Thursday, 15 May 2008




:: Dragon in the Rocks :: The Early Years of Mary Anning ::

Dragon in the Rocks. A Story Based on the Childhood of Early Paleontologist Mary Anning

Toronto: Owl/Greey de Pencier, 1992. [32] p.ISBN 0-920775-76-4

Mary Anning (1799-1847)/biography – Paleontology/England/19th century

Looking to inspire a young mind to the wonders of our world? Consider a new picture book for young readers from Owl Press. This lovely new book shares the early years of Mary Anning - a simple tale of curiosity and determination within the wider context of an historical geological discovery.

Twelve-year-old Mary Anning had always enjoyed collecting fossils with her father, an amateur collector, who before he died, taught her the techniques of chipping and separating fossils from rocks.

Mary's father also told her of a dragon skeleton he had once seen in a cave near their home in Lyme Regis on the southern coast of England. One day the opportunity arose to visit the cave herself, and subsequently she spent many months chipping, numbering and packing up the fossil pieces of the 26-foot-long ichthyosaur skeleton, which has now been on display at the Natural History Museum in London for nearly 200 years.

Although the story ends with the visit of important scientists to her home to see her rebuilt skeleton, children may well be inspired to learn more about the interests and life of this unsung heroine and about paleontology.

Looking for more inspiration on the significant finds of other young paleontologists... look to Tumbler Ridge and the discovery by Daniel Helm of a significant dinosaur trackway that inspired a community or to Vancouver Island and the tale of paleontology in beautiful Courtenay where the Trask family found one of BC's most famous marine reptiles.

Visit and learn more!

Sea Dragons of the Cretaceous

:: Free Fossil Lecture & Display this Victoria Day Long Weekend:

The Vancouver Paleontological Society hosts a talk this Saturday, May 2nd, 2PM, at the Vancouver Museum/Planetarium.

  • The feature speaker will be Timon Bullard on Sea Dragons of Cretaceous Seas. Come hear about the large marine reptiles who swam our waters millions of years ago!Vancouver Museum/Planetarium, 1100 Chestnut Street (off Cornwall in Kitsilano).

  • All talks are free and open to the public. Fossils will also be on display. Visit to learn about all the paleontological activities in BC.

Come on down and bring a friend!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


A detailed description of Desmatosuchus

:: Description of new material of the aetosaur Desmatosuchus spurensis (Archosauria: Suchia) from the Chinle Formation of Arizona and a revision of the genus DesmatosuchusWilliam Parker, PaleoBios 28(1):1–40, May 12, 2008Abstract: A new specimen of Desmatosuchus from northeastern Arizona (MNA V9300) preserves almost the entire vertebral column, the pelvis, and the majority of the armor carapace, allowing for an unprecedented detailed description of the taxon.

Articulation and reconstruction of the armor carapace demonstrates that previous reconstructions of Desmatosuchus are erroneous in the orientation and position of the lateral armor. Lateral plates of the anterior dorsal region possess low rounded knobs instead of developed spines.

The dorsal flange of the lateral plates of the dorsal region is longer than the lateral or ventral flange making the carapace transversely wider than previously thought. As a result, previous reconstructions articulate the lateral armor not only backwards but also on the wrong sides of the body. Posterior presacral vertebrae are extremely robust and possess fused ribs and the last presacral vertebra has been fused to the sacrum, a character that may be taxonomically useful.

A prefrontal bone is also present in Desmatosuchus, contrary to previous descriptions. Reinvestigation of the genus Desmatosuchus suggests that there are only two valid species, D. spurensis and D. smalli. The lectotype of Episcoposaurus haplocerus is referable to Desmatosuchus but indeterminate at the species level, and therefore represents a nomen dubium.

Accordingly, D. spurensis is reinstated as the type species of Desmatosuchus and the new Arizona specimen is assigned to this taxon. Acaenasuchus geoffreyi, a purported juvenile form of Desmatosuchus, is not referable to Desmatosuchus.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Friday, 9 May 2008