Subscribe: Philosophica Neopalaeontographica
http://j-conway.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Preview: Philosophica Neopalaeontographica

Philosophica Neopalaeontographica



A postpostmodern neoaesthetisist-quasi-rationalist neopalaeontographical webl.



Last Build Date: Fri, 03 Oct 2014 08:06:31 +0000

 



Blog Abandoned

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 23:04:00 +0000

Not really a big surprise, given the update frequency here, but I think I'll declare the blog abandoned. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or visit my new website.



Pteranodon longiceps

Tue, 02 Feb 2010 16:25:00 +0000

(image)

The surprisingly pot-bellied Pteranodon longiceps. For a more thorough exploration of aforementioned pot-belliness, check out my post on the Pterosaur.net Blog.

References
Bennett, S.C., 1991. Morphology of the Late Cretaceous pterosaur Pterandon and systematics of the Pterodactyloidea. PhD. dissertation, University of Kansas.

Claessens, L.P.A.M., O'Connor, P.M., and Unwin, D.M., 2009. Respiratory Evolution Facilitated the Origin of Pterosaur Flight and Aerial Gigantism. PLoS ONE vol. 4 (2) pp. e4497 Online

Hanson, M., 2008. Pteranodon Skeletals. Online

Paul, G.S., 2002. Dinosaurs of the Air. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Permalink at Palaeontography



I've given up all I stand for...

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 14:16:00 +0000

... you can now subscribe to my website's Twitter feed @jconwaypalaeo.



Dead Velociraptor mongoliensis

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 15:49:00 +0000

(image)

This Velociraptor is dead. As, in fact, they all are. Based on Scott Hartman's skeletal

Permalink at Palaeontography




Tupandactylus imperator

Wed, 09 Dec 2009 15:49:00 +0000

(image)

Tupandactylus imperator, a pretty big cretaceous pterosaur, with a crazyinsane head crest of megaepic proportions.

Permalink at Palaeontography




Chickens

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 12:52:00 +0000

(object) (embed)



Nyctosaurus

Sat, 10 May 2008 12:33:00 +0000

(image)

For those who don't know, this is the rather spectacular crested Nyctosaurus—a medium-sized pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous. I did picture of this pair a few years back where I put sails on them, to go with the skim-sailing hypothesis that was so hot right then. It's not so hot right now, so this is an un-sailed version (which is based on an old painting I did at the same time, but never uploaded anywhere). I've extended the rear-facing prong somewhat, as it seems there were extra bits that weren't obvious in the original description.

Permalink at Palaeontography




Nemicolopterus crypticus

Thu, 21 Feb 2008 17:48:00 +0000

(image)

Aw, what a tweet liddle tweedy bird! I want to snuglylumphs it all up!

The superb little pterosaur Nemicolopterus crypticus, in the trees, like all the restorations out there (hey, at least I went for something other than a ginko!). Based on my skeletal.


Permalink at Palaeontography




Science is Boring

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 23:50:00 +0000

You know, with the whole annoying "science is fun kids!" bullshite going on, it's nice to see this: science is a boring (and possibly a waste of your life):

(embed)
Expert On Anteaters Wasted Entire Life Studying Anteaters



Nemicolopterus crypticus Skeletal

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 13:16:00 +0000

(image)

A preliminary skeletal of the new (and absolutely tiny) pterosaur Nemicolopterus crypticus. This was done from the not-very-high-resolution photographs and drawings in the description, so I do stress that it is preliminary.

White indicates bones present and restorable, light grey indicates bones that are present but I had to pretty my make up (because they are badly crushed, partially obscured by other bones, etc.) and dark grey missing elements. Stipples indicate air sacs. Gotta say, this is one cool looking little beasty. Really birdlike.

References:
Wang et al., 2008. Discovery of a rare arboreal forest-dwelling flying reptile (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from China. PNAS vol. 105 (6) pp. 1983-1987


Permalink at Palaeontography




Tropeognathus mesembrinus

Sun, 10 Feb 2008 19:45:00 +0000

(image)

Nemo Ramjet commented that a lot of my pterosaur pictures look like those classic paintings of WW2 fighters. So I decided to go the whole hog! Anyway, the pterosaur is Tropeognathus mesembrinus, with the body modeled on Anhanguera. I've gone with my more customary "Cunningham" membrane configuration, which looks pretty sweet on these guys.

