Dogma is defined by Merriam-Webster as “something held as an established opinion; especially:  a definite authoritative tenet.” Science prides itself on being removed from dogma through use of critical thinking and continuous questioning. As scientists, paleontologists work hard to ensure that dogmatic thinking is avoided. Everything is up for question. Nothing is sacred.Or is it? This week, a paper was published th... Read More
Posted: 3/25/2017 4:56:57 PM by pennilynhigginsadmin | with 0 comments
Historical photos are fascinating as windows into the lives of our paleontological predecessors. I enjoy seeing the old clothing styles and haircuts, and reflecting on how some things have changed (or haven't changed) over the years. For today's post, I found a great photo from the Smithsonian's archives, depicting fossil preparator Norman Ross assembling the mounted skeleton of a little horned dinosaur. The photo is dat... Read More
Posted: 3/9/2017 3:48:17 PM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
On a recent trip to visit the paleobiology group at the University of Washington, I had the opportunity to visit with a variety of faculty and students. I always enjoy getting to meet new people and learn about what they are working on, but from a student’s perspective, I know that meeting with a visiting professor can be intimidating. Here are my Top 10 suggestions of why you should consider signing up for one of those half-ho... Read More
Posted: 2/23/2017 8:03:57 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Social media has become an important thing for science communication. In paleontology, the activity of "Live Tweeting" professional meetings has become an important aspect of what we do as scientists. This is all part of what we feel is an important opportunity to take our science - our life's work - and make it available to anyone who might be interested. But we still have challenges. It has been suggested, and I have... Read More
Posted: 2/9/2017 6:11:09 PM by pennilynhigginsadmin | with 0 comments
Everyone loves a good depiction of prehistoric feasting--whether that's a dire wolf chowing down on a prehistoric bison, or a Stegosaurus grazing on some ferns. So, how do we know what prehistoric animals ate?Allosaurus dines on a dinosaur carcass--this reconstruction by Charles Knight was based on sauropod bones that showed tooth marks from feeding! Many different lines of evidence helps paleontologist reconstruct prehistoric d... Read More
Posted: 2/7/2017 4:52:49 PM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
Nature recently published the first issue of yet another journal bearing the Nature name, Nature Ecology & Evolution. This brings to 28 the number of journals bearing the Nature brand, not counting the 18 Nature Reviews journals nor the 25 Nature Research Journals. I am going to add Nature Ecology & Evolution to the list of journals I peruse periodically, right next to Nature Geoscience, another relatively young journal (laun... Read More
Posted: 1/12/2017 9:09:51 PM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Every year around the holidays, employees of the Canadian Museum of Nature focus their energies on a bit of festive decorating around the office. The decorating can get a bit… competitive at times, with different departments vying for most impressive (or tacky) display. This being the last week before the holidays, I thought I’d keep things light and post some photos of the Palaeobiology department’s efforts so far... Read More
Posted: 12/19/2016 1:37:22 PM by mallonjordanadmin | with 0 comments
We take our teeth and jaws for granted. Although our back-boned body plan originated over 540 million years ago (Shu et al., 2003), it was not until at least 450 million years ago that our common ancestors began to sport jaws. Data from careful anatomical comparisons, observations of embryonic development, and study of developmental genes strongly indicate that our jaws evolved from the cranial (those towards the head) gill supports ... Read More
Posted: 12/19/2016 12:01:00 AM by matthewbonnanadmin | with 0 comments
Last week, the US Department of the Interior released a proposed set of rules for paleontology on lands that they manage (more info from SVP here). We are now at the beginning of a two month comment period--meaning that you can provide input! In this post, I walk through three particular questions related to these rules. Note that the text here should not be construed to reflect official positions by Society of Vertebrate Paleontolo... Read More
Posted: 12/12/2016 12:12:58 PM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
Thanks to the Fulbright Scholar Program, I recently had the opportunity to spend several months in La Plata, Argentina. Most of my time was spent on research, and I also helped teach a few classes. But the best part of my fellowship may have been being able to spend lots of time chatting with colleagues and students. It really helped me understand what it takes to become (and be) a vertebrate paleontologist in Argentina, or at least ... Read More
Posted: 12/2/2016 8:29:59 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
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