History UsefulNotes / PrehistoricLIfeMammals

3rd Sep '17 3:56:36 PM Carliro
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These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[http://mts-natecolevol.nature.com/natecolevol_files/2017/09/02/00002815/00/2815_0_auth_cover_letter_25081_dvd2l2.pdf powered flyers]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.

to:

These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[http://mts-natecolevol.nature.com/natecolevol_files/2017/09/02/00002815/00/2815_0_auth_cover_letter_25081_dvd2l2.com/natecolevol_files/2017/09/02/00002815/00/2815_0_art_file_25080_kvk2l1.pdf powered flyers]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.
3rd Sep '17 3:38:17 PM Carliro
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These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volaticotherini powered flyers]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.

to:

These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volaticotherini [[http://mts-natecolevol.nature.com/natecolevol_files/2017/09/02/00002815/00/2815_0_auth_cover_letter_25081_dvd2l2.pdf powered flyers]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.
3rd Sep '17 2:37:22 PM Carliro
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These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volaticotherini insectivores that glided with flying squirrel-like patagia]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.

to:

These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volaticotherini insectivores that glided with flying squirrel-like patagia]].powered flyers]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.
25th Aug '17 5:44:18 AM Carliro
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Added DiffLines:

Big Badass Killer Armadillo: ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroeuphractus Macroeuphractus]]''

* Once upon a time South America had a 100kg armadillo with bone-crushing jaws and sharp teeth, showing adaptations towards carnivory. Simple as.
7th Aug '17 6:13:58 PM Anomalocaris55
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These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://ichthyoconodon.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/could-the-flying-beasts-have-actually-flown/ may even have taken to the skies]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.

to:

These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://ichthyoconodon.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/could-the-flying-beasts-have-actually-flown/ may even have taken to the skies]].[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volaticotherini insectivores that glided with flying squirrel-like patagia]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.
7th Aug '17 12:03:20 PM Carliro
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These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://gwawinapterus.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/could-the-flying-beasts-have-actually-flown/ may even have taken to the skies]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.

to:

These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://gwawinapterus.[[https://ichthyoconodon.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/could-the-flying-beasts-have-actually-flown/ may even have taken to the skies]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.
9th Jul '17 7:29:28 AM Carliro
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The exception to these were multituberculates, which did initially diversify alongside therian mammals and did in fact dominate the land mammal faunas even after dinosaurs disappeared, culminating in the panda-sized ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taeniolabis Taeniolabis]]''. However, [[ForTheLackOfNail they failed to recover their number in Asia]], and in the resulting vacuum a lineage of placentals, the rodents, made their debut. Soon, they spread out of Asia and outcompeted multituberculates, which quickly declined until they eventually became extinct.


to:

The exception to these were multituberculates, which did initially diversify alongside therian mammals and did in fact dominate the land mammal faunas even after dinosaurs disappeared, culminating in the panda-sized ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taeniolabis Taeniolabis]]''. However, [[ForTheLackOfNail [[ForWantOfANail they failed to recover their number in Asia]], and in the resulting vacuum a lineage of placentals, the rodents, made their debut. Soon, they spread out of Asia and outcompeted multituberculates, which quickly declined until they eventually became extinct.

9th Jul '17 7:28:22 AM Carliro
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[[folder:Earliest weirdos]]

The earliest mammals were a very odd bunch of creatures, downright bizarre compared to the modern forms. They generally had sprawling gaits, some of which with odd configurations such as more erect forelimbs. Many were ''venomous'', [[https://www.app.pan.pl/article/item/app51-001.html with venom spurs similar to those of modern platypi being the norm]]. Nearly all were constrained by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epipubic_bone epipubic bones]]: great at stiffening your torso, [[GoneHorriblyRight so much so]] that you can't undergo long term pregnancy and are forced to give birth to larvae[[note]]Or lay eggs that hatch into larvae, as in modern monotremes[[/note]], that need to be shielded in a pouch.

