Blog Carnival #14 — Dawkins speaks out, Medellin Dinosaurs, Calgary Zoo and more…

Pórtico Hacienda Nápoles
Pórtico Hacienda Nápoles Wikimedia Commons

New Blog Takes Flight: Please join us in welcoming the latest addition to the paleosphere: Dragons of the Air, a blog published by Ross Elgin, a member of the “Pterosaur Flight Dynamics Group,” based in the Museum of Natural History, Karlsruhe, Germany. Be sure to check out this fascinating post about the construction and testing of pterosaur models.

The Dinosauroids Cometh: At Tetrapod Zoology, Darren Naish is dismayed to see that evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has lent his support to the “human dinosaur” theory—which posits that non-avian, therapod dinosaurs might have evolved into intelligent, bi-pedal, humanoid creatures if not for the inconvenient intervention of a rather large meteor. “Our body shape clearly works well for an intelligent, tool-using, sentient animal,” writes Naish, “but where is the convincing evidence that it is the only possible body shape for such a creature, or the most likely one to evolve in distantly related, or unrelated, organisms?”

Say hello to my little friend: Bob’s Dinosaur Blog reports that the 5,000-acre estate of the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has become a huge tourist attraction. Escobar was especially proud of his Jurasico Park, a group of life-sized dinosaur statues that includes a golden pterodactyl. Classy.

Photo Finish: Over at SV-Pow!, Mike Taylor shares his experiences in London, where he used the facilities at the Royal Veterinary College to produce a CT-Scan of specimen NHM R5937—a brachiosaurid sauropod nicknamed “The Archbishop.” Read all about it, especially if you’ve ever wondered how to pack a dinosaur bone for safe delivery. Batter Up! Palaeoblog points us to this article recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, titled “The Sweet Spot of a Biological Hammer.” New research suggests that glyptodonts (giant armored mammals that arose 20 million years ago in South America) would have been first-rate baseball players—owing to their ability to swing their stocky tails like baseball bats, landing powerful blows with the spot on their tails that minimizes potentially harmful vibrations for the slugger. Read more about it at ScienceNOW.

Family Visit: At Tyrannosaur Chronicles, Traumador the T-Rex takes a nostalgic tour of the Calgary Zoo’s Prehistoric Park, which is scheduled for closing in February 2010.

Rock Star: Dinochick gives a shout out to Vanessa Bateman, the Manager of the Geotechnical Section for the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Nashville Office. Bateman issued an early warning that averted a rockslide on U.S. Highway 64. Says Dinochick: “Awesome to save lives while also playing with rocks (and showing that there are some awesome chick geologist out there doing cool things)!”

Season’s Greetings: Nothing says Christmas like….a trilobite. Artist Glendon Mellow has recently unveiled his new greeting card, featuring the fossil Encrinurus trilobite, decked out like a Christmas tree for the holidays. (What, no Hanukkah trilobites? I guess I’ll settle for this dinosaur menorah.)

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