Tetrapod Zoology

i-3a8f9f115d2864ad415e83a0d2ecc95e-Sphaerotheca_on_dung.jpg

It’s well known that elephants have a major impact on their environment: indeed, they’re what’s known as ecosystem engineers. In a new study, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz of the University of Tokyo reports that Asian elephant dung might serve a hitherto unreported role as a microhabitat for certain small frog species. While inspecting Asian elephant Elephas maximus dung piles on Sri Lanka in 2008, Campos-Arceiz was surprised to discover individuals of the microhylid frogs Microhyla ornata and M. rubra and a species of the dicroglossid Sphaerotheca [shown here] hiding inside or under the piles (if you need to know where microhylids fit within the anuran radiation, see the Tet Zoo article here; I haven’t gotten round to covering dicroglossids yet).

Of the 290 dung piles examined by Campos-Arceiz, six frogs were discovered (in five different piles), meaning that 1.7% of the dung piles served as homes for little frogs. Because the dung piles were also inhabited by various arthopods, there’s some indication that elephant dung piles might serve as mini-ecosystems, and loads of questions about how important dung piles might be to small frogs are now raised. Do dung piles elsewhere in the world also harbour hitherto overlooked small frogs? Notably, cattle dung piles in the same area were not found to be home to frogs, indicating that the particular conditions created by elephant dung might be ideal for frogs and the associated invertebrates [M. ornata in elephant dung shown below, from Campos-Arceiz (2009)].

i-339119ed16ebef012169794672fd1d0e-microhylid_in_elephant_dung_25-6-2009 copy.jpg

Finally, Campos-Arceiz (2009) notes that this is the first recorded instance in which dung piles have been reported to serve as vertebrate microhabitats. However, that might not be true. As reviewed by Karl Shuker in The Beasts That Hide from Man, a small microbat has reportedly been observed sheltering in elephant dung piles in Kenya (Shuker 2003). One of the witnesses was Terence Adamson (brother of George Adamson of Born Free fame), who kicked a pile of elephant dung and was surprised to see a tiny greyish bat fly out of it. While the ‘elephant dung pile bat’ was never properly identified, Shuker notes ornithologist John Williams’s suggestion that it was (or is) the Horn-skinned bat Eptesicus floweri. So… bats in dung, frogs in dung, whatever next?

Thanks to Glyn Young for bringing Campos-Arceiz (2009) to my attention.

Ref – -

Campos-Arceiz, A. 2009. Shit happens (to be useful)! Use of elephant dung as habitat by amphibians. Biotropica doi:10.1111/j.1744-7429.2009.00525.x

Shuker, K. P. N. 2003. The Beasts That Hide From Man. Paraview Press, New York.

Comments

  1. #1 Matt Wedel
    June 25, 2009

    The implications for Mesozoic ecosystems are mind-bending. Presumably one of the days someone will section a sauropod coprolite and find a stinkin’ mammal, which will really put those mammal workers in their place. Come on, poop!

  2. #2 Sven DiMilo
    June 25, 2009

    I thought I read about this in On the Origin of Feces.

  3. #3 Tor Bertin
    June 25, 2009

    “Getting the phrase ‘shit happens’ into the title of a technical publication.”

    There goes my life’s dream… damn you elephants!

    Anyway, very neat post; I’ve always found ecological niches and their widespread subtleties amazing (even if that implies living in shit!).

  4. #4 Michael Erickson
    June 25, 2009

    Yeah, Matt Wedel! Now that’s something I’d like to see. I mean, sombody has got to do SOMETHING to put those stinkin’ mammal workers in their stinkin’ place. What were the largest animals ever to walk the earth? REPTILES. What greased their toe pads? MAMMALS. UP WITH REPTILES, DOWN WITH MAMMALS! REPTILES RULE, MAMMALS DROOL!
    Okay, I’m under control now.

