tiny brontosauruses

October 17, 2014

tiny brontosauruses

This arrived on my Facebook wall, courtesy of Raul Diaz. For a split second I really did think the one second from the right was an older-model Carnegie Brachiosaurus toy.

I assume that, like me, you have people in your life that you don’t correspond with very often, and when you remember that they exist, it just makes you happy. Like, yeah, there’s a slightly higher chance that our species is going to make it, just because that person is out there in the world, doing what they do. Raul is in that category for me. He’s a herpetologist, but that term doesn’t really do him justice; Raul is into herps like Genghis Khan was into real estate acquisition.

Now he’s an Assistant Professor at La Sierra University and also teaches at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Raul, that is, not Genghis Khan). But I’ve known him since he was an undergrad. He was a student in one of my discussion sections for the evolution course at Berkeley. I had a tradition in all the classes I taught as a grad student: on the last class meeting I’d have people bring food and we’d have a little potluck. Raul showed up with a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. No-one else was partaking, so Raul and I spent 50 minutes drinking PBR and talking about descent with modification. Good times.

Oh, and the “tiny brontosauruses” are actually coatis, genus Nasua, raccoon relatives that range from the southwestern US to northern South America. Surprisingly, I don’t think that Darren has ever covered coatis in detail at TetZoo; maybe this will spur him into action.

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10 Responses to “tiny brontosauruses”

  1. Name required Says:

    I’d MUCH rather find my pool full of plastic sauropods than bizarre raccoon-like critters. there are some woman’s legs behind a column though, and she seems to comfortably seat and stare at them.
    (incidentally, I have no pool, damn)

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    What incredible convergence. I couldn’t see what this actually was no matter how I stared, until I clicked through to the full-size version. I could only see sauropods.

  3. Name required Says:

    you are sick Mike (and so am i)
    is there anyone here that did NOT see plastic dinosaur toys at first glance?

  4. Mark Robinson Says:

    Nope, I thought they were plastic Sauroposeidons until I read the in-pic text and had another look. Mind you, thirty years ago I thought that this was a sauropod at first, too.

    If that makes me sick, I don’t want to be well.

  5. Sean Says:

    Ok this is pretty good.

  6. Allen Hazen Says:

    There are lots of non-mammalian species that have eye-spots, etc, at their tail ends to confuse or scare predators. I suppose the fur might make this unlikely, but if a coati managed to have a tail that ended in something that looked like a snake head…

  7. Guest Says:

    For less than a second, I thought they were real sauropods! Then I read it, and looked at the sauropods’ “tails”.

  8. Wally Wedel Says:

    Did any sauropods hold their tail vertically at any point in their growth cycle?

  9. Mike Taylor Says:

    Not that we know about. Although IIRC there was a rather silly paper a while back about theropods carrying their tails vertically to reduce rotational inertia.


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