Darren Naish is a British vertebrate palaeontologist and science writer. He obtained a geology degree at the University of Southampton and later studied vertebrate palaeontology under British palaeontologist David Martill at the University of Portsmouth, where he obtained both an M. Phil. and PhD. He is founder of the blog Tetrapod Zoology, created in 2006.
Darren Naish in 2016
|Alma mater||University of Southampton and University of Portsmouth|
|Known for||Tetrapod Zoology, Azhdarchid behaviour, and Xenoposeidon|
Though initially beginning his research career in palaeontology with the intention of working on fossil marine reptiles, Naish is best known among palaeontologists for his doctoral work on the basal tyrannosauroid theropod Eotyrannus, a dinosaur that he, together with Steve Hutt and colleagues, named in 2001. He has published articles on the Wealden Supergroup theropods Thecocoelurus, Calamospondylus and Aristosuchus. With Martill and Dino Frey, he named a new illegally acquired Brazilian compsognathid theropod Mirischia. In 2004, Naish and Gareth Dyke reinterpreted the controversial Romanian fossil Heptasteornis. Suggested by other authors to be a giant owl, troodontid or dromaeosaurid, it was argued by Naish and Dyke to be an alvarezsaurid, and as such is the first member of this group to be reported from Europe. Other fragmentary European alvarezsaurid specimens have since been reported.
Naish has also published work on sauropod dinosaurs, pterosaurs, fossil marine reptiles, turtles, marine mammals and other fossil vertebrates, and he has also produced articles on other aspects of zoology. He published a series of articles on poorly known cetaceans during the 1990s and in 2004 published a review article on the giant New Zealand gecko Hoplodactylus delcourti.
In 2004 Naish and colleagues described a giant Isle of Wight sauropod dinosaur that appears closely related to the North American brachiosaurid Sauroposeidon, and informally referred to as Angloposeidon. Prior to the 2006 description of Turiasaurus from Spain, this was the largest dinosaur reported from Europe. In 2005 he coauthored the description of the new Cretaceous turtle Araripemys arturi, and in 2006 he and David Martill published a revision of the South American crested pterosaurs Tupuxuara and Thalassodromeus. During 2007 and 2008, Naish and Martill published a major revision of British dinosaurs; Naish also published work with Barbara Sánchez-Hernández and Michael J. Benton on the vertebrate fossils of Galve in Spain. The Galve fossils are significant in including istiodactylid pterosaurs, heterodontosaurids and spinosaurines. In 2007, Naish co-authored the description of the new sauropod Xenoposeidon with fellow Portsmouth-based palaeontologist Mike P. Taylor. In 2008 he published an evaluation of azhdarchid pterosaurs with Mark Witton, in which they argued that azhdarchids were stork- or ground hornbill-like generalists, foraging in diverse environments for small animals and carrion. Along with his colleagues Mike Taylor and Matt Wedel he published a paper on sauropod neck posture in 2008. In 2010 Naish published a paper on the theoretical flotation abilities of giraffes. In 2011 Hone, Naish and Cuthill published a paper on mutual selection in dinosaurs and pterosaurs In 2013, Naish described Vectidraco daisymorrisae, a small azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Isle of Wight. Also in 2013 Naish and Witton published a follow-up to their 2008 paper on terrestrial stalking in azhdarchid pterosaurs. 2015 Naish and colleagues published on a new, as yet unnamed, Transylvanian pterosaur taxon.
Naish has published several popular books on prehistoric animals including Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved co-authored with Paul Barrett (Natural History Museum 2016) Dinosaur Record Breakers (Carlton Kids 2018), the Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life (2003, with David Lambert and Elizabeth Wyse), the Palaeontological Association book Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight (2001, with David Martill) and the highly acclaimed BBC Walking with Dinosaurs: The Evidence (2000, with David Martill), produced to accompany the TV series Walking with Dinosaurs. In 2010, he published The Great Dinosaur Discoveries as sole author.
In 2017 Naish published Evolution in Minutes a book answering fundamental questions on the topic of evolution through a collection of mini-essays.
Naish has also published several books on cryptozoology, including Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths and Cryptozoologicon: Volume I with John Conway and C. M. Kosemen.