    “I thought I read about this in On the Origin of Feces.
    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

  5. #5 chris wemmer
    June 25, 2009

    Cool. The amount of shit would seem to be crucial. Elephants leave enough of it for a short-lived ecosystem — as long as they dump while standing (one big pile), and not while they are one the move (scattered loaves). In that connection, WWF-US ecologist Eric Dinerstein found snakes nesting in Rhinoceros unicornis latrines in Nepal. Those latrines are excellent compost heaps.

  6. #6 Alan
    June 25, 2009

    An interesting ecosystem – so what might the presence of mammoth or woolly rihinocerous dung piles have had on the potential distribution of European reptiles like grass snakes? – is there any way to find out?

  7. #7 Nathan Myers
    June 25, 2009

    Anybody can get “shit happens” into the title of a publication. Your challenge now: get it into a genus name. For extra credit, pick one that will need to be promoted to family and order. Entomologists take note.

    Can you imagine those poor frogs waiting around for elephants to evolve so they will have a place to live? “Elephants yet?” “Not yet.” “Elephants yet?” “Not yet.”

  8. #8 Tor Bertin
    June 25, 2009

    It’s my goal to discover a new Maniraptoran and name it ‘Clever Girl’ (in latin, obviously).

    Muldoon will not have died in vain!

  9. #9 Tor Bertin
    June 25, 2009

    Nathan–

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50uW0b7tWiM

    Pay no attention to the title.

  10. #10 Darren Naish
    June 25, 2009

    Nathan (comment 7): I’m pretty sure I recall seeing a paper that reported a fossil fish skull discovered within a coprolite. The fish represented a new taxon: my recollection is that its generic name means ‘shit head’. Unfortunately I can’t find the paper, or the taxon, nor any reference to it online. Well, yeah, I don’t keep track of fish stuff.

  11. #11 greg
    June 25, 2009

    Any refuge in a storm :) It makes sense in harsh environments that a huge “patty” would create a mini ecosystem, after all insects want the nutrients and moisture and frogs want the insects…..and elephants poop. It’s perfect..lol

  12. #12 Dave Godfrey
    June 25, 2009

    (On the “Shit head” fossil) I’m sure I saw a specimen preserved in a coprolite during an practical with Mike Coates back when I was an undergraduate, and been told it was named Coprocephalus, but I’d swear it was an insect that I was looking at.

  13. #13 Lilian Nattel
    June 25, 2009

    That’s fascinating.

  14. #14 Michael Erickson
    June 25, 2009

    Tor Bertin: I will become a prefessonal paleontologist one day (right now I’m just an “amatuer”, whatever that means), and if I ever discover a new genus of Deinonychosaur, I will most certainly name it “Clever Girl” (in latin). The species name will be muldooni. You have my honest word.

  15. #15 Michael Erickson
    June 25, 2009

    Long live shit head!

  16. #16 Leigh
    June 25, 2009

    Personally, my all-time favorite name for an animal has to be Fubarichthys.

  17. #17 John
    June 25, 2009

    Well played.

  18. #18 Michael Erickson
    June 25, 2009

    Spambot’s back, Darren.

  19. #19 DaveB
    June 25, 2009

    You all are a scream.
    People all around the world (I’m in Australia) are happy on otherwise grey days ‘cus of this blog.

    Fubaricthys – On the Origin of Feces – Is This It – Copracephalus :) :) :) ROFL

    Science meets Monty Python – there’s enough here for a full hour of comedy skits.

    Now anticipating Stercus accidit naishi

    Thanks heaps everyone, and especially Dazza

  20. #20 Willy
    June 25, 2009

    Well… in the subject of the elephant dung been a microhabitat for those frogs…. not only the ammount could be a factor…. but I think that the humidity conditions are the important thing to consider…. as I recall… elephant dung retains a lot of water… in a realtively dry acosistem it would shurely be a perfect place to lve for small humid-dependent frogs, and it could also serve as shelter against predators

  21. #21 Michael Erickson
    June 25, 2009

    It’s so true, DaveB. This place is halarious. I was drinking water when I read about the “shit head” fossil, and I couldn’t contain my laughter. The water went down the wrong way, and I nearly choaked to death. No joke.

