The death of Tetrapod Zoology


Every now and then, financial woes and other problems mean that I go through a major period of apathy and self-deprecation. And, after four years of very successful operation, I have seriously been considering calling it quits on Tetrapod Zoology. Extreme, heartfelt thanks to the friends and others who have provided help, or have expressed personal concern.


However... just to keep you in the loop... as John Conway said in one of the comments, blogging is like crack addiction: I don't think I could give it up even if it really were in my interests to do so (and some people do argue that it's in my interests to do so. I'm not convinced they're right) [adjacent image: that dead cat on the railway is now fully skeletonised. Oooh, what a cryptic metaphor]. I am exceptionally busy at the moment: I'm wrapping up two books (very stressful to deal with more than one book at a time, I assure you), and have also had four or five consultancy jobs over the past couple of weeks. Plus there are my editorial and research commitments, and various other tasks and trials. None of this really affects Tet Zoo though, because work-stress like this is normal for me. However, a major project that has to be completed by the end of the month is keeping me very busy in my 'spare' time, and it means no time at all for blogging. So, now you know. I am still here, I am still inspired and enthused and with lots of animals to write about, but I just cannot fit Tet Zoo into my life right now. I'll try and post little progress reports as and when, please hang in there (and keep visiting!).


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Will be here, waiting for your return!

By Mary Blanchard (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

The death of Tetrapod Zoology? When I saw that headline, the very first thing that came to my mind was Dillon's funeral speech in Alien 3:

'...within each death, no matter how small, there's always a new life. A new beginning.'

As for blogging being like crack addiction... well, reading blogs (or this blog, anyway) is like that too. Don't you worry about your readership; when you return, we'll be here.

Be well, Darren. And good luck with your workload.

We'll fill up the comments in the meantime. Tet Zoo is getting more and more "press" elsewhere in the blogosphere.

Remember: Crackergate paid for PZ's plasma TV.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Good luck with everything, I'll check back every so often.

Tet Zoo is getting more and more "press" elsewhere in the blogosphere.

Is it? What makes you say this? This is an honest question, not an angry challenge.

> Remember: Crackergate paid for PZ's plasma TV.

... proving only that clickbait blogs get more views than actual, y'know, science blogs. Not a healthy prospect for Science Blogs, really.

Darren have you considered inviting a select set of blog partners? You frequently reference colleagues and others' blog efforts; maybe a few of you could combined efforts and share the load at Tet Zoo?

Our blog's namesake (outdoors writer Stephen Bodio) often retreats to complete other work or just take a breather. The rest of us fill in--although our friend Cat, the journalist/sheep rancher, has been doing the heavy lifting lately.

You've got a great thing going here. Personally I'd hate to be deprived of it, but more philanthropically, I'd hate for the world to miss out on your unique POV and expertise!

Carry on!


Remember: Crackergate paid for PZ's plasma TV.

I think I'll have to agree with Mike on this one. Controversy brings in the crowds, yes, but there are downsides. Doesn't PZ have to spend a hell of a lot of time "policing" the Pharyngula threads and throwing undesirables into his dungeon?

Good luck with your endeavors and we'll be waiting for you to come back. You're right, blogging is like crack ... sometimes you think you can quit it but nonetheless you'll start shaking and sniffing, and before we know it ... another tet zoo entry!

This is one of a small group of blogs I'd be very sad to see retire, so the title of this post did make me nervous for just a second. Glad to see that's not the case though.

For what it's worth, as long as I know there'll be something new to read eventually, it doesn't really matter if it takes a few days, weeks, or even months between updates. Real Life is always more important.

So take your time, and my feed reader will let me know when it's time to come back.

We'll be waiting for your return! Good luck!


I'm glad to hear you have had some paying work. As I recall being told years ago, one thing more stressfull than having a stressfull job is the stress of not being able to pay the bills.

If you were to have to quit blogging and end TetZoo it would be greatly missed - it is by a long way my favourite blog. This seem a little unkind, but it seems to me that too many allegedly science blogs actually dont deal up much science (there have been several references to Pharyngula already, and I guess if you're after social issues, liberal politics and a heavily atheist worldview with the odd science reference it maybe for you, but to call it a science blog is to me almost a joke). TetZoo is very different it has stuck firmly to science - and that I applaud.

