Blog Profile / Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Filed Under:Biology / Paleontology
Posts on Regator:685
Posts / Week:3
Archived Since:November 17, 2010

Blog Post Archive

“PeerJ can’t possibly last because the numbers don’t add up.”

I had an email out of the blue this morning, from someone I’d not previously corresponded with, asking me an important question about PeerJ. I thought it was worth sharing the question, and its answer, more generally. So here it is. Do you have any insight into the PeerJ business model? When I try to […]

Baby box turtles, and the ghost of editors past

We adopted a couple of 6-week-old box turtles today. They are Three-Toed Box Turtles, Terrapene carolina triunguis, and they are insanely adorable. This one seemed oddly familiar…had I encountered it before?

You can predict how rabbits run by looking at their skulls (using this one weird trick!)

I have a new paper out today in PeerJ: “Ecological correlates to cranial morphology in leporids (Mammalia, Lagomorpha)”, with coauthors Brian Kraatz, Emma Sherratt, and Nick Bumacod. Get it free here. I know, I know, I have fallen from grace. First Aquilops, now rabbits. And, and…skulls! I know what you’re thinking: that maybe I’m not just […]

Zallinger’s “Age of Reptiles” mural at the Yale Peabody Museum

In 2012, Matt and I spent a week in New York, mostly working at the AMNH on “Apatosaurus” minimus and a few other specimens that caught our eye. But we were able to spend a day at the Yale Peabody Museum up in New Haven, Connecticut, to check out the caudal pneumaticity in the mounted […]

Here comes VAMP, a new open-access journal of vertebrate palaeontology

Just launched: a new open-access journal of vertebrate paleontology, brought to you by the University of Alberta, Canada! It’s called VAMP (Vertebrate Anatomy Morphology Palaeontology), and it charges no APC. Here’s a illustration from one of the two articles in its first issue. Show More Summary

Help us assemble all of the museum abbreviations

We have a new page on the sidebar – here – where we’re collecting as many museum abbreviations as possible, the idea being that you can copy and paste them into your papers to rapidly populate the ‘Museum Abbreviations’ section. I grabbed about 100 from my own previous papers and a handful of others, so […]

How big was ‘Huanghetitan’ ruyangensis? I mean, really?

I’ve been taking a long-overdue look at some of the recently-described giant sauropods from China, trying to sort out just how big they were. Not a new pursuit for me, just one I hadn’t been back to in a while. Also, I’m not trying to debunk anything about this animal – as far as I […]

Tutorial 29, Appendix B: good, bad, and ugly titles of Matt’s papers

Last October, Mike posted a tutorial on how to choose a paper title, then followed it up by evaluating the titles of his own papers. He invited me to do the same for my papers. I waited a few days to allow myself to forget Mike’s comments on our joint papers – not too hard […]

Dinosaur National Monument quarry map

The Carnegie Quarry, at Dinosaur National Monument, near Jensen, Utah, is arguably the most impressive dinosaur-fossil exhibit anywhere in the world — a covered, semi-excavated quarry that’s absolutely packed with big dinosaur fossils. It’s also notoriously difficult to photograph: too big to fit into a single photo, and with poor contrast between the bones and […]

Defensive use of the tail in monitors – and also sauropods?

One thing that I’ve never understood is why some people are skeptical about sauropods using their tails defensively, when lizards do this all the time. I’ve been digging through the literature on this for a current project, and there are some really great accounts out there, and by ‘great’ I mean ‘scary’. Here’s a key […]

A permanent home for the SVP’s Aetogate documents

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly seven years since the “resolution”, if you want to call it that, of Aetogate, the aetosaur plagiarism-and-claim-jumping scandal. I was contacted privately today by someone wanting to know if I had copies of the SVP’s documents published in response to this. I didn’t — and the documents are […]

The Titanic was sunk by an Apatosaurus cervical

According to Rare Historical Photos from the 1860s to the 1960s, this is the iceberg that sank the Titanic: Clearly this was no iceberg, but a gigantic Apatosaurus vertebra, most of it hidden under water. Here is an artist’s impression: They get everywhere, don’t they?

The planned vandalism of the Natural History Museum: a modest proposal

Go to Google and do a picture search for “natural history museum”. Here are the results I get. (I’m searching the UK, where that term refers to the British museum of that name — results in the USA may very.) In the top 24 images, I see that half of them are of the building […]

Can it be? Even more non-dinosaurian epipophyses? Yes, and this time they’re non-ornithodiran!

Having given pterosaurs all the glory in two earlier posts, it’s time to move yet further away from the sauropods we know and love, and look at epipophyses outside of Ornithodira. Here, for example, is the basal archosauriform Vancleavea. (Thanks to Mickey Mortimer, whose a comment on an earlier post put us onto this, and various other candidate epipohysis-bearers which […]

What’s that you say? No epipophyses in titanosaurs? Oh really?

This just in, from Zurriaguz and Powell’s (2015) hot-off-the-press paper describing the morphology and pneumatic features of the presacral column of the derived titanosaur Saltasaurus. (Thanks to Darren for bringing this paper to my attention.) Now, as everyone knows, titanosaurs don’t have epipophyses. In fact, they’re the one major sauropod group where Matt has not […]

The equivocal epipophyses of Cf. Quetzalcoatlus

It’s well known that there is good fossil material of the giant azhdarchid pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus out there, but that for various complicated reasons it’s yet to be published. But as part of our ongoing quest for pterosaur epipophyses, I have obtained these photos of a pretty well preserved single cervical, probably C3, which is either Quetzalcoatlus […]

Further exciting developments in the field of non-sauropod epipophyses

Many thanks for the various people who chipped in, both in comments on the last post and in this thread on twitter, where I asked a bunch of pterosaur experts for their thoughts on epipophyses in pterosaurs. I now know more than I previously knew about epipophyses outside of Sauropoda — and especially outside Dinosauria. […]

Epipophyses, for forgotten apophyses: not just for sauropods!

Matt’s last post contained a nice overview of the occurrence of epipophyses in sauropodomorphs: that is, bony insertion points for epaxial ligaments and muscles above the postzygapophyseal facets. What we’ve not mentioned so far is that these structures are not limited to sauropods. Back when we were preparing one of the earlier drafts of the […]

The epipophyses of Qijianglong and other sauropods

Introduction and Background I have three goals with this post: To document the range of variation in epipophyses in the cervical vertebrae of sauropods. To show that the “finger-like processes” overhanging the cervical postzygapophyses in the newly described Qijianglong are not novel or mysterious structures, just very well developed epipophyses. Show More Summary

The “finger-like” parapostzygapophyseal processes of Qijianglong

There’s a new mamenchisaurid in town! It’s called Qijianglong (“dragon of Qijiang”), and it’s the work of Xing et al. (2015). As far as I can make out, the life restoration is also due to Xing Lida: at least, every instance of the picture I’ve seen says “Credit: Xing Lida”. If that’s right, it’s an amazing display […]

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