News 2012

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December 2012
Marianne Pearson presents a talk for the British Herpetological Society on salamanders.

December 2012
Marc Jones provides quotes for Scope (the student publication of the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT) about the new fossil tuatara-relative Oenosaurus: new fossil find sheds light on a present-day reptile.

December 2012
The lab is visited by Rachel O'Meara (University of Cambridge).

2012 Rachel OMeara Cambridge EvansLab
 

December 2012
Paul Barrett publishes a paper in Biology Letter with colleagues from the University of Washington and the University of California, Berkeley, on material from Tanzania that may represent the oldest known dinosaur.

Nature: "Earliest known dino relative found"
BBC news: "New contender for oldest dinosaur"
MSN: "Say hello to what may be the world's new oldest dinosaur"
Science Daily: "Scientists find oldest dinosaur - or closest relative yet"
Independent: "World's oldest dinosaur found - in a museum storeroom"

Restoration (Copyright NHM and Mark Witton):

2012_Nyasasaurus_oldest_dinosaur_Nesbitt_etal_2012
 

December 2012
Marc Jones present a talk for Science Showoff at the Wilmington Arms about a reptile from New Zealand.

Marc Jones at Science Showoff, 2012 from Mally Sword on Vimeo.

Marc Jones at Science Showoff, 2012 from Mally Sword on Vimeo.

December 2012
Marc Jones publishes a paper with Alison Cree (University of Otago) on the New Zealand tuatara in Current Biology. Image created by Marc Jones:

2012_tuatara_Jones_&_Cree_Current_Biology


December 2012
Susan Evans, Marc Jones, and Ryoko Matsumoto publish a paper on a new fossil lizard from the Cretaceous of England, UK in Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France. This paper forms part of a special volume dedicated to Jean-Claude Rage Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle.

November 2012
Paul Barrett hosts the Dutchess of Cambridge at the Natural History Museum's Treasure exhibition.

November 2012
Susan Evans publishes a paper in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology on the Cretaceous tetrapod fossil record in conjunction with colleagues from the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and UCL.

November 2012
Marianne Pearson publishes a first author paper in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology on early terrestrial herbivore diversity in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Cambridge and Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin.

November 2012
Marc Jones is awarded a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

November 2012
Marianne Pearson was awarded third place in the Geologists' Association's amateur photography competition at the Festival of Geology held at UCL. Her photo, entitled "Hoodoos", was taken on her day off while on a recent collections visit to the Royal Tyrell Museum in Alberta, Canada. The Hoodoos are a popular tourist attraction located just outside the town of Drumheller, and are made by natural weathering of the rock. The ironstone 'cap' weathers at a slower rate than the softer sandstone underneath, creating these amazing structures.

2012_Hoodoos_Marianne_Pearson


November 2012
Marc Jones and Susan Evans publish a paper in PLoS ONE on the head and neck anatomy of sea turtles and skull shape in Testudines. This work was carried out in collaboration with Ingmar Werneburg (Geowissenschaften Universität Tübingen), Neil Curtis, Michael Fagan (both University of Hull), Paul O'Higgins (Hull York Medical School), and Rod Penrose (Zoological Society of London). Specimens were provided by the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme which is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The head of a young Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii). Scale bar represents 10 mm:

2012_sea_turtle_head_kempii


October 2012
Marc Jones provided the opening talk and a key note lecture for the 10th Annual LERN Conference held in the Department of Anthropology at UCL. 

October 2012
Marc Jones visits collections at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History hosted by Mathew Carrano.

2012_Smithsonian_Washington


October 2012
Marc Jones presents a poster on the cranial joint in Captorhinus, an early amniote from the Permian of USA, at the 72nd annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Raleigh, North Carolina. Marc also led the judging committee for the Edwin H. and Margaret M. Colbert Student Poster Prize.

2012_Jones_at_SVP_Raleigh_Captorhinus_poster


October 2012
The lab is visited by Derek Yalden.

September 2012
Susan Evans attends at 60th meeting of the Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA) hosted by the University of Oxford, UK.

September 2012
The lab is visited by Ivan Nunes (Museu Nacional-Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) who examines frog types species held in the UK.

2012_Ivan_Nunez


September 2012
The lab is visited by Stephen Wroe (The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia).

2012_Steve_Wroe


September 2012
The lab is visited by Fabiana Rodrigues Costa (Museu Nacional-Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) who is examining reptile fossils as part of her doctoral sandwich year.

2012_Fabiana_Rodrigues_Costa


August 2012
Marc Jones assisted with a ThinkWrite training course at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, LMU (University of Munich) as part of the Amgen Scholars Program.

August 2012
Marc Jones publishes a paper with Carlo Meloro (University of Hull) in Journal of Evolutionary Biology on tooth and cranial disparity in Sphenodon and its fossil relatives (Rhynchocephalia). Results show that tooth number is a better predictor of skull shape than skull length even after phylogeny is taken into account. This support previous studies by showing that the lineage to which Sphenodon belongs was once much more diverse and that Sphenodon is not simply a product of evolutionary stasis.

