Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Say hello to the new tyrannosaurid in town: Alioramus altai, the new sister species of A. remotus. Steve Brusatte discussed, with enthusiasm*, this critter at SVP, and now he's published for all to see. I'm not going to link to the article, because you probably can't get it, because PNAS is too good for open-access. Screw you, PNAS! If anyone here wants a copy of the paper, I am all too happy to email it to them. Just leave your email address in the comments or email me, personally. Anyway, this is an exciting find because A. remotus is known from very scrappy remains, and this new species allows us to figure out where the genus sits in the Tyrannosauroidea--turns out it's not basal at all, but between Albertosaurines and Daspletosaurus + (Tyrannosaurus + Tarbosaurus), making it a member of the exclusive Tyrannosaurini. Steve made a big deal at SVP, at Archosaur Musings, and in the paper about how Alioramus deviates from the traditional tyrannosaur body plan, but I don't really see it. It looks like an albertosaurine to me.
As for the picture, it's just a little something I whipped up during Tobi (one of my meds) last night. I'm not at all happy with the snout texturing, but...eh. Too late to change it now, it's just meant to be a quick sketch anyway.
*Enthusiasm here being the key word. Steve gave two talks (that I know of) at SVP, and he seemed genuinely excited about both. This is at complete odds with about 95% of the other speakers, who sounded like they'd either been up all night or just weren't that enthusatic about their talk in the first place. Honestly, there were times where I suspected the latter (crown length and denticle variation in Coelophysis? Excuse me while I grab a power nap). The only speaker who rose to challenge Steve's bruhaha was a fellow whose name I cannot recall, but he gave a rousing talk about the M. caudofemoralis muscle in Tyrannosaurus with great zeal. His presentation included the phrase "junk in the trunk," so he may have to win some kind of award for that one. Aside from being entertaining, the talk was informative as well, especially for paleo-artists like moi.