Tet Zoo needs you!


I've mentioned on and off lately that Tet Zoo the book is now go. The manuscript is complete, and right now (when not working on other things) I'm dealing with the editorial tidying-up. The book won't, I'm sorry to say, be anything technically new: it's simply a compilation of the better articles from Tet Zoo ver 1, arranged chronologically. And, because of word-count, it only incorporates articles going up to September 2006, so there's still tons of stuff that can be used for later books (should book 1 prove popular enough that others are worthwhile)...

Adapting Tet Zoo articles for a book has raised a few problems. In some cases I was writing about preliminary results that have since been published in full (the old article about multiple extant giraffe taxa is a good example), meaning that the old articles are substantially out-dated. I've decided in these cases to leave the articles as they are and just put a footnote at the end. A more specific problem has arisen from the fact that I'm including all the 'Angloposeidon' articles from ver 1, yet I've already said myself that I don't think the name 'Angloposeidon' should appear in print given the lack of identifiable autapomorphies in MIWG.7306. By including the name I'll just be adding a nomen nudum to the literature, but I'm loathe to go through the text, replacing 'Angloposeidon' with MIWG.7306 throughout. What do people think? [incidentally, the photo above is completely irrelevant. It shows (l-to-r) John Conway, Darren Naish and Nemo Ramjet. We were in a restaurant in Soho].

i-036c761d46616cfe1d12969b24f4e031-blatant plagiarism, good job GSP isn't around 29-3-2008.jpg

Of course, someone could always rush in and give MIWG.7306 a technical binomial, hence removing the problem (cough cough, irony intended). Unpublished work with Matt Wedel (some of which has appeared on SV-POW!) shows that 'Angloposeidon' does possess unique features, but they come from the internal structure, and it doesn't feel right to include those as the basis for a diagnosis (though, incidentally, Hutt et al. (2001) used an internal feature of the humerus to diagnose Eotyrannus. The character concerned was totally erroneous, as I found out when monographing Eotyrannus for my thesis.... work yet to be published, alas) [adjacent picture is also completely irrelevant: from here].

Anyway... here's where you might come in. A lot of awfully talented artists and photographers visit Tet Zoo, and quite a few offer their services (as usual, apologies if you're among those who has contacted me and has never so much as received a response. DON'T take it personally: I am perpetually swamped with emails and just cannot keep up with them). I'm wondering if I can take advantage of this and get some of you wonderfully nice people to provide your own artwork and/or photos. This will be your chance to get your work in the book, and of course to get fully credited for it. But note: I regret that there is no chance of payment, nor will there be a free copy of the book available to anyone who can help (sorry, but there just isn't). Also, all pictures within the book are going to be in black and white, so no need for colour. And, obviously, for drawings I only want good, accurate pictures, and for photos they'll need to be reasonably good.

If you are able to supply an illustration or photo, please contact me first, as I'd hate for people to waste their time and create new pictures that are then not needed. And what do I need? Well, here is a partial list (sorted taxonomically)...


-- olms: both white olms and black olms
-- 'Northern clade' Pool frog Pelophylax lessonae

Mammals (and other synapsids)

-- dicynodonts of any sort
-- any depiction at all of the controversial Chronoperates paradoxus
-- docodonts of any sort
-- giraffes (Giraffa), of any extant species
-- a manatee or manatees, of any extant species
-- an up-to-date Ambulocetus
-- Leopard Panthera pardus, of any subspecies
-- Puma Puma concolor
-- the Ethiopian mouse Nilopegamys plumbeus
-- Velvet rat Colomys goslingi
-- Sun bear Helarctos malayanus on its own, not being eaten by a giant snake
-- Monito del Monte or Colocolo Dromiciops australis
-- the sabre-toothed cat Homotherium latidens
-- Yarkand jerboa Euchoreutes naso
-- Rough-legged jerboa Dipus sagitta
-- Earwing Otopteryx volitans
-- Kha-nyou Laonastes aenigmamus
-- the chinchilla rat Cuscomys ashaninka
-- Mountain gorilla Gorilla beringei
-- rabbits of any sort (but not pet ones)


-- Alligator snapping turtle Macroclemys temminckii
-- any of the Indian Ocean giant tortoises
-- Western green lizard Lacerta bilineata
-- a reconstruction of a Reticulated python Python reticulatus killing and/or eating a Sun bear Helarctos malayanus
-- African rock python Python sebae
-- accurate hand skeletons of sauropods, and/or accurate life restorations of sauropod hands
-- Eurasian eagle owl Bubo bubo bubo
-- African crowned eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus
-- Haast's eagle Hieraaetus moorei
-- the oviraptorosaurs Rinchenia mongoliensis, Oviraptor philoceratops, Citipati osmolskae, either life restorations or skeletal pictures, or just skulls (and must be up to date versions!)
-- Herring gull Larus argentatus and/or any other species/subspecies within the same complex
-- birds-of-paradise belonging to the genera Paradisaea or Astrapia
-- Speckled crake Coturnicops notata
-- Cobb's wren Troglodytes cobbi
-- Thorn-tailed rayadito Aphrastura spinicauda
-- any member of the warbler genus Cettia
-- Flying steamer-duck Tachyeres patachonicus
-- Shovel-billed kingfisher Clytoceyx rex
-- Wrybill Anarhynchus frontalis
-- Shoebill Balaeniceps rex

And that'll do for now! Several things, as usual mostly overdue, are going to appear here over the next week or two: aetogate the saga continues, more news on the best conference of all time (aka Dinosaurs - A Historical Perspective), the third part of the history of British felids... and what to do on April 1st? Just failed to make it to interview stage for an advertised position at a local museum... again demonstrating my unemployability, great. I've lost count of how many jobs I've failed to get since finishing the Ph.D.

