Bones have been big news recently, following the publication of two papers which document remarkable fossil finds. First, a group of palaeontologists led by Phil Gingerich of the University of Michigan described Maiacetus inuus, a primitive whale which lived in the water but gave birth on land, and which marks the transition between modern whales and their terrestrial ancestors. This was quickly followed by the report, from Jason Head’s group at the University of Toronto, of Titanoboa cerrejonesis, a prehistoric snake which is estimated to have grown to 13 metres and to weigh more than a tonne.
Such spectacular discoveries always grab the headlines, and rightly so. There are, however, other recent developments in palaeontology, which have been largely overlooked, but are nevertheless equally interesting. The new findings come from Lawrence Witmer‘s lab at Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, where the main focus of research is the structure, function and biomechanics of the heads of vertebrates, both living and extinct.