Posts

October 03, 2014

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3:36 PM | IPC Day 2 – The evolution of giants
This is a slightly delayed summary of the sauropod symposium on day 2 of IPC4, following sessions the previous day on vertebrate taphonomy and diversity and extinction in the fossil record. This is also the final of these little summaries, and for that I apologise – my laptop is a bit kaput atm, and needs […]
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3:11 PM | Mesozoic Miscellany 65
After a really super-long break, we're back with the 65th post in the Mesozoic Miscellany series. I really haven't meant to do these posts so sporadically, but I had some freelance jobs come up that took up a lot of time over the last few months. Sorry about that! I hope to get back on a more regular schedule with them. Around the DinoblogosphereAt Life Traces of the Georgia Coast, Tony Martin wrote a touching post in the wake of his mother's passing, reflecting on how he came from a childhood […]
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2:30 PM | The Smell of Dust and Damp, Rotting Leaves
National Blog Posting Month – September 2014 – Crunch Prompt – Which smell lets you know that it is autumn? —— The title of this post gives it away. It’s something about the smell of the summer’s spent leaves as … Continue reading →
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7:19 AM | Fossil Friday – more camel bones
Last week for Fossil Friday I showed an example of a metapodial of an extinct camel, Camelops hesternus, which was collected about a mile from the museum’s current location. It turns out that the metacarpals weren’t found in isolation. Several other bones were … Continue reading →
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5:11 AM | Wooster’s Fossils of the Week: Eocrinoid holdfasts on a Middle Ordovician hardground from Utah
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, several students and I did fieldwork in the Middle Ordovician Kanosh Formation in west-central Utah. One year we were joined by my friend Tim Palmer of the University of Aberystwyth. Together, Chris Finton (’91), Lewis Kaufman (’91), Tim and I put together a paper describing the carbonate […]
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1:30 AM | Sigillaria Plant Fossil
This picture is of a Sigillaria sp. plant fossil at the Museo di Paleontologia at Sapienza University of Rome Italy. Plants like this existed at the time of the Carboniferous Period. The fossil was found in Westfalia, Germany. Image taken in June 2014.

October 02, 2014

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2:00 PM | Thirsty Thursday – Racking and Readying
It’s October now. That time of year when all the summer seasonal drinks disappear to be replaced with pumpkin spice everything. This weekend I should be bottling my Sam Adam’s Summer Ale clone. You can’t buy it anymore because it’s … Continue reading →
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1:30 PM | All the Leaves are Brown…
National Blog Posting Month – September 2014 – Crunch Prompt – Winter and summer are two seasons that have songs clearly associated with the time period. But are there any songs that remind you of fall? —— I always think … Continue reading →
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2:33 AM | Swish Crunch Click
National Blog Posting Month – September 2014 – Crunch Prompt – Crunch crunch crunch: leaves are starting to carpet the sidewalks. Tell us about your favourite autumnal sound. —— It’s Fall. This is a difficult time of year for me. … Continue reading →
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1:30 AM | Castanea Plant Fossil
Here is a picture of a Castanea kubinyi plant leaf fossil at the Museo di Paleontologia at Sapienza University of Rome Italy. Plants like this existed at the time of the Miocene Epoch of the Neogene Period. The fossil was found in S. Angelo, Senigaglia, Marche Italy. Image taken in June 2014.
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12:58 AM | In the footsteps of Charles Darwin: Geological excursion into the Central Andes
MENDOZA, ARGENTINA–Today I had one of the finest geological field trips in my life. The scenery was stunning, the geology extraordinary, and the history deeply moving. Being able to share the experience with so many of my geologist friends, old and new, was a bonus. I also thought how much my Wooster Geology colleagues would […]

October 01, 2014

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7:13 PM | Atlas of Dinosaurs, The Return
Our sole criterion for a book to qualify for the blog's Vintage Dinosaur Art series is that it is 20 years old. (And yes, because of that, I am very guilty of stretching the definition of 'vintage' to breaking point.) Atlas of Dinosaurs is rather newer than that, but as was plainly seen last week, it might as well be straight out of the 1980s. Following the panoramic illustrations in the previous post, I'd like to dedicate this one to depictions of individual animals. Warning: levels of […]
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1:00 PM | Dinosaur Arms to Bird Wings: It's All in the Wrist
A new study shows how bird wrists evolved from those of their dinosaur predecessors.
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9:21 AM | I am now a “famous palaeontologist” … thanks to my antlers
Just over a year ago, in his write-up of the Edinburgh SVPCA, Matt included a photo of me standing in front of a Giant Irish Elk (Megaloceros), positioned so that the antlers seem to be growing out of my head. Matt finished his post with a background-free version of that photo, and commented: … so he […]

