Nyasasaurus parringtoni

Triassic globeNyasasaurus parringtoni, a dinosauriform from the middle Triassic, may or may not be the oldest dinosaur known to science. It was originally dug up in the 1930’s, but a proper description has taken until now to be published.

The description, in Biology Letters (open access well it was when I originally opened the tab – pdf here), is very conservative about claiming the “earliest dinosaur” title – they repeatedly insist that the fossil is merely “either the earliest known member of, or the sister–taxon to, Dinosauria.” This conservatism has apparently rather confused Mr Brian Thomas, as he alleges in his article World’s Oldest Dinosaur Fossil? that it’s all an evolutionary attempt to save face. Continue reading

Tigon Redux

A couple of ligersBack in September Brian Thomas wrote an article about interbreeding in the cat family, specifically crosses between tigers and lions. As I said at the time:

You have probably heard of ligers: tiger/lion crosses, where the lion is the female parent. Tigons, or tiglons, are the opposite – the tiger is the female.

According to Brian, this interbreeding shows that cats form a single baramin (and that baramins actually exist), capable of reproducing “after their kind.” Curiously, he never explained why he was bringing up the subject then – the news he described as “recent” was from March. A week later, however, Jeff Tomkins wrote his own take (commentary) mentioning some more recent news that actually broke a couple of days after Thomas’ article.

As often happens, for this month’s Acts & Facts Brian rewrote his September article. Aside from an update to mention the more recent news there are a few other things that make this worth covering. Continue reading