Welcome to the site of Darren Naish: vertebrate palaeozoologist, author, public speaker, illustrator and technical consultant. My primary interests involve the life appearance, behaviour and evolution of extinct animals (especially dinosaurs, pterosaurs and marine reptiles), the history of palaeoart, vertebrate evolutionary history in general, and cryptozoology.
- I’ve published numerous books and both technical and popular articles but am best known for my blog Tetrapod Zoology, currently (as of 2021) in its 16th year.
- I work as a consultant and author for Dorling Kindersley, Usborne and other publishers of children’s books. Since 1998 I have led a major effort to replace aesthetically bad and technically inaccurate artwork in the work of these publishers (specifically that pertaining to dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals); if you see good-looking or accurate palaeoart in the books concerned, check to see who the consultant was!
- In 2012, John Conway, Memo Kosemen and I collaborated in the production of All Yesterdays, a palaeoart-themed book widely said to be one of the most influential works published on the subject. It can be obtained here.
- In 2014, John Conway and I organised TetZooCon: a day of events (talks, book signings, a palaeoart workshop) involving everything relevant to the TetZooniverse. This was a substantial success and we held subsequent TetZooCons in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. It has expanded to a two-day event and grown substantially in size and attendance. Summaries of these meetings can be found here. If you’re interested in speaking or presenting at TetZooCon, or in selling merchanidse, please contact us. During 2020 and 2021 we held zoom-based digital events, termed TetZooMCon.
- Between 2016 and 2018 I was the scientific adviser for the travelling interactive visitor attraction Dinosaurs in the Wild.
- In 2018 I worked in Zigong, China as consultant for the construction of life-sized dinosaur models for Dino Don Inc. The models I assisted with are today on show at the Bronx Zoo, New York.
- I am also guest curator for the Monsters of the Deep exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Falmouth, Cornwall.
- I currently work as a consultant for specialist factual television projects.
This site’s primary function is to serve as a repository for my publications (technical papers, book reviews and some popular and semi-popular articles). Please GO HERE for access to these. I also sell signed copies of my books. Please GO HERE to see what’s currently available.
- September 2021: the second TetZooMCon event happened and was a substantial success. See the article here.
- August 2021: with Will Tattersdill, I published a lengthy review of the backstory to Dale Russell’s infamous dinosauroid model in Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. For a discussion on events see the article here.
- July 2021: my long-in-prep paper on the flight behaviour of juvenile pterosaurs – co-authored with Mark Witton and Liz Martin-Silverstone – is finally out in Scientific Reports. The paper itself is OA and can be accessed here. A Tetrapod Zoology write-up of the work is here.
- September 2020: still nothing to report on TetZooCon 2020. It looks unlikely that it will go ahead due to the COVID crisis.
- August 2020: News of the death of palaeoart Brian Franczak arrived in August 2020; I felt compelled to write about Brian and his work here at Tetrapod Zoology
- August 2020: with Chris Barker, Neil Gostling and a team of colleagues, I’ve just published the new Cretaceous Isle of Wight theropod dinosaur Vectaerovenator inopinatus. The paper was delayed for COVID-themed reasons, but has now (Sept 2020) been published: go here (it’s Open Access).
- Summer 2020: Monsters of the Deep is open!! For more go here; a Tetrapod Zoology article will appear soon.
I’m a vertebrate palaeontologist, author and consultant affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK. I work on dinosaurs (especially theropods and sauropods), pterosaurs, fossil marine reptiles and other vertebrate animals.
My areas of special interest include the diversity of European azhdarchoid pterosaurs, ichthyosaur evolution across the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, the anatomy and phylogeny of Early Cretaceous theropod dinosaurs, the timing of the theropod and avian radiation, sexual selection theory as applied to fossil animals, and the flight behaviour of feathered dinosaurs. See my publication list for relevant published work. See links below for news stories concerning my research.
My research has been published in Science, Journal of Zoology, Trends in Evolution and Ecology, PLOS ONE, PeerJ, Biology Letters, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Google Scholar currently lists my overall h-index at 32 and i10-index at 71.
Books – Writing – Consultancy
I produce technical research on dinosaurs, marine reptiles and other animals, but I also write popular articles for magazines, including Scientific American, BBC Focus and Fortean Times. I have written or contributed to over ten books. Some are written for a technical audience (Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight, co-written with David Martill, and Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective, co-edited with Richard Moody, Eric Buffetaut and David Martill) but most are popular books written for older children and interested adults. They include Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved (co-authored with Paul Barrett; Natural History Museum, 2016), Hunting Monsters (Arturus, 2017), Walking With Dinosaurs: The Evidence (co-authored with David Martill; BBC Books, 2001), The Great Dinosaur Discoveries (A&C Black/University of California Press, 2009), Dinosaur Record Breakers (Carlton Book, 2011), and All Yesterdays (co-authored with John Conway and C. M. Kosemen, Lulu Books, 2012). Other books are currently underway.
