Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Updates and Pachyrhinosaurus

Having submitted my thesis on the 29th of September, a day before the absolute deadline (the University of Bristol permits exactly 48 months to submit a PhD thesis), I thought I could kick back and relax...maybe spend more time on drawing or blogging - but I was wrong.

Not having secured a postdoc position, I spend most days stressing, searching, working closely with academic staff on postdoc proposals, and working on converting my thesis chapters into manuscripts. At the same time, I'm trying to catch up on the reading that I'd put on hold while I was manically typing away on my thesis. I have quite a large 'to read' pile. There are some rather interesting papers out there that I only recently stumbled across and so I must blog about them sometime, when I get my head arround all the head-ouch evolutionary theories and models.

...I have this thing about not posting anything until I have something either interesting or useful to post, so not having devoted much time or effort to blogging, I'd kind of put off on the posting - until I realised that it's been more than a month since my last post...

So anyway, on popular demand, I'd started drawing a Pachyrhinosaurus. I still have to flesh it out, literally, but I just present here the framework on which I will be basing my live-restoration of this animal. As I intend to flesh this out, I didn't really bother with the anatomical details of each and every bone of the postcranial skeleton. I am happy just as long as I can make it look 'real' enough.

I usually want to follow original descriptions wherever possible, but not much has been written on this dinosaur. This was quite surprising to me as I had heard that there are bonebeds of this animal and thus there are plenty of materials to work on. There is that new monograph but I don't have a copy of it yet. So instead, I relied on images from the web supplimented by various photos supplied to my by Traumador Tyrannosaur (cheers!). I have ordered a copy of the new monograph last week, so hopefully I'll be able to start on a MK II Pachyrhinosaurus or more specifically P. lakusti. For this one, I guess it's the type species P. canadensis but I don't think it really matters that much.

Perhaps one of the enigmatic things about this animal is the presence of a bony boss where a nasal horn core should be in most derived ceratopsians. Nobody really knows what covered this nasal boss, such that there are many different reconstructions, some more fantastic than others. I haven't yet decided what I want to do with this but being a sceptic of many things I may go for a conservative reconstruction this time...