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!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A new pelagornithid from Chile

On Monday, I mentioned that I was planning on blogging about a "newly discovered/published, saw toothed, South American dinosaur whose ancestors survived the end Cretaceous extinction event". I know I must have caught your attention, because I mean, that sounds sensational! Well, ladies and gentlemen, here you have it. Meet Pelagornis chilensis, the "pseudotoothed" Miocene dinosaur that has everyone on the edge of their seats.

Artist's rendering of the skeleton of a new seabird found in Chile with a record-breaking wingspan and bony teeth. Illustration by Carlos Anzures.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jurassic Park: The Musical

This morning, I was going to publish a post on a newly discovered/published, saw toothed, South American dinosaur whose ancestors survived the end Cretaceous extinction event. But it's a rainy Monday where I am, so as awesome as new dinosaurs are, I thought I'd go for something even more exciting to try and lift up the day. Now I know as you read the title of this post, you're probably thinking to yourself, "David, you already wrote about this back in August when you did a post on Jurassic Parq: The Broadway Musical." Well, you'd be correct, but that is not what I'm talking about. Take out the word "broadway" and change the "q" back to a "k", and you've got the subject of today's post.

Friday, September 24, 2010

ART Evolved's Pink Dinosaurs

This has been a very long week. By yesterday evening, I was completely beat, without an ounce of energy left in me. Walking to my car, I felt the tell-tale buzz of my phone, indicating that I had an e-mail. Reluctantly, I pulled the phone out of my pocket and went to check the new message. I was immediately glad I did. It was a message from the ART Evolved Crew! Joy of joys! I clicked on the item and began to read. With each word, I became more and more interested, and I felt the energy returning to my being. It's official: the "Crew" has it going on, and here is why.

ART Evolved's Pink Dinosaur Fundraising Event, a "Paleo-Art For A Difference" presentation. Images used with permission from the ART Evolved Crew.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Drill, baby, drill!", now on Discovery Networks

I really try to keep religion, politics, and anything of the like off of Superoceras. But I'd be naive to think that I'd be able to do so all the time. I feel like this issue is relevant in some way to my normal musings here, so I'm going to bring it up. But I won't go into to much detail, because as much as I wish what I'm writing about wasn't happening in the first place, and as much as I want to change it, I'm not willing to waste a lot of "breath" on this issue. I've blogged about it before, but have come to the conclusion that some people just don't deserve that much of my attention.

Here's the short version. Sarah Palin is being paid millions of dollars to do a show on The Learning Channel (TLC). It's going to be called "Sarah Palin's Alaska". Discovery Networks doesn't seem to see a conflict of interest between it's mission statement, and Sarah Palin's reputation as an enemy of wildlife and the environment. In fact, they are so into selling themselves out now, that the first episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" is going to feature another "reality celebrity", Kate Gosselin, in an effort to cross promote her new TLC show.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Laelaps at WIRED Science

Good news for the natural history blogosphere! It appears as if Brian Switek has found a new home for his paleontology, evolution and history of science blog, Laelaps, over at WIRED Science. He had been blogging from his author website after a "Pepsi-Induced Hiatus" over as ScienceBlogs, but can now be found here.

Make sure to update your blogrolls, bookmarks, RSS feeds, etc. You're not going to want to miss anything over at the new Laelaps, of that, I can assure you. And congratulations to Brian on the move to WIRED, the upcoming book, and the always entertaining and informative Dinosaur Tracking. I particularly enjoyed "Stegosaurus Week" last Monday through Friday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New at the Zoo: Elephant Trails (Phase 1)

Friday, finally. I know that once the week finally comes to an end, I'm always looking for something to do, preferably outside. And I think I have my plans for the weekend lined up. Like so many of my weekends, I'll try and spend a chunk of this one at the National Zoo. There has been a lot of stuff going on there recently that I need to check out, and here's one more thing to add to the list. After over two and a half years of preparation and construction, Phase 1 of the Zoo's new "Elephant Trails" is finally open to the public. Huzzah!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Distractions, distractions.

Got to my computer this morning. Went to Love in the Time of Chasmosaurus. David Orr reminded me of the Indiana University Press sale today. I was good - I only got a few books. Who can resist at 60% off? But then I went to, to see how the 60% off prices compared to their prices. And I ended up seeing Dr. Holtz's/Luis Rey's Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages. Decided to read the reviews. Had to write one of my own. Checked out the "Up-to-Date" information on Dr. Holtz's website. Went to Mr. Rey's website. Saw the 2008 Lanzendorf Award winning "Gigantoraptor Nesting Grounds". Realized that it's time to take the one I grabbed at the SVP auction to get it framed. Started looking at frames. Started looking at other home decor. Realized how poor I am. Thought about getting a second job. Laughed at myself - not possible now that the fall semester has started. Realized I should probably focus on my first job, since I'm currently at work. Decided to blog instead.

