Thursday, October 05, 2006

BBC News 24 (again)


I will be live on BBC News 24 today, some time between 12:30 and 13:30.

Added afterwards: I didn't just do BBC News 24, but also BBC World News. It was all about Jurassic marine reptiles discovered on Svalbard by Jorn Hurum and colleagues (here is the BBC's online news report). Multiple ichthyosaur and plesiosaur specimens have been discovered there in close association, and in an excellent, articulated state. The most newsworthy animal is a large, near-complete or complete pliosaur, informally dubbed 'the beast' apparently, and with a total length of 8 m. That's very interesting if accurate, confirming without doubt a length exceeding 6 m for a Late Jurassic pliosaur, but as is reasonably well known there are indications that some pliosaur taxa reached and exceeded 10 and perhaps 15 m in length (Dave Martill, Les Noe and I are due to publish on this at some stage and have already published an article on the subject of giant pliosaurs in Dino Press magazine).

No new taxa have been mentioned in the reports on the new Svalbard finds - the only generic name used was Kimmerosaurus, a plesiosaur discovered in Dorset and named in the 1980s, and it is inferred that the animals are congeneric with British Kimmeridge Clay marine reptiles. But we'll see. Ultimately, the news concerns the discovery of these new specimens, and there is not an accompanying technical publication.

Incidentally this is blog post no. 99 for Tetrapod Zoology... stay tuned for the next one then. The accompanying photo has no relevance whatsoever - I just wanted to post it. It features Bob Nicholls and Richard Forrest (I'm in the middle). Homage to Bob, as he just sent me a bunch of stuff in the post.

PS - for the latest news on Tetrapod Zoology do go here.

9 Comments:

Blogger Mike Taylor said...

Surely it's too early for the BBC to be making documentaries about R2095?

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

Darren:

Love your blog.

I wonder if you might comment on this article
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/05/monster.fossil.reut/index.html

I absolutely hate the way everytime a pliosaur or plesiosaur fossil is discovered, the lame journalist makes reference to the Loch Ness Monster. Does it bug you like it bugs me? Why do they do this?

Sharon

2:30 AM  
Anonymous David Marjanović said...

Because that's the only association they have to "plesiosaur".

4:55 PM  
Blogger Darren Naish said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes Sharon it drives me nuts. Indeed a plesiosaur expert I know has become so frustrated by it that he will not refer to the Scottish entity by name, given that every journalist he ever talks to wants to mention it.

David is right: unfortunately it's the image that leaps to mind for most people whenever 'plesiosaur' is mentioned, and this is despite the fact that there aren't really any accounts from Loch Ness that sound in the least bit plesiosaur-like.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Filipe said...

Of course that begs the question, what is plesiosaur-like? The swan-like pose most people think about is not possible, so how would a plesiosaur look like when going to the surface?

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Tommy Tyrberg said...

For once a site in the Arctic is easily accessible. Janusfjellet is practically within walking distance from Longyearbyen, the main (and only) town in Spitzbergen.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were the bones so well preserved that they'd be worth testing for DNA?

10:57 PM  
Anonymous David Marjanović said...

Testing for DNA in anything that's older than, like, 100,000 years seems to be futile. All reports of older DNA have turned out to be based on contaminations.

But who knows...

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Darren i think its great you being nat-hist "TV person" guy whatever thing, you know? Sir David and all "a hero of mine".

You do have a gift for making this already interesting stuff more interesting. Well hope you get a gig doing that. Would be cool!

:)

6:20 AM  

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