Tetrapod Zoology

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 already published (Taylor & Naish 2007) or in press.


Here, Mike shakes hands with Eric Buffetaut (his external examiner) while a very jovial Andy Gale (his internal examiner; he looks suspiciously like Eddie Izzard in this shot) stands by. Unfortunately, notable absences meant that the post-viva celebrations were not as raucous as is usual, but we still had a fun time talking about Camelotia, Giraffatitan, the Archibishop, elongate trachea, taxonomic vandalism and choristoderes. Well done again, Mike, and welcome to the club!

Refs – –

Taylor, M. P. & Naish, D. 2007. An unusual new neosauropod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Hastings Beds Group of East Sussex, England. Palaeontology 50, 1547-1564.


  1. #1 David Marjanović
    April 30, 2009

    Taxonomic vandalism? Sounds like fun!

    Choristoderes? Sounds like the headache Zeus had when he was, uh, pregnant with Athena.

    Congratulations anyway 🙂

  2. #2 Colin McHenry
    April 30, 2009

    Congratulations Mike! A very worthy achievement. Well done.

  3. #3 John Conway
    April 30, 2009

    Gosh, they’ll hand them out to just about anyone, won’t they? (…congrats Mike).

  4. #4 Zach Miller
    April 30, 2009

    Camelotia? Whuttzitz? Congrats again, Mike. Was there a hazing process? Did it involve spiders?

  5. #5 Nathan Myers
    April 30, 2009

    This is the thesis that was titled just “Sauropods”, right? That provoked the enigmatic remark about Darren’s legendary laziness? (And should have been titled “Long Necks, Short Tempers”?)

    See http://svpow.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/darn/

  6. #6 Mark Hallett, paleoartist
    April 30, 2009

    Great news, Mike, and congratulations (I know, that word must be ringing in your ears, but how sweet)! I’m really looking forward to reading your paper! –Mark

  7. #7 William Miller
    April 30, 2009

    Congrats! Too bad it didn’t end up being titled “Sauropods” though…

    BTW, what is “taxonomic vandalism”? I Googled it but understanding the hits seemed to require previous knowledge of the people and issues involved…

  8. #8 Michael P. Taylor
    May 1, 2009

    Thanks to all for your congratulations! Zach, Camelotia is a prosauropod; no hazing process, just a pleasant chat about sauropods; Nathan, yes, that’s the one — I ended up with the rather less memorable (but no more informative) title “Aspects of the history, anatomy, taxonomy and palaeobiology of sauropod dinosaurs”; Mark, the paper that (I think) you’re referring to has been in press for seven months and will hopefully see the light of day pretty soon.

    William: I won’t say too much about “taxonomic vandalism” (which actually ought to be called “nomenclatural vandalism” but that doesn’t have the same ring) because I know Darren’s planning a TZ post on this subject. But to get a flavour, you might like to page your way through this post: http://forums.kingsnake.com/view.php?id=976924,976924

  9. #9 Darren Naish
    May 1, 2009

    Camelotia a ‘prosauropod’? Surely you jest 🙂

    Seriously, in recent phylogenies it’s a basal sauropod, closer to Eusauropoda than to taxa like Blikanasaurus and Antetonitrus (this is what I was saying to Eric when you came out of the pub).

  10. #10 Michael P. Taylor
    May 1, 2009

    All right, then, Mister Picky-Pants: Camelotia is one of those crappy super-basal “sauropods” that’s so plesiomorphic it might just as well be a prosauropod. (Upchurch et al. 2007 recovered it in a weakly supported clade with Lessemsaurus and Melonorosaurus, which — according to Adam’s definition of Sauropoda, shortly to be enshrined in the Phylocode companion volume — makes it a non-sauropod). Anyway, as everyone knows, the fun really starts when you get down inside Eusauropoda.

  11. #11 Darren Naish
    May 1, 2009

    That’s Dr Picky-Pants to you. Adam – you know, the guys who’s phylogenetic definition we’re going with – found it to be within Sauropoda in the Aliwalia paper.

    Huh, crappy. Huh, basal. A PhD craves not these things.

  12. #12 David Marjanović
    May 1, 2009


    <duck & cover>


  13. #13 Hai~Ren
    May 1, 2009

    Congrats Mike Taylor!

    Ugh, Australian herpetology is such a mess, what with the antics of Wells & Wellington, and Ray Hoser. I still can’t quite bring myself to accept using Broghammerus for the reticulated python…

  14. #14 Darren Naish
    May 1, 2009

    Now now now – wait for the article! 🙂 But, while we’re here, did you follow the comments on the scolecophidian article?

  15. #15 Craig York
    May 1, 2009

    My congratulations as well, for what its worth…

    “Dr. Picky-pants” gave me the biggest smile I ‘ve had
    all week.

    Forward, Into the past!

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