Tetrapod Zoology

‘Tis a Tet Zoo Christmas extravaganza

In time-honoured fashion, once more it’s time to wish you all best Christmas wishes and share with you my digital ‘Christmas card’… though if you’re a regular correspondent or one of my Facebook friends you’ll already have seen it, sorry…


A larger version is available on request. You’ll note a random assortment of real and not-so-real tetrapods. Qilin parungulatus comes from this article, Anachrodactylus is explained here, and the idea that Deinocheirus might have been an arboreal slothosaur is discussed here (the idea is certainly erroneous, by the way). The giant pongine is, obviously, just a re-sized version of the big orangutan drawing, but you could pretend that it depicts Gigantopithecus: the size is about right, believe it or not. Thalassanungunrama is a hypothetical marine reptile once created for an under-grad teaching exercise (kudos to you if you work out the significance of the name), and I’m sure that giant barn owls, cadborosaurs, ‘Angloposeidon’ and humans are fairly familiar. And, yes, I have a nasty habit of making the dorsal border of the scapula all too prominent in my dinosaurs. As David Marjanović has kindly reminded me, it wouldn’t have looked like that because of the supra-scapular cartilage anyway.

Of course, I wasn’t the only person to produce a digital Christmas card. Here are some of the others I’ve received…

Davide Bonnadonna – and, yes, I still feel the guilt for wrongly referring to him as ‘David’ in my Great Dinosaur Discoveries book (not my fault! I was told that this was his name) – provided the following Alpine festive scene. You’ll recognise Tethyshadros, of course. All I’ll say about the skiing dromaeosaur is that this is not the first time that paravians have been depicted in this way 🙂


Oliver Rauhut and colleagues at the BSPG Mesozoic Vertebrate Research Group provided the following seasonal message…


And, from Mo of The Disillusioned Taxonomist, comes dayglow maniraptorans fighting with snowballs. I’ll bet that ceratopsian in the background is packing a small firearm (topical).


Jerzy produced the following excellent Larsonesque cartoon… (I’ll resist the urge to say something about stereotypical views of palaeontologists. There aren’t many old, bearded men at the palaeontological meetings I go to!)…


Franciso Gascó, aka Paco, produced this snowy scene. Paco’s blog is here: I must add it to the Tet Zoo blogroll some time (alas, recall that this is often not as easy as it should be).


Finally, Mike P. Taylor poses with one of his favourite sauropods – the macronarian known variously as ‘the Archbishop’ or as NHM 5937 (or BMNH R5937) – in this scene. For more SV-POW! thoughts on the relevance that sauropod vertebrae have for Christmas celebrations, be sure to visit Matt Wedel’s article here.


You might have noticed a real strong bias toward Mesozoic-themed cards here. Is this because most of my friends work on Mesozoic archosaurs? No: I know just as many Palaeozoic and Cenozoic palaeontologists, and far more people who work on living animals. The truth of the matter is that people who work on Mesozoic archosaurs are harder-working, less lazy, and all round more clever than their peers in other disciplines. Or, maybe it’s that a lot of them are good artists, I’m not sure.

Anyway, a very happy Christmas to you all. 2010 is nearly upon us.

For previous Christmas efforts see…


  1. #1 Bob Michaels
    December 23, 2009

    Darren, Merry Christmas and a Happy new Dinosaur hunt in 2010. Bring them back Dead

  2. #2 Hai~Ren
    December 23, 2009

    Oh yes, I was pleasantly surprised (and very pleased) to see this in my inbox.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  3. #3 Craig York
    December 23, 2009

    And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours, Darren!

  4. #4 Zach Hawkins
    December 23, 2009

    Merry Chrimbo Darren!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5 Ian
    December 23, 2009

    These creatures with Santa hats reminds me. If you go to SVPOW you can see photos of a Sauroposeidon reconstruction with a Santa hat. Merry Christmas!

  6. #6 John Harshman
    December 23, 2009

    If they’re so clever, why are they harder-working? Hmmm?

