The Dinosauroid sheds its feathers on our culture

Ah, the dinosauroid. At once loved and hated, the idea of troodontids evolving into sapient, even humanoid beings has probably piqued many of our interests at some point. Paleontologist Dale Russell's "lizard man" dinosauroid is the most infamous and well-known expression of the concept, but there are many other instances of the idea being explored, … Continue reading The Dinosauroid sheds its feathers on our culture

A Turonian pterosaur turnover?

The early Cretaceous had a great diversity of pterosaurs. All four major groups of pterodactyloid - Archaeopterodactyloidea, Dsungaripteridae, Pteranodontoidea, and Azhdarchoidea - are present, and very diverse (Barrett et al., 2008). Even a few anurognathids were still present until at least the Aptian. By the end of the Cretaceous, this diversity had been reduced to … Continue reading A Turonian pterosaur turnover?

On the paratype of Santanadactylus brasiliensis

Santanadactylus brasiliensis is one of the many Romualdo Formation pterosaurs, named by P.H. de Buisonje (1980). The holotype is University of Amsterdam M 4894, an associated humerus and scapulocoracoid. The humerus looks pretty standard for Anhangueria, and it likely belongs to this clade (in fact I would not be surprised if it is within Anhanguera … Continue reading On the paratype of Santanadactylus brasiliensis

The “molecular paleontology” list

And might as well publicize this list too while I'm at it. Preserved biomolecules in extinct taxa, such as DNA and proteins, are quite a fascinating topic. They allow scientists to place extinct taxa in molecular phylogenies, understand evolution of certain genes, and quantify prehistoric population dynamics. As well, hypothetically, sequences derived from ancient nuclear … Continue reading The “molecular paleontology” list

The Romanian azhdarchid mandible: the “missing piece”?

Vremir et al. recently published a paper on a new partial mandible of a large (+8 m wingspan) Azhdarchoid pterosaur from Romania. This specimen was collected in 1984 and is... not particularly well-preserved, but it is informative enough to give us an idea of its relations. The authors tentatively proposed a position as a primitive … Continue reading The Romanian azhdarchid mandible: the “missing piece”?