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* The boundary between mammals and non-mammals has always been a hard issue for paleontologists. Since typical mammalian features such as hair, milk glands, etc... do not fossilize most the time, the key to separate the two ensembles lays in their skull. True mammals have a mandible made by a single couple of bones, and ''three'' ossicles in the mid-ear. Non-mammalian synapsids have several pairs of bones in the lower jaw and a ''single'' ossicle in the ear. It's also worth noting that mammalian features probably didn't appear all in the same instant: perhaps some therapsids ''already'' produced milk, though they didn't have erect limbs yet, unlike modern mammals (except platypus and echidna, aka the Monotremes, that still have splayed limbs). Some quasi-mammals (more correctly called mammaliaforms) began in Late Triassic and were tiny, very shrew-like, and insectivorous: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morganucodon Morganucodon]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megazostrodon Megazostrodon]]'' are the two most portrayed. Both were once classified as "triconodonts", but today this term only indicates some more evolved true mammals from the Jurassic and Cretaceous, like the cat-sized ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triconodon Triconodon]]'' indeed. Another group of mammaliaforms were the omnivorous docodonts, which managed to reach the Late Jurassic with species such as the namesake ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodon Docodon]]''. The first true mammals appeared in the early Jurassic, and were shrew-like just like their Triassic mammaliaform ancestors. They remained so for all the Mesozoic... [[ScienceMarchesOn at least this is what scientists used to think]]. Traditionally, fossils of Mesozoic mammals are extremely rare and fragmentary due to their smallness; but some very interesting new mammal fossils have been discovered since the 2000s, and we now know mammals were already very diversified at the Age of Dinosaurs. Some were mole-like diggers (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitafossor Fruitafossor]]'') , some were beaver-like swimmers (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'') , and some were ''even'' gliders (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volaticotherium Volaticotherium]]''). If you'll read a paleo book you have good chance to see Mesozoic mammals described as "insignificant little creatures ruled by the mighty dinosaurs". Actually, thanks to their possibly dense populations, mammals could have affected their ecosystem the same way dinosaurs did; and remember that small animals are often key species in their natural environments. Another unexpected discovery from the 2000s showed Mesozoic mammals not being necessarily preys for dinosaurs as well: the badger-sized ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus Repenomamus]]'' was discovered with [[EatsBabies baby dinosaur remains in its stomach.]] Another commonplace to debunk is that Mesozoic mammals were ''all'' insectivores. Actually, a whole group, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata multituberculates]] were rodent-like and herbivorous: their name "multi-tubercled tooth" is due to an unique couple of protruding cheek-teeth. They were the most abundant early mammals at the end of the Cretaceous, and managed to survive after the mass extinction. At the beginning of the Cenozoic they became even more successful, until true rodents replaced them in the Oligocene. Multituberculates were the longest living mammalian group ever before gone extinct. The largest one, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taeniolabis Taeniolabis]]'' from the Palaeocene, weighed 100 kg (the bulk of a giant panda). The direct ancestors of modern mammalian groups (placentals, marsupials, and monotremes) appeared in the Early Cretaceous but became widespread only in the Late Cretaceous. We can mention: the platypus-like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steropodon Steropodon]]'', an early monotreme; the early possum-like marsupial ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didelphodon Didelphodon]]'' (portrayed in ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' as a scavenger); and the oddly-named placental ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatorius Purgatorius]]'', which is often considered the first known ancestor of primates, or at least, a close relative. Together, eutherian mammals (the placentals) and metatherians (the marsupials) make their own group: the Therians (literally "the beasts" in Greek). Monotremes, on the other hand, are much more primitive than the former, and are traditionally called prototherians ("the first beasts"). You could also read the names "allotherians" and "pantotherians" especially in older texts. "Allotherians" included the multituberculates; "pantotherians" included the common ancestors of marsupials and placentals. As you'll see in the following [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeMammals mammal section]], ''-therium'' is the common suffix for most extinct mammals, a bit like ''-saurus'' for extinct reptiles. In the 2000s two animals discovered from the famous Early Cretaceous deposits of China were object of some sensationalism: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinodelphys Sinodelphys]]'' the "first marsupial ever", and even more ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eomaia Eomaia]]'' "the first ever placental" and thus "[[RuleOfCool the first Man's ancestor]]" ("Eomaia" meaning "dawn mother"). However, as mammal fossils from the Mesozoic are such a rarity, it's virtually impossible understanding which one was ''really'' the most basal placental / marsupial. Both are very precious, though, because they have preserved their fur -- before that, the oldest fossilized furs were from the Early Cenozoic (the famous Messel tar pits of Germany). Finally, let's debunk another tenacious myth about mammal evolution: we must thank if non-avian dinosaurs went extinct, otherwise humans couldn't have appeared on Earth. Maybe we could have appeared just the same, maybe a bit later... It's more probable that dinos actually ''guided'' mammal evolution in an indirect way. Being competitors of and preying upon our ancestors, they selected actively the most adapted, most evolved traits [[MostWritersAreHuman us mammals are proud of]]: among them, intelligence and parental care. If you are here to read this now, you have to thank dinosaurs. [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs Everything has always been better with dinosaurs!]]

