deadbison  asked:

Reptiles generally seem to be very quiet. How noisy do you think Paleozoic wildernesses were?

Since the earliest tetrapods and amniotes in the Late Carboniferous and Early Permian had little-to-no sense of hearing – at best they could detect low-frequency vibrations in air or through the ground – there wouldn’t have been much reason for them to vocalize. (I suppose there’s the possibility of infrasound calls, though, like some modern animals.)

But then better hearing systems started convergently evolving in the various major tetrapod groups around the Early-Mid Permian, so things probably began to get a little noisier. We may never know for certain which animals experimented with that type of communication, since behavior doesn’t fossilize, so it’s an exercise in speculation.

But I doubt it would have been all that quiet anyway, because there was another group of animals around who could have been making noise long before the tetrapods: insects.

Watch on

Pyritized brachiopod shell - prior to the end-Permian mass extinction these were the dominant filter-feeding organism in the ocean. They were replaced by the bivalves we see commonly today.


Probably one of the most bizarre animals known to have existed, Cotylorhynchus was a very large early synapsid from the Early Permian. It lived in North America and its huge size probably kept it safe from most predators. Its large lizard like body is perfectly adapted to herbivorous life and it has one of the smallest head to body ratios until the reign of the dinosaurs and the sauropods.


“Spiral saw”
Early Permian-Early Triassic, 290-250 million years ago

This ancient shark relative went extinct in the early Triassic, just as dinosaurs were rising to prominence. As with many cartilaginous fish, most of their bodies didn’t fossilize, but they did leave behind their trademark “tooth whorls.” Helicoprion has been reconstructed in several… “inventive” ways over the years, but now I’m assaulted by visions of all the horrific ways a buzzsaw-jawed shark could eviscerate me and I’m super regretful that I made fun of it and oh my god you guys oh god.

Dinoween, Day N°17 She-Wolf of the Permian

This one wasn’t an option on the list however, after seeing alternatemaxim’s werewolf dimetrodon I felt inclined to do my own take on that idea, inspired by the classic 90′s show She-wolf of London (or Love and Curses in the US).

Also the intro to set up the mood:



Cause Prehistory isn’t just about dinosaurs, I made a poster with every ‘Dinovember Without Dinosaurs’ illustrations that I’ve been drawing during last month. Hope you like it!

If you want one, you can purchase it here:

And here:


Accordion book about the Permian period. Silkscreen printed with 6 colors. After 5 years, I have finished creating an accordion book for every period of the Paleozoic ( although I grouped the Ordovician and Silurian into one book)….phew! 

Before I tackle the Mesozoic (which thankfully is only three periods long), I am now planning a Kickstarter to have thePaleozoic books professionally printed. So stick around for more news on that. I’m currently working on the rewards for that and I’m also waiting to get a shipping estimate from the printer.