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Posts Tagged "palaeontology"

Running Ponies

Ancient digging mammal is a ‘scaly anteater’ relative

Palaeontologists have taken a closer look at the fossilised remains of a rare, 57-million-year-old mammal to discover that this dogged digger was more closely related to the modern-day pangolin, or ‘scaly anteater’, than we thought. The creature is Ernanodon antelios, an extinct placental species of mammal from Asia that grew to around the size of [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Jehol-Wealden International Conference, 2013

Jehol-Wealden-2013-banner-600-px-tiny-Sept-2013

This Friday and Saturday (20th and 21st September, 2013), the National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, is hosting the Jehol-Wealden International Conference. This event – titled Celebrating Dinosaur Island – features an impressive list of talks and events relating to the Lower Cretaceous biota of Europe and Asia. More info (and booking advice) here. Items [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

A brief history of sengis, or elephant shrews

Reconstructed skull of the Early Miocene myohyracine Myohyrax oswaldi (after Patterson 1965).

Macroscelideans – the elephant shrews or sengis – are an exclusively African group of animalivorous placental mammals, famous for their long, mobile snouts [adjacent image of a rhynchocyonine sengi by Joey Makalintal]. They have long tails, proportionally elongate limbs, and range in size from 10 to 30 cm, and from 50g to over 500g. Digital [...]

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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

Scenes from the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

Over the last few days, I and my friends and colleagues from the University of Southampton’s vertebrate palaeontology research group visited Lyme Regis for the 2013 Fossil Festival, a big, fun event attended by 1000s of people and by most palaeontologically- and geologically-oriented people in the southern half of the UK. There are stalls and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The confusing diplospondylous tupilakosaurids

Time for a quick look at another temnospondyl group. Today, we focus on the tupilakosaurids, a group of short-limbed, blunt-skulled, long-bodied Permo-Triassic temnos. Ossified ceratobranchials, poorly ossified limbs and long and flexible bodies all suggest that they were fully aquatic though – like some other aquatic temnospondyl groups – their bones lack lateral line sulci. [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Dinosaurs and their ‘exaggerated structures’: species recognition aids, or sexual display devices?

Mesozoic dinosaurs of several lineages famously possessed horns, frills, bony bosses, crests, frills, blah blah blah – you’ve heard all this a million times before. Pterosaurs were flamboyant creatures too. Why did these animals possess these so-called exaggerated structures? Together with Dave Hone, I’ve just published my latest missive on this issue (Hone & Naish [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

More temnospondyls: gigantic, gharial-snouted archegosauroids and their spatulate-snouted kin

Good news: I’ve decided to treat you all to yet another article on temnospondyls. This time we look at several (mostly) Permian groups – the sclerocephalids, archegosaurids and their relatives – that have sometimes (but not consistently) been grouped together as the Archegosauroidea or Archegosauriformes. As before, I have to note that there are strongly [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Trimerorhachid temnospondyls: numerous scale layers and… gill-pouch brooding?

Continuing with the theme of the previous article on trematosauroid temnospondyls, I thought I may as well publish another randomly chosen chunk of my grand, super-long temnospondyl review. This time we look at the trimerorhachids. While there are diverse and often conflicting opinions on the phylogenetic affinities of the many temnospondyl lineages, it’s generally agreed [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Trematosauroids, those gharial-snouted, marine temnospondyls

Long-time Tet Zoo readers will know of my various efforts to get through all the temnospondyl lineages. Alas, I just haven’t been able to finish this grand project due to my getting stuck somewhere round about dissorophoids (see below for links to previous Tet Zoo temnospondyl articles). In frustration, here’s a section from late in [...]

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