I really hope you don't end TetZoo, but if real life issues (family, friends, keeping a home together etc) make that difficult, you have to do what you need to, and I'm sure we will all understand.

Best wishes.

(I guess some sort of financial sponsor for TetZoo is out of the question. I'm not sure how it would work - but it does seem as if some companies will sponsor all manner of things. Commercial interests may affect what could be blogged about, but that may be acceptable. Just an idea - but probably not a very good one :) )

By Mark Lees (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Just put it on the back burner. No need to kill it. just let it hibernate for the season. We'll keep the RSS feed warmed up for your eventual return.

Many thanks for all these supportive messages. Mark (and others) - I will admit that I am frustrated by the lack of science in many so-called science blogs (did you see the recent 'top 30 science blogs' list in The Times? What a joke. And, no, Tet Zoo was not in the list).

As for financial sponsorship - - I wish. I should add that ScienceBlogs is owned by Seed Media and is a commercial enterprise, hence the advertising you see on the banners etc. We get paid based on the number of hits. However, for a blogger such as myself the amount of money is small and is not guaranteed anyway (I didn't get anything for January, for example).

If you don't want to do it anymore, I understand completely... But know that I love your blog and read every post!
I'll stay subscribed even if you just post once a week...

Another fan coming out of the woodwork here.

I only wish there was someone writing in your consistently entertaining and accurate way about all the wonderful things you can find in the plant world (former botanist speaking here). In the meantime, I really appreciate your articles on interesting bits of the "animal side" of things, even though some of the paleontology is a bit over my head. Carry on when you can.

Dare I hope that one of the books is a collection of your articles here? (And yes, having tried to do that for my own blog, I appreciate that such a book is FAR more work than it sounds!)

"did you see the recent 'top 30 science blogs' list in The Times? What a joke. And, no, Tet Zoo was not in the list"

Ouch. The inclusion of the denialist blog "Watts Up With That?" was a poor choice, and we can argue the scientific merit of BoingBoing and Pharyngula, but otherwise I thought the list had a pretty good sampling of a wide variety of science blogs. Likewise, just because a blog is not all about hard science, all the time does not discount it as being a good science blog. (Full disclosure: I was one of the 30 selected.) I am sorry that Tetrapod Zoology was not included, as well, but then again Eureka extended an open invitation for readers to suggests blogs for the top 100 list.

I don't wish to come off as antagonistic, but even though I would have preferred to see Tetrapod Zoology on this list, too, I think that the list contained numerous top notch science blogs by the likes of Carl Zimmer, Ed Yong, Scicurious, etc. etc. etc.

Chris - a Tet Zoo compilation book is finished (and was completed in Summer last year), but still needs about 10 more pictures. Because other projects have had to take priority, I just haven't found the time to wrap it up. Must make a real effort to get it out.

Please don't let it die. It is one of the best science forums out there. Maybe you should, invite a guest blogger now and then.

By Thylacine (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Brian (comment 21) - apologies, I had obviously remembered the 'misses', not the 'hits' :) Well done to you and others (like Ed) for, very deservedly, getting on the list. It's a good job I'm not paranoid or insecure though.

Oh, and (comment 23) no to guest bloggers, sorry.

I've never posted on here before, I'm just one of the lurkers who faithfully read TetZoo and would really miss it. Not many people have the scientific smarts AND the ability to talk to "regular people" the way you do, Darren.

By Kellas Cat (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

I agree with everyone else who states they are happy to wait however long it takes for your blogposts, no matter how sporadic or rare, but would be sad for you to let TetZoo die altogether.

By Dave Howlett (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Thanks, Darren. Much appreciated. Lists aside, this blog is one of the best science blogs on the web.

And even though I am sorry to see Tet Zoo go into stasis for a little while, I am glad you have so much going on! I can't imagine juggling two books at once plus all the other projects plus blogging. Whenever you get all of it done you should patent whatever secret it is you have that allows you to be so productive!

Darren have you considered inviting a select set of blog partners? You frequently reference colleagues and others' blog efforts; maybe a few of you could combined efforts and share the load at Tet Zoo?

