OLD BONES - SVP'S BLOG

Taphonomy is broadly defined the study of those processes that act on an organism between death and fossilization. Such processes might include breakage and disarticulation due to weathering, scavenging, and trampling, and transportation due to water currents, among many others. Turner (2007) characterized taphonomic processes as information-destroying by nature, and I can certainly understand where he’s coming from. If you&rsq... Read More
Posted: 7/4/2016 11:47:56 AM by mallonjordanadmin | with 0 comments
I have a strong love for zoos, dating to my toddler years when we would visit ours in Memphis, Tennessee.  Though the role of zoos has evolved from simply showing animals to research, education, and conservation, I always delighted in seeing organisms that I wouldn’t run into in the backyard, with the exception of the bovines, where my simplistic child’s mind was terrified that the bull would charge our red tote bag ... Read More
Posted: 6/28/2016 2:51:36 PM by allisonbeckadmin | with 0 comments
Everyone knows about dinosaurs, and most people who dig deeper quickly learn about the two major groups of dinosaurs: saurischians and ornithischians. Saurischians include the long-necked sauropods such as Apatosaurus, often fearsome theropods like Tyrannosaurus, and of course today's birds. Ornithischians were plant-eaters, with such classics as thumb-spiked Iguanodon, three-horned Triceratops, and the plated Stegosaurus. Both g... Read More
Posted: 6/27/2016 9:00:00 AM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
The success of dinosaurs, and all other vertebrates for that matter, was and is predicated on sexual reproduction. In most cases, male and female individuals in a population of a particular species must come together and mate. There are some exceptions – for example, some populations of lizards are all females but can reproduce through a process known as parthenogenesis (Gilbert, 2010). But can you tell males from females in th... Read More
Posted: 6/20/2016 12:01:00 AM by matthewbonnanadmin | with 0 comments
I recently returned from fieldwork in Bolivia, and although I am a paleontologist, our team’s focus wasn’t fossils. Rather, we were collecting other types of data to allow us to understand the exact ages of fossils from the site and the environments in which those fossils were preserved. This contextual information is just as important as the fossils themselves, as it makes it possible to integrate information from many f... Read More
Posted: 6/19/2016 7:16:37 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Striking news has appeared recently in the media coverage around the world about fossils discovered in Chile: Chilesaurus, a bizarre midsize herbivorous theropod dinosaur with combined ornithopod and sauropod characteristics (Novas et al. 2015), and an ichthyosaur cemetery uncovered by the regression of the Tyndall glacier (Stinnesbeck et al. 2015), just to name two examples.   Something remarkable is going on in this long, ... Read More
Posted: 5/13/2016 7:25:49 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Giving advice often comes out sounding hollow or self-serving, but if I may be so bold, I’d like to give some hope to young people considering a career in vertebrate paleontology or, in fact, any of the basic sciences in general. My message is simple: you have choices. Telling your parents you want to pursue a career in vertebrate paleontology is considered cute and curious when you’re 5 years old, but if you’... Read More
Posted: 5/9/2016 12:05:00 AM by matthewbonnanadmin | with 0 comments
      It’s National Volunteer Week here in Canada, a time to recognize the tens of millions of volunteers who give their time freely to support our various organizations. Here at the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), we engage roughly 250 volunteers presently, eight of which work in Palaeobiology. I thought I’d take this chance to pay a brief tribute to our volunteers and the many great things th... Read More
Posted: 4/12/2016 3:56:27 PM by mallonjordanadmin | with 0 comments
One of the most dangerous myths about being a paleontologist--indeed, one that even is perpetuated by some paleontologists--is that we have no time or use to engage outside of our immediate profession. Time not spent doing research is time wasted. This attitude might work well for short-term publication output, but it is a recipe for long-term disaster. As professionals, we have an obligation to step out of the quarry, step out of th... Read More
Posted: 4/8/2016 5:47:31 PM by andyfarkeadmin | with 0 comments
I had never heard of the Tully monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium) before moving to Chicago for graduate school. But after spending several years studying at the Field Museum, I became a Tullimonstrumophile like everyone else in Illinois. (It was named the state fossil in 1989). However, neither I nor anyone else knew what type of monster it actually was: an early relative of backboned animals? something more closely related to snails ... Read More
Posted: 3/24/2016 11:56:59 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
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