Shark Week: How Big Did Megalodon Get?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Graduate / PhD Student, University of Swansea

You might be surprised to hear that the scientific consensus on Megalodon’s maximum body size has varied over the last few decades. A lot of this has to do with how we estimate the shark’s total length (TL). This is a hard thing to do considering that palaeontologists mostly have only its fossil teeth to go off of [1]. Like all modern sharks, Megalodon’s skeleton was made out of cartilage, which decomposes with the rest of the body after death and therefore has particularly poor preservation potential in the fossil record. However, calculating TL only takes a tooth and some fairly basic maths.


A shark nerd’s guide to Megalodon: What do we know about this extinct giant shark?

Guest Author: Jack Cooper, MSc
UoB Palaeobiology Graduate / PhD student, University of Swansea

When palaeontologists discuss extinct sharks to the general public, the Megalodon (Otodus megalodon) is pretty much always the first to come to mind. And there’s a good reason why – it’s a giant shark. The name ‘megalodon’ translates to Big Tooth; a name that’s pretty self-explanatory.


Terrible Lizards, Terrible Injuries

Guest Author: James Ormiston
Palaeontology MSci Graduate

Disclaimer: The sketches made for this article were drawn before the extensive re-description of Dilophosaurus specimens by Marsh & Rowe (2020). As such they may no longer be as anatomically accurate, particularly regarding the robustness of the skull and shape of the crests.
You can find the “new look” for Dilophosaurus here.

Dilophosaurus: my favourite dinosaur and one of Jurassic Park’s only celebrity species to actually come from the Jurassic period. This is a dinosaur which, perhaps more so than any other to appear on screen, has suffered a persistent identity crisis thanks to some major creative liberties taken by Crichton and Spielberg to make it more intimidating (and it worked on me, as a child it was by far the one that scared me the most). But that part is already addressed in a previous article on the blog. Today we’re going to take a look at another intriguing aspect of Dilophosaurus which could tell us a lot about what it was like to walk in its…um…dino-shoes? Di-loafers-aurus? Maybe let’s leave the palaeo-puns in the ground…


The Cambrian is the Coolest of all Geological Periods – CHANGE MY MIND

Guest Author – Elvira Piqueras Ricote
Current Palaeobiology MSc Student, University of Bristol

Whenever someone asks what I am studying at university and I reply with “Palaeobiology”, I get one of two possible responses: the first one is a very confused face through which I can see the person’s brain hard at work trying to figure out what that means, it has the word biology in it…but what on earth is Palaeo? The second one is “OH! DINOSAURS!”. Well, let me tell you a secret, I never actually liked dinosaurs. Don’t get me wrong, they are pretty impressive creatures, quite cool to look at, but that’s where my enthusiasm and interest begins and ends.


In Defence Of Early Mammals – Part Two

Guest Author – Kim Chandler, MSc
2020 Palaeobiology Graduate

In the first part of this blog post, I discussed three early mammals that I found interesting and felt needed a bigger audience of admirers. Below is a continuation of these with four more mammals to persuade you to join team mammal.


In Defence Of Early Mammals – Part One

Guest Author – Kim Chandler, MSc
2020 Palaeobiology Graduate

When discussing Palaeontology the topics of most interest rarely include mammals earlier than the charismatic megafauna like the woolly mammoth and the saber-tooths. Mammals first appeared in the Late Triassic, evolving from a group of animals called synapsids (such as Dimetrodon). The mammals that were first on the scene in the Mesozoic, are usually dismissed as tiny rodent-like things of little interest, especially when compared to the enigmatic dinosaurs they shared their habitat with. However, these guys are interesting in their own way, either due to the transitionary period of evolution at which they sat, or their ecology. (more…)

Creature Feature – Baryonyx

When going from school to school talking about dinosaurs, it’s only natural that one of the most commonly asked questions I get is; “What is your favourite dinosaur?” Perhaps, being as I am part of the Bristol Dinosaur Project, I should say Thecodonotosaurus, but that wouldn’t be true. If I absolutely had to pick just one, my favourite dinosaur would be Baryonyx walkeri. (more…)

Creature Feature – Excalibosaurus

Guest Author – Jack Lovegrove
Palaeontology & Evolution MSci Graduate

Ichthyosaurs are one of those groups of prehistoric animals that always seem to play second fiddle to dinosaurs in popular science (with the notable exception of the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs). They are usually only mentioned as a way of demonstrating convergent evolution with fish rather than as fascinating and varied animals on their own right. (more…)