Why Triassic Animals Were Just the Weirdest

  • Published: 06 June 2018
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    The Triassic was full of creatures that look a lot like other, more modern species, even though they’re not closely related at all. The reason for this has to do with how evolution works and with the timing of the Triassic itself: when life was trapped between two mass extinctions.

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the Drepanosaurus reconstruction. Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at alphynix.tumblr.com and nixillustration.com

    And thanks as always to Nobumichi Tamura for allowing us to use his wonderful paleoart: spinops.blogspot.com/

    Finally, thanks to Emilio Rolandia, Matt Celeskey, and Studio 252mya for their excellent images as well.

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: lavendercottage.info/user/pbsdigitalstudios

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    Original description of Triopticus with a description of repeated bodyplans and lifestyles of Triassic and later Mesozoic animals cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(16)30860-0
    Original description of Shringasaurus with discussion of allokotosaur evolution
    Original description of Avicranium with a discussion of drepanosaurids
    An earlier phylogenetic analysis of drepanosaurs with discussion of their likely habits in life
    A very thorough, but fairly technical discussion of adaptive radiations (including those triggered by extinctions) can be found in chapters 4, 5, and 10 of:
    Stanley, SM. 1979. Macroevolution: Pattern and Process. John Hopkins University Press.
    ISBN 0-8018-5735-X
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 2 275

  • Szujhinzu
    Szujhinzu  5 hours back

    7:53 didn't know that late Jurassic "birds" were already capable of such beautiful singing lol

    • Richard Braakman
      Richard Braakman  9 hours back

      "Why did all these animals look like animals that came much later?" is such a chronologically biased way of putting it :)

      • louise
        louise  21 hours back

        so when is the next mass extinction?

        • Edward st.antoine
          Edward st.antoine  1 days back

          wow a cow trying to "teach"

          • Alex Zuniga
            Alex Zuniga  2 days back

            Who high af rn

            • Syphon Gamer
              Syphon Gamer  2 days back

              Uh ain't anyone heard of divergent evolution?

              • Alonso Alcantar
                Alonso Alcantar  2 days back

                Triassic era was just life tryna figure itself out

                • Brian Scholla
                  Brian Scholla  2 days back

                  I cant stop focusing on how pretty her hair looks

                  • Gabe Cook
                    Gabe Cook  2 days back

                    Every time she said “niche” incorrectly I died a little more

                    • Kate Xie
                      Kate Xie  3 days back

                      So we don't need to worry too much about the current mass extinction we have been causing for a while, the survivors will adapt and evolve intro other species in some millions of years

                      • Sunaki1000
                        Sunaki1000  3 days back

                        1:07 more dolphins, but ok.

                        • HamsterMC
                          HamsterMC  4 days back

                          Am I the only one who clicked hoping to hear about more examples of weird Triassic animals and less natural selection review material?

                          • snatchadams69
                            snatchadams69  4 days back

                            Trapped between 2 extinctions, there's a joke about existentialism here hold on give me a sec...

                            • skelotal worrior
                              skelotal worrior  4 days back

                              is it just me or does everyone on pbs eons have basically the same speaking voice?

                              • Raptarion 69
                                Raptarion 69  6 days back

                                When you run out of mass extinction names:
                                the great _dying_

                              • Justin Copenace
                                Justin Copenace  1 weeks back

                                The way i see us is like ants

                                • LaughingSaint
                                  LaughingSaint  1 weeks back

                                  Are We body shaming Triassic dinosaurs now has it gotten this low😂😂🤪

                                  • Zerg Zerg
                                    Zerg Zerg  2 weeks back

                                    "Next mass extinction"

                                    • House Music Everyday
                                      House Music Everyday  2 weeks back

                                      If I had enough money I’d pay all Americans to say niche correctly

                                      • mrdfac
                                        mrdfac  2 weeks back

                                        Thanks! 👍

                                        • Spacecookie
                                          Spacecookie  2 weeks back

                                          So what you're saying is that we'll close the curtains on this age in a pretty similar way that the Triassic ended?

                                          • Deebz270
                                            Deebz270  2 weeks back

                                            The only life that is likely to survive the *current* mass extinction event, will be extremophile. You can thank the current apex predator - Homo sapiens-'sapiens' for that, being the only species in Earth's long history, to cause so much widespread damage to virtually all ecosystems and the only species ever to have split the atom and leave a legacy of an irradiated Earth. All within one epoch.
                                            And that appointment with extinction, by all accounts, is not far off... And Humans are most certainly high on the list.

                                            • Peter Wallace
                                              Peter Wallace  2 weeks back

                                              Speaks beautifully & lovely 😊 hair.

                                              • Jude Luckett
                                                Jude Luckett  2 weeks back

                                                Other than Intelligence, Humans have EXTREMELY boring abilities. I WISH we could evolve to do something cool like fly, swim well, or be able to climb trees.

