Ignoring Spinosaurus for now, paleontology came up with a few other announcements in the last few weeks. Some pterosaurs (gotta love them) but also non-theropod dinosaurs! They do exist, they are interesting, but they receive much less press. Over the next few days I will present small posts on each of these and get away from what does tend to be an overly theropod-driven blog and the hype around #SpinoGate. Continue reading
Posted in Paleobiology, Paleontology, Science Reporting, Taphonomy, Taxonomy
Tagged Dryosauridae, Eousdryosaurus, Eousdryosaurus nanohallucis, Ornithischia, Ornithischians, Ornithopoda, Ornithopodans
There’s been a lot of news now about Thursday’s (Sep. 11, 2014) publication on a new specimen attributed to Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. A lot of hype rose up months back about the release of a photo of a mount of some unusual bones, and what that entailed. As with every fossil discovery, caution had to be carefully tended in regards this mount because we had no idea what it was based on. This mystery was spoiled, and it seems the culprit was wilier than we all thought.
I honestly don’t think I can write any more on how bad Alan Feduccia’s “science” is on the subject of bird origins than I already have, here. Briefly, Dr. Alan Feduccia has teamed up with earstwhile companion in quackery Stephen Czerkas to pen a missive on Scansoriopteryx heilmanni (named by the former in 2002) to “demonstrate” how it and all other maniraptoran theropods (oviraptorosaurs, troodontids, dromaeosaurids, and other scansoriopterygids) are not, and cannot be, theropods or, even, dinosaurs, but birds. That is, birds are not dinosaurs, and neither are maniraptorans.
(An update to this post is emmended below.) Continue reading
Posted in Art, Biology, Paleontology, Philosophy, Science Reporting
Tagged Creationism, Evolution of Flight, Intelligent Design and Bunk, Origin of Birds, Scansoriopterygids, Science, Science Communication
I tend to be very generous when it comes to labeling diets. Animals are not perfect boxes to never spill out of their strict defintions, nor are their diets, produced as they are from a variety of different sources. You’ll notice that I’ve been talking about what exactly defines some particular diets, and what they involve. These extend from my interests in determine if, in fact, it is possible to determine if an animal is an ovophage/ovivore/egg-eater. What mechanisms exactly of the jaw, animal, environment go into defining a given diet? Are they all the same for different animals? Can we use one set of parameters to then determine the result for any given animal, or are some diets just that much more special than others?
So you think you know a piscivore if you saw one? Not so fast. Take a look:
An array of extinct and extant specialist on fish-eating.
Piscivores come in a large array of sizes and morphologies. Not all have teeth. Some are slender-snouted, others broad. What mostly defines a piscivore is that it consumes fish, but not all do it the same way, and for some, it’s purely behavioral, sometimes seasonal, and sometimes based on relation to plentiful food.
Posted in Biological Comparison, Biology, Paleoecology, Paleontology, Terminology
Tagged Amphibians, Bats, Better Know a Diet, Billfish, Birds, Cetaceans, Crocodilians, Diet, Elasmosaurs, Fish, Mammals, Piscivory, Plesiosaurs, Pterosaurs, Sharks, Snakes, Turtles
So I’ve gone on and on about all this boring stuff about writing papers and my personal experience and analysis and what not. But you probably want to know about Banguela oberlii, the pterosaur.
Let’s talk about what the paper says: Continue reading
The life of a pterosaur cannot be easy. Most occur in places where there is always a larger predator; even the giants Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopterus may have co-occurred with other predators that would have seen them as food. From hatching to growth and eventually the necessary act of breeding – to pass one one’s genetic legacy, a primal, incomprehensible need – the pterosaur marches inexorably to death, changing the world as it goes.
Dr. Toni Bürgin of the Naturmuseum St. Gallen and Hr. Urs Oberli, of Switzerland, together holding the holotype of Banguela oberlii. Very delicately, as the specimen is in two pieces. It is easy to see how actually large this pterosaur’s jaw is, and it would have rivaled the sizes of many other Santana pterosaurs.