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Tag: Reptiles

News Bite: Basilisks in the Old(er) West!

The oldest basilisk lizard from North America, described by Jack Conrad from NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, shows the 48 million year old animal was part of an ancient lush jungle ecosystem…in the middle of Wyoming. The beautifully preserved skull has important stories to tell about the evolution of the lizards most famous for their ability to scamper across the water, but it also reveals …

Filed under: Biogeography, Climate Change, Eocene, Eocsystem, Fossils, Lizards, North America, Paleontology, Reptiles, Systematics, Wyoming, evolution, herpetology

Quick Bite: Clash of the Triassic Titans!

Under the canopy of an ancient fern forest near the border of Arizona and New Mexico a colossal crocodile-like reptile took a bite out of an even larger, toothy giant. The attack failed and the victim limped on to fight another day, until its carcass was finally pillaged by another scaly monster and smaller, pickier scavengers. Studying bones collected over a century ago, scientists are now able t …

Filed under: Carnivores, Comparative biology, Crocodiles, Food Web, Fossils, Mesozoic, New Mexico, Palaeontology, Paleoecology, Paleontology, Phytosaur, Rauisuchian, Reptiles, Triassic

Quick Bite Field Guide: The Alien Turtle and Ancient Color

Meet Alienochelys selloumi, a giant, snorkel-nosed turtle with powerful, shell-crushing plates in its massive beak! The distant relative of the largest turtle alive today, the leatherback sea turtle, Alienochelys swam the ancient ocean of North Africa at the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs (the Late Cretaceous). It was found in the same rocks as Ocepechelon, the “whale turtle” discussed in our fi …

Filed under: Africa, Cretaceous, Field Guide, Fossils, Functional Morphology, Marine Reptiles, Paleontology, Reptiles, Turtles, ocean, sea turtle

Episode 8 Field Guide: Crocodiles are the Chomping Champions!

Fossils are the raw materials of paleontology, but if we want to know how an animal moved or ate, paleontologists, like Dr. Paul Gignac, need to study living animals, too. Dr. Gignac studies crocodylians, measuring their bite forces across species and as they grow up to figure out how the strongest bite in nature evolved. Using techniques drawn from mechanical engineering and physiology, Dr. Gigna …

Filed under: Cretaceous, Deinosuchus, Dinosaurs, Ecology, Field Guide, Functional Morphology, Paleobiology, Reptiles, alligator, biting, croc, crocodile, supercroc

Episode 3 Field Guide: What’s a Reptile?

When you read the word “Reptile” what do you think of? A lizard? A snake? A crocodile? A turtle? All of these animals fit the loose definition of reptiles: covered in scales, unable to regulate their body temperature, and sprawling. But in Episode 2, we explored the close relationship between birds and dinosaurs, so are birds reptiles, too? The feathers and warm-blooded-ness of birds messes with o …

Filed under: Diapsids, Dinosaurs, Lizards, Reptiles, Snakes, Synapsids, Systematics, Turtles, anatomy, mammal, tuatara

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