Tetrapod Zoology

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On January 23rd 2007, Tet Zoo ver 2 – the ScienceBlogs version of Tetrapod Zoology – graced the intertoobz for the first time. There was rapturous applause, swooning, the delight of millions. Looking back at it now, that very first ver 2 post is rather odd. It’s on the blood-feeding behaviour of oxpeckers (Buphagus) and it only really mentions the move to ScienceBlogs in passing, as if it wasn’t a big deal.

In reality, being invited in to join the ScienceBlogs collective was a big deal, and were I to go back in time and re-live the writing of that particular article I’d do much more of a “Hello, welcome to Tetrapod Zoology, this is me and this is what I do”. Oh well, never mind. Incidentally, I never did finish writing everything that I wanted to on the evolution of blood-feeding in tetrapods…

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Over the four-and-a-bit years that followed that January 2007 article, the Tetrapod Zoology blog went from strength to strength. Readership increased exponentially [mostly: see hilarious counter fail below], as did its reputation as a (mostly) reliable online source regarding all things tetrapod. Today, a significant percentage of interested people (including amateurs, media-types and professional researchers) are at least aware of Tetrapod Zoology, and some of them read it or even leave comments on it.

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Within the ScienceBlogs franchise, Tet Zoo has been – I blushingly and humbly admit – one of the most popular blogs for a while, frequently if not typically being in the top 10 most visited, and with a consistent and notable presence in the ‘reader’s pick’ selection. It’s consistently been in the top 5 at Nature Blog Network. I can’t compete with the ScienceBlog bloggers who write about religion, politics and global warming denialism, but that not a fair comparison, as I wouldn’t try and compete with anyone who writes about ‘X Factor’ or which females celebrities have been photographed in bikinis lately either.

Tet Zoo ver 2: edited highlights

It’s been a long, strange trip. Things I’ve chosen to blog about have fed back into my academic research and popular writing, and vice versa. Many subjects have been visited repeatedly to the extent that they’ve become blogosphere memes. Terrestrial stalking azhdarchids, big-brained dinosauroids, shoebills, matamatas, babirusas, the toads of the world, sea monsters, ‘mystery’ carcasses. Let’s use this as an opportunity to look back at just some of the more notable topics that I’ve blogged about at Tet Zoo ver 2…

  • One of the earliest of Tet Zoo ver 2’s articles – that on the science of Godzilla – proved a big draw. I’ve done a few more articles on Godzilla since then, and even did a radio interview on the subject for Sceptically Speaking.
  • The Australian megacat article of March 2007 was also astonishingly popular. More work needs to done before we have a better handle on the situation with these enormous Australian feral cats. I’m convinced that they’re a genuine phenomenon (I’m due to review the Williams and Lang Australian Big Cats book at some stage, so will be revisiting this issue in time).

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  • In April 2007, Aetogate kicked off: a case wherein a team of palaeontologists in New Mexico were accused of plagiarising and knowingly pre-empting the work of others (the work concerned the Triassic archosaurs called aetosaurs). It even got brief coverage in Nature (Dalton 2008). It remains arguable whether the eventual outcome of this whole case was favourable or not.
  • In December 2007, I did my bit to raise awareness of the global amphibian crisis. I’d tried in previous months to review all the main anuran groups of the world, but failed. I succeeded on salamanders and caecilians though. Anyway, the global amphibian crisis is something I would visit several times later on.
  • Ankylosaur week (February 2008) was an enjoyable and memorable event
  • In March 2008 the speculative (and entirely hypothetical) big-brained theropod Avisapiens hit the big time: i.e., the mainstream published literature. It provided a good opportunity to review Tet Zoo’s contribution to the whole ‘smart dinosaur’ meme. Most of my thoughts made it into the printed literature (Naish 2008).
  • The May 2008 article on stiletto snakes is a personal favourite, not only because it covers a fascinating group of snakes that deserve more coverage, but also because it inspired responses from people who had had personal experience with these snakes, and those who had done some of the research I was writing about (in particular Alexandra Deufel).
  • In May 2008, Mark Witton and I published our paper on terrestrial stalking in azhdarchid pterosaurs (Witton & Naish 2008). The media loved the story, and the publication of the paper in the 100% open-access PLoS ONE might mean that it has become one of the most-read technical papers on pterosaurs of all time.
  • Sea monster week (July 2008) was hugely popular and great fun.
  • The series on weird odontocete skulls – published here in the July and August of 2008 – provides a nice overview of odontocete diversity and covers a lot of material not much discussed in the popular literature.
  • My coverage in August 2008 of the decomposing raccoon nicknamed the ‘Montauk monster’ was far and away the most visited blog article I’ve written so far. It led to numerous mentions in the media and appearances on TV and so on.
  • The ‘sauropod neck posture’ event of May 2009 sparked a lot of discussion. It was timed to coincide with the publication of an open-access paper I co-authored with Mike P. Taylor and Mathew Wedel (Taylor et al. 2009).
  • Many people enjoyed the coverage of George Olshevsky’s ‘birds come first’ model, reviewed here in June 2009.
  • The July 2009 coverage of series I of Inside Nature’s Giants should be a useful resource to anyone who wants to know about much of the technical stuff covered in that most excellent series.
  • The series on mesonychians – and on taxa often regarded as mesonychians even though they may very well not be – was pretty cool, if I say so myself. It appeared here in August 2009.

