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Showing posts from March, 2008

The taxonomic status of Megalosaurus bucklandii

A new paper by Roger Benson of Cambridge University and colleagues discuss the taxonomic status of Megalosaurus bucklandii.

Every dinosaur fan knows of Megalosaurus, the first dinosaur to be named by William Buckland in 1824. Megalosaurus is also historically significant as being one of the taxa that Richard Owen based his Dinosauria in 1842, the other taxon obviously being Iguanodon. The type species M. bucklandii was erected by Gideon Mantell in 1827. Buckland's original description of Megalosaurus in 1824 is based on a series of syntypes, one of which is the famous dentary (fig). Over the years, many other large theropod specimens from the Middle Jurassic were "unjustifiably (Benson et al. 2008)" attributed to M. bucklandii. Over the years, many authors noted the possibility that the syntype series and all subsequent referred specimens may belong to different taxa all together. Thus M. bucklandii is suggested to only refer to the lectotype dentary.

According to Benson …

Happy birthday, Raptor's Nest!

March seems to be a popular month to be born...both my parents are born in March, my friends' birthdays are in March, Ask a Biologist just recently had its first year anniversary, and now, today (19 March) is a whole year from my first blog post on Raptor's Nest - Woohoo!

And coincidentally, it's actually my real birthday today as well - and I had only realised this coincidence last week! I've survived 28 years and been in school in one way or another for 25 of those years...As my name wich means "to learn" in Japanese suggests, I have so far led most of my life as a student (of science) and will probably do so for the rest of my life

Deinosuchus

I was recently asked a question about the possibility of Deinosuchus being in the Hell Creek and interacting with Tyrannosaurus rex. Since the Hell Creek is well-sampled and there are no Deinosuchus fossils it is safe to assume that it was absent from the Hell Creek. However, the person asking the question was fully aware of that so the question actually was, "if Deinosuchus were to be known from surrounding areas of the same age, would it be scientifically plausible to infer its presence in the Hell Creek?" To be perfectly honest, I had no idea of the temporal and geographic range of Deinosuchus and so it turned out to be an interesting afternoon of researching this.

As far as I can gather from the literature and also from colleagues that work on fossil crocs, there are no peer-reviewed scientific articles that ever state the presence of Deinosuchus in strata younger than the late Campanian. Lucas et al. (2006) include a review of Deinosuchus occurrences in one of their pap…

Velociraptor mongoliensis

I've been fooling around again toying with the idea of a Velociraptor mongoliensis perching atop a recently deceased carcass and intimidating its competitors, presumably other Velociraptor individuals. As a few of us have discussed here, according to Roach and Brinkman (2007), the evidence for pack-hunting behaviour in dromaeosaurs is pretty slim. The authors are casting doubt over Deinonychus regularly hunting large prey in a highly coordinated pack-hunting style, mainly based on the loose cooperative hunting styles seen in extant archosaurs (a couple of species of crocodiles and plenty of examples of predatory birds) and the komodo dragon.

Komodo dragons are known to solitarily take down prey as much as 10 times its own size. On this basis, the authors mention that it would be possible for a 70 - 100 kg Deinonychus to solitarily take down a Tenontosaurus anywhere between 700 - 1000 kg.

The fossil sites are reexamined as well. The Deinonychus skeleton(s) found with the Tenontosauru…

Happy birthday, Ask a Biologist!

Well, it's actually this coming Friday (the 14th) but since this is a good chance to promote the site, why not start early?







Ask a Biologistis a Q&A website started up by University of Bristol graduate, Dr. Dave Hone. The unique thing about AAB is that unlike many Q&A forums around the internet, AAB's answerers are all either qualified PhDs, PhDs in training, or have a similar level of experience or qualifications. So there is a certain level of quality and authenticity to the answers provided. The questions are either answered by someone in the field or someone decently knowledgeable in the field with proper scientific research and citations to back it all up.

As with many forums, absolutely anyone can ask questions on AAB, sometimes even the contributors ask the other experts for opinions. But it is primarily aimed towards children and young persons still in school. So if you know of any kids aching to get some of their burning questions regarding biology, then please u…