My Archaeopteryx Kickstarter is NOW LIVE!

You can grab yourself a life-sized (50cm) Archaeopteryx - everyone’s favourite “first” dino-bird!

Here’s the linky link:

I’m really excited about this, it’s going to be great!

I’d super appreciate any support you can give, even if it’s just sharing this post!


Savani is done! Actually have been for a couple of months, but because she was at our school’s art gallery (she was school project) I couldn’t take pictures earlier. She is chubby little almost-lifesized velociraptor. Because she is my first plushie which patterns I have made all by myself, there is lots of things to fix for the next one!

palaeoplushies  asked:

What's with all the bettas in tiny little pots? Is that how they're kept in pet shops/aquatics shops in the USA? I'm really astounded by that. In the UK I have only ever seen them in large (40L+) tanks in aquatics and pet shops. Do you know if they're sold in little tubs in the UK at all?

Yup, that’s how they’re usually sold in the US, it sucks and they rarely last a week without getting sick or dying. I have seen one Petsmart trying something a little better, but only for their fanciest bettas. Most of them are still in the little cups.

I’m curious though are the ones you see in the big tanks being housed together as in they could fight an kill each other (as bettas do)? Or is it a large divided tank? Or do they really keep a single betta in a big tank?

The first is extremely dangerous because bettas are highly aggressive and (males especially) will attack and kill any other betta they can get at. The second would be much better despite the risk of the fish spreading diseases to each other through the shared water (divided tanks are great, but pet stores are lousy with fish diseases that they generally refuse to treat). The third doesn’t seem very cost effective, but it would be incredible (pretty much unheard of around here) to see a pet store care for their bettas properly like that! :)

I wouldn’t know about the UK, but hopefully if any of my followers do know they will chime in.

A Tale of Devonian Dentures - Drexel STAR 2017

And there we have it. The abstract’s published, the poster’s been debuted, and the new & fancy rainbow Tiktaalik jaw is released into the world at large.

This Thursday, I and a cohort of Drexel students finished up a 10-week paid summer research program and presented our work to faculty, family, and the city. It was pretty nice. But we’ll get back to that ‘cause I need to talk
S T E M  T E T R A P O D S

(This image still didn’t make it onto the final poster, but it got me notes last time so wheeeee)

Jaws are important. They’re especially helpful if you, a fish, want to eat things - regardless if you’re a filter feeder, suction feeder, or bitey feeder. They’re especially important if you want to eat things that live on land, because a lot of the time they have this annoying habit of running away. In light of the vertebrate water-to-land transition, it makes for a very promising research topic.

And people have indeed realized this. The lower jaw has been thoroughly mapped out in taxa such as Eusthenopteron, Panderichthys, and Acanthostega (see Porro et al. 2015a&b, Ahlberg & Clack 1998, and Markey & Marshall 2007, for instance), with implications for osteological development, life history, and feeding behavior. But somehow, in the ten years since its description, nobody bothered to take a thorough look at perhaps one of the most important transitional taxa we currently know of.

So I went “aight then” and did that.

Of course, all the Tiktaalik material is back in Canada, currently held in Ottawa until the territory of Nunavut gets their museum up and running. Thankfully, we have casts - and more importantly, juicy unexplored CT data.

I picked NUFV 109, a left lower jaw most notable for being Really Goddamn Big™ (pictured above). Seriously. Here’s a figure from Daeschler et al 2006 of a different jaw just for comparison, with an equivalent scale bar:

It’s difficult to see on a screen, but very obvious when you compare the two in person.

So I took the 109 CT data and spent around eight weeks squinting at a screen and tracing out each bone in the jaw, individually, for over 4000 slices. Add that to the fact that most of the sutures are infilled with matrix, which is almost exactly the same density as the bone. I’d like to say there was a technique to this. There wasn’t.

That’s slice 1393, roughly near the start of the second coronoid. Red=dentary, turquoise=postspleneal/2nd infradentary, yellow=middle coronoid, gray=prearticular, purple=mostly matrix with some probable bits of Meckelian cartilage scattered around. Although determining the extent of the cartilage was a high priority at the beginning of the summer, it quickly became clear that we would need a helluva lot more time to be able to distinguish it properly from the surrounding matrix. We’ll come back to it soon.

In the end, I emerged from the Academy basement, blinking at the harsh light of the outside world, and threw this technicolor figure up to the firmament:

Anatomical abbreviations for all views: ad, adsymphysial; ar, articular; co1, anterior coronoid; co2, middle coronoid; co3, posterior coronoid; d, dentary; if1, splenial; if2, postsplenial; if3, angular; if4, surangular; mc, Meckelian cartilage; pa, prearticular. Scale bar=5cm

This figure could be directly compared to those published in Porro et al 2015a&b regarding Eusthenopteron and Acanthostega, giving us a good spread along the tree of stem tetrapods.

With that, here are some Cool Notes:

  • The dentary is big. Like, really big. It’s not as prominent in the angle of the final figure, but it extends quite a bit medioventrally down the surface of the jaw. Still not sure of this is a diagnostic feature of T. roseae or if it’s just an example of allometric scaling considering how big this thing is.
  • Porro et al 2015 proposed the presence of a new bone in the Eusthenopteron jaw called the postsymphysial, replacing what is sometimes called the anteroventral process of the prearticular. They hoped that further research would one day be able to shed some light on the presence of this bone in other taxa. However, *insert sudden Aragorn*, that is not this day. The resolution/density isn’t really good enough in the area where the sutures would be to conclusively say one way or the other. For now I’m just calling it part of the prearticular in line with the current consensus, but stay tuned.
  • There’s an extensive presence of scarf joints between the individual bones, particularly between the dentary and the coronoids. This is indicative of a high stress load, which seems to imply it was gripping or biting down onto things. Exciting!