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* The boundary between mammals and non-mammals has always been a hard issue for paleontologists. Since typical mammalian features such as hair, milk glands, etc... do not fossilize most the time, the key to separate the two ensembles lays in their skull. True mammals have a mandible made by a single couple of bones, and ''three'' ossicles in the mid-ear. Non-mammalian synapsids have several pairs of bones in the lower jaw and a ''single'' ossicle in the ear. It's also worth noting that mammalian features probably didn't appear all in the same instant: perhaps some therapsids ''already'' produced milk, though they didn't have erect limbs yet, unlike modern mammals (except platypus and echidna, aka the Monotremes, that still have splayed limbs). Some quasi-mammals (more correctly called mammaliaforms) began in Late Triassic and were tiny, very shrew-like, and insectivorous: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morganucodon Morganucodon]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megazostrodon Megazostrodon]]'' are the two most portrayed. Both were once classified as "triconodonts", but today this term only indicates some more evolved true mammals from the Jurassic and Cretaceous, like the cat-sized ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triconodon Triconodon]]'' indeed. Another group of mammaliaforms were the omnivorous docodonts, which managed to reach the Late Jurassic with species such as the namesake ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docodon Docodon]]''. The first true mammals appeared in the early Jurassic, and were shrew-like just like their Triassic mammaliaform ancestors. They remained so for all the Mesozoic... [[ScienceMarchesOn at least this is what scientists used to think]]. Traditionally, fossils of Mesozoic mammals are extremely rare and fragmentary due to their smallness; but some very interesting new mammal fossils have been discovered since the 2000s, and we now know mammals were already very diversified at the Age of Dinosaurs. Some were mole-like diggers (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitafossor Fruitafossor]]'') , Fruitafossor]]''), some were beaver-like swimmers (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castorocauda Castorocauda]]'') , Castorocauda]]''), and some were ''even'' gliders (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volaticotherium Volaticotherium]]''). If you'll read a paleo book you have good chance to see Mesozoic mammals described as "insignificant little creatures ruled by the mighty dinosaurs". Actually, thanks to their possibly dense populations, mammals could have affected their ecosystem the same way dinosaurs did; and remember that small animals are often key species in their natural environments. Another unexpected discovery from the 2000s showed Mesozoic mammals not being necessarily preys for dinosaurs as well: the badger-sized ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repenomamus Repenomamus]]'' was discovered with [[EatsBabies baby dinosaur remains in its stomach.]] Another commonplace to debunk is that Mesozoic mammals were ''all'' insectivores. Actually, a whole group, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multituberculata multituberculates]] were rodent-like and herbivorous: their name "multi-tubercled tooth" is due to an unique couple of protruding cheek-teeth. They were the most abundant early mammals at the end of the Cretaceous, and managed to survive after the mass extinction. At the beginning of the Cenozoic they became even more successful, until true rodents replaced them in the Oligocene. Multituberculates were the longest living mammalian group ever before gone extinct. The largest one, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taeniolabis Taeniolabis]]'' from the Palaeocene, weighed 100 kg (the bulk of a giant panda). The direct ancestors of modern mammalian groups (placentals, marsupials, and monotremes) appeared in the Early Cretaceous but became widespread only in the Late Cretaceous. We can mention: the platypus-like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steropodon Steropodon]]'', an early monotreme; the early possum-like marsupial ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didelphodon Didelphodon]]'' (portrayed in ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' as a scavenger); and the oddly-named placental ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatorius Purgatorius]]'', which is often considered the first known ancestor of primates, or at least, a close relative. Together, eutherian mammals (the placentals) and metatherians (the marsupials) make their own group: the Therians (literally "the beasts" in Greek). Monotremes, on the other hand, are much more primitive than the former, and are traditionally called prototherians ("the first beasts"). You could also read the names "allotherians" and "pantotherians" especially in older texts. "Allotherians" included the multituberculates; "pantotherians" included the common ancestors of marsupials and placentals. As you'll see in the following [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeMammals mammal section]], ''-therium'' is the common suffix for most extinct mammals, a bit like ''-saurus'' for extinct reptiles. In the 2000s two animals discovered from the famous Early Cretaceous deposits of China were object of some sensationalism: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinodelphys Sinodelphys]]'' the "first marsupial ever", and even more ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eomaia Eomaia]]'' "the first ever placental" and thus "[[RuleOfCool the first Man's ancestor]]" ("Eomaia" meaning "dawn mother"). However, as mammal fossils from the Mesozoic are such a rarity, it's virtually impossible understanding which one was ''really'' the most basal placental / marsupial. Both are very precious, though, because they have preserved their fur -- before that, the oldest fossilized furs were from the Early Cenozoic (the famous Messel tar pits of Germany). Finally, let's debunk another tenacious myth about mammal evolution: we must thank if non-avian dinosaurs went extinct, otherwise humans couldn't have appeared on Earth. Maybe we could have appeared just the same, maybe a bit later... It's more probable that dinos actually ''guided'' mammal evolution in an indirect way. Being competitors of and preying upon our ancestors, they selected actively the most adapted, most evolved traits [[MostWritersAreHuman us mammals are proud of]]: among them, intelligence and parental care. If you are here to read this now, you have to thank dinosaurs. [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs Everything has always been better with dinosaurs!]]


* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' known since the beginning of the century, has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Another smaller (but still very big) close relatives of both was ''Himalayasaurus'' found in [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the Himalayas]] (still covered by seas at the time: they emerged out of water only in the Cenozoic). These early giant ichthyosaurians had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].

to:

* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' known since the beginning of the century, century has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Another smaller (but still very big) close relatives of both was ''Himalayasaurus'' found in [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the Himalayas]] (still covered by seas at the time: they emerged out of water only in the Cenozoic). These early giant ichthyosaurians had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].



* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org./wiki/Thalattoarchon Thalattoarchon]]'' ("ruler of the seas") found in the 2010s was as large as ''Cymbospondylus'' and one of the top predators of the Triassic seas; ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Besanosaurus Besanosaurus]]'' was found in Italy in the 1990s and was 6 m long, not much smaller.

to:

* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org./wiki/Thalattoarchon Thalattoarchon]]'' ("ruler of the seas") found in the 2010s was as large as ''Cymbospondylus'' and one of the top predators of the Triassic seas; seas as well; ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Besanosaurus Besanosaurus]]'' was found in Italy in the 1990s and was 6 m long, not much smaller.


* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org./wiki/Thalattoarchon Thalattoarchon]]'' ("ruler of the seas") found in the 2000s was as large as ''Cymbospondylus'' and one of the top predators of the Triassic seas; ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Besanosaurus Besanosaurus]]'' was found in Italy in the 1990s and was 6 m long, not much smaller.

to:

* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org./wiki/Thalattoarchon Thalattoarchon]]'' ("ruler of the seas") found in the 2000s 2010s was as large as ''Cymbospondylus'' and one of the top predators of the Triassic seas; ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Besanosaurus Besanosaurus]]'' was found in Italy in the 1990s and was 6 m long, not much smaller.


* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' known since the beginning of the century, has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Another smaller (but still very big) close relatives of both was ''Himalayasaurus'' from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the Himalayas]]. These early giant ichthyosaurians had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].

to:

* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' known since the beginning of the century, has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Another smaller (but still very big) close relatives of both was ''Himalayasaurus'' from found in [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the Himalayas]].Himalayas]] (still covered by seas at the time: they emerged out of water only in the Cenozoic). These early giant ichthyosaurians had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].


* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'' which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestacea]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


to:

* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'' which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestacea]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s.2000s upon living species. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.



* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'' which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestacea]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


to:

* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'' which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestacea]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.



* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'' which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


to:

* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'' which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' semitestacea]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.



* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'', which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


to:

* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'', ''Protostega'' which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.



* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'': they went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


to:

* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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 (but unlike crocs they frequent all these environments still today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'': they ''Protostega'', which went eventually extinct without leaving descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. These "missing links" has connected turtles with Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. In short, the real origin of turtles has been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.



* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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, but unlike crocs, they frequent all these environments still today. However, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians (the correct name for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened (though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'': they went eventually extinct without leaving descendants). The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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 molecular 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 (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. This "missing link" has connected turtles with diapsids even even more than genetic research itself. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. The origin of turtles has long been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


to:

* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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: crocs, terrestrial, marine, freshwater, but freshwater (but unlike crocs, crocs they frequent all these environments still today. However, today); however, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians or Testudines (the correct name names for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened (though happened, though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'': they went eventually extinct without leaving descendants).descendants. The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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 molecular research]] seems to show turtles ''were not'' Anapsids as traditionally said, thus not descending from the "near-reptiles" (see the last folder of the page). Before that, they were believed the most ancient still living reptiles as traditionally said. Lizards reptiles, but lizards and tuataras were perhaps more basal, and turtles (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. This These "missing link" links" has connected turtles with diapsids Diapsids even even more than the former genetic research itself.made in the 2000s. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. The In short, the real origin of turtles has long been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.



* In dinosaur books, the traditional prototypical Triassic ichthyosaur has been ''Mixosaurus''. Even smaller than a human and with a still underdeveloped caudal fin, it had already the classic fish-like form of more advanced ichthyosaurs, showing how the ichthyosaurs' strong adaptations to water were already achieved well before the success of, say, the land-living dinosaurs and the flying pterosaurs. The mixosaur's preys might have included [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs ammonites]], fishes of every kinds, crustaceans etc. Like what happens with modern sea-mammals different kinds of ichthyosaurs arguably ate different sources of food, even though none of them was probably a filter-feeder like the modern baleen whales. ''Californosaurus'' from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin California]] was another relatively small basal ichthyosaur from Triassic.

to:

* In dinosaur books, the traditional prototypical Triassic ichthyosaur has been ''Mixosaurus''. Even smaller than a human and with a still underdeveloped caudal fin, it had already the classic fish-like form of more advanced ichthyosaurs, showing how the ichthyosaurs' strong adaptations to water were already achieved well before the success of, say, the land-living dinosaurs and the flying pterosaurs. The mixosaur's preys might have included [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs ammonites]], fishes of every kinds, crustaceans etc. Like what happens with modern sea-mammals different kinds of ichthyosaurs arguably ate different sources of food, even though none of them was probably a filter-feeder like the modern baleen whales. ''Californosaurus'' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Californosaurus Californosaurus]]'' from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin California]] was another relatively small basal ichthyosaur from Triassic.



* Nothosaurs were very different-looking than placodonts: slender fish-eaters with streamlined bodies, flat tails, long necks and long, thin jaws with pointed teeth. Some of their features were plesiosaur-like: this because nothosaurs were close plesiosaur relatives, and some of them might have even been their ancestors. However, nothosaurs still swum using their tails like modern crocodilians, while their possible descendants the plesiosaurs had rigid body and used their flippers to propel themselves through the water. ''Nothosaurus'' is considered the prototype of the nothosaur group and was 4m/12ft long, but the most basal nothosaurs were much smaller, like ''Neusticosaurus'' and ''Pachypleurosaurus''. The most evolved nothosaurs were practically plesiosaurs: ex. ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistosaurus Pistosaurus]]''. Other examples of nothosaurs include ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceresiosaurus Ceresiosaurus]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lariosaurus Lariosaurus]]'', whose names are a reference to some alpine lakes between Switzerland and Italy where their fossils were dug out. Another group of Triassic aquatic reptiles, Thalattosaurs (for example ''Askeptosaurus'' and ''Endennasaurus'', also found near the aforementioned alpine lakes[[note]] Many other Triassic reptiles have been discovered as well near these lakes: for example ''Tanystropheus'' (see below), ''Neusticosaurus'', drepanosaurids, early ichthyosaurs like ''Besanosaurus'', and even some of the earliest pterosaurs (''Eudimorphodon'').[[/note]]), resembled miniaturized nothosaurs, but weren't related with them. Others, like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helveticosaurus Helveticosaurus]]'', were perhaps related with placodonts. Still others, the hupehsuchians like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hupehsuchus Hupehsuchus]]'' and ''Nanchangosaurus'', looked like a cross between an ichthyosaur and a placodont, and were perhaps the ancestor of ichthyosaurs. One recently-discovered, ''Eretmorhipis'', had unusually seven digits in its hands and six in its feet, like some ichthyosaurians and the earliest land-vertebrates (''Ichthyostega'' etc.) In the Permian, one of the earliest aquatic reptiles was ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudiosaurus Claudiosaurus]]'', a sort of swimming lizard.

