“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
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and after re-living a particular case for a project I’ve been working on, I decided to finally put some of my thoughts on paper (errr, the internet). In palaeontology, there is a big debate about the acceptability of private collectors. Should we work on … More Private collectors vs. museums – not so black and white
After many years of blogging over at blogspot, I decided it was time to make my way over to WordPress. I’m still perfecting it, but I hope that you enjoy the new look and the new site for my blog. If you’re a regular follower, make sure you sign up for updates as I will … More New look and new beginnings
One important aspect of palaeontology is identifying the age of the specimen we are describing. Exact age is generally not possible to know, but relative age (e.g. hatchling, juvenile, sub-adult or adult) can often be worked out using a number of different techniques. It can be important in taxonomy (we try not to name new … More How old is that dinosaur?
There has been a disturbing trend in the last few years by government funding organisations to both decrease the amount of funding for science, and to put more of a focus on funding science with obvious applications or money-making outcomes. Last year, the Government of Canada announced a new federal budget that emphasised science funding … More Why should we fund palaeontology?
My initial title for this blog was “Things that people thought were interesting fossils but turned out to be turtles”. Of course, I don’t mean that, I just have had a particularly frustrating few months reading the same undergraduate projects on turtle evolution, so they are not my favourite at the moment…. However… in the … More Misidentified fossils – Turtle edition