Monthly Archives: October 2012
My book about sabertoothed predators is a bit closer to publication. With final text and illustrations submitted some time ago, the volume is now in production at Indiana University Press. The working title now is “Sabertooth”, simple but effective.
Meanwhile, I am working with my colleagues at “The Fly Factory” in the production of a documentary film titled “Bringing the Sabertooths Back to life”. It shows how science and art are combined for the purpose of creating reconstructions of extinct animals such as the sabertooths, and in part it works as a “making of” for the book, but it certainly is more than that. The film will be finished in 2013 and should be available as a DVD at about the same time as the book comes out.
You can see a trailer of the film in the following link:
For those who have shown interest in getting a copy of the Sansan monograph, at this point I think the only way to get it is through a direct order to the Museum Natiojnal d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris. I am attaching the order form.
Para aquellos que han mostrado interés en adquirir una copia de la monografía de Sansan, creo que de momento la única manera de adquirirla es por pedido directo al Museo de Historia Natural de París. Adjunto un archivo de imagen con la información sobre el libro y la hoja de pedido oficial, podéis descargarla e imprimirla.
to this post as an image file, you can download the file and print if you wish. I suppose the volume will be available from different venues in the future.
When I was a young boy looking for any information about sabertooths, I came across the name Sansanosmilus a couple of times. It took me some time to find a publication where this exotic-sounding creature was at all figured, and then all I found was an outline drawing of a skull, not especially impressive by the way, with rather smallish upper canines. Many years later I finally got access to a monograph by French paleontologist Leonard Ginsburg, where the fossil remains of this Miocene sabertooth from France were described and figured. I discovered that, in spite of its moderate “sabers”, this leopard-sized carnivore was a serious predator, with robust, strong limbs, and a very sophisticated skull. In fact, its adaptations for the specialized killing bite tyipical of sabertooths went beyond those seen in more spectacular sabertooth species that lived millions of years later. This animal was also an evolutionary “grandparent” of the genus Barbourofelis, which inlcuded some of the most powerful and bizarre sabertooths of the American Miocene.
Later on, I had the privilege to meet Leonard Ginsburg himself, who provided me with unpublished photographs and other information about Sansanosmilus. All that material allowed me to attempt a life reconstruction of the animal under Leonard’s advice, which resulted in a picture of a strange and stocky predator, only vaguely cat-like.
Around those years Leonard undertook the task of editing a huge monograph that would put together the knowledge ammased after many decades of excavations of the amazing fossil site that gave its name to that strange little sabertooth: Sansan. The first volume, dealing with the history and geology of the site, and the fossil record of plants, invertebrates and non-mammalian vertebrates was published in 2000. But the volume most dear to Leonard, the one dealing with the mammalian fossils, proved more complicated to put together, and he sadly passed away before the task was complete.
More recently, my friend the French paleontologist Stephane Peigné teamed up with Sevket Sen to finish the work that Ginsburg had started all those years ago, and now the monograph is finally completed and ready for publication. It also has given me the opportunity to create an updated anatomical reconstruction of Sansanosmilus, which appears in the cover of the upcoming volume.
The volume is published by the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris and will be available as a hardback book and DVD/ROM version.
Los yacimientos del Cerro Batallones en Madrid son los más importantes del mundo para el estudio de los félidos de dientes de sable del Mioceno, y cada año durante las últimas 2 décadas un nutrido equipo de paleontólogos excava allí, recuperando centenares de fósiles de excepcional valor científico.
El equipo del programa “Crónicas” de TVE ha filmado un extenso reportaje sobre la historia del yacimiento, los trabajos de excavación y estudio de los fósiles, y la repercusión de los hallazgos. El programa se emitirá este jueves 11 de octubre a las 23:00 horas en la 2 de Televisión Española.