31 March 2014
30 March 2014
Trinacromerum is a less well known, studied, and found plesiosaur than its close relation Dolichorhynchops. There are all the pages slowly accumulating here, the descriptions and fossils at Oceans of Kansas, and the page at About. Coloring pages and other related children's fun pages under the name Trinacromerum do not exist; however, sharing the below image of Dolichorhynchops works for the purpose of a coloring page for today.
29 March 2014
28 March 2014
27 March 2014
Aardonyx is a relatively newly discovered, described, and documented dinosaur. Its popularity is mostly seen in news stories related to its discovery and naming instead of in the typical popular outlets of toys and children's books for example. Huffington Post wrote about it as did National Geographic. At least one Spore model has been made by a modder/Spore enthusiast out there, which is rather wonderful.
26 March 2014
As stated in the paper, if one had time or reason to read it yesterday, the weight bearing axis of the hindfeet and hindlimb of Aardonyx exhibits a shift to the medial aspect of the foot. Additionally, the femur of Aardonyx exhibited a more straightened shaft than in previous bipedal members of sauropodmorpha. Femoral shape, weight bearing axis, and a slower gait are all indicative of quadrupedalism, and Aardonyx was in the transitional placement in the three categories, making it slightly faster than later relatives with a convex femoral shaft and bearing the weight less in the medial aspect of the feet. Also, the humerus was notably shorter than the femur rather than of equal length; another important trait in quadrupedal dinosaurs is the near-equal length of femur and humerus.
25 March 2014
In the describing paper, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Aardonyx is discussed as the sister taxon to obligatory quadrupedal sauropodomorphs. This rather straightforward and almost emotionless statement is one of the most important phrases in the entire paper. Another highly important discovery, to those that love sauropods, is also mentioned in the abstract in a bit more detail; the anatomical orientation of the bones of the foot and their weight bearing capabilities are hinted at briefly. This comment and discussion of the anatomy of the foot leads into a rather interesting discussion on the evolution of bulk browsing in sauropods. This in turn leads to more discussion on obligate quadrupedalism from this facultative quadruped. This image is from the paper and details the remains discovered that were used to describe the new taxon.
|From Yates, et al.2009|
24 March 2014
Aardonyx has not appeared in many videos. There are a few out there that are tribute videos more than anything else. However, the best video out there for discussing the what, where, and how of Aardonyx's discovery and description is an interview of Dr. Matthew Bonnan discussing where it was found, what it meant to find it, and why it is a very important transitional fossil animal.
23 March 2014
22 March 2014
21 March 2014
20 March 2014
19 March 2014
|©Michael B H|
18 March 2014
I promised good papers today because I had no movies for a Monday. Atrociraptor was first announced and described in the book "Feathered Dragons" edited by Currie, Koppelhus, Shugar and Wright. It is rather different for an initial description to appear in a book as wide in scope and reach as this, but it was quite appropriate considering the context of the book in general. The minimal fossil remains are detailed, described, and shown in multiple views and arrays. Atrociraptor also shows its angry face in the Mesozoic field guide often referenced the past few weeks as well. Since the naming portion of the book is available online it is, of course, encouraged by me to read this book section and enjoy what little fossil evidence there is to enjoy for this dinosaur.
17 March 2014
No movie Monday for Atrociraptor. Not unless you count Spore that is.
This is clearly not the best model of Atrociraptor. At least someone has put some effort into putting out some model of this little known, little fossilized, killing machine. There is literally no other video out there online that mentions Atrociraptor, to my knowledge, and my exhaustive search must end at some time. Unfortunately this time around, it ends with this less than ideal result. However, I have papers for tomorrow. I do indeed!
16 March 2014
Small fossil materials almost always lead to small returns in most forms of popular culture, including the resources available for children. Academic Kids is the only website that attempts to toss out information at a lower reading level aside from About, which always has a rather succinct and lower level reading text. Atrociraptor lacks dedicated coloring pages and interesting kids videos, it is too bad though, considering that it could definitely make a really awesome addition to all kinds of kids shows or even the little shorts associated with the "I'm A Dinosaur" videos by Hooplakidz.
15 March 2014
14 March 2014
|Photo by Emily Willoughby at the Royal Tyrell Museum|
13 March 2014
Jinfengopteryx is neither well known or uniquely popular. Even the supposed Chinese mythology surrounding it, Jinfeng is a derivative of the name of the "Golden Phoenix" that is queen of all birds, turns out zero online hits. There could be any number of reasons for this, but for a namesake to turn out absolutely zero hits is pretty novel. Books, other than the field guide mentioned earlier in the week, and movies leave Jinfengopteryx out in the cold. No toys exist and very few pages online hint at its existence. The birdlike qualities of Jinfengopteryx have been debated and the dinosaurlike qualities have been counter-debated (though we can fairly confidently say that we can agree this is a very birdlike dinosaur). Regardless, this is an interesting fossil animal and we can probably all agree that it is somewhere, family-wise, in limbo; however, it deserves more recognition than it has currently garnered and hopefully, in the future, we can revisit it and see that is much more widely known and studied. We can also hope for another specimen to be found, but hoping can be pretty bleak sometimes in paleontology, so don't be upset if it takes a while to find a second specimen!
