Sunday, May 31, 2015

Won't somebody please think of the champsosaurs?

Every so often, you may stumble across a crocodile-like thing lurking at the edge of your typical "two-page spread of all kinds of prehistoric critters" found in popular dinosaur books. If the book is of any quality, it includes a legend identifying the denizens, and the crocodile-like thing will be tagged "Champsosaurus" (if there isn't an error in the legend, of course). Unless you're intrigued by the name, or something else tickles your fancy, you'll probably continue along. There are a lot of crocodiles and crocodile-like things to keep track of, after all. What makes this one unusual?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Snails (and not-snails?)

I am posting this on May 24, 2015, which also happens to be Bob Dylan's 74th birthday. I considered titling this "A Hard Shell's A-Gonna Crawl", but even I have standards. "Shell" doesn't sound a bit like "rain".

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hash slabs

It is common for fossils in the wild to be found in beds of uncountable fragments, some identifiable to species, others only barely recognizable as fossils. These assemblages are often called "fossil hash", for obvious reasons. Although you can have conceivably make a hash out of just about any kind of body fossil and some kinds of more discrete trace fossils (it takes a bit of creativity here), the term is usually applied to invertebrate fossils. This leads to the phenomenon of "hash slabs" or "hash plates", a more portable portion of a bed of fossil hash. Hash slabs can make great display or educational pieces, and a good slab rewards continued study; you can never find everything the first time, and as you learn more, you are able to find more. [2017/05/08: why have I been using "hash slab" as opposed to "hash plate"? I don't know, except I seem to be the kind of person who just has to reinvent the wheel.]

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Well, sic transit gloria mundi to Chilesaurus, I guess. A couple of days on top of the world, and then hustled off the stage for a tiny-maniraptoran-slash-Batman-cosplayer. Could be worse; at least it's Batman. 'Round here, though, I've never really had much interest in the origins of flight, early bird evolution, or so on, so nuts to Yi. Let's bring Chilesaurus back on the stage for a few more minutes.