Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mesozoic Miscellany 79

In the News

Dakotaraptor has stepped into the limelight. A giant Hell Creek dromaeosaurid with prominent quill knobs and wicked sickle claws, Dakotaraptor would have been a stout competitor for juvenile tyrannosaurs. More from A Dinosaur A Day, Theropoda, and Krankie. Beautiful paleoart has also been popping up, with particularly stunning work from RJ Palmer and Emily Willoughby (which is hardly surprising).

Gorgeous fossils are coming out of an important fossil site in Utah colorfully called the "Saints and Sinners Site." Learn more about it from this interview with Dan Chure of Dinosaur National Monument at KUER. Honestly, I want a large framed print of "the triplets" for my wall.

Mesozoic mammal news! A new spiny critter, aptly dubbed Spinolestes xenarthrosus, has been described. Brian at Laelaps and Liz at Musings of a Clumsy Paleontologist, and Amar Toor at The Verge have the skinny.

The story of the spinosaurs continues to twist and turn as more research comes out. New work on Sigilmassaurus brevicollis and Spinosaurus maroccanus has been published, responding to last year's major-publication-slash-National-Geographic-media-event. Jaime Headden at the Bite Stuff and Mark Witton both have good takes on the research.

Help out Phylopic and nab a spiffy tee shirt! Mike Keesey, creator of the site, is holding a campaign on to support the costs of maintaining the site as well as further development. Providing free-to-use, Creative Commons licensed silhouettes of a huge variety of lifeforms, it's a terrific source of images for scientists and other science communicators.

Around the Dinoblogosphere

We'll start with a roundup-within-a-round up of posts about the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting that went down a couple weeks ago in Dallas, TX.

At the Theropod Database Blog, Mickey provided four days of commentary: day one, two, three, and four. Duane Nash wrote about the meeting at Antediluvian Salad. Victoria Arbour chimed in at Pseudoplocephalus. John Tennant wrote about his experience at Green Tea and Velociraptors. Albertonykus was there for the first time ever, and wrote about it at Raptormaniacs.

Speaking of Victoria, she talked about ankylosaur evolution on a recent episode of the great Palaeocast.

Fossil Day 2015 has come and gone, and Chris DiPiazza shared his personal fossil collection at Prehistoric Beast of the Week.

Curious about what we will see when the revamped dinosaur hall at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, opens? Ben Miller has something that may interest you.

At Dinosaur Postcards, Denver Fowler shared Iguanodon footprint casts.

Want to explore the Triassic via computer simulation? Head to Everything Dinosaur to learn about a new project that aims to do just that.

Not terribly recent, but I missed sharing it back in April. Brian Engh talks paleoart at a Bay area Nerd Nite event.

Paleoart Pick

Finding Julio Lacerda's recent painting of Pteranodon and Hesperornis squaring off underwater was a breath-taking moment. Golden Age of Paleoart, folks! Enjoy.

"Fish Theft: Subaquatic Edition," © Julio Lacerda. Shared here with the artist's permission.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Purnell's Find Out About Prehistoric Animals - Part 2

Because I can't in all good conscience review a book with 'Prehistoric Animals' in the title and only cover the dinosaurs, behold various non-dinosaurs from Purnell's 1976 guide to long-dead beasties. (There's also a tiresomely long section on how MAN evolved to DOMINATE the Earth by being SUPERIOR to the other creatures by virtue of having a large brain, dextrous hands, and other noted attributes of MANLINESS. It's as 1970s as an brightly-coloured Ford Cortina, which you'd be far better off looking at. Here you go.) Where better to start than with a pterosaur being munched? Stupid pterosaurs.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mesozoic Miscellany 78

In the News

The center of the paleontology universe this week has been the 2015 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Dallas, TX. Check out the official conference hashtag on Twitter. LITC's own Asher Elbein is there, and will be filing a report about his experience soon. Asher recently joined Twitter, and has been tweeting from the conference, including some wonderful sketches.

Speaking of SVP, those lucky devils get to see a newly prepped centrosaurine skeleton, which appears to be a new species of Avaceratops. It was discovered amid a pile of hadrosaur bones in 2012, and even had a bit of skin associated with the pelvic area. Anthony Maltese has the full breakdown over at the RMDRC Paleo Lab Blog, with great photos, so scoot!