Permalink at Palaeontography




Comparitive Forelimb Muscle Attachments - Ventral

Sun, 13 Jan 2008 20:37:00 +0000

(image)

The ventral forelimb muscle attachment sites in crocodylians, Anhanguera, and a corvid. The attachments in Anhanguera are inferred from muscle scars, and comparison with crocodylians and birds.

  • Bennett, S. C., 2003. Morphological evolution of the pectoral girdle of pterosaurs myology and function, in Buffetaut, E., and Mazin, J-M. (eds) 2003, Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs, geological society of London, 2003 217 pp. 191-215
  • Hudson, E. H., Lanzillotti P. J., 1955. Gross anatomy of the wing muscles in the family Corvidae, The American Midland Naturalist, 53:1 pp. 1-44
  • Meers, M. B., 2003. Crocodylian forelimb musculature and its relevance to the Archosauria, The Anatomica Record, Part A



Comparitive Forelimb Muscle Attachments - Dorsal

Sun, 13 Jan 2008 20:31:00 +0000

(image)

The dorsal forelimb muscle attachment sites in crocodylians, Anhanguera, and a corvid. The attachments in Anhanguera are inferred from muscle scars, and comparison with crocodylians and birds.

  • Bennett, S. C., 2003. Morphological evolution of the pectoral girdle of pterosaurs myology and function, in Buffetaut, E., and Mazin, J-M. (eds) 2003, Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs, geological society of London, 2003 217 pp. 191-215
  • Hudson, E. H., Lanzillotti P. J., 1955. Gross anatomy of the wing muscles in the family Corvidae, The American Midland Naturalist, 53:1 pp. 1-44
  • Meers, M. B., 2003. Crocodylian forelimb musculature and its relevance to the Archosauria, The Anatomica Record, Part A



The Structure of a Pterosaur

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 17:30:00 +0000


Here's something I've been working on for quite some time: a multi-layered diagram of all the structural elements of a pterosaur - basically, the things that give them their shape.

You can find the full version, with a still image, an interactive version, and a higher-res video at palaeontography.

It's also up at YouTube, if you want to vote for it, or whatever people do on YouTube.


Media Files:
http://www.blogger.com/video-play.mp4?contentId=3ae11e14ed4c75cc&type=video%2Fmp4




Compsognathus longipes

Sun, 06 Jan 2008 18:56:00 +0000

(image)

This is a digital re-working of a fairly old picture of mine: Compsognathus longipes feeding on a dead fish it has found on a Solnhofen beach.



The disastrous pop-culture image of Velociraptor

Thu, 03 Jan 2008 14:00:00 +0000

(image)

In doing a quick search for Velociraptor images today, I came across something disturbing: the entire first page of google results (with one exception of a Todd Marshall painting) are complete rubbish. They look nothing like what we know of Velociraptor's true appearance from fossil evidence and careful study.

Who cares? I do! A more accurate feel for the appearance of prehistoric animals gives us all a better appreciation of evolution and biodiversity, and is just plain more interesting than the silly pop-culture image.

The real Velociraptor was a very birdlike animal not much bigger than a turkey. Perhaps it looked something like my drawing above, or maybe like one of the these excellent restorations at Scott Hartman's SkeletalDrawing.com.

If you want to help give Velociraptor its rightful image in pop-culture, participate in "link-to-an-accurate-Velociraptor day". Simply link to your favourite V. image or page using the word "Velociraptor" in your journal , website or blog, and help bring the popular image of V. (and by extension prehistoric animals) more into line with the science.

Here's a few links to accurate restorations (there are surprisingly few, in my opinion):

Velociraptor by Matt Martynuik,
Velociraptor , and Velociraptor and Protoceratops by yours truly,
Velociraptor by Mike Keesey,
Velociraptor, Velociraptor and Velociraptor by Alain Beneteau, and
Velociraptor by Demetrios Vital.



