30 July 2017
29 July 2017
28 July 2017
The pudgy little fluffball that Matt Martyniuk illustrated, and is photoshopped into the image shared on Saturday, is only one version of this well known dinosaur. It may be among the most adorable recreations of the feather covered non-avian dinosaur, but it is not the most dynamic nor the most thought provoking interpretation of the animal. It is not, thankfully, a skin and bones dinosaur, though this interpretation also exists. The interpretation is done in an older style that is no longer considered acceptable in scientific interpretations of fossils. It is worth looking at to see what the 1990's version of Sinosauropteryx would have looked like though. Instead of remaining on that interpretation though, here are some more realistic interpretations. The interpretations of Emily Willoughby and Julius Csotonyi both feature feathered Sinosauropteryx in wooded areas. However, the styles are different, making the feathers and dinosaurs look very different. Each version shows Sinosauropteryx in a different light and they both have their high points and low points. Enjoy both for their different reasons.
26 July 2017
|Photo by Sam Ose|
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25 July 2017
One of the original papers that describes and discusses Sinosauropteryx that we discussed and is worth bringing back immediately on this site: Ji and Ji 1996. Other articles that mention or describe Sinosauropteryx have been written since 2012, which makes because it is such an interesting and important dinosaur. Lingham-Soliar 2015 examines the postural stages of death in Sinosauropteryx. This paper describes three stages of the tail and neck as they assume what is known as an opisthotonic pose of the tails and necks. Studying the taphonomy of Sinosauropteryx is not all that has occurred in the last few years. Due to its important position as the first non-avian dinosaur positively sporting feathers, Sinosauropteryx has also been studied as a means of better understanding the evolution of the feathers. Studying the epidermis and dermis of the tail, Lingham-Soliar 2013 details the death pose (prior to his paper specifically on the death pose). Scaling and feathers and the fibers of the epidermis are all in play throughout this paper. Enjoy the reading this evening and learn some more about feathers and Sinosauropteryx.
24 July 2017
23 July 2017
|Dinosaur: ©Matt Martyniuk adapted under |
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21 July 2017
20 July 2017
Gargoyleosaurus does not appear in many mainstream popular outlets at all. There are a number of books that mention Gargoyleosaurus in some capacity or another; however, none of these are exceedingly popular, mainstream, or well-regarded within the scientific community. Most of the books are actually short kids books about dinosaurs or generalized field guide-esque books that discuss the most important scientific aspects and discoveries of whichever dinosaur in particular. There are some video game references and toys and these appear in videos or on websites dedicated to toys and video games, not surprisingly. There is a rather interesting video worth sharing here that shows the resulting miniature 3D printed sculpture. Check out the detail here:
19 July 2017
Gargoyleosaurus was a somewhat smaller ankylosaur than its descendants and later cousins. Measuring in with a skull approximately 29cm (11in) long, Gargoyleosaurus' skull was approximately the size of a squirrel (minus the tail). The entire body of the dinosaur was estimated to be up to 4m (13.1ft). The largest Ankylosaurus were estimated to be as long as 10.6m (35ft); about 2.5 times the size of this early member of the family. Estimated weights, likewise, are radically different for this smaller ankylosaur. Gargoyleosaurus was estimated to weigh 1 tonne (2,200lbs) whereas Ankylosaurus was estimated to weigh in at approximately 6.8 tonnes (15,000lbs). Aside from the weight and absolute length of Gargoyleosaurus, the dinosaur was about the size of some common livestock. It could have certainly made an interesting large pet.
18 July 2017
Skulls and postcrania in original descriptions are described together, but this does not mean that later in the research of any given taxa they may not be described separately in equal or greater detail and compared to diverse taxa. The original descriptive material pertaining to Gargoyleosaurus specifically refers to a description of a skull of a Jurassic ankylosaur (the article's title is indeed "Skull of a Jurassic ankylosaur") and does not mention the postcranial material specifically. Many years after this initial description, the pelvis received some individual detailed study and description. The love for the pelvis was part of a dedicated study of ankylosaur pelvic evolution and includes comparative descriptions of other ankylosaur pelves within the family tree. The paper contains a large number of figures showing these different pelves and how they are compared in the paper. Unlike the original description, this paper is open-sourced and therefore open to being read. The one paper significantly missing from reading that turns up on an initial search is a new description of the original materials. We can learn a lot from these two available descriptions, however, and will certainly make do with them.
17 July 2017
15 July 2017
Gargoyleosaurus parkpinorum consists of two partial and undescribed skeletons as well as the holotype described by Carpenter, et al. 1998 (originally G. parkpini and edited slightly to the current form in 2001). The skeletons were recovered from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming. The known described material consists of a skull and the majority of the postcranial skeleton. These materials have been restored and a full skeleton is on display in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
|Photo by "Firsfron" released under|
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
14 July 2017
A number of panoramas and beautiful illustrations have been made containing or featuring Pelecanimimus. Most of these show the animal in the foreground of the image even as a non-feature animal. The best of the non-featured Pelecanimimus illustrations are actually two Raul Martin illustrations. The first features Concavenator with a small herd or flock of Pelecanimimus in the middleground crossing the central river of the scene. The second Martin image centers on both Pelecanimimus and Goniopholis. In this illustration, however, Pelecanimimus figures in as a potential dietary morsel for Goniopholis. Pelecanimimus appears in more water filled scenes such as Roman Garcia Mora's Baryonyx illustration; Pelecanimimus appearing in a shaded portion of the illustration and can be easily lost in its position in the foreground. The dinosaurs also appear drinking from a stream in an painting by Jose Antonio Peñas. The only high quality non-water filled illustration being shared today depicts a small flock of Pelecanimimus running in a Spanish desert and was created by Mauricio Anton. Check out all of these illustrations and enjoy the imaginative scenes.
