Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for August, 2008

Meteoroid vs goose… again

Thanks to the latest issue (no. 240) of Fortean Times I’ve just learnt of the remarkable case whereby an unlucky Canada goose Branta canadensis was, allegedly, hit by a meteoroid (Anon. 2008). The story goes that Derbyshire postman Adrian Mannion was ‘having a morning cuppa with his wife Fiona’ (I’m not quite sure what a…

What with the recent articles here on tree-climbing dinosaurs and dromaeosaur tails it seems appropriate to post this image, taken in a German museum (but unfortunately I can’t remember which one: let me know if you do). I don’t know anything about the mount, but I guess that the people behind it wanted to present…

One of the few things that everybody knows about dromaeosaurs – the sickle-clawed maniraptoran theropods best represented by Velociraptor from Mongolia and Deinonychus from Montana – is that they possessed a peculiar tail. Super-long zygapophyses and chevrons formed a bizarre, inter-twined array of body rods that ran the length of the tail and apparently assisted…

A world without Baw Baw frogs?

I have not forgotten that 2008 is Year of the Frog: if you have, or if you didn’t know this, please go back to December 2007 and read the explanatory article here. Some of you will also recall the EDGE project (EDGE = Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered), and here we look at an anuran…

Tet Zoo on tour

Well, what an interesting time I’ve had. Firstly, many thanks to everyone who left a comment – however silly or clueless – on the ‘novel Mesozoic archosaur’ I posted here a few weeks ago. As those in the know correctly stated, the cartoons depict the Brazilian Cretaceous theropod Irritator challengeri in its original guise as…

A truly novel Mesozoic archosaur

So, conference season is upon us, and I leave you now for a little while. But here’s something to have fun with in the meantime… Back at a conference in 2003, Bob Nicholls (of paleocreations.com) and I wasted time during a lecture by drawing silly pictures. Here’s mine, Bob’s is below the fold. The question…

As a kid, among my most favourite books were those of the Casa Editrice AMZ’s Animal Life and The Private Lives of Animals series, first published in Italian during the late 1960s and translated into English during the 70s. There are loads of these books, and they all follow the same format: a big painting…

The Great spotted woodpecker shown here yesterday was, I think, an unusual individual, and thanks to everyone who had a go at explaining what it was that made her so odd. Unfortunately no-one got it right. Several of you noted that she appeared to be tridactyl on at least one foot, whereas she should be…

She was a very strange woodpecker

Here’s a sadly deceased female Great spotted woodpecker Picoides major I recently photographed in a private collection. She was a very unusual woodpecker. Any ideas why?

Duiker, rhymes with biker

Of course – sorry – it was not a living thylacine, and I’m both impressed and dismayed that the real answer – Zebra duiker or Banded duiker Cephalophus zebra – had been posted within 20 minutes of publication [adjacent photo of C. zebra from the Zebra duiker page on the outstanding Ultimate Ungulate]. Well done…