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I tried my hardest to cover such issues as amphibian diversity and conservation, those all-too-neglected Palaeozoic tetrapods, and tetrapod-relevant issues relating to environmental degradation and conservation. But, even after those several years and 860 separate blog entries, these subject areas and many others remain woefully under-represented.

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One problem is that sexy, attention-grabbing topics like new dinosaurs, giraffe biology, cryptozoology and recently discovered mega-mammals have frequently diverted my attention and caused me to waste time [adjacent image shows a prasinoid monitor lizard - they're sexy, why didn't I ever write about them?]. I shouldn’t have been writing about Montauk monsters or Mesozoic dinosaurs: small brown birds, rodents, tropical frogs and colubroid snakes – that’s where the action is. My coverage of my own research output, publications and TV appearances also caused me to fail to make time for more important things that need better internet coverage. But then, I don’t think you can blame me for this sort of thing. And Tet Zoo is ‘only’ a blog, existing in entirety to serve me and not anyone else anyway (no matter what they think).

I really tried so very hard to finish so many of the series I started: temnospondyls, toads, gekkotans, pouches and pockets in the heads and chests of mammals. But, dammit, I failed on all of those. If you think this is bad… well, what about the series where I wrote loads, yet never even got to post the first part? Yes, there is tons of un-published text sitting here on my hard-drive, and concerning such topics as the squirrels of the world, fossil proboscideans, Paleogene mammals, petrels and other seabirds, and so much more. Often, there just is literally not the time to fit blog-writing into life, not when you have a family, a modest social life, a need to work to pay the bills, and choose to prioritise academic output.

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Why I love Tet Zoo

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I’ve said a few times over the years that I write Tet Zoo for me. Evidently, I benefit very much from a large readership and from the informed and wonderful community of colleagues and commenters that now contribute to the site, but the most important reader is me. Even if my readership consisted of a lonely handful of friendly sympathisers, I’d still be doing it. So, the topics I’ve covered have had to be things that I’ve really wanted to cover; it’s for this reason that Tet Zoo has veered around from one subject to another, often in whimsical and undirected fashion. The benefit of being interested in all tetrapods is that I can appeal to people interested in such diverse animals as Jurassic dinosaurs, modern birds, obscure tropical lizards and the anatomy of marine mammals. Stick around, and something you like will appear, I suppose. [Adjacent montage of model azhdarchid, shoebill and hypothetical big-brained theropod Nemoramjetia mostly irrelevant.]

It’s by happy coincidence that many of those topics I’ve wanted to write about have been the ones that haven’t had much of an internet presence already. Such animals as dibamids, didymoconids, borhyaenoids, amphiumas and giraffe-necked giant tortoises haven’t been much covered outside of the specialised, technical literature. So you could, if you want to, think that Tet Zoo serves an important role in helping to disseminate information and awareness regarding such animals to a wider audience. I’m hardly the only one doing this, of course: lots of other excellent bloggers are also doing their bit to bring all kinds of animals, living and fossils, to better attention. But I hope people think that I’ve done more than my fair share.

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I’ve worked hard to make Tet Zoo attractive in visual terms, taking time to find (and sometimes generate) relevant pictures [adjacent pic shows me as once depicted on a Christmas card, honest]. I’ve sometimes gotten* into trouble as a result, but mostly this has worked out. The significance that I place upon pictures relates mostly to my own immaturity. I’m bored to tears by large chunks of text and often can’t bring myself to read articles by other people (especially online articles) if they aren’t accompanied by images of some sort.

* Ha.

I have the impression that Tet Zoo ver 2 has become more picture-led over the years but I’m not entirely sure that’s true: even those early articles of January 2007, for example, are quite well illustrated. I wish I’d been in the habit of posting pictures at larger sizes though. On that note, one annoying constraint of the ScienceBlogs platform is that images can only be posted at maximum column width – a mere c. 500 pixels. No doubt this has often annoyed readers who’ve wanted to see diagrams at larger size – well, sorry, I did the best I could.

I forget the point I wanted to make here. But, whatever, I hope that visiting Tet Zoo ver 2 has not only been informative and perhaps even important in terms of outreach and education, but also fun and easy on the eye.

Quit the rambling and get to the point – – why are we here, right now?

So, what’s the point of all this navel-gazing? I normally do this sort of thing on Tet Zoo’s birthday. Well, the reason we’re here is that now, my friends, Tet Zoo ver 2 must come to an end. I’m not kidding – this really is it. The end. Yes, those four years of Tet Zoo ver 2 have been great fun. I wish to thank everyone who’s visited, or – even better – has accompanied me on my academic journey across the tetrapod cladogram. I hope you’ve learnt from the site, and I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting. But it’s time to say goodbye.

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Goodbye Tet Zoo ver 2, you served us well.

Goodbye.

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Buuuuut…. I mean, of course, that this is ‘only’ the end of Tet Zoo ver 2, not of Tet Zoo altogether. So, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to usher in the age of Tet Zoo ver 3. Take a deep breath, wipe the tears from your eyes, and click here.

