I’m not sure how I did it when the last guy studying these specimens was here two weeks, but I finished looking at what I came to see on Wednesday. Maybe he had a bigger character matrix? He is specifically studying this group, after all, while I’m looking at them because they lie right outside mine (knowing where one comes from is a Good Thing).
There was Diplocynodon gracilis from France, which is a junior synonym of the D. ratelli I saw in Paris. More importantly, there was also the English species, D. hantoniensis, including the holotype (that’s the specimen that was used to name the species and which is used as a comparison against all possible specimens of this species).
Something weird we noticed is that the articulated vertebral column (minus the tail and the two special neck vertebrae, the atlas and axis), which was supposedly found in association and was thus strung up together on a wire, has to be more than one individual. There are nine postaxial neck vertebrae when there should only be seven. But there are no differences in fossilization between them. So what exactly kind of association were they found in? Just piled together?
And they had a random Allognathosuchus jaw, which I took some pictures of so I could add it to a morphometrics analysis I have an undergrad working on right now. The last thing I did on Wednesday was to run through the character states of an Indian gharial skull and jaws in their comparative collections. Gharials are weird.
Once I finished photographing and coding them, I took a day of rest on Thursday. Because holy crap I’m tired. Well, half-rest, anyways. I spent that morning at the Museum of London. I was very happy to take a nap that afternoon, though, because I haven’t been able to this entire trip and I’ve sorely needed it.
The next day, I went back and photographed some giant extinct gharial specimens for kicks and grins.
We discovered that the partial articulated dorsal osteoderms and the partial dorsal vertebral column they have actually go together. That was a surprise because they were given separate specimen numbers a long time ago. The vertebrae had been lying vertebrae up because they’re more stable that way. We flipped it over to see if anything was exposed on the other side and the imprint of the osteoderms was there in the matrix with bits of their surfaces still attached in some places.
These two specimens never get looked at and they aren’t in boxes. That means that they’ve built up quite a layer of dust over the years. The collections manager I was working with cleaned them up before I took the above photo. Here’s a comparison shot of before and after.