Guestblogging certainly looks like an interesting possibility.

Is it? What makes you say this?

For instance comment 3 here.

Or this, which led to several Pharyngula regulars commenting over here. I wonder if some are here to stay.

... proving only that clickbait blogs get more views than actual, y'know, science blogs.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Pharyngula posts by category: genetics 86, neurobiology 73, nutrition 1, organisms 733, science 828, cephalopods 452, development 212, environment 103, evolution 427, fossils 106, Galápagos 12, molecular biology 136, reproduction 143, science philosophy 4. â Religion 708, creationism 1763, evil 73, stupidity 121, godlessness 959, weirdness 892⦠philosophy 3.

It's true that the science threads tend not to draw the really big crowds and therefore are a bit hidden from public view. But they're there, and they get plenty of comments â 100 comments on one such thread isn't unusual.

Doesn't PZ have to spend a hell of a lot of time "policing" the Pharyngula threads and throwing undesirables into his dungeon?

No. Almost all policing is done by the regulars on each other and on incoming trolls. Compared to the insanely high traffic Pharyngula gets, the dungeon is pretty much empty⦠I count 75 inmates for 69,055,353 site views.

PZ did spend a lot of time banning spambots and erasing their spam, but now that registration is obligatory, that has pretty much fallen away⦠as it would if the ScienceBorg Overlords weren't too fucking stupid to introduce captchas or something, but I digress.

I didn't get anything for January, for example

Wow. How does this work? Does there have to be a minimum number of hits or something?

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

for 69,055,353 site views

Wrong! Must be unique visitors or something! The page views total was 96,213,641 a few minutes ago.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Your donations button is hidden in the left column below the books. IMHO it belongs at the top, above the profile.

When I heard the news, I was quite sad, but I think all of here understand if you need to take some time off to deal with financial or paleontological work-related problems. If I may, I would like to speak a short eulogy on the (hopefully temporary) passing of Tetrapod Zoology:

In many ways, Tetrapod Zoology does what few other scientific resources, online or otherwise, attempt to do. It attempts to bring ideas, both cutting-edge scientific concepts and obscure evolutionary histories, to the public consciousness in a nice, easy-to-read form. And this doesn't just include the general, run-of-the-mill questions about Tyrannosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Triceratops. What other blog posted an excellent series of articles on the paleobiology of rhyncosaurs. Which blog (and its spin-offs, to a degree) popularized azdarcs around the net, and has possibly made them one of the most popular pterosaurs, alongside Rhamphorhyncus and Pteranodon. Where else is the average person able to find articles on temnospondyls or borhyaenids? Or the more abnormal aspects of modern animal biology, from elephant-eating lions to fruit-munching alligators? Tetrapod Zoology revitalized my interest in paleontology the way no other resource has.

In fact, it was Tetrapod Zoology that made me give blogging a second chance, and showed me that blogging could be just more than an account of one's personal life. In many ways Tet Zoo has broken new ground in the field of paleontology, and in the concept of a blog. This blog is one that will truly be missed.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Wow, cited by David MarjanoviÄ as evidence! :)

Darren, I was extremely happy to see Tetrapod Zoology mentioned -- more than once! -- in the comments on that "30 best science blogs" list. I certainly understand the need to give priority to "taking care of business"; it's why what little personal blogging I ever did has fallen by the wayside. But rest assured that for me, and people like me, Tet Zoo will remain in our RSS readers, and we'll pounce when we see anything new.

Best of luck to you.

By Squiddhartha (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

All best wishes of good fortune to you, sir. (you deserve it)

Whatever - and whenever - you post is good for us.

Have nice days and be well.

By Anthony Docimo (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Keep on grindin'!

This thread is now the 4th most active one all over ScienceBlogs.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

For what it's worth, Darren, Tet Zoo may not frequently be on the "most active" list, but it is frequently on either or both of the "editor's picks" or "reader's picks" lists. Sometimes I find out about a new post that way before I see it in my RSS reader.

By Squiddhartha (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Sad to hear. This will be a big loss for

By aratina cage (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Darren, thank you for a great many wonderful and informative articles.
I especially appreciate the way you bring out the little known yet fascinating aspects of zoology.