  22. #22 Nathan Myers
    June 25, 2009

    Incidentally (re #8, #9), now maybe we have a hint as to what all the other frogs are saying. But I wonder what they’re waiting for instead.

    “Bronts back?” “Nope.” “Bronts back?” “Nope.”

    Reminds me of the poor sea turtles swimming back and forth between Africa and Central America. When they started doing the trip it took a day. Now, with continental drift, it takes months.

  23. #23 Jerzy
    June 25, 2009

    Not hiding, but the list of tetrapods picking dung for insects and undigested food is great.

  24. #24 Dartian
    June 26, 2009

    Speaking of shitty fish names… There’s an aquarium fish known in English as ‘common scat’; its generic name, Scatophagus, means ‘shit eater’ (it commonly forages around sewages).

  25. #25 justdave
    June 26, 2009

    I’m here to tell you, Daritan, that as an expert shit eater, I swear, it’s like everything else. It tastes like Gallus domesticus.

  26. #26 David Marjanović
    June 26, 2009

    Reminds me of the poor sea turtles swimming back and forth between Africa and Central America. When they started doing the trip it took a day. Now, with continental drift, it takes months.

    I’m not sure if that story is true. Sea turtles don’t necessarily lay their eggs at the beach where they hatched.

  27. #27 tdh
    June 26, 2009

    Latin “stercus” is rather domestic. Compounds in “[s]cerdae” are too specific. “Excrementum” has the wrong focus, to add fuel to the fire. That seems to leave “fimu[m/s]” and “merda.”

    “Naish” looks more 3rd declension than second. Thus, with “Naishi” an apparent dative, indicating the poopee rather than the pooper-peeper, we probably want “Naishis” instead, unless we are concerned about his whole family (per 2nd declension), in which case Darren gets it either way. It would be nice to avoid the shibilant and go with a would-be imperial 5th-declension “Nais,” although this would perhaps cast aspersions on Dr. Naish.

    Luckily, “evenio,” which is the most amusing in this context, is, like “accido,” also used in contexts of fate; “fio” is mere occurrence.

    So, say, “fimofiens Naishis,” “merdeveniens Naishi”, or “exrementaccasus Nais”?

    Cacaturire vivere est.

  28. #28 craig york
    June 26, 2009

    I’m not sure what the proper definition for a
    Microhabitat is, but the numbers would seem
    to suggest its not a common habitat.

  29. #29 Jerzy
    June 26, 2009

    Coming to names. Professor I knew was very proud that a snail species was names after him: Spinophallus uminskii.

  30. #30 David Marjanović
    June 26, 2009

    If you want to go that way… there’s a genus that was originally meant to be named I. One of the peer-reviewers of the paper blocked that by saying “I never want to have to write ‘I have small male genitalia’”. It got published as Iyaiyai.

  31. #31 Hai~Ren
    June 27, 2009

    Ah yes, Scatophagus is one of the most memorable names ever.

    I was surprised to see that many frogs formerly classified under Rana were subsequently renamed and then moved into the Dicroglossidae. Haven’t quite figured out a common name for the family yet though.

    Oh, and by the way, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz is from the National University of Singapore, not University of Tokyo.

  32. #32 Hai~Ren
    June 27, 2009

    Oh, and by the way, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz is from the National University of Singapore, not University of Tokyo.

    Whoops, scratch that. The paper does state that he’s from the University of Tokyo. Which is weird, because an article reporting this find mentions that he’s from the National University of Singapore, and even his own personal website states that he’s currently at NUS. Hmm.

