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The Big 200 at Tet Zoo

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

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I blame Andrea Cau.

It’s time to crack open the champagne and hit the town because Tet Zoo ver 3 just hit the ‘200 article’ mark: specifically, Because caecilians are important was # 200.

That caecilians piece was a republished section of a longer article originally published on Tet Zoo ver 2: as I think I already said, some time soon I need to revisit caecilians and extensively update what I have. On the matter of lissamphibians, salamanders need revisiting too since I also want to extensively revise the old articles from ver 2. Anurans (frogs and toads) still haven’t been given extensive coverage on Tet Zoo. So much diversity and so much work on fossil and extant lineages that neither I nor anybody else has really reviewed properly online. Projects of mine that involve ichthyosaurs, Mesozoic dinosaurs, birds, and the ever-present azhdarchid pterosaurs will also be covered soon enough. Oh yeah, and then there’s all the stuff on non-mammalian synapsids, Paleogene mammals and temnospondyls that’s sitting there in my files, awaiting completion. If only I could put more time into blogging. I can’t, the constant quest for cash always takes precedence.

Another book currently on the Tet Zoo 'to review' pile. Your humble author is quoted on the back cover, is mentioned several times in the main text, and is referred to >in the dedication<.

Other things I’d really like to publish here if only time allowed: body language in archosaurs and how you can make your images of fossil crocodylomorphs and dinosaurs all that more interesting, my overdue reviews of von Grouw’s The Unfeathered Bird and Loxton and Prothero’s Abominable Science!, the Dougal Dixon interview on speculative zoology (yes, it just happened), the rest of the toxodont series, and the Piltdown Man article I’ve been tinkering with since 2006.

So… 200 articles. I don’t have anything particularly interesting to say about this fact. I did think about counting up the articles and seeing which groups have won the most coverage and so on, but that’s the sort of thing I save for the birthday articles. A quick look reveals the same sort of pattern I’ve come to expect: mammals and birds are tremendously well represented and non-avialan dinosaurs are fairly healthily represented while non-mammalian synapsids fail to get a look-in and anamniotes (‘amphibians’) are not covered in sufficient depth. At least croc-group archosaurs are fairly well covered, with much more to appear as time allows.

Slide on Dixoniana, from a recent talk of mine. Dixon-themed article to appear here soon...

Anyway, all we’re seeing here is a list of the articles that have appeared on ver 3 so far. Actually, while I know that I’ve published 200 ver 3 articles, I seem to have missed one or two in the list here – I’m not sure how. If you know which articles those are, let me know and I’ll add them. Anyway, producing this list is a good idea since it’s not always easy to find old articles (the SciAm blog site is not, in my opinion, especially easy to search or navigate). And arranging articles in a subject-arranged format, as here, always seems wise.

I’ve interspersed the list with assorted images for your amusement.

All that remains for me to say is: thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and provides advice, commentary, support and assistance.

Miscellaneous musings

On conferences, books, films and museum displays

Palaeozoic and Mesozoic non-lissamphibian anamniotes

Lissamphibians (extant amphibians)


South America's Cenozoic megafauna needs more love. Tet Zoo does what it can. Illustrations by Darren Naish.

Squamates (snakes, lizards, amphisbaenians)

A Squamozoic montage. Illustrations by Darren Naish, colouring by Tim Morris.


Mesozoic marine reptiles

Other Mesozoic (and Permian) reptiles

Crocodile-group archosaurs

One of several competing phylogenetic hypotheses for Crocodyliformes. Image by Darren Naish.


Non-avialan dinosaurs




Tet Zoo montage, with the old ScienceBlogs logo at top left. Onward, onward, ever onward.

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 He has been blogging at Tetrapod Zoology since 2006. Check out the Tet Zoo podcast at! Follow on Twitter @TetZoo.

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

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Comments 24 Comments

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  1. 1. Heteromeles 1:02 pm 09/2/2013

    Cheers, Darren! Happy 200! Too bad you can’t make this part of some sort of tenure package.

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  2. 2. Alex Kleine 1:35 pm 09/2/2013

    Happy 200th article Darren!

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  3. 3. John Harshman 2:21 pm 09/2/2013

    Consider this a vote for more on South American endemic ungulates. And, of course, ducks, but that goes without saying.

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  4. 4. Heteromeles 3:05 pm 09/2/2013

    Um, more details on the Dougal Dixon interview? Is it online somewhere?

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  5. 5. Squiddhartha 5:20 pm 09/2/2013

    Congratulations! Still my favorite science blog, now with a podcast for extra value.

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  6. 6. SRPlant 5:40 pm 09/2/2013

    Congratulations on a fine achievement!

    (Did you include #200 in the list?)

