Monday, January 4, 2010

Back in Action

I've returned from England and now I'm slowly settling into being home and having my daily responsibilities to tend to. It will take a few days to get back into a groove, just as it took me some time to accept that my main concern on vacation was fun and relaxation.

It was an eventful couple of weeks, with a flood of reporting on the new paper suggesting that the small chinese dromaeosaur Sinornithosaurus may have been venomous. Well, "suggest" might not be the right word, as the paper is titled "The birdlike raptor Sinornithosaurus was venomous."

Of course, the Jurassic Park connection was pounced upon by plenty of reporters (Matt Martyniuk pointed out this beauty, which actually says the dinosaur "spit venom" into its prey). One of the best breakdowns of the topic I read was at the always dependable Dinosaur Tracking, where Brian Switek made the point that as there is not a single archosaur (i.e. crocodiles, pterosaurs, birds, and dinosaurs) known to possess this sort of venomous bite, the evidence is going to have to be overwhelming. This topic will surely be debated hotly, and hopefully a wider examination of other dromaeosaurs' teeth will help clear it up.

Part of my plane reading was the recently published Dinosaur Odyssey by Scott Sampson, and I'm really enjoying it. Sampson is really making an effort to flesh out the Mesozoic beyond the "who ate who" picture the media often sticks to. I don't want to get ahead of myself as I'll be posting a full review when I've finished the book, but I'll say that I'm very impressed and entertained by the book so far.

I unfortunately wasn't able to do anything dino-centric on the trip. We tried to make it to the Crystal Palace to see the nineteenth century dinosaur sculptures, but weather-tormented traffic around London was a mess that day and the park was closed by the time we got there (the same kept us out of Down House). I'll settle for posting this photo I took of a Baryonyx skull at the Natural History Museum in 2008.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back. I'm also reading Dinosaur Odyssey. Received it as a Christmas gift.I'm just starting chapter 5. It is an excellent book so far, I look forward to reading your review on when you're finished.

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