The Archosaur Musings 2009 Awards

Something entirely frivolous for the end of the year in a vague attempt to look back over things that are less ‘my research’ centric. Everyone else seems to do their awards before Christmas which is far too far from the end of the year so hopefully this is a bit more timely that the average ‘end of list’….

Most important new archosaur discovery

Much as I’d like to put forward Limusaurus, this probably has to go to Darwinopterus though its run very close by Tianyulong. We really don’t yet have a great idea of the exact implications of this animal for pterosaur phylogeny, but they will I suspect be long lasting and dramatic.

Best newly discovered archosaur specimen

I’m trying to avoid Limusaurus again despite the superb condition of the material, but given the preservation, age and number of specimens I’ll plump for Tawa though of course there are some truly spectacular undescribed things floating around China that will probably feature next year.

Best named new archosaur

I’m really rather proud of Shaochilong, but this should probably go to Aardonyx, if only because I have a real softspot for aardvarks.

Worst named new archosaur

Neither the name nor the specimen are exactly new as such, but this has to go to Giraffatitan. How many names prompt the author to put an apology in the acknowledgements of his paper?

The ‘Similicaudipteryx’ award for lest original archosaur name

I know Xu Xing doesn’t read this, so I’m probably quite safe plumping for Tianyuraptor. It’s a raptor from Tianyu. Great.

Most egregious media error on archosaurs

Terrible though the assault on Matt Wedel’s honour was, I have to give this to the Daily Mail for apparently confusing Darwinius with Darwinopterus. Oh.

Best media report

This has to go to Charles Q. Choi who not only read the press release, the paper and the blog post I wrote before contacting me for an interview, he also then dropped into the comments section on the blog and then even turned in a guest post for the Musings. If only more of the media could follow this example and actually get involved in the work.

SVP long time no see award

Goes to Mike Taylor and Matt Wedel whom I had previous spoken too for perhaps only 2 minutes back in 2005 before this year in Bristol. Despite a healthy amount of correspondence and a couple of papers in prep between us, this was the first time we’d met properly.

The ‘about time’ award for slow publication

I could give this to myself several times over (or more accurately certain co-authors and especially journal referees) I’ll give it to those taking part in the PPC. That at least got a few papers submitted which was always the point.

Ridiculous prediction for 2010

Things take time in palaeo so ‘surprises’ are usually well known long before their publication so I’m deliberately conjuring up something that is utterly unrelated to anything I know about already to make a random and unlikely prediction for 2010. How about a fuzzy sauropod? Possible certainly, likely to be found next year, less so.

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7 Responses to “The Archosaur Musings 2009 Awards”


  1. 1 Mike Taylor 31/12/2009 at 4:27 pm

    You like me! You really like me!

    • 2 David Hone 31/12/2009 at 5:17 pm

      On occasion! ;-)

      And sorry about the Giraffatitan thing, though of course it’s not *your* name, so I’m not blaming you, but of course it was your paper that did the fomalising.

  2. 3 Hans Sues 31/12/2009 at 10:14 pm

    As one of the last people with a classical education, I consider Aardonyx an etymologically horrible combination.

    And, despite all the hype, Tianyulong surely has greater phylogenetic interest than Darwinopterus.

    • 4 David Hone 01/01/2010 at 9:43 am

      Well I’m not so sure about that phylo interest (obviously). First off this is a subjective list and I care more about pterosaurs than ornithischians. However, we did already have an (admittedly controversial) ornithischian with integumentary structures, we didn’t have any kind of transitional pterosaur. Plus, even allowing for the fact that we’re dealing with soft tissues in Tuianyulong, then pterosaur fossil record is pretty poor compared to the dinosaur one and if anything we’ve been looking for this damned transition for longer. Sure Tianyulong is cool and will help on the integument question, but Darwinopterus might reveal not only the mode of transition between rhamphs and pterods, but also help sort out pterosaur origins too in the long run, so I think it will have a bigger effect on more questions and hence was more significant.
      Well, that’s my take anyway.

  3. 5 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. 31/12/2009 at 11:02 pm

    I’m with Hans on Tianyulong: it was pretty clear that something like Darwinopterus was going to turn up (a rhamphorhynchoid-pterodactyloid transitional form), but a fuzzy heterodontosaurid?!?!

    And I can say that there should be some pretty awesome surprises early in 2010!


  1. 1 Happy 2010 « Dave Hone’s Archosaur Musings Trackback on 01/01/2010 at 10:21 am
  2. 2 The Archosaur Musings 2010 Awards « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 30/12/2010 at 9:00 am

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