4

I am now the proud owner of THE COOLEST custom iPhone 5S phone case that ever existed!

This beautiful case was laser-engraved by Carved.com, which is a quite lovely small business offering a variety of very high-quality real wood phone cases with an option for custom designs. The design is carved on redwood burl wood which has a gorgeous natural grain pattern.

The design is the famous Microraptor holotype, and more specifically is a stylized vector image created by my partner Jonathan (who is also an absolutely amazing dinosaur poet, so click on his gallery and check it out) in Illustrator. It will eventually be used as part of the cover for our upcoming anti-creationism book!

7

Dinosaur Feathers Discovered in Canadian Amber

Today a group of paleontologists announced the results of an extensive study of several well-preserved dinosaur feathers encased in amber. Their work, which included samples from many stages in the evolution of feathers, bolstered the findings of other scientists who’ve suggested that dinosaurs (winged and otherwise) had multicolored and transparent feathers of the sort you might see on birds today. The researchers also presented evidence, based on the feathers’ pigmentation and structures, that today’s bird feathers could have evolved from dinosaur feathers.

Read More | Photos © Science/AAAS

2

My amazing grandma sent me this in the mail today. She stitched the whole thing by hand. Yep, I have pretty much the best grandma in the universe. I’m also pretty sure I’m only person in the entire world, at this given time, with an accurate dromaeosaur tea towel.

(It is two Deinonychus parents with a chick.)

3

Velociraptor mongoliensis

[I made a soundtrack for this painting, which can be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/oviraptor-space-program/swift-thief ]


Mongolia, late afternoon in the Campanian Age of the Late Cretaceous:

Hunger pangs and hot winds, bleached bones of a half-remembered feast and the faint scent of fresh prey. The swift thief wakes and begins his crepuscular patrol, wary of rivals, nimble and silent between the whispering dunes.

Perhaps down to the arroyo again, where that lizard had lingered too long on the sunny rock near the bank and was pierced by the hunter’s claws, swallowed whole; or towards the oasis where that old, fuzzy mammal had been too slow in returning to its burrow. Or maybe to the Protoceratops nesting grounds – a tasty hatchling would fill his belly nicely – but the place triggers unpleasant memories now: his mate grappling with an aggressive bull 'ceratops, her feathered forelimb caught in its beak, and her talons lashing into its underside before the dune collapsed and entombed them both, sand too deep to dig through…

Instincts war within, briefly, the urge for nutrients winning out over the incessant drive towards genetic legacy, and the swift thief prowls into Djadochta dusk, moments lost in deep time.

[Please don’t use or reproduce without permission, and thanks for viewing, reading and listening!]

3

Dinosaur Feathers Trapped in Amber

A large treasure trove of ancient amber deposits in Canada has given insight into the evolution of feathers from dinosaurs to modern birds. Amber is essentially fossilised resin that preserves anything unlucky enough to become trapped in it, and researchers have found feathers preserved from the Late Cretaceous Period—70 to 85 million years ago. 11 distinct sets of feathers from 4,000 amber deposits filled in gaps in the fossil record, showing the progression of feathers from hair-like filaments to the branched, structured, flight-capable plumes of modern birds. “We’re finding two ends of the evolutionary development [of] feathers trapped in the same amber deposit,” says Ryan McKellar, the study’s co-author. The specimens were so well-preserved that researchers could even see the pigments that once coloured them—the feathers ranged from transparent to mottled to bright. Some had even become specialised, not for flight but for diving underwater, and some may have come from China’s 125-million-year-old Sinosauropteryx prima, the first dinosaur fossil discovered with feathers intact. The find suggests that dinosaurs were not all the scaly, drab creatures that we often imagine—a wide array of brightly-coloured creatures roamed the earth too, perhaps right up to the dinosaurs’ extinction.

(Image Credit: National Geographic)

4

This absolutely fantastic field bag was created by Angie T of Miskatonic River Valley Leatherworks and was completed just before Christmas. It is entirely hand-made of real leather and is extremely durable.

The design features Microraptor, the famous holotype with feather imprints. I am totally in love with this bag and could not be more pleased! Check out Angie’s blog (linked above) if you’re interested in the process details, or if you’re interested in commissioning a custom field bag for yourself.