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Aetosaurs, (meaning "Eagle Lizards") are an extinct clade of heavily armored, medium to large-sized Late Triassic quadrupedal archosaurs that were mostly herbivorous. Aetosaurs are widely characterized by their dorsal and ventral surfaces being encased in parallel rows of subrectangular osteoderms, some of which sported spikes in some species. Aetosaurs ranged in size from 1–5 meters (3–16 ft), with the average size being between 2.5–3 meters (8–10 ft). Some of the smallest aetosaurs were Aetosaurus and Coahomasuchus, reaching no more than a meter in length. Aetosaur fossils were first documented by paleontologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) in 1844, although they were originally attributed armored fish, instead of archosaurs. Two distinct subdivisions of aeotosaurs are currently recognized, the Desmatosuchinae and the Aetosaurinae, based primarily on differences in the morphology of the bony scutes of the two groups. Aetosaurs first appeared during the Late Carnian epoch of the Late Triassic, roughly the same time that phytosaurs and ornithosuchids appeared. From that point on, they quickly diversified, into various genera, with the most notable being Aetosaurus, Stagonolepis, and Desmatosuchus, and existed for nearly the entirety of the Late Triassic. Aetosaurs quickly became widespread across the the supercontinent Pangaea, with their fossils being found in Europe (Scotland, Germany), India, Northern Africa, North (United States) and South America (Argentina), Greenland and Madagascar. (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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"Fossilized brains are unusual, and this is by far the oldest known example."
John Maisey, Curator in the Division of Paleontology at the AMNH describing the discovery of the oldest known fossil brain.


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Mounted skeleton of Platecarpus planifrons. Platecarpus (meaning "Flat wrist") is an extinct genus of aquatic lizard belonging to the mosasaur family, living around 75 million years ago during the end of the Cretaceous period. Fossils have been found in Belgium and the United States.

Like other mosasaurs, Platecarpus had a long, laterally flattened tail, steering flippers, and deadly, tooth-lined jaws. It was around 4.3 meters (14 ft) long, with half of that length being taken up by its sinuous tail. It probably swam in a snake-like fashion. Platecarpus probably fed on fish, squid, and ammonites. They were medium sized animals, reaching about 7 meters (23 ft) in length. The platecarpine mosasaurs had evolved into the very specialized plioplatecarpine group by the end of the Cretaceous.

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