May your mountains dark and dreary be.

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to some old fossil friends of mine. Horton Bluff/Blue Beach is a pretty cool place and I have fond memories of field trips out there during my Dalhousie days. Between this new paper and the recent paper describing the Permian to Jurassic assemblage of tetrapods, it’s been a good time for Nova Scotia palaeontology.

Your friendly neighbourhood ankylosaur palaeontologist, in the before time (i.e. 2003), at Horton Bluff, following in her tetrapod ancestor’s footprints. It’s goopy there.

Which of course makes me miss it all terribly.

Anderson JS, Smithson T, Mansky CF, Meyer T, Clack J. 2015. A diverse tetrapod fauna at the base of ‘Romer’s Gap’. PLOS ONE 10:e0125446.

Sues H-D, Olsen PE. 2015. Stratigraphic and temporal context and faunal diversity of Permian-Jurassic continental tetrapod assemblages from the Fundy rift basin, eastern Canada. Atlantic Geology 51:139-205.

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Many animals have skeletons besides dinosaurs.

I was reminded of an old post on this blog today when someone brought up the all too common question of “Is that real?” in museums. In 2011 I had visited the Smithsonian natural history museum for some of my Euoplocephalus research, and spent a day browsing the galleries and shamelessly eavesdropping on people’s conversations. I was dismayed by the number of people saying things like “What’s that!” and then walking away without finding out, or saying “Look, a T. rex!” to things that were patently not T. rex. In the comments on that post, there was some discussion of the fact that visitors to museums often mistake any skeleton as a dinosaur skeleton.

Anyway, that in turn reminded me of a photo I took in the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History‘s marine gallery a while ago:

Despite being surrounded by all manner of marine specimens, including a fleshed out model of a sei whale up above, the museum has to explicitly say that a pilot whale is not a dinosaur. In fairness, the museum (sadly!) does not have any dinosaur skeletons, what with Halifax being located on top of the Cambrian-Ordovician Meguma Terrane, and with the Fundy Geological Museum fulfilling the role of the dinosaur-having museum in Nova Scotia.

What lessons can we learn from this?
1. Museum people: put a dinosaur in your museum. There’s no excuse not to have one.

2. Everybody else: many animals have skeletons besides dinosaurs.

3. ????

*Bonus! Sable Island is a super neat place that not many people have heard about outside of the maritime provinces – you can read more about it at their National Park page!