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All Yesterdays: the talks!

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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The three talks given at the All Yesterdays launch earlier this month are now viewable online. I’ve been having trouble getting them viewable here at Tet Zoo: here’s mine (with a link to the youtube appearance below)…

All Yesterdays Book Launch Talk – Darren Naish

For John’s go here; for Memo’s go here. I will forgive Memo for pronouncing Naish as “Nash” on one occasion (and he didn’t need to refer to me as “Dr Naish”, anyway). For a discussion of both All Yesterdays the book and the launch event, see this article. You can purchase the book itself directly from Irregular Books (the page there has a nice list of reviewer comments) or here at lulu.com: as a printed softback book it’s £22 (c. US$36, c. EUR27); as an ebook it’s £6 (c. US$9.6, c. EUR7.4).

Conway, J., Kosemen, C. M. & Naish, D. 2012. All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals. Irregular Books. ISBN 978-1-291-17712-1. Softback, 100pp.

Darren Naish About the Author: Darren Naish is a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist (affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK). He mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs but has an avid interest in all things tetrapod. His publications can be downloaded at darrennaish.wordpress.com. He has been blogging at Tetrapod Zoology since 2006. Check out the Tet Zoo podcast at tetzoo.com! Follow on Twitter @TetZoo.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Dartian 7:36 am 12/20/2012

    he didn’t need to refer to me as “Dr Naish”, anyway

    Dunno about that. As Dr. Evil put it: “I didn’t spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called “mister”, thank you very much.;)

    Link to this
  2. 2. Yodelling Cyclist 10:39 am 12/20/2012

    I’m not sure I want to see this. After about 5 years of reading Tet Zoo (and not watching TV), do I really want to hear Darren’s – sorry – Dr. Naish’s – real voice?

    Link to this
  3. 3. JoseD 11:19 am 12/20/2012

    Yodelling Cyclist: “I’m not sure I want to see this. After about 5 years of reading Tet Zoo (and not watching TV), do I really want to hear Darren’s – sorry – Dr. Naish’s – real voice?”

    Yes. I admit it’s very different from what I imagined, but still a good speaking voice nonetheless.

    Link to this
  4. 4. Heteromeles 4:01 pm 12/20/2012

    Me too. Sort of like reading the Lord of the Rings and then meeting, erm, Gandalf.

    Link to this
  5. 5. naishd 4:31 pm 12/20/2012

    Gandalf? Hm, ok.

    Darren

    Link to this
  6. 6. Heteromeles 4:37 pm 12/20/2012

    You wanted me to say Frodo?

    Link to this
  7. 7. naishd 4:42 pm 12/20/2012

    Gandalf is fine.

    Darren

    Link to this
  8. 8. Heteromeles 8:55 pm 12/20/2012

    Off topic, but when I got my PhD, some of us named our dissertation research. Mine was “My Precioussss,” Andy Serkis style. Unfortunately, I later found out that someone actually got a PhD for comparing the grad school process to the Lord of the Rings. They’ll give degrees for anything, it seems.

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  9. 9. Mike from Ottawa 12:17 am 12/21/2012

    My copy of AY arrived a couple of days ago. Very interesting and odd. And the Leaellynasaura are just the cutest things (I think a plush toy version would be popular – well, I’d get one).

    I liked the talk, Darren, though Mark Witton would have got through it in 1/4 the time. :-)

    Link to this
  10. 10. Heteromeles 10:50 am 12/21/2012

    I have to agree with Mike. What I’d love to see is Etsy (or possibly, some Japanese firm) try to sell small models of “different dinosaurs” based on these pictures. That would have as big an effect as the book itself.

    Incidentally, the Kindle version lists all the authors, while the Amazon page for the print version lists only John Conway as the author. Was that intentional?

    Link to this
  11. 11. David Marjanović 11:56 am 12/21/2012

    And the Leaellynasaura are just the cutest things (I think a plush toy version would be popular – well, I’d get one).

    I’d be tempted to get the whole flock!

