The Big News: Mega-Freaky Deinocheirus edition
The publication of new Deinocheirus mirificus material, finally fleshing out the body that was attached to those enormous arms, made a huge splash last week. Or, I should say, finally officially fleshing it out. We've known about the new Deinocheirus in broad strokes in a back-channel, unofficial sense, since last year, after paleontologists and other attendees of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's 2013 meeting had a peek at it. It only took an additional year for the thing to actually be published. Our new Deinocheirus builds on what Brian Switek described last November: a weird, hump-backed, giant ornithomimosaur. Since then, the head has turned up. How the head was procured from the black market has not been explained in detail, and that's a story I'm really interested in hearing.
More about our new superstar dinosaur: Ed Yong wrote about it at not Exactly Rocket Science. Ian Sample covered it for The Guardian. PRI interviewed Steven Brussatte about it. BoingBoing's Rob Beshizza called it adorable. The Associated Press put the image of a Barney/ Jar Jar Binks hybrid in our minds, threatening our collective sanity. Andrea Cau's multi-part series on the beast begins here.
Finally, see John Conway's wonderful illustration of a Deinocheirus pair, and buy a print for someone you love.
Around the Dinoblogosphere
You've probably seen the "tiny Brontosauruses" illusion meme pop up on Facebook or Twitter; if not, check it out at SV-POW. At this point, the original source of it is irretrievably lost, as it's reshared over and over. Search "tiny brontosauruses" on Twitter and marvel at all the spammy accounts claiming it as their own. And all the people who don't really care where it came from, because who really worries about something silly as who creates images? That's so last century.
A cool bit of Triassica: Thousands of burrows ranging from 14 to 40 cm (~5 to ~15 inches) in diameter have been found in the ~210 million year old Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation in the vicinity of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. They had been provisionally assigned to lungfish, though more research was needed. At the Geological Society of America's annual meeting in Vancouver, Stephen Hasiotis presented a poster offering a new interpretation of the burrows: tetrapods, perhaps small therapsids, due to similarities to Permian burrows.
If you like your dinosaurs on the campy side, see Kevin Dart's "Queen of Dinosaur Island" poster art Michael Ryan shared at Palaeoblog.
Check out the amazing winners of the Dinosaur Toy Forum's Diorama Contest. Really creative use of photography across the board.
Jaime Headden posted a wonderfully illustrated big-picture piece about toothed birds at the Bite Stuff.
Albertonykus was able to visit the National Geographic Museum's Spinosaurus exhibit, and has a report. I'm hoping to have the chance to see the exhibit in February, fingers crossed!
Meet the Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month! At the University College London's Museums and Collections Blog, Mark Carnall writes about the unloved Devonian ray-finned fish Cheirolepis.
Robert Bakker presented a poster at the GSA meeting: Stegosaurian Martial Arts: A Jurassic Carnivore Stabbed by a Tail Spike, Evidence for Dynamic Interactions between a Live Herbivore and a Live Predator. And he illustrated it, too! Here's the newest Bakker original, seemingly a single screencapped moment from an animated battle.
Illustration © Robert Bakker.