Recall my earlier post on Daemonosaurus chauliodus. At the time, I thought this was a pretty silly dinosaur to provide a reconstruction for, since for the most part I agreed with the authors’ reconstruction, it matched the skull as i saw it, and their own interpretations. There are some issues, but those issues are minor, but broadly noticeable and thus something that can be accounted for relatively easily. First, the reconstruction from Sues et al.:
CM 76821, skull and anterior cervical vertebrae with cervical ribs of Daemonosaurus chauliodus (Sues et al., 2011). Top row, left and ride sides of the slab bearing the skull; middle row, interpretive drawing of the slab; and bottom, interpretic reconstruction of skull.
As an artist, I view the world through an interpretive lens, not merely how I might depict a thing or what reaction I might get, but how I might see things in different lights; one has to be a little less subjective to others’ work and one’s own in order to compare this work. I believe that, especially as an artist, no depiction, no rendering is complete, but are segments of a continuum of interpretation. As a scientist, I must be objective about interpretations even more so, and there is a lot less room or subjectivity. It is a balance, being an artist and a scientist. Both influence each other, but I have to have two different brains in this game. I thus use my scientist’s brain to set aside my artist’s brain when the occasion is necessary.
As I mentioned in the last post, there hasn’t been a whole lot said of UCMP 143274, and what has been said has been brief, with distributions to either an avian identity (Stidham, 1998, 1999; Hope, 2002) or an ambiguous or nonavian identity (Dyke & Mayr, 1999) or even a mixture of the two (Waterhouse, 2006). I’ve missed Waterhouse’s contribution to this debate a few times, but a few years back I had occasion to see his reconstructions and then promptly forgot them. So it was rather surprising to note (again) that Waterhouse had reconstructed UCMP 143274 as either a bird [avian dinosaur] (below, left) or a caenagnathid nonavian dinosaur (below, right):
Waterhouse’s reconstructions of UCMP 143274 as a parrot or as a caenagnathid. Either reconstruction probably massively undersizes the relative extent of the jaw to the animal in question. In both cases, they’d be a lot smaller, but the jaw relatively bigger. Figure captions from the original.
Subsequent to my post on Nick Longrich and colleagues proposed new taxonomy for an old oviraptorosaur, there has been some interest about some other oviraptorosaurs, and I felt it would be useful to write up a little post about those things. First off, though, it should be noted that several of these taxa are worthy of their own subjects, but that one of them, which involves the recently-published (and now “legit”) Yulong mini, requires publication of another “illegitimate” species to be formally published[n1].
(Just by me putting up that “[n1]” you will know that I am about to clash with the “legitimate-illegitimate” publication debate, and probably Mike Taylor.)
The newest oviraptorosaur on the blog is, in fact, one of the oldest. Nick Longrich and colleagues (Ken Barnes, along with Scott Clark and Larry Millar from Paleo Field Excursions, who collect in the Big Bend area in which the Aguja and Javelina Formations expose) have addressed the question that was first approached by William Parks in 1933, the nature of a tiny tarsometatarsus (ROM 781).
Metatarsi referred to Ornithomimus elegans (Parks, 1933). A & C, ROM 781 (holotype) in cranial or extensor view (A) and proximal view (C); B & D, RTMP 82.39.4 in extensor (B) and proximal (D) views. Despite their similar size, they indicate disparate levels of preservation, but preserve the same diagnostic “tongue-like” process (to the upper left in C and D). E, MOR 752, partial pes in extensor view. Scale bar for all specimens, 3 cm. Hatching indicates broken surfaces exposed in the plane of the image, while dotting indicates completed margins.
Lest my readers think I’ve become dull, an upcoming post will have this in it, and an explanation.
You will have to further pardon me while I make my next few posts NOT about this. Feel free to offer commentary on this; I especially invite Dave Peters to offer his here.
When dealing with research from a particular few scientists – namely, the BANDits – none of them intrigue me more than the work of Theagarten Lingham-Soliar (hereafter, TLS). It isn’t just that the subject matter is intriguing (structure of skin, body shape and contour, reconstruction of body in mosasaurs and ichthyosaurs from sharks and cetaceans) but that amongst BANDits, TLS is the most practical, the more methods-driven. TLS’s primary work has been to uncover the structure and arrangement of fibres that comprise skin, and associated structures, tissues like collagen, elastin, and the surface of this skin. When I first began reading his work on dinosaur skin, focusing on Sinosauropterys prima, I was extremely interested: I wanted not merely to know how he got his conclusions, but how the work he sought to refute got theirs. I was fully willing to entertain that TLS, a seeming maverick, was a nuts and bolts scientist, applying a methodology towards discriminating epidermal, dermal, and extra-dermal structures. TLS had cut his teeth on shark and whale skin, applied it to other animals, and was confirmed in his conclusions (or at least not doubted). It seemed TLS had caught a fish, and it was a big one. Continue reading