Darren Naish

This photo went viral in 2015 claiming to be a sea monster in Greece but, in reality, it might be far from a mysterious sea serpent. The image was taken by 52 year old Harvey Robertson while he was visiting the country on vacation with his family. He leaned over the side of the boat to snap some photos of the water while in a sea cave and when he looked over the pictures he took, he saw this. However, after about a week of this picture spreading around, the real ‘creature’ was found.

Dr. Darren Naish of the National Oceanography Center at the University of Southampton thinks that what Robertson captured on camera was most likely what is called a low freeboard fender. It is an object that helps protect boats from taking damage on dock walls and other obstructions. 

anonymous asked:

Hey uh I was trying to remember the terminology for that thing where you get the dinosaurs skeleton and just stretch skin over it and say that's what it looked like when it was alive Please

I can’t remember if there’s an exact name for it but Darren Naish has a great book called All Yesterdays that tackles that problem.  When you just imagine skin over dinosaur bone you get bad reconstructions like this:

This completely ignores most integumentary structures like feathers that we know dinosaurs had, as well as musculature and subcutaneous fat.  In the books, Naish includes reconstructions of modern cats and baboons as seen through the same kind of lens that most dinosaur reconstruction are made:

The description on the housecat also shows the danger of extrapolating too much behavior from body fossils.

Paleontologist Darren Naish studied the famous Trunko photographs and commented on them in his book Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the  Reality Behind the Myths

“They show that it was the rotting carcass of a large vertebrate, most likely a whale. The idea that this was really the body of a white-furred, trunked sea monster stems from naivety about the appearance of rotting animal carcasses. [the photos] are somewhat ambiguous, but the enormous bulk of the carcass, the large amount of what looks like frayed, badly decayed collagen and the presence of what seems to be a mostly obscured internal skeletal framework suggest that this is another globster – a rotting mass of whale tissue.” 

In their book, All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals, Darren Naish, C.M. Kosemen, and John Conway hypothesise that a lot of paleoart is wrong! They claim that current artists are relying too heavily on the skeleton alone, and aren’t taking into account body coverings, soft tissues or muscle structures. 

The book, illustrated by Scott Hartman, gave some depictions of modern day animals drawn “shrinkwrapped” (going by their bones alone without accounting for the soft tissue, fat, etc.).







Iguana as a mammal


anonymous asked:

Every time I see a reconstruction of Thylacosmilus, I see the teeth pouches (what hold the sabres) exposed completely. Would this count as shrink wrapping?

I’m not super knowledgeable on synapsids, unfortunately. I’d ask Darren Naish or @synapsid-taxonomy.

skyroller  asked:

this makes me sound like a pervert but I would LOVE a post on dinosaur genitalia, I've always been confused on the subject

First of all, let me warn you: Do not click on any of the links in this post, unless you want a big old eyeful of archosaur dick.

The burning question here is, what kinds of genitals did dinosaurs have?

The only living group of dinosaurs is Aves - birds.  The vast majority of birds possess cloacas - singular orifices that vent digestive waste and serve as reproductive organs, transferring sperm from the male to the female via a “cloacal kiss”.  Male birds, therefore, generally do not possess penises.  However, a few of the oldest and most primitive bird groups - such as ratites and waterfowl - do possess penises.  The presence of penises in more primitive types of birds implies that dinosaurs may have had them as well.

The second-closest relatives of dinosaurs - crocodilians - have penises that are contained within the cloaca and ejected during mating.  This means that penises are generally present only in archosaurs more primitive than modern birds - a group that includes dinosaurs.

What did dinosaur penises look like?  We can guess by observing the penises of modern archosaurs.  Ducks have terrifying spiral-shaped penises, which can grow longer than the animal’s body length in some species; maybe theropod dinosaurs were similar.  Ostrich and crocodile penises are a little bit more “traditional” and mammalian (although still pretty gross).

However, it’s also important to consider the physical mating needs of dinosaurs.  As some of the largest animals to ever walk the Earth, dinosaurs probably had amazingly exotic genitalia.  Sauropod penises were likely flexible enough that the animals could mate without having to bear one another’s massive weight; and stegosaur penises, to paraphrase Darren Naish, were probably the most terrifyingly dexterous penises in Earth’s history, in order to circumnavigate the plates and spikes of mating partners.

