Here in my corner of the northern hemisphere, spring is finally starting to do its thing: days elongating, trees budding, flowers blossoming. But no matter where in the world you are, we can all revel in a blossoming of research, writing and art exploring prehistory. Take my hand as we stroll through the Mesozoic world, perpetually being enriched by the hard work of the paleontological community.
In the News
- It is such a precious thing to have any fossil remains of any animal come down to us through the vast expanse of geological time. It’s even more precious when it’s anywhere near complete – and that’s what we’ve got with the skeletal remains of the hadrosauroid Gobihadros mongoliensis, which paleoartist Danielle Dufault described as being “as clean as a deer skeleton in the woods…barely any crushing or crumbling.” Gobihadros comes from the Cretaceous Baynshire Formation, and helps paint a picture of later hadrosaurids dispersing from North America to Asia. Read more from Kristin Hugo at Earth Archives and Gemma Tarlach at Dead Things.
- The first mammal from the Prince Creek formation of Alaska was recently published, and now there’s a confirmed lambeosaurine, based on a supraoccipital. The paper also agrees with prior work questioning validity of Ugrunaaluk, based on the fact that it may be a juvenile specimen of Edmontosaurus. Read more at Phys.org. Check out the paper here.
- A new species of big-eyed Cretaceous crab, Callichimaera perplexa, has been described so bizarre the lead author calls it “the platypus of the crab world.” Read the Yale press release at Phys.org; more from Michael Greshko at NatGeo, Aristos Georgiou at Newsweek, and Laura Geggel at LiveScience.
- A remarkable dig site dubbed Tanis seems to record a catastrophic mass dying right at the K-Pg boundary. It’s been the subject of heated discussion as much focused on the paleontological content of the site as for the way it was publicized and published. Prior to publication, it was the subject of an article in the New Yorker, which hints at far more fossil matter than is actually in the publication. Of course, we’re urged to wait for more papers. So we wait. But the material that is described is quite wonderful, a collection of exquisite fish, and if you’re into stratigraphy and sedimentology, this paper will be right up your alley. Read more from Time Scavengers, Colin Barras at Science, Riley Black at Smithsonian, Mindy Weisberger at Live Science, and Neel Patel at Popular Science.
- The Berlin Archaeopteryx has been put under UV light, and the findings indicate that the iconic Archie was capable of powered flight and possessed a more highly pneumatized skeleton than previously thought.
- Xingtianosaurus ganqi is a new caudipterid from the Yixian Formation, an early member of the clade that provides insights into how the forelimbs of the group evolved.
- Some more scraps of abelisaur were found in the Kem Kem beds.
- The metriorhynchid genus Cricosaurus has a new species: C. bambergensis. Read the paper here.
- We’ve got some new Laotian dicynodonts: Counillonia superoculis and Repelinosaurus robustus. They were discovered in rock dating to right about at the Permo-Triassic boundary.
- This happened: a juvenile T. rex is on Ebay for a Buy It Now of $2,950,000. Read more from Colin Barras at Science and Sam Wolfson at the Guardian.
- The “Naze theropod,” discovered in 2003 on James Ross Island’s Naze Peninsula, has been described in Cretaceous Research. Imperobator antarcticus is found to be a basal paravian, and apparently a honkin’ big one. Read more from Mickey Mortimer at the Theropod Database blog and Andrea Cau at Theropoda.
- A whole passel of ceratopsians from the Baruungoyot Formation have been found to be junior synonyms of Bagaceratops rozhdestvenskyi.
Around the Dinoblogosphere
- Scott Hartman has weighed in on the question of lips in non-avian dinosaurs. He’s adding them to his skeletals, and explains exactly why he’s made that choice.
- At Palaeoflora, Julien Kiely writes about leaf-mimicking insects in the fossil record.
- James Ronan writes about an exciting field season coming up this summer for the scientists participating in Mission: Jurassic.
- At the PLoS Paleo blog, Jon Tennant writes about Mnyamawamtuka and its implications for sauropod evolution.
- I learned of Benjamin Chandler’s Tumblr, Echoes from the Antediluvian, this month. Check it out for micro-fiction inspired by paleoart.
- I was excited to see that the Dino Toy Blog was reviewing an Atopodentatus figurine and then I saw it…
- Consider the role of the dinosaur in political and editorial cartoons at PopPalaeo.
- At FiveThirtyEight,Maggie Koerth-Baker interviews Thomas Carr about the sticky subject of fossil ownership.
- The latest Saurian DevLog shows off a cool Anzu display behavior and more.
- And check out progress on the zoo management game Prehistoric Kingdom, which is coming along nicely and recently showed off some beautiful Carnotaurus models and more.
Dispatches from Himmapaanland
Every month, I use this space to share a handful of Natee’s tweets of a palaeoartistic nature, for the benefit of those of you who don’t delve into the Twitterverse (probably wisely). Enjoy!
Or possibly a Cursed Image. So please you. pic.twitter.com/rZjgpQ7GQx
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 10, 2019
Mary Anning hasn't time for your ~Brofest~. pic.twitter.com/WeSv63NhTN
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 11, 2019
My most on-brand unicorn, as it were. Accompanied by a Kulindadromeus and Emily Dickinson. pic.twitter.com/60Co6U7i2B
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 10, 2019
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 18, 2019
'Princess Joveta sends her grateful thanks to her friend the great Khan for his kind gift of her new pet Velociraptor, with whom she is delighted. Isambart now responds to his name, is taking well to training, and bids fair to becoming a very fine hunter.' pic.twitter.com/6ISFm96sO1
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 23, 2019
The LITC AV Club
Dr. Andrew Heckert on Aetosaurs
From Matrix to Museum Hall
Meet the Taeniodonts
The Empty Wallets Club
It’s a “fanciful sauropod” theme this month. First: Raven Amos has delivered the mythical beast you’ve always wanted and never needed more: the dinocorn. And it comes in two more variations for those of use who don’t give a flip about being SFW. Buy your shirt from her Neatoshop.
Here’s a cute lil’ embroidered patch that would look cool on a kid’s jacket or backpack. Or an adult’s, let’s be honest. It’s made by Shani and Tal, two designers who work together under the name of Compoco. Pick yours up on Etsy.
Your Moment of Paleoart Zen
Stavros Svensson Kundromichalis has been delivering some premium paleoartistic content to the Facebook Paleoartists group lately. Minimalistic, with adventurous color and exploration of integument, these pieces explore Triassic life with a distinctive aesthetic. It’s reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats’ work. Hard to choose one to feature, but I went with Herrerasaurus just ‘cuz.