Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for September, 2008

I’ve said it before: it isn’t that I don’t like giraffes – quite the contrary – it’s just that they have a nasty habit of dying in the most bizarre, fascinating ways. And, because they’re such big, obvious, famous animals, when they do die in bizarre and fascinating ways, people tend to record it photographically.…

The skin of ichthyosaurs

No time for anything new, unfortunately. But I have a lot of old stuff kicking around: here, I’ve recycled text from my undergrad thesis on ichthyosaurs. I hope you get something out of it. Ichthyosaurs are famous for preserving impressions of soft tissue; these are preserved as black, carbonaceous films, and are known for specimens…

My week in pictures

Here are some neat things I saw this week. You get points for identifying stuff or saying interesting things about it. What you see in the adjacent pictures was visible from my back garden within the last few hours. Amazing stuff, though my rather limited photography meant that I couldn’t capture everything that happened. Remember:…

Tet Zoo, the wordle

After a hiatus of several months I attacked Tet Zoo the book during the small hours of this morning (I started while the repeat of Fossil Detectives was on at 1 am… missed the bit with Jeff Liston and Leedsichthys, did anyone else see it?). For no particular reason I created a wordle from the…

The Long-necked seal, described 1751

If you know anything about the literature on marine cryptids – or sea monsters, or sea serpents, or whatever – you will know of the Long-necked seal, a hypothetical mega-pinniped proposed by Bernard Heuvelmans (1968) as the explanation for sightings of giant long-necked sea (and lake) monsters. Based on a number of apparently reliable eyewitness…

I, Priodontes, the tatuasu

As always, at least a few people got yesterday’s picture correctly identified: it was indeed a Giant armadillo or Tatuasu Priodontes maximus, and specifically the animal’s right hand and lower arm. I photographed it at the National Museum of Ireland (Natural History) during SVPCA 2008. A stuffed specimen was on display next to the skeleton,…

What the hell is it then? I know, I know, dead easy.

Come back Lank, (nearly) all is forgiven

Long-time readers will know that I am an unashamed fan of both speculative zoology, and of Dougal Dixon’s hypothetical ‘alternative’ animals. Inspired by a comment made here in August by Jenny Islander, I have been having a re-think about the possible evolution of flightless pterosaurs: the fossil record gives no indication that such animals ever…

Sorry, another teaser – I haven’t yet had time to post the full article (am aiming to do this on Monday). Again, all will be explained as goes the above [incoporating artwork by Mark Witton and yours truly]. Many, many, many thanks to everyone who made the ‘name my flightless pterosaur’ experiment such a soaraway…

Please name my flightless pterosaur

Don’t worry, all will be explained in the next article. But first things first: please provide the flightless azhdarchid with a binomial name. The cleverest and most euphonious wins (and I pick the winner). Please explain derivations and etymologies where appropriate. Good luck.