History UsefulNotes / PrehistoricLifeNonDinosaurianReptiles

24th Apr '16 6:57:36 PM TVRulezAgain
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* After ''Dimetrodon'', ''Edaphosaurus'' is the only "pelycosaur" which has some possibilities to appear in non-documentary media - at least indirectly: sometimes ''Dimetrodon''s with a sail more similar to ''Edaphosaurus'' are seen in fictional works, ex. in TheLandBeforeTime movie. A bit larger than ''Dimetrodon'', ''Edaphosaurus'' was very similar to the latter, with a sail on its back, long tail and splayed legs. Its sail was bigger and more complex however: it had a more rounded shape and its spines had regularly-placed tubercles for uncertain purpose. ''Edaphosaurus'' head was much smaller than ''Dimetrodon'' and with round teeth all with the same shape. With this dentition, it was arguably herbivorous, but could also have eaten shellfish according to some. Living alongside ''Dimetrodon'' in Late Permian North America, ''Edaphosaurus'' is sometimes shown in paleo art as one of its possible preys. This could be realistic, even though ''Dimetrodon'' almost certainly hunted young ''Edaphosaurus'' more often than the powerful adults.

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* After ''Dimetrodon'', ''Edaphosaurus'' is the only "pelycosaur" which has some possibilities to appear in non-documentary media - at least indirectly: sometimes ''Dimetrodon''s with a sail more similar to ''Edaphosaurus'' are seen in fictional works, ex. in TheLandBeforeTime WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime movie. A bit larger than ''Dimetrodon'', ''Edaphosaurus'' was very similar to the latter, with a sail on its back, long tail and splayed legs. Its sail was bigger and more complex however: it had a more rounded shape and its spines had regularly-placed tubercles for uncertain purpose. ''Edaphosaurus'' head was much smaller than ''Dimetrodon'' and with round teeth all with the same shape. With this dentition, it was arguably herbivorous, but could also have eaten shellfish according to some. Living alongside ''Dimetrodon'' in Late Permian North America, ''Edaphosaurus'' is sometimes shown in paleo art as one of its possible preys. This could be realistic, even though ''Dimetrodon'' almost certainly hunted young ''Edaphosaurus'' more often than the powerful adults.
23rd Apr '16 12:10:08 PM TVRulezAgain
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* Among the most basal diapsids - that is, the group containing all reptiles ''sensu stricto'' (except anapsids and maybe turtles), most looked like simple lizards, for example the Permian ''Araeoscelis'' and the Early Triassic ''Youngina''. But other were more specialized. The small tree-specialists avicephalans for example, also living in Early Triassic (nowadays the word 'avicephalan' is generally disused as it's probably contains unrelated animals). Some avicephalans were gliding forms similar to those already mentioned above: ex. the deceptively dinosaur-sounding ''Coelurosauravus'' (literally "coelurosaur ancestor") had elongated ribs like those seen in ''Icarosaurus'', but was not related with the latter. Another subgroup, the drepanosaurs, was more similar to chameleons but with a neck of a bird, ex. ''Megalancosaurus'' and ''Hypuronector''. Even though they are very rarely portrayed [[note]]One of them could have appeared at the start of WesternAnimation/heLandBeforeTime original movie, but portrayed as a water-living creature: this would be ScienceMarchesOn, as originally ''Hypuronector'' was believed aquatic.[[/note]], drepanosaurs were among the most specialized and weird-looking reptiles ever; to give an example, ''Megalancosaurus'' had chameleon-like forearms, a bird-like beak, a large hump across its shoulders, and a prehensile tail with a claw at the end of it.


