Friday, July 8, 2011

Mesozoic Miscellany #38

Research and Discoveries News

Pneumaticity and the evolution of birds. In a new research paper in Biological Reviews, now in advance online publication, a team led by Robert Benson examined the remarkable 12 unique lines of archosaurs who evolved pneumaticity in their skeletons. The authors "hypothesise that skeletal density modulation in small, non-volant, maniraptorans resulted in energetic savings as part of a multi-system response to increased metabolic demands. Acquisition of extensive postcranial pneumaticity in small-bodied maniraptorans may indicate avian-like high-performance endothermy."

An overview of the pterosaurs' remarkable variety of forms. A masters thesis by Karen Prentice, along with Marcello Ruta and Michael Benton, takes a thorough look at the entire pterosaur family tree to tease out evolutionary patterns. Among their findings: "there is no evidence that rhamphorhynchoids as a whole were outcompeted by pterodactyloids, or that pterosaurs were driven to extinction by the rise of birds."

Around the Dinoblogosphere

Jaime Headden gives you 20 reasons why Gigantoraptor "was the biggest, baddest, nastiest thing you ever saw… and also a caenagnathid."

The paleontology expedition from Montana State University takes a look at patterns in dinosaur egg clutches.

Phil Manning gives a little sneak peak at his Dinosaur CSI series, premiering tonight in the US on the National Geographic Channel.

Want to see a mounted Zuchengtyrannus? Head to China, or just bop over to Archosaur Musings.

Big congrats to Glendon Mellow, who is part of a new blog on the SciAm blog network, Symbiartic. Check out his first post.

If you aren't yet acquainted with paleontology legend Sir Richard Owen, Mark Wildman can bring you up to speed at Saurian.

Sharon of Omegafauna treats the rest of the world to a virtual tour of the Science Museum of Minnesota. Meet Fafner the Triceratops!

At SV-POW, Mike Taylor continues the team's tutorial series, with a how-to dealing with writing one's first research paper.

They told Anthony Maltese to find a Pteranodon... and that's exactly what he did, damn it.

Victoria Arbour shares a field season's bounty in the form of hadrosaur bones ready for the preppin'.

At the Paleo King, Nima delves into the always lively discussion about the whys and wherefores of sauropod necks.

In another dispatch from Utah, Brian Switek reports on his visit to the Utah Field House of Natural History.

Take those kids outside! David Tana shifts the direction of Superoceras to look at the ways any of us can help the young'uns become more engaged with nature, no matter where we live.

ART Evolved's new gallery, celebrating the Carboniferous, is up. Check it out!

At Faster Times, Asher Elbein writes about the recent papers about the weaponry of Stegoceras and Kentrosaurus.

If you've been trying to track down Tony Martin to no avail, he's in Australia. He sends word of his experience there with the Emory Study-Abroad program. I'm totally envious of these students.

The state of dinosaur documentaries, and the CGI animation that comprises them, is the subject of a recent post at Paleo Illustrata, by Stu Pond.

Twit Picks
Stuff I've linked to on Twitter in the last coupla weeks...
Paleoart of the Week
As it's been two weeks since the last big roundup, it's only fair that I share two pieces here, don't you think? The first comes from hadrosaur enthusiast and 3D artist Angie Rodrigues, who posted her new Lambeosaurus model on her blog this week. Incredible, and made even cooler by the fact that you'll be able to own it! That's right - just check out her shop at Shapeways to buy one of her figures.

This week, Mark Witton debuted his new site, which is packed with wonderful stuff, much of which hasn't been shared on his popular Flickr photostream. So, from Flickr, here's a dandy piece o' Wittonalia to celebrate this milestone.
Beautiful friends, The end
Also, see his post announcing his site.

Outrageously Off-Topic Indulgence
Robot shark! By Justin White, aka Jublin.
robot shark


  1. Of course, if you're gonna have a shark, it's gonna have a frikkin' laser beam* attached to its head.

    *I know, laser beam meaning emitted light, rather than the emitter, but that's the parlance! THANKS, Mike Myers.

  2. Thanks for linking to my post! Another excellent roundup.

  3. Thank you for featuring my hadrosaur! :) I'm glad you liked him...


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