I have a soft spot for sabertooths. I’m not just talking about the formidable cats with long canines from the last 25 million years or so. The “saber-toothed herring” Enchodus; the knobbly-headed uintatheres; funky, herbivorous cousins of ours from a time before there were mammals; and more – I adore them all. No surprise, then, that I picked a sabertooth theme for this month’s edition of The Boneyard – the science blogohedron’s monthly fossil carnival.
Before diving into the paleo-goodness, though, a brief note of apology. I was supposed to post this carnival last week, but, because I forgot to look at my calendar when I said “Yes” to hosting (*headdesk*), I forgot that I was going to be out in the field looking for Late Triassic fossils at Dinosaur National Monument. (It was hot, dirty work in which sunburn, rattlesnakes, and heavy thunderstorms were regular companions – I loved every minute of it.) Being that The Boneyard is a paleo carnival I started a few years ago and that David Orr has done a splendid job managing, I feel a little chagrined at screwing up the schedule, and I appreciate David’s patience with me as I go through fieldwork withdrawal.
So what have we got this time around?
For starters, Life As We Know It has a primer on sabertoothed critters through time. Early synapsids, mammals, dinosaurs… the post is a semi-technical collection of greatest hits and b-sides from sabertooth history. I was especially glad to see one of my favorites – the marsupial sabertooth Thylacosmilus – get a nod.
David Bressan, on the always fascinating History of Geology blog, steps up with a post titled “The sabre-toothed moonrat from the island of the sabre-toothed prongdeer.” That might be a little wordy for a direct-to-dvd b-movie, but the real creatures David describes were more wonderful than most fictional beasties you care to name.
Just Added (7/15/2011): The Prep Lounge gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at ongoing work being done on the sabercat Homotherium serum.
Sadly, that’s all the saber-fanged fare for this edition, but there’s still plenty more to dig through.
In another great takedown of “classic” paleo books, Trish of the Obligatory Art Blog shares some hilarious highlights from The Dinosaur Data Bookhilarious highlights from The Dinosaur Data Book. An invisible ceratopsian, Therizinosaurus as a giant murderbeast, and, big sigh, the Dinosauroid all make appearances. Even better, Adam of Sometimes I am a Fish has additional weird paleo-art, this time the truly bizarre pterosaur reconstructions of David Peters. H.G. Seeley may have called the flying reptiles “dragons of the air” way back when, but that doesn’t mean that they looked like the fanciful beasts Peters has concocted.
And paleo fans on the web recently got some good news to celebrate – Tetrapod Zoology has moved over to new digs at Scientific American (in addition to many other top-notch science blogs). To help kick things off, Darren Naish offered a bit of context for the giant fossil rabbit Nuralagus rexthe giant fossil rabbit Nuralagus rex, including an explanation about why one aspect of the animal’s reconstructed skeleton is almost certainly wrong.
That’s everything that came in for this addition – slim pickins, I know – but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Rather than cut things off, though, here’s a few other tidbits that recently caught my eye.
Paleontologist Andy Farke shares an encouraging, inspirational letter from another scientist he received when he was starting to realize his dinosaur dreams. Wonderful stuff.
If you visited a natural history museum gift shop anytime between the 70’s and early 90’s, chances are good that you saw the classic Invicta dinosaur poster. Marc dissects the art of this well-known bit of dinosauriana over at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs. And, at the same blog, David Orr tips us dinosaur comic fans off that artist Jim Lawson has been sharing parts of his in-progress tyrannosaur tale “Loner” on the web.
The sale of a pair of dinosaur skeletons – an Allosaurus and a Hesperosaurus – recently caused paleontologists and well-read dinosaur fans to facepalm. David Tana explains why at Superoceras.
At Saurian, Mark Wildman shares a brief tribute to Richard Owen – one of the most important and controversial paleontologists of all time.
Well that didn’t take long – a few months after being described, the tyrant dinosaur Zhuchengtyrannus now has a reconstructed skeleton. David Hone shares snapshots at Archosaur Musings.
How do you actually go about writing a technical paleo paper? Mike Taylor explains at SV-POW!
That’s all for The Boneyard 2.11. To find out where the carnival will travel in the future – and for more information about how to submit entries – check out the official blog.