  33. #33 Darren Naish
    June 27, 2009

    Thanks for comments. Indeed, there aren’t any common names in use for dicroglossids as a whole, though the Euphylictis species (the genus that now includes Dicroglossus) are sometimes called five-fingered frogs.

    Re: species found in dung, I should have mentioned that various caecilians, amphisbaenians and other small burrowers have also been found to take advantage of mammal dung piles, as have lizards (such as Sundevall’s writhing skink Lygosoma sundevallii) that take refuge under large objects during the daytime. The holotype of the Oaxacan caecilian Dermophis oaxacae was discovered in a pile of donkey dung.

    And on the subject of interesting scientific names… better not to get me started as I have detailed files :) I mean, I’ve actually learnt some of Dybowski’s amphipod names (see Naish 2000). Dave Martill and I wrote an article where we related the ‘I have small genitalia’ story. The editor didn’t like this and made us change it to something like ‘I have fat legs’, can’t remember now. But, while we’re on the subject, let’s at least mention the wasps Mozartella beethoveni, Heerz lukenatcha, Heerz tooya, Verae peculya and Townesilitus, the flies Tabanus rhizonshine, Gressittia titsadaysi and Tabanus nippontucki, the bee-fly Villa manillae (allegedly named for the pop group Millie Vanillae), the spider Calponea harrisonfordi, the chigger Trombicula fujigmo (FUJIGMO is an interesting acronym)… and so on and so on. Unfortunately, very few peculiar names (comparatively speaking) are attached to tetrapods.

    Refs – -

    Naish, D. 2000. Playing the name game. Rockwatch 25, 6-7.

  34. #34 David Marjanović
    June 27, 2009

    I was surprised to see that many frogs formerly classified under Rana were subsequently renamed and then moved into the Dicroglossidae.

    Of course. All frogs he knew were lumped into Rana (literally “frog”) by Linnaeus, and the centuries of constant splitting still haven’t ended, even though the centuries of describing newly discovered species as Rana seem to have.

    The paper does state that he’s from the University of Tokyo. Which is weird, because an article reporting this find mentions that he’s from the National University of Singapore, and even his own personal website states that he’s currently at NUS. Hmm.

    Probably he moved while the article was in press.

    five-fingered frogs

    How does that work? Unusually large prepollex?

    The editor didn’t like this and made us change it to something like ‘I have fat legs’, can’t remember now.

    WTF. The editor wanted you to LIE!?! And you went along with it???

    FUJIGMO is an interesting acronym

    Like FUBAR and SNAFU, it comes from the Vietnam War: “Fuck you, Jim, I got my orders”.

    Unfortunately, very few peculiar names (comparatively speaking) are attached to tetrapods.

    Maybe Pederpes will save our honour as a punning clan.

    (…No, that one is not original, unfortunately.)

    Concerning acronyms, there are always Sapeornis and Aenigmavis sapaea

  35. #35 Terry Hunt
    June 27, 2009

    Reverting momentarily from Nomena ridiculi to mammalian fecal domesticity, I’m surprised no-one has yet mentioned the frequenters of bat caves. No, not the guys in spandex and capes, nor of course the chiropterans themselves, but the diverse exploiters of the mountains of accumulated bat guano and the habitat it constitutes. (I always thought that ‘guano’ should be specific to birds, but it apparently also applies to bats and seals.) Someone’s probably got on tape/DVD the Attenborough-narrated programme about this: it was repeated on the BBC iPlayer a few months ago.

  36. #36 Bob Michaels
    June 27, 2009

    Dung opens up a new avenue to search for new species.It quite possible that certain amphibia are Dung Specific. The Dung beetle could be a source of food for the frogs.It`s cetainly worth a study

  37. #37 David Marjanović
    June 27, 2009

    It quite possible that certain amphibia are Dung Specific. The Dung beetle could be a source of food for the frogs.

