Goodbye Tetrapod Zoology

i-cf90e2c081ddd18506dd56c1d6b35fbc-TZPOD 17-7-2007.jpg

You all know that I'm just dying to publish those articles on biarmosuchians, dinocephalians and edaphosaurids, not to mention the dinoceratans, astrapotheres, pantodonts, pantolestans and nesophontids that I've been busy with lately. Then there are the stem-group monstersaurian lizards, the palaeophiids, the miniature ground sloths, the meiolaniids, the giant iguanas; and those long-overdue articles on Piltdown, de-hominization, knuckle-walking, amphisbaenians, tortoises, kinglets and (cough) Eotyrannus. The fact is, I just don't have the time. And time is such a problem right now...

... that I'm going to semi-close the blog down for a few weeks: as conference season approaches, I have to spend all of my 'free time' working on the talks and powerpoint presentations I need to complete. And I say 'semi-close' because I don't expect for one minute that I'll stop posting things entirely. I really do think though that I should give it a rest on the proper articles for a while. I hope you understand.

Meanwhile, what smarty-pants can identity the creature in the image? I should say to begin with that what you're seeing is largely - err- artistic, and may not reflect the morphology of the taxon in question. I included the close-up of the skull to liven the image up, not because it will help you with the identification. The one person whom I know knows the answer must remain silent for the time being :)

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Giraffosaurus longissumus

Good luck Darren.

I think it's a uh, sauropod? :P

Before you go, do you have any more information on Mr. Marc van Roosmalen?I'd like to try to help out.

is it camarasaurus?

By Phil Hore (not verified) on 17 Jul 2007 #permalink

[I thought I'd check up on the recent TZ action, followed the link from "Goodbye blogspot" directly to "Goodbye Tetrapod Zoology", whoa!]

My guess on the critter above: tetrapod (sorry, that's as specific as I'm willing to go).

All are welcome to visit my blog the-arc if bored silly; random stuff on our seashore diving ancestors and other bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam and occasional bottle cap.
eg. Diving tigers (yes, really), Geo-spatial neural axons of the huuman fovea/eye, spinal vertebrae twist in great apes and humans but not monkeys.

Best luck on cash-flow & time-flow management.

Hi Darren,
I've been a long term reader of your blog (you may remember me from Pompey Palaeo class of 1997-2000, I can even claim the fame of having been round your former place once!). Anyway now I'm working in IT in NZ but your blog has been the best one place to get interesting articles on all things palaeo'y and tetrapody on the web and so it's a shame that you don't have the time to keep it going for now. Thanks for all the great articles I regularly force my colleagues and mates to listen to me talk about your blogs and send your links around.

It'd be a shame for the blog to die, could you build up a quick store of piccies of the day and post them one by one resisting the temptation to add much text just so the blog ticks over?

As for the picture of the day obviously its a Sauropod and judging from the teeth possibly a Macronarion (I think, its been a while since I delved into Sauropod taxonomy). It reminds me of Omeisaurus (though isn't that too well known to fit your clues), or maybe its Datousaurus bashenensis? As I recall the skull for that one was largely fictional or at least not articulated with the remains but I think they did mount a skeleton of it in China.



By RStretton (not verified) on 17 Jul 2007 #permalink


Say it isn't so! Say you're not going to leave us!

Okay (sniffle). I'm better now (gulp). I really am. I'll survive because I'm strong. I'll get through my tetrapod withdrawal -- somehow.

Seriously Darren, I'm going to miss your essays and insights very much. OTOH I sincerely hope this means things are looking up for you, professionally and economically. I know you're too good to keep to ourselves. It's just...

We'll miss you while you're gone.

By chiropetra (not verified) on 17 Jul 2007 #permalink

That was a frightening title! I became briefly disillusioned with the entire internet there for a minute...I think I'll be okay. Having a hint of the work you must put into these things, a quasi-hiatus is perfectly understandable. Trying to juggle a full time job, blogging, and other random events of life is often just too much to handle. I hope the conference goes well.

As for that picture, my powers have not grown vast enough to perceive its true identity. The skull looks diplodocid, but that doesn't help now does it, hmm. And now I've gone and ruined my mystique by saying anything at all...

Hey, don't do that, posting 'good bye to Tetzoo'! You wanna give a guy a heart attack?

I'm glad you won't be able to resist occasional posts. My own expectations, never disappointed here, have only ever been to get to read an occasional bit of fascinating tetrapod lore whenever you've got the urge and time to post.

Good luck with your presentations and remember, to reduce the tension of public speaking just imagine your audience wearing only their skeletons.

Hey, Darren-- you've ALREADY given more time to TetZo than we had any IMAGINABLE reason to hope for! It's been a great thing, I've enjoyed it (and learned from it) IMMENSELY. ... And, if you decide to post again sometime in the future... well, you have an enthusiastic audience waiting.

Meanwhile... Good luck with the conference presentations! (And may the audience, at the one that goes over best, include the chairmen of every paleontology department with a job opening!)

By Allen Hazen (not verified) on 17 Jul 2007 #permalink

Well, I don't think it's Jobaria. I've seen Sereno's mount, and the neck is more S-curved in that taxon. I'm tempted to say that it's an omeisauroid, as those animals have a "vertical" neck with more narrow vertebrae than the brachiosaurs.
The skull looks, from this angle, like the typical "basal macronarian" (Camarasaur-type) shape, with a raised naris. The teeth fit that definition, too--they appear spatulate instead of peg-shaped. Given your vexing clue (more art than science?), the omeisaurid hypothesis is even more tantelizing, given that the remains of omeisaurs are fragmentary and, as far as I know, don't include skull material.
However, given your native land, I'm more tempted to say that this is a British sauropod, and my knowledge of sauropods from across the pond is terrible at best.

