You've probably twigged that I don't have an internet connection at home, so I'm limited to posting when I'm at university. I've been enjoying a long break over the christmas - new year season, hence the long silence.
I'm just going to show a interesting little curio that crossed my desk late last year. A gem and mineral dealer bought it in thinking he'd got hold of a dinosaur skull. At the time the specimen was embedded in what looked like sandstone matrix, but it was clear that it did contain some vertebral material and wondered if it was a short section of articulated vertebrae. While I made it clear that I wouldn't publish on fossil material of dubious origins and support the market in vertebrate fossil material, Celeste offerred her skills as a preparator to clean it up for him (hey we've got a family to support!). As the 'sandstone' came off it became clear that this was a fake - not even a very good one. Lumps of real dinosaur bone had been cobbled together with glue, resin and plaster. The biggest bit is a vertebral centrum, probably belonging to a sauropod based on its camellate internal structure. Nonetheless the piece does have its charm, it was only after preparation that I saw the 'skull' that the forger was trying to make. It kind of looks like a pig-snouted crocodile.
These Ants Must Be Crazy - *Black or longhorn crazy ant *Paratrechina longicornis*, copyright Efram Goldberg.* I have to admit that my ant-identifying skills are fairly rudimentary....
6 days ago