February 23, 2015

8:34 PM | Vintage Dinosaur Art: LOOK at Dinosaurs
As I'm sure I've mentioned before (for how many years have I been writing these, again?), it's always a joy when a truly vintage dinosaur book finds its way into my clutches, as opposed to I Can't Believe It's Yet Another 1980s Dougal Dixon Dino Book or somesuch. Which isn't to say that the post-Dino Renaissance stuff can't be interesting - far from it - but there's an awful lot more of it about. The illustrations in LOOK at Dinosaurs (1962) aren't especially remarkable, but they're another […]
12:34 PM | The early evolution of birds – more complicated than trying to untangle your headphones..
Birds are a phenomenal story of evolutionary success. As modern-day dinosaur descendants, they occupy almost all environments and ecosystems around the globe, and are truly animals that capture our imaginations. However, how did they become so diverse, both in number and form? This is something only the fossil record can divine for us. Birds first appear in the Middle to Late Jurassic of China and latest Jurassic of Europe (hello, Archaeopteryx), around 160-150 million years ago. Their first […]
Editor's Pick

February 22, 2015

11:44 PM | 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 […]
5:31 AM | Microfossil Crinoid Pieces from Clark County Indiana
My cousin recently sent me some images of crinoid fossils he has been finding in the New Providence Formation of Clark County, Indiana, USA. The fossils date to the Mississippian Period (Carboniferous). All pictures were taken using a microscope and have an approximate field of view of 2 mm. Thanks to Kenny for the images.

February 20, 2015

4:48 PM | Fossil Friday – amber snails
Worldwide, easily the most common fossils are from marine invertebrates. Most sedimentary rocks are formed in the ocean, invertebrates are present in vast numbers, and the ocean is an excellent place to be buried in the mud, increasing the likelihood … Continue reading →
5:10 AM | Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: A molded brachiopod from the Lower Carboniferous of Ohio
We haven’t had a local fossil featured on this blog for awhile. Above is an external mold of the spiriferid brachiopod Syringothyris typa Winchell, 1863, from the Logan Formation (Lower Carboniferous, Osagean, about 345 million years old) of southeastern Wooster, Ohio. The outcrop is along the onramp from north Route 83 to east Route 30. […]

February 19, 2015

11:25 PM | News Bite: Parental care in early reptiles!
A new fossil shows an ancient reptile, Philydrosaurus, surrounded by young. Possible evidence that parental investment is a more ancient trait in land-based vertebrates than paleontologists thought! Listen to Adam discuss the new discovery here. Reptiles aren’t known for being great parents. When it comes to time and energy spent with the kids, mammals get […] The post News Bite: Parental care in early reptiles! appeared first on Past Time.
Editor's Pick
12:24 PM | More on bee dancing and insect intelligence
A reader emailed me with an observation after reading my article on the bee dance language: while looking at a bee performing a dance, he heard a little squeak, after which the bee suddenly stopped dancing. This guy is both brave and has the best ears that have ever graced this Earth. This observation that he made is […] The post More on bee dancing and insect intelligence appeared first on Teaching Biology.
2:05 AM | Introducing Eotaria crypta from the Miocene of Southern California - the oldest known otariid pinniped
Photos of the holotype specimen and life restoration of Eotaria crypta, with Allodesmus for scale (Allodesmus is roughly the size of an adult male Steller's sea lion). Artwork by yours truly. […]

February 18, 2015

5:57 PM | Palaeontology in the 21st Century
Palaeontology is the study of the history of life on Earth. Whenever I get asked what I do, my answer always gets a predictable response: either “Oh, like Ross from Friends?” “So Jurassic Park?” or “So you dig dinosaurs?” Neither of these are close to what myself, my colleagues, or the broader field are doing. Well, apart from the digging dinos. We have to have some perks (not that I’ve actually ever been on a dig…). What I want to highlight are […]
12:11 AM | Thesis submission - return to blogging

February 17, 2015

6:31 PM | 65% Off Indiana University Press Books!
One more sale today. Celebrating their 65th anniversary,Indiana University Press has a lot of books available at 65% off. See the entire selection, and my recommendations below. To get the discount, type this when checking out: 65OFF. General: How Can You Tell if a Spider is Dead? And More Moments of Science (Glass, ed.; 1996) Why You Can […] The post 65% Off Indiana University Press Books! appeared first on Teaching Biology.
1:58 PM | 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 […]
10:08 AM | 20% off Anthropology books, until Feb 20
New sale over at Cambridge University Press, you have three days (until February 20) to get 20% off select anthropology books. See the full listing, and my recommended picks are below. To get the sale, enter this at checkout: ANTHRODAY2015. The Evolution of Language (Fitch; 2010) Social Anthropology and Human Origins (Barnard; 2011) Tooth Development in Human Evolution and […] The post 20% off Anthropology books, until Feb 20 appeared first on Teaching Biology.
7:58 AM | Fossils of Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
In August 2014, my parents visited Mesa Verde National Park in the state of Colorado, USA. I have just now started reviewing some of the pictures they brought back from that trip. They brought back a geology book listed in the reference section of this posting. The picture above is of a fossil on display at the visitors center. It is of an unidentified Cretaceous dinosaur. The area is
1:34 AM | Sciencespeak: Fossorial
Mammals have been around for a very long time. The first beasts scurried through the Mesozoic world around …
Editor's Pick

February 16, 2015

1:28 PM | How I Make The Book Widgets; Book Widgets 2015 coming soon!
A lot of you send me thank you emails for the books advertised on the left sidebar (you’re welcome!), and a select few ask how those book lists are prepared. The lists are done with a mixture of an automated data-mining workflow and manual selection and categorisation. First, I have a database of 90 academic book […] The post How I Make The Book Widgets; Book Widgets 2015 coming soon! appeared first on Teaching Biology.

