Friday, May 30, 2008

Azhdarchids! (And other Paleo Matters...)

Our favorite zoological blogger, Darren Naish at Tetrapod Zoology, has had a blog post (about giant pterosaurs stalking prey on the ground) turn into a peer- reviewed scientific paper (With Mark Witton.) Here is the post telling the tale, with many links and pix. They even have a "support blog" about the monster pterosaurs here. The paper even made the mainstream media here, under the interesting title "Huge Flying Reptiles Ate Dinosaurs."

Meanwhile Brian Switek at Laelaps adds more, and Nemo Ramjet writes a ribald science fiction take on Hatzegopteryx, another giant flyer, here for Brian's edition of The Boneyard.

More Paleo: a while back, Brian interviewed Robert Bakker, a guy who probably has done more for the modern view of Dinosaurs than anyone, and more for the image of paleontology than anyone but MAYBE Jack Horner.

Trouble is, Bakker is (subtly, and with no taint of Creationism whatsoever) religious, and a bunch of wannabe P J Myers were apparently offended that anyone religious could dare be a scientist. Brian generously gave Bakker a forum to respond here, and the replies were-- infuriating. Am I getting old? Is it the nature of the web, or-- what? Bakker seemed to me to be sane, courteous, and open- minded-- his critics (who I think are all young and full of fury) seem positively venomous.

Two more Paleo notes: just received a wonderful book from Australia called Feathered Dinosaurs with paintings by amazing wildlife artist Peter Schouten. I think they are the best painted Dinos ever done. The book won't be available here or in the UK for six months or more, but as soon as I scan an example I'll review and tell you how to get it from Down Under.

Finally, someone in the maze of Azhdarchid links above asked how it might be pronounced. If it is of Kazakh derivation the "zh" is a sort of voiced "j"-- "azhj- dark- id".

1 comment:

Chas S. Clifton said...

Is it the nature of Web? Steve asks.

Yes, partly, all that anonymity. But in reading political blogs in particular, I am struck by all the (real?) (feigned?) rage out there,

"Kill a hippie!" "STFU!" "Go pray to Jeebus!" -- and the inevitable notion that calling someone a douchebag represents the pinnacle of decisive rhetoric.

Just maybe -- in politics, at least -- there is a too much psychological projection going on, lots of messiah-versus-antichrist thinking.

But maybe it's all just bottled-up rage.