12 March 2014
It may not have been mentioned, but Jinfengopteryx is known from a single specimen. That single specimen, like many well preserved "dino-birds," is preserved in a slab of fine sediments that preserved the little specimen wonderfully. The tail and preserved feathers along the tail are fantastic looking in the fossil slab. The counterslab, which appears to be missing, probably has some nice carbon film impressions; however, I do not know if it is just missing or non-existent. The known feathers are numerous and well studied, as we have mentioned before. The teeth and other troodontid features can be seen in this fossil as well; this includes the general morphology of the skeleton but also makes it one of the only troodontids known to have feathers. Also, it is in what I can really only describe as a "roadrunner pose" on that wonderful fossil slab.
|From Ji et al. 2005|
11 March 2014
I can easily have a simple day and simply tell everyone to read the paper shared recently on size and evolution preceding the adaptations to powered flight; however, I have other papers for today as well. There are a couple of really good papers (I am leaving out the papers that named Jinfengopteryx) that I definitely recommend to learn more about our "dino-bird" of the week. One paper, that is available to all as an abstract, but can be found with a little effort, inter-library loan, or good friends, compares Jinfengopteryx and Archaeopteryx (as well as other long-tailed near Aves). The comparison is fantastic and the topic overall is very intriguing. The skeletons as well as the feather impressions are compared and the placement and flight abilities of the different "dino-birds" are discussed thoroughly. The second paper, available as a PDF file here, discusses the ecological factors that caused specialized evolution to occur in theropod dinosaurs. Specifically, the ecological factors promoting herbivory (herbivor-ism? vegetarianism?) to become dominant features of the diets of some theropods including the "dino-bird" Jinfengopteryx are the main discussion points of this paper. It makes for some fun reading, I promise!
10 March 2014
As mentioned yesterday, there are not many (read: any) videos that really mention or feature Jinfengopteryx as a main character. There is the documentary on feather evolution that discusses many fossil birds, dinosaurs, and "dino-birds." The video is not Jinfengopteryx heavy; however, it is below and does mention the animal at times, so it qualifies as part of video Monday for as much as it can count.
09 March 2014
Our little golden phoenix has been left out of the children's literature. There are brief summaries of what we know about Jinfengopteryx out there to be read but that does not necessarily make up for the lacking pages and resources. Videos we have seen before discussing feather evolution discuss Jinfengopteryx, but we do not even have a good hearty Dinosaur Train or Dinosaur King reference like we usually see with our little "dino-birds"; it is a little frustrating to have minimal material in any one specific category. However, Jinfengopteryx is a good critical thinking point if it is not a good source of coloring pages and so my unofficial assignment to little dinosaur loving folk out there today is to look at this print by John Conway and make your own list of reasons why these little "dino-birds" should be dinosaurs, birds, or both.
08 March 2014
07 March 2014
06 March 2014
Dinosaur Revolution was, for obvious reasons, the one outlet of popular culture that we know for sure had references to Rahonavis. The little "dino-bird" appears in many books, mostly those that are more technical in nature, but a few that are just a little more entertainment oriented; a quick search in a book list will turn up quite a few results. Possibly one of the lesser referenced but one of my more favored technical "guides" that discusses Rahonavis and shows a pretty, glossy, long tailed beauty of a "dino-bird" is Matt Martyniuk's A Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs.
05 March 2014
04 March 2014
First and foremost, there is a paper on keratin immunoreactivity in Rahonavis in a 1999 JVP issue; I am not worried about talking about that one today because I do not want to. If you do want to read it it can be found on the Taylor and Francis website, however. The discussion of Rahonavis in the description and taxonomic discussion of a new dromaeosaurid from Mongolia (Mahakala omnogovae) is both open source, available online, and very, very interesting. The overall theme of the paper discusses the evolution of size prior to the advent of flight in birds. It is a topic I thoroughly enjoy, which may be why I encourage everyone to take the time to read it (open-source helps too, let's be honest).
03 March 2014
02 March 2014
The best kids sites have nothing regarding Rahonavis. There are a variety of reasons that this has happened; however, there is information out there for younger readers on sites like About and a very small blurb on Enchanted Learning. A generic looking Rahonavis is even available for coloring either online or saving and printing via pdf. It is not the worst interpretation, but it is just a little bit more generic than one would hope for of course.
01 March 2014
Rahonavis is a borderline dinosaur that may potentially be a bird; as stated yesterday. Most of the illustrations that have been released since the naming and describing of Rahonavis in 1998 represent this overlap of morphologies. Rather than looking at those heavily dinosaur and bird influenced crosses of illustrative masterpiece, looking at the skeleton provides some of the best clues concerning the morphological characteristics of Rahonavis. As we can see in the skeleton, there are very avian characters in the forelimbs as well as the pectoral girdle. The sternum of Rahonavis is even a little keeled, allowing for the attachment of larger chest muscles; Rahonavis was probably not an actively powered flier. The hindlimbs and the pelvic girdle of Rahonavis are rather dinosaurian. The sickle claws on the feet as well as the orientation of the pubis are very dromaeosaurid. The skull fenestrations and teeth, the tail, and the ribs are also very dinosaur related characters seen in Rahonavis.