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
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
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
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”?
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
Charles Knight's painting of Agathaumas sphenocerus, from Wikimedia Commons (public domain). As one of the Old Masters of paleoart, Charles R. Knight created many iconic depictions of prehistoric animals that have influenced countless successors and imitators. Among his signature pieces is his 1897 painting of the ceratopsian Agathaumas sphenocerus. It was originally published in a … Continue reading Armor for Agathaumas
The largest smalltooth sand tiger ever caught, a 5.2 meter female from the South Atlantic, from Kukuev & Batal'yants (2019). I've discussed the dubious modern survival of megalodon at length on this blog. This time I want to highlight another "cryptid" shark that is more obscure but actually plausible. Nicknamed the "Malpelo monster", it has … Continue reading Giant smalltooth sand tiger sharks
Traditional artwork of arthrodires with shrinkwrapped dorsal fins. Top: Coccosteus cuspidatus by Stanton Fink, from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0). Bottom: Dunkleosteus terrelli by Hugo Salais, from Ferrón et al. (2017). Arthrodiran placoderms like Coccosteus and Dunkleosteus are commonly depicted in paleoart with short, rounded dorsal fins. This is based on fossils of Coccosteus that have part of … Continue reading Ceratotrichia and dorsal fin shape in arthrodires
Illustration of the skull of NHMUK PV R 1158 from Home (1814), and photograph from McGowan (1974). Scale bar is 25 cm. In 1811, Joseph Anning discovered the first complete ichthyosaur skull on the Jurassic Coast between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, England. The following year, his sister Mary Anning found a partial skeleton that belonged … Continue reading Goodbye Temnodontosaurus, hello Proteosaurus?
The 1918 newspaper article reporting an encounter with a giant shark, often claimed to be an Otodus megalodon. In a previous post, I debunked claims of Pleistocene-Holocene Otodus megalodon teeth used by cryptozoologists to support modern survival. This time I will be examining an encounter that is frequently associated with O. megalodon in the cryptozoological literature (e.g. Shuker, … Continue reading The 1918 “megalodon sighting”