Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for September, 2008

The detachable tails of pigeons

Regular readers might remember the ‘pigeon in the fireplace’ incident of March 2007, when a Wood pigeon Columba palumbus fell down my chimney during the small hours of the morning and had to be extricated at great personal cost to my epidermis. As I grabbed the pigeon, I was slightly dismayed that its entire rectricial…

Giant killer pigs from hell

Entelodonts were covered briefly on Tet Zoo back in July 2007 (here), when life was oh so different. Here’s a brand-new rendition of Entelodon from the Late Eocene and Early Oligocene of western Europe, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Japan (it’s probably the most widely distributed entelodont), kindly provided by Jaime Chirinos of zooartistica.com and used…

Sleep behaviour and sleep postures

For a long time now I have been, shall we say, gently encouraged by two of my friends to write about a subject that is both familiar, and yet also strangely alien and poorly understood. Sleep behaviour. We still know comparatively little about this subject: not only about the big stuff like its function, but…

One-eyed indri

For no particular reason, I was looking through Mary’s lemur photos. I saw these and thought them particularly interesting: they show a male Indri Indri indri bark-eating. What makes this individual unusual is that he was missing his left eye (or, at least, had a very damaged left eye). I don’t know why and don’t…

Helveticosaurus zollingeri is an unusual and poorly known diapsid from the Middle Triassic rocks of Monte san Giorgio, Switzerland. First described in 1955, it was initially identified as a primitive placodont and regarded as the only representative of the basal placodont group Helveticosauroidea. But this isn’t correct and Helveticosaurus lacks the features unique to both…

I’ve just been doing – if you will – Parasaurolophus for the day job. As in, writing about the history of its discovery and interpretation. William Parks first described Parasaurolophus walkeri (the first of several species to be named) in 1922, and noted in his paper that the skeleton was odd in possessing a weird…

At the 56th SVPCA – hello Dublin!

For my shame, I had never been to Ireland prior to last week. That’s so crap that I became pretty determined to attend the 56th SVPCA, hosted by the National Museum of Ireland at Dublin, and I’m glad I did. You know, because of the giant deer, hornbills and pliosaurs [montage here shows specimens from…

To begin with, I want to thank everyone who continued to visit Tet Zoo while I was away – you managed to keep Tet Zoo in the top 5 on Nature Blog Network – and I was surprised and pleased that several long-running conversations developed in the comments section of the bunny-killing heron article. Awesome,…

I’m now leaving, again, this time for SVPCA. I’m hoping that I might be able to do some blogging from the conference, but the last time I said this (the Munich Flugsaurier conference back in September 2007) there was neither the time nor opportunity for it, so don’t get your hopes up. Thanks to SVPCA…