A Discovery That Might Not Hold Water: At Ediacaran, Chris Nedin expresses his well-documented doubts about a recent discovery of fossilized 640-million-year-old, sponge-like organisms in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia: “Frankly, the Proterozoic is weird. Most of what you think is organic, isn't. The vast majority of the rest is microbial mats. And the stuff you really, really think could be metazoan, is usually microbial mats playing silly buggers.”
Bidding Farewell: At DinoGoss, Matt Martyniuk argues that—while it might be legal to auction off dinosaur fossils on sites such as eBay—“that doesn't mean it isn't ethically questionable and actively detrimental to science.”
Gothic Paleontology: Bob’s Dinosaur blog provides a round-up of the weird species of dinosaurs that have been discovered in Transylvania (such as the raptor Balaur bondoc, which Brian Switek wrote about here in August). “What's the explanation?” Bob asks. “Well, these dinosaurs lived on islands dotting the shallow seas that covered much of Central and Eastern Europe at this time, and we all know from Charles Darwin that organisms trapped on island habitats can evolve in some very strange directions.”
Taking Flight: Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs points us to these cool videos of engineering hobbyist Kazuhiko Kahuta test-flying his radio-controlled pterosaur ornithopters. (Disappointingly, unlike other Japanese gadgets, this one does not appear to transform into a giant, samurai robot.)
A Star is Born: Palaeoblog commemorates the 1914 premiere of Gertie the Dinosaur, considered by many to be the first true animated character to be featured in a film.
Zip It: Matthew Brown at Prep Lounge discovered a rather innovative design for a casting mold in his basement: “From most angles, it looks like a leathery old, uh, leather purse. And why? Because it has…a ZIPPER! Casting material was poured in from the pour spout on the top, and when the plaster set, the mold was unzipped, allowing the cast to be pulled free of the mold. Wowee.” The design is credited to Jim Quinn, a University of Chicago grad student who finished his Ph.D. in 1954.