Over the past month Tet Zoo has been totally different. In what way has it been "totally different", I hear you ask. The answer: I have been absent, with all of the posts having been scheduled in advance of my departure. Many thanks to everyone for reading stuff and for leaving comments in my absence. Together with members of a joint team from the University of Portsmouth, University College Dublin and University of Casablanca, I've been exploring the Cretaceous rocks of the Kem Kem Formation in Morocco. We discovered loads of stuff, some of it very significant (in fact the results of our expedition are in the news today, I think: go here for one story). Also saw loads of amazing wildlife and collected a lot of neat dead stuff. All of this will be reported on Tet Zoo in time; right now I'm busy catching up with a huge back-log of work and correspondence.
While I was away, the long-awaited world premiere of Nemo Ramjet's Tetrapod Zoology - The Movie happened. Richard Hing and I watched it in Marrakesh, but unfortunately I didn't have the chance to post news about it while there. You can watch it (for free) here (UPDATE: it's now embedded below). The whole thing is perhaps a little too toy-focused to be taken that seriously, there are far too many close-ups of my face, and much of what I say doesn't make any sense (these are not meant to be criticisms of Nemo's film-making). But there are a few things to look out for.
The mummified fox makes a brief guest appearance, as do frozen shrews and other creatures from The Corpse Freezer. Look out for my squeaky toy Tomistoma. Some of Giovanni Caselli's artwork (from Halstead's The Evolution and Ecology of the Dinosaurs, a highly formative volume for me) is shown. Mark Witton - who of course was in the news lately what with his new chaoyangopterid pterosaur Lacusovagus magnificens [Mark's life restoration shown here] - also appears (go here for Mark's thoughts on said beast, or see Witton 2008). Note that our collaborative work consists of me sitting at a desk while Mark hovers behind me, occasionally making snide remarks or little yapping noises (just kidding). And some people might be surprised or even offended by my suggestion that the azhdarchid palaeobiology article posted on ver 1 (here) represented 'the better part of the work' on what was eventually published as Witton & Naish (2008). Oh well. Lacusovagus itself also makes a very brief appearance (the actual fossil no less: SMNK PAL 4325).
The lion skull is the same one that appeared in the British big cat episode of MonsterQuest. There are a lot of shots of my two offices (one at UoP, one at home): ironically, both are now no more (though here's what my home office looked like before I had to pack it all away).
Anyway, let me know what you think. Well done and thanks to Nemo for his work on this, and I hope you enjoy it.
Refs - -
Witton, M. P. 2008. A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Crato Formation (Lower Cretaceous, Aptian?) of Brazil. Palaeontology 51, 1289-1300.
- . & Naish, D. 2008. A reappraisal of azhdarchid pterosaur functional morphology and paleoecology. PLoS ONE 3 (5): e2271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002271
See any tree-climbing goats while you were in Morocco?
Nope, but looked hard. Saw pretty much everything else though - more on that later.
Well, that was AWESOME. I place it third in the all-time list, behind Return of the King and This Is Spinal Tap, but ahead of Jaws, Star Wars and Brazil.
This is the first time I actualy hear your voice Darren. for some reason I was very surprised by the british accent. You have a even more inteligent sounding voice than the one i imagined LOL
Those where ALOOOOOOOOT of toys man!
Love. love the blog!
Cool film. Looks like Morocco was fun
I see Mark is 'pre-THAT scarf' in the film
heh, its interesting to see you rather than read from you. You are pretty inspirational, your blog is part of the reason i've been re-inspired to pursue my interests in Natural History and Zoology.
I really enjoyed watching that. Nemo did an awesome job putting it together. Perhaps we could get a regular discussion video showing what else you, Mark et al hypothesise about when down the pub/coffeeshop/cafeteria?
More important still, who is going to take up Nemo's baton and make "SV-POW! -- The Movie"?
I have been absent, with all of the posts having been scheduled in advance of my departure.
I feel so cheated.
(Oh, and, nice movie.)
This seems like the right place to ask where we might find the petition to name Darren heir apparent to Sir Richard. If there is none, yet, somebody needs to get busy.
Darren, getting knighted would be a good first step. Is your nomination even in yet?
that was a nice little profile of yourself and the blog.
though not a whole lot of room for a franchise. i mean you already fleshed out the story, so no prequel, and no hanging plot threads (other than new research) for sequels. its nice i guess in this age of multi-film series (no matter whether they deserved them or not) to have a quality stand alone film like this one. way to stick with the artistic intergrity of the concept! ;p
Nice video!!! Kem Kem Formation, home to Deltadromeus agilis. Can't wait till your report on the exploration!!
I thought it was amusing that you tried to justify your plastic animal collection...it's awesome! It's the people who don't have cool collections that are boring. Have you started in on miniature Japanese capsule dinosaurs yet?
I'm just sorry to have found this blog so late, because I can tell it is going to take ages to read all the old posts. Each time I read one, I get sucked into searching all over the internet on related tangents. Today it was monitors.
This seems like the right place to ask where we might find the petition to name Darren heir apparent to Sir Richard.
Don't you mean Sir David?
Oh, and I'm another who didn't suspect that Tet Zoo was on autopilot. I only wondered if Darren was starting to run out of topics to write about, with all them recycled posts...
Very well, Sir David and Baron Richard both, if we must reach.
Darren, congratulations on your trip and the sauropod/pterosaur discoveries with Dave Martill!
Darren and Nemo, congratulations on an excellent, informative, inspiring, visually neat and altogether personable video!
Cheers, a real treat.
Nathan said: This seems like the right place to ask where we might find the petition to name Darren heir apparent to Sir Richard.
Dartian said: Don't you mean Sir David?...
I say: No, surely he did mean Sir Richard... you know, the guy who so pioneeringly had all those dinosaurs reconstructed from their DNA in mosquitos in amber...
Nemo did an excellent job on the video- it was very entertaining. I thought all the toys fit in nicely, and made a good backstory; I enjoyed seeing them!
Just one question ... who does the dusting in your offices? Perhaps because I live in a semi-arid region, surrounded by quarries, I need to dust my books, papers, and geegaws pretty frequently. I also need to check for the odd black widow or brown recluse spider who has set up shop, or the stray scorpion who has wandered in from the front drive.
I had read "A reappraisal of azhdarchid pterosaur functional morphology and paleoecology" (download and filed the PDF) without realizing that you wrote it. Excellent work, thanks for making it available via PLos.
This seems like as good a place as any to do this. Congrats, Mark, on naming your own pterosaur! That's way too awesome for words. Now, would any of you kind readers have an electronic copy you could forward little ol' me?
Congratulations on your expedition's discoveries!
And I enjoyed the video.
No, surely he did mean Sir Richard... you know, the guy who so pioneeringly had all those dinosaurs reconstructed from their DNA in mosquitos in amber...
Yeah, I know, but Darren would never stoop so low as to explain his work by using that silly Mr. DNA* figure from Jurassic Park.
* DNA, in this case, stands for 'Dumb, Naive Animation'.
Hmm. On second thought, maybe he would: an animation cell frame of that character seems to have been sold for the unbelievable price of 438 US dollars! Apparently, there are people with waaay too much money out there.
Traumador the Tyrannosaur:
not a whole lot of room for a franchise. i mean you already fleshed out the story, so no prequel, and no hanging plot threads (other than new research) for sequels.
There is always room for a sequel. How about Tet Zoo 2: The (Fox) Mummy Returns?
I have the exact same psittacosaurus toy.
The video's gone now...