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* Among the most basal diapsids - that is, the group containing all reptiles ''sensu stricto'' (except anapsids and maybe turtles), most looked like simple lizards, for example the Permian ''Araeoscelis'' and the Early Triassic ''Youngina''. But other were more specialized. The small tree-specialists avicephalans for example, also living in Early Triassic (nowadays the word 'avicephalan' is generally disused as it's probably contains unrelated animals). Some avicephalans were gliding forms similar to those already mentioned above: ex. the deceptively dinosaur-sounding ''Coelurosauravus'' (literally "coelurosaur ancestor") had elongated ribs like those seen in ''Icarosaurus'', but was not related with the latter. Another subgroup, the drepanosaurs, was more similar to chameleons but with a neck of a bird, ex. ''Megalancosaurus'' and ''Hypuronector''. Even though they are very rarely portrayed [[note]]One of them could have appeared at the start of WesternAnimation/heLandBeforeTime WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime original movie, but portrayed as a water-living creature: this would be ScienceMarchesOn, as originally ''Hypuronector'' was believed aquatic.[[/note]], drepanosaurs were among the most specialized and weird-looking reptiles ever; to give an example, ''Megalancosaurus'' had chameleon-like forearms, a bird-like beak, a large hump across its shoulders, and a prehensile tail with a claw at the end of it.

23rd Apr '16 12:09:13 PM TVRulezAgain
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* Among the most basal diapsids - that is, the group containing all reptiles ''sensu stricto'' (except anapsids and maybe turtles), most looked like simple lizards, for example the Permian ''Araeoscelis'' and the Early Triassic ''Youngina''. But other were more specialized. The small tree-specialists avicephalans for example, also living in Early Triassic (nowadays the word 'avicephalan' is generally disused as it's probably contains unrelated animals). Some avicephalans were gliding forms similar to those already mentioned above: ex. the deceptively dinosaur-sounding ''Coelurosauravus'' (literally "coelurosaur ancestor") had elongated ribs like those seen in ''Icarosaurus'', but was not related with the latter. Another subgroup, the drepanosaurs, was more similar to chameleons but with a neck of a bird, ex. ''Megalancosaurus'' and ''Hypuronector''. Even though they are very rarely portrayed [[note]]One of them could have appeared at the start of the LandBeforeTime original movie, but portrayed as a water-living creature: this would be ScienceMarchesOn, as originally ''Hypuronector'' was believed aquatic.[[/note]], drepanosaurs were among the most specialized and weird-looking reptiles ever; to give an example, ''Megalancosaurus'' had chameleon-like forearms, a bird-like beak, a large hump across its shoulders, and a prehensile tail with a claw at the end of it.


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* Among the most basal diapsids - that is, the group containing all reptiles ''sensu stricto'' (except anapsids and maybe turtles), most looked like simple lizards, for example the Permian ''Araeoscelis'' and the Early Triassic ''Youngina''. But other were more specialized. The small tree-specialists avicephalans for example, also living in Early Triassic (nowadays the word 'avicephalan' is generally disused as it's probably contains unrelated animals). Some avicephalans were gliding forms similar to those already mentioned above: ex. the deceptively dinosaur-sounding ''Coelurosauravus'' (literally "coelurosaur ancestor") had elongated ribs like those seen in ''Icarosaurus'', but was not related with the latter. Another subgroup, the drepanosaurs, was more similar to chameleons but with a neck of a bird, ex. ''Megalancosaurus'' and ''Hypuronector''. Even though they are very rarely portrayed [[note]]One of them could have appeared at the start of the LandBeforeTime WesternAnimation/heLandBeforeTime original movie, but portrayed as a water-living creature: this would be ScienceMarchesOn, as originally ''Hypuronector'' was believed aquatic.[[/note]], drepanosaurs were among the most specialized and weird-looking reptiles ever; to give an example, ''Megalancosaurus'' had chameleon-like forearms, a bird-like beak, a large hump across its shoulders, and a prehensile tail with a claw at the end of it.

17th Apr '16 11:31:44 AM MrMediaGuy2
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...snakes are lizards!: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Najash Najash]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinilysia Dinilysia]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantophis Gigantophis]]'', and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/Titanoboa Titanoboa]]''

