Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for May, 2008

Something came up at a meeting the other day and I consider it worth discussing. And it concerns birds – which is good, because I haven’t done much on birds at Tet Zoo lately. Specifically, it concerns sunbirds, or nectariniids, the nectarivorous, superficially hummingbird-like passerines of the Old World tropics. Sunbirds are passeroid oscines: they’ve…

Observant readers might have noticed the several recent references to ‘big news in a big journal’ coming soon, or on ‘how a Tet Zoo article evolved into a peer-reviewed technical publication’. Yes, not all of Tet Zoo is idle nonsense written for fun; at least some of it results in actual peer-reviewed result: you know,…

Side-stabbing stiletto snakes

It goes without saying that most predatory animals need to open their mouths when they want to stab or bite potential prey items. But, get this, there’s a group of snakes that can erect their teeth and stab prey with a closed mouth. And that’s not all that’s interesting about these snakes. Yes, time for…

RIP Yeheskel Shoshani

I was saddened to learn today of the recent death of elephant researcher and conservationist Prof. Yeheskel (or Hezy) Shoshani: he was severely injured in what is thought to have been a terrorist attack in Addis Ababa (where he worked) on Tuesday 20th May, and died in hospital on Wednesday 21st. Two other people travelling…

Nightjars of Madagascar

Another busy week, so no time yet to finish any new articles, sorry. The photo here – kindly supplied by Mary Blanchard – depicts the little-known Collared nightjar Caprimulgus enarratus, a Madagascan endemic associated with humid evergreen forest and primary lowland forest (though it has also recently been reported from mangroves and brush forest). Its…

My old, sad t-shirt

Tone and I recently threw out* tons of old clothes, and among the many t-shirts I’d been hoarding was the one shown here: I had it made in 1993 for the Jurassic Park premiere, how sad is that. Consider it a protest directed at Spielberg’s hideous feather-less dromaeosaurs (recall that, even in 1993, many of…

What was that skull?

Well done and thanks to everyone who had a go at identifying the mystery skull, and congrats to TJ, Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Mark Lees and others: it was indeed a glyptodont, specifically a glyptodontine glyptodontid and, most specifically of all, Glyptodon clavipes. So much for posting the answer on Sunday night – I’ve been busy but,…

Identify the oddity

What the hell is this? As usual, I’m sure that many people will get it, but oddities (clues?) to note include the paired shallow concavities on the dorsal surface, the rugose laterodorsal patches and the clusters of large foramina. Have fun… PS – I’ll post the answer on Sunday night.

Despite efforts, there just hasn’t been enough time (yet) to get Tet Zoo to properly reflect the balance of diversity within Tetrapoda (I blame the charismatic megafauna). And among the many groups that have been totally under-represented here are the snakes: one of the most speciose (over 2700 species) and abundant tetrapod clades. It’ll take…

I have a lot on at the moment, so getting this finished wasn’t easy – but I managed it. Here we are with the rest of my recollections from ‘Dinosaurs (and other extinct saurians) – A Historical Perspective’, held at Burlington House (home of the Geological Society of London) on May 6th and 7th (part…