Ben Creisler | 31 Oct 01:18 2014

Misunderstood Giants: Geosaurus, Anteosaurus, Otozoum

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

October 31st brings the American monster/supernatural/pumpkin-themed
holiday Halloween, a cultural concoction of costumes, candy, and kid
pranks that has been steadily infiltrating other countries (sometimes
to mixed reactions). The month of October also has been declared
"International Dinosaur Month" and since 2010 has included National
Fossil Day as part of Earth Science Week. It might be an appropriate
moment to look at how paleontologists as far back as the 1820s have
celebrated an ancient world of mythical monsters in names for long
dead creatures.

The gods and monsters have traditionally come from Greek and Roman
mythology, but lately more adventurous choices from different world
cultures have been gaining favor.

Three of the commonly misunderstood Greek and Latin mythological
references may be a good place to start. (Translations from French are
mine, as are any errors.)


Geosaurus Cuvier, 1824  "Ge's lizard" ("mother of the giants' lizard")
[NOT "land lizard" or "earth lizard"]

Thalattosuchia: Metriorhynchidae (Late Jurassic)


(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 30 Oct 20:29 2014

K-Pg impact effects mapped on Gulf of Mexico sea floor + Winton Formation climate + more

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of recent non-dino papers that may be interest:

Free pdf:

Charles K. Paull, David W. Caress, Roberto Gwiazda, Jaime
Urrutia-Fucugauchi, Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra, Eve Lundsten, Krystle
Anderson, Esther J. Sumner (2014)
Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary exposed: Campeche Escarpment, Gulf of Mexico.
Marine Geology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.10.002


First detailed map of Campeche Escarpment.
Escarpment is as little as 130 km from Chicxulub impact crater.
Strata spanning Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary are exposed along
Escarpment is a source for K-Pg debris flow, largest debris flow
deposit on Earth.
Results of first science cruise of the Schmidt Ocean Institute vessel
R/V Falkor.


We present the first multibeam bathymetric maps of the Campeche
Escarpment; a Mesozoic carbonate platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which
(Continue reading)

soledad.esteban | 30 Oct 13:06 2014

Course introduction to the analysis of Networks, April 20-24, 2015, Barcelona.

Dear colleagues,

Registration is open for the course "INTRODUCTION TO NETWORK TOOLS IN BIOSCIENCES - 2nd Edition".

SVP, APA, EAVP and SEP members have a 20 % discount on the fee.

INSTRUCTORS: Dr. Diego Rasskin-Gutman (Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva,
Spain) and Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava (Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, Spain).

DATES: April, 20-24, 2015. 34 teaching hours. 

PLACE:  Facilities of the Centre de Restauració i Interpretació de Els Hostalets de Pierola, Els
hostalets de Pierola,  Barcelona (Spain). 


- Complex Biological Systems: Modelling Relations: Historical and conceptual introduction. Basic
concepts and representations.

- Hands on Computers: Introduction to R: Presentation of the R environment and language. Basic operations
in R (useful for network modelling). Packages installation.

- Hands on Computers: Introduction to igraph and Network Modelling: Presentation of the package igraph.
Modelling deterministic networks. Manipulating network attributes. Modelling networks from loaded data.

- Complex Biological Systems: Applied Network Theory: Nodes, links and types of networks. Basic network
parameters. Network architecture and null network models.

- Work Example: Analysing parameters and architecture in tetrapod skull networks.
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 30 Oct 04:13 2014

History of dinosaur parks + robots that run like birds

Ben Creisler
bcreislerF <at>

A couple of recent news items:

History of dinosaur parks


Robots built to run like birds

Ben Creisler | 29 Oct 20:36 2014

Fwd: Dinosaur natural track casts from Lower Cretaceous of China

Another DML posting that did not get through today it appears...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ben Creisler <bcreisler <at>>
Date: Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 8:55 AM
Subject: Dinosaur natural track casts from Lower Cretaceous of China
To: dinosaur <at>

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new paper:

Lida Xing, Daqing Li, Martin G. Lockley, Daniel Marty, Jianping Zhang,
W. Scott Persons, Hailu You, Cuo Peng & Susanna B. Kümmell (2015)
Dinosaur natural track casts from the Lower Cretaceous Hekou Group in
the Lanzhou-Minhe Basin, Gansu, Northwest China: Ichnology, track
formation, and distribution.
Cretaceous Research 52(A): 194–205
DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2014.10.001

Multiple dinosaur tracksites are known from the red beds (sandstones
and siltstones) of the Hekou Group in the Lanzhou-Minhe Basin in Gansu
Province, China. Among these, the most famous is the Yanguoxia No. 1 &
2 tracksite, which has an abundance of tracks from a diverse
ichnofauna. Here, we describe natural casts from six new tracksites
including three located near the Yanguoxia No. 1 & 2 tracksites and
three from more distant tracksites (located up to 40 km from
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 29 Oct 20:35 2014

