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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Happy birthday, Dynamosaurus!

Today marks the auspicious anniversary of one of the most significant dinosaurs ever described: Dynamosaurus imperiosus! Surely one of the greatest and most fearful of all of the predatory dinosaurs, it stomped through the Maastrichtian of Wyoming and other parts of western North America. Dynamosaurus is noteworthy for its diagnostic dermal plates, which ran in transverse rows down its body and which formed a large knob of bone at the end of the tail. The function of these plates are still hotly debated, but they certainly gave Dynamosaurus a unique look among theropods.

I kid, of course, but I think Dynamosaurus deserves a mention on its more famous relative’s naming day as well. Tyrannosaurus, Dynamosaurus, and Albertosaurus were all named by Osborn in 1905 and although Tyrannosaurus and Albertosaurus have proven to be distinct from each other, Dynamosaurus turned out to be a junior synonym of Tyrannosaurus. If Tyrannosaurus hadn’t appeared first in the publication, good ol’ T. rex might not be the household name it is today and we might all stand and gape at Sue or Scotty or Stan the Dynamosaurus. The distinctive osteoderms are probably Ankylosaurus osteoderms, although I haven’t attempted to track down the specimens myself or any papers that discuss their identity, so I suppose they could also be Maastrichtian nodosaurid osteoderms. Updated 2 October 2015: Last year when I fired this off quickly I completely forgot that the Dynamosaurus osteoderms are figured in Ken Carpenter’s 2004 Ankylosaurus paper!

Anyway, happy birthday, Dynamosaurus. I still like you, even if you never existed.

Osborn HF. 1905. Tyrannosaurus and other Cretaceous carnivorous dinosaurs. Bulletin of the AMNH 21: 259-265.

Osborn HF. 1906. Tyrannosaurus, Upper Cretaceous carnivorous dinosaur (second communication). Bulletin of the AMNH 22:281-296.

Big screaming hairy dinosaurs.

Kulindadromeus, a little ornithischian from the Jurassic of Siberia, has the palaeosphere abuzz with talk of fluff, feathers, scales, and all kinds of interesting integumentary goodness. Kulindadromeus has scales on its feet, hands, and tail, but the head, body, and upper limbs are covered in three different kinds of filamentous integument. 

Beautiful restoration of Kulindadromeus by Andrey Atuchin, via National Geographic. Continue reading

Waking up from hibernation.

And by hibernation, I mean grad school. The last few weeks have been pretty busy here in Edmonton and I’ve found myself without a lot of time to blog about interesting things that have been going on. Thankfully, that busy-ness is a result of research productivity and teaching, which are both good things! So, over the next few days, as we head into the (still somewhat cold) field season here in Alberta, I’ll try to cover a bit of what’s been happening for the last couple months… Continue reading

5 Questions for Phil Bell

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s interview with Caleb, here’s an interview with Phil Bell of the Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative. Phil is a former Currie Lab member who completed his PhD last spring, focusing on the Mongolian and North American hadrosaur Saurolophus. He recently published a paper on skin impressions in Saurolophus. Thanks to David Lloyd of the Tyrrell Museum for the great photos of work at the Dragon’s Tomb in 2010! Continue reading