These odd animals diversified into a variety of groups alongside the dinosaurs. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodonta Docodonts]] were a rare but successful lineage that spawned forms like the aquatic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'', the arboreal ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agilodocodon Agiloconodon]]'' and the digging, mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docofossor Docofossor]]''. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutriconodonta Eutriconodonts]] were a lineage of specialized carnivores that spawned into [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus predators capable of giving carnivorous dinosaurs a run for their money]] and [[https://gwawinapterus.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/could-the-flying-beasts-have-actually-flown/ may even have taken to the skies]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata Multituberculates]] were a lineage of superficially rodent-like animals with a weird chewing mechanism that quickly rose to dominance across the globe, more common in some areas than even dinosaur fossils.

Most of these weirdos disappeared by the mid-Cretaceous, probably [[http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1771/20132110 due to the spread of flowering plants]], which affected ecosystems across the land. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theria Therian]] mammals, which include today's marsupials and placentals, instead took over, even before dinosaurs became extinct. However, South America was still dominated by a group called [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meridiolestida meridiolestians]], which continued to be the dominant mammals until the mass extinction that also killed off the dinosaurs. Even then they had two last hurrahs: the giant herbivorous ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peligrotherium Peligrotherium]]'' and the much younger mole-like ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necrolestes_patagonensis Necrolestes]]''.

The exception to these were multituberculates, which did initially diversify alongside therian mammals and did in fact dominate the land mammal faunas even after dinosaurs disappeared, culminating in the panda-sized ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taeniolabis Taeniolabis]]''. However, [[ForTheLackOfNail they failed to recover their number in Asia]], and in the resulting vacuum a lineage of placentals, the rodents, made their debut. Soon, they spread out of Asia and outcompeted multituberculates, which quickly declined until they eventually became extinct.


[[/folder]]



* There was another marsupial which resembled a cat even more than the marsupial lion: the similar-named ''Thylacosmilus'' (“pouched smilodont”), nicknamed the “marsupial sabertooth”. The same size of the “marsupial lion”, ''Thylacosmilus'' had two ever-growing upper fangs virtually identical to actual sabre-toothed cats, and possibly used in the same way. To protect these fangs, the lower jaw has a couple of bony “sheaths” covered with skins, which could have given it a curious “drooping lips” appearance. The most curious thing, however, is ''Thylacosmilus'' was not Australian at all: it was ''South American''. Together with other less-striking marsupial carnivores such as the bear-like ''Borhyena'' and the weasel-like ''Cladosictis'' [[note]]Together, South American marsupial carnivores make a natural group named Sparassodonts, not strictly related with Australian marsupial carnivores like the marsupial lion or the marsupial wolf[[/note]], ''Thylacosmilus'' long occupied the top predator niche in competition with terror birds and large crocodilians... before ''true sabertoothed cats'' (''Smilodon populator'') and other proper carnivores outcompeted it and its relatives in South American plains. Today, possums and possum-like animals are the only marsupials left in the Americas, typically insect- or fruit-eating. Their Aussie relatives were more lucky: before the Ice Ages, placental mammals didn't manage to reach the LandDownUnder (rats and bats excluded). That’s why kangaroos, wombats and so on are still living today. Sadly, their enlarged relatives missed the opportunity, due to a new kind of colonizers arrived only some thousands years ago: humans (see the entry above this one).

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* There Though not "marsupials" per se, sparassodonts were a closely related lineage that dominated South America. The largest and most well known of these was another marsupial which resembled a cat even more than ''Thylacosmilus'', the marsupial lion: the similar-named ''Thylacosmilus'' (“pouched smilodont”), nicknamed the “marsupial sabertooth”.sparassodonts turn at producing a saber-toothed predator. The same size of the “marsupial lion”, ''Thylacosmilus'' had two ever-growing upper fangs virtually identical to actual sabre-toothed cats, and possibly used in the same way. To protect these fangs, the lower jaw has a couple of bony “sheaths” covered with skins, which could have given it a curious “drooping lips” appearance. The most curious thing, however, is ''Thylacosmilus'' was not Australian at all: it was ''South American''. Together with other less-striking marsupial carnivores sparassodonts such as the bear-like ''Borhyena'' and the weasel-like ''Cladosictis'' [[note]]Together, South American marsupial carnivores make a natural group named Sparassodonts, not strictly related with Australian marsupial carnivores like the marsupial lion or the marsupial wolf[[/note]], ''Cladosictis'', ''Thylacosmilus'' long occupied the top predator niche in competition with terror birds and large crocodilians... before ''true becoming extinct for unclear reasons. It was long thought that true placental saberteeth outcompeted them to extinction, but it appears South America's top predator guilds were gone long before placental carnivores arrived. NothingIsScarier...

