tetrapodzoology

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Darren Naish

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November 29, 2010
As you'll know if you have your fingers on the throbbing pulse of dinosaur-related publications, the massive, incredibly pricey volume published by the Geological Society of London, and resulting from the 2008 meeting History of Dinosaurs and Other Fossil Saurians, now exists in dead-tree form.…
November 27, 2010
I've been ill, and pressing deadlines for book chapters and other projects have kept me busy. An inability to post stuff on Tet Zoo always frustrates me, as there's just so much Tet Zoo-relevant stuff to get through. And, on that note: I must have said on many occasions that there are whole…
November 21, 2010
Everybody knows that camels are weird. As you'll know if you've been keeping an eye on SV-POW! lately, we've recently been quite taken with their necks. But it's not just camel's necks that are weird. Here, we embark on another look at the sometimes bizarre pouches, pockets and sacs present in…
November 19, 2010
I recently posted an updated version of the 'Science of Godzilla' article, and what a great success it was. But I'm kicking myself, because I totally forgot something else I should have mentioned: Tracy L. Ford recently had cause to produce a number of anatomical drawings of Zilla (aka GINO*/…
November 17, 2010
My three-part series on the 'explosion of Iguanodon' is now complete and up on the Scientific American guest blog: part I is here, part II here, and part III here. Part III wraps things up and looks briefly at the social inertia that has held back our understanding of Iguanodon sensu lato, and…
November 15, 2010
Part I of a three-part series on the 'explosion of Iguanodon' starts today at the Scientific American guest blog. This first part covers the background before looking at Altirhinus, Owenodon, Mantellisaurus and Dollodon - and there's lots more to come. Please head on over, and be sure to do your…
November 14, 2010
Time for a little game. What does this photo represent? Can you work out what happened here? One clue: the skeleton belonged to a large mammal. Sorry the pic is in black-and-white and a bit fuzzy, it's the best version of the image I have (a colour version exists somewhere - please do pass it on…
November 12, 2010
Having written (briefly) about the turtle-like shelled placodont Henodus chelyops, it's as good a time as any to provide some more information. For starters, here's a close-up photo (kindly provided by Markus Bühler) showing one of the grooves in the left lower jaw. These gutter-like structures (…
November 10, 2010
Back in July 2009 I wrote an article on what little I knew (and had read) about lightning strikes and animal deaths [in composite image below, lightning image by John R. Southern; Angolan giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis by Hans Hillewaert. Both from wikipedia]. As discussed therein,…
November 8, 2010
By now you might be relatively familiar with the bizarre soft tissue and bony anatomy of the peculiar, poorly known Pygmy right whale Caperea marginata [a juvenile Caperea that stranded on New Zealand is shown above; original image by New Zealand Department of Conservation, from Te Papa's Blog].…
November 4, 2010
Long-time readers will know that I've been planning to cover placodonts - a group of marine, armour-plated Triassic sauropterygian reptiles - for a long, long time. Still haven't gotten round to it (though there is this one picture). But here's something, at least: a piece of text on the weird,…
November 1, 2010
The time has come to recycle this Tet Zoo classic, dating to February 2007 (it's actually one of the oldest of Tet Zoo ver 2 articles). I've updated it a bit and have included new pics - enjoy! [image below from Kaiji anatomical drawings.. read on for discussion]. To begin with, let's get things…
October 30, 2010
There are about 3800 lizard species living on the planet today; accordingly, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to keep track of them all. Furthermore, new species are described on a very regular basis, and there's little doubt that many more species await discovery. Matty Smith (from New Zealand…
October 27, 2010
I really must get this series on pouches, sacs and pockets finished. Last time, we looked at baleen whales (and then I got distracted by Caperea): in these animals, a large, inflatable laryngeal sac is used in producing loud, resonating noises (though roles in gas storage or the mechanics of…
October 25, 2010
You know me, I'm not one to brag. But... One of several interesting things I did over the weekend was attend a special cinema screening (in Clapham, London) of the giant squid special episode of Inside Nature's Giants. It was great, and the showing was followed by a Q&A session with David…