What may happen in the retro-future

Thu, 13 Dec 2007 19:43:00 +0000

(image) I found this excellent turn-of-the-(previous)-century article from The Ladies Home Journal using stumble upon. It's easy to laugh at this kind of thing... so let's go ahead:

"There will be no C, X or Q"

... because they are useless. Actually, we seem to like useless things, and have preserved most of them, while inventing new useless things of our own. I predict that in 100 years we will have merged pictograms into English :-( .

"No Mosquitoes or Flies"

Whoa - I'm not even sure we want to get rid of flies, even if we could. I'm sure they do something useful.

"Grand opera will be telephoned to private homes"

As a form of futuristic torture no doubt.

"England in less than two days"

On hydrofoils with air-enveloped skids that convert to submarines during bad weather. Fricken' AWESOME.

Curiously, right after the (obviously accurate) prediction that automobiles will be everywhere and used for everything horses were, we get:

"Everybody will walk ten miles... Any man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling".

The predictions of television-like devices, and telegraphed photos both include the example of watching battles in the orient. I guess watching Chinese fight was how nerds got their jollies back then too.



Pteranodon sternbergi

Wed, 12 Dec 2007 23:12:00 +0000

(image)

Pteranodon sternbergi, a 6-8m wingspanned pterosaur from Late Creataceous North America soars over a choppy sea - generating lift from wind over the waves, just like an albatross.



But we ARE monkeys.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 16:27:00 +0000

I have often been irritated by hearing "sceptics", when arguing with creationists, say that we did not evolve from apes or monkeys, but rather merely share a a common ancestor with them - like this is somehow supposed to score a blow against creationist incredulity.

This argument is tosh, and should be avoided at all costs. First off, it's flat wrong, as Mike Keesey nicely demonstrates here. We are apes, which are monkeys. Secondly, even if the argument were true, it's pointlessly pedantic. We have evolved from something people would call and ape, which evolved from something people would call a monkey. No point getting mealy-mouthed about it.

We're clever monkeys, that's just what we are .



Anhanguera Portrait

Fri, 07 Apr 2006 09:47:00 +0000

(image)

Anhanguera piscator sat for a portrait. Very proud of her wings, she was.

(A work in progress, she lacks teeth for on thing.)



Say No to Taxonomy

Fri, 07 Apr 2006 09:05:00 +0000

I was thinking about the old Linnean vs. Cladistic taxonomy debate again, and not for the first time, when a new thought struck me, why is it necessary to have a formal taxonomic system at all?

Linnean taxonomy sought to emphasise correlates of morphology as well as phylogeny, and in doing so over-formalised these correlations to the extent that it becomes almost anti-evolutionary, creating false dilemmas and the dreaded typological thinking that has been so criticised. But it was the formality that led it to such an undesirable outcome. Rather than being defined in paper for utility, taxa became objects of communication; static and difficult to criticise.

Cladistic taxonomy, of course, corrects many of these shortcomings; but I would argue that it does so at a price. The price is content - cladistic taxonomy in itself holds absolutely no information about the external world.

I'm not saying that we need abandon concepts such as clades, stems, nodes, and all the conceptual framework of phylogenetics, but I do question the utility in the institutionalised formality this branch of biology has taken on.

Clade names may be useful in the written discussion of phylogenetic hypothesis, and in discussions in involving phylogenetic bracketing. However, I don't see why these discussions warrant the formality not afforded to (or it seems needed in) other branches or biology.

Indeed, the formality of phylogenetic taxonomic groups make discussion of subjects not directly related to phylogeny cumbersome and difficult, because nothing can be said of a clade apart from phylogenetic inference. The feeling - generated by their formal institutionalisation - that they should be used above other possible groupings is unhelpful.

Phylogenetic units (clades in this case) are not THE units of biology, they are one of numerous possible units. Nothing should prevent us from erecting paraphyletic or polyphyletic groups based on other biological correlations such as functional morphology or ecology; as the context demands. Institutionalising any of them would be a poor choice however.

Perhaps it would be a good thing if the biological groups used in papers was based purely on utility to the subject, rather than and a formal classification system of marginal utility and perhaps hindrance.