Monday, February 1, 2010

More shameless self-promotion

If 'gently piping' music means 'loud enough that you can't talk to your housemate several rooms away from the stereo', then this evening I was gently piping Portished's Third throughout my, and probably my neighbours, house. If you've not heard it, I recommend you immediately travel to your local music shop or favourite download site and grab a copy: it's great. In fact, if we lived in the same alternate reality that spawned the Flight of the Conchords track Mother Uckers, I'd say it was totally ucking brilliant. It's the sort of music that, using distorted electronic tones and unsettling beats to make sure you're paying attention, fills your ears with delicate, haunted tracks at times or, at others, makes you feel like you're marching into a war where Vangelis has provided the soundtrack. If intelligent, arresting and intense musical experience is what you're after, I can't rate it highly enough.

If you're not after something intelligent, arresting or intense, however, you could do much worse than check out my interview responses to questions asked and posted by David Orr, owner of Love in the Time of Chasmosaurus. LITC provides daily palaeo-themed posts on all manner of topics, ranging from news on recent discoveries, looks at butt-ugly roadside dinosaur models, palaeo-themed toys and, most importantly, the first episode of Dino Riders. I can honestly say I check it every day as part of my morning procrastination routine at work and consistently find it a sharp, punchy read. Much of the blog is devoted to vintage palaeoart and if, like me, you grew up reading dinosaur books, I guarantee you'll find waves of forgotten memories flooding back if you scroll through the LITC archives. There're also occasional interviews with palaeoartists - including real professionals like John Sibbick - and, a few weeks ago, David very flatteringly asked me if I'd be interested in answering a few questions. A good portion of the discussion concerned pterosaurs and, for those interested, you can find the interview, in its entirety, here.

The image above, incidentally, has nothing in particular to do with anything you've just read, but makes the post look nicer. It shows a profile of the large, snubbed-jawed ornithocheirid Coloborhynchus, commissioned as part of a series of pterosaur mug-sketches to show the diversity of their cranial morphology. Hopefully, the full complement of sketches will be published later this year.


  1. Why is it Coloborhynchus and not Ornithocheirus, or at least Cirorhynchus?

  2. Oh no: you're opening up the dreaded Ornithocheirid taxonomy worm can! To be brief (because you could write a lot about this), according to some folk (e.g. Unwin 2001), you can pull Coloobrhynchus and Ornithocheirus apart through the orientation of their anteriormost teeth: Ornithocheirus has rostral teeth that are vertically orientated, whereas the anteriormost teeth of Coloborhynchus project forward and laterally. The teeth in my picture, on reflection, should show this latter morphology more clearly. All the same, both Ornithocheirus and Coloborhynchus have blunt, snubby rostral terminations, a feature that distingusihes them from Anhanguera.

    Criorhynchus, on the other hand, is not recognised as a valid taxon by all workers. The very fragmentary type material is, apparently, virtually indistinguishable from that of Ornithocheirus and the former is therefore considered synonymous with it by some researchers. This view is not held by everyone though, and some workers have retained the genus despite the scrappy nature of the type material. As I understand it, Criorhynchus is meant to have a more uniformly-sized dentition than other ornithocheirids, suggesting the image here cannot represent this taxon even if it is valid.