NATURAL HISTORIES

I've always been in love with wild Things.  

As a kid, I spent a lot of time flipping over logs, watching wildlife and going for long rambles in the woods. Every urban creek was a jungle to be explored, every lizard and bird an object of the deepest fascination. When I couldn't be outside, I was reading about distant ecosystems and the men and women who devoted their life to studying them. The natural world is a web of subjects and connections, and I'll never get tired of exploring it. 

The stories in this collection explore a world changing at unprecedented speed. Some are warnings from the burning frontiers, where climate change, habitat destruction, and commerce are taking a heavy toll. Some are tales of adaptation and survival. And some are simple odes to the thrill of discovery. 



1

DEEP TIME 

THe dead still have much to teach us

 
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postcard

Unearthing A Lost World

Texas Observer                 
August 2015

A visit to a Texas dig with famed paleontologist Robert Bakker, two museum curators, and fossils of a very distant relative.

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Narrative

The Clidastes In Limbo

Oxford American               
September 2015

Southern expeditions, fraudulent sea serpents, the romance of the perfect skeleton, and the most complete mosasaur that nobody knows exists.

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News

The Saga of Spinosaurus

The Atlantic                  
March 2016

Two years after a controversial paper claimed to reconstruct the Spinosaurus, the carnivorous dinosaur remains one of the most enigmatic puzzles of paleontology. 

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NEWS

DID PLANT-EATING DINOSAURS ONLY EAT PLANTS?

The Atlantic 
October 2016

An ankylosaur fossil with fish in its belly provides ancient evidence that herbivore diets are more flexible than they’re assumed to be.

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NEWS

HOW DID THEROPODS GET SO BIG?

Smithsonian Magazine
December 2016

When it comes to showing off, size matters a lot more than you might think.

ARGUMENT

THE CAPITALIST AND THE DINOSAUR

Salon
July 2014

Unpacking the long, one-sided romance between industry titans and extinct animal-based philanthropy.

 
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News

Ancient Baby Bird, Trapped in amber

Audubon Magazine
June 2017

A remarkably preserved fledgling provides clues into the lives of ancient birds.

NEWS

Firing lasers at fossil birds

Audubon Magazine
January 2017

Using a special lighting technique, researchers have made surprising discoveries about an early bird.

 

Finding a complete, articulated skeleton is rare beyond imagining, the equivalent of searching for pottery shards and uncovering a working Mesopotamian brewery. Gladden had stumbled on one by sheer luck.
— The Clidastes in Limbo

2

FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL 

Living on earth

 

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postcard

Epitaph for an Alligator

Texas Observer
November 2015

A small town in East Texas celebrates the recovery of a local carnivore--by eating it.

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news

Furry animals, fuzzy science

Undark Magazine
October 2016

Campuses rally for endangered tigers and other species embodied by their team mascots. But do the campaigns really further the cause of conservation?

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reviews

The Suburban Wilderness

Texas Observer
October 2015

The release of a field guide to Texas lizards sparks a meditation on memory, urban wildness and resilience. 

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POSTCARD

Surviving in Bat Country

Texas Observer
April 2016

The Texas Hill Country plays host to an incredible number and diversity of bats. But can they survive in a human-engineered world? 

FEATURE

Turning Tail

Texas Observer
June 2017

There's a war on feral hogs in Texas, and the hogs are winning. 

Profile

little frog, big city

Mongabay
February 2017

After an extraordinary chain of narrow escapes, one of the world's smallest frogs is still kicking in Hong Kong.
 

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Postcard

Chasing El Chupacabra

Texas Observer
October 2016

Before 1997, the Chupacabra didn't exist. These days? It's everywhere.


The gator gave a particularly powerful wriggle, its claws digging into the truck bed. “Nope,” Moore said. “That one’s alive.”
— Epitaph for an Alligator

3

THE WORLD THAT'S COMING

Turn and face the strange

 

news

Diving into El Niño’s Past

Hakai Magazine
January 2017

Temperature records pulled from ancient corals suggest that the climate cycles of El Niño are  getting worse. 

 

News

Walking Trees Terrorize marshes

Hakai Magazine
July 2017

Mangroves are on the rise in parts of Florida. That's not neccesarily a good thing. 

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postcard

Feeling the burn in the big bend

Texas Observer
September 2016

As an epic drought has scientists racing to predict the future of Big Bend's unique sky islands, a report from the ground. 

 
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Reviews

mapping Texas' fraught environmental history

Texas Observer
October 2016

A new atlas of Texas ecology reveals how thoroughly humans have woven ourselves into the geography of the state, for good and for ill.


“We get a wet enough decade, [the pines] might come back,” Sirotnik said. Then he shrugged. “Or they might not. Nobody wants to run a 3,000 acre experiment to find out.”
— Feeling the Burn in the Big Bend