Tetrapod Zoology

Tet Zoo = back in business

Well, the whole ‘distributed denial of service’ thing has done a pretty effective job of keeping me away from Tet Zoo entirely. No chance to blog, and not even the chance to look at the site at all – so, wow, thanks for keeping the protobats discussion going (97 98 comments… not bad). While those jolly nice people at ScienceBlogs tech support have just unblocked my IP address, it seems that lots of readers remain blocked – I see Tet Zoo sliding down the ratings a bit over on Nature Blog Network. Yikes, fifth place! Anyway, I’m just about ready to start deluging Tet Zoo with the enormous vesper bat series… until then, here are a collection of recent-ish images that result from various adventures, with commentary.



For starters, above find a nice portrait of yours truly, lovingly crafted by the brilliant David Maas (who does lots of neat dinosaur stuff, by the way). It arrives in the wake (cough cough) of the Bownessie saga, but – coincidentally – was first encountered by me at about the same time as I did a long interview for a documentary about the Loch Ness monster. Ah, how I love those cryptozoology-for-TV projects. Speaking of which, I’m reliably informed that I featured in the first episode of the new National Geographic series Wild Case Files, broadcast in the US on Monday (14th March). I do the whole “the Montauk monster is definitely a dead raccoon” thing, again. Haven’t seen it yet, but look forward to it. And, while on the subject of cryptozoology on TV, Patrick Spain’s new Nat Geo series – titled Beast Man in the UK – is now being broadcast. Pat is – I’m dead serious – a self-professed Tet Zoo fan, and he mentions me by name in the Cadborosaurus episode at least. Neat news on Cadborosaurus to come real soon, by the way. It involves that whole ‘analysing cryptids in the peer-reviewed literature’ thing. And… note to self: discuss ZSL cryptozoology meeting happening on 12th July this year. On the subject of monsters, the adjacent photo shows the hilarious sloth I recently encountered at the Horniman Museum in London (upside-down).

Anyway, I didn’t mean this to turn into a cryptozoology love-fest. In other news, I’ve been outstandingly productive lately in terms of academic papers, with stuff currently in the system at Nature, Science, Journal of Zoology, PNAS, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and Cretaceous Research. Again, I’m dead serious. Two projects on large exotic cats are now well underway as are projects on Cretaceous theropods and a very neat crocodilian manuscript. Dorling Kindersley’s augmented reality book Dinosaur, written by John Woodward (I was consultant), has just arrived, but I don’t know if it’s out in the shops yet. The digital 3D pop-up art (by Peter Minister) is pretty good – below you can see one of the dinosaurs.


Together with Mike P. Taylor and John Conway (and thanks entirely to the outstandingly good graces of RVC’s John Hutchinson), I got to dissect a baby giraffe lately – wow, so pretty much everything published about zygapophyses is total nonsense. Hmm.

While I could prattle on a lot more, that’ll do for now – I just wanted to announce a return to business. Saw this interesting mural lately, and thought it worthy of attention here…


The artist is proud of his work but I don’t know if I should mention his name. It isn’t Mark Witton.


  1. #1 Gunnar
    March 15, 2011

    Welcome back!

    Although you should probably stay away from here more often if it gets you in Nature, Science, Journal of Zoology, PNAS, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and Cretaceous Research

  2. #2 David Marjanović
    March 15, 2011

    I read that list of journals and… forgot to let my jaw drop.

  3. #3 Cale
    March 15, 2011

    DDOS? Who would be malicious enough to attack Tet Zoo?

  4. #4 Darren Naish
    March 15, 2011

    I’m waiting for someone to say “Cretaceous Research – wow, good job!”, but I guess I beat them to it πŸ™‚

    The DDoS attack is ScienceBlogs-wide, originally suspected (perhaps erroneously) to be non-malicious, yet apparently originating from Turkey and Qatar. I know from emails and facebook that loads of Tet Zoo readers are still unable to view any and all parts of the Sb network – you just get a 408 request or such.

  5. #5 Cale
    March 15, 2011

    My knowledge of internet technology is pretty slim at best, I admit, but I was always under the impression that there’s no such thing as a non-malicious DDOS attack.

  6. #6 tai haku
    March 15, 2011

    This is the first scienceblogs post I’ve been able to see for days. Awesome it’s back and awesome list of activities.

