Infinity Imagined
Multicellular Organic
Neural Network
Lives in Nitrogen-Oxygen Atmosphere
270 K - 300 K
Eats, Breathes, Thinks, Creates

Katydid Nymph (Olcinia or Sathrophyllia sp., Cymatomerini, Pseudophyllinae, Tettigonidae)  by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr. Pu’er, Yunnan, China  See more Chinese grasshoppers and crickets on my Flickr site HERE…..

A bizarre new bug resembling the major 90s toy craze Troll Dolls has baffled scientists. Teams from the University of Harvard and museums around the world trekked for three weeks to explore the untouched rainforest of southeast Suriname. They managed to catalogue 60 new animal species - but one little critter has proved too tricky to record. The 7mm wide, six-legged bug has been whittled down to possibly fitting into four nymph families: Dictyopharidae, Nogodinidae, Lophopidae, and Tropiduchidae.

Picture: Caters (via Pictures of the day: 18 November 2013 - Telegraph)

Paraceratherium by Mauricio Antón
'The largest land animal alive today is the mighty African elephant, however even the largest adult bull elephants were dwarfed by the largest land mammal ever to exist.' ferrebeekeeper

Cetartiodactyla is the clade in which whales (including dolphins) and even-toed ungulates have currently been placed. The term was coined by merging the name for the two orders, Cetacea and Artiodactyla, into a single word. The term Cetartiodactyla reflects the idea that whales evolved within the artiodactyls. Under this definition, their closest living land relative is thought to be the hippopotamus. The clade formed by uniting whales and hippos is called Whippomorpha. Alternatively, the term ‘Cetartiodactyla’ is used to denote a clade where Cetacea evolved alongside Artiodactyla and not within it. Under this definition, all artiodactyls, including hippos, are more closely related to one another than any are to the whales.

via cananimalsbemoral

Elomeryx, top, was a land animal related to modern-day goats, pigs and hippos. Pakicetus was clearly a water creature, but it spent some of its life on land and had the feet of a land mammal. Rodhocetus’s feet worked for both walking and swimming. Dorudon is striking for its resemblance to modern whales (note the front flippers and horizontal flukes)—but it still sported tiny back feet.
Credit: John Klausmeyer
Source: Whales of the desert (Michigan Today, University of Michigan)

[Image: S.H.Morgan’s cladogram of the animal groups that fall under Dinosauria. Somewhat outdated, but still useful for our purposes.]
Many of us grew up referring to any vaguely reptilian prehistoric animal as a “dinosaur”. In truth, that group is much more exclusive than you might think. Dinosaurs fall under one of two orders—Saurischia or Ornithischia—and share a more recent common ancestor with one another than with any of the following animals:

[Image: Rhamphorhynchus by John Conway]

The first vertebrates capable of powered flight, pterosaurs ruled the Mesozoic skies long before the earliest birds appeared on the scene. Current thinking is that they shared a close relationship with dinosaurs in the group Ornithodira, but they themselves were not dinosaurs.

[Image: Saurosuchus by Nobu Tamura]

Many prehistoric crocodile relatives had erect limbs like dinosaurs, so perhaps it’s no wonder people get them confused. However, these animals evolved their erect stance independently of dinosaurs. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if it walks on four legs and looks like a crocodile, it probably isn’t a dinosaur.  
Ichthyosaurs, Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs, etc.

[Image: Various prehistoric marine reptiles by Sergey Krasovskiy]

Unlike birds such as penguins, non-avian dinosaurs generally weren’t as big on the whole aquatic lifestyle thing as we once thought. The dolphin-like ichthyosaurs, long-bodied mosasaurs and snaky- or thick-necked plesiosaurs were more closely related to lizards than to dinosaurs. 

[Image: Dimetrodon by Marco A. Pineda]

As synapsids, the often sail-backed pelycosaurs were more closely related to mammals than to dinosaurs. That’s right—creatures often marketed as dinosaurs actually occupy a branch on the animal family tree much closer to you and me!

[Image: Estemmenosuchus by Mojcaj]

This group includes modern mammals, so it should be pretty obvious why they’re not considered dinosaurs despite many of the early forms’ more reptilian appearances.
Plenty of other examples exist, but these critters are some of the most common culprits when it comes to being confused for dinosaurs. Remember, it can’t hurt to do your research before calling something a dinosaur!

Tyrannosaurus Rex and Chasmosaurus by James Gurney

from Highlights for Kids
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