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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

2014, an amazing year for pterosaurs

Life reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar by John Conway.

I’m still not sure whether I blog about Mesozoic archosaurs – specifically dinosaurs and pterosaurs – too often, or too infrequently. As I always say, the problem as I see it is that dinosaurs and pterosaurs have so much presence in the blogosphere that writing about them always feels like jumping on a bandwagon. On [...]

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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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