Saturday, January 1, 2011

Later This Year, On The Lord Geekington!

For my own good, I've decided to keep track of the posts I have started but never finished, and the ones I have promised but never gotten around to. I've set up a page to keep track of them (see toolbar, to be updated regularly), and here are the contents thus far:

Research blogging. I'll finally get on the bandwagon (if I can get the page to work) and discuss some recent papers on clades I have an unusual fondness for (turtles, vultures, remipedes, loricariids, cephalopods, et cetera) which receive little attention from the science blogosphere at large. I'm counting on you Google Scholar alerts!

'Cadborosaurus' analysis. A sequel to my treatment of Heuvelmans' Many-Finned (reportsanalysis), I will utilize anecdotal data from LeBlond and Bousfield's Cadborosaurus: Survivor from the Deep to determine if their proposed cryptid is actually suggested by the reports they included. After reading the book, I suspect that the proposed morphology for 'caddy' was based mostly on the Naden Harbour carcass; if the carcass is assumed to be mundane and/or over/misinterpreted, 'caddy' will either get much simpler (say, elongated body + ungulate-like head + big eyes), or no well-supported patterns will emerge at all. One controversial aspect is lumping different eyewitness traits (i.e. horse-like head, cow-like head, giraffe-like head, et cetera), so I'd like to see how big a difference different degrees of lumping will make. This will all inevitable tie in with the controversy over whether the very concept of a cryptid taken from numerous eyewitness reports has any validity. I'd also like to record the number of characteristics per report and see if there is a trend with distance or possibility of a hoax. Obviously this is going to be a whole serious of posts!

The Hagelund specimen. There's something in the works about this one and I'm planning on giving some additional background and commentary upon publication.

'Caddy' Reports. Some of them are really quite interesting!

The Canvey Island Monsters. Cryptids that are definitely known fish, although this does not appear to be widely acknowledged.

Clade-by-clade turtles. I'm thinking of reviewing turtles as a whole by major clade (mostly 'families', perhaps some well-supported sub-families). It just seems inevitable.

Brackish and Saltwater turtles. There are a few non-seaturtles that can venture out to sea (previously mentioned here) and the ability for 'freshwater' turtles to survive in brackish water is downright common.

Teeny Turtles.Turtles on average are rather large creatures (previously discussed here), and it would seem that at small sizes the shell would offer little protection and become an unnecessary burden. However, very small turtles (< 15 cm strait shell length) can thrive in areas with crocodilians and other potential turtle-crushers. I'll review the smallest species of all with emphasis on predation, growth, niche, and other relevant aspects of their life history.

Jaguarundi and the Philosophy of Genera. I'll discuss why placing Jaguarundi in the genus 'Puma' is a huge mistake (blatant paraphyly, for one thing) and offer my own philosophy on how genera should and shouldn't be used. The concept of a genus is subjective, but I think the best approach would be to construct them of species which are obviously closely related (i.e. the Right Whales in Eubalaena, vs. the Bowhead Whale in Balaena) and thus may be split or lumped over time. I think the concept of a 'subgenus' is useless and they should just be bumped up to a proper genus (see my thoughts on pangolins).

Shrink-wrapped whales. Inspired by discussion with Markus Bühler (of Bestiarium) and discussion on SV-POW! (part 1part 2) I'll reconstruct extant whales in the most dreadful manner possible to discuss how some extinct forms probably didn't look like quasi-reptilian monsters in life.

Cleaned by a vulture. For some reason, American Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) engage in lots of interspecific grooming.

Snake Eels. Eels with necks! Kinda!

Clade-by-clade remipedes. Another inevitable topic.


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