This week, I found out that I have been promoted to Reader! For the Americans out there, this means a rank somewhere between Full Professor and Associate Professor. The best thing? It comes with the title of "Prof"!
Matt Carrano and I have a new paper out in JVP describing the anatomy of the hand of Ceratosaurus nasicornis. It's surprisingly plesiomorphic despite the nested position of the taxon, and suggests there may be two independent instances of manual reduction in Ceratosauria. More here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02724634.2015.1054497
An interesting new paper on pneumaticity in ornithomimosaurs by my friend and colleagues Aki Watanabe, Eugenia Gold, Roger Benson, Steve Brusatte, Amy Davidson, and of course Mark Norell (with a little contribution by myself). Enjoy this video showing sequential transverse CT scan slices. You can read the whole thing for free here.
My PhD student Blair, my longtime friend and collaborator Billy de Klerk and I just published a paper describing new sauropod material from the Kirkwood Formation of South Africa! You can get a free copy of the article here.
In summary, the fossils from the Kirkwood Formation are closely related to some of the most well-known gigantic sauropod dinosaurs, including the famous Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus. These dinosaurs roamed the area including Addo Elephant Park, Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, and Nelson Mandela Bay 135 million years ago.
More specifically, we found evidence for a type of giant brachiosaur, one of the tallest animals to have ever lived; a smaller more generalized sauropod similar to Camarasaurus; a long, lean diplodocid, which likely had a whiplash tail; and a dicraeosaurid, which has long spines on its neck that might have supported twin sails.
What's quite cool is that these new fossils add a great deal to our knowledge of the Early Cretaceous. We have so little evidence for giant sauropods at that time in Earth's history - in fact, until recently we thought that diplodocids went extinct at the end of the Jurassic.
Keep your eyes on the Kirkwood Formation - Billy de Klerk and other collaborators have many cool new stories still to tell!