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Posts Tagged "Mesozoic birds"

Tetrapod Zoology

50 million years of incredible shrinking theropod dinosaurs

Theropod dinosaurs encompass a huge range of body sizes. This illustration shows a Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris) in front of a tooth of the giant allosauroid Carcharodontosaurus. Images courtesy of Terry Sohl and Christophe Hendrickx.

Some time round about 165 million years ago, the group of small, feathered dinosaurs that we call birds evolved from within the theropod radiation (theropods are the so-called ‘predatory dinosaurs’: the great group that includes animals like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor as well as the birds). As anyone reasonably familiar with recent palaeontological discoveries will know, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Bird behaviour, the ‘deep time’ perspective

Composite cladogram of Avialae - topology and names based mostly on Yuri et al. (2013), and with many lineages excluded for reasons of space – showing where the fossil record gives us key insights into behaviour. From Naish (2014): this diagram is a much-updated version of the tree published in Naish (2012).

The behaviour of long-extinct animals remains an area of major public and scientific interest – the great perennial problem being that we’re always massively constrained, if not crippled, by a frustrating lack of data. Think of all the things we want to know, versus the things that we actually do know. In a paper recently [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

All Your Yesterdays, our new book

All Your Yesterdays is here. The cover art (featuring juvenile troodontids) is by Alvaro Rozalen.

Last year, John Conway, Memo Kosemen and myself published All Yesterdays (it also features skeletal reconstructions by the brilliant Scott Hartman), a book that focused specifically on the more speculative aspects of palaeoart: follow the links below for more on this project. If you liked All Yesterdays, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s a sequel, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Did Velociraptor and Archaeopteryx climb trees? Claws and climbing in birds and other dinosaurs

Two weeks ago I and colleagues published a new paper in the august open-access online pages of PLoS ONE. Led by Aleksandra Birn-Jeffery of the Royal Veterinary College, and co-authored by Charlotte Miller, Emily Rayfield, Dave Hone and myself, the paper is titled ‘Pedal claw curvature in birds, lizards and Mesozoic dinosaurs – complicated categories [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals – the book and the launch event

My latest book, All Yesterdays, is now out (Irregular Books, 2012; details below). Subtitled Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals, the book – available both as an e-book and as a hard-copy, actual book book – was co-authored by John Conway, C. M. Kosemen (aka Memo) and myself. It’s fantastically illustrated [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Sexual selection in the fossil record

Sexual selection – the phenomenon in which organisms compete over and choose mates on the basis of desirable traits – is one of the fundamental driving processes of evolution. It’s all around us, seemingly explains an enormous amount of the morphological and behavioural variation observed in the natural world, and has been shown to be [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Dyke & Kaiser’s Living Dinosaurs: the Evolutionary History of Modern Birds

There are surprisingly few good books on the evolution and fossil history of birds: among those I recommend are Luis Chiappe’s Glorified Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds (Chiappe 2007), Gary Kaiser’s The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution (Kaiser 2007), and Gerald Mayr’s Paleogene Fossil Birds (Mayr 2009). In view of this, Gareth [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The war on parasites: the pigeon’s eye view, the oviraptorosaur’s eye view

Here’s an old article ‘from the archives’. Actually, it’s two articles combined: both originally appeared at Tet Zoo ver 1 in 2006, and both are included together in Tetrapod Zoology Book One. I’ve made no effort to update the text (bar minor tweaks). If I did, I’d write about the various new Cretaceous fleas and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

A drowned nesting colony of Late Cretaceous birds

Like modern birds, and like their close relatives among the theropod dinosaurs, the birds of the Mesozoic Era laid eggs and, we reasonably infer, made nests. But what else do we know about reproductive behaviour in Mesozoic birds? Essentially, we know very little, and by “very little” I actually mean “just about nothing”. A new [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Thor Hanson’s Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle

The complex structure, development and growth of feathers can, to paraphrase one expert on the subject, be seriously damaging to your mental health. Feathers are just crazy, almost certainly the most complex structures to ever grow out of any animal’s external surface. Yet for all their marvellous complexity, for all the interest that people have [...]

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