25 July 2014

Whale of a Lizard

Moving from the early days to the giants of sauropoda, we can call just about any of the large members of the group whales of the land. Obviously they are not related to whales and are rarely if ever 
discussed in terms of being whale-like, except when their weights are mentioned. However, one member of the group does exist that is often and accurately called a whale. Cetiosaurus is a genus of Jurassic sauropods of Europe consisting of 4 recognized species. In 1842 in England the first remains were recovered but were thought to belong to some kind of crocodile by Richard Owen. They were not, however, and recognizing them for what they are makes Cetiosaurus the first described sauropod in the history of paleontology. It was also a primitive sauropod as well, its neck  and tail are shorter than those of other sauropods. What is possibly the best known sauropod of England will not be a typical sauropod for the week but should prove rather unique and interesting. 

Neck vertebrae and restored skull of the Rutland C.oxoniensis

24 July 2014

Wonders of Fame

The most famous thing about Pantydraco is that it is named Pantydraco. In ways that is kind of sad, but in other ways it is simply an understatement of the value of the remains that are Pantydraco. In part, recognition of the uniqueness of the morphology of Pantydraco has aided in the modern diagnosis and definition of what exactly is a "prosauropod" and also aided in defining "prosauropod" as a paraphyletic grouping. Additionally, it is further evidence that sauropods evolved from bipedal omnivores and/or carnivores. Sadly, though, despite all of this, the internet will, because there are no toys or plush animals, always remember Pantydraco as the dinosaur with the childishly funny name because of memes like this:

23 July 2014

Two Legs

Walking on two legs and possessing a dietary regimen of basically anything, Pantydraco was probably a bit of a monster to anything smaller and slower than it. The small proto-mammals and reptiles of the Triassic would have been good snacks for Pantydraco, for example. While it was stated that animals slower than Pantydraco were probably good food items, its speed has not, to my knowledge, been measured or its gate measured. Therefore, we cannot accurately state the threshold of that speed minimum needed to outrun Pantydraco. Regardless, smaller animals than Pantydraco were probably frequently in danger of being ingested. Plants that were chosen by Pantydraco probably had absolutely no chance against the much more mobile and vicious dinosaur. Just look at how angry and mobile they were:

22 July 2014

Printed Editions

In what appears to be a borderline breach of conduct, one website hosts, in rather odd capitalization of the title in their link, a copy of Yates' 2003 paper announcing the description of a new species of Thecodontosaurus. This paper describes the new specimen and then describes how the specimen, and Thecodontosaurus in general, impact the contemporaneous systematics of the day. The most significant impact appears to have been judged to be the fact that 'prosauropods"are considered paraphyletic when Thecodontosaurus and its close relatives morphologies are taken into consideration. The history of "prosauropod" monophyly is also discussed in the paper, making it a valuable history paper as well in that regard. In respect to the newer paper that generates and announces the name Pantydraco, only the publisher's page appears to contain it, meaning that it must be purchased from them directly for reading. As always this is not beneficial to poor graduate students or anyone that cannot drop $40 on a scholarly article, but the option does certainly exist.

21 July 2014

Still Frames

Pantydraco is not an animated dinosaur by any means. We can chalk this one up to, once again, both the newness of the dinosaur's genus and the general lack of knowledge about the dinosaur in the general public. This time, however, there are not even sufficient tribute videos focused on the dinosaur. There are a few videos that discuss Thecodontosaurus or its origins, but these are slightly different circumstances from those surrounding Pantydraco. The similarities between the two do not contain enough mutual evidence to persuade me to share a video of one to address the few odd similarities with the other. Instead, prior to discussing academic papers tomorrow, I would like for all interested parties to read  a short essay by Adam Yates that addresses the confusion and occasional embarrassment of the name Pantydraco. I personally think it is a humorous name, taken by itself, but is a perfectly reasonable abbreviation of the Welsh word on which it was based. However, read his explanation of the back story and feel free to discuss it.

20 July 2014

Kids Dragons

Pantydraco is a little short on child friendly links. There are several reasons for this including the fact that it is not well known. The NHM of London has an entry in its DinoDirectory, as it does for many dinosaurs, but many of our other normal fact websites possess no information on the animal. About has a short fact page dedicated to it as well. A site that we have not used before, DinoChecker's Dinosaur Archive also has a fact page on Pantydraco. The page gives Pantydraco a roar factor of 1 out of 10, but it should really be higher than that given their rating explanations. Children may enjoy the rating system, however. Additionally, there are no coloring sheets out there, so I used a skeletal model as a basis and whipped up a (very) rough outline that can be used to color with if anyone has missed coloring dinosaurs the past month or so!

19 July 2014

Supposed Skulls

Pantydraco has a funny name. However, it also has a fragmented skull. The fragmented skull was reconstituted based on the skull of the originally assigned genus, Thecodontosaurus. The skull, therefore, is not entirely correctly, assembled. The teeth are not entirely peg-like and not flatly cusped either. Instead, they are almost predatory. The diet of the animal is not, however, completely known and is partly guessed at with some sources claiming herbivory, some omnivory, and others carnivory.