Woe betide those who summon the Galactic Coelacanth

A couple of years ago I had an existential crisis when I realized that, in the time one of my papers had been in review (almost 8 months!), I could nearly have physically created an entirely new human being in my body, if I had so chosen. Thus began the saddest game in the universe that I like to play when I submit a paper: “What kind of animal could have been gestated in the time this paper has been in review?”. And this became an even better running joke when one of my colleagues had a highly unusual review experience that lasted for several years, which completely exhausted the gestation times of real animals.

My amazing and lovely sister saw us talking about this on Facebook and went ahead and wrote an R script that tells you exactly what kind of animal you could have birthed while waiting for reviewer comments. And because I am always forgetting to save this amazing piece of code, I’ve gotten permission from Jessica to post it here for posterity. My sincere apologies to anyone who gets the Space Whale, and my deepest condolences to anyone who is graced by the presence of the Galactic Coelacanth. 

Click here for the R script!

Updated 30 June 2015: If you don’t have R, you can also download a text file to see the code!

Dinosaurs Unearthed!

Growing up in Nova Scotia, despite its many excellent and significant palaeontological treasures, meant that there weren’t many dinosaur fossils for me to gawp at regularly. The Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (which I loved) had only a few small fossils on display, and besides an exciting appearance by the Dinosauroid when I was small, did not have any big traveling dinosaur exhibits come through. But when I was in Grade 1 or so, DINAMATION came to town and seared its robotic dinosaurs all over my brain forever. And so I think I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for animatronic dinosaur displays.

Continue reading

Why does Jurassic World hate dinosaurs?

I have some Thoughts and Feelings about Jurassic World! Spoiler alert, I’m going to talk about details and plot points and this post is really for people who have seen the film. Also, while I’m going to talk about the dinosaurs a bit, this isn’t really a review of the science of the film, because that’s already been done to death. Ok, onwards and upwards into something that wound up being way too long!

Continue reading

Cornelius says hello

Updated on July 8, 2015! 

“Cornelius” now has a scientific name – Wendiceratops pinhornensis!

You can read the open access paper here:

Evans DC, Ryan MJ. 2015. Cranial anatomy of Wendiceratops pinhornensis gen. et sp. nov., a cnetrosaurine ceratopsid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Oldman Formation (Campanian), Alberta, Canada, and the evolution of ceratopsid nasal ornamentation. PLOS ONE 10:e0130007.

Say hello to Cornelius! I got to meet him during a brief visit to the ROM last week, and he seems like a pretty nice guy.

Continue reading