STL Science Center

STL Science Center

09 October 2015

An Odd Week

(C) José Miguel Pino
This week is going to be odd and a little difficult
. The reason posts the last two days have been a little bit late, backdated, or seem rushed is because the last two days have seen myself, and possibly many other biologists, paleontologists, and geologists triple checking posters and presentations in preparation for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting that begins next Wednesday in Dallas. This week's animal is going to be a contentious animal, partly because it is always fun to look at animals that have been lumped and split by various studies, and partly because there are enough materials that it will be easy to write about the dinosaur and also update, as I can, on some of the more general happenings of the conference.

Somehow, in all the years we have been going over dinosaurs, we have not discussed a still debated (though not as hotly as before I am sure) intermediate form of Pachycephalosaurus. The proposed life cycle of Pachycephalosaurus includes a juvenile form (Dracorex), a subadult form (Stygimoloch), and the adult Pachycephalosaurus. This week we are interested in the subadult form and, for our purposes, we will consider the animal outside of the debate (or as a split genus if one cannot separate the animals and the debate); this is not an endorsement of either side of the debate and we really just want to look at this animal. Stygimoloch continues our October of evil sounding fossil names and, additionally, adds an even more evil appearance to the taxa being discussed. Juvenile, female, or separate species, this is an interesting dinosaur and should be a delight to discuss as this week goes on.

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