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BIG FISH & OTHER BIG THINGS
Another quick response to Colin's email. Timely though,
because I spent time last week at the Progressive
Palaeontology conference at Leicester, and of course
Leicester Museum (where the reception was held) is the
home of both the mounted Rutland cetiosaur and the
'Barrow kipper' (a _Rhomaleosaurus megacephalus_). Also
got the Martill tour of midlands geology including lots of
Oxford Clay stops - I met Alan Dawn for the first time and
also visited our new _Leedsichthys_ site. Oh yeah, and
Hatari! was on Channel 5 yesterday.
On giant pliosaurs, Colin wrote...
> Providing you're not basing that estimate on the 13 metres for
> _Kronosaurus_ that we used in the 1996 abstract, then that _does_
> sound interesting.
We're aware that existing _Kronosaurus_ length estimates
are dubious (come on Colin, how long have we been
corresponding for?:)). The length estimates are based on
comparison with non-composite/non-fictional pliosaur
skeletons. Details in the paper, assuming we ever get it out
(Dave, me and Les Noe produced a popular effort along
these lines in _Dino Press_ 4 (I think)).
Estimates of total length based on jaw fragments should be
taken with a dose of salt, especially following your
reconstruction of _Kronosaurus_ (the 'swimming skull'
one). But it's possible that skull length: total length was a
constant in some plesiosaurs, it is supposed to be so for
some crocodylians including _Crocodylus niloticus_ I
> And look me in the
> eye and tell me that you wouln't assign fossils of male and female
> _Mirounga_ to different species...
Indeed. Possible males and females of one monachine,
_Callophoca_, have been assigned to different species.
Because _Callophoca_ is apparently close to _Mirounga_,
de Muizon suggested that the two species (which differ
markedly in size) could be sexual dimorphs of the same
animal. On the subject of miroungins, I forgot to say that
Karlsruhe Museum has a mounted _Mirounga_ skeleton.
Mightily impressive it is too.
> I was aware of the belugas (I just forgot); didn't know about the
> _Tursiops_ or the _Inia_. Any refs?
The paper on _Tursiops_ is.. Hoese, H. D. 1971. Dolphin
feeding out of water in salt marsh. _Journal of
Mammalogy_ 52, 222-223, and (IIRC) the reference to
_Inia_ is cited in Richard Ellis' _Dolphins and Porpoises_.
It's a popular article by Richard Sanderson.
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Road email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portsmouth UK tel: 023 92846045
PO1 3QL www.palaeobiology.co.uk