Er, so I recently found loads of photographs from my old palaeobiology lab and, well, brace yourselves, because science. These are cool pictures. Want to know why?
1) This dude is crazy. Notosuchus is an upright-running crocodilian that’s about 85 million years old. It has this specialized ankle joint that is a sort of evolutionary mystery because no one is quite sure whether it evolved independently or is tied into a relationship between pre-crocodiles and pre-mammals, or whether it ever existed in birds and dinosaurs.
2) Parksosaurus would have made an excellent pet. It’s this tiny little bipedal herbivore from the North American late Cretaceous, and it’s neat because almost all of the dinosaurs that fall into that category are hadrosaurs and also much larger, but this guy isn’t.
3) This is Prenocephale, and it’s basically just a really nice representation of a thick-skulled dinosaur. It may have participated in head-butting behaviours, but no one’s really sure. Either way, it would do well in a head-on collision.
4) Archaeopteryx is just a classic, any way you look at it, and this is a gorgeous representation.
5) This is kind of a beautiful specimen of Oviraptor. It probably had feathers, though there’s never been any direct evidence of them - earlier and later members of its clade had them - and it may very well not have eaten eggs at all.
6) Protoceratops is my favourite dinosaur. I mean, come on - a dinosaur that is the founding member of a clade known for its horns… and it hasn’t got horns? It was also rather small and would have made a good, albeit messy, pet.
7) These are various tyrannosauroid teeth, roots still attached. You can get an idea of the size differences in the great carnivores, as well as sort of see the shaping of the teeth in cross-section and the serrated carinae.
8) This is the jaw of an awesome mammal. It’s a ptilodont, looked a bit like a squirrel, and hung out in trees. That one premolar in the lower jaw is a daunting blade, but it was probably used mostly for plants, seeds and nuts.
9) This Ramphorhynchus fossil is cool because it clearly shows what feathers look like after fossilization. All that stellated stuff around the edges - not that every feathered fossil looks like this, but this is fairly obvious evidence.
10) Hey, look, it’s a Velociraptor skull. Who doesn’t like raptors, right?