Wired.com article: "Unless They’re Zombies, Fossils Don’t Live"

2012_tooth_and_cranial_disparity_Sphenodon_Meloro_and_Jones


August 2012
Susan Evans, Marc Jones, and Marianne Person attend the 7th World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver Canada hosted by the University of British Columbia. Susan Evans was an invited plenary speaker presenting a lecture on the  fossil record and early evolution of lepidosaurs (lizards, snakes, and tuatara). Marianne Pearson presents a poster on salamander biogeography. Susan Evans and Marc Jones both provide invited talks for the symposium on 'Insights from the fossil record' organised by Jim Gardner (Royal Tyrrel Museum). Photo taken by Liping Dong of the symposium participants:

2012_World_Congress_of_Herpetology_Insights_from_the_fossil_record_EvansLab

July 2012
The lab is visited by Alan Tennyson (Museum Te Papa Tongawera, Wellington, New Zealand) who also provides a talk for ADaPTiVE.

2012_Alan_Tennyson


July 2012
Marc Jones assisted with a ThinkWrite training course in Aschau (Germany) as part of the Amgen Scholars Program hosted by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, LMU (University of Munich) in partnership with the University of Cambridge and the Karolinska Institut (Stockholm).

June 2012
The paper on chewing in the New Zealand tuatara by Marc Jones and Susan Evans and colleagues in University of Hull and Hull York Medical School is chosen to feature on the cover of the July issue of The Anatomical Record.

2012_tutara_eating_a_bird_Anatomical_Record_cover_image


May 2012
Marc Jones and Susan Evans publish a paper with Neil Curtis, Michael Fagan (both University of Hull) and Paul O'Higgins (Hull York Medical School) in The Anatomical Record on chewing in the New Zealand tuatara. In this reptile, after the jaws close the lower jaw slides forwards a few millimeters to cut food trapped between the teeth. In this paper we use three dimensional computer modeling to show that a flexible connection between the lower jaws is necessary for this forwards movement and also that it includes a subtle inwards twisting motion. The latter promotes a more intimate contact between the teeth of the lower and upper jaws and overall a more effective cutting action. This specialised feeding mechanism appear to permit a broader diet including vertebrate animals such as seabirds. Although this system is rare today, examination of fossils from the UK and Morocco suggest it was more widespread 190 million years ago. The tuatara also reminds us that chewing is not limited to animals with a high metabolism such as mammals.

The BBC News web article: "Tuatara reptile slices food with 'steak-knife teeth"
An interview with the UCL Media team: "chewing - its not just for mammals"
New Scientist article: "Zoologger: Strange reptiles saw heads off seabirds"
New Zealand 3 news TV coverage: "The tuatara's unique chomp"
UCL news webpage: "Iconic New Zealand reptile shows chewing is not just for mammals"
University of Hull webpage: "Iconic New Zealand reptile shows chewing is not just for mammals"
On Earth, Species Watch: "My, what strange teeth you have"
NewsTrack India: "Iconic NZ reptile spits on mammal chewing theory"

The story is also covered by ScienceDaily; Yahoo; Phys.org; MSN; Stuff.co.nz; Wired.co.uk; 3news; Zeenews; SudanVisionDaily, BussinessStandard; EurekAlert; Scinews.com; Z6Mag; Zinxed; TodayHeads; TopNews.in; RedOrbit; Belle News; Reptile Channel; Science, Space and Robots; Le Scienze; tweet meme; and LiveScience.

This work is part of a multi-disciplinary collaboration funded by the BBSRC investigating skull mechanics in reptiles. Anatomical material was used courtesy of the Grant Museum of Zoology UCL and the work benefited from observations and filming carried out at Chester Zoo:

2012_chewing_tuatara_ChesterZoo_Jones_etal_2012_AnatRec


May 2012
Paul Barrett is promoted to Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum, London.

May 2012
Susan Evans publish a paper with Jin-you Mo (China University of Geosciences) and Xing Xu (IVPP, Beijing, China) in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology that describes, interprets, and names a new large predatory lizard from the Late Cretaceous of China. The research was supported by funding from the Guangxi Natural History Museum, Natural Science Foundation of China and the Palaeontological Association. A front view of the partly crushed skull:

2012_Chianghsia_predatory_lizard


May 2012
Arnau Bolet and Susan Evans publish a paper in Palaeontology describing and analysing the morphology of a tiny lizard from the Early Cretaceous lagerstätten of Las Hoyas Spain. This work was funded by an FPI grant. A life restoration and image of the fossil material:

2012_Jucaraseps_tiny_lizard


May 2012
Paul Barrett provides a quote for New Scientist regarding the possible affect of sauropod dinosaurs on climate.

April 2012
Paul Barrett provides a quote for the Guardian BBC website regarding Yutyrannus huali: a large feathered dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of China.

April 2012
Tania Condado joins the lab as a skilled volunteer.

2012_Tania_Condado_Evans_Lab


March 2012
Susan Evans presents a talk for the British Herpetological Society at the Natural History Museum in London.

February  2012
Marc Jones presents a talk for the London Oral Biology club on tooth implantation in tetrapods at the Old London Hospital Medical College Building.

January 2012
Paul Barrett contributes to a paper about the locomotor ability of the bipedal dinosaur Lesothosaurus published in Journal of Anatomy. The research was led by Karl Bates (University of Liverpool) and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. A side view of the computer model showing the upper limb and hip girdle with red lines to indicate muscle paths as inferred using data from modern birds and crocodiles:

2012_Lesothosaurus_upper_limb_model


January 2012
Marc Jones attends the 3rd UK One-Day Meeting on Morphometrics and Statistical Shape Analysis in York.