Sunday, July 23, 2023

Your Friends The Titanosaurs: Igai semkhu

This happens to be the 400th post on Equatorial Minnesota, and it's on a fitting subject, as about 15% of the posts have been on titanosaurs. In fact, this particular titanosaur has been mentioned before, as a potential coming attraction. What was referred to as MB.R.Vb-621–640 in that post now has a name: Igai semkhu. Let's have a look at what this new genus and species can tell us.

Figure 1 from Gorscak et al. (2023), including quarry map (with lost material), reconstruction, and geographic insets (CC BY-NC-ND-4.0).

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Fossil Lagomorphs of the National Park Service

It's time for the annual focus on the paleontology of a particular group in National Park Service lands. This year we turn from the felines to one of their prey items, the lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and pikas). So, why bunnies and pikas? To be honest, most of us have probably never given more than a moment's thought to the fossil record of lagomorphs, and that moment probably involved one of three thoughts: a nodding recognition that fossil rabbits et al. must exist; goofy speculation ("prehistoric saber-toothed rabbits"); or providing some ancient carnivore an appropriate lunch for a drawing or story. Well, you know me: I love topics nobody else is talking about. (I get in fewer arguments that way.) Also, I come from a household that appreciates small mammals for what they are. In return, they seem to feel comfortable hanging around. (A Tamiasciurus hudsonicus deciding your yard is part of its territory provides entertainment value all winter; the little psychos will take on anything.) For the past couple of months a young rabbit has been a frequent visitor, so this is my tip of the cap.