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12 Mar 2012
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Somewhat confusingly, the archosaurs ("ruling lizards") of the early Triassic period evolved into three distinct kinds of reptiles: dinosaurs, pterosaurs and crocodiles. That helps explain why Erpetosuchus, the "crawling crocodile," didn't look all that different from its near-contemporary Eoraptor, the first identified dinosaur. Just like Eoraptor, Erpetosuchus walked on two legs, and except for its elongated snout it looked more like a plain-vanilla reptile than a creature whose descendants would one day include the fearsome Sarcosuchus and Deinosuchus.

12 Mar 2012
Published in Blog

 

Of all the "first" animals on this list, the standing of Archaeopteryx is the least secure. First, ss far as paleontologists can tell, birds evolved multiple times during the Mesozoic Era, and the odds are that all modern genera are descended not from the late Jurassic Archaeopteryx but the small, feathered dinosaurs of the ensuing Cretaceous period. And second, most experts will tell you that Archaeopteryx was closer to being a dinosaur than it was to being a bird--all of which hasn't prevented the public from bestowing it the title of "first bird."

10 Mar 2012
Published in Blog

It's especially difficult to identify the first true tetrapod, given gaps in the fossil record and a blurring of the lines dividing lobe-finned fish from "fishapods" from true tetrapods. Tiktaalik lived during the late Devonian period (about 375 million years ago); its skeletal structure was more advanced than the lobe-finned fish that preceded it (such as Panderichthys), but less articulated than more advanced tetrapods like Acanthostega. It's as good a candidate as any for the first fish that crawled up out of the primordial ooze on four stubby legs!

Page 6 of 8

First Bird

First Bird
What was the earliest known bird?

Unexplained artifacts

unexplained artifacts
The 10 most amazing unexplained artifacts

Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

The 10 Biggest Dinosaurs

Fossils 

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...