Blog Profile / Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Filed Under:Biology / Paleontology
Posts on Regator:725
Posts / Week:2.8
Archived Since:November 17, 2010

Blog Post Archive

Why do we have so few complete, undistorted sauropod necks?

Since I posted my preprint “Almost all known sauropod necks are incomplete and distorted” and asked in the comments for people to let me know if I missed any good necks, the candidates have been absolutely rolling in: The Kaatedocus siberi holotype SMA 0004 (thanks to Oliver Demuth for pointing this out) The Futalognkosaurus dukei holotype MUCPv-323 (thanks […]

The 14 beautiful cervicals of Kaatedocus

Well, I’m a moron again. In the new preprint that I just published, I briefly discussed the six species of sauropod for which complete necks are known — Camarasaurus lentus (but it’s a juvenile), Apatosaurus louisae (but the last three and maybe C5 are badly damaged), Mamenchisaurus hochuanensis (but all the vertebrae are broken and distorted), Shunosaurus lii, […]

My most depressing paper

I have a new preprint up at PeerJ (Taylor 2015), and have also submitted it simultaneously for peer review. In a sense, it’s not a paper I am happy about, as its title explains: “Almost all known sauropod necks are incomplete and distorted“. This paper has been a while coming, and much of the content will be […]

Four different reasons to post preprints

Preprints are in the air! A few weeks ago, Stephen Curry had a piece about them in the Guardian (Peer review, preprints and the speed of science) and pterosaur palaeontologist Liz Martin published Preprints in science on her blog Musings of Clumsy Palaeontologist. Show More Summary

Does anyone have a good scan of Hatcher 1901: plate VI?

Folks, For a forthcoming minor paper, I need a good-quality scan of Hatcher’s 1901 monograph on Diplodocus carnegii — specifically, plate VI, the photographs of the cervicals in posterior view. Here is the best scan I have of it: (Click through for full resolution.) If anyone has something better, please leave a comment or email me […]

Richard Butler: offer to host SVPCA 2017, and a plan for the future

We’re delighted to host this guest-blog on behalf of Richard Butler, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, and guru of basal ornithischians. (Note that Matt and I don’t necessarily endorse or agree with everything Richard says; but we’re pleased to provide a forum for discussion.) Dear friends and colleagues within the SVPCA community; I am […]

Fighting apatosaur art #6: the ones that got away

Here’s the last post (at least for now) in the Fighting Apatosaur Art series — and we’re back to Brian Engh, who we started with. Early in the process of putting together artwork to illustrate our apatosaur neck combat hypothesis, Brian tried out a whole bunch of outlandish concepts. Here are two that he showed […]

Fighting apatosaur art #5: Mark Witton

If we accept that the distinctive ventral projections of the gigantic and ventrally displaced cervical ribs of apatosaurs were likely the base of some form of soft-tissue rugosity — such as keratinous horns like those of rhinos — then does it follow that those necks were used in combat as we suggested? Maybe, maybe not. […]

Fighting apatosaur art #4: #MikeTaylorAwesomeDinoArt

I mentioned last time that, as I sat next to Bob Nicholls in an SVPCA session, I started sketching an apatosaur combat in the hope that my horrible drawing would provoke Bob to do a good one. That worked admirably, which means there is no good reason for me to subject you to my own sketch. […]

Fighting apatosaur art #3: Bob Nicholls

On the morning of Tuesday 1st December, on SVPCA day 1, I gave my talk about apatosaur neck combat. In one of the afternoon sessions, I sat next to Bob Nicholls, and found myself thinking how awesome it would be if he sketched some apato-combat. But I didn’t want to come right out and say “Hey, Bob, how ’bout you spontaneously […]

What is my mystery baby bird?

Here’s my newest specimen: a tiny baby bird, maybe 5 or 6 cm from wingtip to foot. This one came from my next-door neighbours: apparently it had been sitting on their car for several weeks before they thought to lift it off and give it to me. As you can see, the specimen is extraordinarily […]

Here’s that cat-skull multiview you ordered

The process of reassembling my cat skull continues. I now have the sphenoid and both nasals now back in place, and the time has come for the now-traditional multiview. (Previous examples: pig skull, wallaby skull, sheep skull. Click through for seriously high resolution (9602 × 7642). And here it is on a black background: As though […]

Fighting apatosaur art #2: Brian Engh again

Last time, we looked at some of Brian Engh’s preliminary sketches of pieces to illustrate our fighting-apatosaur hypothesis. But there’s more: some way into the process, Brian also came up with this very rough sketch, illustrating a different style of combat: All the pictures in the previous post show various forms of ventral-to-ventral combat, but […]

Fighting apatosaur art #1: Brian Engh

In putting together our thoughts on how apatosaurs used their necks, we were motivated by genuine curiosity — which in Matt’s and my case, at least, goes back many years. (We briefly discussed the problem, if only to throw our hands up in despair, in our 2013 neck-anatomy paper.) We didn’t land on the combat […]

The University of Bristol’s new #OpenAccess policy

A quick note to say that I got an email today — the University of Bristol Staff Bulletin — announcing some extremely welcome news: (Admittedly it was only the third item on the bulletin, coming in just after “Staff Parking – application deadline Friday 18 September”, but you can’t have everything.) This is excellent, and the […]

The Internet is for cat photos. Here are mine.

Regular readers will remember that I recently fished my cat skull out of the tub where invertebrates had been hard at work defleshing it, and put it to soak — first in soapy water, then in clean water, and finally in dilute hydrogen peroxide. It was in a pretty terrible state, having either been smashed […]

It was ten years ago today: my first published paper

Ten years ago today — on 15 September 2005 — my first palaeo paper was published: Taylor and Naish (2005) on the phylogenetic nomenclature of diplodocoids. It’s strange to think how fast the time has gone, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I get a bit self-indulgent and nostalgic. I’d applied to join Portsmouth University on […]

So what were apatosaurs doing with their crazy necks?

We’ve noted that the Taylor et al. SVPCA abstract and talk slides are up now up as part of the SVPCA 2015 PeerJ Collection, so anyone who’s interested has probably taken a look already to see what it was about. (As an aside, I am delighted to see that two more abstracts have been added […]

Things to Make and Do, Part 16: cat skull

Just under a year ago, the children across the road, who know I’m interested in comparative anatomy, told me that they’d found a dead cat by the side of the road, and asked whether I wanted it. Silly question, of course I did! I’ve learned from bitter experience that prepping the whole skeleton out of […]

A “special issue” for SVPCA 2015 proceedings

Wouldn’t it be great if, after a meeting like the 2015 SVPCA, there was a published set of proceedings? A special issue of a journal, perhaps, that collected papers that emerge from the work presented there. Of course the problem with special issues, and edited volumes in general, is that they take forever to come out. […]

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