Great Porn Dragon: And to continue the "crocs actually tend to be derived" bit--a neat critter in the "I wish it hadn't been eaten to extinction 1600 years ago" department was Mekosuchus--six-foot-long true crocs that went back to the "old body plan" of completely upright land-dwellers. Interestingly, some species were heterodont--with specialised teeth in the back of their skulls for cracking open shells of molluscs and crabs :DDarren Naish has a really neat article on all of this if folks care to check it out--extinct crocs (and living ones) and croc-cousins are pretty darn neat IMHO :D
Warrener: Don't crocodiles and alligators also count as living fossils since they are largely unchanged for a few million years?
LordJiro: Bondith: WarrenerDon't crocodiles and alligators also count as living fossils since they are largely unchanged for a few million years?I'm a sharrrrrk, I'm a sharrrrrrk, suck my unchanged-for-hundreds-of-millions-of-years diiiiick, I'm a sharrrrrrrk.Actually, sharks haven't been 'unchanged' for quite that long. Sure, there've been sharks for hundreds of millions of years, and some time during the dinosaur era, they settled on a 'design', but some of the earlier ones were pretty farking wacky lookin'.
Bondith: WarrenerDon't crocodiles and alligators also count as living fossils since they are largely unchanged for a few million years?I'm a sharrrrrk, I'm a sharrrrrrk, suck my unchanged-for-hundreds-of-millions-of-years diiiiick, I'm a sharrrrrrrk.
redmid17: Can never trust them 19th century Hungarians!
FloydA: Warrener: Don't crocodiles and alligators also count as living fossils since they are largely unchanged for a few million years?The point of the article is that the species that get called "living fossils" are not actually unchanged. The species that are alive in the present are recognizably different from their ancient ancestors. They have simply retained plesiomorphic traits that were present in other species in the past. Calling archosaurs "living fossils" is equivalent to calling me a 19th century Hungarian because I have the same last name as my grandfather.In the past, archosaurs were a much more diverse group than they are today, and some of them resembled modern crocodiles, alligators and caimans. But the archosaurs of today are also different in many ways from their ancestors. So it's sort of misleading to call them "living fossils."Technically speaking, a fossil is any trace of life from a prior geological age. The most recent prior geological age was the Pleistocene, which ended about 10,000 years ago. So in order for something to be a "living fossil," it would have to be a living organism that is more than 10,000 years old. The oldest living individual organisms are less than half that, as far as I know.(Note: there are a few clonal organisms that have persisted for longer, but that kind of blurs the notion of "individual.")
t3knomanser: I'm shocked nobody has mentioned crocs, alligators, or sharks. COME ON.
MadSkillz: Horseshoe crabs live in Williamsburg now? At least the other guys won't eat 'em.
brap: [i253.photobucket.com image 152x115]Hear that Dopey? You are a figment of my imagination. Who knew that comically oversized strawberries had pscyhedelic properties? Oh well, if it ain't broke don't fix it, right Dopey? Let's go make a gigantic fruit salad trip balls and go make fun of Chaka by putting up these posters I had made up. [i253.photobucket.com image 320x240]RAWR!I'll take that as a HELLZ YEAH! my imaginary friend!
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