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!

Friday, April 30, 2010

My blog is carbon neutral!

As someone who tries to be as eco-conscious as possible, I'm always looking for little things that I can do to minimize my net strain on the environment. Lucky for me, wonderful websites like Machs grün exist that help me do just that! All I have to do is write a blog post linking to their website, and they'll plant a tree for me in Plumas National Forest in Northern California, for FREE! This is a brilliant idea, as my blogging emits around 8lbs of carbion dioxide every year, and the tree they plant will absorb around 11lbs a year.

I think everyone out there in the blogosphere should go ahead and jump on the bandwagon. And I want to give a special shout out to "T-Rexy" of dot dot Dinosaur, on whose blog I saw the logo for Machs grün in the first place.

Keep it green!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Charlie is my Darwin.

Founded in 1994 in an attempt to get good old "Chucky Dee" on a Bank of England bank note, The Friends of Charles Darwin succeeded in their endeavor, and today have 2807 members in 82 countries (not to mention Mr. Darwin's likeness on the £10 note).

That's great news for me, because it means I can join this fantastic organization. I had previously written about his life, and his masterpiece On the Origin of Species, but I just want to stress again the importance of this man's work. In the words of Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." I couldn't agree more.

Thank you Mr. Darwin. It is an honor to call you a friend.


Image of Charles Darwin from the Friends of Charles Darwin website. Be sure to check out their blog as well!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The "DC" stands for "Dinosaur Central"!

Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (SNMNH), I'm an old pro. Having lived in the Washington, DC area my entire life, I've spent a great deal of time exploring the fossil halls there, and since the unveiling of "Hatcher", the world's first anatomically accurate digital dinosaur, not a whole lot has been added to the dinosaur hall. Well, all of that is about to change with the displaying of a new exhibit case this week.

Exhibit Case: Dinosaurs in Our Backyard

Location: First Floor, Fossil Halls
One Exhibit Case: April 28, 2010 - Indefinite

From 225 to 65 million years ago, dinosaurs lived everywhere on Earth—including around Washington, D.C. This case explores how scientists piece together information about dinosaur biology, ecology, and evolution from fossil specimens, and the important contributions amateur collectors make to the Museum’s collections and knowledge. Visitors can see a unique skeleton impression of a baby dinosaur of a species new to science.

Get down there and have a look, and don't forget to explore the rest of the SNMNH's exhibits!

Allosaurus at the Smithsonian, from Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day - Make it every day.

This wouldn't be a very decent, science/nature themed blog without a post about Earth Day. Celebrated annually on April 22, Earth Day (coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network) is a time when all people, regardless of race, gender, income, or geography, are reminded of their moral right to contribute to a healthy, sustainable environment.

The Earth Day Flag, from Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Tree of Lies"

Yes, I too thought it was a clever play on words. I am, from time to time, extremely vocabularious (a term coined by my brother and I back at the turn of the 21st century that means "funny with words" but apparently has other current definitions on the internet).

This is just a teaser post/question for my readers. Can anyone spot the problems with this cladogram? I'll give you a hint: it is not accurate. If you've already been part of the e-mail discussion regarding it, don't spoil it for everyone else, at least not immediately. Everyone else, happy hunting!

Image courtesy of Peter .

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

"Oriental Yeti"? I don't think so.

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that I've always had an interest in cryptozoology (and xenobiology, and really bad science fiction, among other things). The world is a big place, and new species are discovered every day. That being said, I'm still a skeptic at heart. People report creatures they can't identify. That doesn't make it a cryptid. It just means that they couldn't identify it. And with astonishing speed, the media picks up the story, and the whole world is on the lookout for Sasquatch in their backyards. Not necessary.