Just chiming in to say: This is the best blog of them all.
Good luck with everything and I look forward to the next post, whenever it will come.


Reading Tet Zoo is every bit as addictive as writing it, let me assure you (though I've only been hitting it up for three years). It's my favourite blog, ever, period. If you stopped tomorrow, I'd be sad - but still terrifically grateful to you for everything I've learnt here. You make amazing & obscure things accessible to people who haven't an eighth of your education, and that's basically amazing.


I don't comment, but I do like to read here, and seconding the observation that your posts continually end up on the editor's picks and reader's picks lists. Less-frequent updates to the blog is a perfectly fine way to manage time; the nice thing about feeds and the sciblog home page and the "picks" lists is that when you do post, we'll see it and can come running right back.

Take all the time you need, no rush, looking foward to your next book

By Bob Michaels (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Take care of yourself, we want you back in good shape.

Hey, you could always recycle your original columns you know - lots of folks haven't seeen them.

"This thread is now the 4th most active one all over ScienceBlogs."

"Now third. Shame it won't last. What was that about clickbaiting?"

Now its no. two.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Thanks Darren. I have read every one of your posts, and I appreciate the effort you have taken. I'll be here if when you return.


By Blind Squirrel (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Not to put too fine a point on it but in my opinion Tet-Zoo is the best science blog out there and the only one I actually read not to just keep up to date with things but because I always find something of interest on it.

Please don't kill it off, but also please don't feel like you *have* to post on it every day or let it take over your life, Darren. I think if I was required to make meaningful posts for the CFZ blog every day (rather than my daily post about things of fortean note that happened on that day, round up of the latest cryptozoology news and a shockingly bad pun) my brain would melt out of my ears so I can only imagine how hard it is. You could always try to get a team of people to write features for tet-zoo that you can post one of every few days during periods like this when you are simply too busy to post just to keep things ticking over, but that would have to wait for the next fallow period work wise to organize.

In the meantime I'm sure all the tet-zoo fans will be understanding and cheering you on from the sidelines with virtual pom-poms, Good luck with the work.

OMG that title gave me the chills!

Good luck with your projects, Darren. Whatever say the lists, I think this is the best science blog -not only for all the mesozoic fauna, cryptids and obscure animals, but also because of the great writing and the passion you put in it.

I hope this "death" just turns out to be "temporary hibernation".

For what it's worth, I sent an email to Mark at the Times nominating Tet Zoo among others for their bigger Top 100 list.

Oh no! I literally found this site the other day and added it to my RSS feed. I've been looking for a good blog about dinosaurs for a while now, and this one seemed very in-tune with my interests. What a shame. :(

jeez, freak me out with that title, why don't you?
I've been reading Tet Zoo since back before it became a "so-called science blog." I have learned a lot here, stolen some great pics for lectures, and enjoyed hashing out some relatively high-level and esoteric biology in some of the comment threads. You'd be missed--a lot.

You Pharyngula haters don't get it, by the way. You can keep displaying that fact if you want. (p.s. Michael Taylor--do you really link your name to your pub list? hahahahaha)

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Tet Zoo is great because it highlights lots of different aspects of zoology.

I love the multipart posts about specific phylogenetic groups of animals, which help highlight the "bushiness" of evolution.

I love the palaeontological disquisitions on sauropods and pterosaurs.

I love the posts about some seemingly ordinary organisms like rabbits, and explain why they're really, really very strange.

I love the posts about organisms that are rare or not well known, and are really, really, really very strange.

I love the SIWOTI syndrome as demonstrated by biologists.

I love the analyses of cryptozoological phenomena.

I love the speculative zoology.

I love the whole blog, and all the commenters on it...

Boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada...

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Slightly worrying title!

Shame you have to stop for a bit but as others have said we'll be here when your back.

Hang in there, Darren. We can wait. To my mind, yours is the best science blog out there, so if I have to wait for it, I gladly will. Hell, I've been waiting three years for the next issue of "Liberty Meadows" because it's so good.

I'm in a similar situation, actually, minus book and consultant deals. My new job has successfully etched away my free time to mere hours every day. I feel like the office is my new home, and home itself is a nice vacation spot. Sadly, when I do get to my actual home, chores and errands rule the evenings. So as you may or may not have noticed, my own blogging schedule has basically gone to hell.