* Snakes are the great exception among extant reptiles: they are a ''very'' recent thing, appeared only in the Late Cretaceous, just before the mass extinction. Their success was obtained only since the beginning of the Mammal Age 65 million years ago, and venomous species appeared even later, 30-20 million years ago. The most ancient extant snakes are probably boas and pythons, or at least their closest relatives: the most common kind of snakes, the colubrids (the garden snake and relatives), appeared in fully Cenozoic settings. As birds are nothing but winged dinosaurs, snakes are nothing but legless lizards. They descend from a still unknown kind of Cretaceous lizard which did elongate its body loosing the limbs at the same time. Curiously, the lizard group closer to snakes in phylogeny is not to be searched among the small slithering ones, like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguis_fragilis slow worms]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaenia amphisbaenians]]. One hypothesis suggests snakes evolved from burrowing monitor-like lizards, or shared an ancestor with the gigantic mosasaurs instead, although recent genetic analysis and the discovery of ''Najash'', a genus of two-legged snakes, is calling that relationship into question. The mosasaurs' reputation as the Cretaceous "sea serpents" is thus not totally appropriated. Prehistoric snakes are not much portrayed in books or paleo art: this is probably because their remains are very, very scant, ''even more'' than those of their lizard ancestors: all that we often have are few isolated vertebrae, which don't allow to understand even how long they were. Hence, speculation and exaggerations tend to be common. ''Gigantophis'' (which lived just after the dinosaur extinction) is a prime example: only known for fragmentary remains, it may get described as [[RuleOfCool twice the length of an anaconda]] despite it more probably was only a bit longer than the latter, if it was. If dealing with Cretaceous species, it'll probably be a ''Dinilysia''. A very recent discovery, right after the extinction of non-bird dinosaurs, has been the 50-foot long, one-ton ''Titanoboa'': its name means "titanic boa" for obvious reasons.

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...snakes are lizards!: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Najash Najash]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinilysia Dinilysia]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantophis Gigantophis]]'', and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/Titanoboa Titanoboa]]''

Titanoboa]]'', and ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaeophis Palaeophis]]''

* Snakes are the great exception among extant reptiles: they are a ''very'' recent thing, appeared only in the Late Cretaceous, just before the mass extinction. Their success was obtained only since the beginning of the Mammal Age 65 million years ago, and venomous species appeared even later, 30-20 million years ago. The most ancient extant snakes are probably boas and pythons, or at least their closest relatives: the most common kind of snakes, the colubrids (the garden snake and relatives), appeared in fully Cenozoic settings. As birds are nothing but winged dinosaurs, snakes are nothing but legless lizards. They descend from a still unknown kind of Cretaceous lizard which did elongate its body loosing the limbs at the same time. Curiously, the lizard group closer to snakes in phylogeny is not to be searched among the small slithering ones, like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguis_fragilis slow worms]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaenia amphisbaenians]]. One hypothesis suggests snakes evolved from burrowing monitor-like lizards, or shared an ancestor with the gigantic mosasaurs instead, although recent genetic analysis and the discovery of ''Najash'', a genus of two-legged snakes, is calling that relationship into question. The mosasaurs' reputation as the Cretaceous "sea serpents" is thus not totally appropriated. Prehistoric snakes are not much portrayed in books or paleo art: this is probably because their remains are very, very scant, ''even more'' than those of their lizard ancestors: all that we often have are few isolated vertebrae, which don't allow to understand even how long they were. Hence, speculation and exaggerations tend to be common. ''Gigantophis'' (which lived just after the dinosaur extinction) is a prime example: only known for fragmentary remains, it may get described as [[RuleOfCool twice the length of an anaconda]] despite it more probably was only a bit longer than the latter, if it was. If dealing with Cretaceous species, it'll probably be a ''Dinilysia''. A very recent discovery, right after the extinction of non-bird dinosaurs, has been the 50-foot long, one-ton ''Titanoboa'': its name means "titanic boa" for obvious reasons.
reasons. Another interesting guy is ''Palaeophis'', a marine boa that, like the aforementioned champsosaurs, survived the Cretaceous mass extinction and made it up to the Eocene. A real life sea serpent, this creature has an estimated length of up to 30 feet, but is yet to be seen even in educational media.
13th Apr '16 4:09:22 AM Spinosegnosaurus77
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* One of the strangest marine reptiles ever discovered. This Triassic creature had a body structure similar to that of the aforementioned ''Placodus''. But that's not what so strange about this guy. The name means "Unusual dentation", and for good reason: the creature's upper mandible was [[http://scinews.ro/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Atopodentatus_unicus.jpg split into a strange zipper-like structure!]] Judging by its jaws and teeth, it was most likely a filter feeder instead of an active predator, swimming into shallow waters to prey on small microscopic organisms.