    If:
    – there are enough of them to sustain an entire species of frogs, which I doubt;
    – there is little enough competition for dung beetles, which would really surprise me.

    (BTW… “the dung beetle”? There are hundreds of species.)

  38. #38 Jerzy
    June 27, 2009

    Yes, there is enough competition for dung beetles. Hoopoes and starlings in Europe, for example.

    Actually, Dutch made crazy experiments.They released herds of cows and horses in nature reserves and called that ecological equivalents of aurochs and wild horses. They discovered that dung is important for big assemblage of dung-eating insects. Many of them apparently eat nematodes present in dung and cannot survive commercial cattle drugs and are endangered species.

  39. #39 Pierce R. Butler
    June 27, 2009

    David Marjanović @ # 34: Like FUBAR and SNAFU, it comes from the Vietnam War…

    Dunno about FUBAR, but – according to my family’s lore – SNAFU dates back at least to WWII (as does the now-too-rarely-used description of Washington DC as a “fuckup factory”).

  40. #40 Owlmirror
    June 27, 2009

    I am surprised that no-one linked to this:

      Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature
    http://www.curioustaxonomy.net/

    Among tetrapods, I note: Vini vidivici, a fossil parrot; Ekgmowechashala, an early Miocene North American primate; Circus dossenus, a hawk (“dossenus” means a jester); Pantydraco, a prosauropod; Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus, (longest latinized bird name), crowned slaty flycatcher ; Ia io, a vespertilionid bat — and others.

  41. #41 Michael Erickson
    June 27, 2009

    While we’re on the subject of crappy and/or weird tetrapod names, I thought I’d assmble a list of some of the worst dinosaur genus names ever. The list is far from complete, and the names are in no particular order. I shall also give the reason I have included each name. Here we go:

    Pantydraco (Obvious)

    Tsaagan (“White Monster” makes no sense whatsoever. Hideous.)

    Citipati (“Funeral Pyre Lord”? I know it’s because the Citipati were represented in traditional Mongolian art as dancing skeletons, but so what? ALL Mesozoic dinosaurs are skeletons! The name has nothing to do with the animal itself.)

    Abrictosaurus (“Wakeful Lizard”, because Thulborn objected to the hypothesis that heterodontosaurs hibernated. So? Why incorperate this into the animal’s name when you can just mention your objection in the descriptive paper?)

    Dilong (“Emperor Dragon” doesn’t make sense for a small dinosaur. The name would be better if it was given to a much larger theropod, or to a sauropod.)

    Xiongguanlong (“White Ghost”, after a rock formation near the excavation site. An unoriginal, stupid-sounding name that tells one nothing about the animal itself.)

    Limusaurus (“Mud Lizard” for an herbivorous, toothless, beaked, ornithomimid-like Asian ceratosaur with a fused sternal plate? Ugh.)

    Futalongkosaurus (Just sounds stupid.)

    Mei (Just doesn’t make any sense without the species name.)

    Allosaurus (The name itself sounds nice, but “Different Lizard” is pretty dumb, I think. Too bad the type of Antrodemus is non-diagnostic; “Nightmare Dragon” is very cool.)

    Clevelanotyrannus” (Obvious; thank God it never made it past nomen nudum.)

    Skorpiovenator (“Scorpion Hunter”, because the site was crawling with scorpions. What’s that got to do with anything?)

    Bambiraptor (Unbelievably, hideously stupid.)

    Well, that’s it for now. I could list more, but I’m pressed for time. I’d be interested in seeing what everybody else thinks of my “Worst Dino Names” choices.

  42. #42 David Marjanović
    June 28, 2009

    Pantydraco, a prosauropod

    It’s a sauropodomorph, but not a prosauropod. Probably almost nothing except Plateosaurus is a prosauropod.

    Tsaagan (“White Monster” makes no sense whatsoever. Hideous.)

    Why? It’s white on a red background (fossil bones are white in the Gobi), and it’s got some scary-looking teeth and claws.

