We’ve reached the halfway point for 2019, and the paleontology train keeps chug-chug-chuggin’ down the tracks. Since I’ve been on vacation (or HOLIDAY, to make Natee happy) for the last week and had this post locked down before I left, there’s a chance I missed a blockbuster publication. Rest assured, July’s round up will mop up anything big that happened over this past week. And this edition is packed anyway, so all aboard…
In the News
- I totally neglected to include a major finding last month (May was ridiculous, okay), so we’ll start with our latest scansoriopterygid, Ambopteryx. We now have more support that animals like Yi qi sported membranous wings. Read more from Michael Greshko at NatGeo (love that new illustration by Chung-Tat Cheung), Ed Yong at the Atlantic, Sarah Sloat at the Inverse, Lucas Joel at the NYT, Mike Walley at Everything Dinosaur, and Riley Black at Smithsonian. And check out the animation by Min Wang down in the LITC AV Club.
- With the opening of the Deep Time fossil exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian has been publishing a series of articles about the new space, including an overview, a look at its cast of fossilized characters, this profile of legendary paleoartist Jay Matternes. The Washington Post has a story about the the Wankel rex, now mounted for the first time in the Deep Time hall and redubbed “The Nation’s T. rex.” Finally, be sure to read Ben Miller’s in-depth report at Extinct Monsters.
- I loved visiting the National Aviary in Pittsburgh last year and am excited about their “Living Dinosaurs” exhibition taking place this summer. Brian Engh crafted a beautiful, life-size Caiuajara sculpture for the exhibit, which you may remember from last month’s roundup. Brian says that “Living Dinosaurs” is “a real celebration of paleo and paleoart, with lots of nice imagery and shoutouts in the text and signage to the researchers and artists.” If you are in the area or can get to Pittsburgh, check it out!
- I love biomechanical papers, and this month we got a cool one examining the forelimbs of one of my favorite dinosaurs, good old Dilophosaurus, finding that they were useful for grabbing prey directly below the animal, with the mouth serving as the primary tool for snatching prey.
- A new research paper describes efforts to suss out the olfactory abilities of dinosaurs, using a genomic approach to help fill in our knowledge. The study backs up prior work concluding that T. rex could smell real well. Read more from Michael Greshko at NatGeo and Gemma Tarlach at Dead Things.
- A new iguanodontian from Australia’s late Cretaceous Griman Creek formation, Fostoria dhimbangunmal, has been described, from four opalized specimens! Read more from James Ronan at Jurassic Finds.
- More from down under: the Winton Formation has bestowed upon us a new basal eusuchian, Isisfordia molnari. And definitely take a look at Vitor Silva’s gorgeous paleoart accompanying the publication!
- The non-avian theropods of southeast Asia – mostly Thailand, with some notable exceptions – were the subject of a newly published overview.
- Way back in the Jurassic, some woe-begotten Tenontosaurus took a pretty bad spill, resulting in rib fractures and a busted toe. It seems to have sustained some sort of cruching weight, as both left and right ribs were found. The authors write that the poor beast suffered “a strong compressive force coincident with the long axis of the ribs.” Additionally, the paper holds important implications for how dinosaur pathologies are studied, as the researchers report the first-documented Brodie abscess in an ornithischian. The bone infection, affecting one of the animal’s metacarpals, suggest a mammal-like immune response.
- The ancient continent of Appalachia has its first paralligatorid. The durophagous, possibly omnivorous Scolomastax sahlsteini was discovered in the late Cretaceous Arlington Archosaur Site in Texas.
- Lisowicia, our beloved Triassic big boy, is the subject of a new paper which finds that an adult of the species would likely weigh between 5 and 7 tons – a bit less than the 9 tons the description hypothesized, but still an extremely beefy beast.
- A cool ichnology finding: a Cretaceous crocodyliform trackway in Mongolia shows the animal “bottom walking” the way modern crocs do.
- A new paper throws its weight behind the idea that flaplings – the term for lil babby pterosaurs – could fly from the word go. New research examining a whole bunch of pterosaur embryos from the genera Hamipterus and Anurognathus has found that their wings were sufficiently developed at hatching to allow for super-precocial flight. Read the University of Leicester news release; more from Cara Giaimo at the NYT and David Shultz for Science.
