Thursday, May 30, 2019

Walk This Way

The right manus of Camarasaurus. Note the columnar arrangement and virtual absence of fingers.
Late last year, I introduced you all to the Lessemsauridae, a group of near-sauropod "prosauropods" that grew unreasonably large—up to 12 tons in Ledumahadi mafube. There’s some disagreement about the posture of these enormous animals: in true, blue Sauropoda, the forelimbs are columnar, the hands are pronated, the weight is bore on the fingertips, and there is a reduction in phalanges and claws. This arrangement is present to some degree even in the earliest true sauropods like Melanorosaurus and Barapasaurus.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Don't knock my Smok or I'll clean your clock!

We miss you, Bill Watterson.
A few months ago, I wrote that my favorite paleo story of 2018 was the publication of Lisowicia bojani, a ridiculously large dicynodont from Poland. In that same post, I mentioned Smok wawelski, a similarly-sized predatory archosaur of uncertain phylogenetic affinities that very likely hunted Lisowicia. It strikes me that Smok might be unfamiliar to many of you out there in Readerland, so today’s quick post is a summary of what we know about this mysterious carnivore. By the way, I posted this Calvin & Hobbes strip because every time I hear the name Smok I immediately think of it.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Whale-Lizards of the Triassic III: Revenge of Eretmorhipis

You might fondly remember the two previous posts in this series: Part I and Part II which describe a particularly bizarre group of basal ichthyosauromorphs called hupehsuchians. Known for their "bony body tubes" and wide, toothless mouths, hupehsuchians are a surprisingly diverse group that includes five monospecific genera: Nanchangosaurus, Hupehsuchus, EohupehsuchusParahupehsuchus, and EretmorhipisEretmorhipis is the most recently-described hupehsuchian (Chen et al. 2015) but also one of the more mysterious, as the holotype does not include a skull or even cervicals. I should mention this is also the case with Parahupehsuchus although it's missing most of the tail, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Big Finish to 2018

Despite Sergey Krasovskiy's gorgeous art, it is not Crittendenceratops.
First of all, sorry for not writing anything in December. We spent half the month on vacation and the other half madly trying to finish things before the vacation and playing catch-up after the vacation. It was a good vacation; we went to Kauai. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Kauai but it’s the complete opposite of Alaska, especially during December. I did some writing while on vacation but nothing serious and besides I didn’t have any of my reference material on-hand. However, I did work on a longer-term project that's been on my mind for awhile now. Details as they emerge.