The Archosaur Musings 2011 awards

As usual to round off the year it’s time for a bit of fun, so here’s my take on the last 12 months in archosaurs.

Most important new archosaur discovery

There’s not been much this year that I’d truly class as being the most important find of the year, the kind of thing that will still be making headlines or leading papers 20 years from now. I guess the combination of a new Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia will go a long way on the subject or bird origins for quite some time to come.

Best newly discovered archosaur specimen

Has to be a Darwinopterus with an egg. Great pterosaur specimen it it’s own right, but that’s a hell of an addition with it.

Best named new archosaur

I’m rather taken with Spinops, so this one is going to Andy Farke and colleagues.

Worst named new archosaur

I’m not giving this to Zhuchengtyrannus simply because it wasn’t my choice of name!Instead it goes to Unwindia. I know it was supposed to be a bit of a gag, but really it just sounds weird.

The ‘Similicaudipteryx’ award for lest original archosaur name

Last year I wrote “I know Xu Xing doesn’t read this, so I’m probably quite safe plumping for Tianyuraptor. It’s a raptor from Tianyu. Great.”. This year brought us Linehnykus and Linhevenator to join Linheraptor. Oh.

Most egregious media error on archosaurs

Hard to pick out anything specific, but pretty much everything written about Xiaotingia and ‘Archaeopteryx isn’t a bird!!!!’ was pretty poor. It was, to be fair, not an easy subject to get to grips with, but so many people failed so magnificently it was a real shame.

Best media report

I’ve really not read that much this year for popular science which is a shame. As such there’s nothing stand out in my memory for the last year. That’s not to say there was not good, even great, media coverage of the archosaurs at times, more I can’t point to anything I remember as being, well, very memorable.

SVPCA long time no see award

I got to catch up with a lot of people this year who I’d not seen for ages, most especially Don Henderson and Matt Carrano. A great year for renewing friendships and research plans.

The ‘about time’ award for slow publication

My own mutual sexual selection paper. First hinted at in a 2007 Flugsaurier abstract it’s taken 4 more full years to see the light of day, mostly down to horrible refereeing (the kind that was so bad other referees complained about it and the editor still accepted the criticism). Delighted it’s out, annoyed it was delayed by probably 2 full years by bad refereeing and editing.

Ridiculous prediction for 2012

Having gone for flying troodontids and feathered sauropods I might be starting to run out of mad, but just about plausible, concepts. However, in a couple of different places ‘flightless pterosaurs’ have recently come up again, so I’ll go with that.

And finally it’s been made quite clear to me that I’d better have an award ready for ‘best dinosaur biscuits’ after these came my way. So here it is.

10 Responses to “The Archosaur Musings 2011 awards”


  1. 1 Robert Sloan 30/12/2011 at 9:12 am

    Those are definitely the best dinosaur biscuits I’ve ever seen, bar none. Excellent artistic job with the icing and creative variety that doesn’t seem to have come with the usual cutters.

    Great lineup of 2011’s articles and discoveries. I had to laugh at the “Archaeopteryx isn’t a bird” reminder – got all shook up by that for a while actually. It was a beautiful animal and it flew. Even the idea of putting it in a new category was a shock comparable to losing Brontosaurus but at the same time that’s all it is – the categories and labels we get used to.

  2. 2 Andrea Cau 30/12/2011 at 12:15 pm

    Poor pseudosuchians: no awards…

  3. 4 Marc Vincent 30/12/2011 at 2:28 pm

    Reports on Brontomerus tended to be quite good, mostly because the press was fed a lot of material…

    • 5 Mike Taylor 17/01/2012 at 11:42 pm

      I agree — I was really pleased with nearly all the Brontomerus coverage, with quite a few people taking the time and trouble to write something genuinely new (often by interviewing Matt or me) rather than just recycling the materials we provided in the press pack. Science journalists come in for a lot of flack on this blog — much of it deserved — but on our story, I have to say the mostly did a great job.

      (The only real stinker was the Daily Mail’s abject article, which to add insult to injury broke the embargo, too. That reminds me, I was going to blog about how badly the screwed up over on SV-POW!. I might still.)

  4. 6 Zhen 30/12/2011 at 7:06 pm

    Dave, if you were the one to name Zhuchengtyrannus, what would you have named it? I’m curious.

  5. 8 Jaime A. Headden 31/12/2011 at 1:05 am

    Smilostomus: Gaping maw. Great for a huge croc or theropod.

    • 9 David Hone 31/12/2011 at 9:39 am

      I’ve got a few names set to one side I hope to use one day. I’m sure I’m not the only one…

    • 10 Mark Robinson 31/12/2011 at 11:47 am

      Doesn’t Smilostomas translate more accurately as “chisel mouth” (or maw, if you prefer)? I think that Chainousastomas might work better.


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