Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for August, 2009

The recent article about Meller’s duck Anas melleri inspired me to recycle my ver 1 article about another of Madagascar’s endemic ducks, the Madagascar pochard Aythya innotata [male shown below]. Meller’s duck is endangered, with a global population of between 3000 and 5000, but the Madagascar pochard is in an even worse position: in fact,…

If you follow the comments here at Tet Zoo you’ll already have seen the thread that’s been developing on the ‘Giant killers: macropredation in lions’ article (originally posted back in February, and itself a re-post of a ver 1 article from November 2006). If you don’t follow the comments, the following will be new to…

If you said that the mystery duck from yesterday was a mallard, a weird mallard hybrid, a shoveler of some sort, or blah blah blah, then shame shame shame on you: you are a loser. If, however, you said it was a Meller’s duck Anas melleri, then well done, you are some kind of freakin’…

Some days ago I went to the Isle of Wight Tiger and Lemur Sanctuary (which is where I saw all those big cats). And while there, one of the undoubted highlights was this amazing beast… What is it, and what can you tell us about it? You get points for being clever, not for trying…

Time to finish with the mesonychians. Previous articles have looked at Andrewsarchus and the triisodontids, the mesonychids, and the hapalodectids. That’s essentially it… though – as mentioned a few times now – Andrewsarchus doesn’t seem to be a mesonychian after all. However, there are a number of other obscure Paleogene mammal groups that have been…

If you’ve been enjoying the series on mesonychians you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s not completely over. There are a few groups yet to come (though, as we’ll see, whether they really are mesonychians or not is controversial. 1000 Tet Zoo dollars* to whomever guesses the names of the groups I’m talking about). Anyway:…

Big cats on holiday

No time for anything substantive, but here’s a montage featuring some of the stuff we’ve been looking at while on holiday. Some of the cats here are rather unusual: the tiger in the middle of the top row was a Siberian x Chinese hybrid. Getting good photos of the jaguars proved not so easy (see…

Yeah, what the hell, what have I got to lose, what’s the worse that could happen, and other such platitudes… I finally decided, after an annoying number of prompts and requests and so on, to join the time-sucking black hole of frivolity that is Facebook. Thus far I’ve used it to piss around and post…

Mark Witton’s secret: finally out

First of all, I’ve been away (speaking about fossil cats again), though – as previously – you might not have known this given that a list of posts were scheduled to appear in my absence. Is there more on mesonychians to come? There might be, but I haven’t yet had the time to finish it.…

We now move to another mesonychian group: Hapalodectidae. This is yet another of those obscure little groups that sounds really interesting, yet are never the subject of focus or discussion. Virtually all of the literature on them – and that’s still only ten papers or so – mentions the idea that they might have been…