Its cute little face

i-86444c70813e0cab33b32bf00b877d31-its cute little face.jpg

Late in the evening I sat in an airport lounge, finally reading Robert Twigger's book on python hunting, my head full of Robert Appleby's legacy, fossil giraffes, giant mustelids, and the song from the end of Portal. I thought about the wolfhounds I'd seen, the bullfinches, stock doves and plovers; the bones we'd found; the teeth and vertebrae I'd handled or photographed; a futile search for hares and about the leverets I discovered in Germany once; the pile of correspondence I'd gone through; and the work I had yet to do on all those hundreds and hundreds of unlabelled diagrams. I thought about an imminent phd viva all about lemurs, about the hilarious conclusion to a paper I'd read that day on fossil frogs, about vampire squids and plesiosaurs, and about my friends in Guyana, looking for giant anacondas.

I came up with an idea for a novel, but knew I'd never bother to write it down.

i-6bcf1470c0fe36b34f4eda0b5d9ef35f-Corhampton 25-11-2007 wolfhound.jpg

Anyway, I'm back and trying to catch up. While you sit there, constantly clicking refresh and waiting for the next proper Tet Zoo article to appear (joke), why not have some fun and try to identify the creature shown in the image at the top? (not the wolfhound) If Mark Evans can remember the answer he's not allowed to say it :) Good luck.

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It's a trick - the big openings are nostrils, the smaller holes are fang holes for big lower jaw teeth. It's a temnospondyl, I will say Mastodonsaurus.

Homo diluvii testis

By Mike Keesey (not verified) on 28 Nov 2007 #permalink

Skull of Chelus fimbriatus, the matamata

By Andy Farke (not verified) on 28 Nov 2007 #permalink

Sorry - nope, it ain't no matamata. I'll spill the beans tomorrow. I wonder if anyone will get it before then..

Some kind of aberrant flatheaded gorgonopsian ...

By Stevo Darkly (not verified) on 28 Nov 2007 #permalink

A big tryonichid? The biggest species are South Asian, as I recall. Looks like one of those - the orbits are so far anterior - can't remember any species names at present, though.

Looks like a solid anapsid type skull. A turtle of some kind?

"hilarious conclusion ... to a paper on fossil frogs." I'm more interested in that than this ID game! Spill!

"hilarious conclusion ... to a paper on fossil frogs." I'm more interested in that than this ID game! Spill!

Ok, but I warn you - it might only be me that finds this funny. The paper in question is...

Nokariya, H. & Hasegawa, Y. 1998. Two fossil ranids from the Late Tertiary Kabutoiwa Formation, Gunma Prefecture, central Japan. Bulletin of Gunma Museum of Natural History 2, 1-10.

After seven pages of detailed discussion and description of two new fossil frog specimens, the very last line in the paper (p. 7) is 'Anyway it should be left to further study'. I'm sorry, but I laughed out loud on reading that.

Soft shelled turtle?

Chitra? Pelochelys?

If not, then it's either:

a) gorgonopsian
b) baboon
c) sealion
d) albino grey squirrel


The elusive Putah Creek Placodont? Is this a story I haven't heard? (since I live within a mile of said creek....)

I would have got that it's a turtle, but I wasn't there.

For Mastodonsaurus or any temnospondyl the proportions are all wrong, and so are the smooth bones. Temnospondyl skulls are sculptured! (Insert "your mother has a smooth forehead" joke here.)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 30 Nov 2007 #permalink