Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for May, 2011

Over the past several months months and months I’ve been trying to complete a series of articles on the various sac- and pocket-like head and neck structures that have evolved in such diverse mammals as apes, horses, camels and baleen whales (links to the previous articles in the series are provided below). In an effort…

The sauropod viviparity meme

Fossils demonstrate beyond any doubt that Mesozoic dinosaurs laid eggs, as of course do all dinosaurs today. But back during the 1960s, 70s and 80s – back when Robert Bakker and his idea about dinosaur biology were regularly featured in magazines and other popular sources – the scientific community was (sarcasm alert) delighted and enthralled…

The interconnectedness of ecosystems and their components is, today, a familiar concept. Top predators eat herbivores, herbivores eat plants, and top predators keep so-called meso-predators in check too. But perhaps it isn’t appreciated enough just how interconnected things can be. Cristina Eisenberg’s excellent 2010 book The Wolf’s Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades and Biodiversity draws…

In January 2011, Junchang Lü, David Unwin, Charles Deeming and colleagues published their Science paper on the amazing discovery of an egg-adult association in the Jurassic pterosaur Darwinopterus (Lü et al. 2011) [the specimen is shown here: image courtesy of Junchang Lü, Institute of Geology, Beijing, used with permission]. Darwinopterus is the incredible ‘transitional pterosaur’,…

If you’re a regular reader you’ll have seen the recent article on those African ‘great bubalus’ depictions and on how they might (or might not) be representations of the large, long-horned bovin bovid Syncerus antiquus. As discussed in that article, S. antiquus – long thought to be a species of Pelorovis – is now regarded…