But yes, hang in there, sir, keep your chin up, all that good stuff!

Owlmirror says it best (as, on Pharyngula at least, usual).

p.s. Michael Taylor--do you really link your name to your pub list? hahahahaha

Read those publications, and you'll 1) see why and 2) read SV-POW! if you don't already.

There are other things on that website, too, like the complete documentation of Aëtogate...

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

We'll be waiting. :) I just spent the past year working 2 full-time jobs - definitely not good (nor did I make all that much in the end with the tax office taking away the bulk of my earnings).

By MadScientist (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

thanks for keeping up your blog for so long. I've been reading it for about 2 years since I found it via a google search for the loch ness monster :) and I really enjoy it.
I second Matt that collaboration might be a way to spread out the workload.

Anybody who wants TetZoo to legitimately earn more of Darren's "spare time" should use that Donation button artfully concealed up there on the left, under the books and above the award medals.

Darren, there are times and places for admirable British reticence. Your donations button isn't among them. Probably most visitors have no idea that a donation could make a big difference in your life. They deserve to know.

By Nathan Myers (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

I check your blog faithfully every day before work, and I would miss your writing more than most other things online. You have a lot of talent. Please hang in there even if the frequency of your posts drops off.

By Aaron Kralik (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

I'm nowhere near reading all your blogs; you have now given me a ghost of a shot at catching up!

Death? Doesn't sound like it. Coma, maybe? They're reversible (and the timeframe looks about right for one). We'll be seeing you back, although never too soon for us.

Thanks for all this. It makes the world a brighter place.

By Donn Ahearn (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Hey, I wouldn't get stressed about not being to update for a while. It's no biggie. The problem is if you've been giving something your all for a long time, it feels like you have a duty to do it. It's also tempting to say you're quitting and never going to do it again. But really there's no need. Take as long as you like, and when you come back, most if not all of your readers will.

What everyone else has said so far. This is by far my favourite science blog of all.

All the best, and we await your return.

It's just fine, Darren.

Remember, it's still your blog - so just do whatever the heck you feel like. We'll be here when you come back!

By Michael O. Erickson (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

We need a blog of David Marjanovic.

By Fagus obliqua (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

I've got to join the ranks of the long-time readers/lurkers posting just to say that the title of this post struck terror into my heart and to extend my encouragement and support. I'd never followed a blog before this one and when I discovered it (because of the "Montauk Monster" ...yeah, I'm a dork) I was hooked...devouring old posts, the stuff from the original Tet Zoo, checking every day for new posts. I agree with the others who have said your blog is addictive! I loved _The Great Dinosaur Discoveries_ and if you let us know about the new books I'll probably hit up Amazon and try to get my hands on those too. Keep writing and know you're appreciated.

Darren: you've given so much through your blog, I think you're more than entitled to a rest, be it temporary or permanent.
I have often, whilst reading your blog, had to consciously remind myself that Tet Zoo is not the sole focus of your life - the quality of every post I've read and the sheer quantity of material you've posted would give anyone this impression though!
Best of luck with all of your future endeavours, whether Tet Zoo is a part of them or not.

Hang in there, and do what is important for you to do.

I love this blog, but clearly it must take a back seat.

Which, of course, does not mean I will not eagerly look forward to its return!

Don't worry, you're in my RSS feed. I have blogs in there that haven't updated for a year or more and it's still not worth my while to take them out.

You'll have to put up with my readership for a good while yet.

The death of tet zoo?
My first science blog!
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! I'm so sad.

thanks Darren, the best
good luck

(in bocca al lupo)



I would go farther - it is still the best "intelligent people's blog" out there, period.

Tet Zoo is the first site that I go to when I get up in the morning. I'm not interested on every topic that I see here, but I see more good articles on more good topics than anywhere else on the Internet.

This means that you are the most interesting and valuable website out of something like 200,000,000 websites on the planet. (Even if we want to say that you're "only" one of the top 200, you're still way in front of a very large pack.)

