Blog Carnival Edition #5 — Unbelievable Organisms, Titanoboa, Animatronics and More!

Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument Wikimedia Commons

Believe it or not: At Catalogue of Organisms, Christopher Taylor serves up a list of the ten “Most Unbelievable Organisms Evah!” The winning dinosaur on the list is Argentinosaurus huinculensis: “There's no other way to say it —sauropods were just stupidly huge. And Argentinosaurus was one of the most ridiculous of all…” Oh, and homo sapiens did make the list: “As much as I hate to stoke this species' notoriously smug satisfaction, it has to be admitted that humans are pretty amazing.” (Chris obviously never saw an episode of The Hills.)

Shell Shock: While the blogosphere buzzes about the recent discovery of Titanoboa—a 2,500-pound snake that lived in South America 60 million years ago—Dracovenator reviews “another recent paper that hasn’t received the same degree of publicity but describes another tropical giant that is as equally interesting to me.” The creature in question? Superlucina megameris—a really, really big bivalve (or clam, to use a less scientific term), that lived during the Eocene period (about 36-56 million years ago) and was discovered in Jamaica.

Where’s Walcott? Sure, Charles Darwin gets all the accolades, but eTrilobite posts this amusing cartoon tribute to Charles Doolittle Walcott, the famed invertebrate paleontologist who is best-known for his discovery of pre-Cambrian fossils in the Burgess Shale formation of British Columbia. Walcott had an extraordinary career, serving as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in 1907 and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1923. That National Academy of Sciences issued a medal in his honor, “awarded to stimulate research in pre-Cambrian or Cambrian life and history.”

When Animatronic Toys Roamed the Earth: Bob’s Dinosaur Blog continues to offer intriguing examples of how the economic recession is impacting the lucrative Jurassic-Industrial Complex. The latest news is that high-tech toys are no longer “must-buy” items. As Bob notes: “Hasbro has dropped the list price of Kota the Triceratops—a walking, talking dinosaur robot that toddlers can ride on—from $250 to a bargain-basement $99.” Perhaps economists should stop mulling over the stock market and GDP figures, and instead focus on the DATI (Dinosaur Animatronic Toy Index).

Advice Column: Over at Archosaur Musings, David Hone offers a series of posts offering practical advice to budding scientific researchers, including: “How to write a scientific conference abstract,” “How to make a scientific poster” and “Things to do at a meeting.” And remember, if you ever get nervous delivering a paper, just imagine the audience as a bunch of Velociraptors in their underwear. Trust me, it always works.

Take the Palaeo Challenge! The Tyrannosaur Chronicles has posted a series of “Palaeo Challenges,” including this picture of a seemingly innocuous patch of ground that asks: “What did I see in the photo that got me really excited? Why did seeing these get me excited? And what was I hoping that the thing(s?) I saw were indicating might be close by?” (Personally, I think this would be great material for a new competitive reality show, “Top Paleontologist.” Remember, you read it here first…)

Titanosaurs: The blog, Why I Hate Therapods—which features the slogan, “There's more to paleobiology than the origin of flight and whether or not Tyrannosaurus rex was an active predator”—has updated a spreadsheet on “Early Cretaceous Asian Basal Titanosauriformes.” (Go ahead, say that five times fast. I dare you.)

Get the latest Science stories in your inbox.