October 24, 2010
Given that we're all enjoying gawping at Caperea so much, I may as well finish up and use the rest of the photos that Joy Reidenberg kindly provided. First off, here's the skull from the side. It's really weird: that lower jaw shape is utterly unlike anything else present in baleen whales, being…
October 20, 2010
The recent discussion of Caperea's skeletal morphology (Caperea = Pygmy right whale) inspired Joy Reidenberg to send these photos of a Caperea skeleton, taken in New Zealand and used here with her permission. In this view of the whale's thoracic region (we're standing beneath the whale, looking…
October 18, 2010
Time to continue in the Tet Zoo series on laryngeal diverticula (and other pouches, pockets and sacs). This time, we look at baleen whales, or mysticetes. Like the primates we looked at previously, mysticetes have enlarged laryngeal ventricles* that (mostly) meet along the ventral midline of the…
October 16, 2010
I've never used this picture before as I assume that most interested people have seen it. But, whatever... The animal is a Puma Puma concolor, and it was photographed in Belize in 2002 by a remote camera (the photo comes via Marcella Kelly and has featured widely on websites that cover mystery…
October 14, 2010
The recent, brief foray into Shoebill territory made now a sensible time to use a few other Shoebill-based images I have here in the Tet Zoo archives. That, and I haven't been able to finish anything more substantive due to other commitments. We begin with a lateral view of a skull I once…
October 13, 2010
Once again I'm going to do the advertising thing for those fantastic Inside Nature's Giants people. Sorry that notice is so short, but I only received the relevant information today (Wednesday 13th October). Tomorrow sees the premiere screening (here in the UK, on Channel 4) of a 75 minute ING…
October 11, 2010
Welcome to the second part of the series on the various pouches, sacs and pockets present in the heads, necks and chests of mammals. Last time we looked at the laryngeal sacs of primates (and, should you encounter unfamiliar anatomical terms in the following text, be sure to check out that first…
October 9, 2010
Do you remember this post, all about a birthday card I received in 2009? (go check, then come straight back here). The picture - which I like very much - is by Elizabeth Diggins of Oakwood Artists, and I'm not the only one who likes it: it was placed runner-up in BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year…
October 7, 2010
Earlier this year (July) my children's book on Mesozoic reptiles - Dinosaurs Life Size - appeared in the shops. People seem to like it (yikes, even if some of the 'life sized' animals are scaled wrong). July also saw the publication of Dorling Kindersley's Know It All (Baines 2010): I didn't write…
October 4, 2010
I've mentioned laryngeal and tracheal anatomy a few times on Tet Zoo (see the links at the very bottom for more). Well, time to look at it again. It's (relatively) little known that a long list of mammal species possess an assortment of 'pouches', pocket-like structures and pneumatic sacs and…
September 30, 2010
This rather unassuming photo is included for all you cetophiles out there (or, should that be cetaceophiles? Whatever). These rather crappy fossils represent an assortment of odontocete fragments from the Red Crag deposits of Suffolk, England. I initially thought that I recognised the rostrum…
September 27, 2010
It's always been clear that pterosaurs were present in the Cornet assemblage (for the background on Cornet and its archosaur fossils, you need to have read part I). However, exactly what sort of pterosaurs are present at Cornet has been somewhat uncertain: the Late Jurassic ctenochasmatoid…
September 27, 2010
Among one of many interesting and perplexing Mesozoic fossil assemblages is that known from Cornet, Romania. I've been really interested in this collection of archosaur remains - currently housed at the Tarii Crisurilor Museum, Oradea - ever since I first heard about it in the 1990s, and recently…
September 24, 2010
For no particular reason, here are some interesting raptor photos. Birds of many kinds often sit around with their wings only partially folded, partly hanging down at their sides; one reason for this is that they're sun-bathing and are using their wings to soak up heat. Among raptors, this…
September 22, 2010
In the previous article on the 58th Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA), held in Cambridge, UK, I discussed some of the work that was presented on stem-tetrapods and sauropods. This time round, we look at more Mesozoic stuff - pterosaurs in particular - before…