Refs – –

Dalton, R. 2008. Fossil reptiles mired in controversy. Nature 451, 510

Henderson, D. M. & Naish, D. 2010. Predicting the buoyancy, equilibrium and potential swimming ability of giraffes by computational analysis. Journal of Theoretical Biology

Naish, D. 2008. Intelligent dinosaurs. Fortean Times 239, 52-53.

Taylor, M. P., Wedel, M. J. & Naish, D. 2009. Head and neck posture in sauropod dinosaurs inferred from extant animals. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 54, 213-220.

Witton, M. P. & Naish, D. 2008. A reappraisal of azhdarchid pterosaur functional morphology and paleoecology. PLoS ONE 3(5): e2271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002271

Comments

  1. #1 Michael P. Taylor
    July 5, 2011

    So the great day has come at last. Congratulations on your elevation! See you over on SciAm!

  2. #2 Kelly Clowers
    July 5, 2011

    Silly SciAm requires a login, and doesn’t even support OpenID. So since I am in hurry right now, I’ll post here instead of there to say: congratulations on the move! I look forward to following you there!

  3. #3 Darren Naish
    July 5, 2011

    Thanks for comments. My understanding is that SciAm would _not_ require a login for comments – I hate logins, and I know they put people off from commenting, so hopefully this’ll get sorted out. BTW, I’ll be closing comments forever here on Tet Zoo ver 2 within a couple of days. So, speak now or forever hold your proverbial peace.

  4. #4 JCK
    July 5, 2011

    There doesn’t seem to be an RSS feed for TetZoov3. I can find one for SA as a whole, but not TZ”’.

  5. #5 Albertonykus
    July 5, 2011

    My tears of sorrow became tears of joy.

  6. #6 Kelvin Britton
    July 5, 2011

    Congratulations; glad it isn’t the end of Tet Zoo. However, very first impressions are that it is not as easy to post comments on version 3 as it was on 2; really hope to be proved wrong in this.

  7. #7 David Marjanović
    July 5, 2011

    What I find strange is that neither here nor on ver 3 do you mention any reason for moving. What is it? Has SciAm promised to pay while the ScienceBorg are a year or three behind?

    On that note, one annoying constraint of the ScienceBlogs platform is that images can only be posted at maximum column width – a mere c. 500 pixels.

    This is not true! You can post images as separate files and link to them from a blog post — exactly as you’re now doing in ver 3. PZ has been doing this for years.

    Silly SciAm requires a login

    Yes, and it has to be specifically a SciAm login — you can’t use any Internet identity you already have.

  8. #8 James P.
    July 5, 2011

    Hey Darren. Long time reader, first time poster. Thank you for this blog. As a student focused on Tetrapods of all stripes, it has been a great source of learning and entertainment for me throughout college. Good luck in everything!

  9. #9 Darren Naish
    July 5, 2011

    Comment 4: I’m a moron, I’ve never been able to figure out RSS feeds, so can’t help you, sorry.

    Comment 7: on similar note (viz, me being a moron), when I tried embedding thumbnails for embiggening (see this article on dead kingfishers), I could only get them to expand to, like, c. 500 px.

    And I so dearly hope that the commenting issue (at SciAm) will get sorted out. I have asked.

    Oh, reasons for moving.. I dunno, there’s a list of reasons.

  10. #10 DMA
    July 5, 2011

    Nice measuring cup. You might already know, but scienceblogger “The Thoughtful Animal” is also moving to Scientific America. Wonderful magazine. Also, Mark’s book will be coming out this fall. I look forward to when you review it, as I’m sure you will.

  11. #11 MarkW
    July 5, 2011

    Congratulations on the move!

  12. #12 Andrea Cau
    July 5, 2011

    TetZoo is dead. Long live TetZoo!
    And thanks for quoting “my” Nemoramjetia!

  13. #13 Andrew G.
    July 5, 2011

    Quoth Bora in his announcement:

    But, for the posts on our new blogging network, there will soon be two additional log-in options: you will be able to log in with either your Twitter or your Facebook ID and password. Providing additional options is necessary to foster conversations and build our community.

    Twitter? Facebook? these people really don’t have a clue, do they?

    The clear implication of that post is that logins will always be required and that they don’t plan to support OpenID or anything equally useful any time soon.

  14. #14 DMA
    July 5, 2011

    Darren, I just posted on your new blog. For some reason, when I’m on Tet Zoo 3, it identifies me as roy in nipomo. I mentioned that on my comment, but when I posted it, all it said was good for you. Do you know what’s causing this.

  15. #15 David Marjanović
    July 5, 2011

    There’s evidence that SciAm recognizes visitors by their IP address — which is remarkably stupid in the age of dynamic IP addresses.

    I mean this:

    Posted by: John Morales | July 5, 2011 9:57 AM

    David, just checked out TetZoo v3.

    Re commenting, I found this amusing:

    Add a Comment

    You are currently signed in as roy in nipomo. If this is incorrect, please log out.

    (Something’s broken)

    To spell it out, John Morales is not roy in nipomo, and he’s at home, not in some place where somebody else could have been using his computer. I guess both John Morales and roy in nipomo have dynamic IP addresses…

    I have a dynamic IP address, and that’s apart from the fact that this is a laptop I take with me at conferences and on holidays. Movable Type (for Pharyngula) recognizes this computer nonetheless, wherever I take it.

