauropods (for hints and previews see the ver 1 article here). His publications, and various other bits and pieces, are available here.
Believe it or don’t, the three of us came up with a new, crazy plan…. to start a new blog (holds breath, pauses for effect) devoted entirely to sauropod vertebrae. Yes, world, I give you the Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week blog, or SV-POW! for short. It’s amazing that no-one thought of doing this sooner. Oh, actually, no it’s not, but: please visit, and keep tabs on what is surely going to be one of the most amazing events ever in the history of the blogosphere. And, no, it will not effect the posting rate or anything else on Tet Zoo [adjacent pic is the only one I can find of the three of us together. Left to right: Naish, Wedel, Taylor. Don't ask about the t-shirts]. I think our nerdometer readings just hit the theoretical maximum; now we just sit back and watch the tens of thousands of hits roll in (err, you did install a counter right Mike?).
I thank you.
Refs – -
Wedel, M. J. 2003a. The evolution of vertebral pneumaticity in sauropod dinosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 23, 344-357.
- . 2003b. Vertebral pneumaticity, air sacs, and the physiology of sauropod dinosaurs. Paleobiology 29, 243-255.
- . 2004. The origin of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in dinosaurs. In Buckeridge, J. & Chen, Y. (eds) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Zoology. China Zoological Society (Beijing), pp. 443-445.
- . 2005a. Postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in sauropods and its implications for mass estimates. In Wilson, J. A. & Curry-Rogers, K. (eds). The Sauropods: Evolution and Paleobiology. University of California Press (Berkeley), pp. 201-228.
- . 2005b. A little local color: the giant dinosaur Sauroposeidon. Oklahoma Geology Notes 65, 38.
- . & Cifelli, R.L. 2005. Sauroposeidon: Oklahoma’s native giant. Oklahoma Geology Notes 65, 40-57.
- ., Cifelli, R.L. & Sanders, R.K. 2000a. Sauroposeidon proteles, a new sauropod from the Early Cretaceous of Oklahoma. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20, 109-114.
- ., Cifelli, R.L. & Sanders, R.K. 2000b. Osteology, paleobiology, and relationships of the sauropod dinosaur Sauroposeidon. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 45, 343-388.
- . & Sanders, R. K. 2002. Osteological correlates of cervical musculature in Aves and Sauropoda (Dinosauria: Saurischia), with comments on the cervical ribs of Apatosaurus. PaleoBios 22 (3), 1-6.