“I got this tattoo done on Saturday. It’s the same set of footprints I use in the avatar for my blog (The Ethical Palaeontologist), but in fact they’re the narrow-gauge sauropod dinosaur trackways from the Ardley quarry in Oxfordshire. There’s no deeper meaning other than the fact that I’ve spent most of my academic career working on sauropod dinosaurs. But there are plans for more, if I could just get hold of a decent black and white illustration of a sauropod dorsal vertebra in dorsal view…”
Carl: Here’s a paper
Julia co-wrote on what the trackways reveal about dinosaurs. [Update: Whoops, wrong Julia. Thanks for the correction, Julia…]
Jeremiah Drewel, a geology student at the University of Alaska writes, “This is my personal favorite Deinonychus!”
Carl: Deinonychus holds a special place in the history of paleontology. Its remains were first discovered in 1931 in Montana, but for decades they languished, unstudied, at the American Museum of Natural History. In the 1960s Yale paleontologist John Ostrom discovered a wealth of new fossils from the same species and began to contemplate what the animal was like in real life. At the time, dinosaurs were still widely considered to be sluggish scaly lumps. But Ostrom argued that Deinonychus was for more active, able to keep its stiffened tail straight out behind its body. He argued that they may have even been warm-blooded. Ostrom also noticed a number of similarities in Deinonychus’s skeleton and those of birds. He revived an old theory that birds are dinosaurs, and argued they were closely related to Deinonychus. It’s a connection now almost universally accepted by paleontologists.Deinonychus changed the way we see birds, but birds have also changed the way we see Deinonychus. Many relatives of Deinonychus–non-flying dinosaurs–show evidence of primitive feathers. Velociraptor, a close relative of Deinonychus, had what look like quill knobs on its bones. It’s plausible that Deinonychus itself was covered in feathers of some sort as well, which it might have used to attract mates. Depending on what paleontologists discover in years to come, Jeremiah may need to get re-inked.
Cleek writes: “Here’s my dromaeosaur (unfeathered) but, i’m a programmer, not a paleontologist, so i guess it’s not exactly my science. maybe i’ll get some C++ for the next one.”