Even earlier sabertooths: [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deltatheroida Deltatheroida]]

* More surprising is the presence of
sabertoothed cats'' (''Smilodon populator'') and other proper carnivores outcompeted it and its predators that lived ''alongside the dinosaurs''. Deltatheroideans were distant relatives in South American plains. Today, possums and possum-like animals are the only of modern day marsupials left in the Americas, typically insect- or fruit-eating. Their Aussie relatives were more lucky: that specialized into predatory niches, and have even [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeornithoides#Possible_predation_by_mammals preyed on dinosaurs]]. One genus, ''Lotheridium'', had long canines, making it a sabertooth long before the Ice Ages, placental mammals didn't manage to reach the LandDownUnder (rats more iconic placentals and bats excluded). That’s why kangaroos, wombats and so on are still living today. Sadly, their enlarged relatives missed the opportunity, due to a new kind of colonizers arrived only some thousands years ago: humans (see the entry above this one).
''Thylacosmilus'' evolved.
12th May '17 7:03:33 PM chasemaddigan
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Programs from the 2000s like ''[[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]'' and the ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'' film series tried to partially avert the trope, but even these shows didn't escape the EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs fate: not only the well-known case of "Dawn of Dinosaurs". Though it's little-known, Walking With was initially intended to show ''prehistoric mammals'', but producers received money "only for a show about dinosaurs" - only after the dinosaurs' success they could start with ''Beasts'', changed to a simple sequel at that point.

to:

Programs from the 2000s like ''[[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]'' ''Series/WalkingWithBeasts'' and the ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'' film series tried to partially avert the trope, but even these shows didn't escape the EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs fate: not only the well-known case of "Dawn of Dinosaurs". Though it's little-known, Walking With was initially intended to show ''prehistoric mammals'', but producers received money "only for a show about dinosaurs" - only after the dinosaurs' success they could start with ''Beasts'', changed to a simple sequel at that point.



* Prehistoric marsupials were not the only oversized mammals in ancient Australia: monotremes, too, were amazing. Modern monotremes are the most archaic extant mammals, and are well-known because they have preserved the original habit to produce eggs instead of alive newborns. Their extinct relatives are poorly-known in fossil record, and were not different than the modern ones (platypus and echidna). However, one member of the echidna group reached the size of a sheep: ''Zaglossus hartmanni'', closely related with modern long-beaked echidnas. It's weird that the astounding fauna which lived once in Australia was totally missed by the [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With]] producers. With giant koalaroos, giant rhinowombats, rat-toothed uberlions, and giant ancestor of [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog Knuckles]] available (not to mention UpToEleven Komodo dragons and giant running birds)… it's unfortunate that such an episode never materialized.

to:

* Prehistoric marsupials were not the only oversized mammals in ancient Australia: monotremes, too, were amazing. Modern monotremes are the most archaic extant mammals, and are well-known because they have preserved the original habit to produce eggs instead of alive newborns. Their extinct relatives are poorly-known in fossil record, and were not different than the modern ones (platypus and echidna). However, one member of the echidna group reached the size of a sheep: ''Zaglossus hartmanni'', closely related with modern long-beaked echidnas. It's weird that the astounding fauna which lived once in Australia was totally missed by the [[WalkingWithDinosaurs [[Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With]] producers. With giant koalaroos, giant rhinowombats, rat-toothed uberlions, and giant ancestor of [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog Knuckles]] available (not to mention UpToEleven Komodo dragons and giant running birds)… it's unfortunate that such an episode never materialized.



* Before cats, bears, dogs and hyenas appeared on Earth, there were their pseudo-looking relatives, whose appearance was similar to their successors or a mix of these animals. Bear-dogs are more correctly called amphicyonids: some were very fox- or wolf-like, while others were more similar to bears. ''Amphicyon'' is the prototype of the group. A [[AllAnimalsAreDogs very dog-like]] "bear-dog" appears in [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]. Nimravids (the pseudo-cats) were also very diversified: the aforementioned ''Eusmilus'' was indeed a sabretoothed member of the pseudo-cat family, while the namesake ''Nimravus'' was more similar to modern big cats. The latter has left a perforated skull which revealed an astonishing story; it was stabbed in its head... by another sabretooth. The skull wound was also partially healed, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome meaning the ''Nimravus'' survived.]] Sadly, in some sources, nimravids are wrongly treated as [[TaxonomicTermConfusion actual cats]].

