Know Your Ankylosaurs: China Edition

I’m in Utah digging up dinosaurs! But also, one of the last big chunks of my PhD thesis has just been published online at the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. They are generously allowing free access to the paper through the end of August, so head on over and grab a copy while it’s free! This time, I’m taking all of the knowledge gained from my previous taxonomic revisions, adding in some more taxa, and doing a revised phylogenetic analysis building on previous analyses to see how everyone shakes out and to learn a little bit more about ankylosaurid biogeography. I’ll cover some of the taxonomic stuff over the next few posts, and finish off with the big picture of ankylosaurid evolution.

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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!

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Ankylosaurus through the Ages

I saw a post up at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs today – did you know Ankylosaurus could fly? The original Sinclair World’s Fair Ankylosaurus was being lifted by crane from the Houston Museum of Natural History as the museum undergoes expansion and renovations.

This got me thinking about a talk I gave for the Alberta Palaeontological Society annual meeting last March: “My ankylosaur is a big dumb tank! Ankylosaur reconstructions in the scientific literature and popular media.” I talked about why ankylosaurs are reconstructed in certain ways, both accurate and inaccurate. Darren Naish at Tetrapod Zoology has been talking about memes in palaeontological illustration, and how certain wacky reconstructions and poses pop up again and again. I think this is perhaps especially well illustrated by several ankylosaur taxa and today I’d like to talk about Ankylosaurus.

Brown 1908. The Ankylosauridae, a new family of armored dinosaurs from the upper Cretaceous. AMNH Bulletin 24:187-201. Continue reading