Friday, April 1, 2016

Mesozoic Miscellany 84

A few programming notes first before the roundup. You may recall that at the end of last year, I hinted at a move to WordPress. That's still in the planning stages, and I would love to make it happen. It would mean less time zapping spammers, better commenting functionality, and I'd have more control over the site design. We do need a bit of help to make that a reality. So if you direct your attention to the sidebar, you'll see a tip jar, for those of you who would like to support us. Besides offsetting future site fees, it will help us purchase books and other dinosaur media to feature on the blog. Thanks for all of the support over the years!

In the News

Tully Monster is (drumroll) a stem-lamprey? Freaky. More from NatGeo News, Ed Yong for The Atlantic, Discovery News, SciAm, and The Chicago Tribune.

Those of us who jumped on Twitter to follow the recent Paleofest at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, IL were teased with tweets about a stunning new paper by a team led by Mary Schweitzer. Well, it's out now. The new study re-examines T. rex bone tissue that was hypothesized to be medullary bone - a type of bone tissue formed quickly to provided needed nutrients for pregnant females - in 2005. Looking closer at the tissue's chemical composition, the team has concluded that it contains too many chemical signatures of medullary bone to be anything else. MOR 1125, AKA B. rex, was pregnant. More from Brian Switek at Laelaps, Laura Geggel at LiveScience, and Jennifer Viegas at Discovery News.

A new early tyrannosaur is on the scene. Described by Steve Brusatte et al, Timurlengia euotica was "a horse-sized hunter with a big brain and keen hearing that would put us to shame." Read more at Sci-News and NPR. Denver Fowler shared an image of a braincase discovered at a dig at the American Prairie Reserve that looks similar, prompting him to wonder if he's also found a juvenile tyrannosaur.

It should be noted that Dave Hone, whose new book The Tyrannosaur Chronicles comes out this month, covered both of these tyrant stories at the Lost Worlds Revisited blog.

Around the Dinobogosphere

Speaking of WordPress, Liz Martin-Silverstone has headed there herself!

Our own Asher Elbein has been published by The Atlantic again. Check out his great Spinosaurus article!

Mark Witton has updated his overhead-view illustration of a fallen azhdarchid and the varied scavengers it attracts. It's beautiful. And it comes with a terrific post about azhdarchid paleoecology.

Jacquelyn Gill recently wrote about the challenges and rewards of thinking, and teaching about, the concept of deep time.

Shaena Montanari, currently the Newton International Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, was interviewed about her life as a paleontologist by The Sun.

At FiveThirtyEight, Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote about the travails of dinosaur taxonomy, including a statistical analysis of the researchers who have had the most newly-named taxa stick.

The website ScienceGrrl recently profiled Franzi Sattler, who is currently working on a Masters thesis about a tyrannosaur nicknamed Tristan.

Great, important read: conservation biologist Asia Murphy has written about the difficulties of being a black field researcher in predominantly white rural areas in the U.S.

At Prehistoric Beast of the Week, Chris interviewed paleontologist Carl Mehling.

At Extinct, the philosophy of paleontology blog, Leonard Finkelman wrote about endlings, the last surviving members of species.

Crowdfunding Pick

New or new-to-me creators taking to Patreon: Rebecca "Palaeoplushies" Groom, A Dinosaur A Day, and Brian Switek. Regarding Brian: He announced the sad news that Laelaps has been discontinued by National Geographic after the end of April. The people wept. But then, he then announced that a new home, yet to be revealed, has been found. The people got all jubilant!

Paleoart Pick

Scales can be a real problem. Sometimes, I see a new piece of paleoart pop up and it seems that the artist got so lost in drawing every. single. scale. that they've forgotten about more important aspects of the composition. I like what Chris DiPiazza has done here with his recent Pentaceratops piece, though. The scales have been given plenty of love, but they don't distract from the rest of the ornery beast (who seems to have struck the Fear of God into a pachycephalosaur. Additionally, the texture of the watercolor paper compliments the pattern of scales. Awesome stuff as usual from Mr. DiPiazza.

Pentaceratops, © Chris DiPiazza.


  1. Thank you for the mention! Always so pumped to be featured on here.

  2. Wordpress. I need to get knowed up on that. (We use Drupal over at our shop).

    Let us know how it goes?

  3. "It should be noted that Dave Hone, whose new book The Tyrannosaur Chronicles comes out this month..."

    Ah! I've been waiting on that.


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