Let’s close out September of 2019 with a look back at what we learned about mesozoic life. Stay tuned in October as we have TetZooCon and SVP coming up, and are sure to have a massive amount of good stuff coming our way.
In the News
- Japan has a new hadrosaur, dubbed Kamuysaurus japonicus. This is the first hadrosaurine from Japan, and the authors propose that the dispersal of the family between Asia and North America may have been aided by a preference for marine-influenced environments. Read the open access paper here; more from Justin Tweet at Equatorial Minnesota and George Dvorsky at Gizmodo.
- Cryodrakon boreas is our newest giant azhdarchid taxon, in a paper that began with efforts to understand feeding traces on bones discovered in the Dinosaur Park formation. Read more from lead author Dave Hone at Archosaur Musings, the Royal Tyrrell Museum blog and Phys Org.
- What an the fossil record tell us about dinosaur pain? Les Hearn and Amanda C. de C. Fields ask that question in a Royal Society review article.
- Rexy is sexy, and that skull? Totally akinetic, daddy. Research published this month describes how the skulls of the mighty tyrants are adapted for crushing their equally mighty prey. Read more from Sarah Pruitt at History, John Pickrell at NatGeo, and Brian Engh, who provided the uncharacteristically subdued art for the paper.
- Brian also provided the art for another paper about the noggin of T. rex and other archosaurs, this one examining a vascular structure on the top of the head which aids in thermoregulation. Read Brian’s post about it, Marc’s post here at LITC, John Pickrell at Nat Geo, and Eleanor Imster at EarthSky. Scroll down to the LITC AV Club section to see videos Brian produced about this and the proceeding research.
- Kwanasaurus williamparkeri is a new silesaurid from the upper Triassic Chinle formation. Read the PeerJ paper here.
- A beautiful lizard fossil from the the Liaoning province of China has been described. Hongshanxi xiei is one of the rare Jurassic lizards from the country.
- A new, nearly complete, specimen has given Saurornitholestes langstoni a refresh. A paper published this month describes
- Those titans of the deep, the mosasaurs, didn’t just propel themselves with their tails. New research indicates that their forelimbs also played a role in their locomotion, powering bursts of speed. Read more at PhysOrg.
- In Nature, Corwin Sullivan’s research highlight looks at the scansoryopterygids in light of the description of Ambopteryx earlier this year.
- What’s that smell? Ah, I think paleohistology is in the air. A new PeerJ article looks at the history of the field and its future potential.
- Sauropods… stepping on turtles. May have been living, may have been dead, but it looks like it got smashed by a sauropod foot.
Around the Dinoblogosphere
- Mark Witton recently created new paleoart of Teratornis, and at his blog he takes a look at the popular history of this mighty bird and kin and explains the process of arriving at his representation.
- Riley Black delves into some of the Beehive State’s lesser known Mesozoic fauna at the Natural History Museum of Utah blog.
- Always up for some urban fossil hunting, and Lousville Fossils and Beyond delivers some good stuff: Mesozoic ammonites in the floor of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
- Learn about the fauna of the Purbeck Group, which bridges the Jurassic and Cretaceous and bears some interesting early Cretaceous critters. Read about it at Everything Dinosaur.
- Congrats to Raptormaniacs’ Albert Chen for his first first-author publication, examining the evolutionary relationships of hummingbirds, nightjars, swifts, and kin, AKA the strisores. Read his post about the work!
- At his Rex Machina blog, our very own Nick Schofield explores spinosaurid diversity, shining a light on intriguing finds in Thailand.
- The Saurian crew’s latest devlog details developments in smelly plants, Anzu head tilts, and Triceratops names.
- “These people have, I’ve been surprised to learn, come up with six different mechanisms for fire production in extinct archosaurs.” Darren Naish reviews Philip Senter’s book picking apart the fire-breathing dinosaur claims of creationists at TetZoo.
- History, folklore, paleontology… Lisa Buckley’s latest on fossil owls is a doozy.
Dispatches from Himmapaanland
On Twitter, Natee started September with a classic bit of literary mash-up and just kept on rolling out the hits.
This entered my head; and now I've regurgitated it.
A Romaeosaur. pic.twitter.com/7eViwM08Ve
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) September 3, 2019
If you recall that stage I first shared months ago: I've only just finally worked it up because I was afraid to touch what I felt was a good sketch.
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) September 3, 2019
#TeethAreTiresome, dahling, and any support for not having to draw them is welcome by me with open arms. ;} 😗
It's Derpy McDirtyGreatTheropod. Ew, ew, ew. 😋 pic.twitter.com/b4Mf1ueLSh
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) September 18, 2019
The LITC AV Club
Mike Taylor on Jensen’s Trio of ‘Pods
Armor and Clubs on Common Descent
The Common Descent podcast dedicated an entire episode to those iconic Mesozoic panzers, the ankylosaurs. Nice!
Brian Engh on Thermal Paleoart…
…and on Chompy Rex
The Horned Beasts Have Arrived
The new line of Beasts of the Mesozoic figures, focused on ceratopsians, is now funding! Pledge for yours at Kickstarter And scroll down for our BOTM paleoart feature.
The Empty Wallets Club
- Gabriel Ugueto illustrated a recently-published Spanish-language children’s book. Buy yours here!
- I treated myself to a new tee this month: Scott Elyard’s awesome Elasmosaurus, which makes me dizzy if I stare too long at those vertebrae! Buy it here.
Your Moment of Paleoart Zen
I was pretty stunned to see the reveal of the box art for the Beasts of the Mesozoic Monoclonius (aka juvenile Centrosaurus). In a truly inspired move, BOTM mastermind David Silva enlisted Ezra Tucker, the terrific artist and illustrator responsible for that iconic Dino-Riders art to illustrate this. Of course, Dino-Riders is one of the pieces of pop culture that made Monoclonius a quintessentially 1980’s dinosaur (especially considering the fact that the taxon has been considered a nomen dubium in the intervening years).
The art on the box echos the composition of the Dino-Riders Monoclonius box art, and the color scheme of the toy does likewise. But comparing the two, you can see just how much thirty-odd years have improved Tucker’s technique. And, of course, it’s fun to compare the anatomy of the two beasts. This is a rare and potent mix of nostalgia-tickling illustration and contemporary paleoart. The color palette and superbly retro volcano spewing lava and ash is just delicious.