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  7. 7. JoseD 7:09 pm 09/2/2013

    Congrats! I’m especially looking forward to your future articles on non-mammalian synapsids (There isn’t enough out there about them for adult casual readers) & Dixon (While I know he’s popular w/a lot of dino fans, I’m curious what dino experts think of his work; I’ve stated my opinion elsewhere as Hadiaz: ).

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  8. 8. Hai~Ren 8:46 pm 09/2/2013

    Happy 200th! =D

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  9. 9. vdinets 10:18 pm 09/2/2013

    Congratulations! I am in the middle of some really unpleasant adventures at the moment, so I decided to re-read the whole thing backwards (I mean, starting with the most recent post) as a distraction. Enjoying it despite the circumstances.

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  10. 10. Andreas Johansson 2:03 am 09/3/2013


    If we’re voting, I’ll echo non-mammalian synapsids and S. American ungulates. Also creodonts – Christopher Taylor’s review from 2009 is almost the only readable popular text online about this (supposed) group.

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  11. 11. naishd 5:16 am 09/3/2013

    Thanks to all for comments so far. Interests in S Am megamammals, non-mammalian synapsids and ‘creodonts’ duly noted – I will aim to do what I can asap. The interview with Dougal Dixon was recorded a few days ago while I was in Scotland (as was Dougal) for the SVPCA meeting and I have yet to transcribe it – nothing online yet. vdinets (comment # 9) – sorry to hear about that, hope you’re ok.


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  12. 12. Dartian 5:28 am 09/3/2013

    For the record: Of the unfinished articles you listed in the OP I’d personally be especially interested in the lowdown on Piltdown.

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  13. 13. BattleMetalChris 7:07 am 09/3/2013

    Which book is that ‘Slide on Dixoniana’ from? I remember reading it about 15 years ago whilst at school, it was the first thing I ever read about speculative evolution.

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  14. 14. naishd 9:42 am 09/3/2013

    Dartian: noted.

    BattleMetalChris: the slide shows creatures from all three of the ‘After Trilogy’. The Lank (at top left) is from The New Dinosaurs, the sabretoothed hominid Acudens (at bottom left) is from Man After Man, and the gigantelopes, Porpin and Vortex, and Desert Shark are all from After Man.


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  15. 15. John Harshman 1:23 pm 09/3/2013

    Interests in S Am megamammals, non-mammalian synapsids and ‘creodonts’ duly noted

    Apparently “and ducks” doesn’t actually go without saying.

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  16. 16. BattleMetalChris 3:56 pm 09/3/2013

    Ah, thank you Mr Naish – it was ‘After Man’ I remember reading.

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  17. 17. vdinets 5:10 pm 09/3/2013

    Darren: thank you! Nothing tragical; it’s just that we’ve moved to New England and immediately ran into a bunch of problems that would be very unlikely in other parts of the US :-)

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  18. 18. Jerzy v. 3.0. 5:35 pm 09/3/2013

    Congrats, Darren!

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  19. 19. Christopher Taylor 8:46 pm 09/3/2013

    Offhand, someone has put the entirety of Man After Man up online. I recommend reading it. Because some of that s*** will haunt your dreams.

    Andreas: thanks for the compliment!

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  20. 20. imhennessy 1:06 am 09/4/2013

    Congratulations, Darren. Also, thanks for the list of articles, I spotted a couple to revisit.

    vdinets, we take pride in being unlike other parts of the US.

    Ivan Hennessy

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  21. 21. Dartian 1:07 am 09/4/2013

    some of that s*** will haunt your dreams

    Nightmares, really. I had almost forgotten how genuinely disturbing many of Dixon’s future humans are.

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  22. 22. David Marjanović 5:57 am 09/4/2013

    Because some of that s*** will haunt your dreams.

    …Maybe it would if this weren’t like the other parts of the trilogy: a great idea, executed in painfully unrealistic ways.

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  23. 23. naishd 8:25 am 09/4/2013

    The story behind Man After Man is convoluted and nothing like that of the other two book in the trilogy. I learnt loads of new stuff in the recent interview. All will be revealed (sorry, not trying to be a tease – just unable to find time to write the article).


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  24. 24. vdinets 12:36 pm 09/4/2013

    imhennessy: I realize that NE has a good side… but for the moment we are stuck in a motel with a very expensive rental truck full of our stuff parked outside, due to the fact that the house we have rented online is uninhabitable (it is crawling with bedbugs), and rental agencies in town do only one-year leases. Bedbugs and lack of short-term rentals are mostly New England problems, I don’t know why.

    Christopher Taylor: welcome to Russian internet. You can find lots and lots of pirated content there. It has suddenly become very useful to read Russian… but for the same reason it’s almost useless to be able to write in Russian.

    Link to this

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