Thoracosaurus neocesariensis

Thoracosaurus neocesariensis

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Knee Deep in Literature

So lately I've been delving deeply into the Literature, trying to resolve some of the issues with the missing skeleton parts.  To get my feet wet, I read through the skeletal portion of Robert Chiasson's Laboratory Anatomy of the Alligator. After that it was an in depth looks at some Christopher Brochu Papers, including some about crocodylian phylogeny issues, and some papers about Eothoracosaurus and Eosuchus. Unfortunately I was having trouble finding any papers dedicated to Thoracosaurus neocesariensis in particular. Every lead I had pointed back to a Kenneth Carpenter paper on the species, but I have been having trouble locating a copy. That being said, Brochu describes the same specimen that Carpenter does, and argues that it is in fact not actually Thoracosaurus, and distinguishes it as Eothoracosaurus. In these comparisions I was able to find out some descriptions of Thoracosaurus, which was very helpful.

For what I cannot find on Thoracosaurs neocesariensis I will have to extrapolate from the other "thoracosaurs" (Eothoracosaurus, Thoracosaurus, Thecochompsoides) as well as the modern gavialis.

I then did some reading up on Gharial descriptions and behavior. I found some great information on their hunting behavior in particular, which was very interesting. I am very close to being able to draft up a proposed animatic based on the behavior of these large fish-eating crocodylians. I have also been looking for video documentaries on gharials to watch and study, so I can see some of this described behavior in action. BBC motion gallery is a great reference but only goes so far.

I am now working on a large variety of things. I need to jump head first into the muscle systems. But more importantly I need to figure out the best way to create low resolution "proxy" bones to act as stand-ins for the high resolution scans, so that I can actually rig and animate them. That's the next thing on my list. I may have to hand model some simple proxies, and the scanning software (Geomagic Studio) may be able to do a lot of the heavy lifting for me. Then I'll have to write some sort of script that substitutes the proxies with the full quality at render time... Lots to do lots to do! Stay tuned for more updates. Once I figure out this pipeline, I promise I'll post a rendered image of the full digitized skeleton.

Literature Read this Week:

Brochu, C. A. (2006) Osteology and phylogenetic significance of Eosuchus minor (Marsh, 1870) new combination, a longirostrine crocodylian from the Late Paleocene of North America. Journal of Paleontology 80(1):162-186.

Brochu, C.A. 2004. A new Late Cretaceous gavialoid crocodylian fromeastern North America and the phylogenetic relationships of Thoracosaurs.

Brochu, C. A. 2001. Crocodylian snouts in space and time: phylogenetic approaches toward adaptative radiation. American Zoologist 41:564–585. 

A study of fossil vertebrate types in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia: taxonomic, systematic, and historical perspectives Issue 16 of Special Publication Series, Academy of Natural Sciences (Philadelphia, Pa.) By Earle E. Spamer, Edward Daeschler, L. Gay Vostreys-Shapiro. Academy of Natural Sciences, 1995

Thorbjarnarson, John B. 1990. Notes on the Feeding Behavior of the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) under Semi-Natural Conditions. Journal of Herpetology 24: 99-100.
Whitaker, Romulus. 2007. The Gharial: Going Extinct Again. Iguana 14: 24-33

* The list on the right hand side is what is next in que for the research aspect of the project. If anyone has any suggestions of papers to read, please let me know and I'll incorporate it into my que!

Oh yes, and I appologize for the lack of pictures.


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