Inside Scolosaurus

Welcome back friends as I continue to catch up on the last few months of goings-on. It’s been a busy time here at Chez Ankylosaur! Exciting things are afoot – last week I handed in the first draft of my first book (coauthored with David Evans)! Provided all goes well, expect to see our new book all about Zuul published by the Royal Ontario Museum Press in December 2018, coinciding with the opening of a new Zuul exhibit at the ROM! In other book news, I published a review of Steve Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs in Science a few weeks ago. And I’d also like to give a shout-out to Brian Switek’s recent article about the challenges still facing women in palaeontology – I provided some comments along with many of my female colleagues and I think this is an important read.

With those updates out of the way, let’s talk about Scolosaurus! In early May I flew across the pond to attend the Sexual selection: patterns in the history of life conference hosted by the Royal Society – Darren Naish summarized the meeting nicely at Tetrapod Zoology. I stopped in London for a few days to visit the Natural History Museum and study the holotype of one of my favourite ankylosaurs once more.

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DinoLand USA

Work’s been busy and posting’s been light around here while my head is down in a bunch of research projects, developing a Zuul exhibit and writing a Zuul book! But then I took a vacation last week with my husband and my parents and my sister and my brother-in-law, and we went to Disney World because we’re all huge dorks, and we had a great time. I thought I’d share some pictures from the hilariously on- and off-point DinoLand USA at the Animal Kingdom. Enjoy!

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Where did all the tail clubs go?

Today is a New Paper Day! This time, we’re talking about the evolution of tail weapons!

(Two Ankylosaurus duke it out with their tail clubs. (c) Jack Mayer Wood, used with permission)

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to know that I find ankylosaur tail clubs quite interesting. I’ve been lucky to get to study their biomechanics and whether or not they were plausible weapons, how their morphological variation helps us identify different species, and how they evolved in a stepwise manner, with the stiff handle evolving before the enlargement of the osteoderms at the tip of the tail. Occassionally it’s good to step back and just think about how *weird* it is that ankylosaurs modified their tails in this fashion, and how weird it is to have a weapon on the tail. Continue reading