                                                • Pardon80
                                                  Pardon80  2 weeks back

                                                  Bad editing. Some room to breathe between sentences please. Helps with comprehension.

                                                  • super cedric
                                                    super cedric  4 weeks back

                                                    can she breath

                                                    • ivan abrosimov
                                                      ivan abrosimov  1 months back

                                                      eeeee a truly epic episode

                                                      • craig muscat
                                                        craig muscat  1 months back

                                                        I think that the mega beasts were weirdest

                                                        • Delaney Ness
                                                          Delaney Ness  1 months back

                                                          Thank you for making these videos. I enjoy them a lot! I would think it takes you guys forever to make them, so thank you!

                                                          • Ali Sina
                                                            Ali Sina  1 months back

                                                            "Birdhead"? they should sue!

                                                            • Cá Rô Chiên
                                                              Cá Rô Chiên  1 months back

                                                              If the next great extinction happens, many animals will evolution and replace human, nature may be clean more than now.😃

                                                              • Govardhaan Thaanvaani
                                                                Govardhaan Thaanvaani  1 months back

                                                                Wouldn't it be great to go back in time, there and see for oneself the managerie of life forms, ....but only with an AK - 47, for self defense !

                                                                • Deebz270
                                                                  Deebz270  2 weeks back

                                                                  LOL! An AK47 isn't likely to be of much help in defense... Not even with a convoy of ammo trucks... As with the HG Wells story - 'War of the Worlds', it is not the big nasty lizards you'll be in danger of, but the microscopic critters (bacteria, phages, viruses...) that your body will find alien and be without immunal defense (thus... A knapsack of anti-biotics would probably be of more use....).

                                                              • Jorge of Albion
                                                                Jorge of Albion  1 months back

                                                                I’m torn, I would love to see a mass extinction meteor hit while I’m alive, but also, that would be a bummer.

                                                                • Deebz270
                                                                  Deebz270  2 weeks back

                                                                  Well I've got news for you buddy.... By all scientific accounts, your wish may well be granted around mid 21st century...
                                                                  Watch this space...

                                                              • Mr.J Glokta
                                                                Mr.J Glokta  1 months back

                                                                6:26 they were also the first species to carve their names in trees

                                                                • George Ralph
                                                                  George Ralph  1 months back

                                                                  I could listen to her read the entire New York City telephone directory.

                                                                  • Shafqat Ishan
                                                                    Shafqat Ishan  1 months back

                                                                    Did phytosaurs really prey on gorgonopsids?

                                                                    • Ayla Williamson
                                                                      Ayla Williamson  1 months back

                                                                      The triassic period looks like the beginning of Devilman

                                                                      • Kyle Edwards
                                                                        Kyle Edwards  1 months back

                                                                        Stop saying evolution it was creation

                                                                        • Dante Elliott
                                                                          Dante Elliott  1 months back

                                                                          Avicranium looks like Jabba's pet from Return of the Jedi

                                                                          • Yo Mama56125
                                                                            Yo Mama56125  2 months back

                                                                            I lterally got an curiosity stream ad about triassic dinosaurs before watching yhis video

                                                                            • Matthew Stephens
                                                                              Matthew Stephens  2 months back

                                                                              So here's my question, stoned af;
                                                                              But will a new apex predator evolve or not because we exist? We won't allow real predators to exist near us at all. Will that cause evolution to stop making predators or will it make an unstoppable predator? Are humans going to be the ones that evolve into it or will something else? Neato stuff

                                                                              • Logie Bear
                                                                                Logie Bear  2 months back

                                                                                somebody tell that girl to call me

                                                                                • 1000 subscribers With some videos

                                                                                  Itchys alway like following me maybe i should tame one

                                                                                  • 悪妖怪Evil Darth YōkaiX / Nxnjiitzu

                                                                                    Chaos Theory

                                                                                    • Agent719
                                                                                      Agent719  2 months back

                                                                                      Saw this as recommended.
                                                                                      Thought it was new.
                                                                                      But will watch again anyway.

                                                                                      • tha professa
                                                                                        tha professa  2 months back

                                                                                        Think about it we’ve been here what like 20000 years, these crocodile like creatures have all been doing the exact same thing for millions of years

                                                                                        • Noah Boucher
                                                                                          Noah Boucher  2 months back

                                                                                          This just makes me think that if we ever do come across life on other planets, it will be disappointingly similar to stuff we already have or have had. Any planet capable of supporting life would likely have similar niches to fill.

                                                                                          • Jeremy Ripton
                                                                                            Jeremy Ripton  2 weeks back

                                                                                            No it wouldn't....Life doesn't mean anything similar to Earth...

                                                                                        • potato chips
                                                                                          potato chips  2 months back

                                                                                          Don’t make fun of my siblings 😡