An exploration of our Earth's ever-captivating fauna through musings on the bizarre side of Zoology, Cryptozoology, Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Have A Happy Maniraptoran-Eating Holiday!

If it weren't for them there would be no Bizarre Zoology blog! Pictured are the gerenuk, the saola, the saiga antelope, the grey-headed flying fox, the pangolin, the platypus, the aardvark, the solenodon, the striped skunk (which I recently learned are apparently not mustelids after all...say what?), and the streaked tenrec. (Image credit to the wonderful Peppermint Narwhal graphic design company)
The preparations to the relocated Bizarre Zoology blog are not yet complete, so here's my sincere wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving. On this day of gratitude, appreciate the wonderful natural world around you, and please send thoughts and prayers to the many less fortunate.

And, in case you've forgotten...

(Image credit to the brilliant Thomas Holtz)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Note Regarding the Current Hiatus

A remarkable skeletal restoration of Quetzalcoatlus northropi, that giraffe-sized pterosaur of terrestrial-stalking fame, photographed by yours truly at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History this past summer.
Despite my attempts to be as prolific a writer as a teenager engrossed in highschool can be, this blog has experienced a hiatus in publications since May 1st. This lapse in writing has spurred some concern among viewers as to whether my blogging career was finished. While the more important obligations of my life have made it difficult for me to make any progress on the numerous articles currently in draft, quite an important change is on the horizon for this blog. In case you haven't been following the Bizarre Zoology Facebook page, this writing platform is set for relocation. Moving this site from what has been a successful venue was a decision preceded by much conflicted thought, but the technical difficulties recently experienced with the Blogger domain have prompted this choice. I will wait until the new location of this blog is more significantly prepared to reveal anything further, but for now please continue to check back and I thank you for your viewership.
Even when I don't have the time to communicate my current zoological musings through this blog I'm delving into related literature, photographing inner-city theropods (Columba livia), and marvelling at colossal bear skeletons (Arctodus simus).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Rhinoceros Giants: A Fresh Look at the Largest Land Mammal Ever

The cover of Rhinoceros Giants, with brilliant artwork by Carl Buell. (Source)
The ungulates are an exceptionally diverse group of mammals, with members having conquered a wide range of niches and even returning to the sea. One of the most interesting representatives of this clade was the impressive fossil perissodactyl Paraceratherium, the focus of a book recently published by Dr. Donald Prothero. Paraceratherium holds the title of the largest terrestrial mammal ever, having stood twenty-two feet tall at the shoulder and outweighing the largest modern elephant by twice its bulk. This animal possessed a skull which could grow to six feet in length and exhibited a pair of conical tusks. Prothero details an intriguing new interpretation of the skull's anatomical features which suggest that this rhinocerotoid would have possessed a form of trunk or proboscis and relatively large ears: striking morphology illustrated in the vibrant cover of this book. Rhinoceros Giants provides an exciting narrative on both the discovery and evolutionary history of Paraceratherium, shedding much light on the diverse past of the rhinoceros. I feel that a book of the nature as this one has been well-warranted for quite some time now. Prothero helps to clear up controversy over the proper name for these behemoths, and provides a better understanding of the ecology and potential life behavior of the indricotheres in detail not matched by the documentaries which helped Paraceratherium gain its fame. Rhinoceros Giants gives the unprecedented textual attention that this remarkable fossil mammal deserves.