Around the Dinoblogosphere
- Sit a spell and learn about fossil owls from Lisa Buckley, the first post in her series about owls.
- The ontogeny of Prosaurolophus is on the menu over at the Royal Tyrrell Museum blog.
- How ostrich-y were the “ostrich dinosaurs?” At Laelaps, Riley looks at recent research into how appropriate it is to compare the biomechanics of Mesozoic dinosaurs to birds and other extant animals.
- Zach Miller talks about the fascinating prosauropods and the shift from bipedality to quadrupedality in the sauropodomorpha at Waxing Paleontological.
- Head over to Raptormaniacs, where Albert recaps his trip to ProgPal 2019 at the Lapworth Museum at the University of Birmingham.
- John Pickrell muses about the way the world would look now if the KPg event hadn’t been quite as massive an extinction for Science Focus.
- Writing for the NYT, Asher Elbein digs into the evolutionary history of crocodyliforms and the chances that they arose from an endothermic ancestor.
- A text version of Mark Witton’s talk about the “‘monsterising’ of extinct species, where deliberate efforts are made to depict prehistoric subjects as more formidable and intimidating than they likely were in life,” has been sharedat the Popularizing Palaeontology blog.
- In preparation for the summer fossil-hunting season in the UK, Mike at Everything Dinosaur has written a great post about sexual dimorphism in the ammonites.
- At SV-POW, Mike Taylor recounts the twists and turns of Supersaurus, Ultrasaurus, and Dystylosaurus, those iconic giants of the early dinosaur renaissance era. It’s the first of a series, bringing us all up to speed on the contemporary view of these sauropods.
- Justin Tweet concludes a series on the osteoderms that bedazzled titanosaurs at Equatorial Minnesota.
- The Dinosaur Toy Blog has been looking back at the Definitely Dinosaurs line of toys many of us surely remember from the 1980’s. Here’s a look at the Parasaurolophus figure; check out other posts covering the line here.
Dispatches from Himmapaanland
Let’s take a look at the paleoartistical fancies our dear Natee has been sharing on Twitter, shall we?
Yutyrannus! No, YOU tyrannus! >:| pic.twitter.com/TDzVGtmG88
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) June 5, 2019
I'm provisionally calling this monstrosity the Cambeast; inspired by the @triceratopsian triumvirate of horses, Triceratops, and dragons.
There was no attempt at good creature design here, just a straightforward mash-up. X) pic.twitter.com/xVikNgQZnm
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) June 12, 2019
?'L'ho perduta, me meschina
Ah, chi sa dove sarà?
Ah, chi sa dove sarà?
Non la trovo. Non la trovo.
L'ho perduta, meschinella!
Ah, chi sa dove sarà?'?
(Spot the gag and you can have a doodle.)
Yes, I have made a giant raccoon of Yutyrannus. pic.twitter.com/6MXIo9n9Tj
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) June 14, 2019
The LITC AV Club
Since I’ve got it stuck in my head…
Ambopteryx takes wing
Ask Dr. Sues
Eons + NMNH on Evolution
I ain’t ‘fraid of no Holtz
Engh and Hone talk pterosaurs
Send Jennifer Cavin to SVP in Brisbane!
Paleontologist Jenniver Cavin unfortunately had to spend her SVP savings on medical expenses, so she is on GofundMe asking for a bit of help. Donate if you can and help spread the word!
The Novosaurs are Coming
Artist Andy Frazer, who created Dragons of Wales, is following up that project with Novosaurs, which imagines a world in which the “Chickenosaurus” is a reality and anyone can have one. The project has funded, so pledge to preorder! The campaign lasts for one more week.
The Empty Wallets Club
To help fund the blog and our projects, I’ve added some new merch to my Redbubble shop’s LITC collection, including this Tully Monster t-shirt. Check out the full range of merch here – including “paleo” and “palaeo” variations!
Your Moment of Paleoart Zen
Something a little different here – the work of French artist Clémence Dupont, illustrator of A Brief History of Life on Earth, released in April of this year. The playful book is in the form of a long, eight-foot foldout depicting tableaus of life over the history of our planet. I love her fanciful style and use of color, and of course her depiction of a wide variety of life-forms beyond the fossil superstars.