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* Before cats, bears, dogs and hyenas appeared on Earth, there were their pseudo-looking relatives, whose appearance was similar to their successors or a mix of these animals. Bear-dogs are more correctly called amphicyonids: some were very fox- or wolf-like, while others were more similar to bears. ''Amphicyon'' is the prototype of the group. A [[AllAnimalsAreDogs very dog-like]] "bear-dog" appears in [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]].''Series/WalkingWithBeasts''. Nimravids (the pseudo-cats) were also very diversified: the aforementioned ''Eusmilus'' was indeed a sabretoothed member of the pseudo-cat family, while the namesake ''Nimravus'' was more similar to modern big cats. The latter has left a perforated skull which revealed an astonishing story; it was stabbed in its head... by another sabretooth. The skull wound was also partially healed, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome meaning the ''Nimravus'' survived.]] Sadly, in some sources, nimravids are wrongly treated as [[TaxonomicTermConfusion actual cats]].



* In the Early Cenozoic, at the time "true" carnivorans were still weasel-like, creodonts occupied the ecological niche ruled by modern large carnivorans. Very diversified in shape and size, their appearance included that of all modern carnivorans (hyena-like, dog-like, bear-like, weasel-like, tiger-like, or a mix of all these). However, creodonts were more primitive and arguably slower-moving than our meat-eating mammals: this has been often cited as the cause of their extinction, but scientists aren't sure of that. ''Hyaenodon'' is regarded as the stock creodont. There were several species, from dog-sized to cow-sized: the largest hyaenodont species appears in Walking With as a formidable predator, but some hypothesise it was mostly a scavenger. But even bigger creodonts are known to science (for example ''Megistotherium''), some of them could have even been the biggest land meat-eating mammals ever, rivalling the alleged "biggest carnivore" ''Andrewsarchus'' (see later).

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* In the Early Cenozoic, at the time "true" carnivorans were still weasel-like, creodonts occupied the ecological niche ruled by modern large carnivorans. Very diversified in shape and size, their appearance included that of all modern carnivorans (hyena-like, dog-like, bear-like, weasel-like, tiger-like, or a mix of all these). However, creodonts were more primitive and arguably slower-moving than our meat-eating mammals: this has been often cited as the cause of their extinction, but scientists aren't sure of that. ''Hyaenodon'' is regarded as the stock creodont. There were several species, from dog-sized to cow-sized: the largest hyaenodont species appears in Walking With ''Series/WalkingWithBeasts'' as a formidable predator, but some hypothesise it was mostly a scavenger. But even bigger creodonts are known to science (for example ''Megistotherium''), some of them could have even been the biggest land meat-eating mammals ever, rivalling the alleged "biggest carnivore" ''Andrewsarchus'' (see later).



* Chalicotheres are the best example of MixAndMatchCritter among prehistoric mammals. They had the head of an horse, the body-shape of a gorilla, and sloth-like forelimbs with hooked claws for pulling down branches or excavating the soil in search of roots: some nickname them [[MixAndMatchCritter sloth-horses]]. A very successful group of hoofed mammals, distantly related to horses and rhinos (like the aforementioned brontotheres); chalicotheres roamed for a long time in most continents, and some [[WildMassGuessing think]] the famous "Nandi Bear" that could live in modern African rainforests is just a surviving chalicothere. The two most well-known family-members are the North American ''Moropus'' and the Asian namesake ''Chalicotherium'' - the latter was even stranger since literally ''knuckle-walked'' like a gorilla. The latter was portrayed in [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]], along with another species, african ''Ancylotherium'' - maybe the last chalicothere, unless the Nandi Bear....

