Ecology and Behaviour of Mesozoic Reptiles by Badi H. Baltagi

By Badi H. Baltagi

Our wisdom of extinct animals relies nearly totally upon the learn of fossils. This richly illustrated ebook outfits the skeletons of dinosaurs and different Mesozoic reptiles with flesh, and indicates how those interesting animals developed and doubtless lived. professional writer John L. Cloudsley-Thompson presents an engaging synthesis of present perspectives on their ecology, body structure and behavior, and descriptions a few of the hypotheses which were proposed to give an explanation for their extinction. quite a few attractive drawings of the animals and their surroundings illustrate this intriguing monograph.

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All the thecodonts, including the phytosaurs, became extinct at the end of the Triassic period but the ecological niche they had once occupied was eventually exploited by true crocodiles. 3 Crocodilians The seas and fresh waters of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods teemed with fishes and other animals preyed on by a variety of reptiles including crocodilians. The earliest of the latter were Sphenosuchia, of which Gracilisuchus (Fig. 31a) appeared in the Middle Triassic of South America. This tiny creature n Fig.

33. Undescribed herbivorous crocodilian (Crocodylia; Lower Cretaceous; length ca. 40 cm) is unique in having a reduced mammal-like dentition of simple incisiform teeth, a canine in the upper jaw, and three complex molariform cheek teeth. In addition, the snout was extremely short compared with that of other crocodilians (Fig. 33). Another very unusual feature was that the articular surfaces of the jaw were elongated, and would have permitted fore-and-aft movement. Internal food processing might well have been related to the possession of a secondary palate which could have allowed breathing to take place during mastication, as in living mammals (Clark et al.

24) – and their tails quite possibly bore fins. Lariosaurus was one of the smaller nothosaurs, but by no means the smallest, for some measured only 20 cm in length. Its short neck and toes were primitive features. The small webs between its toes would not have been of much use in n Fig. 24. Above Lariosaurus (Nothosauria; Middle Triassic; length ca. 60 cm). Centre Ceresio- saurus (Nothosauria; Middle Triassic; length ca. 4 m). Below Pistosaurus (Nothosauria; Middle Triassic; length ca. 3 m). (After Palmer 1999) Placodonts and Nothosaurs 33 swimming.

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