OLD BONES - SVP'S BLOG

I prepared this text for my students to help them understand the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement as they work on videos as a class project. There is always confusion about what's legal and what isn't, what exactly constitutes plagiarism, and how copyright figures into this. My students aren't the only ones confused on this point, and as the years have passed I have seen copyright infringem... Read More
Posted: 2/1/2016 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
What types of food an extinct vertebrate ate millions of years ago seems like one of those things that would be difficult to know. And to a large extent, it is. Short of fossilized gut contents or dung that can be positively attributed to its maker, palaeontologists have no way of knowing with any certainty what an extinct vertebrate ate. Looking at the shapes of the teeth might help (is it an herbivore or a carnivore?), as might ... Read More
Posted: 1/19/2016 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
Just like animals alive today, dinosaurs changed a lot as they grew up from hatchling to adult. But, evidence of these transformations are often scarce. Young, small dinosaurs were...well, bite-sized, and often didn't make it into the fossil record. And even if they did, their delicate bones are usually destroyed by erosion or even overlooked by collectors.Above: Skeleton of baby Chasmosaurus, from Currie et al. 2016 Paleontolog... Read More
Posted: 1/14/2016 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
It's that time of year when many high school seniors are in the midst of college applications. A college degree in a relevant field is virtually required for a formal career in paleontology (although many, many individuals without college degrees have contributed to the science in major ways, of course!). But, there are a wide array of choices out there. How is an aspiring paleontologist to choose? First, why does a degree matte... Read More
Posted: 12/27/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
On a recent trip to Chile, I read a book recommended by my colleague, René Bobe, that I think anyone interested in paleontology and evolution would really enjoy: The Monkey’s Voyage by Alan de Queiroz. This engaging book tackles the topic of biogeography: the study of where different types of animals and plants are found and how they came to be that way. Biogeography may not sound very exciting, but like most subjects, how it... Read More
Posted: 12/24/2015 12:00:00 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
Whenever I teach paleontology, or whenever I interact with members of the general public, one of the burning questions out there is how do we know what extinct animals looked like? Related to this question is often a large dose of skepticism – after all, isn’t most of what paleontologists do conjecture? No one has a time machine, and we often infer what should be there in terms of skin, hair, or feathers based on skeletal... Read More
Posted: 12/14/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
For many, what draws us to paleontology is the field work. You see it on TV and in the movies. The intrepid paleontologist, in his traditional khaki cargo pants and multi-pocketed vest, standing over the quarry, looking on while vast numbers of minions slowly carve away the rock to expose the virtually complete dinosaur. He wipes the sweat and dust from is grizzled face with a dirty handkerchief that he quickly ties back around his n... Read More
Posted: 12/3/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
     It’s safe to say that Canada has one of the best dinosaur fossil records in the world. But it wasn’t always that way. Whereas dinosaur paleontology took off in England in the early 19th century, and blossomed in the USA by the middle 19th century, the search for dinosaur fossils in Canada didn’t occur until the late 19th century. Names like Lawrence Lambe, Charles Sternberg, and William Parks are... Read More
Posted: 11/23/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
I learned a new word at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology a few weeks ago: teuthophagy, which means “squid-eating.” It was used in a presentation about sperm whales (family Physeteridae), which frequently prey on squid and thus, can be described as teuthophagous. You can also describe yourself as teuthophagous when you are consuming calamari, so you may want to file that term away for the next t... Read More
Posted: 11/3/2015 12:00:00 AM by croftdarinadmin | with 0 comments
But where are all the fossils?  This, I found myself wondering on occasion as I listened to talks at the 75th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.  This year, perhaps because I haven’t been in a couple, one thing stood out above all others—the methods for studying vertebrate paleontology have exponentially advanced in complexity since I got my start back in the mid-1990s.  Gone are the ... Read More
Posted: 10/27/2015 12:00:00 AM by host | with 0 comments
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