Crassigyrinus (meaning "thick tadpole") is an extinctgenus of carnivorousstem grouptetrapod from the Early Carboniferous of Scotland and a possible specimen from Greer, West Virginia. The type specimen was originally described as Macromerium scoticum and lacked a complete skull. With subsequent discoveries, Crassigyrinus is now known from three skulls, one of which is in articulation with a fairly complete skeleton, and a couple of incomplete lower jaws. Crassigyrinus grew up to 1.5 meters in length, coupled with punitive limbs and unusually large jaws. Crassigyrinus is taxonomically enigmatic, having confused paleontologists for decades with its apparent fish-like and tetrapod features. Some paleontologists have even considered it as the most basal tetrapod, while others hesitate to even place it within the Tetrapoda superclass. Crassigyrinus had unusually large jaws, enabling it to eat other animals it could catch and swallow. It had two rows of sharp teeth in its jaws, the second row having a pair of fangs. Crassigyrinus had large eyes, suggesting that it was either nocturnal, or lived in very murky water. (Read more...)
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"An evolutionary perspective of our place in the history of the earth reminds us that Homo sapiens sapiens has occupied the planet for the tiniest fraction of that planet's four and a half thousand million years of existence. In many ways we are a biological accident, the product of countless propitious circumstances. As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long-extinctspecies, many of which thrived far longer than the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species. There is no law that declares the human animal to be different, as seen in this broad biological perspective, from any other animal. There is no law that declares the human species to be immortal."