Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for July, 2008

The original title for this article was going to be ‘Sorry Heteralocha, but you ain’t that special’. I ended up deciding against that, however, as I realised that few readers would know what the hell I was on about, nor indeed what Heteralocha is. Heteralocha (Heteralocha acutirostris to be precise) is the Huia, a large…

Hey, that’s me, there on TV

I suppose it’s not every day you get to appear in a TV series called MonsterQuest. I appear in two places in one episode (first screened last week): once for a little while in the section embedded here, and again much later on. The bit with me starts 2 minutes, 20 seconds in (let’s not…

Better late than never, I’ve only recently gotten hold of Zhou et al.’s paper on the enantiornithine bird Pengornis houi, published online in Journal of Anatomy back in January but now available in hard-copy. I must say that I really dislike the new trend of publishing things in special, online versions prior to their ‘proper’…

Why do some owls have ear tufts?

It’s going to be a busy week, and already I’ve been totally unable to finish any of the planned articles. But I’ll do what I can. In an effort to produce something short and sweet, here’s a look at a question I’ve been pondering for a while: why do some owls have ear tufts? There…

One last thing for sea monster week… but don’t get your hopes up too much. We looked earlier at the Moore’s Beach (or Santa Cruz) sea monster, a carcass that was identified as that of a Baird’s beaked whale Berardius bairdii. I mentioned the fact that the skull was retained by the California Academy of…

Better late than never; I was at the office of a London-based publishing company yesterday, so didn’t have time to get anything ready before today. I know you’ll all forgive me. Anyway… so, how to finish sea monster week? With a predictable and familiar set of images that you’ve seen a hundred times before? Maybe.…

Yay for day…. (counts) … four of sea monster week. This time another familiar carcass image… well, familiar to me anyway. This remarkable object/shapeless hunk is the Tecolutla monster, collected from Palmar de Susana between Tecolutla and Nautla, Veracruz, Mexico, in 1969. Initially encountered by a group of farmers who chanced upon it in the…

Faked tadpole monsters and misidentified dead whales are one thing – are there any real sea monster mysteries left out there? The good news is yes, but as we’ll see it’s not just the identity of the creatures concerned that is mysterious. This is day 3 of sea monster week, and we here look at…

Welcome to day 2 of sea monster week. This time the featured ‘monster’ is a beached carcass: it washed ashore at what was then called Moore’s Beach (it’s now Natural Bridges State Beach), just north-west of Santa Cruz, California, in 1925 and, while identified correctly in virtually all of the cryptozoological literature I’ve seen, is…

Welcome to sea monster week. Yes, a whole week devoted to the discussion and evaluation of photos purportedly showing marine cryptids, or carcasses of them. Why do this? I’m not entirely sure, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. We begin with a fantastic image that – hopefully – you’ve seen here…