    What is hideous about the name is 1) it shouldn’t be “tsaagan”, it should be “tsagaan” (see Tyrannosaurus bataar for the inverse error); 2) Ts[agaa]n mangas means “white monster” in this order — the genus name is an adjective. Like with Mei long.

    I know it’s because the Citipati were represented in traditional Mongolian art as dancing skeletons, but so what? ALL Mesozoic dinosaurs are skeletons!

    Again: gleaming white skeleton on a gore-red background.

    because Thulborn objected to the hypothesis that heterodontosaurs hibernated.

    Yeah. Thulborn appears to be a somewhat strange person.

    “Emperor Dragon”

    Indistinguishable from “imperial dragon”, as in “dragon that’s so amazing it ought to belong to the emperor”…

    An unoriginal, stupid-sounding name that tells one nothing about the animal itself.

    Well, it’s another placenameosaurus, except it’s not actually called “lizard”; that’s a step forward.

    And “stupid-sounding”? You don’t even know how it sounds! :o)

    “Different Lizard” is pretty dumb, I think.

    Do you know what the holotype is? Half a tail vertebra, just like for Antrodemus. All you can say about it is “yet another non-mammalian amniote”, so that’s what was done.

    “Nightmare Dragon”

    Where did you get that from??? As far as I know, it refers to the shape of the half tail vertebra: Latin antrum “cavity” (I forgot what the rest means).

    What’s that got to do with anything?

    It makes it a placenameosaurus with a better suffix than -saurus. And it’s easy to remember because there’s a story behind it.

  43. #43 Michael Erickson
    June 28, 2009

    David Marjanovic:

    “Why? It’s white on a red background…”

    OH! I was under the impression that the authors, for some unknown reason, beleived that the living animal was white in color. You see, I skipped the part of the paper that explains the name, then went and said it made no sense. I’m just an idiot.

    “…as in ‘Dragon that’s so amazing it ought to belong to the emporor.”

    Okie-Dokie. I was thinking it was like “Emporor of all the other dragons”, and if that were the case it would better fit a much larger dinosaur.

    “And ‘stupid-sounding?’ you don’t even know how it sounds!”

    Isn’t it SHWANG-gwan-LONG?

    “Do you know what the holotype is? half a tail vertebra…”

    It is?!! Then how can we reject Antrodemus in favor of Allosaurus when they’re both based on half a tail vertebra?

    “Where did you get that from???”

    I’ve seen several sources claim that Antrodemus means “Nightmare Dragon”. Maybe they’re wrong.

    “It makes it a placenameosaurus with a better sufix than -saurus. And it’s easy to remember because ther’s a story behind it.”

    But doesn’t “Scorpion Hunter” give one the impression that the theropod was hunting scorpions? I think they could have explained it better. And I also don’t care too much for genus names that don’t tell ya nothin’ about the organism itself.

    Am I right in thinking that you’re not particulary fond of placenameosauruses? I’m not either, as you could probably tell – most of them are just not very origanal. BTW, I noticed you agree with me on the stupidness of Futalongkosaurus, Limusaurus, Bambiraptor etc. :-)

  44. #44 Mickey Mortimer
    June 28, 2009

    [from Darren: delayed by spam filter]

    Allosaurus’ holotype is not a partial caudal vertebra-

    Holotype- (YPM 1930) tooth (55 mm), incomplete cervical or anterior dorsal centrum, incomplete posterior dorsal centrum (85 mm), posterior dorsal centrum (105 mm), two dorsal rib fragments, humeral fragment, pedal phalanx III-1 (109 mm)

    http://home.comcast.net/~eoraptor/Carnosauria.htm#Allosaurusfragilis

    Antrodemus means “cavity bodied”

    “(Gr. antron “cave” (commonly used in anatomy in the Latin form antrum to mean “a cavity or chamber, especially one in bone” (American Heritage Dictionary, 1995 edition) + Gr. demas “body” + -us) (m)

