Monthly Archives: November 2013

“Sabertooth”: pics of the real book

After all these months and years working in the preparation of my book “Sabertooth”, the moment when I arrived to the Indiana University Press stand at the recent SVP meeting was an emotional one. It was the 29th of October and I met Bob Sloan, Science editor at the Press, who handed me a copy of the book. I had seen and corrected PDF versions of the thing many times, but holding the real book, feeling its weight, leafing through its pages, well, that is a different experience altogether.
There are of course those who claim that in the future all our reading will be done in screens, and that the printed book is a thing of the past… well, for me there is still something very special about a paper book, especially if it is an illustrated one. To celebrate its “physicality”, let me now share a few photos of my copy of “Sabertooth”. I know that copies have taken quite a bit longer than expected to ship from Amazon.com, and that people who want to order it through European branches of Amazon are still waiting to even know a distribution date, but they will not have to wait much longer… it is coming!

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Ancient Roar from Tibet: Panthera blytheae

The more active you are in real life, the less time available to contribute to the blog. Some people seem miraculously able to avoid this inverse proportionality, but I am yet to find a way to do it… So, I have been unable to update you on many exciting things that have been going on lately. Now let me at least share the excitement of a new discovery by my paleontologist friends Jack Tseng, Xiaoming Wang and colleagues: an amazing collection of fossils of what seems to be the oldest pantherine cat known this far, coming from latest Miocene-earliest Pliocene deposits in the Tibetan plateau. A somewhat crushed but complete skull was the basis for may reconstruction of the life appearance of this new species of big cat, named Panthera blytheae by its discoverers. You can see the 2D illustration right here:

panthera-blytheae-skull-and-life-low-res

I have also uploaded a mini-video of the reconstruction process. Check the youtube link here:

Finally, here is a link to the academic paper describing the new species:
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1774/20132686.full?sid=5059eabb-22ed-4ec0-ad89-c9123eba4417