  16. #16 Mokele
    July 5, 2011

    Am I the only one who can’t get to the new blog’s page? It causes Chrome’s tabs to crash (all of them, not just Sciam’s).

  17. #17 David Marjanović
    July 5, 2011

    Oops. I hadn’t seen comment 14 yet. *shame*

    on similar note (viz, me being a moron), when I tried embedding thumbnails for embiggening (see this article on dead kingfishers), I could only get them to expand to, like, c. 500 px.

    *shrug* Ask PZ.

    As on SciAm, the file name for the full-size picture has to end in .jpg or whatever, not .php.

    Twitter? Facebook? these people really don’t have a clue, do they?

    Evidently not. I’m not going to join internet kudzu (© Jadehawk on Pharyngula) just so I can comment!

  18. #18 David Marjanović
    July 5, 2011

    Am I the only one who can’t get to the new blog’s page? It causes Chrome’s tabs to crash (all of them, not just Sciam’s).

    Ha! Install… wait for it… Internet Explorer. Mwa ha ha ha haaaaah…!!!

  19. #19 Angela
    July 5, 2011

    Making science interesting to people at all levels of education is really a great achievement and something to be proud of. And it seems more important now than ever. I hope you are well-compensated for putting out such great material! Yes please on the squirrels. I need to know what pygmy-squirrels look like. African ground squirrels share their burrows with meerkats and mongoose? What’s up with that?
    Yay for TetZoo!

  20. #20 Michael P. Taylor
    July 5, 2011

    There doesn’t seem to be an RSS feed for TetZoov3. I can find one for SA as a whole, but not TZ”’.

    Happily, there is one. But it is certainly cunningly concealed.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/feed/
    Darren, I suggest that you edit your Welcome article and add this highly useful URL.

    The SciAm commenting system thinks that I, too, am Roy From Nipomo. But in my case it doesn’t matter, since it won’t let me comment at all. It just drops my comments on the floor, doesn’t even have the civility to say that it’s rejected them.

    I certainly get the feeling that the SciAm platform is nowhere near ready for real use — to call it “immature” would be kind, especially as regards the commenting. Really disappointing. Darren, you should consider keeping v2 alive until they get that sorted out, because there is NO WAY you will get quantity and quality of comments you’ve been used to if the new platform doesn’t radically buck its ideas up.

  21. #21 Marcus
    July 5, 2011

    Love the blog, bought the book, & I look forward to more of the same at the new home. Congratulations!

  22. #22 heteromeles
    July 5, 2011

    The new site doesn’t work with Firefox 5 either. Just Internet Explorer.

    As I noted over there, if I have to open IE just to comment on TetZoo v 3, I’m not going to be saying much.

    Sorry Darren. Happy Trails.

  23. #23 Adam F
    July 5, 2011

    I’ve really been enjoying tetzoo, and will gladly follow it to it’s new home (annoying logins or not.) Thanks for all the fascinating info and all the love for the less famous tetrapods. And thanks for keeping focused on zoology, not politics or religion or whatnot. There are enough spots on the internet for those sorts of flamewars already.

    Also you should do something on koala brains sometime…

  24. #24 David Marjanović
    July 5, 2011

    Oh, reasons for moving.. I dunno, there’s a list of reasons.

    Just for the record, I’m not surprised that there are reasons. Just today, PZ is once again talking of leaving the ScienceBorg, too.

    The SciAm commenting system thinks that I, too, am Roy From Nipomo. But in my case it doesn’t matter, since it won’t let me comment at all. It just drops my comments on the floor, doesn’t even have the civility to say that it’s rejected them.

    Now that’s interesting.

  25. #25 Mike from Ottawa
    July 5, 2011

    Buuuuut…. I mean, of course, that this is ‘only’ the end of Tet Zoo ver 2, not of Tet Zoo altogether.

    It’s just mean mean mean mean mean to leave that to the end. Sniff. I need a minute to recover.

    Ok, there.

    I can’t compete with the ScienceBlog bloggers who write about religion, politics and global warming denialism …

    And I’m glad you don’t. I read a number of such blogs regularly and think what they’re doing is important and interesting, but TetZoo is a place I come to recharge my batteries with the unadulterated joy of experiencing some of the wonders of nature, often found by you in animals I’d previously thought of as ordinary – at TetZoo nothing is ordinary!

  26. #26 nn
    July 5, 2011

    the new site doesn’t have an RSS feed. Or I can’t find it?

  27. #27 Vicki
    July 5, 2011

    The new site doesn’t work well in Firefox 3.6 either: it starts to load, then flickers and gives me a different page. (I realize you aren’t tech support there, but I can comment here, at least for now, so FYI if you want to pass it on to SciAm.)

  28. #28 Chris M.
    July 5, 2011

    Haven’t had trouble with it in Firefox 5 after a quick look, seems to work fine. Agreed with Mike, but having read a couple of the other “this is the end” posts in recent years was probably less surprised; there was nowhere near enough justifying an end!

    Anyway, good luck with the new platform! I conveniently already have a twitter account, but hopefully SciAm will be working on their comment policy.

  29. #29 Zach Miller
    July 5, 2011

    Awwww snap!

    Tet Zoo v.2 is one of my favorite internet websites. It’s sad to see it go, but happy to see where it’s going. Good job, Darren, and thanks for all the fish. Now, a Pokemon reference:

    What? TET ZOO V.2 is evolving! *music plays*

    Congratulations! Your TET ZOO V.2 evolved into TET ZOO V.3!

