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  • April 13, 2011
  • 10:14 PM

A Southerner Relays Tales of Ship Wrecks and Worms

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

Dear Readers, Mint Julep In the summer of ‘06 I, a Southern gentleman in my finest white linen suit*, find myself in the lower portion of England.  The heat smothers me.  Now if I found myself in the land of Delta Blues, I would quench my thirst with a mint julep.  But alas, . . . → Read More: A Southerner Relays Tales of Ship Wrecks and Worms... Read more »

  • April 13, 2011
  • 10:14 PM

A Southerner Relays Tales of Ship Wrecks and Worms

by Alistair Dove in Deep Type Flow

Dear Readers, Mint Julep In the summer of ‘06 I, a Southern gentleman in my finest white linen suit*, find myself in the lower portion of England.  The heat smothers me.  Now if I found myself in the land of Delta Blues, I would quench my thirst with a mint julep.  But alas, . . . → Read More: A Southerner Relays Tales of Ship Wrecks and Worms... Read more »

  • April 13, 2011
  • 10:07 AM

Daemonosaurus Shakes Up the Early History of Dinosaurs

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Evolution is not a constant march of onward-and-upward progress. Any organism is a mosaic of the ancient and the modern—old features can be modified and put to new uses over time—and the mechanism of natural selection accounts for both an apparent lack of change and dramatic evolutionary transformations. There is no driving force towards perfection, [...]... Read more »

Sues, H.; Nesbitt, S.; Berman, D.; Henrici, A. (2011) A late-surviving basal theropod dinosaur from the latest Triassic of North America. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 1-6. info:/10.1098/rspb.2011.0410

  • April 12, 2011
  • 01:32 PM

The Deep History of Dinosaur Lice

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Hunting dinosaurs is a dangerous business. Scores of fictional, time-traveling hunters have learned this lesson the hard way, but arguably the most unfortunate was the protagonist of Brian Aldiss’ short story “Poor Little Warrior.” All Claude Ford wanted to do was get away from his disappointing life and unhappy marriage by gunning down prehistoric monsters. [...]... Read more »

DALGLEISH, R., PALMA, R., PRICE, R., & SMITH, V. (2006) Fossil lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) reconsidered. Systematic Entomology, 31(4), 648-651. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3113.2006.00342.x  

Smith, V., Ford, T., Johnson, K., Johnson, P., Yoshizawa, K., & Light, J. (2011) Multiple lineages of lice pass through the K-Pg boundary. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0105  

Wappler, T., Smith, V., & Dalgleish, R. (2004) Scratching an ancient itch: an Eocene bird louse fossil. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(Suppl_5). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0158  

  • April 11, 2011
  • 05:48 PM

Another Use For Shovel Tusks

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Author’s Note: I’m a little too short on time to finish up a new post for this afternoon, so here’s a revised essay from the archives that is a fitting follow-up to Saturday’s post on American mastodon tusks.
Whenever I visit  New York’s American Museum of Natural History, I can’t leave without briefly passing through the [...]... Read more »

Lambert, D. (1992) The feeding habits of the shovel-tusked gomphotheres: evidence from tusk wear patterns . Paleobiology, 18(2), 132-147. info:/

  • April 11, 2011
  • 11:02 AM

How to Build a Dinosaur Den

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Oryctodromeus isn’t exactly a household name. A small, herbivorous ornithopod found in the Late Cretaceous rock of western North America, it was the sort of dinosaur most often depicted as being prey for charismatic carnivores. But there was at least one aspect of Oryctodromeus that made it particularly interesting—this dinosaur may have lived in burrows. [...]... Read more »

  • April 9, 2011
  • 10:32 AM

The Meaning of Mastodon Tusks

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Until recently, I did not fully appreciate fossil teeth. Their significance for identifying species and narrowing down the general diet of extinct animals was obvious, but I didn’t understand that teeth also hold intricate records of an individual animal’s life. Tiny pits and scratches on enamel can reveal what a creature was eating around the [...]... Read more »

  • April 8, 2011
  • 02:02 PM

Life After Death At Yellowstone: An Interview with Josh Miller

by Andrew Farke in The Open Source Paleontologist

In my last post, I introduced a ground-breaking study recently published in PLoS ONE, that shows how we can infer long-term trends in animal populations just from their bones. This work has big implications for ecology, conservation, and public policy, and is also a really neat piece of science. For this post, I talked to the author of the study, Josh Miller, about his work and some of the tidbits that didn't make it into the paper.Yellowstone NP gets a lot of visitors, and you surely must have ........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2011
  • 10:13 AM

Life After Death at Yellowstone

by Andrew Farke in The Open Source Paleontologist

Taphonomy - the study of what happens to an organism after it dies - is integral to reconstructing the past. Perhaps the most important lessons come in inferring ecological interactions. Did that group of animals live and die together, or were they jumbled long after death? Were all of those shark teeth with the plesiosaur bones from a feeding frenzy, or just a fluke of currents? How closely does a set of fossils represent the relative abundance of the different species in the quarry? Such examp........ Read more »

  • April 5, 2011
  • 05:14 PM

The Last Resting Place of Decuriasuchus

by Laelaps in Laelaps

While making the rounds promoting his new book Boneheads, art dealer and author Richard Polsky stopped by NPR last Sunday to talk about his personal quest to find a Tyrannosaurus rex. The romance of what paleontologist Bob Bakker has called “the big game hunt in Deep Time” drew him in. Having a pet Tyrannosaurus is [...]... Read more »