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* Chalicotheres are the best example of MixAndMatchCritter among prehistoric mammals. They had the head of an horse, the body-shape of a gorilla, and sloth-like forelimbs with hooked claws for pulling down branches or excavating the soil in search of roots: some nickname them [[MixAndMatchCritter sloth-horses]]. A very successful group of hoofed mammals, distantly related to horses and rhinos (like the aforementioned brontotheres); chalicotheres roamed for a long time in most continents, and some [[WildMassGuessing think]] the famous "Nandi Bear" that could live in modern African rainforests is just a surviving chalicothere. The two most well-known family-members are the North American ''Moropus'' and the Asian namesake ''Chalicotherium'' - the latter was even stranger since literally ''knuckle-walked'' like a gorilla. The latter was portrayed in [[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]], ''Series/WalkingWithBeasts'', along with another species, african ''Ancylotherium'' - maybe the last chalicothere, unless the Nandi Bear....



* Many hoofed mammals of the distant past were pig-like in shape: indeed, the pig frame was the most primitive among "ungulates", still retained by some modern hoofed mammals, the best example being boars and peccaries (which are artiodactyls) and also the tapir (which is a perissodactyl). Among extinct true boars, ''Metridiochoerus'' was related with the modern warthog but with straighter tusks. Among prehistoric pseudo-boars most were small (ex. ''Anoplotherium'' and the oreodontids), but some were not: entelodonts are the most striking ones. They were bison-sized at the most, and had several bony knobs on their head and jaws, resembling giant warthogs, but their tusks were much smaller than a warthog's or a babirusa's, and didn't protrude out of the mouth. Their food habits are still unclear: they might be scavengers that drove away small predators from their kill, but also ate vegetation and might even be active hunters sometimes. North American ''Daeodon'' (also called ''Dinohyus'') is the largest and one of the most depicted entelodont. [[Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]] has shown an unnamed Asian relative, and affected its appearance [[CarnivoreConfusion to make it scarier]], exaggerating the opening of its mouth.

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* Many hoofed mammals of the distant past were pig-like in shape: indeed, the pig frame was the most primitive among "ungulates", still retained by some modern hoofed mammals, the best example being boars and peccaries (which are artiodactyls) and also the tapir (which is a perissodactyl). Among extinct true boars, ''Metridiochoerus'' was related with the modern warthog but with straighter tusks. Among prehistoric pseudo-boars most were small (ex. ''Anoplotherium'' and the oreodontids), but some were not: entelodonts are the most striking ones. They were bison-sized at the most, and had several bony knobs on their head and jaws, resembling giant warthogs, but their tusks were much smaller than a warthog's or a babirusa's, and didn't protrude out of the mouth. Their food habits are still unclear: they might be scavengers that drove away small predators from their kill, but also ate vegetation and might even be active hunters sometimes. North American ''Daeodon'' (also called ''Dinohyus'') is the largest and one of the most depicted entelodont. [[Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]] ''Series/WalkingWithBeasts'' has shown an unnamed Asian relative, and affected its appearance [[CarnivoreConfusion to make it scarier]], exaggerating the opening of its mouth.



* ''All'' mammals were small and rodent-shaped in their evolutionary beginnings. Some became larger and more derived after the extinction of the dinosaurs, but none to the same level as whales. The first whale ancestors appeared only 10 million years or so after the non-avian dinosaurs' extinction. Once thought to have descended from dog-like mesonychids (see above), whales [[ScienceMarchesOn are now thought to be]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Even-toed_ungulate artiodactyls]] (even-toed ungulates), aka the group including camels, pigs, cattle, deer, and hippos (their closest relative). The first whales may have descended from the aforementioned anthracotheres, or possibly ''Indohyus'' ("Indian pig"). They probably spent much of their time on land, feeding on dead fish and drowned animals. ''Ambulocetus'' (the "walking whale") is a good example of this: still four-limbed, it was already a good swimmer, but still resembled anything but a whale. ''[[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]'' showed it as an ambush-hunter of small land mammals, like a modern Nile Crocodile; actually its lifestyle is unknown. Maybe ''Ambulocetus'' was a specialist fish-hunter like modern otters.

