A Cat’s Eye View Of The Past
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
7M ago
Guest Author – Arthur Owens Current Palaeobiology MSc Student When thinking about ancient cats the first animals that jump to mind are often large and impressive species like the fierce Saber-tooths, Jaguars, and other big felids. Sadly, this is a view that is also mirrored in our research of historic cats, and a bias seen across all of science research. This article however is not about scientific bias but the third largest cat of south America, the Ocelot Leopardus pardalis, a species actually found alive today, brought forth by the recent discovery of a skull and part of a jawbone in Urugua ..read more
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A Natural History Of Turkey Dinosaurs
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
8M ago
This week, in America, they celebrated the annual holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s a day when millions of humans come together to celebrate the defeat of their ancient enemies in the famous battle ‘Dinosaurs vs Space’ (won by space in a TKO). They do this by sacrificing and eating the highly-derived remnants of their former foes (Turkeys). Here in the UK, we have our own long standing tradition mixing palaeontology and this particular Galliforme. I am of course referring to Turkey Dinosaurs. I would argue that there is no greater display of the popularity of non-avian dinosaurs than the fact that ..read more
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Down Under Came A Spider
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
8M ago
Guest Author – Dr Rachel Kruft Welton Palaeobiology MSc Graduate It is possible, if you have never lived in Australia, that you have never come across a brush-footed trapdoor spider. These beauties are abundant in Australia and can be found from the tropical rainforests to intertidal coastal regions to the dry interior. They live in shallow burrows, often with a double front door, and some are known to climb trees where they make burrows in suitable cracks and cervices. They are mygalomorph spiders, which means they are active hunters with vertical biting chelicerae. The brush-footed (aka brus ..read more
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The BDP Monster Mash
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
9M ago
Halloween Special 2023 The Zombie Apocalypse is a common Halloween trope. It’s a time when the idea of the dead rising from the grave is not only accepted, but actively celebrated. And to the surprise of none, amongst the rotten hoard this year is a familiar face; the BDP Blog. We’ve done Halloween special posts before, like when we explored the spookiest thing about bats. This year though we’ll be matching icons of horror media with their prehistoric equivalents in a listicle. That’s right, the true horror here is that we’re going full Buzzfeed. Freddy Kreuger There is perhaps no more obvious ..read more
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Too Late For A Dive: A Perspective Of Sea Spiders Past Diversity
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
1y ago
Guest Author: Dr Romain Sabroux Marie Curie Fellow in Earth Sciences, University of Bristol I have to make a confession. I am not much of a diver. As a marine biologist, this probably sounds odd. But if you make something as demanding as SCUBA diving, especially when you are on an actual scientific expedition and that you need to sample several times per day for a whole month, you need a good reason. My reason would be the animals I have been studying for eight years now: the pycnogonids, also known as sea spiders. A few modern sea spiders. From left to right and top to bottom: Neotrygaeus com ..read more
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Darwinism & Dragons
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
1y ago
Guest Author – Sophie Pollard Current Palaeobiology MSc Student No matter how much or how little you know about mythology, you know about dragons. They’re pretty much everywhere. From the feathered Quetzalcoatl of Aztec culture to the many-headed Mesopotamian deity Tiamat, supernatural serpents have been causing floods, kidnapping women, and making a general nuisance of themselves to the heroes of our favourite stories for as long as anyone can remember. An illustration of the Lambton Worm, my personal favourite dragon, who was tossed down as well as a little eel-like creature and grew to terr ..read more
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The Why Of Sauron
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
1y ago
Allow me a short digression into something nerdy. It’s niche and weird but I slipped in some science along the way. Whilst doing a bit of reading for another project the other day I stumbled across a curious link between two very different worlds; the science of Palaeontology, and the fictional antagonist of Middle-Earth. I subsequently went on to discover that link again, and then again. All of which led me to ask; why does Sauron keep popping up in palaeo? For those unaware, Sauron is a character created by JRR Tolkien, he is in fact the eponymous Lord in the Lord of the Rings, and in all of ..read more
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What Even Is A Dodo?
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
1y ago
When it comes to iconic animals of extinction, there are none better known (or as frequently name-dropped) than the Dodo. An animal so synonymous with the idea of being extinct that it even became a saying, “As dead as a Dodo.” But if you speak to most people and ask what they know about the Dodo, that’s pretty much where the knowledge starts and ends. However, there is a real species behind the legend and it holds more than a few surprises. The scientific name of the Dodo is Raphus cucullatus. It’s a name that, on reading, makes you certain that the species would not have achieved quite as mu ..read more
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The brain of the Bristol dinosaur
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by mike.benton
2y ago
Dinosaurs were famously stupid, but what about Theco, the Bristol dinosaur? In a new study, just published (October 2021), Bristol PhD students Antonio Ballel and Logan King, certainly don’t revise that view; there is no evidence (i’m afraid to say) that Thecodontosaurus was any more brainy (or any more stupid) than any other dinosaur of its size. However, their study does show two things: Theco held its head steady while moving, maintaining a steady gaze, and it had pretty good hearing. The new study is based on CT scans and detailed digital reconstruction from the amazing Thecodontosaurus br ..read more
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How Big Were My Dinosaurs? – Part One
The Bristol Dinosaur Project Blog
by Rhys
2y ago
One thing we palaeontology communicators repeatedly tell people is that not all dinosaurs were the giants most picture when they hear the name. Many dinosaurs were small, taking up the niches of the nippy little insectivores and seed eaters we see in their modern bird counterparts. However, there’s no denying that when it comes down to it, everyone loves a big dinosaur for the simple reason that they were big. No need to look for any deeper meaning. Big animals are cool. That’s why when the news broke earlier this year of the largest dinosaur ever discovered in Australia, the palaeo world was ..read more
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