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Posts Tagged "Mesozoic"

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

Mark Witton’s Pterosaurs: beautiful, lavish, scholarly and comprehensive

Front cover of Witton (2013): an antlered nyctosaurid at sunset.

I assume you’re here for the Tetrapod Zoology. If so, you’ll have been excited and intrigued by one of 2013’s best tetrapod-themed books: Mark Witton’s Pterosaurs, an enormous, lavishly illustrated encyclopedia of all things pterosaur. Scholarly but highly readable, fully referenced throughout, and featuring hundreds of excellent photos, diagrams and beautiful, colour life restorations, this [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Were azhdarchid pterosaurs really terrestrial stalkers? The evidence says yes, yes they (probably) were

Despite what you may have heard, the Mesozoic was not like this, all the time. Image by Mark Witton.

Regular Tet Zoo readers will be familiar with azhdarchid pterosaurs and the debate that’s surrounded their ecology and behaviour. Within recent decades, these remarkable, often gigantic, long-necked, long-billed but proportionally short-winged toothless Cretaceous pterosaurs have been imagined as ‘mega-skimmers’, as heron-like waders, as obligate scavengers of dinosaur carcasses, and even as sandpiper-like littoral foragers. All [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Flight of the Microraptor

Our Microraptor in picturesque settings. The hindlimbs are shown here in near-maximum sprawl. Photo from Dyke et al. (2013).

Some weeks ago now, myself and a team of colleagues (Gareth Dyke, Roeland de Kat, Colin Palmer, Jacques Van der Kindere and Bharathram Ganapathisubramani) – all of whom are based at the University of Southampton – published the results (in Nature Communications) of our study on the aerodynamic performance of Microraptor, a small, long-winged dromaeosaurid [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Coelophysoid theropods 101

Thorax of one of the famous AMNH Coelophysis specimens that has a crocodylomorph (NOT a juvenile Coelophysis) preserved within. Neck at top of image, left forelimb projecting to left. Image by smokeybjb, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Due to the usual frustrating inability of being unable to finish any of the in-prep Tet Zoo articles (and… I’ve been away), I give you the following short article. Coelophysoids are best known for Coelophysis from the Upper Triassic of the USA; extremely similar (perhaps congeneric) forms are known from the Lower Jurassic of Zimbabwe, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Quetzalcoatlus: the evil, pin-headed, toothy nightmare monster that wants to eat your soul

Giovanni Caselli's 1975 Demon Quetz, the image that started the meme.

Regular readers of Tet Zoo will be familiar with two topics I’ve covered on and off over the years: azhdarchid pterosaurs, and palaeoart memes. Azhdarchids were mostly large to gigantic, long-skulled Cretaceous pterosaurs, noted for their enormous wingspans (up to 10 m or so in the case of Quetzalcoatlus from the USA and Hatzegopteryx from [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

21st Century Dinosaur Revolution

Primary achievement of the 21st Century: MEMES. This from John Conway's series on Hypsilophodon.

A recent tour of the Natural History Museum (London) bookshop reminded me that my 2009 book, The Great Dinosaur Discoveries (A & C Black in the UK, University of California Press in the USA), is still on sale and in demand. Buy it here on amazon and here on amazon.co.uk. Thoughts on this book (including [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Brilliant Brazilian spinosaurids

Rio-May-2013-DNPM-Angaturama-skeleton-head-end-right-lateral-600-px-tiny-May-2013-Darren-Naish-Tetrapod-Zoology

You liked the photo of the brilliant Angaturama skeletal mount, right? Photographed at the Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, the mount shows Angaturama limai – a spinosaurine spinosaurid – carrying the skeleton of an anhanguerid pterosaur. Here are some more views of the same display… The behavioural interaction you see here was not just invented in [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

In Rio for the 2013 International Symposium on Pterosaurs

I love academic conferences, I love pterosaurs, and I love South America. So, as predicted, I very much enjoyed the International Symposium on Pterosaurs I just attended: it was the sixth symposium devoted specifically to pterosaurs, and was held at the Museu Nacional/UFRJ (= Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro), Rio de Janeiro. Yes, an [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Malawania from Iraq and the Cretaceous Ichthyosaur Revolution (part II)

Bob Nicholls's excellent life restoration of Malawania, coloured by C. M. Kosemen. Thanks to both artists for their excellent and speedy work.

Tet Zoo readers with supernatural memories will doubtless recall the January 2012 article ‘Rigid swimmer’ and the Cretaceous Ichthyosaur Revolution (part I) [link below]. I’ll refresh your memory by telling you that the article was all about the PLoS ONE paper on Acamptonectes, a Cretaceous ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur from the UK and Germany described by Valentin [...]

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