    I’ve been rather enjoying “Beast Man” although I must confess the bullet ant stuff was hard to watch the other week.

  7. #7 Neil
    March 15, 2011

    Wow you have been busy, writing all those papers!

    As for the art, anyone who has met him will probably guess. He is from Hingland after all, be he Rich and/or poorer πŸ˜‰

  8. #8 Cale
    March 15, 2011

    One more thing….. The attacks may not necessarily be originating from the Turkey area. It’s a very popular country for proxies

  9. #9 Dartian
    March 16, 2011

    I’ve been outstandingly productive lately in terms of academic papers, with stuff currently in the system at Nature, Science, Journal of Zoology, PNAS, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and Cretaceous Research

    That list of journals is full of win. Congratulations!

    DDOS attacks come and go but those forthcoming publications will surely always look good on your CV… πŸ˜‰

  10. #10 Robert
    March 16, 2011

    I wondered why I couldn’t see you….

    Glad things are sorting themselves out!

  11. #11 Kelly Clowers
    March 16, 2011

    @Cale For DDoS, as opposed to a DoS, and especially a long sustained one, you are right. Sometimes sloppy admins can make one kind of mistake or another and create a DoS, but those kind of things are usually short lived, and tend to be local rather than remote (though they can be remote), and it certainly wouldn’t be a DDoS.

  12. #12 Bill
    March 16, 2011

    Nature, Science, PNAS etc etc? Congratulations! (and damn you!)

  13. #13 Darren Naish
    March 16, 2011

    I didn’t mention the PLoS ONE papers πŸ™‚

  14. #14 Victor
    March 16, 2011

    Actually, all you need is a mis-configured, popular client to get an accidental DDoS. In fact, Chrome now stops requesting data from servers from which you are getting repeated 500 errors, to avoid runaway extensions (or browser bugs) causing accidental DDoS.

  15. #15 Bill
    March 16, 2011

    Oh yeah, and are you sure that’s a sloth? That’s actually a morlock

  16. #16 Mike from Ottawa
    March 16, 2011

    I’ve been outstandingly productive lately in terms of academic papers, with stuff currently in the system at Nature, Science, Journal of Zoology, PNAS, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and Cretaceous Research.

    Still ‘lazy’ as ever eh. πŸ™‚

  17. #17 Dan Holdsworth
    March 17, 2011

    Apart from simple software bugs and the like, it is probably worth pointing out that a lot of the people behind DDoS attacks aren’t actually very competent systems administrators (they’d be gainfully employed if they were) and accidental attacks are actually quite common. If you add to this a combination of youthfulness, lack of maturity and general stupidity together with the ability to cause a lot of damage on a whim, and someone offhandedly referring to one of these criminals as a “script kiddie” (an insult, implying that the person lacks the brains to create software and merely runs scripts written by others) or similar will quite often trigger such an attack.

    Script kiddies aren’t particularly discriminating, are rarely particularly bright and thus the DDoS of Tet Zoo might well be colllateral damage from an attack aimed somewhere completely different.

  18. #18 Cale
    March 17, 2011

    Dan: Either that, or the CREATIONISTS ARE GETTING SMARTER! (lock the doors)

  19. #19 LeeB
    March 17, 2011

    perhaps they are evolving.


  20. #20 Gerdien
    March 18, 2011

    I now can get science blogs at work, but not yet at home.

  21. #21 Pete Moulton
    March 18, 2011

    No problems on my home computer, but it took until today to get my work IP address unblocked. Think of it: ten consecutive days with no access to ScienceBlogs!

    I’m no internet expert either, but my take here is that an organization (Seed Media) which supposedly specializes in science communication isn’t doing itself any favors by being so incapable of dealing with issues of, you know, technology.

  22. #22 Tim Morris
    March 19, 2011

    Darren: Good to see Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent is still in business…

  23. #24 Darren Naish
    March 19, 2011

    Michael: look carefully and you see me (twice) in said documentary. They interviewed me, but evidently it didn’t make the final cut.

  24. #25 Wilbert Friesen
    March 22, 2011

    yes I’m in !! Finally !!
    Wow and more bats

    That’s the spirit !

  25. #26 Jenny Islander
    March 23, 2011


    The first photo shows a hedgehog without any prickles. Looks like a different animal–I had no idea their hind legs were so short.

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