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hello darren -- i must say, i have appreciated your hard work for more than a year now, and wish you the best!

now, i don' know if this is the style of illustration you're looking for; but there's a fellow at wikipedia who donates his illustrations of extinct animals to the project. maybe take a look...? just a thought. good luck, and you can count on me to buy a copy of your book either way!

By ofidiofile (not verified) on 29 Mar 2008 #permalink

Photos you say?

Your welcome to any of mine on flickr: just search from my page

Green lizard (should hopefully have better ones soon) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukwildlife/771407431/
Green lizard from Romania http://my.opera.com/Ukwildlife/albums/showpic.dml?album=451693&picture=…

Eurasian Eagle Owlhttp://www.flickr.com/search/?w=7391668%40N03&q=eagle+owl&m=text

Herring gull http://www.flickr.com/search/?s=int&w=7391668%40N03&q=herring+gull&m=te…

low land gorrilas (no mountains) http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=7391668%40N03&q=gorilla&m=text

warblers http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=warbler&w=7391668%40N03

I have some in bigger sizes. Might have more later, I'll have to check

I've got some photos of Haast's eagles skeletons and sculptures from various New Zealand museums galleries. Would they be of any use to you? If so I'll fire off some emails and check on permission (I know the ones I took in Te Paupa in Wellington would need a green light from them).

Can't wait to see and read the book as I'm only a recent reader!

'Angloposeidon' does possess unique features, but they come from the internal structure, and it doesn't feel right to include those as the basis for a diagnosis

Why actually? Sure, it requires that you have a broken vertebra to tell if it belongs to this taxon or not, but you usually do, or a CT scan, which is difficult and expensive but still feasible.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 30 Mar 2008 #permalink

Darren, my contributions can be few, but I modestly submit that they will be of great quality! I will have to do NEW art, of course, but I certainly don't mind to help a friend! Here's what I can draw:

Hand skeletons of sauropod dinosaurs (all the major groups?)
Life restorations of all those oviraptors

How quickly do you need these pictures? I can start right away!

Darren, I have any oviraptorosaur skeletal you might need, though some have certainly avoided me for the time being, such as recent Gigantoraptor as I have not had a chance to look at its bones aside from the paper, shcih doesn't show what I need.

I have images and renderings of the skulls of nearly all oviraptorosaurs. Note that O. philoceratops is going to be the type, not "giant" GIN 100/42, so will be reinterpreted based on the now prepared skull and well-prepped postcrania.

By Jaime A. Headden (not verified) on 30 Mar 2008 #permalink

Darren, commiserations on the interview but despair not. I'm sure something apt must be lining up for you...

I'm very excited to hear about your book, I wish you success! and what a great idea to ask for contributions here.

Thanks for putting up your own drawings here and elsewhere, including the childhood ones. Visible therein, your enthusiasm spreads enthusiasm:(a) they are good, and interesting, and (b) they encourage me to believe in the value of my own past and more recent efforts too.

Earwing, LOL! Snuggled in there among the other (sic) mammals... Otopteryx volitans. I have met the Rhinogradentia once before and find them delightful. My ad hoc cladistic analysis places them midway between the descendants of Dougal Dixon and those of Brian Froud.

I am looking forward to The greatest dino conf ever in May. See you there!


By Graham King (not verified) on 31 Mar 2008 #permalink

I can do black-and-white pics of... lessee, for the moment, olms, earwings, turtles, snakes, shoebills, birds, etc. - as time will allow...

Many, many thanks to all who have offered stuff so far (both here and in emails). I will respond to everyone personally, it looks like a lot of items on the list can now be ticked off. More later.

PS - please note that comments with links are usually (but not always) held back by the Sb spam-filter. There is nothing I can do about this, sorry! As soon as I see that they are in the junk folder I do of course forward them for appearance on the site.

Carl Buell did a recent picture of Ambulocetus natans and he might let you use it. Search for Olduvai George.

I searched through all my pictures taken at La Brea museum without finding one decent smilodon skeleton. They have lots of reconstructions and illustrations, of course, that they might let you use.

Hi Darren,

I have a pencil illustration of Homotherium if you're interested...

By Steve White (not verified) on 04 Apr 2008 #permalink

I dunno if it's exactly the style you're going for, but I have a docodont (Castorocauda)--click on my name below (my clever way to avoid the spam-filtering).