And particularly exciting because this has been speculated in other independent and very recent papers which propose a “terrestrial-style” mode of feeding - particularly MacIver et al 2017, where they find that the eye placement in Tiktaalik is best suited for peering out above the water onto the shorelines, and there’s no real sense in looking where you don’t live unless there’s something up there you want (namely, food).

That’s the abridged version, and the complete presentation was accompanied by an adorable stuffed Tiktaalik originally crafted by @palaeoplushies (#plusheontologists - get on it, everyone). Also, they didn’t give me nearly enough poster space for the figures, so I had to improvise.

That’s right, we went all arts n’ crafts up in this. Pull-out tabs are the future of poster sessions y’all.

Summer’s over, but the work isn’t. Much more of this to come.


  • Ahlberg, P., & Clack, J.A. (1998). Lower jaws, lower tetrapods–a review based on the Devonian genus Acanthostega. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences, 89(1), 11-46.
  • Daeschler, E.B., Shubin, N.H., Jenkins, F.A. (2006). A Devonian tetrapod-like fish and the evolution of the tetrapod body plan. Nature, 440(7085):757–763.
  • MacIver, M. A., Schmitz, L., Mugan, U., Murphey, T. D., & Mobley, C. D. (2017). Massive increase in visual range preceded the origin of terrestrial vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(12), E2375-E2384.
  • Markey, M.J., and C.R. Marshall. (2007). Terrestrial-style feeding in a very early aquatic tetrapod: evidence from experimental analysis of suture morphology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104: 7134-7138.
  • Neenan, J.M., Ruta, M., Clack, J.A., Rayfield, E.J. (2014). Feeding biomechanics in Acanthostega and across the fish–tetrapod transition. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281(1781), 20132689.
  • Porro, L.B., Rayfield, E.J., Clack, J.A. (2015a). Computed tomography, anatomical description and three-dimensional reconstruction of the lower jaw of Eusthenopteron foordi Whiteaves, 1881 from the Upper Devonian of Canada. Palaeontology. 58: 1031-1047.
  • Porro, L.B., Rayfield, E.J., Clack, J.A. (2015b). Descriptive anatomy and three-dimensional reconstruction of the skull of the early tetrapod Acanthostega gunnari Jarvik, 1952. PLOS ONE. 10 (3).
Palaeoplushies Presents: A Life-size Archaeopteryx Soft Toy!
Help fund the production of a flock of accurate, life-size Archaeopteryx plush toys designed by Palaeoplushies.

My good friend @palaeoplushies is doing another kickstarter, and it’s for a life sized Archaeopteryx plush!!!!! It has 23 days to go and still needs around $2000 to be funded. I totally believe in this project and I think it’s going to be a really great plush (I myself am getting one)! Pixel worked really hard on this design (I saw the process, trust me) and it’s really worth supporting! So please, help fund this kickstarter, and be sure to spread it around!

thefluffytheropod  asked:

Will a big budget dinosaur film with accurate dinosaurs ever happen?

Any movie with birds and only birds?

But as for non-avians, I’m not sure. It’s a major problem. 

It might be that we have to produce our own content. Increasingly, that seems to be happening on the internet - people are moving away from mass-marketed content and towards small, insular online communities. 

That’s what we have PaleoTumblr for, right? That’s why we have @palaeofail, @albertonykus, @killdeercheer, @lostbeasts, @prehistoric-birds, @spinosaurus-the-fisher, @a-dinosaur-a-day, @fezraptor, @raptorcivilization, @bruh-i-nevre-seen-a-cooler-dino, @snowysauropteryx, @demiurge1138, @ryuukiba, @askedmontonia, @thewoodparable, @palaeoplushies, @saurian-game, and so many others (I’m never going to remember them all, sorry)

We have to make our own content. We have to make our own accurate dinosaurs, in small indie games, films, books, what have you. 

And the internet is the way to make that happen. 

First batch of “Betta Buddies” keychains!

These ones were made for and will be sold in New Concept Aquatics, Bonnybridge, Scotland.

I do hope to have some for sale in my shop from future batches as well as a few more colours available!

Please let me know if there’s any other colours you’d like to see, or even different fish species!


… Slowly getting there! You might remember me mentioning it a while ago, but I’ve been working on setting up another Kickstarter to get some lifesize Archaeopteryx soft toys produced.

The kickstarter isn’t live yet, but the plush prototype is coming along splendidly! Here’s a few iterations from the factory, changes between each, and the last one is looking rather nice! I’m super pleased!

I’ll keep everyone posted when this thing goes live, maybe in a month or so?

Here’s a silly graphic I made for my Archaeopteryx Plush Kickstarter showing the different iterations of plush samples in a faux phylogenetic tree. We start at the bottom with the prototype I produced (”Originalopteryx”), and then successive factory samples until we got to something I was happy with (”Finalopteryx”)!

I like this diagram, it both fits with the theme and illustrates the plushie’s “evolution” nicely!

It was really exciting seeing how other people interpreted the pattern I produced, and it was good that it was actually understandable to anyone but me. It meant I could get the plush sized exactly as I wanted!



Pose-able Art Doll for @charlesfosterofdensen, the last of the Kickstarter rewards to be completed!

Resin cast hands, feet and head with ball and socket plastic armature, covered in feathery faux furs which I have custom coloured in places so it blends together. It even has quills on the arms and the head, used for display.

I love this one. Probably my most favourite thing I’ve ever made. It has so much personality and charm, it’s a real goofball!