Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for December, 2008

Attack of the flying steamer ducks

I like ducks, and I particularly like steamer ducks. Again, here we revisit some Tet Zoo ver 1 text that was originally published in 2006 as part of the Ten Birds Meme. The most widely distributed of the four Tachyeres species*, the Flying steamer duck T. patachonicus inhabits both the fresh and marine waters of…

Don’t do that Dave

All three tetrapods shown here all work on tetrapods. But what the hell Dave Martill was doing I can’t recall. Eric Buffetaut appears over my shoulder. I look bemused. Mo Hussan – of The Disillusioned Taxonomist – took this photo on the Isle of Wight. Thanks Mo, I think. Something about Tet Zoo has been…

Pseudopodoces, the corvid that wasn’t

More from the archives – and again this is from the Ten Bird Meme of 2006. If convergence is one of the most interesting evolutionary phenomena, then the Ground tit Pseudopodoces humilis should become a text-book example of it, on par with thylacines vs wolves and ichthyosaurs vs dolphins [adjacent photo from here]. Described in…

Another article from the archives, written back on April 19th 2006. Two days earlier I’d sat up watching BBC4’s night of primate documentaries, and that where our story begins… I’ve sat up and watched such things as ‘Natural History Night’ and ‘Dr Who Night’ before – usually they’re a con, the programmes fizzling out round…

The domes of wisdom

Here’s an interesting photo provided by Markus Bühler (of Bestiarium): it shows a bull Asian elephant Elephas maximus at Hagenbeck Zoo, Hamburg. The picture is neat for a few reasons. For one, it emphasises the agility of elephants: despite their size and ‘graviportal’ specialisations, they can still do some pretty impressive bending and stooping. They’re…

B. rex!

Another bit of text from the Ten Bird Meme of 2006. This time: well, you already know… also called the Shoe-billed stork, She-billed stork [not a typo], Whale-bill or Whale-headed stork, Balaeniceps rex is a long-legged big-billed waterbird of central Africa, and a specialist denizen of papyrus swamps. Though known to the ancient Egyptians, it…

Giant furry pets of the Incas

Another one from the archives. It’s one of several articles I wrote in 2006 on obscure tropical rodents, was originally published here, and appears here with new pics and a few new details… If you’ve read Scott Weidensaul’s excellent book The Ghost With Trembling Wings (2002), you’ll recall the story of Louise Emmons and the…