October is typically a big month, with both Tetzoocon and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology happening around this time. Add in the opening of the Picturing the Past exhibition of paleoart and we’ve had a huge month in paleontology. Let’s go!
In the News
- First, a bit of sad news: the paleontological community mourns the loss of Junchang Lü, prolific Chinese paleontologist and pterosaur hunter. Read Richard Conniff’s memorial at SciAm.
- This one squeaked in right at the end of September and I missed it: Ledumahadi mafube, a giant early Jurassic sauropodomorph from South Africa that is hypothesized by the authors to have been fully quadrupedal. Read more from Justin Tweet at Equatorial Minnesota and Michael Greshko at NatGeo.
- The Cretaceous shark Squalicorax seemed to have a taste for Pteranodon, and wasn’t above sharing with Saurodon. New research describes feeding traces on Pteranodon bones; read more from John Pickrell at NatGeo.
- A specimen of Archaeorhynchus preserves its lungs! The fossil demonstrates that as far back as 120 million years ago, birds possessed unidirectional airflow. Read more from Laura Geggel at LiveScience.
- A new publication by Kenneth Carpenter reinterprets “Amphicoelas fragillimus” as a rebbachisaurid, dubbed Maraapunisaurus fragillimus. Read more from Mike Taylor at SV-POW.
- And that ain’t the only new rebbachisaurid, my friends. Meet Lavocatisaurus, hailing from the Rayosa Formation of Argentina. Read the paper in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.
- The aetosaur Stagonolepis olenkae was likely a digger, using “its robust forelimbs to break through the compacted soil with its claws and proceed to dig in search of food in softened substrate with the shovel-like expansion at the tip of its snout.” New research published in PeerJ focuses on those forelimbs, which were also more heavily armored than those of other aetosaurs.
- A new early Campanian tyrannosaurid Dynamoterror dynastes, has been described from the Menefee Formation of New Mexico. Geologically, it’s about the same age, maybe just slightly younger, than Lythronax. You may recall that a new nodosaurid was also described from the Menefee formation in August; both descriptions were written by Andrew McDonald. The Western Science Center commissioned recent Lanzendorf winner Brian Engh to illustrate both animals, and it’s a doozy, full of absorbing detail (I especially love the riot of lepidopterans taking flight). Read more from Brian Switek at the Smithsonian.
- A rarity and a welcome one: the skull of a juvenile Diplodocus has been described, shedding light on their ontogeny and how their diet changed as they grew. Nicknamed “Andrew,” this is the smallest diplodocid skull yet found. Read more from Mike Walley at Everything Dinosaur and Michael Greshko at NatGeo.
- Pachycephalosaurus may have feasted on the flesh of its enemies, no doubt after head-butting them to death. 😉 Read more at Everything Dinosaur.
Around the Dinoblogosphere
- We’ll start with a few posts stemming from the fifth Tetzoocon, held at The Venue in London. This was the first time the meeting was held over two days, and as ever it inspires true FOMO in those of us watching from afar. Check out the #Tetzoocon hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for more fun and be sure to read Darren Naish’s official write up.
- In case you missed it, check out Marc’s two-part recap of the event here and here.
- Angelina Hartmann, who sells awesome plushies under the name Spirellity, had her first tabling experience ever at Tetzoocon.
- Albert Chen gave a talk on birds this time around and writes a recap of the event at Raptormaniacs.
- Fiona Taylor gave what looks to have been a fascinating talk on the role of music in wildlife documentaries, and you can see more about it at SV-POW.
- The exhibition catalog for Picturing the Past is available as a free download from Studio 252 MYA. Go grab it!
- The University of British Columbia recently installed a new Elasmosaurus mount, a resin cast produced by Triebold Paleontology. Read more at the Plesiosaur Directory, including a brief rundown of the famous plesiosaur’s history since discovery.
- Kids and paleontological history, a winning combination. Dino Dad reviews a cool children’s title about Waterhouse Hawkins’ famous Victorian sculptures.
- Kids and ichnology, another winning combination. Lisa Buckley writes about a cool idea for a classroom project that collects bird track data.
- Must-read interviews: Mark Witton talks to Katrina Van Grouw about her books The Unfeathered Bird and Unnatural Selection. Dave Hone interviews Brian Engh at Archosaur Musings, and he’s spittin’ fire!
- Learn about the recently described North American pterosaur Caelestiventus and check out Chris DiPiazza’s awesome reconstruction at Prehistoric Beast of the Week.
- Head over to Letters from Gondwana, where Fer Castano writes about pioneering Australian paleontologist Irene Crespin.
- Geosciences Congressional Visits Day, organized by the American Geosciences Institute, happened recently. Two student representatives from the Paleontological Society attended, and write about their experiences on the society’s blog.
- Writing for the New York Times, Asher profiles Megachirella wachtleri, the earliest known ancestor of the squamates.
- Zach dives head first into a pile of lessemsaurids at Waxing Paleontological.
Dispatches from Himmapaanland
After Tetzoocon, Natee was lucky enough to visit Joseph Vernot in France, providing me much vicarious delight.
My lambeosaur from the #TetZooCon palaeoart workshop. I misunderstood the brief due to missing the first few minutes and wasn't as stylistically experimental as I could have been, but I'm going to claim to have ventured out of my comfort zone in the scale alone. 😅 pic.twitter.com/8vdshW2JBk
— Natee 'Misery made me a fiend' (@Himmapaan) October 8, 2018
— Natee 'Misery made me a fiend' (@Himmapaan) October 16, 2018
— Natee 'Misery made me a fiend' (@Himmapaan) October 24, 2018
The LITC AV Club
Dr. Yara Haridy introduces the field of paleohistology in this Daily Planet Video.
Some good podcasting from the last month: Science Friday features a discussion about the vital importance of public lands preservation, and paleontologists David Polly and Stuart Sumida join in. Prof. Jennifer McElwain joins the Palaeocast crew to talk about paleobotany. 99% Invisible dives into paleoart’s evolution and All Yesterdays in a good overview for the general public. Garret and Sabrina of I Know Dino profile Hadrosaurus, in an episode that includes coverage of Jinguofortis and progress on the Museo Nacional fire recovery.
Watch Mary Sanche paint a tyrannosaur skull using only Vermillion ink in this #Inktober video from her channel.
The Friends of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs want to build a permanent bridge to the island the dinosaurs inhabit, to facilitate tours and make them more publicly accessible. Pledge at Spacehive.
Asher has teamed up with illustrator Tiffany Turrill to bring his stories of Anna O’Brien, a young witch making her way in early 20th century Appalachia, to life. The Kickstarter has fully funded, so preorder a book and help them hit their stretch goals!
The Empty Wallets Club
- I love the pins and charms made by Alexandra Salazar, AKA Elevenels. Her Caihong design is cute and classy. Check out more at Etsy!
- Jenn Hall’s posters for the Carter County Museum are frickin’ awesome. I love the “Cessna of the Cretaceous”, and you can browse the entire selection at Redbubble.
Your Moment of Paleoart Zen
There’s a new Rexy in town: over the last year, RJ Palmer and the Saurian team have embarked upon a complete overhaul of the game’s Tyrannosaurus rex, and recently shared the results. Visitors to Picturing the Past get to see it nearly life-size as they approach the exhibition. Jacob Baardse, a Saurian character artist, posted the model to ArtStation, along with this wonderful interactive. Have fun!