Wednesday, May 4, 2016
...We'd like you to draw something for us. Specifically, we'd like to see T. rex trying (at some anachronistic human activity). And succeeding. Because atrophied forelimbs never really held anyone back, damn it, and as Dave's book will make clear, tyrannosaurs were very successful and intriguing animals. Our favourites, based on some magic combination of originality and humour, will win copies of the book. We'll also be sure to corner Dave down a dark alley and force him to sign them, which is no mean feat, as he's probably as strong as Niroot and I put together.
Please upload your entries somewhere and link to them in a comment on this post. The deadline is June 6. Absolute anatomical accuracy is not essential, but points will be rewarded for it. By way of inspiration, here's a wee drawing by Niroot depicting Tyrannosaurus, the artist, being inspired itself by a Troodon. There might be some movie reference in there (what day is it again?). Good luck y'all.
*I have also been sent review/contest copies, but they haven't turned up. This is partly my fault. In the event of them arriving, we'll pick some further runners up.
Monday, April 25, 2016
After an introduction by Dr. Steve Le Comber, Dr. Dave read two short extracts from the book. The first, on a method of prey despatch, was especially illuminating and memorable for me simply because the conjecture never once occurred to me, but which once posited made such elegant sense:
‘The huge caudofemoralis muscles ran from the femur and up most of the first third of the tail in all dinosaurs. The tail gave a huge amount of power to the legs for running, was full of major blood vessels and was not surrounded by bone. A heavy bite anywhere around the thigh or first part of the tail might well have crippled an animal, leaving it unable to run and bleeding badly. Also, the tail was one of the first things a pursuing hunter would encounter in a fleeing animal, so using this technique would have reduced the chase distance, which would have been important especially if the prey animal was fundamentally faster than the tyrannosaur. Notably, there are two fossil hadrosaurs showing injury to the tails from tyrannosaur bites, and another with a wound to the leg; it’s a very limited data set, but it does nonetheless point to this as a strategy.’
After the readings, the audience was treated to a live link-up via Skype with the book’s illustrator, Scott Hartman, whose trusted, accurate skeletals I’m sure require no introduction here. Dr. Dave prefaced this by pointing out the precision of Scott’s working methods, and recounting how, during the course of writing the book, when Dave was asked whether he had a second choice in mind in the event that Scott couldn’t be procured, his answer was a quite decisive ‘well, no.’
The last of the formalities was the purchasing and signing of copies of the book (all which were brought to the launch sold out), whilst guests also had time to ogle at, photograph, and even handle the various casts that were on display.
|Dave points out that the manus here belongs to Albertosaurus rather than T. rex|
It was a great pity that Marc couldn’t make it this time, or without question there would have been some choice goofy pictures with the fantastic skull, and you would have had a superior post than this besides (in more ways than one). Never mind. I did at any rate get a picture of another star who also happened to be there.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Friday, April 22, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
|Original artwork: Charles R Knight|
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Monday, April 4, 2016
The history of science is filled with strange lives and buried stories. But few lives were stranger than that of Franz Nopcsa von Felső-Szilvás: the flamboyant lord of dinosaurs, and (appropriately for a man who bore a startling resemblance to Freddy Mercury) perhaps the most interesting man ever to turn his attention to rock.
Friday, April 1, 2016
A few programming notes first before the roundup. You may recall that at the end of last year, I hinted at a move to WordPress. That's still in the planning stages, and I would love to make it happen. It would mean less time zapping spammers, better commenting functionality, and I'd have more control over the site design. We do need a bit of help to make that a reality. So if you direct your attention to the sidebar, you'll see a tip jar, for those of you who would like to support us. Besides offsetting future site fees, it will help us purchase books and other dinosaur media to feature on the blog. Thanks for all of the support over the years!
In the News
Those of us who jumped on Twitter to follow the recent Paleofest at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, IL were teased with tweets about a stunning new paper by a team led by Mary Schweitzer. Well, it's out now. The new study re-examines T. rex bone tissue that was hypothesized to be medullary bone - a type of bone tissue formed quickly to provided needed nutrients for pregnant females - in 2005. Looking closer at the tissue's chemical composition, the team has concluded that it contains too many chemical signatures of medullary bone to be anything else. MOR 1125, AKA B. rex, was pregnant. More from Brian Switek at Laelaps, Laura Geggel at LiveScience, and Jennifer Viegas at Discovery News.
A new early tyrannosaur is on the scene. Described by Steve Brusatte et al, Timurlengia euotica was "a horse-sized hunter with a big brain and keen hearing that would put us to shame." Read more at Sci-News and NPR. Denver Fowler shared an image of a braincase discovered at a dig at the American Prairie Reserve that looks similar, prompting him to wonder if he's also found a juvenile tyrannosaur.
It should be noted that Dave Hone, whose new book The Tyrannosaur Chronicles comes out this month, covered both of these tyrant stories at the Lost Worlds Revisited blog.
Around the Dinobogosphere
Speaking of WordPress, Liz Martin-Silverstone has headed there herself!
Our own Asher Elbein has been published by The Atlantic again. Check out his great Spinosaurus article!
Mark Witton has updated his overhead-view illustration of a fallen azhdarchid and the varied scavengers it attracts. It's beautiful. And it comes with a terrific post about azhdarchid paleoecology.
Jacquelyn Gill recently wrote about the challenges and rewards of thinking, and teaching about, the concept of deep time.
Shaena Montanari, currently the Newton International Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, was interviewed about her life as a paleontologist by The Sun.
At FiveThirtyEight, Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote about the travails of dinosaur taxonomy, including a statistical analysis of the researchers who have had the most newly-named taxa stick.
The website ScienceGrrl recently profiled Franzi Sattler, who is currently working on a Masters thesis about a tyrannosaur nicknamed Tristan.
Great, important read: conservation biologist Asia Murphy has written about the difficulties of being a black field researcher in predominantly white rural areas in the U.S.
At Prehistoric Beast of the Week, Chris interviewed paleontologist Carl Mehling.
At Extinct, the philosophy of paleontology blog, Leonard Finkelman wrote about endlings, the last surviving members of species.
New or new-to-me creators taking to Patreon: Rebecca "Palaeoplushies" Groom, A Dinosaur A Day, and Brian Switek. Regarding Brian: He announced the sad news that Laelaps has been discontinued by National Geographic after the end of April. The people wept. But then, he then announced that a new home, yet to be revealed, has been found. The people got all jubilant!
Scales can be a real problem. Sometimes, I see a new piece of paleoart pop up and it seems that the artist got so lost in drawing every. single. scale. that they've forgotten about more important aspects of the composition. I like what Chris DiPiazza has done here with his recent Pentaceratops piece, though. The scales have been given plenty of love, but they don't distract from the rest of the ornery beast (who seems to have struck the Fear of God into a pachycephalosaur. Additionally, the texture of the watercolor paper compliments the pattern of scales. Awesome stuff as usual from Mr. DiPiazza.