(Above: C.M. Kosemen’s illustraton of a Stegosaurus in the throes of a hormonal frenzy, attempting to mate with a hapless sauropod.  Note the gargantuan, tentacle-like penis - a plausible adaptation for a species covered in pointy bits.)

like ive got darren naish’s dinosaur book, darren naish’s cryptozoology book, cryptozoologicon, mark witton’s pterosaur book (like…halfway done on this one), and then robert bakker’s the dinosaur heresies, and two dinosaur paleontology textbooks- one fairly little one and then one full-size textbook with let me just check here, literally over 1000 pages

Desmatosuchus, one of that mighty lineage of armor-backed pseudosuchians, the aetosaurs (or as Darren Naish once aptly termed them, the armadillodiles). It joins its distant relatives ShuvosaurusEffigia, and Simosuchus in defying the carnivory we may come to expect from croc-line archosaurs. The shovel-like snout and peg-shaped teeth of aetosaurs would seem to pin them as herbivores.

All the same, it has been postulated before that these were instead adaptations for insectivory, and an abstract has been around since 1995 toting around the supposed discovery of a carnivorous aetosaur. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if they were something more akin to boar-like, omnivorous scavengers of Triassic forests.

Desmatosuchus was among the larger members of the family, spanning about 5 meters (16 feet) in length. It’s known from the Late Triassic of Texas.


Sorry folks, no new TetZoo Time this week.

But so we don’t leave you without something fun to look at, here are some exclusive images!

The first image is a new character, Ghost Lineage Princess. She is a thunnosaurian ichthyosaur and represents the citizens of the Tetrapod Kingdom what have an absent fossil record – even though we know they have one!

The second image results from a profile picture Darren Naish posted that shows him with prominent facial hair. Because the idea of Darren having a beard is certainly different from the norm, I created a little image parodying the “Futurama Fry” meme.

The final image shows what Darren & John’s bedroom looks like inside their Magnolia Tree House. Darren sleeps on a blown-up version of a bowerbird hut and John rests on a SHAG (Short-range Anti-Gravity) bed that was a gift from Memo Kosemen. The room is filled with various books for whenever the two feel the need for a little late-night reading.

Hope to have something posted next weekend!

quote of the day

“…However, as tempting as it might be to imagine that some turtles are perhaps in the habit of intimidating enemies or competitors with their erect, 20-cm long, black, spike-tipped penises, it seems more likely that this penis eversion most often occurs as a displacement behaviour, practised when the animal’s plastron is touched. Then again, given what we now know about play behaviour in turtles and other reptiles, it should be considered plausible that turtles expose their impressive genitals for fun, or when bored.”

For those who haven’t seen the main TetZoo Time page, we have a new banner image!

A wonderful spread featuring out TetZoo Time cast!

With special appearances by Memo Kosemen, David Marjanovic (the ‘TetZoo bulldog’) & the killdeer (our snail).

manny313  asked:

Hello Meg, ive got a question what is your opinion on Jack Horner and Robert Bakker?? Greeting from Venezuela

I think Jack Horner is good at paleontology, especially histology, but he keeps trying to break into evolutionary developmental biology and has no idea what he’s doing, for example saying things like “we can genetically engineer dinosaurs in 10 years” (Spoiler alert: it’s going to take much longer than that). He also has made extremely questionable decisions, such as trying to convince the world that Tyrannosaurus was a scavenger even though he even knew that was crap 

I think Robert Bakker is also good at paleontology, but not very good at science. He likes to spout hypotheses and then act like they are true with no evidence - for example, he’s one of the main proponents of “Nanotyrannus”, which trust me, is not a thing (I mean it’s a juvenile Tyrannosaurus but there you go). 

In truth they are both very problematic individuals who had their prime in the 20th century, and have begun their descent into scientific obsoleteness. It’s a shame, because it’s tarnishing their legacy - they both have done really important things in the past. 

They’re also obsessed with their own interpersonal rivalry and think they’re the new Marsh and Cope or something when that’s just objectively not true 

There are plenty of other paleontologists who do science correctly who need more press - Phil Currie, Thomas Holtz, Darren Naish, Mark Norell, Brian Switek, Andrea Cau, Karen Chin, James Kirkland, Peter Larson, Scott Sampson, Neil Shubin, Mike Taylor, just to name a handful. No one is without their problems, obviously, but it’s time we gave the spotlight to others 

If you’re concerned about women in paleontology, trust me there are many of those too - I went to a whole conference about it. Some of the coolest stuff was being done by individuals such as Holly Woodward, Sarah Werning, Mary Schweitzer, Catherine Forster, Maria Gold, Rebecca Hunt-Foster, Rhiannon LaVine, Kristina Curry Rogers, and Anna Behrensmeyer just to name some of them. 

Paleontology is more than just Bakker versus Horner, and much like most people who want attention, if we stop giving it to them they’ll go away.