Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Squamates in art.

No, not paintings of polychrotids nor sculptures of scincids, but plenty of photos of pythonids! Artist Guido Mocafico has two beautiful sets of photos of serpents of all shapes and sizes posted on his website (among other fantastic images). I highly recommend checking out the rest of the photos. If you're not a snake fan now, you will be after you see the grace and elegance of the limbless tetrapods highlighted in these photos. Well maybe not, but enjoy nontheless!

Gonyosoma oxycephalum © Guido Mocafico, 2003 (from his website).

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Wrong, wrong, triple wrong."

I started talking about this subject a long time ago, touched on it a few more times in between other posts here at Superoceras, and I have no doubt that I'll write more in the future. But I want to finally finish up a post series that is long overdue, and answer a question that inspired me to start blogging in the first place: what do I think of the discovery or Ardipithecus ramidus, and the scientist that claimed that "apes descended from humans"?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I love it. All of it. If there's one thing about Earth that I'd say I'm most enamored with, it is Life and the natural world. It's myriad forms are all around us, and on some level, inspire or teach me every day.

But sometimes, my life becomes so full that I find it difficult to really enjoy it. Or blog about it. This saddens me. I haven't' had a very substantial post (let alone a post at all) in quite some time. But that will soon change. I promise I'll be back very soon, finishing up post series that I started long ago, answering questions I posed to readers, and generally doing what I set out to do with this blog in the first place: write about science and life on Earth, and share the wonder of the natural world with anyone who wants to learn about it.

Until next time, enjoy this photo of an eastern chipmunk, Tamias striatus. And while on the subject, I highly suggest checking out powerpig's photoset "Critters". As a science geek and sci-fi nerd, I approve!

Some of the "wildlife" you can find roaming the grounds of the National Zoological Park.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Just a quick post today. This project has been in the works for a while now, but the more I hear (or in this case, see) the more excited I get. There are a lot of very talented artists and respected paleontologists working on it, and I'm sure it will set a new standard for paleo-themed documentaries. It's going to be awesome.

Image from /Film.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I was always more of a "Coke" guy anyway...

Some of you may know of the recent "Pepsico Controversy" (covered by David Orr over at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurus), which was forcing some over at ScienceBlogs to reconsider their position there. Long story short, Seed Media Group, who runs ScienceBlogs, allowed Pepsico to have a blog there, which seems at best like a conflict of interests, and at worst, a commercial for Pepsico products with no foothold in science whatsoever. Brian Switek over at Laelaps decided to leave altogether. But PZ Meyers over at Pharyngula announced that Pepsico will in fact be the ones leaving. This is a victory for science, and those dedicated individuals over at ScienceBlogs. I hope that Seed Media Group can regain their trust, and any and all bloggers that felt the need to "abandon their posts" will resume writing, as they are a constant source of entertainment and education for so many. Thank you science bloggers, one and all!

**UPDATE 13 July**
Eric Johnson of The Primate Diaries has decided to leave ScienceBlogs for good. Thanks for such a great run Eric, and I look forward to your return to blogging in the future.

***UPDATE 14 July***

Brian Switek has officially moved Laelaps to his author website at

****UPDATE 26 July****
The Primate Diaries has moved to The Primate Diaries in Exile. Update your links!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I'll make this short, and simple, unlike the squid below does (don't worry, that will make sense in a minute). This is a mature male Onykia ingens, a deep-sea squid. This specimen was caught in deep-water by a research team on the Patagonian slope, and I'm estimating is around 7 - 8 meters in length from tip of the tentacle to tip of the fin. This isn't a new species, but researchers did learn something pretty spectacular about it recently. (Slightly graphic image after the jump.)

Photo by V. Laptikhovsky, from BBC Earth News.

Friday, July 02, 2010


Once again, I have failed to submit a piece to the ART Evolved Time Capsule. The theme for the July gallery was trilobites. With two months to work on something, I really should be ashamed of myself (especially since I've missed 8 of the 9 other gallery submission deadlines as well). All I managed to finish (or rather, start with) are some very simple sketches. Even the scan came out pretty bad. I guess this qualifies as an "epic fail".

But there is a long weekend coming up, and lucky for me, "The Evolved Crew" is extremely forgiving when it comes to late submissions. Maybe I'll eventually finish all of the drawings I've started for their various Galleries of Life. For now, enjoy The Trilobite Gallery over at ART Evolved!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Whale wars!

Well maybe not "wars", but some violent enough encounters to say the least. The July issue of Nature contains the publication of a paper describing a new species of Miocene sperm whale from Peru that like Carcharocles megalodon (a gigantic shark contemporary of the whale), would have been a dominant predator feasting on other medium sized whales of the time. Named Leviathan melvillei ("Herman Mellville's giant mythological marine monster"), this whale represents one of the largest known raptorial predators, and may hold the superlative of "biggest tetrapod bite ever". Awesome.