Last week, the first of our journey of 150 things about Canadian palaeontology, I introduced the history and some of the important facts palaeo in Canada. This week, I’m going to talk about one of the most significant finds, the Burgess Shale. Continuing with our numbering from before, so we don’t lose count… 8. The Burgess Shale is … More 150 things about Canadian palaeo – part 2, the Burgess Shale #FossilFriday
This year is a special year for Canada: July 1 marks our 150th “birthday”, or 150 years since we gained independence (mostly) from the United Kingdom, uniting the provinces of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into the Dominion of Canada. To celebrate, I am going to be running a series … More 150 things about Canadian palaeontology, an intro. #FossilFriday
Learning to code is something that a lot of people do in their PhD. Programs like R or MatLab are common in highly mathematical and quantitative studies, and in studies with a large amount of data. For this reason, these kinds of analyses and programs have traditionally been uncommon amongst palaeontologists. When you have a … More Confessions of a palaeobiologist learning to code
2016 is screeching to a halt, so I thought I’d do a brief wrap up of the big things that happened last year to me, and what I’m hoping for and looking forward to in 2017. For reasons I won’t go into, 2016 was a pretty tumultuous year for me in terms of my PhD. … More My year in review – bring on 2017!
For some time it’s been known (or at least mostly accepted, aside from a few outsiders) that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs. This is known thanks to a lot of anatomical features, and a good transitional sequence leading to avians. However, for a long time it wasn’t really known how feathers fit into this. Since … More Feathered dinosaur tail in amber!
“Science-art, or sciart, is used to illustrate scientific ideas and concepts. In most cases, the idea behind sciart is straightforward – draw or illustrate what you see. Of course it’s not really that simple because a great deal of research goes into these images – more than the casual observer realizes! But when it comes … More Palaeoart: drawing from the past – Encore!
Pterosaur biomechanics is something that I’m obviously very interested in, and the launch of pterosaurs is something that has been heavily debated. Traditionally, pterosaurs were thought to launch like birds, either running on their hindlimbs and jumping, or vertically launching into the air. However, it has been suggested more recently that they may have launched in … More PhD Opportunity – pterosaur launch
Now that it is October, I am officially in my 4th and final year of PhD. This is a daunting thought, that has caused many unpleasant thoughts to pop up. Will I finish? Why am I doing this? What is the point? Will I ever get a job? That nasty Imposter Syndrome is rearing it’s … More #Thesissaysno – Entering my final year of PhD
New pterosaurs, and especially new well preserved pterosaurs, are rarely found. As I’ve mentioned in the past, pterosaurs exhibit significant skeletal pneumaticity, meaning their bones are often filled with air. This is common in skulls of animals (like the sinuses in your own head), and is especially prevalent in pterosaurs. For this reason, pterosaur skulls … More Meet Allkaruen – the new Argentinian pterosaur
Apologies for the title… Anyone who was with me on my last trip to Romania will remember the discussion of the potential for small pterosaurs in the Late Cretaceous, which rapidly turned into the search for “ptiny pterosaurs”. While I’ve always liked giant pterosaurs (who doesn’t think they are cool?!), I’ve recently become interested in … More A ptiny pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous
I was lucky enough to receive a PDF version of Mark Witton’s new palaeoart book, Recreating an Age of Reptiles, so I could review it. Before getting started, in full disclosure I will mention that Mark and I are good friends, and (much to my surprise!) my name even appears in the acknowledgements… so you may … More Recreating an Age of Reptiles by Mark Witton
My six week travels ended last week with a trip to Washington DC, where I attended the International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology (ICVM) for the first time. Held every 3 years, it is run by the International Society of Vertebrate Morphology to promote collaboration and discussion between researchers working on several aspects of vertebrate morphology. … More International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology
I’m currently in Canada on a much needed trip home (I was last home a year ago), and I was fortunate enough to accompany the University of Alberta vertebrate palaeontology group down on some field work in southern Alberta. Since I didn’t get to do any field work in Europe this year, I thought it … More Searching for dinosaurs in Alberta
Although my work now is primarily on pterosaurs, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for ceratopsians after doing my (failed) work on Centrosaurus as an undergrad. So imagine my excitement when the most recent releases of new PLoS ONE papers included not one, but two new ceratopsids from the US! And … More A two new horned dinos kind of day!
For some time, there has been a debate about how many species of dome-headed (pachycephalosaur) dinosaurs existed. The largest and best known, Pachycephalosaurus, has always been a stand-alone, valid species, known from adult material. ‘Dracorex‘ was named in 2006, and represented a juvenile pachycephalosaur, while ‘Stygimoloch‘ was a subadult. All 3 species were found in the Hell … More Cranial ornamentation development in dome-headed dinos