Posts

August 22, 2014

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3:06 AM | To Catch a Bullet, or a Woolly Rhino – Tales of the Finger
The second morning that we dropped into the cave, we found that some poor rodent had fallen to his death the night before. We were surprized when a few days later, an even littler mouse had fallen in, and survived. … Continue reading →

August 21, 2014

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1:58 AM | SO close
I have often argued that given their long hindlimbs, massive tail-bases, and posteriorly-located centers of mass, diplodocids were basically bipeds whose forelimbs happened to reach the ground. I decided to see what that might look like. Okay, now obviously I know that there are no trackways showing sauropods actually getting around like this. It’s just […]

August 20, 2014

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10:05 PM | Temperature Key to Crocs in the Sea
Evolution is great at producing novelty. Every organism that has ever lived – from the first cell to …
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7:30 PM | Tiny Jurassic Mammals Were Picky Eaters
Two of the earliest mammal groups of the period likely were discerning about the types of insects they ate.
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3:40 PM | Continuing the battle for open access that’s good for science, not publishers’ profits
Two developments since the last post regarding open access things for anyone interested! First, is a little interview I had with the Open Access Button folk about er, open access: http://blog.openaccessbutton.org/2014/08/19/every-time-you-hit-a-paywall-thats-a-publisher-announcing-that-their-role-is-to-prohibit-the-progress-of-science-as-much-as-possible/ Second, is that our open letter to the AAAS has spawned a second one addressed to the Society for Neuroscience, led by Erin […]
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12:08 PM | Solite excavation, Day 3
Two weeks ago bad weather prevented us from continuing our National Geographic-funded excavations at the Solite Quarry, but last Saturday we were able to continue with our efforts. As is often the case at Solite, we recovered a number of … Continue reading →
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11:51 AM | The evolutionary history of walruses, part 1: Introduction, and the earliest walruses
Note: A bit of a disclaimer is necessary. This will probably be one of my most indulgent post series, as this is probably my most favorite topic in paleontology. Walruses are a totally weird and fascinating group to study, and I hope some of my enthusiasm for these fantastic blubbery beasts shines through.IntroductionThe walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is one of the most peculiar and charismatic of all modern mammals, and easily the most […]
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12:46 AM | The Dwarf Pirate – Tales of the Finger
So, you’re wondering what I did. What happened that I needed five stitches on my index finger. Well let me tell you. It was raining. Raining a lot. Completely bizarre for Wyoming at this time of year – for any … Continue reading →

August 19, 2014

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9:04 PM | “Every time you hit a paywall, that’s a publisher announcing that their role is to prohibit the progress of science as much as possible.”
“Every time you hit a paywall, that’s a publisher announcing that their role is to prohibit the progress of science as much as possible.”.Filed under: Uncategorized
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7:34 PM | Vintage Dinosaur Art: The AMNH's Book of Dinosaurs, Part 2 - James Robins
Over the years of writing these blog posts, I'd like to think that I've matured somewhat - that the vodka-fuelled gratuity of my late university years has mellowed into something more thoughtful and, dare I say it, nuanced. (Oh yes. I went there.) Sure, I'll still point out shonky dinosaur art, but with less savagery, and an acknowledgement that, by contemporary standards, it's often not so bad. Plus, illustrators gotta eat.On the other hand, one is occasionally reminded that a few - a very few […]
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11:17 AM | Farewell to Mike Gottfried - annual NZ research visit
Today is visiting paleoichthyologist Dr. Mike Gottfried's last day on his research visit to our department. Mike comes down to New Zealand once a year during the southern winter to collaborate on various research projects with Ewan. Prior projects have resulted in the description of an associated dentition and vertebral column of the giant shark Carcharocles angustidens, the giant moonfish Megalampris keyesi, and the billfish Aglyptorhynchus hakataramea.Mike's current visit has been to identify […]

August 18, 2014

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10:49 PM | The Mammals Who Lived
When the asteroid slammed into prehistoric Mexico and drew the curtain on the Cretaceous, dinosaurs did not fare …
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3:28 AM | New publication: phylogenetic relationships of fur seals and sea lions (Otariidae)
Last week saw publication of a new study by Morgan Churchill, Mark Clementz, and myself, which presents a new cladistic analysis of the pinniped family Otariidae (Morphobank account/matrix available HERE) - known informally as fur seals and sea lions. I've been fascinated with fossil otariids since I started research on a specimen of the Pliocene dwarf fur seal Callorhinus gilmorei from the Rio Dell Formation in Northern California. This collaboration has been about two years in the making, and […]
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