PZ Myers has his "Pharynguloid hordes" who support Pharyngula. You shouldn't be shy about requesting support from your readers. If spreading the word about Tet Zoo would help you, we can do that. That's what the Internet is for. :-)

I "understand" that you're sometimes too busy to post, but I can't honestly say that I'm happy about that. I'll repeat a suggestion that I think I've made before - you might want to try splitting some of your longer articles into several parts and posting them separately. This way, instead of a week with one long post and a couple of "Busy - here's a picture of an antelope", it could be Monday: Part 1, Wednesday: Part 2, Friday: Part 3. Same amount of work for you, I think. But this is just a suggestion - please do whatever works for you. (Also, I don't think that you should be shy about reposting your "vintage" articles - they'll be new to a lot of your readers, and for most topics there will have been new developments in the last couple of years.)

So - Tet Zoo: The most valuable and generally "best" blog on the planet. Please do whatever it takes to keep it alive and well.

Best wishes to you!

I hope you don't quit! Tet Zoo is one of my most common reads, and I really value your commentary.


By Duke York (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Darren, there are times and places for admirable British reticence. Your donations button isn't among them. Probably most visitors have no idea that a donation could make a big difference in your life. They deserve to know.

Good point. The donations button is very, very far down the page; you should move it right under your profile, or right under the recent comments.

We need a blog of David Marjanovic.

Certainly won't happen before my thesis is finished. And even more importantly, I couldn't replace Tet Zoo; there are tons of interesting stuff (especially about extant tetrapods, possibly extant tetrapods, and extinct Cenozoic mammals⦠that's a lot, isn't itâ¦) that Darren knows and I don't!!!

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink


It's true that the science threads tend not to draw the really big crowds and therefore are a bit hidden from public view. But they're there, and they get plenty of comments â 100 comments on one such thread isn't unusual.

I should note that I have nothing in particular against Pharyngula - to the contrary, I check it almost daily (although I've never posted a comment there). But I find the sheer volume of comments overwhelming. There are only so many hours in a day, and it's impossible for me to even try to follow the discussion(s) going on there. Often I just look for and read comments by you and a couple of other regulars there, and skip everything else. Personally, I find Darren's blog much, much more "manageable". And the signal-to-noise-ratio here is for the most part exceptionally favourable. As far as I'm concerned, Tet Zoo has over these four years managed the rare feat of finding a near-perfect balance of quality and quantity in its comment sections.

Fagus obliqua (Is there such a thing? Shouldn't it be Nothofagus obliqua?):

We need a blog of David Marjanovic.

I quite agree. MarjanoviÄipedia, anyone?

Your fox, I think, may not be dead but is in need of a period of recovery and repair. He has much to do. And, maybe, from time to time, we'll glimpse him in the undergrowth.

The urban fox, it's good to know, is hardy,resilient and robust to extinction; despite the many hazards to be faced in the modern City.

And so, Tet Zoo, not dead, but sleeping. Sometime, when your ready, we'll see you around.

|Tet Zoo is getting more and more "press" elsewhere in the blogosphere.

|Is it? What makes you say this? This is an honest question, not an angry challenge.

Well, I just gave you a plug at Why Evolution Is True a week ago:

"But my favorite website dealing with cryptozoology is Darren Naishâs Tetrapod Zoology. Heâs a dinosaur paleontologist, and most of his posts are on more orthodox aspects of tetrapod zoology, but he posts occasionally on cryptozoological topics, often analyzing evidence, and sometimes resolving the issue. Here, for example, are his insightful explications of the Montauk Monster, a cryptid from my home island, which turned out to be a raccoon that had expired and gone to meet âis maker. Go to his site and look around for more fun posts like these."

The commenters responded in kind.

Personally, I find Darren's blog much, much more "manageable". And the signal-to-noise-ratio here is for the most part exceptionally favourable. As far as I'm concerned, Tet Zoo has over these four years managed the rare feat of finding a near-perfect balance of quality and quantity in its comment sections.


By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Another lurker emerging to say how much I enjoy the blog and very much hope you'll be able to pick it up again in due course. Meantime - if you need to focus on other things for a while, so be it. Hope you get stuff sorted OK, Darren.
Can't add any more that hasn't already been said by others.

PS - also bought and much enjoyed Great Dinosaur Discoveries (posted positive review on Amazon) and the DK title Prehistoric Life. I'll be watching out for more....