A Brief Biography
From 1997 to 2006 I worked on the predatory dinosaurs of the Lower Cretaceous of southern England, focusing for my PhD on the tyrannosauroid Eotyrannus. In 2007, I worked for London-based media company Impossible Pictures, and latterly as a technical editor, a freelance author, and as a lecturer. Between 2012 and 2015 I co-ran a masters course in vertebrate palaeontology at the University of Southampton wherein I lectured on vertebrate diversity and evolutionary history.
I write extensively about amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals (living and extinct) for my blog, Tetrapod Zoology, today in its fourth iteration and now fully independent. Tetrapod Zoology (= TetZoo) is one of the most-read zoological blogs in the world. TetZoo ver 2 – hosted at ScienceBlogs between 2007 and 2011 – received over 7 million hits during that period. TetZoo ver 3 was hosted at Scientific American; they’re a great brand to be attached to, but I had to leave since their take on image use and reader comments proved incompatible with my plans.
I spend as much time in the field as possible, looking at live animals. I have conducted palaeontological fieldwork in England (Isle of Wight, East Sussex, Yorkshire coast), north Africa (Morocco and Libya) and Romania.
Lecturing and Public Speaking
I have extensive experience lecturing to both technical and popular audiences. I regularly give talks to local groups and societies on zoological and palaeontological topics: talks of recent months have included those on the biology of pterosaurs, sexual selection theory as applied to dinosaurs, the reality or otherwise of sea monsters, the history of European big cats, the British big cat phenomenon, and the evolution of marine reptiles.
Online News On My Research
- New species of dinosaur discovered at Isle of Wight beach (Isle of Wight Country Press, August 2020)
- Did dinosaurs glow in the dark? Scientists suggest photoluminescent skin (Metro, March 2020)
- Dinosaur theory provides insight into evolution of bird flight (Telegraph, Sept 2013)
- Dinosaur in a wind tunnel tests feathered flight (New Scientist, Sept 2013)
- New Sea Monster Found, Rewrites Evolution? (National Geographic, May 2013)
- ‘Out of Time’ Fossil Reveals Ancient Ocean Diversity (LiveScience, May 2013)
- Fossil Saved from Mule Track Revolutionizes Understanding of Ancient Dolphin-Like Marine Reptile (ScienceDaily, May 2013)
- Flying Transylvanian dinosaur unearthed by scientists (Telegraph, Feb 2013)
- Bet he had sharp teeth! Scientists discover prehistoric Transylvanian reptile that walked on all fours and had a 3m wingspan (MailOnline, Feb 2013)
- Fossil of Flying Dino-Age Reptile Found (LiveScience, Feb 2013)
- Survival of the Prettiest: Sexual Selection Can Be Inferred from the Fossil Record (ScienceDaily, Jan 2013)
- Sexual Selection Can Be Inferred From The Fossil Record (RedOrbit, Jan 2013)
- German marine reptile find rewrites fossil record (BBC News, Jan 2012)
- Dino-era disaster: Multiple drowned toothy birds (NBCNews, Nov 2011)
- Findings show ancient birds died in flash flood (PhysOrg.com, Nov 2011)
- Sussex fossil collector finds ‘smallest’ dinosaur (BBC News, June 2011)
- 1ft dinosaur discovered by amateur fossil hunter (Mirror, June 2011)
- Smallest Dinosaur Ever? ‘Ashdown Maniraptoran’ Fossil May Be Tiniest Ever Found (Huffington Post, June 2011)
- Maths formula proves giraffes can swim (The Telegraph, June 2010)
- Giraffes can swim, though poorly: study (CBC News, June 2010)
- Giant Dinosaur Posture Is All Wrong: Sauropods Held Their Heads High, Research Finds (ScienceDaily, May 2009)
- Natural History Museum’s sauropod exhibit ‘anatomically wrong’ (The Telegraph, May 2009)
- Giant Flyers Hunted Dinos on Foot? (National Geographic, 2008)
- Untouched on a shelf for 113 years: a dusty bone of the dinosaur no one knew existed (Guardian, Nov 2007)
- Fossil is new family of dinosaur (BBC News, Nov 2007)