Fwd: Mosasaurus conodon osteology and taxonomy

Apparently this posting to the DML did not show up. I will try again...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ben Creisler <bcreisler <at>>
Date: Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 8:57 AM
Subject: Mosasaurus conodon osteology and taxonomy
To: dinosaur <at>

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

T. Ikejiria and S.G. Lucas (2014)
Osteology and taxonomy of Mosasaurus conodon Cope 1881 from the Late
Cretaceous of North America.
Netherlands Journal of Geosciences (advance online publication)

Two well-preserved skeletons of Mosasaurus conodon Cope 1881
(Squamata, Mosasaurinae) from the Pierre Shale (late Campanian) of
Colorado and the Bearpaw Shale (Late Campanian to Early Maastrichtian)
of Montana are described. The two specimens are important because they
provide new osteological information, especially on the skull
(including jaws with teeth) and forelimbs, whereas those elements are
largely missing in the holotype (AMNH 1380) of M. conodon.
Morphological comparisons of the holotype with the two new specimens
allow us to emend the diagnosis of the species in the genus
Mosasaurus, primarily using tooth and forelimb morphologies. Teeth of
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 29 Oct 20:32 2014

Oryctodromeus exhibit set for Museum of the Rockies + toothed birds + moa skull

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Some recent news and blog items:

Burrowing Oryctodromeus exhibit set for Museum of the Rockies

Toothed birds

Moa skull video


Ben Creisler | 29 Oct 16:44 2014

Re: Zaraapelta, new ankylosaur from Late Cretaceous of Mongolia (free pdf)

The paper is now in open access with a free pdf.

On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler <at>> wrote:
> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler <at>
> A new paper:
> Victoria M. Arbour, Philip J. Currie and Demchig Badamgarav (2014)
> The ankylosaurid dinosaurs of the Upper Cretaceous Baruungoyot and
> Nemegt formations of Mongolia.
> Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 172(3): 631–652
> DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12185
> The discovery of a new ankylosaurid skull with some unusual features
> from the Baruungoyot Formation of Mongolia prompted a systematic
> review of ankylosaurid specimens from the Baruungoyot and Nemegt
> formations. Dyoplosaurus giganteus was found to possess no diagnostic
> features and is regarded as a nomen dubium. The holotype of Tarchia
> kielanae (previously synonymized with Tarchia gigantea) has one
> autapomorphy, an accessory postorbital ossification with surrounding
> furrow, and Tar. kielanae is here considered a valid species, making
> the combination Tar. gigantea unnecessary. An accessory postorbital
> ossification is also found in the holotype of Minotaurasaurus
> ramachandrani, and this species is here considered a junior synonym of
> Tar. kielanae. The newly described skull from the Baruungoyot
> Formation forms the holotype of a new genus and species, Zaraapelta
(Continue reading)

Dan Chure | 29 Oct 00:40 2014

Early bird flight video

This story contains and interesting video showing early bird "flight".  
Quite remarkable.


Robin Sissons | 28 Oct 17:01 2014

Plast'r craft

Hello everyone,

I recently came across a product in an artistic context, called Plast 'r
craft (by Pacon, It is
a plaster impregnated gauze. Basically kids were using it do to craft
modelling, but of course I immediately thought of it as an alternative to
Gypsona bandages. It seems to be significantly cheaper than the medical
grade Gypsona which I have used in the past.

Has anyone used this product? Does anyone have any comments on using it as
an alternative to Gypsona? I am concerned whether the quality and
durability will stand up to the rigours of palaeo work. I would hate to use
a product like this only to find it crumbling and falling apart.

Thanks in advance,


Robin Sissons M.Sc. Palaeontology
Research Assistant
Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Ben Creisler | 28 Oct 16:54 2014

Iteravis, new ornithuromorph bird from Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, China

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

Shuang Zhou, Jingmai K. O’Connor & Min Wang (2014)
A new species from an ornithuromorph (Aves: Ornithothoraces) dominated
locality of the Jehol Biota.
Chinese Science Bulletin (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s11434-014-0669-8

We report on a new species of ornithuromorph bird, Iteravis
huchzermeyeri gen. et sp. nov., from the previously unreported
Sihedang locality of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, the oldest
ornithuromorph bearing deposit in the world. Unlike most other
Cretaceous localities, specimens from this new quarry are largely
referable to Ornithuromorpha, similar to the Lower Cretaceous Aptian
Xiagou Formation in Gansu Province. Also similar to the Xiagou
avifauna, the fauna at Sihedang is largely dominated by a single taxon
(described here). Differences in faunal dominance may suggest the
Sihedang records a unique ecological habitat. This may also explain
the dominance of Gansus in the younger Xiagou Formation locality and
suggests that previous hypotheses regarding the shift in dominance
between Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha need to be reassessed in
terms of potential ecological biases due to limited sampling.
Furthermore, the recognition of an ornithuromorph dominated locality
in the Sihedang significantly weakens the signal of such an inferred
trend. Compared to most Jehol birds, the new specimen is relatively
better preserved in three dimensions revealing morphological details
(Continue reading)