February 15, 2015

11:42 AM | A letter to the Editor of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
This post is one inspired by the actions of Ethan White and a couple of other ecologists. Spurred on by their actions, I decided to write a letter to the Editor of a major journal in my field, the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Ethan has performed similar actions too, and this letter draws quite a bit on what he has previously written. The theme revolves around requesting that the Linnean Socciety journals allow submission of manuscripts that have been previously published as a […]

February 14, 2015

12:40 AM | Friday Headlines: 2-13-15
Friday Headlines, February 13, 2015 THE LATEST IN THE GEOSCIENCES   Today’s round-up: Grass and dinosaurs and LSD, oh my! The core of the core of the core. Happy Valentine’s Day!   Amber fossil links earliest grasses, dinosaurs and fungus … Continue reading →

February 13, 2015

6:33 PM | Fossil Friday – Bison antiquus skull
Bison are among the most common large animals from the Diamond Valley Lake region, and we have a number of nice specimens at the Western Science Center. Shown above is a cranium of Bison antiquus, one of several such skulls … Continue reading →
3:47 PM | The Tree of Earthworms
Earthworm taxonomists describing what they do to a layperson is hilarious to watch. Laypeople often have a difficult time understanding the concept of a species – you will regularly hear statements that there are only 50 insect species, for example. Insect species often differ in colour and patterning, so it’s easy to then correct a layman’s misconceptions about […] The post The Tree of Earthworms appeared first on Teaching Biology.

Domínguez, J., Aira, M., Breinholt, J., Stojanovic, M., James, S. & Pérez-Losada, M. (2015). Underground evolution: New roots for the old tree of lumbricid earthworms, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 83 7-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.10.024

9:29 AM | 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?
5:11 AM | Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: Sponge and bivalve borings from the Miocene of Spain
This week we have a rather unimposing limestone cobble, at least from the outside. It was collected way back in 1989 by my student Genga Thavi (“Devi”) Nadaraju (’90) as part of a Keck Geology Consortium field project in southeastern Spain. It comes from the Los Banós Formation (Upper Miocene) exposed near the town of […]
12:32 AM | Darwin’s other theory (repost)
Diagrams from Darwin, 1842. I originally published this on my old blog, Updates from the Paleontology Lab, on March 24, 2010. I’m republishing it here for Darwin Day. Tim has to write an essay about a famous scientist for his … Continue reading →

February 12, 2015

10:24 PM | New Book: Niles Eldredge, “Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond”
A very exciting new book alert: Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond by Niles Eldredge [Columbia University Press] Price: $27.53 £21.71 EUR 31,82 EUR 30,11 EUR 31,11 EUR 29,51 CDN$ 35.00 All organisms and species are transitory, yet life endures. The origin, extinction, and […] The post New Book: Niles Eldredge, “Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth […]

February 11, 2015

7:37 PM | 'It's your turn now.' Dippy and the Blue Whale
'It's your turn now.'Ink on watercolour paper, 202 x 100mm.Scarcely had I mentioned how well Sophie the Stegosaurus complemented the presence of the beloved Diplodocus at their respective entrances to London's Natural History Museum than news of the latter's planned retirement emerged, apparently splitting the public and experts alike into 'Team Dippy' and 'Team Whale' across social media. Of course I'm sad -- very sad -- to see 'Dippy' retire (no, I don't much care for the name either, but […]
2:20 PM | Dinos Got High, Oldest Grass Fungus Fossil Hints
Millions of years before LSD and rock and roll, dinosaurs munched on psychedelic fungus, a new study suggests.

February 10, 2015

6:23 PM | 1990s-style saurians: the winner!
The decision was, as ever, a very difficult one, but in the end I just had to plump for Jessica R's Archaeopteryx. It was a perfect fit for the brief, and I loved Jessica's explanation, particularly as she flipped my advice for entrants on its head:"...You said that naked maniraptorans would be pretty obvious so I decided to throw you for a loop with a feathered maniraptoran...Archaeopteryx with pebbly head and wings with hands, dry cracked earth underfoot, and a single cycad." It's well […]
6:08 PM | I Spy – The Home Office
I spy in my home office… …A charger, some feathers, and an old clothespin; …Golden fabric and an empty spool for ribbon; …A tea light and a credit card that really shouldn’t be there; …A pink pencil, purple pen, and … Continue reading →
9:56 AM | 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 […]
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