Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Boneyard 2.2

Welcome to the second issue of the second volume of the Boneyard Blog Carnival, a monthly collection of the web's finest paleontology blogging. I'm thrilled with the response this month; I was required to do less selecting of unsubmitted posts and was able to put some work into the Boneyard logo and blog banner.

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We'll start off underwater, as Kevin Zelnio of Deep Sea News writes about Yicaris dianensis, an ancient crustacean that points to a Precambrian origin for the group. Kevin takes care to explain basic principles of paleontology and the etymology of some big words. Laymen everywhere smile gratefully.

Yicaris is just one example of a small critter who plays a key role in our understanding of life. Mary Beth Griggs stands up for the little guys, for the spineless masses. For the invertebrates. At The Rocks Know, she argues that the impact of tiny organisms is inversely proportionate to their size.

A recent paper by Casey Holliday covered the long-neglected subject of dinosaur cartilage, looking at how it might impact our size estimates. At their recently-begun blog Pick and Scalpel, read about the role WitmerLab played in the genesis of the research.

The penguin family recently welcomed a new member, the 36 million year old Inkayacu paracasensis. About twice the size of a modern emperor penguin, this one is truly remarkable for having fossilized melanosomes, revealing a color scheme of gray and reddish brown. Brian Switek's Laelaps, now hosted at Wired's science blog network, has a great summary of the discovery, as does Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Want more awesome birds from South America? Huge, nasty seabirds? At Superoceras, David Tana wrote a very thorough post about the new Pelagornis chilensis. Or as he quite rightly calls it, a "newly discovered/published, saw toothed, South American dinosaur whose ancestors survived the end Cretaceous extinction event."

The common paleontology dig scenario offered by movies and TV documentaries involves a group of paleontologists crouching over an exposed skeleton, brushing sand and dust off of it, revealing more and more of an incredible, articulated skeleton. Of course, that's not how it always works. The erosive forces that reveal fossils we study have always been at work, resulting in plenty of fossils being freed from their matrices of sedimentary rocks and reburied. Alton Dooley offers a clear, well-illustrated three part series on the subject of reworked fossils at Paleolab [Parts 2 and 3].

In the always fascinating world of pterosaur research, Dave Hone writes about his recent paper with Ross Elgin and Eberhard Frey discussing pterosaur wings and exactly how they were attached.

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Next we'll turn our attention to the history of paleontology. Sticking with the pterosaurs, David Bressan's History of Geology blog recently discussed scientists' varied attempts to come to grips with pterosaur fossils since their first description in the late 18th Century, and the meandering path they took through a taxonomic maze to today's understanding of them as the unique critters they were.

Coinciding nicely with this edition of the Boneyard, David Tana of Superoceras reminds us to wish Tyrannosaurus rex a happy 105th birthday.

There was another a notable birthday last month: that of Joseph Leidy. I chose to write about him here at LITC. When it comes to early American paleontologists, I'll pass on Marsh and Cope: for me, Leidy's the guy. I'd love to get my hands on a copy of this biography. If only it wasn't going for a ridiculous $50 brand new.

With what seems to be weekly announcements of discoveries from China, and the perennially bountiful fossil beds of the Western US, Russian paleontology doesn't get a lot of publicity. At his blog, Peter Bond offers a thorough overview of an exposition of Russian paleontological treasures in Soeul.

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The artistically inclined have always had an important role in paleontology. We'll wrap up this edition of the Boneyard with items of artistic relevance.

At his blog Other Branch, Ian Garofalo remembers a formative experience in his science education and reviews the titles The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs by David Norman and Dinosaurs of the Southwest. He wonders if the latter book, by Ronald Raketovich, might have been the direct inspiration for John McLaughlin's notorious The Archosauria, notorious for some of its silly theories.

As for those silly theories, Tricia Arnold recently reviewed McLaughlin's book at her blog. And I'd be remiss not to include the below image, which Tricia found in Jerome Goyallon's Drawing Dinosaurs book, with the Vintage Dinosaur Art Flickr pool. Hard to imagine a more hilarious set of scale comparisons.

Jerome Goyallon pp. 59, 61, 69, and 77

Paleoartist Matt van Rooijen recently offered a sneak peek at a work in progress at his Optimistic Painting blog, explaining that it was about time for him to get a charging ceratopsian out of his system. The subject of his attention is that old chestnut Styracosaurus, and he offers a hint at his next subject, too.

Remember the Discovery Channel "I Love the World" commercials? Albertonykus offers a dinosaur-sung parody comic at his blog, Raptormaniacs.

Over at Tumblr, Paleochick Digs shared some videos of a production called Jurassic Park: The Musical, performed in a Nebraska backyard. For those put off by the liberties taken by the more recent Jurassic Parq: The Broadway Musical, this might be up your alley.

Last, but certainly not least, be a peach and draw a pink dinosaur! The paleoart blog ART Evolved has stepped up and hosted a fundraiser for breast cancer research. Every pink dinosaur submitted is worth a dollar donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. Or head to this site and donate directly, in any amount you can.

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Next month, the training wheels come off. Boneyard 2.3 will be hosted by Other Branch. Email your submissions to chasmosaurs(at)gmail(dot)com and keep an eye on the Boneyard's official blog for the occasional pestering reminder.


  1. David,

    this is great. So much content. Gets better every month. I'm going to link to you now.

    Also, just want to check - is the e-mail at the end of the post correct, or is is the one at the sidebar on top of the page. Apparently, some of my messages haven't gotten to you (my fault completely).

    Again, great job. Can't wait for November 2nd!

  2. Man, y'all been catching my typos with a quickness lately. Yeah, the gmail addy is correct. fixed it in the post.

    One thing to watch out for is that it's "chasmosaurs" as in a casual term for a motley assembly of chasmosaurines, and not "chasmosaurus" as in the dino itself. Sorry that's so confusing. I really should have picked carnotaurus... too late now, I guess.

  3. Haha, no worries! That's MY mistake, not yours.

    And I think you did right with Chasmosaurus. Have you seen the arms on a Carnotaurus? I mean, how could they love with such pitiful limbs?

  4. Love in the time of Carnotaurs was much as it is today ... quick, furtive, and with an escape route always planned out.

  5. Thanks for the mention Dave!
    All of the links are really great, I've ended up with too much reading!

  6. Matt, those last three words sum up my problem with the internet in general.


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