What with one thing and then another, we've gotten behind on the Sirenia Digest Monster Doodle Sculpture Give-away thingy. A whole frelling month behind, to be precise. But now we are catching up. I finally completed MDS #8, a Nebari bark twog, extremely common to the equatorial ice forests. They're a distant cousin to the ice skippers. Measuring about 6.5 cm in length, the twog's streamlined, tapering body plan has evolved as camouflage, and it almost perfectly matches, in colour, shape, and texture, the distinctive bark "scales" studding the trunks of a number of species of trees found in the ice forests. The twogs spend most of their lives clinging to the tree trunks, hanging head-down. The single opalescent eye is almost blind, and, like many creatures on Nebari Prime, the twog's primary means of sensing its environment is an internal organ sensitive to electromagnetic changes. But I blither. Congratulations to Mark Coupland, March's winner, and here are the images, behind the cut:
Left lateral view.
I'm hoping to add a few new Sirenia Digest subscribers this month. So, the next twenty people who subscribe will get a free copy of the trade paperback of Silk, signed and, if you so desire, inscribed to you (or someone else). Also, On the last day of April, I'll draw one name from those twenty people (or however many have newly subscribed between now and then) and that person will win a signed copy of the Italian edition of Threshold — La Soglia! All this on top of the extra-long Issue No. 6. How the frell can you resist? Just click here, read the FAQ, and then subscribe. Such wondrous delights for a mere $10! Don't delay. You snooze, you lose. The early bird gets the annelid, etc. & etc.
Yesterday was a fairly decent, if somewhat unfocused, sort of day. I worked on the prolegomena for Sirenia Digest, which I'll finish today. I started making notes for a new sf novella, which will be written this summer and published by subpress later in the year, after the fashion of The Dry Salvages. That was work, and then I did some Wikipedia, and discovered the endless geeky joys of Wikispecies. Spooky and I had a longer walk than usual, during which absolutely nothing of note transpired. Last night, we watched the Science Channel's special of the ESA Venus Express and the new ep of Dr. Who, which I thought was very, very good. As in, Farscape good. And that was yesterday.
Oh, I also spent much of the late afternoon reading a number of papers on relatively newly described basal mosasauroid reptiles — Russellosaurus, Dallasaurus, Judeasaurus, & etc. This is truly a golden age of mosasauroid/pythonomorphan studies. It's somewhat bittersweet, watching from the sidelines, but I'm learning to dwell more on the sweet than the bitter. At least I've lived long enough to see these things. I've pretty much accepted that the rest of my life will be spent as a writer and that the palaeontology part of it is now behind me. I got the big mosasaur biostratigraphy paper published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology in March 2002, twenty years worth of research in one paper, and that's not a bad note upon which to bow out of the game. My circumstances are not now such that I can be a writer and a palaeontologist...but I can stay current. It's neat to see things I was beginning to suspect in the late 1980s being confirmed by new findings and research. For instance, that Prognathodon and Plesiotylosaurus aren't plioplatecarpines, but mosasaurines allied with Globidens, and that Halisaurus sternbergii belongs in its own genus, and that Halisaurus can tell us a lot about the early evolution of mosasauroids. Yeah, I know. This won't make much sense to most of you, and I'm really not trying to show off. I'm just writing this down for me.
I've learned that Imogen Heap and Zoe Keating will be playing the Variety Playhouse in May. We haven't even gotten our tix for They Might Be Giants yet, and the show's not that far off.
Okay. The platypus wails. I must answer.