    Link to this
  12. 12. naishd 12:09 pm 12/21/2012

    Thanks for comments. I didn’t realise that authorship is listed as being different across the different versions. Authorship was jointed shared by all three of us, though my artistic input was (obviously) minimal.

    Darren

    Link to this
  13. 13. David Marjanović 12:45 pm 12/21/2012

    Awesome talk. I had no idea about Leiolepis, to pick just one example. Just two things: Antón is stressed on the second syllable, that’s what the accent is for*; and there are several awesome slides that you didn’t spend enough time on – they just flashed by in less than 3 seconds, and I had to stop the video and go back to understand anything.

    I’ll now watch the others. :-)

    * Spanish words, proper names included, that are stressed acccording to the standard pattern don’t get an accent; all others get one on the stressed vowel. The rules that define the standard pattern are a bit complicated.

    Link to this
  14. 14. David Marjanović 12:47 pm 12/21/2012

    acccording

    I made a typo :-)

    Link to this
  15. 15. naishd 12:47 pm 12/21/2012

    Thanks, David. I apologise for my poor pronunciation of Spanish names; like most native English speakers, I am clueless on this sort of thing. As for zipping through the slides – I prepared too much material and had to shave about 10 minutes off my time at the last minute…

    Darren

    Link to this
  16. 16. Heteromeles 1:44 pm 12/21/2012

    I’ve been thinking you could have fun with “alternate Leaellynasaura.” For example, the ones pictured would make cute Christmas ornaments, hanging by their tails from the tree, or perched on branches. They could be plush toys, or you could put a wire in the tail to twine onto something. Or you could even have someone knit a Leaellynasaura scarf, with a big fluffy knitted tail and a cute little fluffy dinosaur on one end.

    Link to this
  17. 17. naishd 3:45 pm 12/21/2012

    One ‘downer’ comments on that particular vision of Leaellynasaura: as an animal of a cool/cold climate, it might be unlikely that its insanely long tail went uninsulated. It may be more likely that the tail was fully ‘fuzzed up’. I’m thinking of the Virginia opossums that colonised northern climes of North America. Their long, naked tails suffer from frostbite a lot and frequently become damaged.

    Darren

    Link to this
  18. 18. Halbred 6:54 pm 12/21/2012

    It’s their own fault. If those possums don’t like the cold, they just go back to the south!

    Link to this
  19. 19. JoseD 1:53 am 12/22/2012

    @Naishd

    Of the 3 presentations, I liked Kosemen’s best, partly for his accent & charismatic speaking style (especially his use of such words/phrases as “doofus”/”tight in the ass”), which was a pleasant surprise b/c I hadn’t heard of him b-4 “All Yesterdays”. I still liked yours, though (just not as much b/c I had already read the article covering most of the same stuff), especially the inclusion of more pictures & the confirmation of 1 of my suspicions: MJB is 1 of those uncaring paleo consultants, which explains the mediocre paleoart in most of his books. It’s also worth mentioning again that I really like your speaking voice.

    BTW, I have a question about the Microraptor life reconstruction in “All Yesterdays”: How plausible is the idea of Microraptor building a weaver-esque nest? I ask partly b/c 1) while it may just be my ignorance, I thought one had to be a powered flier w/a crazy dexterous beak to build said nest (like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6svAIgEnFvw ), & partly b/c 2) I can’t help but wonder if Microraptor could even fit in said nest w/its long bony tail & large hind wings. Many thanks in advance.

    Link to this
  20. 20. naishd 7:34 am 12/22/2012

    JoseD – I really have to avoid the mentioning of names when ‘singling out’ particular palaeontologists. I’m sure you can understand.

    As for the Microraptor pair and their nest, I agree that it looks unlikely. But the point behind the illustrations is that we don’t really know either way. Can we reject this possibility with absolute confidence? At the moment, we cannot.

    PS – birds with extremely long tail feathers sit on their nests with their tail feathers pointing outwards. Here’s a drongo, for example.