By mark hollowell (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Darren, I have enjoyed the blog tremendously. I'll have an eye open for whenever you post something.
All the best for your endeavours.

What a sad thing!

I hope that you go back to blogging anyway!

Remember these American snakes which get frozen and then return to mating frenzy!

Yeah..that fox, it's just pining for the fjords!
Mabye instead of a blog it should be a moderated forum. Not to take anything away from marvelous topics your writing, but the comments sections, when they get going, are really quite something themselves and open a window into the processes by which natural science, instead just a dusty collection of articles, becomes something meaningful and alive.
Lookin' forward to your return and the publication of your work in process. Tally ho.

This is the best blog out there

What did Blondie sang ?
"I'll keep hanging on the telephone"
So no worries

Greetings from the Seven Provinces of tha Lowlands (the Netherlands for the less poetic)

And my apologies for my horrible English

But that makes this blog so much fun
Everyone -which are interested- in Nature/fossils/andofcoursetetrapods are allowed to write and read, even if their english scribbling looks like the footprints of Diadectes or the faeces of Thylacinus.

(and I bet you will return here shortly, simply because you -like us- are addicted to tetrapods and this blog is the best one on the Net to inform and encourage future Einsteins to help us further on the road)

Usually some bloggers with a heavy dose of real life often invite guest bloggers to post material that is in keeping with the blog's premise in order to give them a time off. Some of the best out there do this, and I would highly advise you give yourself a coup,le of weeks where you just lay off the blogging and refresh that part of your psyche. Let someone, anyone, take up a post and give them the guns to man for a while.

By Jaime A. Headden (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

That opening image was scary. But like many others here I do hope you write again and good luck. The zoological breadth covered here is rather unique on the web.


either this way, or any other way: keep up the good work.

You are one of the few people I have "met" who can really bridge the gap between "high" (= quality) science and the masses. I tried blogging but stopped for (perhaps) just the same reasons: "there is always so much other stuff to do... stuff that will advance your career, stuff that will keep your bills paid".

You've got a talent there. You might want to think about publishing a PopSci (with a capital "S") book, "Best of TetZoo" or something. You can really draw people into the field, confer to them *why* it's exciting and important, why we need people to care for it, students to study it. I have followed this blog as well as your papers, and I think you're one of those who can "[serve] with both hands" (as per William Gibson). It is a rare gift.

Consider: Dawkins makes a living by writing and talking about evolution - and he's not even an evolutionary biologist, or a biologist at all. He's an anthropologist - bastard child of biology and a lot of "soft science"; the field that brought us stuff like the interpretation of hyena-chewed bones as "primitive weapons of war". If *he* can do it, so can *you*.

Do what needs to be done; do what gets your bills paid or whatever. I worked in biomedical marketing for 5 years just for the bucks - didn't enjoy it, but (and this is perhaps the important thing) didn't hate it, or sold my soul by *sacrificing* a lot of mice.

But whatever you do: do not lose TetZoo - as a topic; not necessarily a blog, but as a topic - out of sight.

I have checked out a lot of people who talk about issues like TetZoo; people from all over the world. You are one of the best, and if I had to pick *the* best, you are definitely one of those I'd have to decide between.

If nothing else works, make a book out of TetZoo and "sell it to the Chinese" (cf. Clayderman fide Adams & Carwadine "Last Chance to See")... If it has "unpirateable" gadgets, like fancy printing or paper, it would be a seller, if you consider your audience *global*. Which I think it is.

People love a good story, and you can tell 'em. And as opposed to a lot of other folks you are truthful and educating at it.

By Eike Wulfmeyer (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

You're the man, Darren! Do what you gotta do, we'll be here when you get back.

By blueshifter (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink


I hope your hiatus will be brief and we see the resurrection of TetZoo soon, if intermittantly. TetZoo is the best science blog out there. It consistently gets me thinking an enthused about science. Whenever I want to recommend a science blog, TetZoo is #1 (SV-POW! is #2) because it combines depth, rigor, fun and speculation in ways no other does quite so well (thought there are other goods ones out there).