His name is also attached to several children's books on prehistoric animals. Naish is an associate editor for the journal Cretaceous Research and was also on the editorial board of the journal The Cryptozoology Review. He acts as a regular book reviewer for the Palaeontological Association.
Naish has appeared widely on British television, having featured on BBC News 24, Channel 4's Sunday Brunch, Richard and Judy, Live from Dinosaur Island, as well as the documentary How to build a dinosaur. He appeared on a Channel 4 discussion programme on cryptozoology, presented by journalist Jon Ronson, during the late 1990s. Naish's research on the giant Isle of Wight sauropod "Angloposeidon", on the pterosaur Tupuxuara, and on the sauropod Xenoposeidon was widely reported in the news media, as was his research paper on floating giraffes.
Naish has been featured in several stories about so-called mystery carcasses including the Montauk Monster, San Diego Demonoid, Beast of Exmoor, and a Russian mystery monster carcass. He emphasises the effects of taphonomy in making familiar animals unrecognisable.
In 2006, Naish started a weblog, Tetrapod Zoology, that covered various aspects of zoology. In 2007 he joined the ScienceBlogs network. In July 2011, the blog moved to the Scientific American blog network, as of 31 July 2018 the blog has moved away from Scientific American and is hosted independently. Tetrapod Zoology seems to cover most subjects concerning tetrapods. Popular subjects commonly written about include frogs, reptiles, mammals, birds, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and cryptozoology. Together with colleagues Michael P. Taylor and Mathew Wedel, Naish also contributes to the Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week blog.
In 2010, Naish published a collection of early articles from Tetrapod Zoology as a book titled Tetrapod Zoology Book One.
The Tetrapod Zoology Podcast was launched on 1 February 2013 and is the official podcast of the TetZooVerse. The podcast covers all things tetrapod and vertebrate palaeontology. The podcast is hosted by Naish and co-host John Conway, For episode 15 the regular hosts were joined by Memo Kosemen, co-author and artist of Cryptozoologicon.
TetZooCon is an annual meeting themed around the contents of the Tetrapod Zoology blog. The convention was first held on 12 June 2014 and has taken places in various venues in London. The convention involves talks on a variety of subjects, ranging from palaeontology to cryptozoology, as well as workshops. The convention is organised by Naish and Conway; Darren traditionally gives a talk himself, whereas John Conway hosts a workshop.
All Yesterdays is an art book on the palaeoartistic reconstruction of dinosaurs and other extinct animals by John Conway, C.M. Kosemen and Darren Naish. It was published in 2012.Australaves
Australaves is a recently defined clade of birds, consisting of the Eufalconimorphae (passerines, parrots and falcons) as well as the Cariamiformes (including seriemas and the extinct "terror birds"). They appear to be the sister group of Afroaves. As in the case of Afroaves, the most basal clades have predatory extant members, suggesting this was the ancestral lifestyle; however, some researchers like Darren Naish are skeptical of this assessment, since some extinct representatives such as the herbivorous Strigogyps lead other lifestyles. Basal parrots and falcons are at any rate vaguely crow-like and probably omnivorous.
