Saturday 30 December 2023

Eurhinocaulus: The Sawfish Lepospondyl

Click to enlarge

Another round of speculative fun with prehistoric animals. What you see here is not a reconstruction of a real fossil, but a purely hypothetical relative or descendant of the famous lepospondyl Diplocaulus, an "amphibian" from the Permian ("amphibian" is in quotation marks since Lepospondyli, even if they did have similar physiology and lifestyles, are generally considered to have been members of Reptiliomorpha, therefore more closely related to us than to the actual modern (liss)amphibians). 

The lifestyle of this creature can be imagined quite straight-forwardly: It lies in wait on or inside the riverbed and when suitable prey is located, it lifts its head, its "skullwings" acting as hydrofoils to quickly dart the predator up (as they are theorized to have done in the real Diplocaulus). Once in reach, the toothed sword-nose is used to strike at the prey and incapacitate it, much as in sawfish.

This is simply a one-off creature without any wider context... for now. Who knows, perhaps it could become part of a future project.

Edit: Well, it happened!

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Friday 8 December 2023

My First Book: The Saurus Family and the Little Trilobite

Well, as you have probably noticed, I have not made as many blogposts this year as in the previous ones. This was due to a lot of reasons, like work, study, new hobbies and some personal struggles. But one of the more pleasant reasons was that I have in fact been working on a book! Now what could this book be? A compilation of Manospondylus posts? A history of paleontology? A spec-evo book? A science fiction novel? An encyclopedia of Swiss fossils? NOPE, none of the above. It is a children’s book about cartoony prehistoric animals! Illustrated all by myself.



The Saurus Family and the Little Trilobite follows an odd week in the life of Mr. and Mrs. Saurus, a married couple consisting of an Ichthyosaurus and a Plesiosaurus living on the coast of Vindelicia. One fateful day they find a trilobite in their underwater garden, which they soon realize is an animal which should not exist anymore in their time. The news of their major discovery spreads and various parties become interested in the little arthropod, but not for any good reasons. What will Mr. and Mrs. Saurus do now faced with this situation? Keep the critter as a pet? Sell it? Eat it? Well, that is for you to find out.

Now, of course, this is a silly story with a lot of factual errors (dinosaurs did not use forks to eat, for example). So, in addition, the book has a second half, which offers information on the real-life background behind all the animals that appear in the story, including more naturalistic illustrations. While this book is aimed at younger audiences, I hope some of the information will also be new for some of the more mature audience. Have you for example ever wondered what the longest fossil invertebrate was? Or how thalattosuchians moved on land? In addition, expect a lot of paleo-insider gags sprinkled throughout the whole book.

The book measures 21 x 21 cm and is 84 pages long. It is currently priced at 15.99 €‎ or 16.99 $. I published it through Amazon’s self-publishing service and it should be available on all storefronts. There are some coloured images in it, which (for reasons unclear to me) the Australian and Japanese storefronts will unfortunately not be able to print in full colour. My location in Switzerland has also made it difficult to send myself test-versions, so if there are any unforeseen printing errors because of that I apologize in advance and promise to fix those as soon as possible. A German version is now also available.

This is the first ever book I have published, so I hope you all like it. I am looking forward to your thoughts, opinions and constructive criticism.

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