Things to Make and Do, part 6f: my dumb observation of the day is that in dorsal view, a partly-assembled ostrich skull looks kind of like a chasmosaurine

July 24, 2010

What’s that?  You want proof, you say?  Well, I find your lack of faith disturbing; but since you asked, you got it!

What we have here is the part-way assembled skull of our old friend Veronica, in dorsal view, with anterior to the left.  The long pointed bones down there are the nasals: you don’t see their anterior ends in complete skulls because they’re covered by the fused premaxillae.  Posterolateral to those are the lacrimals, forming those posterolaterally directed spurs.  Between the nasals towards their posterior end is the top of the mesethmoid.  Behind the nasals and mesethmoid are the frontals, the largest bones on view here; and behind those are the parietals.  Ventral to those superficial bones are the palatines (sticking forward and showing on either side of the nasals), plus the pterygoids, the squamosals, and of course the braincase including the parasphenoid rostrum and fused vomers, but those are all hidden in this dorsal view.

Here’s the whole hill of beans in ventral view: this time you can see the parasphenoid rostrum going down the midline, with the vomers fused onto its anterior end; and the pterygoids attached near the base of this process, and the palatines extending anteriorly from them.  In this view, the squamosals are the lateralmost projecting bones.  Zoom through to the full-sized images to see the cool pneumatic openings up inside the squamosals and the parts of the braincase that they articulate with.

Still waiting to be attached to the cranium: the quadrates (which go on the lateralmost points of the skull); then the quadratojugal, jugals and maxillae, forming a straight line directed anteromedially from the point of the quadrate; and finally the fused premaxillae which go on the end of the snout and join the nasals medially and the maxillae laterally.  Those bones will of course obscure some of what we can see at the current stage of assembly, so I thought it would be useful to show you this intermediate stage.

Since I’m here, I may as well show you how the partially reassembled cranium looks in left lateral view, too:

From here, you can really appreciate the weird shape of the lacrimals, with their ventrally directed processes that I think are going to contact the maxillae once I’ve got them attached.

Finally, those of you who have been wise enough to get hold of some red-cyan anaglyph glasses will be able to appreciate this spectacular 3D view of the skull in ventral view.  The rest of you: come on, sort it out: they cost maybe a couple of bucks, and they’ll revolutionise your perception of, well, anaglyphs.

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8 Responses to “Things to Make and Do, part 6f: my dumb observation of the day is that in dorsal view, a partly-assembled ostrich skull looks kind of like a chasmosaurine”

  1. Nathan Myers Says:

    There’s no way anything so complicated could possibly have evolved. It must have … just happened.

  2. Dave Godfrey Says:

    You’ve probably seen this, but Andreas Christian has a new paper out in Biology LettersSome sauropods raised their necks—evidence for high browsing in Euhelopus zdanskyi. Its open access which is nice.


  3. […] 26, 2010 A bit frightening to realise it’s been more than a month since the last SV-POW! post.  We have some excuse for that: I am just back from a fortnight’s holiday with my family, […]

  4. jdmimic Says:

    Awesome. I have been needing an ostrich skull and mine disappeared when I moved. Thanks!

  5. jdmimic Says:

    The 3D image is pretty cool and shows up quite well. Any chance you will be putting up 3D views at other angles any time soon?

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thanks, jdmimic, I am pleased that someone out there has actually look at this through the requisite 3d glasses. I think it’s insane in this day and age for anyone not to have them — they are so useful, and so cheap.

    I do have plenty more 3d photos of the ostrich — both whole-skull and individual bones. I might put another one or two of them up on SV-POW!, but I am half planning to try to publish a lavishly illustrated monographic description of the skull; so I want to keep some of my powder dry against that possibility.


  7. […] My dumb observation of the day is that in dorsal view, a partly-assembled ostrich skull looks kind o… Posted by Mike Taylor Filed in ostrich, stinkin' heads, T2M&D 20 Comments » LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


  8. […] may have been switched. Once everything is clean and dry, I’ll glue it back together, using my ostrich skull to help guide […]


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