    Leidy proposed the name Antrodemus in 1870 (Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 22: 3-4)) based on a half of a centrum from a tail vertebra found in Colorado. He originally attributed the bone to a new species of the European genus Poekilopleuron: “One of the most remarkable characters of Poicilopleuron [sic] is the presence of a large medullary cavity within the bodies of the vertebrae…The same character is presented by the Colorado fossil.” According to Leidy, the Colorado partial vertebra indicated an animal “one-third greater” in size than the European species Poekilopleuron bucklandii. He concluded: “The species represented by the fossil may be called Poicilopleuron valens [Latin for "strong," after its larger size]. Should the division of the medullary cavity of the vertebral body into smaller recesses by trabeculae by significant of other characters indicating the Colorado saurian to be distinct from Poicilopleuron, it might be named Antrodemus.” His repeated use of the terms “cavity” and “vertebral body” throughout his description would have made the meaning of the name Antrodemus obvious to his classically educated colleagues such as Edward Drinker Cope or Richard Owen.”

    http://www.dinosauria.com/dml/names/dinoa.htm

  45. #45 David Marjanović
    June 29, 2009

    Isn’t it SHWANG-gwan-LONG?

    Not quite, no. Unfortunately, what it is is difficult to explain in writing if you don’t know IPA (and even then it’s not trivial). I’ll try to look for audio files later.

    But doesn’t “Scorpion Hunter” give one the impression that the theropod was hunting scorpions?

    At first glance, yes, but it’s by no means unambiguous.

    Am I right in thinking that you’re not particulary fond of placenameosauruses?

    Yeah.

    BTW, I noticed you agree with me on the stupidness of

    Nope. Only Limusaurus.

    a half of a centrum from a tail vertebra

    ARGH! Even worse!

  46. #46 Dartian
    June 29, 2009

    Darren:

    Unfortunately, very few peculiar names (comparatively speaking) are attached to tetrapods.

    While that’s true, no discussion of ‘interesting’ scientific names is complete without the mention of the wattled crane Bugeranus and the monarch flycatcher Arses

  47. #47 Michael Erickson
    June 29, 2009

    Antrodemus means “cavity-bodied”

    Okie Dokie. Then how come several books and websites say “Nightmare Dragon”? I suppose popular dino books are even more accuracy-screwed than I thought – which is pretty scary!

  48. #48 David Marjanović
    June 29, 2009

    I suppose popular dino books are even more accuracy-screwed than I thought

    Yes, exactly. Especially when it comes to nomenclature, where they all just copy from each other.

  49. #49 Tony Thulborn
    December 15, 2009

    “While we’re on the subject of crappy and/or weird tetrapod names, I thought I’d ass[e]mble a list of some of the worst dinosaur genus names ever. The list is far from complete, and the names are in no particular order. I shall also give the reason I have included each name. Here we go…

    Abrictosaurus (“Wakeful Lizard”, because Thulborn objected to the hypothesis that heterodontosaurs hibernated. So? Why incorperate [sic] this into the animal’s name when you can just mention your objection in the descriptive paper?) …

    I’d be interested in seeing what everybody else thinks of my “Worst Dino Names” choices.”

    Posted by: Michael Erickson | June 27, 2009 11:34 PM
    —————————————————-

    Well, I think you might check the facts before airing your opinions. I had nothing whatsoever to do with the name Abrictosaurus; it was coined by J.A. Hopson. And I never “objected to the hypothesis that heterodontosaurs hibernated”: I proposed the hypothesis that heterodontosaurids aestivated

  50. #50 reptile lover
    July 12, 2010

    Big thumbs up for you, Michael Erickson! I like the way that you think. My words exactly: “MAMMALS. UP WITH REPTILES, DOWN WITH MAMMALS! REPTILES RULE, MAMMALS DROOL!”

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