Aaagh! Where will I get my tetrapod fix from now?!

Thanks for posting most of the articles I've been waiting for though. I'll look forward to beluwhals after conference season, hopefully.

Until then, I suppose random google searches will have to do...

Well, I hope it's just a summer break, not a real goodbye. I see most of my favourite blogs lagging about this time. Luckily, I haven't had much time to read them myself.

And the specimen is, of course, Dinosaurus Fossilissimus. Did I win anything?

Damn!, I only just started reading this blog,

Oh well i hope you find the time to pick it up again, although i fully understand how hard it must be. I can't find the time to write replies very often (or write all the papers I have piling up) let alone run a blog. Hats off to your efforts.
As for the sauropod well it has the look of one of the chinese mount/model skeletons. I think I can detect divided neural spines although the angle makes this difficult to tell. so i'm going to go for Mamenchisaurus youngi, a mount of which (including the correct macronarian-like skull) has been tourinng around the world over the last few years.

I feel bad about not being able to identify the Crappy Sauropod Sculpture. Hmm. I assume that the skull is, as so often, totally fictional, so that the cervicals are all we have to go on. Unfortunately that doesn't help much because the neural arches and spines are mostly obscured, and what can be seen of them makes no sense: C4 seems to have a weird Corinthian-helmet shaped spine, while C5 seems be forward inclined, Dicraeosaur-like, while C6 has ... er ... is that really a pair of processes, one directed anterodorsally and th other posterodorsally? OK, so let's ignore the arches and spines and concentrate on the centra. Except that the comically overlong C2 indicates that they are totally fictional, too. All right, then, let's just use the cervical ribs. They only run that far lateral in such anterior cervicals in Apatosaurus and Camarasaurus. And since the cervical ribs of Camarasaurus are much longer (admittedly those of Apatosaurus are rather shorter but there it is), but guess is that the name arbitrarily incised into the signage is: Apatosaurus. Or, more likely, Brontosaurus.

Do I win the prize?

Sorry Mike. I should have been a bit clearer when I mailed the image to Darren - I think the entire skull and cervical column are, well, fictional.

The skull I think was some kind of Shunosaurus / Omeisaurus muntant and the cervicals could have frankly been based on anything, but most likley Shunosaurus again.

To Adam: Memechiosaurus was recently sunk into Diplodocus, although it's probable that the Chinese species is unique, and may constitute Diplodocus youngi.

[from Darren: errr, what? In other words: errr, no. Mamenchisaurus (all .. what.. nine species) has most certainly not been sunk into Diplodocus, nor is it at all closely related to it]

Hey Darren, I've been lurking on your blog for a long time and have made some lame contributions with some of my posts. I am a layperson with no education in the science of natural history, just a passionate curiosity and your blog has really opened my eyes to complexities of your field. (Some of the technical jargon makes me dizzy at times, but still, I enjoy). I realize that you have an incredible amount on your plate and the fact that you have been able to post as regularly as you do is amazing to me. As others have commented above, you will always have an enthusiastic audience awaiting your next installment into the world of tet-zoology as long as you intend to keep the blog going. I wish you luck with your conferencing (Or break a leg or whatever it is that you're suppose to do to express good will at conferences)

....Oh yeah, brontosarus?


sorry to hear that things are so hectic.

we'll be waiting with bated breath for your return; but don't hurry back because of us...return when you wish to do so.

thank you for all the knowledge you have shared.

have nice days and be well.

By Anthony Docimo (not verified) on 18 Jul 2007 #permalink

Thanks to all for their kind comments. As I said, I'm going to have to try my best to knuckle-down and deal with the job in hand.. but stay tuned, I really doubt that I'll be able to keep from blogging. After all, even with sleep, personal maintenance, wife + child time, housework and eating taken out of the equation, there's still about an hour left over for every few days.. an hour that could be spent blogging about British pandas, venomous therocephalians, giant extinct starlings, manelessness in lions, toxodont diversity... you get the picture. Too many animals, too little time.

I know what it is...

And the other DML'ers out there should know by now, too.

Sorry I was late for this one, Darren, but I have the solution to preapring your power proint presentation and keeping up on the blog. At bedtime, sock down two triple espressos, and just in case, set the alarm for 3:00AM. You will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and even more prolific than already. Oh yes, almost forgot . . . Be sure to take a few more shots throughout the workday.

It's a Mamenchisaurus. I'd probably venture even further to guess it's M. constructus or M. jingiyanesis.

M. hochuanensis would have a longer neck and cervical ribs.

And for Mr. Diplodocus-lumper.... Asian diplodocids are virtually non-existent.

The odd thing is there are TWO kinds of macronarian-type Mamenchisaurus skulls out there - one looks like the one in the photo (basically similar to Omeisaurus) and the other one is a LOT more primitive with nostrils at the ver front of the skull (like a Plateosaurus with the schnozz of a Mongolian Iduanodontid). Which one of these skulls (if either) is more accurate? And is the primitive one really a skull or just a replica based on hasty guesswork?