We have a new giant in the North. The "Edmontosaurus" fossils of the Price Creek Formation have been reassessed, and the team of Hirotsugu Mori, Patrick Druckenmiller, and Gregory Erickson have dubbed the new taxon Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis. Read more from Brian Switek at Laelaps and Tanya Basu at Time.

Andy Farke writes about the publication of a new juvenile Saurolophus specimen at The Integrative Paleontologists.

Around the Dinoblogosphere

RJ Palmer drew a toon version of the Saurian T. rex we featured in the last roundup, and it sort of makes me think a toon version of Saurian would be the best idea. After the team wraps up Saurian itself, of course.

A couple of reviews of the recent book British Polacanthid Dinosaurs have hit the web: Everything Dinosaur gave it a read, as did Stu Pond at Paleoillustrata.

The Guardian is looking to recruit a new paleontology blogger, who will work under the Guidance of Dr. Dave Hone. The call for submissions will last until November 2. Read more about the opportunity here.

I loved this adorable felted Parasaurolophus at Needled by Nella.

Herman's back with another pair of dinosaur book reviews at ART Evolved. He looks at Dinosaur Parents, Dinosaur Young: Uncovering the Mystery of Dinosaur Families and Dinosaurs: Living Monsters of the Past.

For Ada Lovelace Day, Liz Martin-Silverstone paid tribute to the women who have brought so much to the field of paleontology.

It is the 100th anniversary of Dinosaur National Monument, and a major new project has been launched: The Digital Quarry Project. The interactive site allows visitors to explore the jumble of bones in the famous quarry wall by way of simplifies silhouettes. It's not complete yet, but the project site promises that "it will contain all 5000+ fossil specimens from the quarry, including those that have been excavated and now reside in museums far and wide." It's pretty cool, check it out!

I Know Dino celebrated Dinosaur National Monument's anniversary as well.

Paleoart Pick

Easily my favorite scene from Raptor Red, Robert Bakker's novel about a female Utahraptor, is the "snow sledding" scene. It was a bracingly fresh look at dinosaurs, from the play behavior to the snowy environment. Paleoartist Zubin Erik Dutta recently completed a beautiful rendering of the scene. Of it, he writes:
This is one of the most iconic scenes from the book thanks to Luis Rey's rendition of the scene years ago. I tried my best to make mine as different as possible and looked to Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes snow sleigh strips for ideas. Calvin and Hobbes crashing into the snow was the first thing to come to mind when I was figuring things out.
This piece brought the memory of reading that scene for the first time rushing back.

"The Raptor Red Snow Sled," © Zubin Erik Dutta. Shared here with the artist's permission.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Help Support the Jurassic Foundation

I've been wanting to do something to help out The Jurassic Foundation for a while. They are a nonprofit that supports dinosaur research worldwide by offering grants to paleontologists, many of whom are from developing countries or are early in their career.

To celebrate the fifth National Fossil Day, half of all Mammoth is Mopey hardcover and ebook sales this week will be donated to them. That's $7.50 of every hardcover sale and $3.50 from every ebook sale going straight to the Jurassic Foundation. The promotion will last until midnight on Friday the 16th.

Here are a few adverts I whipped up to spread the word. Feel free to share them if you'd like. Jennie and I appreciate any help you'd like to give, and so does the Jurassic Foundation, we're sure!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Purnell's Find Out About Prehistoric Animals

Not for the first time, here's a fantastic 1970s book on prehistoric animals from Purnell, purveyors of fine model photography and anachronistic pop-up battles. Find Out About Prehistoric Animals is considerably more hefty than any Purnell to previously feature on this blog, and it's gloriously packed full of wonderfully retro illustrations from a number of artists. While individual pieces aren't credited, we are at least informed that the artists included Eric Jewell Associates, Illustra, John Barber, Angus McBride, Sean Rudman, Dan Escott, Colin Rattray, Vanessa Luff, Gerry Embleton, Phil Green, George Underwood and - oh yes - John Sibbick. Nine years before even the Normanpedia. Blimey.