Posted 6 days ago

Cephalopod* phylogeny according to Fuchs et al. (2013). Contrary to conventional wisdom, belemnoids were not found to be extinct, rather, there appears to be a transitional taxa (Longibelus) between them and decabrachians (squids, cuttlefish, Spirula). True squid are thus a surprisingly young group and amazingly, lack a fossil record; fossils previously regarded as squid are now thought to be vampyropods (vampire squid and octopuses).

Fuchs, D. et al. (2013) Longibelus gen. nov., a new Cretaceous coleoid genus linking Belemnoidea and early Decabrachia. Palaeontology 56(5) 1081–1106.


* More specifically, covering crown-coleoids and one stem-coleoid, not all cephalopods.

Posted 1 week ago

Stepanov N.P and the Penza Specimen in 1929. This huge, partial skull was recently assigned to Mosasaurus hoffmani; measuring over 1.7 meters in length, it is from one of the largest known mosasaur specimens. The arrows are pointing to an incorrectly placed left angular.

Grigoriev, D. (2014) Giant Mosasaurus hoffmani (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of Penza, Russia. Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS (318) 2 148–167.

Posted 1 month ago

At the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Environmental Education Center, the resident blue lobster molted and came out purple. I’ve seen lots of blue lobsters molt before, but this is a first.

From ASRI’s Facebook.

Posted 2 months ago

There aren’t very many photos of Jesus, and fewer still of Him fighting dinosaurs.

tetzoo:

This photo just turned up in the university archives. It seems to show a man battling a stegosaurus! Roy Mackal was right!!

Posted 2 months ago

Beautiful. Especially the desperate sloth watching the guy on the toilet.

tetzoocomic:

Toilet Sloths. Yes. That’s Right. Toilet Sloths.

Original Article.

Posted 2 months ago

Diver with a live ateleopodid identified as Ijimaia sp. from tamar.org.br. Jellynoses can be rather big fish — up to 2 meters long — but I’m sensing some forced perspective in this photo.

Recently an I. antillarum made the news when it was captured off Florida, and judging by the comments I’ve seen, this group of fish is almost unknown to the public.

Posted 2 months ago
Captive Claudius angustatus from Aquarium Zone. This species has no bony connection between the plastron and carapace (lower and upper shell), which allows the turtle to make threat displays by partially retracting its head with its huge mouth open. This isn’t a threat display… I’m not sure what is happening here.Incidentally, Tetrapod Zoology just published an excellent article on Mud and Musk Turtles.

Captive Claudius angustatus from Aquarium Zone. This species has no bony connection between the plastron and carapace (lower and upper shell), which allows the turtle to make threat displays by partially retracting its head with its huge mouth open. This isn’t a threat display… I’m not sure what is happening here.

Incidentally, Tetrapod Zoology just published an excellent article on Mud and Musk Turtles.

Posted 2 months ago

Indopacetus pacificus is a very poorly-known cetacean; in fact, until 2003 it was only known from two skulls. As of 2012 the species was known from 15 specimens, so it’s surprising that in 2013 there was a mass-stranding of 7 individuals in New Caledonia. It is hypothesized they stranded as a result of Morbillivirus infection.

The animal pictured above is an adult female 5.6 meters in length. At least in this group, the male was more robust, with wider flukes and a dorsal fin set further back.

Garrigue, C. et al. (2014) Mass stranding of Longman’s beaked whales (Indopacetus pacificus) in New Caledonia (South Pacific). Report to the IWC SC/65/SM03

Posted 2 months ago

Diagram of synapsid evolution from Palaeoswhich is probably from T. S. Kemp’s 1982 Mammal-Like Reptiles and the Origin of Mammals. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I’ve had access to that book and the only copies available cost princely sums.

Compared to the evolution of, say, birds and whales, the evolution of synapsids doesn’t really seem well-known to the public. It’s a shame since I think this is one of the best documented and most fascinating examples of major evolutionary change around. It doesn’t help that there isn’t even a decent name for this group of animals; ‘Non-Mammalian Synapsid’ is beyond clunky; ‘Protomammal’ and ‘Stem-Mammal’ would probably be better for therapsids alone; and of course, ‘Mammal-like Reptile’ is misleading anachronistic nonsense. 

Posted 2 months ago

cmkosemenillustrated:

A short-tailed form of the popular sail-backed repto-mammal Dimetrodon.

www.cmkosemen.com

The soft tissue and integument on this depiction are divine. It really sells this strange creature as a far-flung relative of mammals rather than some big lizard with a sail.