Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaur Skeletons

Regular readers will know that I can't get enough of dinosaur pop-up books, having reviewed several over the years, and 1991's Dinosaur Skeletons is a worthy addition to the canon. Intriguingly, the book's concept is remarkably similar to that of 1984's Dinosaurs - a Lost World in Three Dimensions, only with considerably more up-to-date artwork - the titular skeletons are the pop-ups, while fleshed-out dinos are confined to the 2D illustrations. Not to worry - even a skeleton can threaten to take your eye out, especially when there's a mouth full of pointy teeth thrust in one's general direction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

TetZooCon 2015

There can't be many conventions that have spun off from a popular zoology-themed blog and equally popular podcast about new tapirs and charging for rambling answers to questions about bipedal combat in deer, so it was very heartening that the first TetZooCon was such a success. Successful enough, in fact, to spawn a successor event, once again host to an impressive array of speakers covering an eclectic range of topics. Only at TetZooCon will you be so well informed about legendary pygmy elephants, bizarre ichthyosaurs, condom-inflated pigeon carcasses and the right circumstances to ask to use your very wealthy friend's Rolls for promotional purposes. It was, once again, a resounding success. (All photos by Niroot unless otherwise stated.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mesozoic Miscellany 80

In the News

A new big hadrosaur is on the loose, showing off a wee crest hypothesized to be transitional between the non-crested and crested members of the family. Read the description of Probrachylophosaurus bergei and gawk at John Conway's gorgeous portrait.

There's a new feathered Ornithomimus specimen from Canada, and Brian Switek and Everything Dinosaur both covered the discovery. And, yes: gawk at Julius Csotonyi's gorgeous illustration.

Liz Martin-Silverstone wrote about her recently published research into the relationship between skeletal mass and total body mass in birds and how useful it may be in estimating body mass in critters outside of Neornithes. John Tennant also covered the paper at PLOS Paleo.

How wide could theropods open their mouths? New research explores the question.

Around the Dinoblogosphere

Hat-tip to reader David Landis for letting us know about The New Yorker's recent look at Virginia Lee Burton's Life Story, which we covered for a Vintage Dinosaur Art post five years back.

Lisa Buckley's got a new blog, so head over and say "howdy."

Asher recently had another fantastic paleontology article published, about the journey of a Clidastes specimen in Alabama.

At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History blog, Antoine Bercovici writes about the end-Cretaceous (or close to it, at least) dinosaurs of France.

Jason Brougham covered the challenges of reconstructing the mysterious Benettites.

Everything Dinosaur shows off the new CollectA Spinosaurus.

Speaking of spinos, Duane Nash wrote more about Spinosaurus lifestyle and about the and the recent Sigilmassasaurus paper.

The Dinosaur Toy Blog showed off the winners of this year's Dinosaur Toy Forum Diorama Contest. I always love checking out the entries.

Adventures in fossil prep: Daspletosaurus ilium edition! Brought to you by Anthony Maltese.

Andy Farke interviews Justin Adams about a new project to archive fossil mammals at Ditsong National Museum of Natural History in South Africa. Check out part one and two.

Fernanda Castano wrote about a new species of pollen grain from Argentina, including Darwin's puzziling over the appearance of dicots in the fossil record.

Chris DiPiazza made a sequel of his fun illustration from last year: check out his new line up of monstrously-named taxa for Halloween.

A bit more about SVP: Francois Gould wrote about how the conference remains his home even as he shifts from the paleontological research he pursued as a student. Palaeocast's Caitlyn Colleary filed a three-part report focusing on outreach, new research, and the history of the conference.

Paleoart Pick

The Cartoon Guide to Vertebrate Evolution by Albertonykus is freakin' sweet and now you can buy it at his new Redbubble shop!

The Cartoon Guide to Vertebrate Evolution by Albertonykus, shared with the artist's permission.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mighty Bones: Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Berlin's a fascinating city and all, drawing people for its rich, tumultuous history as much as its present-day reputation for 'cool' (whatever that is. Like I'd know). But in the end, dinosaur enthusiasts will only have one destination in mind upon arriving in the city - the Museum für Naturkunde, home of the certified Tallest Mounted Dinosaur Skeleton in the World™. I visited on my second day in the city, and let me assure you, man-sized humeri were just dancing in front of my eyes before that. No amount of refreshingly inexpensive beer was going to distract me on my pilgrimage to the holy hall of bones on the Invalidenstraße. It doesn't disappoint.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mesozoic Miscellany 79

In the News

Dakotaraptor has stepped into the limelight. A giant Hell Creek dromaeosaurid with prominent quill knobs and wicked sickle claws, Dakotaraptor would have been a stout competitor for juvenile tyrannosaurs. More from A Dinosaur A Day, Theropoda, and Krankie. Beautiful paleoart has also been popping up, with particularly stunning work from RJ Palmer and Emily Willoughby (which is hardly surprising).

