Herbivores All the Way Down

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, a revolution in the way dinosaurs were conceived to have evolved occurred, in which a basal stock of croc-ish animals (this was during the “thecodont origin of … everything (?)” phase of archosaur relationship hypotheses) developed into the dinosaurs we know today, basically divided into three groups:

Theropod dinosaurs, including potentially birds; sauropods and their kin, the “prosauropods”; and ornithischians. While the latter group were considered herbivorous almost exclusively, with some omnivorous basal forms (like “fabrosaurs”), and the first group was almost exclusively considered carnivorous with some omnivorous forms, the herbivory/carnivory aspects never crossed over. In Sauropodomorpha, the group containing sauropods and “prosauropods,” basal forms were considered mostly herbivores, with some carnivorous trends (some of it based on confused fossils of giant croc-like rauisuchids or postosuchids). But this meant that theropods were nested within a group that trended, at its base, towards herbivory.

All dinosaurs, then, would have had a little plant-eater in their near-ancestry. Continue reading

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Strange Tid[w]ings

Yi qi conceptsThe new small theropod Yi qi was described 29 April, 2015, far too late to be a practical joke for All Fools’ Day (by 4 weeks, precisely). Why would it be? The animal, described by Xu Xing and a number of colleagues, is based on a single specimen of a mostly crappy slab. Continue reading

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Facial Expressions

Models for "cheeks" in Ornithischia.How many faces do I have?

The various and many ways to make a “cheek,” and the various facial tissues for which we have primary (preserved remains) and secondary (inferred) evidence for, in fossil sauropsidans. (These images are CC-BY-ND-NC. Please don’t take them without permission.)

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Art is, perhaps, one of the most expensive things I’ve ever done. And yet the process from setting pen or pencil to paper and producing something coherent seems effortless, flawless, quick, and easy. We make it easy, because we’ve had years of training. Patient family, if exasperated, and careful teachers, studious research, and years upon years of not-so-easy toil, practicing, grinding, suffering to be able to draw out leviathan from the page — all this goes into producing something so simple as a line drawing Continue reading

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A Question of Money

As time goes on, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep progress on the website and handle my own day to day, so the blogging has diminished and even time to research and start work on the process of education and material access — which leads into research and oddly money — fades. To that end I am looking at two forms of outreach and resource gathering:

My skimmer skull in skimming style, from the Redbubble capture of how it looks on a shirt.

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A Mystery of Caenagnathidae

Some time ago, Michael Mortimer posted on his site the idea that the Dzharakuduk avian Kuszholia mengi might actually be an oviraptorosaur! The similarities in the vertebrae (based mostly on sacrals) were starling. But also convergent. Was it? The Dzharakuduk locality has also produced definite jaws of oviraptorosaurs, so the question of whether these jaws and those vertebrae belonged together was raised. Continue reading

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A Look Back at the Bite Stuff, 2014 Edition

Another year over, and a new one’s about to begin.

It’s the [western] new year, and it’s been a little more bumpy than normal. Big things happened! I blogged less, but the blogging was more radical. Continue reading

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