Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for May, 2009

The proofs for one of my books arrived the other day, so I have been busy busy busy. This (in part) explains the lack of action here on the blog, and the preponderance of recycled stuff. Sorry about that. In fact, sorry, here’s another recycled article from Tet Zoo ver 1. Hopefully I’ll have the…

Today sees the publication of a new paper by Michael P. Taylor, Mathew Wedel and myself in which we make a bold and controversial claim: based on data from living animals, we contend that the necks of sauropod dinosaurs – all sauropod dinosaurs – were most likely held habitually in erect poses, and not in…

No time to produce anything new, so here’s another recycled book review… While the Mesozoic strata of Patagonia are particularly well known for their diverse and often spectacular dinosaurs, they have also yielded a phenomenally rich record of other Mesozoic reptiles, including turtles, squamates, plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, crocodilians and pterosaurs. In this multi-authored volume (another contribution…

Are parrots actually pigeons?

Historically, an apparent absence of transitional forms has made it difficult to reconstruct the evolutionary affinities of the different modern avian ‘orders’. As you’ll know if you’ve been keeping up with the results of the various big molecular and morphological analyses – and who hasn’t – the avian cladogram is gradually coming together, though areas…

Screwed-up Secretary bird

Here is a Secretary bird Sagittarius serpentarius skeleton I photographed some time ago: as usual, apologies for my terrible photography. The bird is lying on its back, and both its wings and legs are folded up. I would like you to concentrate in particular on its humeri: what the hell is going on?

Like most scientific communities, the world of academic tetrapod zoology is an incestuous place. Inspired by a comment made here at Tet Zoo by Matt Wedel – co-author, colleague and one of the three SV-POWsketeers – Cameron McCormick (who works on guppies but is collaborating with Michael Woodley and yours truly on sea monsters) has…

100 years of Tyrannosaurus rex

Few dinosaurs are as well studied as the Upper Cretaceous tyrannosaurid theropod Tyrannosaurus rex. It might be easy to assume that this intense focus has been driven by the fame and glory associated with working on this dinosaur. That might be partly true but, in fact, T. rex really is one of the best known…

It might not be well known outside of palaeontology that the south-west of England is famous for its marine reptile fossils. But it is: some of the best, most historically significant, plesiosaur and ichthyosaur specimens have come from Street in Somerset and from Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset. These rocks – spanning the Triassic-Jurassic…

I try not to under-estimate the intelligence of my readers, but couldn’t you be just a little more clueless? I mean, come on: virtually every person who left a comment realised that the ‘mystery animal’ from yesterday was a replica owl. Clearly, it was much, much easier than I thought. Anyway, well done everyone. These…

Last weekend I went out, and saw this. What could it be? Warning: this is not meant to be easy. Answer tomorrow.