    Darren

    Link to this
  21. 21. BrianL 10:11 am 12/22/2012

    PS – birds with extremely long tail feathers sit on their nests with their tail feathers pointing outwards. Here’s a drongo, for example.

    Not to mention the fact that parakeets, macaws and hornbills nest in tree cavities with their long tails held skywards and that quetzals even let their extremely long tail feathers stick out out of their nest holes. While long tails in tree cavities clearly work, I wouldn’t say they are handy, though.

    Though very off topic, this does make me wonder: Which dinosaurs (avian and otherwise) have the longest feathers (on the tail or elsewhere) known? I suppose the likes of *Argentavis*,*Pavo*, *Argusianus* and the domestic Onagadori chicken are the main contenders here?

    Link to this
  22. 22. JoseD 11:22 am 12/22/2012

    Naishd: “I really have to avoid the mentioning of names when ‘singling out’ particular palaeontologists. I’m sure you can understand.”

    My bad.

    Link to this
  23. 23. David Marjanović 12:20 pm 12/22/2012

    I apologise for my poor pronunciation of Spanish names; like most native English speakers, I am clueless on this sort of thing.

    It sounds much more Spanish the right way. Compare viva la (r)evolución! :o )

    Concerning the mentioned MJB, he has an impact factor few of us will ever reach – I don’t think anyone could damage him with a little gossip, and I think he knows that.

    Link to this
  24. 24. naishd 7:19 pm 12/22/2012

    PS – yay, 23 comments!

    Darren

    Link to this
  25. 25. vdinets 7:39 pm 12/22/2012

    Great talk! Just one note: I don’t think it’s a good idea to use gator tails for reconstructing dinosaur tails. For gators, the tail is the main source of propulsion, besides, as they spend much of their life in the water, they don’t have to be that concerned with weight.
    Also, the croc photo you used for illustrating neck thickness is of a captive croc; a wild one wouldn’t have such a fat neck.

    Link to this
  26. 26. naishd 7:58 pm 12/22/2012

    Vlad – thanks for kind comment on the talk. You make good points. However, note that dinosaurs are not being kitted out with bigger tails simply because alligators are being used as an analogy: as you’ll know if you look at Persons & Currie (2011), the point is that the skeletal evidence shows that big-tailed Mesozoic dinosaurs clearly had wide, muscular tails, about similar in girth and muscularity to those of crocodylians.

    As for the fat necks on captive crocs; you’re right, but my point there (I had to axe the planned discussion from the talk) is that crocodylians have substantially wider, deeper, more muscular necks than we might predict if we only knew of them from their skeletons.

    Darren

    Ref – -

    Persons, W. S. & Currie, P. J. 2011. The tail of Tyrannosaurus: reassessing the size and locomotive importance of the M. caudofemoralis in non-avian theropods. The Anatomical Record 294, 119-131.

    Link to this
  27. 27. Heteromeles 9:15 pm 12/22/2012

    Hmmmm. So if we’re predicting musculature from bone size, is there a rule of thumb (figuratively or literally) that could be used? Or is it just one of those things where you need to know bone thicknesses as well as external dimensions to have a clue of how big the muscles were and how hard they pulled?

    I’m trying to figure out how to make it possible for artists to draw “more accurate” dinosaurs under deadline.

    Oh yeah, before I forget, separate question: what colors do crocodilians see? I’m thinking about phylogenetic bracketing of dinosaur coloration based in part on what colors their nearest extant relatives could a) see and b) produce on skin or plumage.

    Link to this
  28. 28. David Marjanović 1:35 pm 12/23/2012

    For gators, the tail is the main source of propulsion

    …and so it was for most Mesozoic dinosaurs: the musculus caudifemoralis longus was the main leg retractor, pulling straight back from the medial side of the 4th trochanter on the femur to the ventral side of all transverse processes on the tail.

    This used to be strongly neglected, because mammals and short-tailed birds mostly or entirely lack this system.

    what colors do crocodilians see?

    Not many, but they’re nocturnal enough that we can blame it on that. The normal state for (at least) gnathostomes is to have tetrachromatic vision.

    Link to this

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