My favorite derpy bird – the Double-crested Cormorant. You see these all over the wetlands/beaches in Southern California. I love their emerald eyes and how they swim with their beaks turned up.
Thanks to its shagginess and serendipitous feather placement to look like claws, there’s something incredibly dinosaurian about the first GIF.
The sea Lord, Thalassomedon (1943)
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Plesiosauria
Family : Elasmosauridae
Genus : Thalassomedon
Species : T. hanningtoni
This genus of plesiosaur occurred in North America about 95 mya. It occurs in the Cenomanian strata of the Late Cretaceous rock. Its closest relative is the Elasmosaurus and together they make up the family Elasmosauridae. There are six specimens of varying state of preservation on display at various U.S. museums.
With a length of 12 metres, the neck comprises 62 vertebrae about 6 metres or half the animal. The skull is 47 centimetres long, with 5 centimetres long teeth. The flippers were about 1.5–2 metres long. Stones have been found in its stomach area leading some to theorize that they were used for ballast or digestion. If the latter, stomach action causes the stones to help grind ingested food.
A Peek Into The Past: Massospondylus Embryos!
This is a 190 million year old Massospondylus embryo found in South Africa. Due to their delicate nature, embryos do not generally fossilize. This fossil, along with the rest of its clutch (see above), are 1 of only 3 examples of dinosaur embryos currently known to science.
This fossil represents what is believed to be a soon to hatch Massospondylus. The neck, legs and head size, point to the dramatic change they under go during life. For example, as babies, these dinosaurs would walk on all fours, while as adults they walk primarily on their hind legs (check out the Julius Csotonyi image above). The lack of developed teeth also seem to indicate that hatchlings would be dependent on their mother for food and safety for the beginning stages of life.
- ROMKids: Massospondylus Moms & Dinosaur Babies!
- Globe & Mail: Team led by ROM scientist unearths oldest dinosaur nursery
- Wikipedia: Dinosaur Eggs
- Massospondylus image: The BRILLIANT Julius Csotonyi.
- All photos: Kiron Mukherjee.
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: April 20th, 2014.
The Jiang Feng’s one, Jianfengia (1984)
Phylum : Arthropoda
Genus : Jianfengia
Species : J. multisegmentalis
This unusual arthropod is known as Jianfengia multisegmentalis. The species is known from very few examples, with this one from the most famous location of all, Maotianshan, site of the discovery of the Chengjiang Biota by Hou Xian-guang in 1984. The diversity of soft-tissue fossils is astonishing: algae, medusiforms, sponges, priapulids, annelid-like worms, echinoderms, arthropods (including trilobites), hemichordates, chordates, and the first agnathan fish make up just a small fraction of the total. Numerous problematic forms are known as well, some of which may have represented failed attempts at diversity that did not persist to the present day.
The specimen is a member of the “great appendage arthropods” known as the opabinids after Opabinia from the Burgess Shale Fauna. Jianfengia was the most primitive of the opabinids. Other members from Chengjiang are Alalcomeaeus and Leanchoilia. The pointed endopods are thought to have been poorly suited for walking; perhaps this one swam just above the seafloor in a search for prey. The taxon is unknown outside the Chengjiang Biota. This is a truly exceptional specimen, one that few will ever be able to hold in a collection, whether private or that of a museum.