Friday, December 3, 2010

Mesozoic Miscellany #9

Time for this week's wrap up of what's hot in the mesozoic blogosphere, with one major detour.


Let's do the detour first. It's been one of those wild weeks in the science blogosphere, with NASA promising a huge announcement, leaving two days of frenzied speculation. There were a few forehead-slapping moments, some overheated hype, and plenty of kvetching about the media. I found myself vacillating between excitement and more measured anticipation. Due to the crack reportage of Ed Yong, Carl Zimmer, PZ Myers, and Phil Plait, I got through it alright.

I wasn't disappointed that the news was the discovery of another extremophile, perhaps the wildest one of all. I'm sure plenty of folks were let down that this wasn't the alien life announcement they expected, but I'm thankful to have access to great writers who help put it into perspective and give me yet another way to appreciate Earth's endlessly inventive biology. A bacteria that is able to cope with an arsenic-rich environment, evolving the ability to incorporate the poison into its DNA? Beauty. David Tana had the exact same experience I did with the live press conference, though: he delayed his lunch break for it, only to find the feed didn't work.

There were some dinosaurian goodies, of course. At Project Drypto, Gary interviewed paleontologist Ken Carpenter, who seems to be the strong, silent type.

A new British rhynchosaur named Bentonyx was formally named this week. Bill Parker covered it, as did good ol' Dave Hone, who provides a nice tale of how it got its name, a tribute to the doyenne of rynchosaurs, Mike Benton of the University of Bristol. Rhynchosaurs are diapsid reptiles, taking their place on the evolutionary tree just outside of the archosaurian family which includes dinosaurs.

It wouldn't be a Mesozoic Miscellany without an appearance by Brian Switek, and this week it proved impossible to pick just one. I enjoyed his post on the vestigial forelimbs of abelisaurs this week, as well as this post on a dinosaur stampede. For my fellow lovers of science history, you'll surely be delighted by his post about W.T. Freeman's bizarre explanation of Archaeopteryx.

Mickey Mortimer covered the new basal coelurosaur Zuolong this week, with the phylogenetic thoroughness we've come to expect from him.

At Other Branch, Ian provided a handy rundown of the acronyms of the bird origins debate.

Traumador met William Stout!

The next edition of the Boneyard Blog Carnival comes out next Tuesday at History of Geology. I need some submissions for this thing, so please send them in to theboneyardblogcarnival(at)gmail(dot)com!

This week, Glendon Mellow of The Flying Trilobite announced that he will be on one of my favorite podcasts, Atheists Talk, to discuss how science and art relate to each other. With Brian Switek's own appearance on Atheists Talk as well as his and Darren Naish's appearances on Skeptically Speaking this week, it's been a nice couple weeks of my blogging and podcasting worlds colliding.

Also, LITC is nominated for an award, which is pretty cool. Even though my lovely wife nominated me. If you want to see the Linking Indiana "favorite blog" badge here, vote me up!

Twit Picks
I'm still exhausted by yesterday's NASA press conference, but here's some other stuff I tweeted in the last week or so.
Floooozieee shared this wonderful photo of a brontosaur and his papa.

H/T to I Effing Love Dinosaurs.

Paleoart of the Week
I loved the atmosphere and drama of the cover illustration for a fantasy novel called The Sky People, which deals with a mythical history of Venus in which dinosaurs and Ice Age beasts intermingle. Check it out at Muddy Colors, where painter Gregory Manchess discusses his process. Few shapes are more evocative than that of the ceratopsian skull. Manchess's work is gorgeous, but my eye lingers on the dinosaur in the shadows.

Outrageously Off-Topic Indulgence
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Sorry, Kanye haters. He's pretty brilliant.


  1. ^ Ah, yes, the Boneyard! I'll have something for it pretty much at the last minute.

  2. I have to get my boneyard post in. Hopefully by tonight. Ya...Ken is super supportive, but I literally caught him for 10 minutes on his travels. Will try for more next time.


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