Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dakotaraptor steini

Dakotaraptor steini (DePalma et al., 2015)
Sauropsida
Diapsida
Archosauria
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Tetanurae
Coelurosauria
Maniraptora
Paraves
Dromaeosauridae (“Raptors”)
Eudromaeosauria

Maastrichtian, Late Cretaceous
South Dakota, United States
Hell Creek Formation

Length: 5.5 m

Tied with Utahraptor for being the largest known “raptor,” this swift predator shared her home with the considerably more common (and far larger) Tyrannosaurus.


Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

C. megalodon

Note: A digitally recolored version of the original, available here:
http://sounder1995.blogspot.com/2015/08/c-megalodon.html

C. megalodon
Chondrichthyes (Cartilaginous Fishes)
Elasmobranchii
Selachimorpha / Selachii (Sharks)
Lamniformes
Lamnidae? Otodontidae?
(If Lamnidae) Carcharodon megalodon (Agassiz, 1843)
(If Otodontidae) Carcharocles megalodon (Jordan & Hannibal, 1923)

Middle Miocene to Late Pliocene
Worldwide

Length: Up to 18 m?

The largest shark of all time, she possesses one of the most powerful bite forces known to man and hunted whales as a regular part of her diet.

Estimated Bite Force: 108,514 N - 182, 201 N (Wroe et al., 2008)

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Triceratops prorsus

Note: A digitally colored version of the original, available here:
http://sounder1995.blogspot.com/2015/08/triceratops-prorsus.html

Triceratops prorsus (Marsh, 1890)
Sauropsida
Diapsida
Archosauria
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Neornithischia
Marginocephalia
Ceratopsia (Horned Dinosaurs)
Ceratopsidae
Chasmosaurinae

Upper Maastrichtian, Late Cretaceous
Hell Creek Formation
United States (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming)

Length: 7.9 – 9.0 m

Everyone’s favorite three horned face was a lot spikier than you we originally thought.

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

Collinsium ciliosum

Note: A digitally colored version of the original, available here:

Collinsium ciliosum (Yang et al.)
Ecdysozoa
Panarthropoda
Stem-Onychophora (Velvet Worms)
Luolishaniidae

Early to Middle Cambrian
Yunnan Province, China

Length: 85 mm

With dorsal spines that managed to stay three dimensional even after 500 million years of geological activity, Collinsium was one particularly prickly invertebrate. Like her modern kin (velvet worms), she possesses Matryoshka doll style claws (and in her case, also spines) composed of layered chitin, the same carbohydrate that forms arthropod exoskeletons. Unlike velvet worms though, her kind were far more diverse in lifestyle and ecological niche. She, in fact, was a bona fide filter feeder and lacked eyes altogether (Those are armor plates before her antennae). The glory days of stem-Onychophora would come to an end by the end of the Cambrian, though. Onychophora has now dwindled down to just the velvet worms, all of them active terrestrial predators inhabiting humid environments.

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hallucigenia sparsa

Note: Digitally colored version of original, available here:
http://sounder1995.blogspot.com/2015/08/hallucigenia-sparsa.html

Hallucigenia sparsa (Conway Morris, 1977)
Ecdysozoa
Panarthropoda
Stem-Onychophora (Velvet Worms)

Middle Cambrian
Burgess Shale
British Columbia, Canada

Length: 1 – 5(+) cm

Originally reconstructed upside down, walking on stilt legs with wavy tentacles on her back (Conway Morris, 1977), Hallucigenia later received a more plausible reconstruction upon further examination of extinct relatives (Ramskold & Xianguang, 1991). However, her head eluded confused primates for decades to come. The only clue was a blobby thingy at one end of her body. Fortunately, new specimens and the rise of the machines later revealed her head, complete with simple eyes, mouth, and pharyngeal teeth, at the end opposite the blob (Smith & Caron, 2015). Turns out the blobby thingy was just decay fluid… Like her modern kin (velvet worms), she possesses Matryoshka doll style claws (and in her case, also spines) composed of layered chitin, the same carbohydrate that forms arthropod exoskeletons.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Paraceratherium transouralicum

Note: A digitally colored copy of the original, available here:
http://sounder1995.blogspot.com/2015/08/paraceratherium-transouralicum.html

Paraceratherium transouralicum (Pavlova, 1922)
-    Formerly = Indricotherium transouralicum (Pavlova, 1922)
Mammalia
Theria
Eutheria
Placentalia
Boreoeutheria
Laurasiatheria
Perissodactyla
Ceratomorpha
Rhinocerotoidea
Hyracodontidae
Indricotheriinae

Oligocene Epoch, Palaeogene Period
Asia and Eastern Europe

Height: 5(+?) m at the shoulder

Possibly the largest land mammal of all time, rivaled only by Palaeoloxodon namadicus, the Asian straight-tusked elephant. Unlike modern rhinos, he prefers leaves to grass, since grass was not abundant yet.

On a more important note: PLEASE. STOP. KILLING. RHINOS. Rhino horns are no more than incredibly compressed hair (They are composed solely of keratin, the protein that forms hair, nails, claws, and tetrapod scales.) and will not cure any diseases, extend your life expectancy, nor boost your sex life.

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Carnotaurus sastrei

Note: A digitally colored version of the original, available here:

Carnotaurus sastrei (Bonaparte, 1985)
Sauropsida
Diapsida
Archosauria
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Ceratosauria
Abelisauroidea
Abelisauridae

Late Cretaceous
South America

Length: 8 – 9 m

The “flesh eating bull” in Latin, she has evolved a large caudofemoralis (muscle at the base of her tail), enabling her to run at surprisingly fast speeds for an animal of her size. Unfortunately, this came at the cost of smaller muscles for tail stability. To compensate, her proximal caudal vertebrae (tail vertebrae closest to her pelvis) interlocked with one another and her pelvis. This severely limited her ability to make tight turns, which likely led to many a pratfall. Luckily, her vestigial arms (proportionately the smallest in any known dinosaur, save for some flightless birds) meant there was not much to break in the event of a fall.

On the off chance anyone reads this, I’m taking a poll:
Who would win in a slap fight: this gal or a toddler?

“I hate Carnotaurus.”
-    Stephen Lang

Credit goes to http://robertfabiani.deviantart.com/  for the inspiration for the horn design.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016