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19 Mar 2012
Published in Blog

About the same time (the middle Triassic period) as the first dinosaurs were evolving from their archosaur predecessors, the earliest mammals were also evolving from the therapsids, or "mammal-like reptiles." A good candidate for the first true mammal was the mouse-sized Megazostrodon ("large girdled tooth"), a small, furry, insectivorous creature that had unusually well-developed sight and hearing, matched by a larger-than-average brain. Unlike modern mammals, Megazostrodon lacked a true placenta, but it may still have suckled its young.

18 Mar 2012
Published in Blog

When you delve back 500 million years into the history of life on earth, the honorific "first fish" loses some of its meaning. Thanks to the notochord (the primitive precursor of a true spinal column) that rand down the length of its back, Pikaia was not only the first fish, but the first vertebrate animal, and thus ancestral to mammals, dinosaurs, birds, and innumerable other types of creature. For the record, Pikaia was about two inches long, and so thin that it was probably translucent. It's named after Pika Peak in Canada, near where its fossils were discovered.

15 Mar 2012
Published in Blog

Tyrannosaurs were the poster theropods of the late Cretaceous period, right before the K/T extinction that rendered the dinosaurs extinct. In the last decade or so, a series of spectacular fossil finds has pushed the origin of tyrannosaurs all the way back to the late Jurassic period, 160 million years ago. That's where we find the 10-foot-long, 200-pound Guanlong ("emperor dragon"), which had a very un-tyrannosaur-like crest on its head and a coat of shiny feathers (which implies that all tyrannosaurs, even T. Rex, may have sported feathers at some point in their life cycles).

Page 5 of 8

First Bird

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Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

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Fossil Formation: How Do Fossils Form?

Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...