Beringian tigers and steppe lion stripes

Two steppe lion dentaries misidentified as "Beringian tigers", AMNH F:AM 69006 (a) and AMNH F:AM 69016 (b), from Herrington (1986). In her 1986 doctoral dissertation, Sandra Herrington proposed that a distinct subspecies of tiger (Panthera tigris) lived in Alaska during the late Pleistocene. Although she did not formally name this subspecies, she called it the … Continue reading Beringian tigers and steppe lion stripes

The misidentified “Cretalamna” on Wikimedia Commons

The reconstruction of Serratolamna by Dmitry Bogdanov from Ceballos-Izquierdo et al. (2021) and the "Cretalamna" fossil it was based on from Wikimedia Commons (Citron/CC BY-SA 3.0). Ceballos-Izquierdo et al. (2021) described a tooth of the otodontid shark Serratolamna serrata from the Maastrichtian Cantabria Formation of Cuba. In the graphical abstract for the paper, they used a life reconstruction of … Continue reading The misidentified “Cretalamna” on Wikimedia Commons

Xus yus” : the problem of placeholder names in preprints

Screenshot of the "Xus yus" Wikipedia page as it appeared at the time of writing (latest edit dated June 22, 2021). In a preprint posted to the bioRxiv server, Wendruff et al. (2018) described a new genus and species of cheloniellid arthropod from the Silurian Waukesha lagerstätte of Wisconsin. The International code of zoological nomenclature recommends that … Continue reading Xus yus” : the problem of placeholder names in preprints

More Tarbosaurus skin – or is it Saurolophus?

A photo of a supposed "Tarbosaurus" skin impression, from Young (2011). In a previous post, I revealed the origin of rumors about throat skin from Tarbosaurus. It turns out that there is another alleged specimen featured in a book but not in the scientific literature. The above photo, only captioned as "Fossilized tarbosaur [sic] skin", … Continue reading More Tarbosaurus skin – or is it Saurolophus?

The Triassic kraken revisited

Shonisaurus vertebrae arranged in rows compared with the suckers of a modern octopus, from McMenamin (2012) and Wikimedia Commons (Betty Wills, CC BY-SA 4.0) respectively. A decade ago, Mark McMenamin created one of the most notorious hypotheses in paleontology - the Triassic kraken. It was initially published as an abstract at a GSA meeting (McMenamin … Continue reading The Triassic kraken revisited

Carnotaurus does not have osteoderms

Skin impressions from the caudal region of Carnotaurus, from Czerkas & Czerkas (1997). The large, circular indentations are impressions of the shield scales. Carnotaurus sastrei is fairly well-known as having extensive skin impressions preserved along with its skeleton. The most distinctive feature of these impressions is the large "bumps" which are scattered across the skin. These … Continue reading Carnotaurus does not have osteoderms

Estemmenosuchus skin and osteoderms

Photographs and diagram of the preserved skin of Estemmenosuchus uralensis, from Chudinov (1968). The dinocephalian Estemmenosuchus is one of the only non-mammalian synapsids with known integument. Skin from multiple specimens of E. uralensis, from the middle Permian Ezhovo locality in Russia, was described by Peter Chudinov in a 1968 paper. Like many other old Russian … Continue reading Estemmenosuchus skin and osteoderms

Giant goblin sharks

  The two largest goblin sharks ever caught, both 5-6 meter females from the Gulf of Mexico, from Parsons et al. (2002) and Driggers et al. (2014) respectively. The goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni was once thought to be a mid-sized shark, and for many years the maximum documented length was 3.84 m (12.6 ft)1 (Stevens … Continue reading Giant goblin sharks

What is Kelmayisaurus “gigantus”?

The mounted skeleton of Klamelisaurus, the true identity of Kelmayisaurus "gigantus", from Wikimedia Commons (Kabacchi, CC BY 2.0). Kelmayisaurus "gigantus" is an informal name attached to a mythical giant theropod that has floated around the internet. Allegedly, it is known from a 22 m (72 ft) long vertebral column, which would make it by far the largest … Continue reading What is Kelmayisaurus “gigantus”?

Megatooth shark skeletal specimens

A partial rostral cartilage possibly belonging to a fetal O. megalodon. A common myth about extinct sharks is that we only find their teeth and nothing else. Of course, this is absurd as there are many sites around the world where shark body fossils (both the skeleton and soft tissues) are found. These are not … Continue reading Megatooth shark skeletal specimens