Yes, as usual, my plans to do some good for the world and blog about amphibians, rodents, bats, small lizards and snakes, and turtles failed miserably… yet again.

Rodent-themed montage featuring topics covered in 2015. L to r: the anomalurid Zenkerella by Joseph Smit (in public domain); skull (from Hanney 1977) and life appearance of Deomys (by Darren Naish).

And this is despite my unashamed efforts to have amphibians better represented by publishing a list of frog-themed articles during January 2015. Here’s how 2015’s articles break down (with the year running from January 21st 2015 to January 21st 2016)...

Amphibians (lissamphibians)

Amphibians of 2015. Hemiphractid treefrogs and salamanders. Illustrations by Darren Naish.


Squamate-themed images of 2015: a lacertid phylogeny and a varanid montage. We're not done with either of those things yet. In lacertid phylogeny, LATASTIA BY GUÉRIN NICOLAS (CC BY-SA 3.0), ACANTHODACTYLUS BY RICHARD HING, EREMIAS BY YURIY75 (CC BY-SA 3.0), TAKYDROMUS BY ACAPELLA (CC BY-SA 3.0), LACERTA BY DARREN NAISH, GALLOTIA BY PETERMANN (CC BY-SA 3.0), PSAMMODROMUS BY WOLFGANG WÜSTER. IMAGE CC BY-SA. Varanid montage by Darren Naish.


Turtles!! Photos by Darren Naish.


Non-bird dinosaurs

Speculative climbing Deinonychus (by Darren Naish); speculative fighting apatosaurines (by Brian Engh). Dinosaur-themed stuff covered on Tet Zoo during 2015.


Birds covered here during 2015. Corvids, cassowaries, huias. Corvid photos by Darren Naish; cassowary and huia both by J. G. Keulemans (both in public domain).


Some mammal-themed subjects covered here in 2015: domestic horses in Africa (image by Dixon Denham, in public domain), and caenolestoids, or shrew-opossums (image by Joseph Wolf, in public domain).

Speculative Zoology

Book reviews


And here’s all of that portrayed as a graph. I used the same categories as per the 2014-2015 graph so that the two are more easily comparable…

What do I see here? Appalling, epic failure. Look how a whole bunch of subject areas – the tetrapods we generally imagine as ‘prehistoric amphibians’ (= non-lissamphibian anamniotes), Mesozoic marine reptiles, croc-line archosaurs – received no coverage at all and how others – most notably turtles – barely got a look-in. The turtle thing explains the image at the very top (the photo is by Jason Noble). Meanwhile, it’s pretty much all mammals (living mammals at that) and dinosaurs dinosaurs dinosaurs (including birds). 

The contention put forward here may well be true. But if it is, why were there no essentially no crocodylomorphs on Tet Zoo during the whole of 2015? Sigh...

Once again, I am not happy. Why does this keep happening? Why don’t I get to write about the obscure tetrapods I really want to, the ones that need more internet coverage? It’s complicated. I can think of several reasons, one being that it’s hard to find the time needed to properly research and write articles on more obscure beasts, another being that images are less readily available when you want to write about frogs, lizards and poorly known long-dead things. Feel free to help out if you can.

Oh look, a large book manuscript...

I want to say that there is some sort of light on the horizon. As some of you know, I’m busy (when other work allows) putting together a substantial textbook on the vertebrate fossil record. Because I want it to be well illustrated with cladograms, life reconstructions and so on, I’ve been drawing (and am still drawing) a large number of vertebrates living and fossil. Yes, ‘vertebrates’, not just tetrapods – the book includes fish, though the less said about that the better (>>>sound of teeth grinding and breaking as I clench my jaws<<<). Once the book is done (and it’s in its ‘final’ stages) I’ll have a good number of illustrations that I can use here in articles on… well, you name it. Finishing the book is slowed and even prevented by other work though, so I’ll just leave this link here and invite you to help out should you wish. Thank you once again to those who support me already, you know how appreciated you are.

From the front page of the Tet Zoo patreon...

That’ll do for now. There’s one more set of birthday-themed thoughts I want to share, and they concern both the long game, and the role of Tet Zoo in blogging as a whole. Check back soon. I’ve given up on the 23 comments game for reasons that should be obvious…

For the previous Tet Zoo birthday articles, see...