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* ''All'' mammals were small and rodent-shaped in their evolutionary beginnings. Some became larger and more derived after the extinction of the dinosaurs, but none to the same level as whales. The first whale ancestors appeared only 10 million years or so after the non-avian dinosaurs' extinction. Once thought to have descended from dog-like mesonychids (see above), whales [[ScienceMarchesOn are now thought to be]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Even-toed_ungulate artiodactyls]] (even-toed ungulates), aka the group including camels, pigs, cattle, deer, and hippos (their closest relative). The first whales may have descended from the aforementioned anthracotheres, or possibly ''Indohyus'' ("Indian pig"). They probably spent much of their time on land, feeding on dead fish and drowned animals. ''Ambulocetus'' (the "walking whale") is a good example of this: still four-limbed, it was already a good swimmer, but still resembled anything but a whale. ''[[WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]]'' ''Series/WalkingWithBeasts'' showed it as an ambush-hunter of small land mammals, like a modern Nile Crocodile; actually its lifestyle is unknown. Maybe ''Ambulocetus'' was a specialist fish-hunter like modern otters.



* Traditionally we have put in the “insectivores” group all those mammals whose anatomy is comparable to that of most Mesozoic mammals: small size, generic mouse-like look and non-specialized teeth. Actually modern insectivores are very different among each other; while the most commonly known (hedgehogs, moles, shrews) ''are'' closely related, many other less familiar “insectivores” (tupays, tenrecs, sengis) are not. Their resemblance is just due to the fact they still preserve a body-plan similar to the most common one in the Mesozoic, while non-insectivoran mammals modified it becoming more recognizable. Several "insectivores" are known from the Cenozoic's fossil record, but they, being usually small, are rather uncommon like rodents. Maybe the most famous and specialized is ''Leptictidium'', a hopping animal similar to a 3 ft long kangaroo with shrew-like teeth and (maybe) a shrew-like mobile nose. Not related with any modern mammal, ''Leptictidium'' appears the main character in the first [[Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]] episode, and was also the inspiration for Scrat in the WesternAnimation/IceAge films. [[note]]As it is, however, Scrat actually bears a close resemblance to the Mesozoic mammal ''Cronopio'', although this was pure coincidence.[[/note]] More shrew-like, ''Zalambdalestes'' lived before the non-avian dinosaurs’ extinction—Late Cretaceous, along with guys like ''[[StockDinosaurs Velociraptor, Oviraptor,]]'' and ''[[StockDinosaurs Protoceratops]]''. Traditionally believed an “insectivore”, recent research seem suggest it was close to the ancestors of live-bearing mammals.

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* Traditionally we have put in the “insectivores” group all those mammals whose anatomy is comparable to that of most Mesozoic mammals: small size, generic mouse-like look and non-specialized teeth. Actually modern insectivores are very different among each other; while the most commonly known (hedgehogs, moles, shrews) ''are'' closely related, many other less familiar “insectivores” (tupays, tenrecs, sengis) are not. Their resemblance is just due to the fact they still preserve a body-plan similar to the most common one in the Mesozoic, while non-insectivoran mammals modified it becoming more recognizable. Several "insectivores" are known from the Cenozoic's fossil record, but they, being usually small, are rather uncommon like rodents. Maybe the most famous and specialized is ''Leptictidium'', a hopping animal similar to a 3 ft long kangaroo with shrew-like teeth and (maybe) a shrew-like mobile nose. Not related with any modern mammal, ''Leptictidium'' appears the main character in the first [[Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs Walking With Beasts]] ''Series/WalkingWithBeasts'' episode, and was also the inspiration for Scrat in the WesternAnimation/IceAge films. [[note]]As it is, however, Scrat actually bears a close resemblance to the Mesozoic mammal ''Cronopio'', although this was pure coincidence.[[/note]] More shrew-like, ''Zalambdalestes'' lived before the non-avian dinosaurs’ extinction—Late Cretaceous, along with guys like ''[[StockDinosaurs Velociraptor, Oviraptor,]]'' and ''[[StockDinosaurs Protoceratops]]''. Traditionally believed an “insectivore”, recent research seem suggest it was close to the ancestors of live-bearing mammals.