I'd echo the others who've suggested giving the donate button more prominence. You're so busy that it is easy to think it's resulting in you rolling in cash (and in a better world it would!) and to think it isn't needed. I know I've fallen into that myself.

By Mike from Ottawa (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Uh-oh, SIWOTI.


Dawkins makes a living by writing and talking about evolution - and he's not even an evolutionary biologist, or a biologist at all. He's an anthropologist - bastard child of biology and a lot of "soft science"; the field that brought us stuff like the interpretation of hyena-chewed bones as "primitive weapons of war".

Richard Dawkins is most certainly not an anthropologist (and has never himself claimed to be one, as far as I know). On the other hand, he most certainly is an evolutionary biologist; he got his PhD in zoology, and he has published several technical papers on animal behaviour and evolutionary theory. His first paper, by the way, was on the behaviour of domestic chickens (which are tetrapods - archosaurs even).

Really, you can think what you want of Dawkins as a person, or of his recent publications, but to deny that he's primarily a biologist is just plain wrong.

And now, back to heaping well-deserved praise on Darren and Tet Zoo.

This is my favorite blog/website/anything on the internet. Just wanted to say that...

Darren, if you made nothing with this blog in January, could I suggest you move this blog to your own domain? Zero income is just not acceptable for a blog of this quality.

You clearly have a passion and talent for science blogging, and a loyal audience as well. If you should wish to take the business as seriously as you take the science, you might make a living at this. But not in a setup where you blog all month for nothing...

Wishing you the best!

I love your blog - it is my #1 site to visit on the web. Not only informative, well written, fascinating, but thought provoking - it would be dreadful if it were to disappear. But I can understand if you are burned out. Some excellent suggestions in other comments - take them to heart.

By Dawn Gilkison (not verified) on 13 Feb 2010 #permalink

These responses should give you some idea of the ratio of commenters to lurkers, and of RSS followers like me as well. Trouble is, I can't follow the blogs without RSS, but RSS screws with monetizing the content. So when I see a cool post in RSS, I'll start clicking through, because your blog is awesome.

BTW you inspired me to start a biosphere album in my photostream, and include photos like this crow.

Don't kill it! Put it on ice for a while. I understand how hard it it to shoehorn a blog post into a busy life. Things ebb and flow. Conditions will be better at some point. As you can see, this blog has built quite a readership.

Well, I haven't checked back here in a while, and it seems there has been a lot of activity since I did. I don't really know your circumstances Darren but I would just like to add that I really enjoy your blog, and I recognize that for the mountains of material you attempt to tackle (including a lengthening list of to-do topics) in semi-peer reviewed quality, it is a lot of time investment for what is basically a public service on your part. Take as much time as needed, and I hope you are contributing to bettering science coverage elsewhere and find it to provide gainful employment!

Keep blogging, please. Progress snippets are good so that we can cheer you on.

And if you have time, a few links about Sasquatch, please? Someone keeps dropping around and muttering how all those eminent scientists who say the proportions of that stupid ape costume movie couldn't possibly be human can't be all wrong and who are we to disagree.

This is the most informative science blog I've ever read. If that doesn't keep you going I don't know what will.

Longtime reader, infrequent poster. I hope you enjoy your hiatus, and come back refreshed. I love Tet Zoo!

By PennyBright (not verified) on 17 Feb 2010 #permalink

Do what you have to do.

I'll say this: I don't know how many times you've covered a subject that I had known a little bit about but was dying for more information. Not just a good blog but a fabulous one!

You know, I've gone through similar thoughts with regard to my own blog. The question you need to ask yourself, more so than I even did, is how much of this success that is keeping you busy is at least in part a result of your tremendously popular blog.

Don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs (although if someone else does then please do mount the bones).

Mr. Naish,
I came across your website after a search on the Internet looking for a physical image for an ancient fish/big salamander type animal I remote viewed in a lucid dream. I have since come to believe it was a tetrapod more closely related to an Acanthrostega but the eyes were wider set in the dream and the mouth a little broader. The legs very rudimentary, but what was most interesting was the really peculiar way it was moving it's body in order to swim.

I always thought it would be good to share or try to recreate the action of the way this creature moved/swam since it was very realistic and didn't move like any creature I've seen today.

If you have a question or two, I'ld be willing to help offer what I know.