Welcome to my Metazoic site! This site discusses the existence of the creatures to come along after humans will be extinct. I first became interested in a world after man when I acquired my first copy of Dougal Dixon's After Man: A Zoology of the Future in 1992. However, I unwittingly created creatures that did not exist from the time I was about 8 years old. But it was after I obtained a copy of that book (now a collector's item) that I decided to take these same creatures I created as a child and make them more realistic in an evolutionary sense. Though it may be hard for a lot of us to grasp, humans will soon become extinct. One of the biggest factors of how this will happen is the current overpopulation rate. Which is why I don't contribute to the population. I created this world with little more than mammals fulfilling all ecological niches with the help of some friends. I even gave the era of the age after man a name, I called it the Metazoic, derived from the words for "After-era" (Meta, meaning after, and zoic meaning era). We are now in the Cenozoic era. To view all the animals I have created since I began this project, you can go to the "Meet the Mammals" section of this site. To discuss your own ideas about what you think will happen in the future world, and share your ideas with others, please feel free to leave a comment.
One more thing, some of you may find this site quite offensive, and you have a right to your own opinion. But please respect my right to have an opinion too. I'm not saying there is no GOD, I believe it was HIM who got the ball rolling. But I believe after that, evolution took over. There is so much more evidence of evolution than there is of creation. Even that going on right under our noses. Other than that, enjoy yourself and visit our many links.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feathered Crocs?!

Hot on the heels of the recently discovered feathered ornithiscian Tienyulong confucusi from China is another amazing discovery, one that shakes up our idea of archosaurs as we know them. For years now, the Fergana region of Kyrgyzstan has been known to produce amazingly preserved fossils, mostly insects and invertebrates, but occasionally strange and unusual vertebrates, such as the enigmatic Sharovipteryx and Longisquama.

Well, today, another strange critter made that list. Meet Agriosuchoides inexpectatus, a crurotarsian archosaur from the Late Triassic (Ladinian/Carnian time) of Kyrgystan. This find is important enough by itself, the anatomy of Agriosuchoides appears to suggest that it is the most primitive crocodylomorph ever found, possible related to the sphenosuchians or other primitive, gracile crocodiles. But that is not even the most exciting part. The most exciting part of all is that the fossil appears to be preserved with what appear to be protofeathers around the shoulders, neck, and head!

This has amazing implications. If Agriosuchoides is real, this would mean that feathers or protofeathers are not just found in ornithodirans, as the current fossils of pterosaurs, Tienyulong, Psittacosaurus, and theropods suggest, but that they were present on all archosaurs. The modern day crurotarsians, the semi-aquatic crocodiles, probably lost their feathers secondarily to retain heat better in water, just like whales have today.

Once we get past the feathers, Agriosuchoides appears to be a normal, if somewhat primitive crurotarsian. Some have suggested that Agriosuchoides is not actually a crocodylomorph, but instead a much more primitive crurotarsian archosaur, one that evolved a sphenosuchian-like body shape through convergent evolution. But none doubt that it is a crurotarsian; the distinctive crurotarsian ankle makes that point very clear.

So what does this mean for paleontology? Well, for one it could suggest that all of those Triassic archosaurs we see could be fluffy. Rauisuchians, aetosaurs, probably not phytosaurs, but they all could be fuzzy to an extent. It also raised the question "how basal are feathers". The feathers of Agriosuchoides are more primitive than those found in pterosaurs and dinosaurs; slightly more scale-like than "dino-fuzz", but it still doesn't answer our question as to how early did feathers evolve. More fossils will be needed for the answer.

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