What a dream I had!

January 31, 2021

Oh, hey, so you know how the most tedious thing you can ever hear is someone recounting one of their dreams? I want to tell you about a dream I had last night.

Brian Curtice’s grandfather was in a position of authority to express condemnation of a group of people who had lost the electronic archives of the Daily Telegraph, but declined to do so. So I became part of a woke mob that went to Curtice’s house to express our displeasure to him. I got distracted by an outbuilding when we arrived, went in, and found that it contained the Sonorosaurus type material, which for some reason included two really nice scapulocoracoids. At that point my Index Data colleague Wayne (also part of the woke mob) wandered in and I expressed to him that I was having second thoughts about this whole protest and that my first concern now was protecting the holotype against the more indiscriminate members of the mob. But I kept thinking to myself “Why is this material even here? If anything, it should be in an outbuilding at Kevin Ratkevic’s house.” Then Wayne and I spotted a bunch of computer monitors running software that Curtice had written earlier in his life, and it became apparent that he was the creator of a Commodore 64 adventure game called Pilgrim for which the publishers had ripped off an 8×8 old-English-style character set that I had used in a game I’d published with them.

Ratkevic (1988:figure 4).Lower hind limb including tibia, fibula, and nearly complete left pes of Sonorasaurus thompsoni holotype ASDM 500. Elements found associated but not articulated. Entire assembled length 137 cm. Photo by Jeanne Broome.

So. I never remember dreams in this kind of detail. The fact that I did on this on occasion is strange to me — but then, these are strange times. A quick run-down of what is and isn’t true:

  • So far as I know, the Daily Telegraph archives have not been lost.
  • Brian Curtice is a sauropod palaeontologist, maybe best known for his work reassessing Jensen’s Dry Mesa sauropods (e.g. Curtice et al. 1996, Curtice and Stadtman 2001); I have no idea if he has a grandfather and whether he has any involvement with archives.
  • I do not know where Brian lives, or whether he has any fossils at his house. I highly doubt he has holotypes.
  • The holotype of Sonorasaurus does not include any shoulder-girdle material, but it was indeed described by Ratkevich (1988) — but Ron, not Kevin.
  • There really was a Commodore 64 adventure game called Pilgrim, published by CRL, and they really did re-use — without my permission — the character set I had defined in The Causes of Chaos, which I had published with them not long before.
  • But Pilgrim was by Rod Pike, and I very highly doubt that Brian Curtice, even if he was a C64 programmer in the early-mid 90s, ever published any games with a UK-based software house.

Matt’s response when I told him about this dream:

Just got to the scapulocoracoids and LLOL
“my first concern now was protecting the holotype against the more indiscriminate members of the mob.” LLOL x infinity
Well, I gotta tell you, that was a ride.
Jurassic-Park-style, through your hindbrain.
It had everything!
Woke mobs, holotypes, old school adventure games, intellectual property (at the start and at the end)
lost archives
this is so specific in so many weirdly-specialized areas that whole schools may spring up to interpret it. You might accidentally found a new religion.

All right, folks: interpret for me!


  • Curtice, Brian D., Kenneth L. Stadtman and Linda J. Curtice. 1996. A reassessment of Ultrasauros macintoshi (Jensen, 1985). The continental Jurassic (M. Morales, ed.): Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 60:87–95.
  • Curtice, Brian D. and Kenneth L. Stadtman. 2001. The demise of Dystylosaurus edwini and a revision of Supersaurus vivianae. Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists and Mesa Southwest Museum and Southwest Paleontologists Symposium, Bulletin 8:33–40.
  • Ratkevich, Ron. 1998. New Cretaceous brachiosaurid dinosaur, Sonorasaurus thompsoni gen et sp. nov, from Arizona. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 31:71–82.

11 Responses to “What a dream I had!”

  1. Brad Lichtenstein Says:

    Lol, my quick interpretation is: she turned you into a newt, but you got better.

    Right, you wanted a religion: You are the only one who is not a unique individual!

  2. dale m. Says:

    I remember almost all my dreams. Most are about where I lived at one time. Lots are about verte. palaeo. Most are romanticized versions. Feel good versions. From where I lived in the fifties (on a farm) to trudging across unexplored Siberia looking for fossils and trying desperately to keep up with the expedition. I find something, call out to the expedition, they cant hear me and fade into the horizon. If I stay and safeguard the specimen, I will become separated from the group. It all seems so real until you start asking how you got there. If you’re hindbrain is quick enough, it will fill in the details to keep you locked into your little matrix.

    My advise? Relax. Enjoy the movie your hindbrain has put you in. You’re the star.

  3. Lars Dietz Says:

    I once had a dream that featured this blog. In my dream, a new sauropod had been published, which was estimated by the authors of the paper to be about 500 meters long. On your blog, you did a recalculation, concluding that it was at least 800 meters long.
    Somehow, nobody seemed to be particularly excited by this, it was just another big sauropod.

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    Lars, your dream beats mine hands down!

  5. Matt Wedel Says:

    Dammit Lars, now Mike is going to do a post on what the cervical vertebra of an 800m sauropod would look like. Mark my words.

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing I would do.

  7. I think there actually is some pectoral girdle material included in Sonorasaurus—although not anything that could be described as “really nice”, or even adjacent to the word “nice” at all. It’s briefly mentioned in D’Emic et al’s 2016 redescription but isn’t in Ratkevich 1998 for some reason.

    Reminds me of a dream I had about collecting a complete skull of Futalognkosaurus…

  8. Mike Taylor Says:

    Ha! John is right: D’Emic et al. (2016:110) list the holotype material as including “fragments of one or both scapular blades (ASDM 500-370, -36)”.

    On page 114, they go on to say:

    Scapula.—A partially complete scapula was reported and figured by Thayer and Ratkevitch (1995:fig. 6), but we could not find a bone matching that depicted in the field photograph, nor could we find more than two small fragments of the scapular blade. The two fragments indicate that the blade was broadly D-shaped in cross-section proximally and flatter distally (Fig. 11).

    They really are fragments, though, as Figure 11 shows. There’s nothing to see here, sadly.

    (The scapulocoracoids in my dream were more like BYU 9462, the scap referred by Jensen to “Ultrasaurus — but better preserved.)


    D’Emic, Michael D. Brady Z. Foreman and Nathan A. Jud. 2016. Anatomy, systematics, paleoenvironment, growth, and age of the sauropod dinosaur Sonorasaurus thompsoni from the Cretaceous of Arizona, USA. Journal of Paleontology 90(1):102–132. doi:10.1017/jpa.2015.67

    Thayer, D. W., and Ratkevitch, Ron., 1995, In-progress excavation at the mid-Cretaceous Turney Ranch Formation, southeastern Arizona. Proceedings of the Southwestern Paleontological Society 3:63–74.

  9. BrianCurtice Says:

    I do have the holotypes roughly 7,000′ feet from my door… In fact there are but 2 doors between me and the holotypes as I type this. I never met my one grandfather, the other was from dust-bowl Oklahoma stock, more likely to WPA the OK material than anything else :-) What is crazy is I taught myself to code on a C64, my brother is named Kevin, Ron Ratkevitch just passed away recently, and I’m just now reading all of this. Looks like my adventures have put me out of touch!!!

  10. Mike Taylor Says:

    Well, that is a whole bunch of really crazy coincidences!

    Sorry for invading your subconscious :-)

  11. Hahahaha! Things you never expect to see on the internet “Brian Curtice’s grandfather” :-)!

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