to:

* Nothosaurs were very different-looking than placodonts: slender fish-eaters with streamlined bodies, flat tails, long necks and long, thin jaws with pointed teeth. Some of their features were plesiosaur-like: this because nothosaurs were close plesiosaur relatives, and some of them might have even been their ancestors. However, nothosaurs still swum using their tails like modern crocodilians, while their possible descendants the plesiosaurs had rigid body and used their flippers to propel themselves through the water. ''Nothosaurus'' is considered the prototype of the nothosaur group and was 4m/12ft long, but the most basal nothosaurs were much smaller, like ''Neusticosaurus'' and ''Pachypleurosaurus''. The most evolved nothosaurs were practically plesiosaurs: ex. ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistosaurus Pistosaurus]]''. Other examples of nothosaurs include ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceresiosaurus Ceresiosaurus]]'' and ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lariosaurus Lariosaurus]]'', whose names are a reference to some alpine lakes between Switzerland and Italy where their fossils were dug out. Another group of Triassic aquatic reptiles, Thalattosaurs (for example ''Askeptosaurus'' and ''Endennasaurus'', also found near the aforementioned alpine lakes[[note]] Many other Triassic reptiles have been discovered as well near these lakes: for example ''Tanystropheus'' (see below), ''Neusticosaurus'', drepanosaurids, early ichthyosaurs like ''Besanosaurus'', and even some of the earliest pterosaurs (''Eudimorphodon'').[[/note]]), resembled miniaturized nothosaurs, but weren't related with them. Others, like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helveticosaurus Helveticosaurus]]'', were perhaps related with placodonts. Still others, the hupehsuchians like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hupehsuchus Hupehsuchus]]'' and ''Nanchangosaurus'', looked like a cross between an ichthyosaur and a placodont, and were perhaps the ancestor of ichthyosaurs. One ichthyosaurs -- one recently-discovered, ''Eretmorhipis'', had unusually seven digits in its hands and six in its feet, like some ichthyosaurians and the earliest land-vertebrates (''Ichthyostega'' etc.) In the Permian, one of the earliest aquatic reptiles was ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eretmorhipis Eretmorhipis]]'', had unusually seven digits in its hands and six in its feet, like some ichthyosaurians and the earliest land-vertebrates (''Ichthyostega'' etc.). In the Permian, one of the earliest aquatic reptiles was ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudiosaurus Claudiosaurus]]'', a sort of swimming lizard.
lizard. Some think it could be a distant ancestor of turtles (see below), but this is unproven.


* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''Thalattioarchon'' ("ruler of the seas") found in the 2000s was as large as ''Cymbospondylus'' and one of the top predators of the Triassic seas; ''Besanosaurus'' was found in Italy in the 1990s and was 6 m long, not much smaller.

to:

* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''Thalattioarchon'' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org./wiki/Thalattoarchon Thalattoarchon]]'' ("ruler of the seas") found in the 2000s was as large as ''Cymbospondylus'' and one of the top predators of the Triassic seas; ''Besanosaurus'' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Besanosaurus Besanosaurus]]'' was found in Italy in the 1990s and was 6 m long, not much smaller.


* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' known since the beginning of the century, has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Another smaller (but still very big) close relatives of both was ''Himalayasaurus'' from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Himalayas]]. These early giant ichthyosaurians had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].

to:

* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' known since the beginning of the century, has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Another smaller (but still very big) close relatives of both was ''Himalayasaurus'' from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the Himalayas]]. These early giant ichthyosaurians had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].



* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''Thalattioarchon'' ("ruler of the seas") and ''Besanosaurus'' from Italy.

to:

* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''Thalattioarchon'' ("ruler of the seas") found in the 2000s was as large as ''Cymbospondylus'' and one of the top predators of the Triassic seas; ''Besanosaurus'' from Italy.was found in Italy in the 1990s and was 6 m long, not much smaller.



