Meet the family

25 September 2009. Edmonton, AB, Canada,

The field activities of the IVPP-LACM party have officially come to a conclusion in 2009; even though individuals of our team may take trips throughout the world (Dr. Li Qiang is going to visit Russia next month), large-scale expedition will not resume until 2010.

That means all of us are now back in the office and/or laboratory, and thus begins our "other" life as indoor paleontologists. This is the time to reflect and research.

I have an ongoing project examining the skull biomechanics of extinct canids, the group so dear to Dr. Xiaoming Wang's heart (after all, he wrote a whole book about it). After scanning specimens from various museums over the past several years, a decent skull lineup of canid representatives is now ready to be analyzed.

[from left: Hesperocyon gregarius, Mesocyon coryphaeus, Borophagus secundus, Epicyon haydeni, and Canis lupus]

Five skulls of basal (Hesperocyon) to very derived (Borophagus) to modern (Canis) dogs are being analyzed digitally to reveal how their skulls are (or aren't) adapted to bone-cracking. The results will be useful in comparisons with the hyaenids which have extraordinary adaptations for consuming bone.



220mya said...


Congrats on winning the SVP Patterson Memorial Grant!

Zhijie (Jack) said...

Thanks! The grant sure is crucial for my turned out I used almost everything else I had, so the Patterson will fund a large portion of the preparation of our plaster jackets!