  30. #30 heteromeles
    July 5, 2011

    For some reason, Firefox 5 started working about an hour after my first complaint. The issue was that I couldn’t comment, not that I couldn’t read it.

    Onward, upward, and sideways, as they say.

  31. #31 Art
    July 5, 2011

    Loved the blog. I didn’t always understand it all, being an poorly educated and hardheaded tradesman didn’t help, but, because you excel at explaining complicated things to simple people, I think I got the main points and always felt a little better educated and informed after reading your blog. I’m looking forward to seeing your blog in its new home.

  32. #32 andy
    July 5, 2011

    VERY glad to see this is not the end. In the opinion of this lapsed astrophysicist, this blog is one of the gems of the internet, certainly one of the top science blogs out there. You’ve got a real talent for writing material that is both accessible to the lay reader while simultaneously not shying away from the technical details that make up the meat of the subject. Great work so far, long may it continue!

  33. #33 4u1e
    July 5, 2011

    Thanks for the scare! Phew.

    Look forward to following the new version. Speaking as a lurker rather than a commenter (I don’t know enough to have anything to add!), I hope commenting works out at v3, because they are often almost as interesting as the excellent blogs.

  34. #34 Darren Naish
    July 5, 2011

    Thanks for further comments. The decision to make commenting as difficult as possible over on ver 3 was nothing to do with me – indeed, I was under the impression that commenting would be free and easy, as it is here. Right now, I can’t even comments on my own blog without registering for a new login and password!!! This is being discussed behind the scenes, hopefully it’ll get sorted eventually. I’m pleased that at least some readers have already managed to register and leave comments at ver 3 – thanks indeed for this. Yes, onwards and sideways.

  35. #35 DDeden
    July 5, 2011

    A final comment:
    TZ – A good read. Worth the temporal investment.

  36. #36 Bruce T.
    July 5, 2011

    I’m glad that Tet Zoo will be continuing over on the SciAm web site. It’s one of my favorite science blogs. Great stuff! Thanks for all the effort you’ve put into it over the years, Darren.

  37. #37 Mattir
    July 5, 2011

    Where are archives going to live? For the week when I get to do a Marjanovic and read everything start to finish…

  38. #38 JCK
    July 5, 2011

    @20: Thanks for the feed!

  39. #39 Rob
    July 5, 2011

    I will post here (since I will not create an identity “over there” and I hardly post anyway) to say congratulations on your new digs! I will continue to read you at the new site … right now I can read it fine in Firefox 3.x on a Mac.

  40. #40 Monado, FCD
    July 5, 2011

    I know that some diagrams I have clicked on have become huge or seemed to. If you doubt that, look at the size and extent of PZ’s little face photo in the upper left of his blog. I know that’s not in a column.

    I want to thank you for taking the time, explaining the research, and posting about whatever you damn well please. In addition to your own writing you have let me know about other interesting sites and people–Carl Buell, for example, and Sauropod Vertebra of the Day.

    I hope SciAm allows me to say Damn once in a while while keeping abreast of the harder and longer topics. :)

  41. #41 Monado, FCD
    July 5, 2011

    And Rigor Vitae! What a find.

    I hope that this site will remain up for a while so we can still read it.

  42. #42 Hai~Ren
    July 5, 2011

    I had a bit of a heart attack, only to feel that familiar wave of relief when I saw that it wasn’t the death of Tet Zoo, just the birth of a new incarnation.

    I hope the issues on SciAm get sorted out soon enough; I know I haven’t been commenting much on Laelaps ever since Brian Switek moved to Wired, and I hope that I don’t end up commenting less on the new Tet Zoo because of such technical issues.

  43. #43 Kelly Clowers
    July 5, 2011

    @Andrew G
    I sent SciAm an email at the webmaster address asking for OpenID. I have doubts it will help, but you never know…

  44. #44 Alex Wild
    July 5, 2011

    I suspect emails to the webmaster will help. So far, the powers that be have been *very* open to suggestions in getting we bloggers set up over there.

    Still, we’re doing what we can behind the scenes to stress the importance of open comments with the powers that be.

  45. #45 Howard
    July 5, 2011

    It was a mean trick to write your announcement like that! But a good joke at the same time.

    Be seein’ you in ver 3!

  46. #46 Mickey Mortimer
    July 6, 2011

    Congrats on the move. Guess I finally have a reason to set up a SciAm account…

  47. #47 Anthony Docimo
    July 6, 2011

    fare-thee-well for now. with luck, we’ll meet again.

    in the meanwhile (and whether or not we do meet), I wish you and your friends and family and loved ones all the best in health, luck, and good fortune.

    have nice days and be well.

  48. #48 Steve Plant
    July 6, 2011

    “This really is the end” – What a cheap trick!!

    Look forward to reading you over at Tet Zoo 3.

  49. #49 Mark Lees
    July 6, 2011

    That was cruel – very cruel. And all just to wind us up. In fact Darren Naish you couldn’t have been more of a tease if you’d dressed up in suspenders and a basque and (actually that’s such a disturbing thought I’ll stop there).

