Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for April, 2009

Welcome, Dr M. P. Taylor

As you’ll know if you’ve already seen the announcement over at SV-POW!, my friend and co-author Mike P. Taylor successfully defended his Ph. D. yesterday: congratulations again, Mike. Mike’s thesis was titled Aspects of the History, Anatomy, Taxonomy and Palaeobiology of Sauropod Dinosaurs: its contents (listed here) will soon see publication; indeed, some chapters are…

Inspired by comments made following the emu dissection article from Monday, I got thinking about elongate tracheae in birds. As we’ll see, this subject is fertile ground if you like serious weirdness and spectacular extremes [Trumpet manucodes shown here, from wikipedia.. all will become clear]. Before we get to that serious weirdness and those spectacular…

Dissecting an emu

Back in 2006 my good friend Matt Wedel – who you may know better as one of the three SV-POWsketeers or as plain old Dr Vector – produced a short article on an emu dissection he participated in at the University of California at Santa Cruz [adjacent image: an Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae… though note that…

I never planned to do a whole week on ceratopsians: the initial idea was just to recycle some of those field guide texts in order to save a bit of time. But, oh well, Ceratopsian Week took on a life all its own. To finish things off, we’re going to look at some tremendously obscure…

What with yesterday’s article on an ‘alternative look’ for ceratopsians, here’s another one. The image used here (again, a powerpoint slide from one of my talks) is pretty self-explanatory, and I use it here because Witmer and colleagues (Papp 1997, Papp & Witmer 1998) used the leptoceratopsid ceratopsian Leptoceratops as their examplar…

One of the most distinctive features of ceratopsian dinosaurs is the conspicuous bony frill, formed from the parietal and squamosal bones, that projected backwards (and sometimes upwards too) from the rear margin of the skull. Typically decorated around their edges by semi-circular bones called epoccipitals, and sometimes sporting horns, spikes or mid-line keels, frills were…

So far we’ve looked at leptoceratopsids and chasmosaurine ceratopsids. This time, it’s the turn of the basal ceratopsoid Zuniceratops. If these terms are giving you grief, a cladogram showing a few of them is below…

Another obscure ceratopsian from the defunct field guide project: for the back story go here and here. A distinctive chasmosaurine similar in size to a large rhino (total length approximately 3.5 m), Anchiceratops ornatus was a heavily built species with a particularly short tail and robust limbs [adjacent image from wikipedia. Not bad, but it…

Once more, I’m going to start recycling some of those dinosaur texts written for the defunct field guide (for the back-story on that project see the ornithomimosaur article here). This time round, I’ll get through some of the ceratopsians [adjacent skull reconstruction from wikipedia, and based on an image by Jaime Headden].

Thanks to Monday’s article on the unusual African mosasaur Goronyosaurus, I will admit that I was – quite seriously – considering doing a ‘mosasaur week’, perhaps even a ‘weird mosasaur week’. Alas, I have not had the time. However: brand-new in the journals is Johan Lindgren et al.’s article on the skin of a Plotosaurus…