Cladogram of Telluraves relationships based on Prum, R.O. et al. (2015).Cariamiformes
Cariamiformes (or Cariamae) is an order of primarily flightless birds that has existed for over 60 million years. The group includes the family Cariamidae (seriemas) and the extinct families Phorusrhacidae, Bathornithidae, Idiornithidae and Ameghinornithidae. Though traditionally considered as a suborder of Gruiformes, both morphological and genetic studies show that they belong to a separate group of birds, Australaves, whose other living members are Falconidae, Psittaciformes and Passeriformes.This proposal has been confirmed by a 2014 study of whole genomes of 48 representative bird species. This analysis shows that the Cariamiformes are basal among extant Australaves, while falcons are next most basal; in combination with the fact that the two most basal branches of Afroaves (New World vultures plus Accipitriformes, and owls) are also predatory, it is inferred that the common ancestor of 'core landbirds' (Telluraves) was an apex predator. However, some researchers like Darren Naish feel that this assessment is biased towards the more well known, predatory representatives of the clade, and indeed at least one form, Strigogyps, appears to have been herbivorous.The earliest known unambigous member of this group is Paleocene taxon Paleopsilopterus itaboraiensis. An isolated femur from the Cape Lamb Member of the Lopez de Bertodano Formation, Vega Island, Antarctica was briefly described as a cariamiform femur in 2006. This specimen, which dates to the late Cretaceous period 66 million years ago, was originally reported as indistinguishable from the femurs of modern seriemas, and belonging to a large bird about 1 metre (3.3 ft) tall. Because of its age and geographic location, it was argued that this unnamed species may have been close to the ancestry of both cariamids and phorusrhacids. However, a subsequent study published by West et al. (2019) reinterpreted this specimen as a fossil of an unnamed large-bodied member of an non-cariamiform genus Vegavis.Chestnut (horse anatomy)
The chestnut, also known as a night eye, is a callosity on the body of a horse or other equine, found on the inner side of the leg above the knee on the foreleg and, if present, below the hock on the hind leg. It is believed to be a vestigial toe, and along with the ergot form the three toes of some other extinct Equidae. Darren Naish dissents from this belief, noting that the chestnut is "not associated with the metacarpus or metatarsus, the only places where digits occur."Chestnuts vary in size and shape and are sometimes compared to the fingerprints in humans. For purposes of identification some breed registries require photographs of them among other individual characteristics. However, because chestnuts grow over time and horse grooms often peel or trim off the outer layers for neatness, their appearance is subject to change.Diplodocimorpha
Diplodocimorpha is a clade of extinct sauropod dinosaurs, existing from the Early Jurassic until the Late Cretaceous. The group includes three main families and some other genera, Rebbachisauridae, Dicraeosauridae and Diplodocidae, the latter two forming Flagellicaudata. The name was first used by Calvo & Salgado (1995), who defined it as "Rebbachisaurus tessonei sp. nov., Diplodocidae, and all descendants of their common ancestor." The group was not used often, and was synonymized with Diplodocoidea as the groups were often found to have the same content. In 2005, Mike P. Taylor and Darren Naish reviewed diplodocoid phylogeny and taxonomy, and realized that Diplodocimorpha could not be synonymized with Diplodocoidea. Whereas the former was defined node-based, the latter was branch-based. In 2015, Emanuel Tschopp, Octavio Mateus and Roger Benson published a specimen-based phylogeny on diplodocid interrelationships, and supported the separation of Diplodocimorpha. Haplocanthosaurus was found to be more basal than rebbachisaurids, and therefore outside Diplodocimorpha, but closer to Diplodocus than Saltasaurus, and therefore within Diplodocoidea. The below cladogram follows the findings of Tschopp et al.Eotyrannus
Eotyrannus (meaning "dawn tyrant") is a genus of tyrannosauroid theropod dinosaur hailing from the Early Cretaceous Wessex Formation beds, included in Wealden Group, located in the southwest coast of the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. The remains (MIWG1997.550), consisting of assorted skull, axial skeleton and appendicular skeleton elements, from a juvenile or subadult, found in a plant debris clay bed, were described by Hutt et al. in early 2001. The etymology of the generic name refers to the animals classification as an early tyrannosaur or "tyrant lizard", while the specific name honors the discoverer of the fossil.Hastanectes
Hastanectes is an extinct genus of a plesiosaurian with possible pliosaurid affinities known from the Early Cretaceous Wadhurst Clay Formation (Valanginian stage) of the United Kingdom. It contains a single species, Hastanectes valdensis, which was originally thought to be a species of Cimoliasaurus.Loxaulax
Loxaulax is a genus of extinct mammal from the Lower Cretaceous of southern England. It was a member of the also extinct order Multituberculata, and lived alongside the dinosaurs. It lies within the suborder "Plagiaulacida" and family Eobaataridae. The genus Loxaulax was named by Simpson G.G. in 1928 based on one species.
Fossil remains of the species Loxaulax valdensis consist of a tooth found in Valanginian (Lower Cretaceous) strata of the Cliff End bonebed in Hastings, England. More recently, "Butler and Ford reported some IoW (Isle of Wight) Wealden mammal teeth several decades ago. They identified one of the teeth as belonging to the multituberculate Loxaulax but weren't sure about the others. Other IoW Wealden mammal teeth have been found since but have yet to be written up," (with thanks to Darren Naish).
Representatives from the Isle of Wight Museum say that sieving is underway at one fossil location. This suggests new mammal finds are not unlikely.
