Latin for “long llama” Macrauchenia was a genus of litopterns that roamed South America from the late Miocene to the late Pleistocene. First ‘discovered’ by Charles Darwin on his voyage Macrauchenia was first thought to be related to camels or elephants but this unique animal was later given its own order (Litopterna). Although it technically not an ungulate Macrauchenia was similar in behavior to modern ungulates, as it was probably a grazer and feed on plant material in herds. The exact function of Macrauchenia’s trunk is unknown some scientists say it might of been used to keep dust out of its nostrils. Others have said it might of been used as a snorkel but that theory has been rejected. Like all litopterns Macrauchenia went extinct in the late Pleistocene, this is thought to be due in part with competition with North American ungulates and predators that came down during the Great American Interchange.
… is an extinct basalsphenacodont synapsid reptile, known from the Early Permianperiod (Sakmarian stage) of the Saxony, Germany. Palaeohatteria is based on very young individuals including skulls and partial postcranial skeletons. Palaeohatteria was a fairly small synapsid, up to 60 cm in length and with a mass of about 3 kg…
(read more: Wikipedia) (illustration by Dmitry Bogdanov)
… is an extinct genus of Reptiliomorpha (reptile like amphibians), which lived about 320-305 million years ago. Classification is uncertain, but it was possibly an early reptile or an amphibian close to the diadectomorphs. Its remains were found in the Czech Republic. Its name means “single-tooth lizard”. Solenondosaurus measured about 45 cm.
The Solenodonsaurus show a curious mix of characters making it difficult to place phyllogentically. The teeth lack labyrinthodont folding of the enamel, and it skull is without the otic notch seen in other reptiliomorph amphibians…
(read more: Wikipedia) (illustration by Dmitry Bogdanov)
Stensioella heintzi was an enigmatic placoderm fish of arcane affinity. It is only known from the Lower DevonianHunsrück slates of Germany, where the only specimens have been found.
In life, it was a blocky-looking fish that resembled either a squat, pug-nosed combination chimaera-stargazer, or an uncompressed Gemuendina (Gemuendina also happened to be its contemporary in Hunsrück), with broad, wing-like pectoral fins. Like Gemuendina, it had armor made up of a complex mosaic of tubercles.
It is tentatively placed within Placodermi as being among the most primitive of all placoderms, as from what can be discerned from the few whole specimens found, the shoulder joints of its armor appear to be very similar to other placoderms…
(read more: Wikipedia) (illustration by Apokryltaros)
… is a genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur that lived about 76 to 75 million years ago, in the Late CretaceousPeriod (Campanian) of North America. This bipedal/quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaur is known for its distinctive hollow cranial crest, which in the best-known species resembled a hatchet. Several possible species have been named, from Canada, Montana (USA), and Baja California (Mexico), but only the two Canadian species are currently recognized as valid.
Lambeosaurus was closely related to the better known Corythosaurus, which is found in slightly older rocks, as well as the less well-known genera Hypacrosaurus and Olorotitan. All had unusual crests, which are now generally assumed to have served social functions like noisemaking and recognition…
Scissor-handed Prehistoric Creature Named After Johnny Depp
by ABC News staff
The science world has paid homage to Johnny Depp by giving his name to an extinct creepy-crawly with “scissor hand-like” claws reminiscent of one of the actor’s best-known roles.
Kooteninchela deppi was a 505-million-year-old distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, according to a study in the Journal of Palaeontology.
It has been named for Depp’s famous portrayal of a gentle freak named Edward Scissorhands in the 1990 eponymous film.
The animal was about four-centimetres long with millipede-like legs. It lived in shallow seas off the coast of British Columbia in Canada during a much hotter period in Earth’s history. It was probably a hunter or scavenger, using its claws with their elongated spines to capture prey or probe the sea floor for creatures in hiding…
Cretaceous-era reptile Malawania anachronus discovered in Kurdistan.
by Christine Dell’Amore
A new species of dinosaur-era sea reptile is rewriting the books on the evolution of so-called sea monsters, a new study claims.
The newfound—and potentially controversial—Malawania anachronus was a10 ft (3 m)) long ichthyosaur, a group of dolphin-like creatures that could grow to 65 ft (20 m) in length. These fast-swimming predators peaked in diversity during the Jurassic period.
Oddly, though, new fossil analyses suggest that M. anachronus roamed the oceans of the early Cretaceous period—66 million years after its closely related cousins were thought to live.
That’s why Malawania anachronus—Kurdish and Greek for “out-of-time swimmer”—is “something that shouldn’t be there, but it is,” said study leader Valentin Fischer, a geologist and paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
But Michael Caldwell, an ichthyosaur expert at the University of Alberta in Canada who was not involved in the study, cautioned against getting too excited about the find, citing the fact that the study is based on one incomplete specimen…
(read more: National Geo) (illustration by Valentin Fischer)
Oldest evidence of split between Old World monkeys and apes discovered
Two fossil discoveries from the East African Rift reveal new information about the evolution of primates, according to a study published online in Nature this week led by Ohio University scientists.
The team’s findings document the oldest fossils of two major groups of primates: the group that today includes apes and humans (hominoids), and the group that includes Old World monkeys such as baboons and macaques (cercopithecoids).
Geological analyses of the study site indicate that the finds are 25 million years old, significantly older than fossils previously documented for either of the two groups.Both primates are new to science, and were collected from a single fossil site in the Rukwa Rift Basin of Tanzania.
Rukwapithecus fleaglei is an early hominoid represented by a mandible preserving several teeth. Nsungwepithecus gunnelli is an early cercopithecoid represented by a tooth and jaw fragment..
(read more: PhysOrg) (illustration by Mauricio Anton)
The giant beaver was a prehistoric species of beaver. It looked similar to modern beavers but, as the name implies, was considerably larger: it grew over 8 ft (2.4 m) in length — making it the largest rodent in North America during the last ice age and the largest known beaver. It weighed roughly 60 to 100 kg (130 to 220 lb), the size of a modern black bear…