July 30, 2010
An Evolving Blog: Please welcome the latest blog to emerge from the primordial ooze of the Internet. Pick & Scalpel is the official blog of the WitmerLab. Their mission statement: “We’re a collection of scientists at Ohio University using 21st century approaches to ‘flesh out’ the past. Our mission is to use the structure of extinct and modern-day animals to interpret evolutionary history … we also recognize the power of the past…of paleontology…of dinosaurs!…to ignite interest in science among people of all walks of life and of all ages.”
Seasons Greetings: Blogger “Barbaraella Psychadella” has unilaterally declared that, henceforth, July 16 will be “Dinosaur Day”—a holiday when “we honor our long lost reptilian overlords, the dinosaurs, by going on Dinosaur Pilgrimage.” This year’s pilgrimage included a visit to a now-decaying dinosaur-themed miniature golf course and lunch at Peggy Sue’s Diner and Diner-saur park.
“G” is for Gammasaurus geophagus: The Disillusioned Taxonomist has some fun with taxonomic terms with the creation of his Prehistoric Animal Alphabet, where the letters are “styled to look like various prehistoric creatures, some are based loosely on existing types, others completely made up.” For instance, meet Jovigyrinus jocosus (“joking Bon Jovi’s salamander”), an early tetrapod from Devonian New Jersey.
Down to the Bone: “Very often the fossils that are seen on display in museums or in papers are beautifully clear of surrounding rock….When TV shows want to cover fossil preparation we see something rapidly fall out of sandstone, or delicate cleaning of the last bits of rock from a specimen,” observes David Hone at Archosaur Musings. What they don’t tend to show is that fossils are typically an “ungodly conglomerate” embedded in stone. Hone presents photos that vividly display why it requires hours of work just to expose one end of bone.
Honoring Trilobites: ArtEvolved has posted its gallery of trilobite-inspired artwork, including “Trilobite Deco” and “Trilobite Dragon.” On the other hand, if building blocks are your medium of choice, I’d recommend this LEGO Trilobite.
Signs of an Economic Recovery? “After a couple of years in which many notable, well-preserved skeletons failed to meet their reserve price,” Bob’s Dinosaur Blog reports, “Sotheby’s of France is planning a huge dinosaur auction of, well, huge dinosaurs.” A 33-foot-long Allosaurus skeleton (originally unearthed in Wyoming) is expected to fetch a minimum of $500,000.
Lost Colony: The latest edition of Nature has a paper reporting that a 2.1 billion-year-old fossil of multicellular colonial organisms has been found in Gabon. (To date, the earliest evidence in the fossil record of such organisms is less than 600 million years old.) Ediacaran offers a detailed account of why he is skeptical of the new find.
In the Field: Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs takes us on a photo tour of Chicago’s Field Museum. One of the most popular dinosaur exhibits is the “musical” Parasaurolophus head, “which lets visitors hear what one of the big honkers may have sounded like.”
Microscopes on the Move: Having trouble transporting and using high-quality stereomicroscopes at excavation sites? At the Prep Room, Matthew Brown unveils his homemade solution.
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