Scavenging Rights: Over at Archosaur Musings, David Hone muses over a common puzzle for paleontologists: the discovery of an otherwise intact skeleton that has a few bits mysteriously missing. One reason? In any ecosystem (whether Jurassic or contemporary), animal corpses are fodder for scavengers, who pick over the remains and sometimes carry the body parts elsewhere. Hone offers a present day example—a detailed photo narrative of a donkey skeleton in the Mexican desert. (NSFW, if you’re a donkey.)
Field Report: “There are PC cafes everywhere in Asia. Korea lives in them, and the Philippines has taken to them with the intensity of an anomalocaris on a trilobite,” reports blogger Peter Bond. (Congratulations Peter! You are the winner of our first annual Obscure Paleontologist Metaphor of the Year Award.) For those unfamiliar with Peter’s reference, check out the old standby, Wikipedia.
Early Pioneers: The Hairy Museum of Natural History has provided links to the full texts of sample papers from the “Transactions of the Geological Society of London, 1811-1856.” Among the noteworthy documents is Reverend William Buckland’s 1824 article, “Notice on the Megalosaurus or great Fossil Lizard of Stonesfield,” which is acknowledged as the first scientific description of a dinosaur.
Heavy Metal: “So, what’s a newly-submitted Ph.D. student to do with his Saturday night?” asks Mark Witton over at his Flickr blog. Well, if you’re Mark Witton, you catch-up with a backlog of pictures people have asked him to draw (see above). The result is this very cool sketch, “mecharaptor,” a mascot for his friend’s band, Robot Dinosaur. (Not to be confused with the short-lived Seattle grunge band, Robot Therapod.)
Any bidders? Last month, Bob’s Dinosaur Blog reported on how the dinosaur animatronic industry was being hard hit by the sinking economy. Now, Bob presents another worrisome indicator: the plunging market for prehistoric fossils at auction houses. “Earlier this year, a near-complete triceratops skeleton failed to meet the reserve price at a Christie’s auction…and now, according to the Anchorage Daily News, the skull of a prehistoric lion that lived alongside the earliest humans also failed to meet its auction reserve.”
Save the Date: So, have you bought your 2009 photocalendar yet? Why settle for kitschy calendars with puppies dressed as pilgrims or another one of those “I’m-so-deep-and-in-touch-with-nature” Ansel Adams calendars when, for a mere $23, you can purchase Flying Trilobite’s newly-released 2009 calendar, featuring some truly stunning paleo-inspired artwork.
In Memoriam: A moment of silence, please. Dinochick reports that her favorite hiking boots have passed away (RIP 2001-2008 AD). She memorializes the footwear with a quote from her former professor: “Geology is learned through the soles of your shoes, not the seat of your pants!”