Gorgeous fossils are coming out of an important fossil site in Utah colorfully called the "Saints and Sinners Site." Learn more about it from this interview with Dan Chure of Dinosaur National Monument at KUER. Honestly, I want a large framed print of "the triplets" for my wall.

Mesozoic mammal news! A new spiny critter, aptly dubbed Spinolestes xenarthrosus, has been described. Brian at Laelaps and Liz at Musings of a Clumsy Paleontologist, and Amar Toor at The Verge have the skinny.

The story of the spinosaurs continues to twist and turn as more research comes out. New work on Sigilmassaurus brevicollis and Spinosaurus maroccanus has been published, responding to last year's major-publication-slash-National-Geographic-media-event. Jaime Headden at the Bite Stuff and Mark Witton both have good takes on the research.

Help out Phylopic and nab a spiffy tee shirt! Mike Keesey, creator of the site, is holding a campaign on Booster.com to support the costs of maintaining the site as well as further development. Providing free-to-use, Creative Commons licensed silhouettes of a huge variety of lifeforms, it's a terrific source of images for scientists and other science communicators.

Around the Dinoblogosphere

We'll start with a roundup-within-a-round up of posts about the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting that went down a couple weeks ago in Dallas, TX.

At the Theropod Database Blog, Mickey provided four days of commentary: day one, two, three, and four. Duane Nash wrote about the meeting at Antediluvian Salad. Victoria Arbour chimed in at Pseudoplocephalus. John Tennant wrote about his experience at Green Tea and Velociraptors. Albertonykus was there for the first time ever, and wrote about it at Raptormaniacs.

Speaking of Victoria, she talked about ankylosaur evolution on a recent episode of the great Palaeocast.

Fossil Day 2015 has come and gone, and Chris DiPiazza shared his personal fossil collection at Prehistoric Beast of the Week.

Curious about what we will see when the revamped dinosaur hall at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, opens? Ben Miller has something that may interest you.

At Dinosaur Postcards, Denver Fowler shared Iguanodon footprint casts.

Want to explore the Triassic via computer simulation? Head to Everything Dinosaur to learn about a new project that aims to do just that.

Not terribly recent, but I missed sharing it back in April. Brian Engh talks paleoart at a Bay area Nerd Nite event.

Paleoart Pick

Finding Julio Lacerda's recent painting of Pteranodon and Hesperornis squaring off underwater was a breath-taking moment. Golden Age of Paleoart, folks! Enjoy.

"Fish Theft: Subaquatic Edition," © Julio Lacerda. Shared here with the artist's permission.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Purnell's Find Out About Prehistoric Animals - Part 2

Because I can't in all good conscience review a book with 'Prehistoric Animals' in the title and only cover the dinosaurs, behold various non-dinosaurs from Purnell's 1976 guide to long-dead beasties. (There's also a tiresomely long section on how MAN evolved to DOMINATE the Earth by being SUPERIOR to the other creatures by virtue of having a large brain, dextrous hands, and other noted attributes of MANLINESS. It's as 1970s as an brightly-coloured Ford Cortina, which you'd be far better off looking at. Here you go.) Where better to start than with a pterosaur being munched? Stupid pterosaurs.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mesozoic Miscellany 78

In the News

The center of the paleontology universe this week has been the 2015 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Dallas, TX. Check out the official conference hashtag on Twitter. LITC's own Asher Elbein is there, and will be filing a report about his experience soon. Asher recently joined Twitter, and has been tweeting from the conference, including some wonderful sketches.

Speaking of SVP, those lucky devils get to see a newly prepped centrosaurine skeleton, which appears to be a new species of Avaceratops. It was discovered amid a pile of hadrosaur bones in 2012, and even had a bit of skin associated with the pelvic area. Anthony Maltese has the full breakdown over at the RMDRC Paleo Lab Blog, with great photos, so scoot!

