Coelophysis rhodesiensis. Usually identified in cheap 80s and 90s dino books as ‘Syntarsus’, almost every illustration of this dinosaur depicts it with a mohawk-like feathery crest in a weird sort of paleoart meme. There’s just two problems with that — one, there was no direct evidence for the presence of feathers at the time, and two, the name Syntarsus already belonged to a type of bark beetle.
Since it couldn’t use a preoccupied genus name, ‘Syntarsus' was eventually renamed to Megapnosaurus (a brilliant name which translates to “big dead dinosaur”). More recently it’s been reclassified as a species of Coelophysis, but a cursory Google image search shows that it’s still being frequently misidentified as ‘Syntarsus' to this day. To add to the confusion, there are also depictions with small dilophosaur-like nasal crests based on the related species C. kayentakatae, which was initially classified as ‘Syntarsus' when it was first described in the 1980s.
All the feathery depictions seem to originate from a single source — Bob Bakker’s 1975 Scientific American article, “Dinosaur Renaissance”, which featured an illustration of a speculatively feathered ‘Syntarsus’ with a prominent crest. Later artists seem to have simply copied the idea, leading to ‘Syntarsus' being one of the first non-avian dinosaurs to be depicted with feathers as standard. By accident.
Now, how exactly do feathered dinosaurs “ruin peoples childhoods” when this one was almost universally shown with feathers during said childhoods?
Q:Hi! I've just found your tumblr and find it really interesting, so I'm now a follower! And then I thought I could ask you about this, in case you can help me. See, a few years back I used to be really interested in dinosaurs, and now I've fallen back on old habits, and would really like to read something on the topic. I'm no expert, so it would be lovely if you knew of any book that's sort of introductory to this topic. Thank you, and congratulations on such an interesting blog!
Thanks for the follow!
As for the book, a good introduction is My Beloved Brontosaurus by Brian Switek. It discusses most of the important new discoveries and theories in dinosaur paleontology, and how the field has changed over the last few decades. After that you can start moving onto more heady stuff if you want, such as the massive and comprehensive The Complete Dinosaur.
And now, the second major feather-related article of July:
"Kulindadromeus" has apparently been published. An abstract appeared today on the Russian website for the Paleontological Journal:
Two new species of ornithischian dinosaurs from the taxon Ornithopoda are…
I mentioned a little while ago I was getting my velociraptor plush design professionally produced, eventually resulting in a kickstarter!
Well here’s the results so far! Currently been through 3 revisions, initial prototype at the top, first set of revisions with the yellow back and more revisions at the bottom with the brown back.
The embroidered details are currently just represented by paper, but once I’m happy they’ll be embroidered on properly.
Other than the chunky back feet (which are for ease of production) I’m very happy with how it’s looking now! Any suggestions for improvements?
I don’t think this person has the slightest grasp on how big fish got where Spinosaurus lived or how ridiculous a T.rex thriving on carrion sounds. Has it ever been proposed that Spinosaurus was exclusively piscivorous?
I’m not 100% against the 20 ton estimate but I doubt any Spinosaurus ever reached it with the exception of very old individuals. I’ve always been a fan of the 14-17 ton estimates.
On a serious scientific note: It’s probably pointless to argue about how big Spinosaurus got right now, since the only described remains are fragmentary and/or destroyed in the Second World War. That said, based on Scott Hartman’s estimate, big tyrannosaurs and carcharodontosaurs were in the 8-9 metric ton range, and I’ve heard rumors that Paul Sereno has Spinosaurus remains that fairly conclusively prove it to be the largest known theropod. Measurements in the 20 ton range for Spinosaurus tend to happen because of assuming that its weight scales proportionally to its length, whereas length estimates tend to vary more in terms of tail length rather than overall size, so the mass difference of a 12 meter Spinosaurus and a 17 meter Spinosaurus is surprisingly small.
Because Spinosaurus is relatively gracile compared to a Tyrannosaurus rex (as are most theropods), a 13-14 meter Spinosaurus is probably going to be somewhere in the 10 ton range, tops, though the ridge/hump might change that a good deal. It seems likely, as allosaurids, carcharodontosaurids, tyrannosaurids and perhaps some megalosaurids, abelisaurids, and bahariasaurids, reached around the same maximum size (13m, 9,000 kg), Spinosaurus is unlikely to have gotten much bigger unless it was remarkably aquatic in habit.
Which is to say, the bigger Spinosaurus was, the more likely it subsisted primarily on fish.
Does that guy realize that pretty much the only obligate scavenger tetrapods are vultures, which can fly? Tyrannosaurus cannot have subsisted solely on carrion.
The wonderful basal therizinosaur Falcarius utahensis, known from a bonebed including the remains of at least 300 individuals. This one is rearing up - and despite its archaic design, Falcarius's vertebral column was already angled up in neutral position compared to non-therizinosaur theropods - to watch out for predators, or to browse for some foliage.
The plumage is a bit of a mashup, influenced by its more derived relative Beipiaosaurus, and with fairly rudimentary wing vestiges on its forearm and hand. Lots of quills interspersed within the coat of proto-ish feathers. Compared to its later relatives, Falcarius looks very long and gracile, despite its suspiciously “small” hindlimbs.
References: Skeletal reconstruction by Scott Hartman.