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* One of the strangest marine reptiles ever discovered. This discovered, this Triassic creature had a body structure similar to that of the aforementioned ''Placodus''. But that's not what so strange about this guy. The name means "Unusual dentation", and for good reason: the creature's upper mandible was [[http://scinews.ro/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Atopodentatus_unicus.jpg split into a strange zipper-like structure!]] Judging by its jaws and teeth, it was most likely a filter feeder instead of an active predator, swimming into shallow waters to prey on small microscopic organisms.
12th Apr '16 9:45:01 PM MrMediaGuy2
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Added DiffLines:


Split jaw: ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atopodentatus Atopodentatus]]''

* One of the strangest marine reptiles ever discovered. This Triassic creature had a body structure similar to that of the aforementioned ''Placodus''. But that's not what so strange about this guy. The name means "Unusual dentation", and for good reason: the creature's upper mandible was [[http://scinews.ro/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Atopodentatus_unicus.jpg split into a strange zipper-like structure!]] Judging by its jaws and teeth, it was most likely a filter feeder instead of an active predator, swimming into shallow waters to prey on small microscopic organisms.
15th Mar '16 7:02:09 AM laplaneteetlesoleil
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* Snakes are the great exception among extant reptiles: they are a ''very'' recent thing, appeared only in the Late Cretaceous, just before the mass extinction. Their success was obtained only since the beginning of the Mammal Age 65 million years ago, and venomous species appeared even later, 30-20 million years ago. The most ancient extant snakes are probably boas and pythons, or at least their closest relatives: the most common kind of snakes, the colubrids (the garden snake and relatives), appeared in fully Cenozoic settings. As birds are nothing but winged dinosaurs, snakes are nothing but legless lizards. They descend from a still unknown kind of Cretaceous lizard which did elongate its body loosing the limbs at the same time. Curiously, the lizard group closer to snakes in phylogeny is not to be searched among the small slithering ones, like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguis_fragilis slow worms]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaenia amphisbaenians]]. One hypothesis suggests snakes evolved from burrowing monitor-like lizards, or shared an ancestor with the gigantic mosasaurs instead, although recent genetic analysis and the discovery of ''Najash'', a genus of two-legged snakes, is calling that relationship into question. The mosasaurs' reputation as the Cretaceous "sea serpents" could be[[JustifiedTrope not totally justified]] for some. Prehistoric snakes are not much portrayed in books or paleo art: this is probably because their remains are very, very scant, ''even more'' than those of their lizard ancestors: all that we often have are few isolated vertebrae, which don't allow to understand even how long they were. Hence, speculation and exaggerations tend to be common. ''Gigantophis'' (which lived just after the dinosaur extinction) is a prime example: only known for fragmentary remains, it may get described as [[RuleOfCool twice the length of an anaconda]] despite it more probably was only a bit longer than the latter, if it was. If dealing with Cretaceous species, it'll probably be a ''Dinilysia''. A very recent discovery, right after the extinction of non-bird dinosaurs, has been the 50-foot long, one-ton ''Titanoboa'': its name means "titanic boa" for obvious reasons.

to:

* Snakes are the great exception among extant reptiles: they are a ''very'' recent thing, appeared only in the Late Cretaceous, just before the mass extinction. Their success was obtained only since the beginning of the Mammal Age 65 million years ago, and venomous species appeared even later, 30-20 million years ago. The most ancient extant snakes are probably boas and pythons, or at least their closest relatives: the most common kind of snakes, the colubrids (the garden snake and relatives), appeared in fully Cenozoic settings. As birds are nothing but winged dinosaurs, snakes are nothing but legless lizards. They descend from a still unknown kind of Cretaceous lizard which did elongate its body loosing the limbs at the same time. Curiously, the lizard group closer to snakes in phylogeny is not to be searched among the small slithering ones, like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguis_fragilis slow worms]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaenia amphisbaenians]]. One hypothesis suggests snakes evolved from burrowing monitor-like lizards, or shared an ancestor with the gigantic mosasaurs instead, although recent genetic analysis and the discovery of ''Najash'', a genus of two-legged snakes, is calling that relationship into question. The mosasaurs' reputation as the Cretaceous "sea serpents" could be[[JustifiedTrope is thus not totally justified]] for some.appropriated. Prehistoric snakes are not much portrayed in books or paleo art: this is probably because their remains are very, very scant, ''even more'' than those of their lizard ancestors: all that we often have are few isolated vertebrae, which don't allow to understand even how long they were. Hence, speculation and exaggerations tend to be common. ''Gigantophis'' (which lived just after the dinosaur extinction) is a prime example: only known for fragmentary remains, it may get described as [[RuleOfCool twice the length of an anaconda]] despite it more probably was only a bit longer than the latter, if it was. If dealing with Cretaceous species, it'll probably be a ''Dinilysia''. A very recent discovery, right after the extinction of non-bird dinosaurs, has been the 50-foot long, one-ton ''Titanoboa'': its name means "titanic boa" for obvious reasons.



The first crocodinos: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proterosuchus Proterosuchus]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proterochampsa Proterochampsa]]''

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The first crocodinos: Crocodinos: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proterosuchus Proterosuchus]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proterochampsa Proterochampsa]]''
15th Mar '16 7:00:08 AM laplaneteetlesoleil
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* Snakes are the great exception among extant reptiles: they are a ''very'' recent thing, appeared only in the Late Cretaceous, just before the mass extinction. Their success was obtained only since the beginning of the Mammal Age 65 million years ago, and venomous species appeared even later, 30-20 million years ago. The most ancient extant snakes are probably boas and pythons, or at least their closest relatives: the most common kind of snakes, the colubrids (the garden snake and relatives), appeared in fully Cenozoic settings. As birds are nothing but winged dinosaurs, snakes are nothing but legless lizards. They descend from a still unknown kind of Cretaceous lizard which did elongate its body loosing the limbs at the same time. Curiously, the lizard group closer to snakes in phylogeny is not to be searched among the small slithering ones, like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguis_fragilis slow worms]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaenia amphisbaenians]]. One hypothesis suggests snakes evolved from burrowing monitor-like lizards, or shared an ancestor with the gigantic mosasaurs instead, although recent genetic analysis and the discovery of ''Najash'', a genus of two-legged snakes, is calling that relationship into question. The mosasaurs' reputation as the Cretaceous "sea serpents" seems [[JustifiedTrope justified]] nonetheless. Prehistoric snakes are not much portrayed in books or paleo art: this is probably because their remains are very, very scant, ''even more'' than those of their lizard ancestors: all that we often have are few isolated vertebrae, which don't allow to understand even how long they were. Hence, speculation and exaggerations tend to be common. ''Gigantophis'' (which lived just after the dinosaur extinction) is a prime example: only known for fragmentary remains, it may get described as [[RuleOfCool twice the length of an anaconda]] despite it more probably was only a bit longer than the latter, if it was. If dealing with Cretaceous species, it'll probably be a ''Dinilysia''. A very recent discovery, right after the extinction of non-bird dinosaurs, has been the 50-foot long, one-ton ''Titanoboa'': its name means "titanic boa" for obvious reasons.

to:

* Snakes are the great exception among extant reptiles: they are a ''very'' recent thing, appeared only in the Late Cretaceous, just before the mass extinction. Their success was obtained only since the beginning of the Mammal Age 65 million years ago, and venomous species appeared even later, 30-20 million years ago. The most ancient extant snakes are probably boas and pythons, or at least their closest relatives: the most common kind of snakes, the colubrids (the garden snake and relatives), appeared in fully Cenozoic settings. As birds are nothing but winged dinosaurs, snakes are nothing but legless lizards. They descend from a still unknown kind of Cretaceous lizard which did elongate its body loosing the limbs at the same time. Curiously, the lizard group closer to snakes in phylogeny is not to be searched among the small slithering ones, like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguis_fragilis slow worms]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaenia amphisbaenians]]. One hypothesis suggests snakes evolved from burrowing monitor-like lizards, or shared an ancestor with the gigantic mosasaurs instead, although recent genetic analysis and the discovery of ''Najash'', a genus of two-legged snakes, is calling that relationship into question. The mosasaurs' reputation as the Cretaceous "sea serpents" seems [[JustifiedTrope could be[[JustifiedTrope not totally justified]] nonetheless.for some. Prehistoric snakes are not much portrayed in books or paleo art: this is probably because their remains are very, very scant, ''even more'' than those of their lizard ancestors: all that we often have are few isolated vertebrae, which don't allow to understand even how long they were. Hence, speculation and exaggerations tend to be common. ''Gigantophis'' (which lived just after the dinosaur extinction) is a prime example: only known for fragmentary remains, it may get described as [[RuleOfCool twice the length of an anaconda]] despite it more probably was only a bit longer than the latter, if it was. If dealing with Cretaceous species, it'll probably be a ''Dinilysia''. A very recent discovery, right after the extinction of non-bird dinosaurs, has been the 50-foot long, one-ton ''Titanoboa'': its name means "titanic boa" for obvious reasons.



Four-legged (and probably two-legged at times) Rexes: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postosuchus Postosuchus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticinosuchus Ticinosuchus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teratosaurus Teratosaurus]]'', and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saurosuchus Saurosuchus]]''

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Four-legged (and probably two-legged at times) Rexes: Crocodinos: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postosuchus Postosuchus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticinosuchus Ticinosuchus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teratosaurus Teratosaurus]]'', and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saurosuchus Saurosuchus]]''
15th Mar '16 6:58:15 AM laplaneteetlesoleil
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* Placodonts and nothosaurs (already mentioned in the "sea reptile" section) were the two main groups of Triassic sea reptiles, both relatively small compared to the most famous Jurassic-Cretaceous marine reptiles, but still large animals compared with other basal Triassic reptiles. Both are still partially terrestrial and with functioning limbs: if compared with plesiosaurs, they were like seals or otters compared with whales. Placodonts were the most specialized. They were bulky animals with strong jaws and crushing teeth specialized to eat shellfish; the most evolved of them (ex. ''Placochelys'', ''Psephoderma'', and ''Henodus'') had an armor and were very turtle-like, with a beak, weak tails, and swum with their limbs like turtles. ''Henodus'' was particularly turtle-like, with its flat broad shell and stubby tail. However, the most basal placodonts (ex. the namesake ''Placodus'') were almost armor-less, with "incisor"-like teeth and a long, robust tail for swimming, resembling a bit the modern Galapagos islands' marine iguana. Placement of placodonts in the reptilian phylogenetic tree is still uncertain, but are traditionally regarded as distant plesiosaur relatives, thus probably not related with turtles despite their resemblance. However, as recent evidence indicates that plesiosaurs themselves may have been distant turtle relatives, placodonts may have been as well.

