Hope you all are staying safe! Here’s this month’s edition of my regular Mesozoic paleontology roundup. We had some really interesting news this April, and as always I provide a look at relevant blogging, videos, and artwork.
In the News
- The SVP has taken a stand on the blood amber of Myanmar, in a letter sent to 300 journals across the globe. “The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology strongly discourages its members from working on amber collected in or exported from Myanmar since June 2017, until the situation changes.” Read the full statement.
- A cool new gondwanatherian from Madagascar has been described, Adalatherium hui. It’s the most ancient and by far the most complete gondwanatherian fossil ever discovered. Read more from Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience and Chrissy Sexton at Earth.com.
- Stellasaurus ovatus is a new centrosaurine, posited to be transitional between Styracosaurus and Einiosaurus.
- Our ol’ pal Spinosaurus received yet another overhaul. That sucker may have been a swimmer, as new fossils of tail bones reveal struts creating a vertically flattened paddle shape for aquatic locomotion. We’ll see how this shakes out with further study, as usual. Read more from Michael Greshko at NatGeo.
- Sedimentological data provides us a look at an Antarctic temperate lowland forest from the late Cretaceous. The southernmost sedimentary sequence from the Cretaceous yet collected, it has yielded a treasure trove of pollen, spores, and root fossils. Read more from Fernanda Castano at Letters from Gondwana.
- There’s a new deinocheirid on the block! Hailing from Mexico, meet Paraxenisaurus normalensis.
- Sauropod tracks… on the roof… of a cave? Lionel Richie, eat your heart out! Read more from Nature.
- A new archosauromorph from the Triassic of South Africa, Elessaurus gondwanoccidens, was described this month. Read more from Mike Walley at Everything Dinosaur.
- First unearthed in 1955, a bipedal sauropodomorph from Lesotho has been described and named. The 30-foot-long Kholumolumo ellenbergerorum, one of the largest animals known from the late Triassic, was formerly known as “Thotobolosaurus.” I actually wrote about the discovery of these fossils in a paleontology history post 9 years ago.
- New research into the sacra of sauropods indicates that a wedged sacrum may be a universal trait among the eusauropoda, bringing major implications for feeding strategies. Read more from author Daniel Vidal at Nature’s Ecology and Evolution blog.
- A new cryptoclidid plesiosaur, Britney (er, Opthalmothule cryostea), has been described from the permafrost of Svalbard. Read this great interview with author Aubrie Roberts at the PeerJ blog for more info.
- In India, paleontologists discovered a bonebed of 21 phytosaurs. “The cause of this mass death is probably disease related, after which the carcasses bloated, floated, and disarticulated at the site of death, resulting in an autochthonous assemblage.”
Around the Dinoblogosphere
- There’s a lot of discussion about diversity and inclusion in the sciences, and paleontology has its own ongoing discourse. At New Views on Old Bones, paleontologist Paul Barrett turns the magnifying lens back on himself, taking a look at how well he’s performed over his career in terms of collaborating with a diverse cross-section of scientists.
- People have been sharing the love for William Berry on Twitter, spurred by Attila Kovacs. Good time to check out Asher’s 2016 SVP post featuring his work!
- Andrew reviews the wonderful Dinosaur Atlas, featuring the distinctive geometric vector illustration of James Gilleard, at Dino Dad Reviews.
- The #StruthioFlock is growing, as more people share their own creations based on a DIY puppet kit created by Brian Engh, based on a skull cast by Triebold Paleontology.
- Meet the wee pterosaur Nemicolopturus in this Mesozoic Monthly post from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
- Listen, I’m not one for nostalgia, but it was a real kick to see this Dimetrodon model review at the Dinosaur Toy Blog. It’s one of the only paleo toys I actually remember having as a kid. The nifty new CollectA Protoceratops figure also gets a detailed review from Loon.
- Meet Sara Elshafie of UC Berkeley in an interview at the Paleontological Society blog, in which she talks about her paleontological interests and her Science Through Story workshops.
- Pterodaustro is one of the iconic weirdo pterosaurs. Chris DiPiazza illustrates and writes about what we know of the beloved ctenochasmine at Prehistoric Beast of the Week.
- Dave Hone has a reading list for anyone looking to become a paleontologist.
- At TetZoo, Darren swears that you shouldn’t sweat it – there are not too many sauropod taxa After reading that initial post, check out parts two, three, and four.
Dispatches from Himmapaanland
This piece will suffer on screen, of course. 😶
Incidentally, today was Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year, & my grandmother's birthday. pic.twitter.com/dopytjBJBK
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 14, 2020
Happy Eater– I mean, Easter. pic.twitter.com/a3tVGKvaCX
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 12, 2020
Snack time with Chiron the chasmosaur.
How goes your quarantine today? pic.twitter.com/o0KFbsZE7Q
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 15, 2020
That'll have to do? 😐 pic.twitter.com/FDzjFGhNLR
— Natee ~A drift of dust~ (@Himmapaan) April 4, 2020
The LITC AV Club
A journey through The Great Dinosaur Atlas with Marc Vincent
Facebook’s embed code doesn’t seem to work here, so click through to see Marc’s video review of The Great Dinosaur Atlas.
Your Velociraptor is Wrong…
… but Joanna Kobierska’s Velociraptor is very right
The Empty Wallets Club
- Charlotte Hohman, a paleoartist, paleontology student at Montana State University, and researcher at the Museum of the Rockies, has opened a new Redbubble shop. Browse her offerings at Redbubble.
- Julian Kiely has created a handy guide to the pterosaur families. It’s an adorable line-up of cartoon-ized flappers, but still recognizable as representatives of their families. Buy it at Redbubble.
Your Moment of Paleoart Zen
It’s back to the Triassic this month, with Keller Pyle’s scene of a victorious Postosuchus tucking into a nice, hot, presumably fragrant Placerias.
I love that trio of hungry Coelophysis waiting in the wings, hoping for the chance to nab some bites of their own while another Postosuchus lumbers toward the scene. I feel like there’s gonna be some strife in a few moments. Keep up with Keller at his website, DeviantArt gallery, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.