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April 24, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Pinnipeds: From Feet to Fins

Pinnipeds: From Feet to Fins

The prehistoric mammals of the water are pinnipeds (“fin foots”): the walrus-like Valenictus; the seal-like Enaliarctos; and the otter-like Puijila. Valenictus lived around 5 Mya, and it had no teeth other than its tusks. It evidently ate mollusks, like modern … Continue reading

April 17, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Xenarthrans and Afrotheres: Prehistoric Oddballs

Xenarthrans and Afrotheres: Prehistoric Oddballs

The prehistoric mammals of the land are two xenarthrans (“strange joints”) and an afrothere (“Africa beast”). The xenarthrans are a glyptodont and a ground sloth, while the afrothere is a mammoth. Glyptodonts (“carved tooth”) were giant armadillos that arose about … Continue reading

April 10, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Myriapods: Trash Munchers and Bug Hunters

Myriapods: Trash Munchers and Bug Hunters

The prehistoric arthropods of the land are Myriapoda (“countless feet”): a gigantic millipede, Arthropleura; a millipede relative, a pauropod; and a predatory centipede. Myriapods were the first land animals. They breathed air in and out through spiracles, which are holes … Continue reading

April 6, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Chelicerata: Claw-Horns of the Deep

Chelicerata: Claw-Horns of the Deep

The extinct arthropods of the water are chelicerates: a eurypterid, Hughmilleria; a Stylonurid eurypterid; and an early horseshoe crab, Lunataspis. Eurypterids walked on legs and swam with paddles. They also had chelicerae (“claw horns”), which were claws by their mouths that helped them … Continue reading

April 3, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Prehistoric Insects: Crawlers, Flitters, and Hunters

Prehistoric Insects: Crawlers, Flitters, and Hunters

The arthropods of the air are flying insects, a cockroach, Aphthoroblattina; a butterfly, Prodryas; and a dragonfly relative, Meganeura. Over 300 million years ago, insects appeared that could lay their eggs on land they could fold their wings behind them, … Continue reading

March 20, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Dinosaurs: From Little Runners to Ponderous Plodders

Dinosaurs: From Little Runners to Ponderous Plodders

In Clades: Prehistoric, the sauropsids of the land are dinosaurs, specifically a feathered Utahraptor (a theropod), an Apatosaurus (a sauropod), and a Stegosaurus (an ornithischian). The earliest dinosaur precursors were two-legged relatives of crocodiles, as were the first theropods, sauropods, … Continue reading

March 20, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Pterygota: Insects with Wings or Winged Ancestors

Pterygota: Insects with Wings or Winged Ancestors

The arthropods of the air are the clade Pterygota (“winged”), known as “winged insects” and represented here by a bee, a praying mantis, and a dragonfly. The bee represents Endopterygota (“inner winged”), the massively successful clade of insects that undergo … Continue reading

March 14, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Tetrapulmonata: Fangs, Silk, and Feelers

Tetrapulmonata: Fangs, Silk, and Feelers

In the Clades game, the arthropods of the land are represented by tetrapulmonates (“four-lungs”), specifically an orb-weaver spider, a tarantula, and an amblypygid. Tetrapulmonates evolved from one line of trigonotarbids, the first arachnids adapted to air-breathing (about 400 million years … Continue reading

December 2, 2016
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Malacostraca: From the Sea Floor to Under a Log

Malacostraca: From the Sea Floor to Under a Log

The arthropods of the water are a crab, a lobster, and a woodlouse, together representing the most recognizable branch of crustaceans, the malacostracans. Lobsters and their relatives are distinct from other crustaceans in that mothers incubate their eggs, which are … Continue reading

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