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Cloudina

Cloudinidae is an early metazoan family containing the genus Cloudina, which lived during the Late Ediacaran period and became extinct at the base of the Cambrian. They formed millimeter-scale conical fossils consisting of calcareous cones nested within one another; the appearance of the organism itself remains unknown. The name Cloudina honors the 20th century geologist and paleontologist Preston Cloud. Cloudinids had a wide geographic range, reflected in the present distribution of localities in which their fossils are found, and are an abundant component of some deposits. They never appear in the same layers as soft-bodied Ediacaran biota, but the fact that some sequences contain Cloudinids and Ediacaran biota in alternating layers suggests that these groups had different environmental preferences. It has been suggested that Cloudinids lived embedded in microbial mats, growing new cones to avoid being buried by silt. However no specimens have been found embedded in mats, and their mode of life is still an unresolved question. Cloudinids are among the earliest and most abundant of the small shelly fossils with mineralized skeletons, and therefore feature in the debate about why such skeletons first appeared in the Late Ediacaran. (Read more...)


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Paul Sereno is an American paleontologist who is the discoverer of several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger. He is a professor at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence." Sereno's most widely publicized discovery is that of a nearly complete specimen of Sarcosuchus imperator (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Eoraptor - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Jobaria, the first good skull of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, Afrovenator, Suchomimus and the African pterosaur. (Read more...)

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"The utility [of the sail] is difficult to imagine. Unless the animal had aquatic habits and swam on its back, the crest or fin must have been in the way of active movements."
Edward Drinker Cope, 1886, in the American Naturalist, "The Long-Spined Theromorpha of the Permian Epoch", in which he described his idea as to the purpose of Dimetrodon's sail.


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Malerisaurus is an extinct genus of prolacertiform from the Late Triassic of India belonging to the family Protorosauridae.

Two incomplete Malerisaurus skeletons were discovered in what is thought to be the gastric contents of a Parasuchus hislopi. The fossils were retrieved from fluvial flood plain deposits of the Late Triassic Maleri Formation of the Gondwana supergroup, India. Malerisaurus was a small eosuchian, presumably bipedal, and probably capable of climbing trees and swimming. The skull has some adaptations to a carnivorous diet, but is nevertheless unspecialized and probably more of an insectivore. Malerisaurus, seen as a diapsid skull, shows primitive and advanced facies in its unossified laterosphenoid, absence of antorbital and mandibular fenestrae, gracile form, primitive girdles, elongated cervicals and absence of dermal armour. The suborder Prolacertiformes currently represents four families: Petrolacosauridae, Protorosauridae, Prolacertidae and Tanystropheidae. Provisionally, Malerisaurus is regarded as being phylogenetically close to Protorosaurus.

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