As most of you reading this will know, I've written two posts on Spinosaurus - the first one questioned the proportions of the composite skeleton that recently gained fame through a paper in Science, the second one discussing a photo that has been used for and against those proportions. In the comments section on the second post Nizar Ibrahim wrote a length response, which (with his kind permission) I would like to elevate to a full post. As is often true in these debates there are parts I agree with and others I disagree with, but I will address those at a future date. For now I think it's only fair to give their comments the floor...Read More
In my previous post on the proportions of the new Spinosaurus material I argued that the pelvis and legs are not nearly as reduced in size as the composite skeletal in Ibrahim, et al., (2014) implies. Theropod-worker-extraordinaire and all-around swell guy Thomas Holtz mentioned a photo (seen at left) that could serve as a sort of independent visual line of evidence that the pelvis and legs of the new Spinosaurus specimen are shorter than other theropods, and potentially shorter than I calculated from the supplementary data. I think it's worth taking a closer look...Read More
Today, after weeks of rampant internet speculation the new-look Spinosaurus was revealed. And it certainly didn't disappoint: the paper by Ibrahim et al. musters a range of evidence from bone density, bone isotope data, facial innervation, osteology, etc., to suggest that Spinosaurus not only was a fish-eater (i.e. piscivorous) but was adaptive to that lifestyle to a greater degree than other known spinosaurids. Not only do they claim that Spinosaurus spent most of its life swimming in the water with adaptations that would rival early whales, but Ibrahim et al. specifically claim that the altered limb proportions would require Spinosaurus to have been an obligate quadruped on land, a first for a theropod.
Unfortunately, there seems to be something fishy with those new proportions...Read More
This entry was inspired by a post at the always-excellent SV-POW. They compared the size (and neck length) of Supersaurus, Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus. In a stroke of serendipity I read their post as I was reworking my skeletal of the largest specimen of Diplodocus, NMMNH 3690 formerly known as Seismosaurus. Let's see if that changes anything...Read More
First off, I want to thank everyone who participated, we ended up with over 1000 votes (though not necessarily 1000 voters, as we'll see below). There were several lead changes, but in the end a suspiciously strong showing for one dinosaur lost out to an even more suspicious last minute route by another dinosaur.
So without further ado, that (winning) dinosaur is...Read More
We're about halfway through the vote to determine what my next skeletal reconstruction will be, so I tallied up all the votes from the previous post, Deviant Art, and the Skeletal Drawing Facebook page. Currently Yutyrannus is holding the lead, although several dinosaurs are still in striking distance.
Looking over the data (closing in on 600 votes already) it's clear that different venues favored different dinosaurs. For example Argentinosaurus and Protoceratops are the current winners on Facebook, but they can't keep up with theropod mania on the other two polls. It'll be interesting to see if there are any lead changes before tomorrow night.
I'll announce the winner on Monday, and do the skeletal drawing in the coming week, along with one or two other surprised (as time allows).