    I do understand your wanting out of Science Blogs – too many of the major blogs here have little science related about them – its seems mostly religion, politics and social issues and personal lives. A year or so ago I did a rough and ready survey of a few of the more popular blogs (I won’t mention names, but you can probably guess which some of them were) and came to the conclusion that even giving the benefit of the doubt in borderline cases they typically had science related material in less than 25% of posts, some of the worst offenders were down around 10%. While they have every right to blog that way and they clearly have very large followings, I think it made a mockery of the concept to have them as part of Science Blogs, and frankly I suspect getting out of here an heading to SciAm will enhance your already substantial credibility.

    I have several of your books, enjoyed them all – but honestly thought the best was the Tetrapod Zoology book – but I suspect that’s because I enjoy the blog.

    I am also concerned about the archives of Tet Zoo2 – should I start downloading webpages quickly, or will the site be available for some time? (if so how long?).

    Anyway – I look forward to more fascinating material – I know requests are probably pointless when you are so overburdened with material to cover, but here’s a few I would love to see in V3 – rollers and bee-eaters (truely awesome birds, still working my way through an attempt to see all the species in both families), relationships in the finch-sparow-bunting groups, paleogene primates and plesiadapids, birds and mammals of the Miocene (in terms of overall diversity I think of the Miocene as the ‘high summer’ of life on earth – so far), Uintatherium (since the picture on the cover of the How and Why book of Prehistoric Mammals as a kid in the 1970s its one of my all time favourites), aardvarks including their fossil relatives, corvids, shrikes (sensu lato), analysis of some of the more realistic cryptids, and what about rodents – I know their not the most exciting mammals, but there are so many of them and they are so varied, capybaras and coypus, cloudrunners, molerats, giant squirels, anomalures, porcupines and all the fossil types (like the giant fossil rodents from the Caribbean).

    I’ll stop there – anyway, I think you get the message, Tet Zoo is an institution now, maybe you should seek funding for it (but that might take some of your freedom to wander as you wish away). Best wishes to Tet Zoo v3.

  50. #50 Jerzy
    July 6, 2011

    New website unfortunately requires login, so it may mean even less opportunity to comment for casual scientists, or those – like me – who cannot really spend much time commenting.

    Did you consider (and is it technically possible) to run the blog at two places at once?

  51. #51 Calli Arcale
    July 6, 2011

    I was very sad, reading your post, though happy to remember all the wonderful things I’ve read on here. I’m not a biologist, so nearly all of it was completely new to me. And utterly fascinating! This is one of my all-time favorite blogs, because I have learned so much. I love it all; I don’t think I can come up with a favorite topic in all of your posts, because they’re all fascinating.

    I am now even happier to learn that Tet Zoo is not over! I will now go over to your new blog and bookmark it so I can keep on following you! Thank you so much for the enormous time and effort you’ve put in to this blog, and educating people like me. I seldom have anything to say in the comments, because most of the commenters are far more educated in these topics than I am — I learn a great deal following the comments too, and especially appreciate how often you respond in the comments. It’s a real pleasure, and I look forward to following Tet Zoo ver 3!

  52. #52 Ulrika
    July 6, 2011

    Long time lurker, first time commenter just to wish you the best of luck at SciAm! I will follow you wherever you decide to move tet zoo, you led me to ScienceBlogs (by finding your blog through an internet search for the Montauk monster – I needed to convince a relative it wasn’t an alien) and now I get to explore another blog network. Can also add that I am feeling a bit smug since I only read a few lines before scrolling to the end to find out if there was a link to a ‘tet zoo ver 3′. :)

  53. #53 helz_belz
    July 6, 2011

    been lurking around here for about 2 years now, and only got up the courage to post for the first time last week. Just to say, great blog, hope SciAm provides the perfect platform for it to go further.

    My personal favourite posts from Tet Zoo Ver 2 must be The Velvet Claw ones, printed copies now live with my copy of the series book. looking forward to great new things over at Ver 3! :D

  54. #54 Rory
    July 6, 2011

    I thought the real rapture had come until I read those last 4 lines! Don’t worry about the lack of coverage on obscurities Darren,I think you do a pretty stirling job. Especially pleased that you managed to finish off the gekkotans series so fantastically, and indebted to you for giving me a heads up on the fascinating caecillians talk. The vast majority of your articles have been an absolute pleasure and fascinating to read, even if I skip some of the osteology jargon!

    Wishing you best of success in ver.3

  55. #55 Ian
    July 6, 2011

    you bastard! I literally got knots in my stomach as you recounted some of the articles I loved so much. I had a million thoughts running through my head. would the articles disappear? what will I read to fill this gap? who will break down all the articles that I’ve always wanted to read, but never had the time?

    good to hear you’re moving over, and congratulations! you deserve it. tet zoo has been the most fantastic addition to my scientific life over the past few years, since I’ve started reading it.
    thanks again!

  56. #56 Raaf
    July 6, 2011

    This was one of the best blogs in the world. Gentle, inspiring, wicked, intelligent, unique, special, magical, enigmatic and loads of fun. I’m sad it’s gone.

