These Modern Animals Have Prehistoric Twins | Summary and Q&A

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July 19, 2020
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These Modern Animals Have Prehistoric Twins

TL;DR

Discover five ancient animals that resemble familiar living species, providing insights into their lifestyles and evolution.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the similarities between Pterodaustro and flamingos provide insights into the pterosaur's feeding habits?

Pterodaustro's long snout and needle-like teeth closely resemble flamingos, indicating a shared filter-feeding mechanism. Observations of flamingos filter feeding provide evidence that Pterodaustro likely used its narrow teeth to filter food out of water.

Q: What similarities do phytosaurs share with modern crocodiles?

Phytosaurs have a similar body structure, including large bodies, sprawling limbs, and powerful tails. They also possess long snouts filled with cone-shaped teeth. Additionally, their eyes and nostrils are positioned on the top of the skull, allowing them to wait below the water's surface for prey.

Q: How does Castorocauda lutrasimilis resemble both beavers and otters?

Castorocauda, although not a true mammal, shares similarities with beavers and otters in terms of its semi-aquatic lifestyle. It possesses a long, flat tail and webbed toes, ideal for swimming. The structure of its teeth also resembles a predatory seal, indicating adaptations for capturing fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Q: What evidence suggests that Maiopatagium and Volaticotherium were gliding animals?

Both Maiopatagium and Volaticotherium exhibit skin flaps known as patagia, which enable gliding. Similar structures are observed in modern-day gliding mammals such as flying squirrels, sugar gliders, and colugos. Additionally, these ancient mammals possess limb and digit structures that resemble those seen in modern gliding animals.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Pterodaustro, a pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous Period, had a similar long snout and filter-feeding mechanism as modern-day flamingos, providing insights into its feeding habits.

  • Phytosaurs, reptiles from the Triassic Period, share remarkable similarities with crocodiles, including body structure, jaws, and even a similar secondary palate structure.

  • Castorocauda lutrasimilis, an ancient mammal cousin, displays similarities to beavers, otters, and platypuses, utilizing aquatic adaptations for swimming and feeding.

  • Maiopatagium and Volaticotherium, non-mammal mammal cousins, exhibit gliding adaptations similar to modern-day flying mammals, showcasing convergent evolution.

  • Kalligrammatidae, an extinct group of lacewings, resemble butterflies with scaly wings, eyespots, and specialized mouthparts, indicating a convergent ecological relationship with plants.

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