13 July 2017
12 July 2017
The gular flap of Pelecanimimus is a key character, in coordination with the unique dental structure it possesses, of what makes this ornithomimid special. The skull of Pelecanimimus, looking at the fossil material, does not clearly show the gular flap. The images may not clearly show this under normal light, but the illuminated fluorescent lighting that is shown in Perez-Moreno et al. 1994 does show that gular flap quite well. The point of the flap, either way, was under scrutiny for a while, but the general hypothesis that that gular flap was used to corral and capture food items, particularly fish. Possibly the most interesting aspect of this hypothesis is that the teeth are thought to have aided in the capture of fish and the gular flap area was to be used to store the fish. This use would be similar to that of a bird's crop. Pelicans use their gular flap in a similar fashion, but more often than not immediately swallow their meals of fish after grasping the fish using the tips of their bills. The hypothesized feeding habits of Pelecanimimus may have indeed mimicked those of pelicans but with teeth instead of simply the tip of the beak.
11 July 2017
10 July 2017
Few ornithomimids have teeth and Pelecanimimus is the most renowned of all the toothed mimics. The dinosaur was originally presented in a short Letter to Nature as unique and multi-toothed Spanish dinosaur. The holotype consists of the anterior portion of a skeleton including the skull and all of the cervical vertebrae. This holotype is preserved on a slab that has been shown in the description paper under induced fluorescence. The fossil is accompanied by a hypothetical illustration of the animal. This recreation and the description of the original material are discussed in subsequent studies such as Allain, et al. 2014 which describes a number of European ornithomimosaurs. Prior to this, however, Pelecanimimus was scrutinized and praised for possessing mineralized skin and muscle in the fossil matrix. This discovery was described by Briggs, et al. 1997 which determined the validity of the materials and the presence of skin impressions in the slab in addition to the mineralized material attached to the skeleton itself.
09 July 2017
08 July 2017
The Early Cretaceous of Spain contained many animals, including the ornithomimosaurid Pelecanimimus polyodon described by Perez-Moreno et al., 1994. This ornithomimosaurid was slightly smaller than many other, later, members of its family, measuring in at approximately 2–2.5m (6.6–8.2ft). Hypotheses of the diet of Pelecanimimus are mostly centered around the idea of a piscivorous, or fish eating, diet. It has been hypothesized that this diet is plausible because Pelecanimimus possessed both teeth, rare for an ornithomimosaur, and the remains of a soft tissue gular flap. This flap of skin stretched between the mandible and throat, just as a very similar flap of skin does in modern pelicans. Instead of flying Pelecanimimus used its relatively long legs to run from danger.
07 July 2017
A number of times in the past we have featured art by unknown artists and unnamed artists. Thankfully, for some of them, we have user names or some form of internet handle to use. This is true of the Polish artist Apsaravis, who created posted this image of a Dilophosaurus chasing a small Lesothosaurus across a Jurassic stream in Poland; this young woman from Poland pictures her homeland during the Mesozoic often in her creations. She describes the scene as the Early Jurassic of Sołtyków and larger theropod in the middle ground as "an early tetanurine theropod". Despite not specifically naming the sauropods in the background Vulcanodon, they are described as "Vulcanodon-like sauropods". Typically we show our animal of the week as the center piece of Friday's art, but this entire scene is somewhat majestic and wonderful; I could not resist sharing it with everyone.
06 July 2017
Vulcanodon has been portrayed in many different ways since it was first discovered, recovered, and described. These include the skinny, emaciated, Vulcanodon that is shown on Prehistoric Wildlife; you may have seen this on Sunday. Also included in the grand menagerie of Vulcanodon images are far more healthy looking, or less emaciated appearing, at least. The animals of the JuraPark in Solec Kujawski, Poland are somewhere between emaciated and very well fed (i.e. "healthy"). There are mentions in books, as noted on a previous day this week as well; however, enjoy this herd that resides, and is very popular, in the well known JuraPark.
05 July 2017
While much of America was setting off or watching fireworks, I considered writing Tuesday's entry, then became exhausted and obviously did not. I did begin the search for papers about Vulcanodon and it was a search that turned up a few interesting results. The first thing that stands out is that the original description by Raath is not available online; this is not abnormal of course with older publications. A secondary assessment of the remains and description of the phylogeny of Vulcanodon by Michael Cooper can be found online and does tell us a great deal about the the dinosaur. Many other papers mention the dinosaur sparingly or only briefly; this does not inform us about much about Vulcanodon.
03 July 2017
02 July 2017
01 July 2017
Welcome to July one and all. We are going to start one of the hotter months of the summer here in the Northern Hemisphere with an early sauropod that has a name that sounds fairly hot. Volcanodon karibaensis of the Early Jurassic was discovered in Rhodesia in 1969 (presently known as Zimbabwe) and described by Michael Raath. Raath, as a side note to the dinosaur, famously described many fossils from Zimbabwe during the 1960's (1969 was an especially prolific year for Raath) from the Port Elizabeth Museum of South Africa and many southern African dinosaurs are known to science due to his descriptions. Vulcanodon was a moderately sized early sauropod at 11m (35ft) and was an obligate quadruped; some contemporaneous early sauropods were still considered to be facultatively bipedal. Vulcanodon, though had limbs that were not entirely consist with later obligate quadrupedal sauropods. This little known, but very important, early sauropod will tell us a lot about Jurassic Africa and the history of sauropods.