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Tetrapod Zoology

Tetrapod Zoology

Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals - living and extinct

A tongue-wrestling interlude, from the azhdarchids

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I’d like to talk to you about the recently announced ‘Yeti DNA’ discovery just featured on British television; I’d like to talk to you about tail feathers in Cretaceous maniraptoran dinosaurs (O’Connor et al. 2013), about the weird new Miocene pseudo-otter Teruelictis (Salesa et al. 2013), about the spectacular new leaf-tailed gecko Saltuarius eximius (Hoskin & Couper 2013), about the new taxonomic arrangement for beaded lizards (Reiserer et al. 2013), about frugivory in crocodylians (Platt et al. 2013), about the new Wallacean rodent Halmaheramys (Fabre et al. 2013), and about ecological partitioning between big cat species (Lovari et al. 2013). I’d like to finish that massive backlog of over-due book reviews I have on the go…

Tongue-wrestling Quetzalcoatlus pair, by Bob Nicholls, used with permission.

But, I can’t. I just can’t find the time. So, here’s a wonderful sketch kindly provided by Bob Nicholls (of paleocreations.com), showing two male azhdarchids indulging in a novel form of sexual combat termed Tongue Wrestling. Bob produced the image at the recent SVPCA conference in Edinburgh and I’m pleased to say that I own the original. It will be framed and added to the Art Gallery wing of Tet Zoo Towers. I’ll be talking about azhdarchids (again) soon, since Mark Witton and I have a new paper due out soonish on that very group.

Alas, an epic workload has prevented me from blogging much lately: this is only the fifth Tet Zoo article published this month. It’s very frustrating. The near-silence will continue for a while, since I’m about to disappear for the SVP meeting in Los Angeles. Good news, though: we at Irregular Books are pretty much done on the Cryptozoologicon and it’s on schedule (I think). What about those other projects? Ah.

Oh, and - - remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Temnospondyls, by Henrik Petersson? Henrik has done it again, this time with a lean, mean, fighting team of Teenage Mutant Ninja Tetrapods, featuring those Tet Zoo stalwarts caecilians, ground hornbills, babirusas, and matamatas. Awesome! Thank you, Henrik!

Henrik's TMNT team: a suitably censored babirusa Leonardo (being a "teen", his tusks aren't very curved yet); a caecilian Donatello, a ground hornbill Rafael, and a matamata Michelangelo.

Refs - -

Fabre, P.-H., Pagès, M., Musser, G. G., Fitriana, Y. S., Fjeldsa, J., Jennings, A., Jonsson, K. A., Kennedy, J., Michaux, J., Semiadi, G., Supriatna, N. & Helgen, K. M. 2013. A new genus of rodent from Wallacea (Rodentia: Muridae: Murinae: Rattini), and its implication for biogeography and Indo-Pacific Rattini systematics. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 169, 408-447.

Hoskin, C. J. & Couper, P. 2013. A spectacular new leaf-tailed gecko (Carphodactylidae: Saltuarius) from the Melville Range, north-east Australia. Zootaxa 3717, 543-558.

Lovari, S., Minder, I., Ferretti, F., Mucci, N., Randi, E. & Pellizzi, B. 2013. Common and snow leopards share prey, but not habitats: competition avoidance by large predators? Journal of Zoology 291, 127-135.

O’Connor, J., Wang, X., Sullivan, C., Zheng, X., Tubaro,P., Zhang, X. & Zhou, Z. 2013. Unique caudal plumage of Jeholornis and complex tail evolution in early birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 10.1073/pnas.1316979110

Platt, S. G., Elsey, R. M., Liu, H., Rainwater, T. R., Nifong, J. C., Rosenblatt, A. E., Heithaus, M. R. & Mazzotti, F. J. 2013. Frugivory and seed dispersal by crocodilians: an overlooked form of saurochory? Journal of Zoology 291, 87-99.

Reiserer, R. S., Schuett, G. W. & Beck, D. D. 2013. Taxonomic reassessment and conservation status of the beaded lizard, Heloderma horridum (Squamata: Helodermatidae). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 7, 74-96.

Salesa, M. J., Antón, M., Siliceo, G., Pesquero, M. D., Morales, J. & Alcalá, L. 2013. A non-aquatic otter (Mammalia, Carnivora, Mustelidae) from the Late Miocene (Vallesian, MN 10) of La Roma 2 (Alfambra, Teruel, Spain): systematics and functional anatomy. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 169, 448-482.

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

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