  57. #57 Iain Shearer
    July 6, 2011

    Thanks so much for an incredibly informative and entertaining read Darren.
    I’m not in the realm of tetrapodology myself – i’m an archaeologist specialising in Iran and Central Asia – but Tet Zoo 2 has left me enthralled by a veritable Ark of fascinating articles over the last year.
    This is probably a bit of a thick question but will we email subscribers of Tet Zoo 2 still receive email updates with the move over to Version 3?
    I really hope so as i’ve learned an awful lot about an awful lot since being one of your very satisfied readers and would hate to have to go back to doing some actual work!
    Best of luck with the move.

  58. #58 Colin McHenry
    July 7, 2011

    Darren – Tet Zoo is a force for good in the world and well done for making it so. Thanks for all your hard work and making it easier for us to grapple with the wonders of tetrapod diversity. Good luck with ver 3.

  59. #59 David Marjanović
    July 7, 2011

    I haven’t tried making a login yet because I’m on a bad connection at the moment (and because the requirement might go away anyway).

    There is one advantage to requiring a login: it keeps most spambots out. That’s why PZ introduced it. Few blogs need that, though.

    The column for comments is ridiculously narrow. It’s obvious that the SciAm overlords didn’t expect anybody to have a discussion in a comment thread. That’s going to be difficult!

    This was one of the best blogs in the world. Gentle, inspiring, wicked, intelligent, unique, special, magical, enigmatic and loads of fun. I’m sad it’s gone.

    It’s not gone. You’ve overlooked the paragraph between the last picture and the references — and, of course, you haven’t read the comments before yours.

  60. #60 Rob Jase
    July 7, 2011

    I may have to login at the new version but you won’t escape me that easilly.

  61. #61 valagos
    July 7, 2011

    I discovered this blog by accident when looking for relevant follow-up on a poorly written news article about the discovery of the ‘Titanoboa cerrejonensis’, and have remained under the spell of Tet Zoo ever since. I’m going to miss version 2… so many great articles here (particularly loved the Velvet Claw series, the analysis and discussion of “Inside Nature’s Giants”, and all the articles about Cenozoic megafauna). Also loved the fact that the comments section tended to be as rapturing as the articles themselves; I really hope that great community of bright minds that have gravitated to this site migrate into your new home. Best of luck and see you there.

  62. #62 valagos
    July 7, 2011

    By the way… loved the symbolism behind the broken SB measuring cup. Nice touch.

  63. #63 Mike
    July 7, 2011

    Congrats on your terrific success on SciBlogs and best of luck at your new home. I would have commented there, but didn’t want to create an account to do so!

    Don’t forget to swap over your Nature Blog Network code…

  64. #64 K. Capach
    July 7, 2011

    Phew… I’m glad I managed to make it to the end!

    I’m can’t thank you enough for the time and effort you put into this, and I’m pleased to know that you are mad enough to keep it up.

  65. #65 Darren Naish
    July 8, 2011

    Thanks for further supportive, kind comments. I don’t aim to really do anything with the articles archived here at Tet Zoo ver 2 – I’m assuming that they’ll just stay here. If that’s a dumb or naive assumption please tell me what I should do.

    The fact that ver 3 at SciAm requires registration/logging in is indeed a real pain – an obstacle to commenting that I (and others) didn’t expect. We are begging and pleading behind the scenes to get it changed. I, personally, want open commenting as here. Still, the intro post at ver 3 is already going on for 38 comments (many more than usual for SciAm blogs, I think), so at least some of you haven’t been put off, and I thank you.

    The ScienceBlogs coffee cup actually split in half of its own accord one day – maybe it was an omen :)

  66. #66 Arctic Ape
    July 8, 2011

    So long, and thanks for all the derived osteichtyans.

    I think I’ve read all of this version, but it seems that I still find new awesome stuff when I’m wandering in the archive. I may not follow to the new version, because my time is getting more limited and my mind has already been blown enough times by this blog. Also, commenters were a cherry on top :)

  67. #67 Pierce R. Butler
    July 8, 2011

    Those tetrapods which flee sinking ships, survive!

    It seems quite likely that someone will pull the plug on the sciblogs.com servers – possibly within the year – and erase their hard drives for future public service providing MILFs on Mayonnaise to an eager audience. So – please! – create a complete archive and look around for a school, zoo, whatever that can keep your impressive blogging oeuvre available.

  68. #68 Darren Naish
    July 8, 2011

    MILFs on Mayonnaise? Err..

    Anyway, ok. Can anyone tell me how the hell I might create such an archive. I know nothing of such things, nor how to set them up.

  69. #69 Nathan Myers
    July 8, 2011

    Most likely the measuring cup was made of soda glass, rather than the much more long-lasting and durable borosilicate that used to be called Pyrex. The Pyrex trademark was sold off to makers of soda glass in one of those brilliant bits of Harvard MBA ju-jitsu that have so enriched all our lives. Anything recent that is so labeled is not what it once would have been.

    I’m off to SciAm, see you there.

  70. #70 Tamara Henson
    July 8, 2011

    Congratulations on the promotion. I have been reading Tet Zoo since version 1 and will make the move to version 3. I always learn something new on this site and keep up the post on obscure small snakes and amphibians and animals so well known (Rabbits for example) that their weirdness tends to be ignored.

  71. #71 LeeB
    July 8, 2011

    Hmmm,
    there is an internet archive way back machine but I don’t know how you would go about getting your blog on it.

    LeeB.

  72. #72 Luke
    July 8, 2011

    Well, since this space will no longer be used, I feel okay about spamming just a bit.

