Things Used To Be Better. And By Things, I Mean Animals. And By Used To, I Mean Millions Of Years Ago. And By Better, I Mean Bigger

I promised I would end the day on a high note, and what higher note then the news that some scientists have dug the rotted and forgotten remains of some ancient creature out of the ground, so that children can run in terror from them in a museum? High note!

Actually, this is the sort of news I can really get behind. First up, a new tyrannosaurid has been identified. A cousin to the infamous T-rex (they shared a common ancestor), the newly named Lythronax argestes was a theropod that lived approximately 80 million years ago. The lead author on the discovery, Dr. Mark Loewen, classified the animal from remains which consist of skull fragments, a rib and vertebra, and some leg bones.

The remains were discovered in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), an area that has provided a dozen potentially unknown dinosaurs species over the last two decades. Lythronax, which means "king of gore," lived in southern Laramidia, or what is now Utah, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico, and at the time was largely isolated from the rest of what would eventually be North America, allowing a unique evolutionary system to play out. 

In an entirely different, and stranger, part of the world, Professor Mike Archer, from the University of New South Wales has identified what is being called the "Godzilla platypus." While I don't know is that name is appropriate, Obdurodon tharalkooschild has been identified as a member of the platypus family, but not an ancestor of the modern hodgepodge creature. This 15 million year old cousin was twice the size of the modern animal, up to three feet in length and - here's where it really gets different - had a mouth full of teeth strong enough to bite through a turtle. The animal has been identified by a single lower molar.

This sort of size differential between Ice Age animals and modern animals was common, even in an isolated area like Australia, who while the rest of the world was overrun by mammoths and giant ground sloths, had to content with kangaroos and wombats the size of horses. Part of me wishes the giants of the past still walked the Earth, then the rest of me remembers that I get uncomfortable around big dogs, let alone an armadillo the size of a smart car.

Via PhysOrg and the Telegraph.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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