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WHALE HYBRIDS, WEALDEN NEWS



On hybrids, Bill Hunt wrote...

--------------------
The Humpback/Fin hybrid surprises me more, considering
the mating rituals and accompanying singing that 
Humpbacks engage in. But it confirms that Humpbacks are 
Rorquels, albiet aberrent forms. What became of the 
hybrid?  
--------------------

I'm pretty sure this is incorrect: the hybrid was actually a fin 
x blue. See...

Spilliaert, R., Vikingsson, G., Arnason, U., Palsdottir, A., 
Sigurjonsson, J. & Arnason, A. 1991. Species hybridization 
between a female Blue whale (_Balaenoptera musculus_) 
and a male Fin whale (_B. physalus_): molecular and 
morphological documentation. _The Journal of Heredity_ 
82, 269-274.

Moving on to dinosaurs, I am going to share something 
simply because it's too good to keep secret. Several months 
ago (summer 2002) I received a phonecall from an Isle of 
Wight-based palaeontologist informing me that a ceratopian 
skull had been discovered on the IoW. I was asked what I 
knew about it. I knew nothing and still know nothing 
despite a lot of asking around. None of the dinosaur 
specialists, noted amateurs or professional collectors profess 
to have heard of such a specimen. As some of you know (I 
discussed this with some HPs at SVP Denver) a few years 
ago I did get hold of what I thought was a ceratopian 
predentary from the Wessex Formation (it later turned out 
to be something else entirely but that's a different story). 
However, that specimen is in a private collection and was 
discovered many years ago; there's no reason to think it's 
the inspiration for this new rumour.

While it is likely that the whole thing was a mistake or 
misunderstanding (in talks I give on Wealden dinosaurs I 
sometimes mention that psittacosaurs might be present in 
the Wealden (Dave Norman has also published this idea)) I 
can't help speculating that something was discovered, was 
muttered about, and then was lost because it was sold. 
Needless to say this does happen. Biogeographical 
predictions and the discovery of neoceratopians in the 
Arundel Clay mean that ceratopian occurrence in the 
Wealden is certainly not impossible, but because this little 
episode is never going to be mentioned in the literature I 
thought I may as well recount it here.

In other Wealden news, much is going on with the new 
Wessex Fm ornithocheiroid skull right now. This is either 
_Anhanguera_ or _Coloborhynchus_ and appears to be a 
new species (it is the main focus of a TV programme being 
filmed right now by RDF: to be screened next year I think). 
An important new specimen of _Polacanthus_ has recently 
been collected from Bexhill (East Sussex) by Dave 
Brockhurst along with assorted small theropod and 
ornithischian teeth. I've looked at the ornithischian teeth and 
some of them might be pachycephalosaur. The 
_Polacanthus_ is significant for several reasons. Lots of 
IoW microvert news but can't share this yet either.

In between being sick I spent most of yesterday looking 
again at feathered dinosaurs with Luis and Martin Simpson.  
I was not able to find definitive remiges on 
_Protarchaeopteryx robusta_.

-- 
Darren Naish
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth UK, PO1 3QL

email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
tel: 023 92846045