* During mammal evolution, some groups reached the ability to glide. The most known extinct glider is perhaps ''Planetetherium'', belonging to the same group of the so-called “flying lemur” of our days. But no other mammalian group managed to fly actively like bats. Unfortunately, bats are a very poorly-known group in the fossil record because their skeleton is way too fragile to fossilize well. Despite this, awesomely well-preserved bat remains have been discovered in the most famous fossil deposit from Early Cenozoic: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messel_pit Messel Pit]], in Germany. This deposit has also many, many other early mammals: among them, the aforementioned hopping bug-eater ''Leptictidium'' and the basal ungulate ''Propalaeotherium'' have been recently made famous by Walking With (even though the propalaeothere ''wasn't'' an early "horse" as said in the program). These and other mammals from this deposit are so well preserved that ''even their fur and stomach contents are known''. In short, we know'em almost like they were still-living animals. The very first bats have been discovered here, and show us all the traits associated with their modern relatives: fingered wings, large ears, and even structure for echolocating are known from these finds. This has lead scientists to make an intriguing hypothesis: perhaps some sort of gliding proto-bats were already living on Earth ''before'' pterosaurs and non-avian dinosaurs disappeared? This would also mean bat-winged critters ''did'' exist at the Age of Dinosaurs, thus making the "Mesozoic bat-winged fliers" trope partially TruthInTelevision (see also ''Yi'' in "Birdlike Dinosaurs").

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* During mammal evolution, some groups reached the ability to glide. The most known extinct glider is perhaps ''Planetetherium'', belonging to the same group of the so-called “flying lemur” of our days. But no other mammalian group managed to fly actively like bats. Unfortunately, bats are a very poorly-known group in the fossil record because their skeleton is way too fragile to fossilize well. Despite this, awesomely well-preserved bat remains have been discovered in the most famous fossil deposit from Early Cenozoic: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messel_pit Messel Pit]], in Germany. This deposit has also many, many other early mammals: among them, the aforementioned hopping bug-eater ''Leptictidium'' and the basal ungulate ''Propalaeotherium'' have been recently made famous by Walking With ''Series/WalkingWithBeasts'' (even though the propalaeothere ''wasn't'' an early "horse" as said in the program). These and other mammals from this deposit are so well preserved that ''even their fur and stomach contents are known''. In short, we know'em almost like they were still-living animals. The very first bats have been discovered here, and show us all the traits associated with their modern relatives: fingered wings, large ears, and even structure for echolocating are known from these finds. This has lead scientists to make an intriguing hypothesis: perhaps some sort of gliding proto-bats were already living on Earth ''before'' pterosaurs and non-avian dinosaurs disappeared? This would also mean bat-winged critters ''did'' exist at the Age of Dinosaurs, thus making the "Mesozoic bat-winged fliers" trope partially TruthInTelevision (see also ''Yi'' in "Birdlike Dinosaurs").
19th Feb '17 11:12:09 AM MasterofGalaxies4628
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* A 2008 discovery made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws. And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is believed to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. That said, they likely had a wide and varied appetite, as sperm whales do today. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' is known to have occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, at the time of writing it's mostly speculation. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.

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* A 2008 discovery made in Peru, ''Livyatan melvillei'' possesses what may be the largest functional teeth of any animal (that is, not counting tusks). The size of the partially preserved skull indicates that ''Livyatan'' reached a length between 44-57 feet, possessing a head three meters long. It was quite similar to the modern sperm whale, only it had teeth in both of its jaws.jaws (think [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} Monstro]], but smaller). And these teeth were ''massive'', at their largest growing to a little over a foot in length. It is believed to be one of the area's apex predators, along with the giant shark ''C. megalodon'', who lived in the same area at the same time. It's also theorized that they may have had a similar taste in preferred prey too: baleen whales. That said, they likely had a wide and varied appetite, as sperm whales do today. A tooth discovered Beaumaris Bay, Australia in 2016 seems to indicate that ''melvillei''--or a closely related species--may have had a wider habitat range than previously indicated, and existed in the area for another two million years after the time period in which the Peruvian population of ''melvillei'' is known to have occurred. However, as we only have one tooth to go on, at the time of writing it's mostly speculation. It also happens to be one of those prehistoric animals whose name is a reference, too. "Livyatan" is the Hebrew name for the legendary Biblical sea monster Leviathan (note that the translation of the word "whale" in modern Hebrew is just "livyatan"), and "melvillei" is coined after Herman Melville, the author of ''[[Literature/MobyDick Moby-Dick]]''.
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