Steven Brussatte had a paper out this week with coauthors Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki and Richard J. Butler, describing three sets of Polish trackways that shed light on the earliest days of the dinosaurs and their antecedents. Will Baird, Brian Switek, and Ed Yong all wrote fine posts on it.
Matt Martyniuk brung big thunder with his thorough post on feather color. Must read.
Biconcave thunder double beam. That's the name proposed for a purported newsauropod species collected, prepared, and ultimately described by a private company. It just gets stranger from there, with a radical taxonomic proposal that would fold a bunch of diplodocids of the Morrison Formation into Cope's Amphicoelias. It's a shame that the described fossils, five very complete individuals interpreted to have been preserved in a death assemblage, are in private hands, and that their description wasn't peer-reviewed. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Besides the circumventing of the rules of scientific publication, the paper is pretty badly edited. The very first paragraph of the introduction includes this peach of a sentence: "These largest creatures ever to walk on land thrived for 150 million years, are the quintessential icons of things big and prehistoric." This is only a hint of major concerns with the paper, which Mike Taylor at SV-POW breaks down. UPDATE: A comment on the SV-POW post from one of the authors states that the paper is a draft and not intended to be a valid publication. Okay, fair enough. But I'd think a simple press release about the discovery and impending publication would have sufficed, and answered reporters' queries much more effectively than a 50 page, jargon-filled document that sure as heck looks like a research paper. Also, Christopher Taylor of Catalogue of Organisms writes about the issue.
An Allosaurus was sold, too.
Greg Paul's new book, The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, is out, and the mixed reviews are popping up. Read what Jaime Headden, Mickey Mortimer, Brian Switek, and Anthony Maltese have to say. I'd love to get my phalanges on it, but it might have to wait for a gifty celebration of some sort.
And, of course, Boneyard 2.2!
Paleoart of the week
This section will be pretty easy to fill, but it will be tough to decide how to do it. There's so much good stuff being created. This week, I've picked Craig Dylke's great hot-pink Saurornithoides.
Image copyright Craig Dylke.
Why is it pink? Did Jakob Vinther find the secret of pink melanosomes? Or could there be a different explanation?
A selection of stuff I've tweeted over the last week or so:
- Matt Martyniuk on A. brontodiplodocus and the "Wild West days of do-it-yourself science, spurious results and all." http://bit.ly/c4HsQF
- A round up of Dino Nat'l Monument discoveries at the Carnegie Musuem http://bit.ly/aV0FwV
- A pterodactyl in paris! H/T to @michaelmaycomix http://bit.ly/9ZDxsH
- Rise of the dinosaurs may be related to the greatest evolutionary shake-up this planet has ever endured. Dino Tracking: http://bit.ly/bD7rvY
- Love the frontispiece in this post at History of Geology http://bit.ly/aSK9II
- Oak Leaf Vineyards: Come on, let's piss in a bottle.
- Louisville Fossils and Beyond visits the Tennessee State Museum http://bit.ly/9bxV6V
I don't follow a lot of Tumblr blogs, but I've made an effort to wade in and find some good science content. The Paleochick's Digs stands tall among paleo-tumblrs, combining the quick shots of humor Tumblr is good for with obvious scientific acumen. I loved this mash-up video she posted on Tuesday. Fits in perfectly with her ROFLpterosaur meme.
I'll be picking one or two highlights from Tumblr each week in this spot. If you're squeamish about the F-word, be forewarned. It happens at Tumblr a lot.
Outrageously Off Topic Item of the Week
If you have a fondness for the great outdoors, campfires, vintage outdoor products advertisements, good footwear, rare Ed Abbey photos and audio, camp recipes, and similar stuff, subscribe to the cracklin' good blog that goes by the name Cold Splinters.