* In dinosaur books, the traditional prototypical Triassic ichthyosaur has been ''Mixosaurus''. Even smaller than a human and with a still underdeveloped caudal fin, it had already the classic fish-like form of more advanced ichthyosaurs, showing how the ichthyosaurs' strong adaptations to water were already achieved well before the success of, say, the land-living dinosaurs and the flying pterosaurs. The mixosaur's preys might have included [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs ammonites]], fishes of every kinds, crustaceans etc. Like what happens with modern sea-mammals different kinds of ichthyosaurs arguably ate different sources of food, even though none of them was probably a filter-feeder like the modern baleen whales.

to:

* In dinosaur books, the traditional prototypical Triassic ichthyosaur has been ''Mixosaurus''. Even smaller than a human and with a still underdeveloped caudal fin, it had already the classic fish-like form of more advanced ichthyosaurs, showing how the ichthyosaurs' strong adaptations to water were already achieved well before the success of, say, the land-living dinosaurs and the flying pterosaurs. The mixosaur's preys might have included [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs ammonites]], fishes of every kinds, crustaceans etc. Like what happens with modern sea-mammals different kinds of ichthyosaurs arguably ate different sources of food, even though none of them was probably a filter-feeder like the modern baleen whales. \n ''Californosaurus'' from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin California]] was another relatively small basal ichthyosaur from Triassic.


* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Both had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].

to:

* However, the largest ichthyosaurs known to science were surprisingly the earliest, Triassic ones: ''Shonisaurus'' ("Shoshone lizard") reached 18m and even more, as large as a sperm whale and likely occupied a similar ecological niche. Found in North America in 1976, the shonisaur was traditionally considered the biggest ichthyosaur, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shastasaurus Shastasaurus]]'' known since the beginning of the century, has recently revealed to be even larger at over 20m and weighing almost 70 tonnes! Both Another smaller (but still very big) close relatives of both was ''Himalayasaurus'' from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Himalayas]]. These early giant ichthyosaurians had also several specializations: their four flippers were long and plesiosaur-like (unusually for ichthyosaurs, all of similar length); their body was stockier than most other ichthyosaurs, and their jaws were partially toothless -- just like the modern sperm whale compared with other toothed cetaceans. We don't know if they had a dorsal fin or not, but almost surely did they have the typical caudal fin of the Jurassic ichthyosaurs. ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' are candidates for "the biggest marine reptile ever" title, along with the biggest mosasaurs; and yet, have not received much attention even in documentaries, perhaps because they were [[RuleOfCool nearly toothless and likely only hunted unshelled cephalopods and fish]].
fish]].



* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''.

to:

* On the other hand, the very un-ichthyosaur-like ''Cymbospondylus'' has received a "better" treatment, showing up as the "biggest ichthyosaur" in the Triassic seas in ''Series/SeaMonsters''. Even though it was large as well, reaching 9m/27ft, it was far smaller than ''Shonisaurus'' and ''Shastasaurus'' (the series' accompanying book got this right). Unlike the latest two, ''Cymbospondylus'' was one of the most basal ichthyosaurs known, being more similar to large evolved mosasaurs like ''Plotosaurus'' (see further), with only a hint of caudal fin and a very elongated body: it may have even been too primitive to be an ichthyosaur proper. However, its head was already ichthyosaurian, and had no visible neck. Interestingly, the famous model of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Ichthyosaurus]]'' in the Crystal Palace Park in London incidentally resembles a bit a ''Cymbospondylus''. Other giant confirmed ichthyosaurs known from the Triassic were discovered more recently: ''Thalattioarchon'' ("ruler of the seas") and ''Besanosaurus'' from Italy.


* 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 ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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, but unlike crocs, they frequent all these environments still today. However, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians (the correct name for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened (though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'': they went eventually extinct without leaving descendants). The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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 (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 has long been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.


to:

* 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 has long been really mysterious. The very first turtles ever discovered, among them ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proganochelys 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, but unlike crocs, they frequent all these environments still today. However, like crocs, freshwater has been the favourite one, while terrestrial and seagoing species have always been a minority. Marine turtles reached gigantic sizes in the Cretaceous: the aforementioned ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Archelon]]'' was 20 ft long and weighed ''several tons'': the contemporaneous ''Protostega'' ("first roof", the prototype of the archelon's family, Protostegids) was very similar to it and not much smaller, while the more obscure ''Calcarichelys'' was pretty small (about one foot in length) but developed a spiny shell to defend it against predators, like some modern freshwater turtles. Chelonians (the correct name for turtles/tortoises) were the ''only'' group of Mesozoic sea reptiles which managed to survive the K-Pg mass extinction: unlike saltwater crocs, venomoud sea-snakes, and Galapagos marine iguana (which returned in the sea during the Mammal age), modern marine turtles do descend from some ancestors already present before the cataclysm happened (though not from ''Archelon'' or ''Protostega'': they went eventually extinct without leaving descendants). The fossil record of chelonians is extremely abundant (like that of crocodilians and unlike those of lizards and snakes) 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 the freshwater-dweller ''Stupendemys'' ("wonderous turtle") reached 3 m and was perhaps the biggest turtle that ever lived - rivalling the famous ''Archelon''. Astonishingly, it lived only 6 million years ago, not much before the first hominids. Much earlier (living just after the dinosaur extinction) was another large recently-discovered freshwater turtle, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonemys Carbonemys]]''. 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 molecular 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 (together with plesiosaurs) make probably the archosaur's sister-group: that is, they're closer to ''birds'' than to lizards, just like crocodiles. But Recent fossils found in TheNewTens like ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odontochelys Odontochelys semitestaceus]]'' ("toothed turtle with half shell") belong to stem-turtles even more ancestral than ''Proganochelys'' itself, having ''true teeth'' and still incomplete shells. This "missing link" has connected turtles with diapsids even even more than genetic research itself. A traditionally possible candidate for the "ancestor of turtles & tortoises" title has been ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'' because of the shape of its ribs, but this is not sure. The origin of turtles has long been an age-old discussion among paleontologists. [[TurtlePower Everything Is Long-Living With Turtles]], literally.




* Pareiasaurs were the only anapsids which reached great size, almost like a small rhinoceros at the extreme (but there were also smaller species though). They resembled a bit some plant-eating therapsids in shape (''Moschops'', ''Placerias'',…), with their bulky frame, short tails, strong semierect limbs, and an armored skull. Indeed, pareiasaurs occupied their niche during the Late Permian, substituting dinocephalian therapsids (which were dominant in the Middle Permian); but were wiped out by the mass extinction and substituted in turn by other therapsids (the dicynodonts) and the non-therapsid rhynchosaurs in the Triassic. An early theory said pareiasaurs could have been the ancestors of turtles and tortoises. Now this seems disproved, as turtles’ anatomy is very specialized and very different to that of a pareiasaur. ''Scutosaurus'' ("scute lizard") was one of the largest pareiasaurs and the most armored, with a "horned" skull and bony plates on its back (a sort of archaic version of an ankylosaur). Of course, [[RuleOfCool this is the pareiasaur most common in media]]. Other examples are the namesake ''Pareiasaurus'' (as large as the former but armor-less), and the small spiky ''Elginia''. Another near-reptile, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'', was once believed an even more possibly real ancestor of turtles & tortoises because of the shape of its ribs, but this is controversial.

to:

* Pareiasaurs were the only anapsids which reached great size, almost like a small rhinoceros at the extreme (but there were also smaller species though). They resembled a bit some plant-eating therapsids in shape (''Moschops'', ''Placerias'',…), with their bulky frame, short tails, strong semierect limbs, and an armored skull. Indeed, pareiasaurs occupied their niche during the Late Permian, substituting dinocephalian therapsids (which were dominant in the Middle Permian); but were wiped out by the mass extinction and substituted in turn by other therapsids (the dicynodonts) and the non-therapsid rhynchosaurs in the Triassic. An early theory said pareiasaurs could have been the ancestors of turtles and tortoises. Now this seems disproved, as turtles’ anatomy is very specialized and very different to that of a pareiasaur. ''Scutosaurus'' ("scute lizard") was one of the largest pareiasaurs and the most armored, with a "horned" skull and bony plates on its back (a sort of archaic version of an ankylosaur). Of course, [[RuleOfCool this is the pareiasaur most common in media]]. Other examples are the namesake ''Pareiasaurus'' (as large as the former but armor-less), and the small spiky ''Elginia''. Another near-reptile, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunotosaurus Eunotosaurus]]'', was once believed an even more possibly real ancestor of turtles & tortoises because of the shape of its ribs, but this is controversial.
''Elginia''.

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