We have a new giant in the North. The "Edmontosaurus" fossils of the Price Creek Formation have been reassessed, and the team of Hirotsugu Mori, Patrick Druckenmiller, and Gregory Erickson have dubbed the new taxon Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis. Read more from Brian Switek at Laelaps and Tanya Basu at Time.

Andy Farke writes about the publication of a new juvenile Saurolophus specimen at The Integrative Paleontologists.

Around the Dinoblogosphere

RJ Palmer drew a toon version of the Saurian T. rex we featured in the last roundup, and it sort of makes me think a toon version of Saurian would be the best idea. After the team wraps up Saurian itself, of course.

A couple of reviews of the recent book British Polacanthid Dinosaurs have hit the web: Everything Dinosaur gave it a read, as did Stu Pond at Paleoillustrata.

The Guardian is looking to recruit a new paleontology blogger, who will work under the Guidance of Dr. Dave Hone. The call for submissions will last until November 2. Read more about the opportunity here.

I loved this adorable felted Parasaurolophus at Needled by Nella.

Herman's back with another pair of dinosaur book reviews at ART Evolved. He looks at Dinosaur Parents, Dinosaur Young: Uncovering the Mystery of Dinosaur Families and Dinosaurs: Living Monsters of the Past.

For Ada Lovelace Day, Liz Martin-Silverstone paid tribute to the women who have brought so much to the field of paleontology.

It is the 100th anniversary of Dinosaur National Monument, and a major new project has been launched: The Digital Quarry Project. The interactive site allows visitors to explore the jumble of bones in the famous quarry wall by way of simplifies silhouettes. It's not complete yet, but the project site promises that "it will contain all 5000+ fossil specimens from the quarry, including those that have been excavated and now reside in museums far and wide." It's pretty cool, check it out!

I Know Dino celebrated Dinosaur National Monument's anniversary as well.

Paleoart Pick

Easily my favorite scene from Raptor Red, Robert Bakker's novel about a female Utahraptor, is the "snow sledding" scene. It was a bracingly fresh look at dinosaurs, from the play behavior to the snowy environment. Paleoartist Zubin Erik Dutta recently completed a beautiful rendering of the scene. Of it, he writes:
This is one of the most iconic scenes from the book thanks to Luis Rey's rendition of the scene years ago. I tried my best to make mine as different as possible and looked to Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes snow sleigh strips for ideas. Calvin and Hobbes crashing into the snow was the first thing to come to mind when I was figuring things out.
This piece brought the memory of reading that scene for the first time rushing back.

"The Raptor Red Snow Sled," © Zubin Erik Dutta. Shared here with the artist's permission.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Help Support the Jurassic Foundation

I've been wanting to do something to help out The Jurassic Foundation for a while. They are a nonprofit that supports dinosaur research worldwide by offering grants to paleontologists, many of whom are from developing countries or are early in their career.

To celebrate the fifth National Fossil Day, half of all Mammoth is Mopey hardcover and ebook sales this week will be donated to them. That's $7.50 of every hardcover sale and $3.50 from every ebook sale going straight to the Jurassic Foundation. The promotion will last until midnight on Friday the 16th.

Here are a few adverts I whipped up to spread the word. Feel free to share them if you'd like. Jennie and I appreciate any help you'd like to give, and so does the Jurassic Foundation, we're sure!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Purnell's Find Out About Prehistoric Animals

Not for the first time, here's a fantastic 1970s book on prehistoric animals from Purnell, purveyors of fine model photography and anachronistic pop-up battles. Find Out About Prehistoric Animals is considerably more hefty than any Purnell to previously feature on this blog, and it's gloriously packed full of wonderfully retro illustrations from a number of artists. While individual pieces aren't credited, we are at least informed that the artists included Eric Jewell Associates, Illustra, John Barber, Angus McBride, Sean Rudman, Dan Escott, Colin Rattray, Vanessa Luff, Gerry Embleton, Phil Green, George Underwood and - oh yes - John Sibbick. Nine years before even the Normanpedia. Blimey.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs! The 1987 Childcraft Annual - Last Hurrah

There's probably a good point at which to stop posting about the same 1980s children's dinosaur book, but it isn't before you've covered any hadrosaurs. Therefore, please be welcoming of one last round of the Childcraft Annual, and of John Rignall's delightfully coloured bright-eyed lambeosaurines. It's a lovely day to be sporting a solid orange head crest, having tangerine dreams and admiring the smoking scenery.