  7. #7 Kryptos18
    December 23, 2009

    There were skiing Utahraptors in Bakker’s Raptor Red, weren’t there? Man, that brings back some memories!

  8. #8 arachnophile
    December 23, 2009


    Wonderful post. A very merry Christmas to you Darren and to your family.

    I’m looking forward to another amazing year of learning from this blog.

  9. #9 Matt Wedel
    December 24, 2009

    The truth of the matter is that people who work on Mesozoic archosaurs are harder-working, less lazy, and all round more clever than their peers in other disciplines.

    Also better looking.

    Nice Christmas round-up. And for the new year: may taphonomy bless us, every one!

  10. #10 Michael P. Taylor
    December 24, 2009

    Matt, I assume your “Also better looking” link was going to point here.

  11. #11 Robert
    December 24, 2009

    A Merry Christmas to you Darren (I look at Tetrapod Zoology every day!)and all fellow readers!

  12. #12 Mo Hassan
    December 24, 2009

    Yes, the Chionoceratops (nomen nudum) is known for concealing mortars within its brow horns. Happy holidays to all TetZoo readers.

  13. #13 David Marjanović
    December 24, 2009

    but you could pretend that it depicts Gigantopithecus: the size is about right, believe it or not.



  14. #14 valagos
    December 24, 2009

    I´m not a frequent poster in the blog (not a scientist myself, so really not all taht much to say), but I´m an avid reader. Thanks for another year of great reporting and merry christmas to you all from the other side of the world!!

  15. #15 Tim Morris
    December 24, 2009

    Merry Christmas all, groink groink groink!

  16. #16 Dr. Nick
    December 25, 2009

    Merry Christmas, Darren and fellow Naishophiles!

  17. #17 pomposa
    December 25, 2009

    Happy Christmas Darren to you and yours – and thank you for providing so many stimulating articles over the course of the year (and previous years!). I’m no scientist and am out of my depth most, if not all, of the time but thoroughly enjoying reading your posts and the lively discussions that often ensue. Please keep up the good work!

  18. #18 Andreas Johansson
    December 25, 2009

    Merry Xmas!

    (Is this were I request the larger version or should I send you an email, Darren?)

  19. #19 Tim Morris
    December 26, 2009

    Also, I thought iganto was a Sivapithecine?

  20. #20 Tim Morris
    December 26, 2009

    Sorry, I meant t6o say.

    I thought Giganto was a Sivapithecine, not Pongine?

  21. #21 David Marjanović
    December 26, 2009

    a Sivapithecine, not Pongine?

    That’s the same. Sivapithecus and Pongo are more closely related to each other than to us.

  22. #22 Anthony Docimo
    December 26, 2009

    > Thalassanungunrama
    Thalassa – and then Hellboy’s name, isn’t it?

    I would like to see a larger version of your card, if I may.

    happy holidays to you and yours, and a bountiful New Year.

  23. #23 Graham King
    December 28, 2009

    Happy Holidays! I like your drawing, Darren; and all the other pictures here too.
    Thanks for the continuing info.enjoyment here at Tet Zoo!

  24. #24 Pavel I. Volkov
    December 28, 2009

    Merry Christmas and happy New Year, Darren and all! By the way, in Russia there is also Old New Year – New Year according old Julian calendar, unofficially celebrating from 13-th to 14-th of January. So, our holidays last longer time!
    Also foolish question to all visitors.
    Help me to identify this animal up to species. When it will be done, I’ll try to explain why I need it, if you’ll be interested…

  25. #25 Darren Naish
    December 28, 2009

    Pavel: the picture shows a male Crowned lemur Eulemur coronatus.

  26. #26 Stevo Darkly
    December 28, 2009

    Happy holidays to you all!

  27. #27 Pavel I. Volkov
    December 28, 2009

    Thank you, Darren! I asked it because in book this animal had been presented as possum… In Russian text people learning Russian may see the mention about possums.
    Simply I collect biological mistakes and blunders in books (alas, they appear too often in post-Soviet book publishing business), and I wanted to be sure. Thank you!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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