Fossil remains of the species Loxaulax herreroi were found in Barremian (Lower Cretaceous)-age strata of Galve, Spain.Malawania
Malawania is an extinct genus of basal thunnosaur ichthyosaur known from the middle Early Cretaceous (Hauterivian or Barremian stage) of Iraq. Malawania was first named by Valentin Fischer, Robert M. Appleby, Darren Naish, Jeff Liston, Riding, J. B., Brindley, S. and Pascal Godefroit in 2013 and the type species is Malawania anachronus.Matt Wedel
Mathew John Wedel is an American paleontologist. He is associate professor at the Western University of Health Sciences Department of Anatomy in California. Mathew studies sauropods and the evolution of pneumatic bones in dinosaurs. At Western University, Mathew teaches gross anatomy. He has authored papers naming Aquilops (2014), Brontomerus (2011), and Sauroposeidon (2000).Along with paleontologists Darren Naish and Mike P. Taylor, he founded the paleontology blog Sauropod Vertebrae Picture of the Week.Michael P. Taylor
Michael P. Taylor (born 12 March 1968) is a British computer programmer with a Ph.D in palaeontology. To date, he has published 18 paleontological papers and is co-credited with naming three genera of dinosaur (Xenoposeidon in 2007 with Darren Naish, Brontomerus in 2011 with Matt J. Wedel and Richard Cifeli, and Haestasaurus in 2015 with Paul Upchurch and Phil Mannion).Along with paleontologists Darren Naish and Matt Wedel, he founded the paleontology blog Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week, where he blogs as Mike Taylor.
He lives in Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England.Mirischia
Mirischia is a small (two meter-long) genus of compsognathid theropod dinosaur from the Albian stage (Early Cretaceous Period) of Brazil.Naish
Naish is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Darren Naish, British palaeontologist and science writer
J. Carrol Naish (1897–1973), American actor
Robby Naish windsurfer and kitesurfer, also Naish kites, sails and boardsNemicolopterus
Nemicolopterus is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur described in 2008. N. crypticus is the type species and sole species known. The generic name "Nemicolopterus" comes from the following Greek words: "Nemos" meaning "forest", "ikolos" meaning "dweller", and Latinised "pteron" meaning "wing". The specific name crypticus is from "kryptos", meaning "hidden". Thus "Nemicolopterus crypticus" means "Hidden flying forest dweller". It lived in the Jehol Biota 120 million years ago.
N. crypticus is known from a single fossil, catalog number IVPP V-14377, in the collection of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, China. The fossil was collected from the Jiufotang Formation, which is of Aptian age (120 mya). It was discovered in the Luzhhouou locality of Yaolugou Town, Jianchang County, Huludao City, western Liaoning Province in northeastern China.
The wingspan of slightly under 25 centimeters (10 in) makes N. crypticus smaller than all but a few specimens of hatchling pterosaurs. The specimen is not fully grown, but Wang et al. (2008) cite the amount of bone fusion and the ossification of the toes, gastralia and sternum as indicating that it was a sub-adult rather than a hatchling. Darren Naish argued on his popular weblog that, due to the fact pterosaurs are highly precocial, bone fusion and ossification could occur very early, and Nemicolopterus might in fact be a hatchling individual of the genus Sinopterus.Nemicolopterus is a toothless pterosaur. Wang et al. (2008) concluded that it is a primitive intermediate between the Pteranodontoidea and the Dsungaripteroidea. Though Nemicolopterus is tiny, some of the members of these groups eventually evolved into the largest flying animals that ever lived, such as Quetzalcoatlus.
Nemicolopterus also demonstrates clear adaptations of the toes and claws for grasping tree branches. Most pterosaurs are known from marine sediments, meaning that they probably caught fish in the ocean and landed on the adjacent beaches or cliffs. Nemicolopterus, on the other hand, is one of just a few known pterosaurs that lived in the continental interior, and probably hunted insects and roosted in the forest canopy. It is worthwhile, however, to note that the contemporaneous pterosaur lineage Tapejaridae (such as Sinopterus, which might be synonymous with Nemicolopterus) also shows strong adaptations to climbing.Samrukia
Samrukia is a genus of large Cretaceous pterosaurs known only from a single lower jaw discovered in Kazakhstan. The holotype and only known specimen was collected from the Santonian-Campanian age Bostobynskaya Formation in Kyzylorda District. It was described by Darren Naish, Gareth Dyke, Andrea Cau, François Escuillié, and Pascal Godefroit in 2012, and the type species is named Samrukia nessovi. The species is named after Lev Nessov, a paleontologist, and the genus is named after Samruk, a magical bird of Kazakh folklore.Vectidraco
Vectidraco (meaning "dragon from the Isle of Wight"), is a genus of azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of England.
