Onchopristis is a sawskate, not a sawfish

Two different versions of Onchopristis, top based on Pristis (2015) and bottom based on other sclerorhynchoids (2020). Art by Alexander Lovegrove, used with permission. I was inspired to write this post after seeing the National Geographic article on the recently discovered Spinosaurus tail. In particular, it was the artwork by Davide Bonadonna in this article … Continue reading Onchopristis is a sawskate, not a sawfish

The lost Protoceratops mummy

Photos of the Protoceratops (AMNH 6418) with a "mummified" head, from Brown & Schlaikjer (1940). In a previous post I covered the lost Tarbosaurus with skin impressions; it turns out it isn't the only Mongolian dinosaur to suffer this fate. A specimen of the ceratopsian Protoceratops andrewsi (AMNH 6418) similarly had possible impressions that were … Continue reading The lost Protoceratops mummy

Predatory publishing comes to paleontology

Yun (2017) as it appeared on the Journal of Zoological and Bioscience Research website. Screenshot from the latest archive, dated January 25, 2020. Back in July 2017, a paper by amateur paleontologist Chan-gyu Yun1 proposed the replacement name "Teihivenator" for Cope's old "Laelaps" macropus. This paper immediately proved to be controversial due to glaring issues with … Continue reading Predatory publishing comes to paleontology

Reconstructing fossil cephalopods: Endoceras

Two Endoceras giganteum forage on the seafloor, while a hapless Isotelus gigas gets a little too close. Art by Prehistorica, reproduced here with permission. The orthoceratoid Endoceras is the both the longest extinct cephalopod and largest Paleozoic invertebrate. A shell of E. giganteum (MCZ unnumbered) from the Late Ordovician of New York is the current record-holding specimen. As … Continue reading Reconstructing fossil cephalopods: Endoceras

Monster of Troy – extant or extinct Varanus?

Top: The titular monster on the "Monster of Troy" vase, from Monge-Nájera (2020). Bottom: Skull material of Varanus marathonensis from Samos, from Conrad et al. (2012). Image reversed to match the orientation of the MOT. A new paper has been published regarding the Ancient Greek "Monster of Troy" (MOT) vase and its status as the earliest … Continue reading Monster of Troy – extant or extinct Varanus?

In defense of Megapnosaurus

The coelophysid theropod Megapnosaurus rhodesiensis has had a complex nomenclatural history over its 50 years of existence. It was originally named Syntarsus rhodesiensis by Raath (1969), but this generic name was found to be preoccupied by the beetle Syntarsus asperulus. Ivie et al. (2001) subsequently erected Megapnosaurus as a replacement. This renaming proved to be controversial among paleontologists for three main … Continue reading In defense of Megapnosaurus

Triceratops skin photos

Here are some photos of casts of skin impressions from the Triceratops "Lane" I took at the Black Hills Institute in June 2018. Lane is a mostly complete skeleton of T. horridus (formerly BHI 6273, now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science) with extensive skin preservation rivaling the famous hadrosaur mummies. These impressions remain unpublished … Continue reading Triceratops skin photos

The anecdotal Tarbosaurus throat skin

An illustration of Tarbosaurus with a hypothetical throat pouch, from Carpenter (1999). A persistent rumor in the online paleontological community is that the tyrannosaurid Tarbosaurus bataar had a throat pouch or dewlap. This is allegedly based on an undescribed skull with associated skin impressions. If true, it would have interesting implications for the paleobiology of this species. … Continue reading The anecdotal Tarbosaurus throat skin

“Recent” Otodus megalodon teeth

Shark teeth recovered from the Pacific Ocean by the HMS Challenger. The megatooth shark Otodus megalodon was recently estimated to have gone extinct in the early Pliocene c. 3.6 Ma (Boessenecker et al. 2019). Despite this, there have been persistent reports of O. megalodon teeth from the late Pleistocene-Holocene. These have been used by cryptozoologists as evidence to speculate … Continue reading “Recent” Otodus megalodon teeth