Blog Profile / Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Filed Under:Biology / Paleontology
Posts on Regator:737
Posts / Week:2.8
Archived Since:November 17, 2010

Blog Post Archive

#OpenCon 2015: absolutely, indisputably, the best conference ever

I got back on Tuesday from OpenCon 2015 — the most astonishing conference on open scholarship. Logistically, it works very different from most conferences: students have their expenses paid, but established scholars have to pay a registration fee and cover their own expenses. That inversion of how things are usually done captures much of what’s […]

MYDD! #OpenCon edition

The palaeontology contingent at OpenCon 2015, all reminding you to Measure Your Damned Dinosaur! Left to right: Jon Tennant, Mike Taylor, Ross Mounce.

The central irony of life in academia

One thing that always bemuses me is the near-absolute serendipity of the academic job market. To get into research careers takes at least a decade of very deliberate, directed work, and then at the end you basically toss your diploma into a whirlwind and see where it lands. After all of that careful planning, almost […]

“The editor had requested a price of 400 euros, an APC that is not sustainable”

Many SV-POW! readers will already be aware that the entire editorial staff of the Elsevier journal Lingua had resigned over the journal’s high price and lack of open access. As soon as they have worked out their contracts, they will leave en bloc and start a new open access journal, Glossa — which will in fact be the […]

Things to Make and Do, part 18: jar of wasps

Here’s the jar of wasps sitting out on the table in our back garden: OK, this is not so much an interesting specimen as a handy hint. We hosted a picnic during the summer and it was absolutely infested with wasps. (One person was stung — everyone else had to look super-carefully at their sandwiches before […]

My cat’s neck skeleton (first five cervicals)

When I separated my cat’s head from its body, the first five cervical vertebrae came with it. Never one to waste perfectly good cervicals, I prepped them as well as the skull. Here they are, nicely articulated. (Click through for high resolution.) Dorsal view at the top, then right lateral (actually, slightly dorsolateral) and ventral […]

Fighting apatosaur art #7: the world speaks!

I’d hoped that we’d see a flood of BRONTOSMASH-themed artwork, but that’s not quite happened. We’ve seen a trickle, though, and that’s still exciting. Here are the ones I know about. If anyone knows of more, please let me know and I will update this post. First, in a comment on the post with my […]

Which was the biggest dinosaur?

I just gave an answer to this question on Quora, and it occurred to me that I ought to also give it a permanent home here. So here it is. This is a great example of a question that you’d think would have a simple, clear answer, but doesn’t. In fact, as a palaeontologist specialising in […]

How light could a giant azhdarchid be?

I imagine that by now, everyone who reads this blog is familiar with Mark Witton’s painting of a giant azhdarchid pterosaur alongside a big giraffe. Here it is, for those who haven’t seen it: (This is the fifth and most recent version that Mark has created, taken from 9 things you may not know about giant azhdarchid […]

Richard Butler: seeking volunteers for the SVPCA committee

Following on from his recent, and extensively discussed, offer to host SVPCA 2017, and a plan for the future, Richard Butler is now circulating his update, soliciting volunteers for the committee that virtually everyone agreed was a good idea. Dear SVPCA/SPPC friends and colleagues, We have identified you as a member of the SVPCA/SPPC community through having […]

Copyright: promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts by preventing access to 105-year-old quarry maps

In my recent preprint on the incompleteness and distortion of sauropod neck specimens, I discuss three well-known sauropod specimens in detail, and show that they are not as well known as we think they are. One of them is the Giraffatitan brancai lectotype MB.R.2181 (more widely known by its older designation HMN SII), the specimen that […]

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. […]

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