Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mesozoic Miscellany #28

It wasn't planned, but this week ended up being pretty childish around these parts. It began with a Vintage Dinosaur Art post about a dinosaur sticker book that seemed to bring a bunch of readers and tweeps back to their childhood. On Wednesday, I wrote a very touching tribute to science education superhero Mookie Harris (sorry if the tears ruined any keyboards). Yesterday, I took a look at some wacky dinosaur toys I noticed at my local Target. This week's roundup will continue this theme, featuring plenty of links looking at the relationship between children and dinosaurs.

New Research
Nephila jurassica, the largest spider fossil ever discovered, made some waves this week. It's about as large as the largest modern golden orb weavers, so we're not talking Shelob here, but the fine detail of its preservation is definitely worth the attention. No evidence yet as to the conjectured presence of a tuffet. More at Dinosaur Tracking and LiveScience.

Around the Dinoblogosphere
I'm a fan of Mike Meraz, a podcaster I've mentioned here before. He's responsible for Actually Speaking, a terrific series about communicating the skeptical worldview effectively. Actually Speaking has been on a bit of a hiatus lately, but his recent interview on Meet the Skeptics reminded me that I had not yet heard his young son's podcast. It's a grievous oversight. Called Aaron's World, it's just wrapped up its first year of episodes, all about dinosaurs. It's terrific. Listen to him get tickled by penguins, consider the tree-climbing abilities of chihuahuas, and take a flight on Pretzel the Pteranodon. Also be sure to check out the gallery of listener-submitted artwork.

My favorite dinosaur book when I was young was the Eyewitness Visual Dictionary of Dinosaurs. Trish takes a good look at it at her Obligatory Art Blog as her April series of 80's and 90's paleoart thunders on. Took me right back to the first time I saw the Dale Russell Troodon model.

At Gothamist, check out a hilarious feedback card submitted to the Museum of Modern Art by a little girl who was incensed over the lack of dinosaurs. "You call yourself a museum!"

Dave Hone interviewed artist Brian Choo at Archosaur Musings. Wonderful stuff.

At DinoGoss, Matt Martyniuk examined the tricky proposition of correctly restoring beaks with teeth in non-avian theropods.

Dan Chure's Dinosaur National Monument Quarry Visitor Center blog featured a post on sculptor Allan McCollum's exhibit Lost Objects.

In the wake of last week's paper on the time of day dinosaurs were active, Jaime Headden wrote a bit on what we can tell as to the size of the eyeball in oviraptorids. In his words: "It should be clear at this point that oviraptorids probably had bleedin’ enormous eyeballs."

Twit Picks
Stuff I tweeted about in the last week or so:
Paleoart of the Week
Today, I feature a truly iconic image which has influenced an entire generation of paleoartists. It's also one of my favorite dinosaur illustrations from my childhood. I speak, of course, of Farrah Fossil.
Farrah Fossil

Outrageously Off-Topic Indulgence
As I think about how I thought of dinosaurs when I was young, it seems that they were part and parcel with another common childhood obsession: the monsters, shades, and rumored entities you read about in books like the Mysteries of the Unknown series or hear about on Coast to Coast AM. Certainly, dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts are part of cryptid lore, from stories like the Ropen or Mokele-Mbembe. Dinosaurs have retained their attraction for me because of their reality. As more and more evidence mounts, they actually get stranger, more fantastic, more enthralling. Unfortunately, most of the cryptids I loved when I was young have had their sheen rubbed off by a parade of hoaxes and misinterpreted sightings. Still, I enjoy the stories. Monster Talk, a podcast by Skeptic Magazine, is a wonderful place to listen to fair, skeptical treatment of cryptozoological research.


  1. Absolutely awesome blog makeover Dave!

    Really like the new artwork!(prepare for what I'm sure will be a storm of questions asking where the Chasmosaur is!)

    Is the artwork yours?

  2. Cool, thanks! Not my artwork, a piece from the ever-expanding vintage dino art collection. It's by Tom Dunnington. I've got a credit waaaay down on the sidebar, but I think I'll post a quick note about the redesign to properly note it.


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