Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Ideas

A few of my Alaskan readers may have read this book at some point in their lives. It was published in 1988, and it's a kid's book about Alaska's prehistoric wildlife. Unfortunately, in 1988, there wasn't a whole lot of Mesozoic material known, so the author and illustrator were almost making it up as they went along. Such memorable creatures as "Hadrosaur" and Ceratops are contained within its pages, as Troodon, the only animal get a formal genus. So I want to update this book, write a spiritual sequel of sorts (and illustrate it) including all the dinosaurs (and other Mesozoic critters) currently known in Alaska. For the uninformed, this list includes:

Dromaeosaurus (teeth), Troodon (teeth), Albertosaurus (teeth), ?Tyrannosaurus (teeth), Edmontosaurus (lots of skeletal material), Pachyrhinosaurus (partial skulls), Edmontonia (partial skull), Alaskacephale (partial skull cap), ?Anchiceratops (bits 'n' pieces of the skull), ?Thescelosaurus (bits 'n' pieces), ?Ornithomimidae (bits 'n' pieces), "Lizzie" the hadrosaur (partial skeleton), Megalneusaurus (humerus), Ichthyosauria (ribcage).

Nobody is publishing any of this material. That list was scraped together by asking Anne Pasch and scrounging through old papers referencing Alaskan material. I've actually seen the Edmontonia skull--it's basically the ventral side, and only the tooth row is visible, and a single preserved tooth identified the genus. Anyway, that would be a cool book. Thunderfeet does a great job of making itself accessable to both little kids (with rhyme) and older kids (with factoids), so that's the model I'm going to follow.

The second book has a clearer focus: it's all about ceratopsians! This book would follow a very strict format: On the left page would be the vital stats and a description of the genus illustrated on the facing (right) page. Because my goal is to compare the horned dinosaurs throughout their evolution, it would a portrait similar to the quickly-sketched one above (Triceratops horridus). I've got a pretty good potential species list, too. Let me know if I should add anybody:

Yinlong downsi, Psittacosaurus mongolensis, P. sibiricus, Liaoceratops yanzigouensis, Protoceratops andrewski, Leptoceratops gracilis, Montanoceratops cerorhynchos, Zuniceratops christopheri, Albertoceratops nesmoi, "Octoceratops" (assuming it's ever published), Centrosaurus apertus, C. brinkmani, Styracosaurus albertensis, Einiosaurus procurvicornis, Achelousaurus horneri, Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, Anchiceratops ornatus, Arrhinoceratops brachyops, Ajungaceratops mariscalensis, Chasmosaurus belli, Pentaceratops sternbergi, Torosaurus utahensis, Nedoceratops hatcheri, Triceratops horridus.

Am I leaving anybody out? I also want to include growth series for those taxa with known growth series.

So those are my ideas. Comments? Questions?


Traumador said...

I like it!

I can't think of any obvious Ceratopsian you missed, for whom lots of material is known. Though you should do a page explaining the Monoclonius=young centrasaurid factiod, as kids will think it is neat that all those different centrosaurids look the same till they grow up. Just a suggestion from experience with kids.

ReBecca Foster said...

It is Agujaceratops ;)
Are you doing them all?...Torosaurus latus, Avaceratops lammersi (I don't think it has been officially done away with), Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis, I think Chasmosaurus russelli and C. irvinensis are still valid (could be wrong, but I think...), Eotriceratops xerinsularis...

If you could start developing this idea now and hold off on the unpublished taxa (it is usually best to not talk about them in public/in print till they are officially published) the ceratopsid symposium book will be published next year and I think you would find it quite helpful for this project! Neat idea! Good luck :)

Neil said...

I was happy to see the recent article in the Fairbanks Daily about Druckenmiller working on the Cutaway Creek ichthyosaur I hope it gets published soon. There are some other reports of fragmentary Triassic marine reptiles in accreted terranes in the panhandle.

Zach said...

Rebecca, I only want to include individual entries for well-known and well-documented animals. For example, I picked P. lukustai because it's got a monograph, whereas I don't have anything about P. canadensis. And I just read paper about new Torosaurus material suggesting that there might not be a whole lot of evidence to justify keeping T. latus around.

And isn't Avaceratops considered a juvenile centrosaurine, like Brachyceratops? I could totally be wrong, I haven't read a lot about it. If C. russelli and C. irviensis look considerably different than C. belli, I definately include them.

And don't worry--I won't include any animal that isn't officially published. I give "Octoceratops" a hard time because, lord knows, that bugger keeps getting pushed back. I would absolutely love to include it--Jim Kirkland sent me an illustration of its very weird head--but I don't want to step on any toes. It wouldn't be kosher, as they say!

And ReBecca, I know you've published quite a bit on ceratopsids. You probably know things I don't! Any chance you could send me some of your papers? In particular, I remember you talking about how different ceratopsid taxa have different bodily proportions, and that they aren't all just clones of each-other below the neck.

BusaFan said...

I hate to jump into the middle of this factoid search of large names, and even larger words. Ceratopsid taxa, oh yeah, that good old taxa. Good guy, worked with him for a year. :P

Just wanted to say, I loved this book as a kid, I must have had three copies.

Ivan said...

What about the other Psittacosaurus species? I think some of them are known from reasonably complete material.
Then there's also the other basal psittacosaurid Hongshanosaurus.

There's also the chaoyangsaurids Chaoyangsaurus and Xuanhuaceratops.

Don't forget the other basal neoceratopsians such as Archaeoceratops, Bagaceratops, Lamaceratops, Magnirostris, Platyceratops, the leptoceratopsids Cerasinops and Prenoceratops, and Protoceratops hellenikorhinus.

Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis would be a good idea as well, since I don't think there's been any artwork out there that actually compares the 2 species. P. lakustai has been regarded as part of P. canadensis for so long that I'm sure virtually every modern Pachyrhinosaurus reconstruction ws drawn more from P. lakustai material.

I though Torosaurus utahensis was geographically and temporally separate from T. latus.

Chasmosaurus russelli and C. irvinensis are definitely quite different from C. belli. C. russelli is lower straigraphically, and has a different-shaped frill, whereas C. irvinensis is the youngest, and is distinguished by its lack of brow horns.