Brusatte, S.; Benton, M.; Desojo, J.; Langer, M. (2010) The higher-level phylogeny of Archosauria (Tetrapoda: Diapsida) . Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 8(1), 3-47. info:/10.1080/14772010903537732

  • April 4, 2011
  • 12:38 PM

Is the current plan for seeking evidence of life on Europa on this ice?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Europa is a moon of Jupiter, the smallest of the four Jovian moons discovered by Galileo in 1610. Juipter has 63 objects circling it that are called moons, though only eight of them are "regular" in their orbit and other characteristics. The rest are bits and pieces of clumped up matter that were probably captured by Jupiter's big-ass gravitational field, and have irregular orbits, i.e., they go the wrong-way around the planet, or are not in the solar plane, etc. Read the rest of this post... ........ Read more »

  • April 1, 2011
  • 12:15 PM

A Tale of Germanic Chieftains and Deep-Sea Corals

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

Arminius The year is 9CE. Fourteen years later Pliny the Elder will be Pliny the Newly Born. Cai Lun will invent paper one hundred years later.  In Northern Germany a storm unleashes on 30,000 Roman soldiers under the command of Publius Quinctilius Varus.  Varus’s most trusted advisor, Arminius, was the son of a . . . → Read More: A Tale of Germanic Chieftains and Deep-Sea Corals... Read more »

  • April 1, 2011
  • 10:14 AM

A New Giant Tyrant, Zhuchengtyrannus

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

“While 2010 was celebrated as the year of ceratopsians by many,” paleontologist Dave Hone wrote at Archosaur Musings yesterday, “it should not be overlooked the huge number of tyrannosaurs that have cropped up in the last year or so.” He’s right. For a long time Albertosaurus, Gorgosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Tarbosaurus and, of course, Tyrannosaurus made up [...]... Read more »

Hone, D.; Wang, K.; Sullivan, C.; Zhao, X.; Chen, S.; Li, D.; Ji, S.; Ji, Q.; Xing, X. (2011) A new tyrannosaurine theropod, Zhuchengtyrannus magnus is named based on a maxilla and dentary . Cretaceous Research. info:/10.1016/j.cretres.2011.03.005

  • March 30, 2011
  • 08:51 PM

South America Gets Two More Sabercats

by Laelaps in Laelaps

How does one go about selling a sabercat skeleton? This was the question the Argentinean naturalist Francisco Javier Muñiz asked Charles Darwin in a letter sent on August 30, 1846.
Almost one year previously, in the pages of the Gaceta Mercantil, Muñiz published a detailed description of a nearly-complete saber-toothed cat skeleton. The article’s title proclaimed [...]... Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 11:09 AM

Watch Out For That Thagomizer!

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Stegosaurus had a formidable tail. Studded with four long spikes, this dinosaur’s business end would have given Allosaurus and other Jurassic predators plenty of incentive to keep moving. But do we have any evidence that Stegosaurus really used its tail this way? Among paleontologists, the four-spiked tail of Stegosaurus is called a “thagomizer.” It is [...]... Read more »

Carpenter, Kenneth; Sanders, Frank; McWhinney, Lorrie A.; and Wood, Lowell. (2005) Evidence for predator-prey relationships: Examples for Allosaurus and Stegosaurus. The Carnivorous Dinosaurs, 325-350. info:/

  • March 28, 2011
  • 04:17 PM

unknowns, uncertainties, and obsolesence

by csoeder in Topologic Oceans

Antiscience campaigns often share the characteristic that they complain about the open questions, anomalies, and experimental limitations inscience. Scientists, on the other hand, work hard to resolve these issues. Creationists complain about uncertainties on the chemical origins of life; biochemists generate and test hypotheses, developing useful technology and techniques in the process. (Bullard et al. [...]... Read more »

  • March 28, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

Tiarajudens: Over 265 Million Years of Sabertooths

by Laelaps in Laelaps

The way people have been talking about Tiarajudens eccentricus, you would think that this 265 million year old cousin of ours was unique among herbivores for having saber-fangs. It was not, but it does raise the question of what makes a saber-tooth in the first place.
Tiarajudens was not quite like any creature alive today. Described [...]... Read more »

  • March 25, 2011
  • 08:40 PM

The Bear Otter

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Folks have been all a-twitter about the giant fossil rabbit found on the Spanish isle of Minorca during the past week, but there was another oversized mammal announced in the same issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that has so far gone unnoticed. About the same age as the behemoth bunny, this other giant [...]... Read more »

  • March 25, 2011
  • 10:58 AM

The Tyrannosaur Tooth Toolkit

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

When I was in elementary school, I was told that mammals and reptiles could easily be told apart by their teeth. Mammals had a full, enamel-covered toolkit in their mouths—incisors, canines, premolars, and molars suited to different tasks—while reptiles had only one kind of tooth. The dental differences were presented as one of the ways [...]... Read more »

  • March 24, 2011
  • 01:58 PM

Night of the Nuralagus rex

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Giant bunnies are not scary. MGM learned that the hard way with the 1972 schlock film Night of the Lepus. No amount of fake blood or artificial saliva could turn those rabbits into real monsters, and the brief moments when actors in bunny suits attacked their co-stars looked like some kind of “Meet the Easter [...]... Read more »

Quintanaa, J.; Köhler, M.; Moyà-Solà, S. (2011) Nuralagus rex, gen. et sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31(2), 231-240. info:/10.1080/02724634.2011.550367

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