Mark Witton on Dinosaur Cheeks

“Deinonychosauria” (Cladistic Heraldry) by David Orr (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

Should Deinonychus*, the clawed dinosaur that was the actual inspiration for the velociraptors of Jurassic Park‘s, have lean, Sting-like cheeks or chipmunk cheeks under their feathers?

In a recent post, paleontologist Mark Witton looks at the research on Deinonychus bite strength and how it should influence PaleoArt depictions of this iconic animal.

*While I am on the record with my belief that I could win a fight with a single Velociraptor, I have no doubt that I would lose against a Deinonychus and die slowly as it perched upon my mangled body leisurely consuming my innards.

HT: Tommy Leung

Linkonomicon III


  1. Not all failing schools are failing. Reminds me of Hamilton High School – via Carrie Brown-Smith via Deborah Blum.
  2. Neil Armstrong was about two seconds and one ejection seat away from not being the first man on the moon – via Maggie Koerth-Baker.
  3. Greatest meme ever would have been Buzz Aldrin punching Neil Armstrong like a moon landing hoaxer. Instead, he was just pouty. On the moon – via Tyler Cowen.
  4. There was a time when nice girls* didn’t do comedy. Thankfully, that time is gone. Gorgeous* Ladies of Comedy – via Jamie Frevele.
  5. Don’t believe that there was a time when nice girls* didn’t do comedy? Listen to the Nerdist Podcast interview Joan Rivers and change your mind.
  6. Thanks to a dinosaur show in my youth, my nightmares start with the phrase “packs of carnivorous, goose-sized dinosaurs”. Take note, my nightmares, geese ARE dinosaurs, and vicious – via Mark Frauenfelder.

*All jokes, by they way, in case you happen to have the comedic depth of an average internet commentor or the “funny” sub-reddit.


Raptorex debate continues

In a previous post about Raptorex kriegsteini I expounded upon Jack Horner’s suggestion that Raptorex is not an example of the Tyranosaur body pattern evolving before gigantic size. Now, Horner and colleagues have published the data behind their critiques in PLoS One:

The recently described small-bodied tyrannosaurid Raptorex kreigsteini is exceptional as its discovery proposes that many of the distinctive anatomical traits of derived tyrannosaurids were acquired in the Early Cretaceous, before the evolution of large body size. . .These findings are consistent with the original sale description of LH PV18 as a juvenile Tarbosaurus from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia. Consequently, we suggest that there is currently no evidence to support the conclusion that tyrannosaurid skeletal design first evolved in the Early Cretaceous at small body size.

Fowler DW, Woodward HN, Freedman EA, Larson PL, Horner JR, 2011 Reanalysis of “Raptorex kriegsteini”: A Juvenile Tyrannosaurid Dinosaur from Mongolia. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21376. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021376

Tripping the Sedge

I have no idea if it is ok to call the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences “The Sedge”; but it should be. For St. Patrick’s Day, we took The Frogger and The Bell to The Sedge to hunt dinosaurs: Continue reading “Tripping the Sedge”

My Untestable Velociraptor Hypothesis

Photo: Heather Haupt Enos, taken on North Campus at Cornell University

I don’t really understand how this “guerrilla” bike lane art promotes bicycle riding or bicycle friendly driving behavior.

But, it did get me thinking about velociraptors on bicycles. Which, naturally, led to me wondering what I would do if bicycle riding velociraptors were overrunning my city (the most likely scenario leading to such regulation of velociraptor velocipeding). In particular, what if one of said pedaling raptors decided it had a taste for Josh, on the bone.

Could I kick a velociraptor’s ass? Continue reading “My Untestable Velociraptor Hypothesis”

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