Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Sorry-for-the-Absence Post

I can’t believe it’s been five months since I've written here. I kinda have a bad habit of falling in and out of projects… Allow me to try to fix this.

Anyway, lots has been happening in my life since I last wrote here. I’m finally starting to steer my life in the direction of actual biology, instead of slogging my way through classes. I will be heading to Ghost Ranch, New Mexico over the summer to work for a few weeks at the Hayden Quarry in the Chinle Formation, which is unbelievably exciting for me because of the formation's unique Triassic fauna (I’m particularly fond of weird little Vancleavea). I’ve been studying microfossils from the quarry with a professor here, and so far I've found some little bones and scales, which is more than I expected myself to find.

Just yesterday, my first-ever grant was accepted by the field station affiliated with my school. I will be monitoring temperatures in wood duck (Aix sponsa) nest boxes around the field station, as well as examining how temperature, humidity, direct sunlight, and habitat affect the colonization of these nest boxes by the ducks.

So, anyway, that’s what’s been going on with me. But I do hope to get back into writing for the blog. Lots of awesome zoological/paleontological happenings have been… Well, happening. Crocodylians turn out to climb trees more often than we imagine. A new Triassic marine reptile is the first tetrapod to display a “bony tube” of various types of ribs, presumably to protect itself from some of the first giant marine predators. Several new species of dinosaur have been named, including a new Portuguese species of Torvosaurus, the dwarf Arctic tyrannosaur Nanuqsaurus, and Anzu, which I will henceforth refer to as “Satan’s cassowary,” just to add to the list of terrifying (and terrible) bird-related monikers the species has acquired.

So, anyway, I apologize (for, what, the fourth or fifth time now) for the lack of updates. I’ll try my damnedest to keep this going.

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