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May 8, 2017
by Jonathan Tweet
Comments Off on Chiroptera: Gliding, Flying, and Echolocating

Chiroptera: Gliding, Flying, and Echolocating

The prehistoric mammals of the air are bats, two early bats, Icaronycteris and Onychonycteris, and an even earlier protobat, which is hypothetical. Icaronycteris (“Icarus bat”) evidently hunted moths with echolocation about 50 Mya, which bats commonly do today. Onychonycteris (“clawed … Continue reading

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

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