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Posts Tagged "paleobiology"

Tetrapod Zoology

Bird behaviour, the ‘deep time’ perspective

Composite cladogram of Avialae - topology and names based mostly on Yuri et al. (2013), and with many lineages excluded for reasons of space – showing where the fossil record gives us key insights into behaviour. From Naish (2014): this diagram is a much-updated version of the tree published in Naish (2012).

The behaviour of long-extinct animals remains an area of major public and scientific interest – the great perennial problem being that we’re always massively constrained, if not crippled, by a frustrating lack of data. Think of all the things we want to know, versus the things that we actually do know. In a paper recently [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The troubling lack of Platyhystrix images online: the Tet Zoo Solution

TMNT Platyhytrix, but with the second 'T' standing for temnospondyl! Image by Henrik Petersson, used with permission. I hope that we'lll end up a full squad of TMNT temnos... that's Raphael done, Donatello next?

Regular readers will know that I’ve been doing my best over the last several years to get through the temnospondyls of the world. Temnospondyli, for the one or two or you that don’t know, is an enormous and substantially diverse clade of anamniotes (‘amphibians’) that was an important and persistent presence between the Early Carboniferous [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Tet Zoo guide to mesosaurs

Speculative life reconstruction of Mesosaurus tenuidens, by Darren Naish.

A small group of long-snouted swimming reptiles from the Permian of Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa and Namibia – the mesosaurs – represent the oldest amniote group known to have taken to life in the marine realm. Do not confuse them with mosasaurs, a group of large to gigantic swimming lizards from the Cretaceous, usually considered [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The confusing diplospondylous tupilakosaurids

Time for a quick look at another temnospondyl group. Today, we focus on the tupilakosaurids, a group of short-limbed, blunt-skulled, long-bodied Permo-Triassic temnos. Ossified ceratobranchials, poorly ossified limbs and long and flexible bodies all suggest that they were fully aquatic though – like some other aquatic temnospondyl groups – their bones lack lateral line sulci. [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Dinosaurs and their ‘exaggerated structures’: species recognition aids, or sexual display devices?

Mesozoic dinosaurs of several lineages famously possessed horns, frills, bony bosses, crests, frills, blah blah blah – you’ve heard all this a million times before. Pterosaurs were flamboyant creatures too. Why did these animals possess these so-called exaggerated structures? Together with Dave Hone, I’ve just published my latest missive on this issue (Hone & Naish [...]

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