Tetrapod Zoology

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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…

The Matamata is an incredible animal. A morphologically bizarre, highly cryptic, aquatic South American turtle, it’s equipped with a super-specialised wide, flattened skull and a host of peculiar features that allow it to engulf fish and other prey in deft acts of rapid suction. Surprisingly large (up to 1 m long), it has a very…

While chasing up sivathere stuff, I got distracted. Sorry. Among the most spectacular of extinct bovids is the Plio-Pleistocene African form Pelorovis, famous for its gigantic curved horns. These can span 3 m in fossil skulls, and were certainly even longer in the living animal. Pelorovis was built rather like a gigantic, long-horned version of…

I don’t do requests on Tet Zoo, but when enough people ask me about the same thing it does get into my head. Ever since the early days of ver 1 people have been asking me about late-surviving sivatheres. What, they ask, is the deal with those various pieces of rock art and that Sumerian…

Over the course of the previous 19 – yes, 19 – articles we’ve looked at the full diversity of vesper bat species (see links below if there are any parts you’ve missed). If you’ve been following the series on an article-by-article basis, you’ll hopefully now have a reasonable handle on the morphological, behavioural and ecological…

I find myself astonished by the fact that I’ve done it. With the publication of this article I’ve succeeded in providing a semi/non-technical overview of all the vesper bats of the world… or, of all the major lineages, anyway. Obviously, it hasn’t been possible to even mention all 400-odd vesper bat species, let alone all…

Among the best known, most widespread and most familiar of vesper bats are the pipistrelles. All bats conventionally regarded as pipistrelles are small (ranging from 3-20 g and 35-62 mm in head-body length), typically with proportionally short, broad-based ears and a jerky, rather erratic flying style.

Here we are, so close to the very end. I am pleased and surprised to find that we’re now looking at the vesper bats within Vespertilionini – the clade that (in the topology I’m using here: that of Roehrs et al. (2010)) includes the pipistrelles and noctules and their closest relatives. We’ll get to those…

By now (if, that is, you’ve been following this thrilling, roller-coaster ride of a series) we’ve gotten through the better part of vesper bat phylogeny: we’ve climbed ‘up’ the vesper bat cladogram and are now within the youngest major section of the group. Recent phylogenetic studies have recognised a serotine clade (Eptesicini or Nycticeiini), a…