In November 2008, Daisy Morris of Whitwell, Isle of Wight, a four-year-old avid natural history collector, discovered some small bones in a rock below the cliff face of Atherfield Point at the southwest coast of Wight. Her parents carefully collected all additional rocks with fossils in them that they could find at the site. In April 2009, Daisy's discovery was authenticated by palaeontologist Martin Simpson, from the University of Southampton. The Morris family donated the specimen to the Natural History Museum.
A scientific paper was published in 2013 about the find in the electronic journal PLoS ONE, titled A New Small-Bodied Azhdarchoid Pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of England and Its Implications for Pterosaur Anatomy, Diversity and Phylogeny. In it Darren Naish, Martin Simpson, and Gareth Dyke described and named the type species Vectidraco daisymorrisae. The generic name is derived from the Latin Vectis, the Roman name of the island now known as the Isle of Wight, and dracō, meaning "dragon". The specific name honours the discoverer Daisy Morris. A children's book has also been written by Simpson about Daisy Morris's discovery, called Daisy and the Isle of Wight Dragon.The only known specimen, holotype NHMUK PV R36621, was uncovered in the Chale Clay Member of the Atherfield Clay Formation of the Lower Greensand Group, a clay layer of the Deshayesites forbesi zone, Deshayesites fittoni subzone, dating from the early Aptian, with an age of 124 million years. It consists of the left side of a pelvis, the right ischium, the rear dorsal vertebra and the first three sacral vertebrae, of a subadult or adult individual.Vectidraco is a relatively small pterosaur. The pelvis is four centimetres long as preserved. Vectidraco's wingspan was estimated at seventy-five centimetres, its total body length at thirty-five centimetres. In view of its affinities, the describing authors assumed it was a toothless form, featuring a crest on its snout.Several unique derived traits, autapomorphies, were established. The hip joint is bordered at its top rear corner by a triangular depression. This depression is overhung by a ridge running downwards to the rear. The front blade of the ilium features an undivided roughly oval depression at its front inner side, below a convex surface. Furthermore a unique combination of traits is present in that the elongated rear blade of the ilium is T-shaped, terminating in a wide expansion also projecting upwards, that is longer than the shaft of the rear blade itself.
Damage to the ilium shows the presence of camellate bone, internal air chambers. Also all the preserved vertebrae are pneumatised.Vectidraco was assigned to the Azhdarchoidea, in a basal position. If correct, this would make it one of the smallest azhdarchoids known.Vectocleidus
Vectocleidus is an extinct genus of leptocleidid plesiosaurian known from the Early Cretaceous Vectis Formation (late Barremian stage) of Isle of Wight, in the United Kingdom. It contains a single species, Vectocleidus pastorum.Xenoposeidon
Xenoposeidon (meaning "strange or alien Poseidon", in allusion to Sauroposeidon) is a genus of rebbachisaurid sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of England, living about 140 million years ago. It is known from a single partial vertebra with unusual features, unlike those of other sauropods. This bone was first discovered in the early 1890s but received little attention until it was found by University of Portsmouth student Mike Taylor, who formally described and named it in 2007 with Darren Naish.Yaverlandia
Yaverlandia is a genus of maniraptoran dinosaur. Known from a partial fossil skull found in Lower Cretaceous strata of the Wessex Formation on the Isle of Wight, it was described as the earliest known member of the pachycephalosaurid family, but recent research by Darren Naish shows it to have actually been a theropod, seemingly a maniraptoran. Yaverlandia was named from where it was found, Yaverland Point/ Yaverland Battery.
It was about 3 ft ( 1 m ) in length and 1 ft ( 30 cm ) in height.
Its fossils were discovered in 1930, in Egland.