Dilophosaurus: A Tale of Tail Traces
by Brian Switek
At the barest level, dinosaur bones record death and postmortem transformation. How the animal lived only becomes apparent through the clues we coax from prehistoric remains. Tracks and traces, on the other claw, are manifestations of life. Dinosaur sign, preserved as impressions in stone, record fleeting moments of anatomy in action. And within the library of fossilized behavior studied and cataloged so far, there is a small number of traces that record something that might seem unexpected within the imagery of the thoroughly modern dinosaur – tail marks.
Dinosaurs were not habitual tail-draggers. This isn’t news. In the 1970s, on the basis of anatomical and trackway evidence, paleontologists lifted the tails of dinosaurs to balance well clear of the ground. Some, such as the herbivorous, be-thumbspiked Iguanodon, had ossified tendons that added strength to a deep, rigid tail whereas the fleet carnivore Deinonychus made course corrections with the help of a tail stiffened by long, interlocking processes of the tail vertebrae.
Even without such specializations, the osteology of dinosaurs clearly testified that all the members of this celebrated evolutionary group held their tails aloft. The conspicuous rarity of sinuous drags between dinosaur footprints confirmed that dinosaurs must have held their posteriors high.
And yet, as reviewed by paleontologists Jeong Yul Kim and Martin Lockley in a new Ichnos paper, there are multiple reported cases of dinosaur tail impressions of one sort or another…
(read more: Laelaps Blog - National Geo)
Illustration by Heather Kyoht Luterman; photo by Brian Switek
"in 2009, i planned to become a guest of 31 secluded and visually unique tribes. i wanted to witness their time honoured traditions, join in their rituals and discover how the rest of the world is threatening to change their way of life forever. most importantly, i wanted to create an ambitious aesthetic photographic document that would stand the test of time, a body of work that would be an irreplaceable ethnographic record of a fast disappearing world. i didn’t start this project anticipating that i could stop the world from changing. i purely wanted to create a visual document that reminds us and generations to come of how beautiful the human world once was." - jimmy nelson
the tribes seen here (in only ten of the over 500 photos found in his book) are: (1) the peoples of the vanuatu islands, found southeast of the solomon islands; (2) the samburu of nothern kenya; (3) the maori of new zealand; (4) the kalam of eastern new guinea; (5) the huli of the new guinea highlands; (6) the maasai, who live in kenya and tanzania; (7) the karo, who live on the eastern banks of ethiopia’s omo river; (8) the himba of the kunene region of northern namibia; (9) the kazakhs of western mongolia; (10) the yali of the baliem valley region of papua indonesia.
Much to the dismay of any would-be “White Supremacists,” scientists have recently revealed that the face of the first Europeans were surprisingly Sub-Saharan African in appearance. The head of the …
…well, yeah. I mean, ancestors of modern humans move to Europe from Africa, and of course they’d have dark skin and Sub-Saharan African features. Only after generations of living in Europe would you get the characteristic recessive mutations that characterized white Europeans.
…wait, this was in dispute?
*rubs forehead* How can people be so fucking stupid? Why is this a headline? How can white people npt follow their own fucking logic?
and this is news to who?