    The website Furaha details the strange xeno-vertebrates of a distant planet. The aliens are mostly hexapods rather than tetrapods, which has allowed them to explore niches that vertebrates on Earth have been unable too; see the modified front limbs of the carnivores.

    The art is vibrant and fresh and extremely pleasing to the eye, consisting of mostly acryllic paintings done over the course of more than 20 years.

    In addition, the creator of the project runs a regularly updated blog about xenobiology and biomechanics. I have no relation to him and he hasn’t told me to post this, I’m just trying to share this thing I love with more people :) .

    http://members. casema.nl/gertvandijk/

    Remove the giant space (trying to beat the spam filter).

  73. #73 David Marjanović
    July 9, 2011

    there is an internet archive way back machine but I don’t know how you would go about getting your blog on it.

    That’s automatic (like Google), but it doesn’t record almost any pictures, and it’s very patchy.

    trying to beat the spam filter

    The spam filter allows four links per comment, not counting ScienceBlogs-internal ones that lack the http://scienceblogs.com part (but not the slash that follows it).

  74. #74 Darren Naish
    July 9, 2011

    I think another 48 hrs and I’ll close comments here forever.

  75. #75 heteromeles
    July 9, 2011

    Hi Darren,

    re: saving stuff.

    At the very least, save a copy of each of your blog pages, or have someone do it for you. After that, in your copious leisure time, you can figure out how to publish it in a more long-lasting form.

    The other thing you can do is recycle it on to SciAm if Scienceblogs folds, possibly recycled as the TetZoo Archives.

  76. #76 Owlmirror
    July 9, 2011

    Can anyone tell me how the hell I might create such an archive. I know nothing of such things, nor how to set them up.

    You might try contacting Carl Zimmer, whose blog at discovermagazine includes his full archive going back to 2003, including from his time at Scienceblogs. He might have done it manually, but I suspect there’s some sort of export/import functionality available.

    Or maybe the techs at SciAm could advise, or handle it themselves?

    I think another 48 hrs and I’ll close comments here forever.

    I wonder if you could leave comments open but moderated (assuming you don’t import the whole thing elsewhere, of course)? Every now and then someone stumbles on an old post, and adds something of interest. I have no idea how much spam you have to deal with, though, and why make work for yourself?

    I notice that Brian Switek left comments open at Sb Laelaps, and spam appears to have infected the entire system. Tch. Maybe it’s better to just shut down comments after all.

  77. #77 Surroundx
    July 10, 2011

    Surely somebody with some extra space on their website would be so kind as to host all of your articles on their website? Even if they just saved the main text of the articles, minus the pics and comments, as they are of immense value.

  78. #78 David Marjanović
    July 10, 2011

    Perhaps it’s best if you leave commenting here open till you at least know if registration will stop being required. Do you already?

  79. #79 Henrique Niza
    July 11, 2011

    I believe I never posted in Tet Zoo ver 2 before but even if that is true I’m a regular reader and I’ll sure to continue following you. Continuation of a great work at Tet Zoo ver 3.

  80. #80 k
    July 11, 2011

    Thank you for all of your posts over the years. You’ve taught me a lot and sent me scurrying for more references and more info, more times than I can count. I’ll try to rendezvous with the new V3 and keep following along. Best wishes for success! -k.

  81. #81 David Marjanović
    July 12, 2011

    Any news on whether registration will be dropped?

  82. #82 Darren Naish
    July 12, 2011

    Extensive discussions have been going on, but no resolution yet. I and other SciAm bloggers have tried to convince SciAm that open commenting is a must. In short: no, no news, sorry.

    As for the idea of leaving comments open – no, I don’t fancy keeping up with the spam that’ll accrue, and I want my ‘blogging time’ to shift to ver 3.

    And thanks to others for kind words about Tet Zoo.

  83. #83 Owlmirror
    July 13, 2011

    (Yes, I’m too lazy to create an account on SciAm)

    Does SciAm have tags? The Nuralagus post (bravo!) should have had a “mammalogy” tag. And I’ll miss the “frivolous nonsense”, “gratuitous self-promotion”, and “hate-filled rants”, along with the more staid tags of “herpetology”, “ornithology”, and so on.

    I also wanted to suggest that the open commenting system on SciAm should include captchas, to cut down on spam flooding. I seem to recall that Sciencebloggers were asking for that from Sb for a very long time, but no action was taken.

  84. #84 Jake M.
    July 13, 2011

    Similar to Owlmirror’s comment/suggestion in #76 Ed Yong’s entire SB archive followed him to Discover as soon as he started over there. Perhaps that is unique to Discover or perhaps there is a way to do the same with Ter Zoo ver. 2 over at SciAm. I’d sure rather see this amazing collection follow you rather than be subject to the whims of SB.

  85. #85 Hussein
    July 14, 2011

    I am Hussein we are live in Myanmar and we know to buying to this animal big price but we give you a small once size if your company is buying or not send to me a mail and how much give me hight price i will wake your mail.
    Mr, Hussein.

  86. #86 Arachnophilegrrl
    July 22, 2011

    /Whew

    At least there IS a Tet Zoo 3.0. You had me worried there for… most of the article. I will follow you and I’m happy to see you with such a good mag. as Sci. American. Please bug them about the idiocy of their advertising. ;-p

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