March 31, 2009
[Insert Godzilla Joke Here]: At Archosaur Musings, David Hone takes us on a grand tour of the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo: “A series of ceratopsian skulls shows off the diversity of their crests and horns and a nice ‘exploded’ T. rex skull illustrates just how complex skulls can be and how many parts there are.”
Quilted Dinosaurs: Matt Celeskey recently returned from the Western Interior Paleontological Society’s Founders Symposium in Golden, Colorado. He was one of several artists in attendance at the symposium’s paleo-art show. I don’t know paleo-art, but I know what I like…So, check out the cool photos over at the Hairy Museum of Natural History, including Neffra Matthews and some of her paleo-inspired quilts.
Ten-year-old Shashwatch Murphy has suggested a new candidate, Technosaurus. So what’s the big controversy? Well, first of all, it’s not clear if Technosaurus was technically a dinosaur at all; this late Triassic reptile might well have been an archosaur (the family that preceded the dinosaurs). And second, compared to those big, galumphing, Texas-sized sauropods, Technosaurus was tiny, measuring only four feet long. In its favor, Murphy points out, Technosaurus was named after Texas Tech University….
Down in the Valley: Be sure to check out the Virginia Museum of Natural History blog, Updates from the Vertebrate Paleontology Lab. Alton Dooley is posting about a new excavation at Solite Quarry (located on the Virginia-North Caroline State Line) that has produced thousands of fossils, including a small gliding reptile, mecistotracelos. Dooley notes:
The rocks exposed at Solite are Late Triassic lake deposits …This lake, and hundreds like it, formed in a rift valley during the breakup of Pangea …The Solite Quarry is located far enough toward the middle of the basin that we can see a variety of environments as water levels in the lake fluctuated.
Life on the B-List: Mark Witton counsels appreciation for the smaller things in life, even if they’ve been dead for several million years:
Ninety percent of fresh-faced, first-year palaeontology students are only interested in one thing: dinosaurs ….Some palaeontologists never grow out of this and, for them, they’re only interested in a fossil animal if their remains are big enough that you can wield them like guitars and pose on the front cover of scientific rock magazine equivalents….Thing is, though, this blinkered view obscures some of the true marvels of the fossil record. Some of the most fantastic, amazing things require more patience and contemplation to appreciate. The mysterious Ediacaran fauna. Small but intricately-spiralled graptolites or spiny trilobites…. It’s frustratingly incomplete, but, for the mature palaeontologist, the fossil record is freaking awesome even without its A-listers like dinosaurs and enormous marine reptiles.
Comic Relief: Paleoblog reports that Mark Schultz—creator of the smash-hit comic book “Xenozoic Tales”—has a comic strip idea, called Paleonauts, which “channels the spirit of Charles M. Schultz via Walt Kelly.”
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