It's now 10:15AM. So far, I'd call this a productive morning. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy 25th Anniversary, Super Mario Bros.

I know this is supposed to be a science related blog, but I can't let this occasion slip me by. And I think I can tie it in with the general Superoceras theme as well. So please join me in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of one of the greatest games of all time, Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Released on 13 September, 1985, I remember jumping through hidden warp pipes and saving the Princess (despite the fact that she always seemed to be in another castle) when I was a very young lad. And it was always a blast. It's hard to believe that 25 years later, the game is still just as fun to play as it was the day I first blew out the cartridge and slid it into the NES console.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A (possibly) feathered allosauroid. Yeah, you read that right.

I have absolutely no time to blog today, and it is killing me. Why you ask? Because of a new theropod named Concavenator corcovatus. I'm sure other paleo bloggers are going to be covering this story (just like the story of the new dromaeosaur, Balaur bondoc, last week) but I have to say something. Again, you wonder why? Take a look at this hypothetical reconstruction from the journal Nature by Raúl Martín.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

New at the Zoo: African lion cubs!

Good news everyone! Last Monday night/Tuesday morning, Luke and Shera welcomed four little bundles of liony joy into the world. This is Shera's first litter, and Luke's first surviving litter (following the death of the cub born to Shera's sister, Nababiep, on May 20th of this year), and is truley great news for the Zoo, it's staff and visotors, and lions the world over. Their birth is a momentous occasion, and represents a huge victory for lion conservation. These cubs will help protect the survival of their species by contributing their unique genes to the captive breeding population in the future.

The Boneyard 2.1

I have been without the interwebs all weekend, and it has been driving me nuts. I feel like I'd normally be able to live without it, but I've been super excited about something super exciting that's about to happen. At some point today, the Boneyard 2.1 will be up! Everyone, I command you to click this link, and continuously refresh the page until you see something different. Then tell everyone you know!

Again, thanks to David Orr of Love in the Time of Chasmosaurus for bringing back the Boneyard 2.0, and Brian Switek of Dinosaur Tracking/Brian Switek/Laelaps for starting the original Boneyard.

A previous post to catch you up to speed here. I'll update as soon as I see that it is up and running.

**UPDATE 1:30PM**
The Boneyard is live! Check it out over at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurus here! Big thanks to Dave Orr again, especially for getting my ELT post up there even though I didn't submit anything until the last minute. And science/paleo/natural history bloggers, learn from my bad example. Start writing your post submissions for the October "Boneyard" today! We need to keep this thing going!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

ART Evolved: Life's Time Capsule: A Pop Culture Gallery

It's that time of year again. The time of year where I get to pretend I'm an artist for all of a day and submit a piece to ART Evolved's Gallery of Life. For the month September, the theme/time capsule was to be "Pop-Culture". I got really excited about this when they announced the theme back on 01 July. The next thing I knew, it was 31 August and I still hadn't started a submission. I took a childhood dream, a pencil, a piece of paper, and about 30 minutes, and came up with this little ditty. I call it "My Fuzzy Friend".

Me and my fictional subadult male Allosaurus fragilis companion, "Morrison".

Friday, September 03, 2010

Like a Shark Out of Saltwater

Here's another piece of local news from the Maryland area. The brother started kayaking on the Potomac River this summer. I wonder what he would think of this NBC Washington headline:

"8-Foot Shark Caught in Potomac River"

Photos (above and below) taken by Christy Henderson, from Buzz's Marina.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Discovery Hostage Situation

As much as I don't want to write about this, I feel I have to say something.

Silver Spring, Maryland, right down the road from where I work and live, and home to the Discovery Communications headquarters building, made national news yesterday as a hostage situation unfolded. "Environmental fundamentalist" James J. Lee entered the lobby of the Discovery building around 1:00PM, 01 September, 2010 firing shots and taking hostages. A little before 5:00PM, police had shot and killed Lee after hours of surveillance and attempted negotiation, fearing for the lives of the hostages as he brandished a firearm and told police he had explosives in the building. Watching the situation unfold via live web streams, Twitter updates, and Google Buzz posts took up a large portion of my afternoon.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

"Hipster Dinosaurs"

A lot of dino-themed art and pop-culture going on here at Superoceras this week. Maybe I've subconsciously been gearing up for ART Evolved's September Time Capsule/Gallery. Or maybe dinosaurs are just awesome, and people are finally realizing that on a mainstream level. Either way, here's another extremely creative spin on dinosaurs in the contemporary world. Courtesy of Buzzfeed, and made known to me by the brother, I present to you, "Hipster Dinosaurs" by Molly Lewis (Molly23 @ twitter). I couldn't come up with this stuff if I tried.

There are more of them! It just keeps getting better.

(Click to embiggen.)