I have more extensive blog posts planned for the upcoming month, but there have been issues associated with the time I’ve had available and my health due to lack of financial resources. As such, aside from a slight melancholy for missing the big paleo shindig of the year (SVP, being held in my home town of Los Angeles — therefore losing a chance to hang out with friends and talk dinos in person close to home), I’ve been trying to get personal research done on turtle jaws, throwing out new skeleton illustrations for the interested, and thinking about those things I always think about. So what do I have planned?
1. Paul Sereno, Ricardo Martínez, and Oscar Alcober have a new paper out as part of a volume on the Late Triassic Ischigualasto fauna of Argentina, and in this paper they touch on something that has received little attention, but really should be explored in more depth. That is, the potential presence of a rhamphotheca at the end of the jaws in several basal sauropodomorphans. Which, if you haven’t heard, now included Eoraptor lunensis. The evaluation of this morphology bears some investigation.
2. Also on beaks, it turns out that Caenagnathoidea (oviraptorids and caenagnathids) have remarkably ornithischian-like jaws. These jaws have long been compared to dicynodonts, roughly to turtles, and to birds. But the similarities to these groups are, for the most part, intrinisc to some small specific detail. In general, though oviraptorid jaws behave a lot more like ornithischian jaws than a typical theropod one, and the reason for this is complicated. Moreover, it’s quite likely that, despite appearing a lot like phorusrhacid “terror-bird” jaws, or shoebills, caenagnathid jaws are actually very, very similar in many respects to turtles, and the details are many.
But meanwhile, look at Andrea Cau’s interpretation.
4. At some point, I would love to talk about the monster designs in the Capcom game Monster Hunter. They really are quite fascinating, and the physics involved incredible and, in some cases, unbelievable. But like many fantasy explorations, it amounts to how much you can readily suspect your disbelieve before the content no longer satisfies. If, as in the movie Pacific Rim, you can hold aside the ludicrousness of the story or its details, you end up enjoying what you see. I’ll try to go into some detail.