chaoticinternetinternet  asked:

So since a human evolution month wouldn't work, do you think an inaccurate prehistoric animal depictions month would work? Or maybe a crocodile evolution or ceratopsian evolution month? Just out of curiosity.

Crocodiles (and pseudosuchians in general) and ceratopsians are definitely in my list of future theme month concepts, so they’ll almost certainly happen eventually.

An inaccurate depiction theme might be possible, although it’d likely end up being double the work – I’d probably have to do two images of everything to properly compare inaccurate-versus-accurate.


American Museum of Natural History, Part 23: Big Chompmen

PSEUDOSUCHIA!!!! This was the Pseudosuchia corner of the Miscellaneous Vertebrate Hall. Unlike the Crocs Among Us special exhibit, it had non-Crocodylomorph Pseudosuchia (namely, the handsome chap, Prestosuchus, in images 3-6) 

I love Pseudosuchians so much. They’re such good chomps. 

Watch out for this fearsome Fossil Friday!

Although Prestosuchus chiniquensis was a large animal with big claws and a huge head with sharp-toothed jaws, it was not a dinosaur. This creature belongs to a larger group called Pseudosuchians, which also includes modern day crocodilians. 

Today, these creatures are only represented by a couple dozen species, but back in the Triassic, they were extremely diverse, and in direct competition with early dinosaurs. Late in the Triassic, multiple extinction events led to the demise of many major Pseudosuchian lineages, opening up niches for dinosaurs to take advantage of. Thus, the rest of the Mesozoic became the age of dinosaurs. Learn more about this extinction in the most recent episode of Shelf Life

This specimen is a reconstructed composite of several Prestosuchus specimens collected in Brazil and dating from the Late Triassic, about 210 million years ago.

Find this skeleton cast in the Museum’s Hall of Vertebrate Origins.


The Carolina Butcher

Last year, a new species of crocodilian relative was discovered from Late Triassic North Carolina.  Dubbed Carnufex carolinensis - “the Carolina butcher” - this animal grew up to nine feet long, and was capable of walking on its hind legs.

Carnufex is interesting for being a basal crocodylomorph - a member of the clade that includes modern crocodilians.  This proves that crocodylomorphs were vying for apex-predator positions during the Late Triassic, along with early theropods, as well as several other groups of pseudosuchians known as rauisuchids and poposauroids.  

This extreme diversity of predators proved unsustainable, and many of these animals - including Carnufex - died out by the time the Triassic period was over.  Theropod dinosaurs became the top predators for hundreds of millions of years afterward, while Carnufex’s surviving relatives were relegated to less dominant positions.