September 30, 2014

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9:19 PM | Nothing quite like the feeling of completing your presentation: Day 2 of the International Palaeontological Congress
MENDOZA, ARGENTINA–I promise, the images will be much more interesting in the next post! Today we concentrated on talks. I finally was able to deliver mine in the same session as Leif Tapanila above. It was a crowded little room, but the presentations kept us well entertained and informed. I learned a lesson: without any […]
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8:56 PM | IPC4 Day 1 – Death is the road to awe
Following on from the previous post, the afternoon symposium was all about the applications and implications of vertebrate taphonomy. Matt Carrano kicked things off with a great talk on how microfossil bonebeds help to guide our understanding of terrestrial palaeoecosystems. Using sites from the well-known but poorly understood Cloverly Formation, he provided a key insight […]
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6:51 PM | Solite Excavation: Day 8
Day 8 of the excavation at Solite treated us to a number of Tanytrachelos specimens in varying conditions of preservation. In my opinion, the most interestingly preserved Tany. was the one above. The vertebrae of the tail are lying on their sides … Continue reading →
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3:31 PM | Things to Make and Do, Part 14: sheep skull
Just a quick photo-post today. A couple of months ago, walking around the fields near our house, I found a broad shallow pit with a lot of a sheep skeletal elements in it. I took my youngest son out on an expedition, and we rescued the good material. I’ve cleaned up the first two (of three) […]
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12:53 PM | IPC4 Day 1 – Using the past to inform the present
Welcome to the fourth International Palaeontology Congress! 900 palaeontologists have piled into the land of steak, sun, and malbec in Mendoza, Argentina, for the biggest palaeontology conference that draws from all parts of the field. What I want to do with these posts is just provide snapshot summaries of the talks I’ve been at to […]
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12:39 PM | German Pecopteris Pine Cone Fossil
Here is a picture of a Pecopteris acuta pine cone fossil at the Museo di Paleontologia at Sapienza University of Rome Italy. Plants like this existed at the time of the Carboniferous Period. The fossil was found in Essen, Germany. Image taken in June 2014.
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6:21 AM | Lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy of the Chinle Formation in Lisbon Valley, Utah
The stratigraphy of the Chinle Formation in Lisbon Valley, Utah has been somewhat controversial. This paper is the result of several seasons of fieldwork and provides an intense revision of the local stratigraphy as well as discussion of the fossils found in these rocks. Martz et al. provide a large amount of information and are careful to make sure that their work is repeatable as possible. To this end they provide coordinates and labelled photos of their measured sections as well as a list of […]
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5:56 AM | Triassic Research at the 4th International Paleontology Congress - 2014
Wishing I could have joined my colleagues this week for the 4th International Paleontology Congress in Mendoza, Argentina.  There is a large amount of Triassic research being presented at this meeting. Here is the link to the abstract volume.
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12:41 AM | Adorable Alligatorellus
Today’s alligators, crocodiles, and gharials are gorgeous animals, but you’d be hard pressed to call them cute. Chirpy …

September 29, 2014

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11:16 PM | Episode 14 Field Guide: The Art of Dinosaurs
Conjuring up extinct environments, museums, books, and documentaries rely on art to show extinct animals revitalized in their ancient surroundings. This type of educational reconstruction is called Paleoart (or Palaeoart for the UK inclined). They are usually striking portraits of the weird place this planet used to be. But, you look at an image of a roaming Tyrannosaurus […] The post Episode 14 Field Guide: The Art of Dinosaurs appeared first on Past Time.
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11:14 PM | Gold Fever! comes to Western Science Center
On Saturday we opened a new temporary exhibit, “Gold Fever! Untold stories of the California Gold Rush.” The panels that make up the core of the exhibit were developed by the Oakland Museum of California and the California Council for … Continue reading →
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10:24 PM | The Fourth International Palaeontological Congress starts well
MENDOZA, ARGENTINA–After an excellent opening lecture last night by Dr. Beatriz Aguirre-Urreta (“Palaeontology in the Southern Hemisphere: Benchmarks in the History of Discovery and Research”), we got down to the technical talks today in the Mendoza Sheraton for the 4th International Paleontological Congress. There were many presentations to choose from, as usual, so I had […]
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6:16 AM | Poking Around in the Waldron Shale
Recently, I got a rare opportunity hunt for fossils in the Waldron Shale and a number of fossils were found. Nothing earth shattering but it was fun to get out after a long absence to poke around and see some familiar fossil friends. This first image is of a fragment of a Trimerus trilobite pygidium. Not sure if it is all there in at least one lobe is and probably also the middle section as

September 27, 2014

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5:24 PM | Wooster Geologist over the Andes
MENDOZA, ARGENTINA–I have just arrived in Argentina for the Fourth International Palaeontological Congress to be held in this city all next week. I thank me colleagues at Wooster for making this possible, especially Shelley Judge who is teaching my History of Life class in my absence. I also thank the Faculty Development Fund at Wooster. […]
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3:45 PM | Does anyone want a project? How can we understand sauropod neck cartilage better?
A couple of times now, I’ve pitched in an abstract for a Masters project looking at neck cartilage, hoping someone at Bristol will work on it with me co-supervising, but so far no-one’s bitten. Here’s how I’ve been describing it: Understanding posture and motion in the necks of sauropods: the crucial role of cartilage in […]
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1:30 AM | Sea Urchin with Spines
Here is a picture of a spiny echinoid sea urchin at the Museo di Paleontologia at Sapienza University of Rome Italy. Image taken in June 2014.
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