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Posts Tagged "herpetology"

The Artful Amoeba

Alpine Toads and the Chytrids that Love Them

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When you read a story, you may occasionally wonder what the reporter went through to get it. About a month ago I arose at 5 a.m. to  accompany two wildlife biologists and three fisheries volunteers into the high country of Colorado in order to report a story that came out in High Country News this [...]

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Symbiartic

Road Kill So Perty You Can Bring It Home To Ma

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Most people swerve around road kill in hopes of avoiding the gore, or worse, the dreaded thwump that indicates you added your treadmarks to the list of said road kill’s insults. But a few crazy people will screech to a halt to see what got hit. Two of these folks just happen to be researchers, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Simbirskiasaurus, Pervushovisaurus and their very, very strange nostrils: the Cretaceous Ichthyosaur Revolution (part III)

Life reconstruction of Platypterygius australis by Frank Knight; the species concerned is one of the best known of species included within Platypterygius. It was a large, robust-jawed, long-paddled ophthalmosaurid with numerous stout teeth. Stomach contents confirm a generalised diet of invertebrates and vertebrates.

The event you’ve all been waiting for is here: Simbirskiasaurus and Pervushovisaurus have been resurrected, and we’re all wondering what the hell’s going on with their absurd, complex nostrils. Yes, welcome to another instalment in the long-running, slow-burning series of Tet Zoo articles on Cretaceous ichthyosaur diversity. In previous articles we’ve looked at the 2012 [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

For the love of crocodylomorphs

Brilliant life restoration of the recently described Cretaceous baurusuchid Aplestosuchus (with another crocodylomorph - a sphegesaurid - in its mouth), by Rodolfo Nogueira.

Crocodiles, alligators and gharials are the modern members of a far grander, far more diverse clade of archosaurian reptiles termed Crocodylomorpha. It’s gradually becoming better known that, in additional to including amphibious, long-skulled taxa like the living ones, the group encompasses an incredible array of terrestrial and semi-terrestrial omnivores, herbivores, carnivores and insectivores. Some had [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Model salamanders, in a cave

Life-sized Fire salamander model, encountered in one of the Dan yr Ogof caves, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales.

While on a family holiday recently I visited Dan yr Ogof, the famous National Show Cave for Wales. Besides being interesting for the expected geological and speleological reasons, Dan yr Ogof is set within landscaped gardens that, bizarrely, feature one of Europe’s largest ‘dinosaur parks’. Great plastic models of tyrannosaurs, sauropods and all manner of [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Musk turtles and mud turtles: look boring, are secretly hyper-diverse

At top: Common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), image by Laurent Lebois (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license). At bottom: Oaxaca mud turtle (Kinosternon oaxacae), image by Vicente Mata Silva (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license).

In a further effort to relieve Turtle Guilt (see the previous turtle-themed Tet Zoo article), I give you the following article devoted wholly to kinosternids, an exclusively American group of about 25 species of seemingly mundane and unspectacular turtles. Kinosternidae includes turtles that go by two common names: musk turtles (Sternotherus) and mud turtles (Kinosternon)… [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Monitor musings, varanid variables, goannasaurian goings-on… it’s about monitor lizards

Current version of the monitor montage. Image by Darren Naish.

There’s been a bit of a monitor lizard thing going on here for the past few months: articles have covered Australian goannas, the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, Dumeril’s monitor and Timor and Peachthroat monitors, and the ‘prasinoid’ tree monitors. In ‘spare’ time, I’ve been working on the montage you see here, designed to depict a [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Portraits of amphisbaenians

Portrait of Amphisbaena alba, by Darren Naish.

There have never been enough amphisbaenians on Tet Zoo. In fact, the only time I’ve written about them at any sort of length is in the 2008 (and 2012) April Fool’s article wherein they were convincingly (cough) shown to be the true ancestors of mammals. In reality, amphisbaenians – popularly called worm lizards – are [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Turtles that eat bone, rocks and soil, and turtles that mine

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I have had extensive turtle guilt of late – that is, there just haven’t been enough turtles on Tet Zoo for a while… by which I mean, there haven’t been any. But fortune smiles on the thing that it smiles on, and a few neat photos have recently fallen into my proverbial lap, encouraging me [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Hell yes: Komodo dragons!!! (again)

Komodo dragon feeding scrum. Not sure what's in the middle, but I somehow doubt that it's alive.

What with all the monitor-themed goodness around these parts lately (see links below), it seems only fitting that I provide a re-vamped, substantially updated version of this Tet Zoo ver 2 classic (originally published in September 2007). Here we go… Without doubt, one of the coolest living animals on the planet is the Komodo dragon Varanus [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Plesiosaur Peril — the lifestyles and behaviours of ancient marine reptiles

The storyline of Plesiosaur Peril is mostly based around the association between a juvenile Cryptoclidus and her mother. Based on what we know, there are good reasons for thinking that parental care of some sort really did occur. In this image, the mother and juvenile surface for breath. Image from Plesiosaur Peril by Daniel Loxton, used with permission.

Between the later part of the Triassic and the very end of the Cretaceous, the seas of the world (and some of its rivers, lakes and estuaries as well) were inhabited by the remarkable group of swimming reptiles known as the plesiosaurs. All plesiosaurs – so far as we know – were predators, the shapes [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The New World crocodile assemblage: crocodiles part VII – last in series!

American-crocodile

A momentous thing is about to happen. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself. Today is the day when… I finish my series of articles on the crocodiles of the world. As you’ll recall if you read the previous six parts of this series (all of which are linked to below), I’ve managed so far [...]

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