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* Placodonts and nothosaurs (already mentioned in the "sea reptile" section) were the two main groups of Triassic sea reptiles, both relatively small compared to the most famous Jurassic-Cretaceous marine reptiles, but still large animals compared with other basal Triassic reptiles. Both are still partially terrestrial and with functioning limbs: if compared with plesiosaurs, they were like seals or otters compared with whales. Placodonts were the most specialized. They were bulky animals with strong jaws and crushing teeth specialized to eat shellfish; the most evolved of them (ex. ''Placochelys'', ''Psephoderma'', and ''Henodus'') had an armor and were very turtle-like, with a beak, weak tails, and swum with their limbs like turtles. ''Henodus'' was particularly turtle-like, with its flat broad shell and stubby tail. However, the most basal placodonts (ex. the namesake ''Placodus'') were almost armor-less, with "incisor"-like teeth and a long, robust tail for swimming, resembling a bit the modern Galapagos islands' marine iguana. Placement of placodonts in the reptilian phylogenetic tree is still uncertain, but are traditionally regarded as distant plesiosaur relatives, thus probably not related with turtles despite their resemblance. However, as recent evidence indicates that plesiosaurs themselves may have been distant turtle relatives, placodonts may have been as well.
12th Mar '16 6:29:18 AM laplaneteetlesoleil
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* TurtlePower is TruthInTelevision. Turtles have ''literally'' been among the longest lived reptiles ever, since appeared 230 million years ago and are still living today. But their origin is really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''Proganochelys'' from the Triassic, had already the classic turtle shape, shell and toothless beak included; since then, they have not changed their body plan at all for 250 million years. Mesozoic turtles were ''very'' similar to ours. They have had a great success, colonizing all three main habitat just like crocs: terrestrial, marine, freshwater. And just like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the relative ''Protostega'' was not much smaller, while the very obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators. Chelonians (the correct name for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened (though not from ''Archelon'': it went eventually extinct without leaving descendants). The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians) since freshwater aid the fossilization, and hard-boned shells / bony armors do preserve very well. Most non-marine turtles were small, just like today, but ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. There were also two large land-living species just 1 million years before modern history: ''Colossochelys atlas'' the "Atlas tortoise" from India was very Galapagos tortoise-like but ''as large as a small car''; the Australian ''Meiolania'' (nicknamed "horned tortoise") was smaller but with a cooler look: it had [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin small bovine-like hornlets]] on its head. Extra note: [[ScienceMarchesOn recent research]] seems to show turtles ''were not'' the most ancient still living reptiles as traditionally said. Lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles might even be archosaur relatives: that is, closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. But this is an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


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* TurtlePower is TruthInTelevision. Turtles have ''literally'' been among the longest lived reptiles ever, since appeared 230 million years ago and are still living today. But their origin is really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''Proganochelys'' from the Triassic, had already the classic turtle shape, shell and toothless beak included; since then, they have not changed their body plan at all for 250 million years. Mesozoic turtles were ''very'' similar to ours. They have had a great success, colonizing all three main habitat just like crocs: terrestrial, marine, freshwater. And just like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the relative ''Protostega'' was not much smaller, while the very obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators. Chelonians (the correct name for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened (though not from ''Archelon'': it went eventually extinct without leaving descendants). The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians) since freshwater aid the fossilization, and hard-boned shells / bony armors do preserve very well. Most non-marine turtles were small, just like today, but ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. There were also two large land-living species just 1 million years before modern history: ''Colossochelys atlas'' the "Atlas tortoise" from India was very Galapagos tortoise-like but ''as large as a small car''; the Australian ''Meiolania'' (nicknamed "horned tortoise") was smaller but with a cooler look: it had [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin small bovine-like hornlets]] on its head. Extra note: [[ScienceMarchesOn recent research]] seems to show turtles ''were not'' the most ancient still living reptiles as traditionally said. Lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles might even be archosaur relatives: (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. But this is has long been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.




The animal listed here were once called "cotylosaurs", but this word is now fallen in disuse. This was a catch-all term for all most primitive "reptiles" which couldn't be placed in another well-defined groups. However, some of them still make a natural grouping: anapsids. They were a successful group of animals which make a group on their own, intermediate between true reptiles (the diapsids) and the mammal-like synapsids: hence their alternate name: parareptiles ("near reptiles"). Most anapsids were even more ancient than diapsids: they lived mainly in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian Permian period]] alongside ''Dimetrodon'' and the other mammal ancestors. Like therapsids, they were mainly discovered in Russia and South Africa. Whether turtles are just surviving anapsids or not is still matter of discussion (see “Still-living reptile groups” above).

to:

The animal listed here were once called "cotylosaurs", but this word is now fallen in disuse. This was a catch-all term for all most primitive "reptiles" which couldn't be placed in another well-defined groups. However, some of them still make a natural grouping: anapsids. They were a successful group of animals which make a group on their own, intermediate between true reptiles (the diapsids) and the mammal-like synapsids: hence their alternate name: parareptiles ("near reptiles"). Most anapsids were even more ancient than diapsids: they lived mainly in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian Permian period]] alongside ''Dimetrodon'' and the other mammal ancestors. Like therapsids, they were mainly discovered in Russia and South Africa. Whether turtles are just surviving anapsids or not is still has long been matter of discussion discussion: today they're considered true diapsids, though still of uncertain placement in the tree (see “Still-living reptile groups” above).
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