Saturday, January 26, 2019

New Pages: Geologic Time Scale and Classification Diagrams

So far the year has been quiet (well, up until Friday), so I thought I'd address a couple of nagging things, which I've done by adding two pages. The first page is a geologic time scale figure, from one I worked up for National Park Service reports. It's the kind of thing I thought would be handy to have on hand here for reference, instead of having a link to an external site. It'll be updated from time to time as dates are refined. The Quaternary is rather cramped, although I don't feel particularly apologetic for shortchanging Homo sapiens.

The second page is a sort of "map" to the classifications used in the various sheets over at The Compact Thescelosaurus, made with classic ASCII cladograms. (I contemplated drafting them in other ways, but none of them were as amenable to updating.) I thought this would be useful for visualizing the mess of classification columns. The process also forced me to look at the positions of a few clades, as you may have noticed from the updates sheet.

It's not connected to either topic, but I've also added a paragraph of new information to the post on the "Kweichow sauropod" after coming across a mention of it in Averianov and Sues (2017).

Finally, so as not to leave the post without an image, here's one attached to a quick story:

Back in spring 2001 I was on a field trip to the Badlands/Black Hills area of southwestern South Dakota. We were stopped along a road near Deadwood for lunch. One of the professors said something to the effect that "there are fossils in this formation." I looked down at the chunks of rock at my feet and said "You mean like this?"

Yeah, like this.

From my notes the source is the Whitewood Formation (or Dolomite, or Limestone), fittingly enough an (surprise, surprise) Upper Ordovician unit. More on its cephalopods can be found in Miller and Furnish (1937).


Averianov, A., and H.-D. Sues. 2017. Review of Cretaceous sauropod dinosaurs from central Asia. Cretaceous Research 69:184–197. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2016.09.006.

Miller, A. K., and W. M. Furnish. 1937. Ordovician cephalopods from the Black Hills, South Dakota. Journal of Paleontology 11(7):535–551.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Your Friends The Titanosaurs, part 8: Bonitasaura, Borealosaurus, and Brasilotitan

And so we reach Part 8, otherwise to be known as "Bonitasaura and these other two." Bonitasaura is one of the best-known sauropods, even if it isn't quite a household word, and also has some unusual jaw features going for it. Brasilotitan has some of the same jaw features, but is not known from nearly as much material and came along several years later. Borealosaurus has an uncertain grip on Titanosauria, and gripping things takes some creativity when you have either no fingers or just nubs.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Crystal Ball for 2019

So we've come to 2019. I didn't do so well last year trying to apply a system, so that's gone. I'm trying to mix it up beyond "X# of new taxa"; the problem is "X#" is so easy to define and score.

Will the coming year bring, for no obvious reason, a photo of Simosuchus? (yes)