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: cepnet.mobi/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 • 2 257

  • HamsterMC
    HamsterMC  6 hours 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  9 hours back

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

      • skelotal worrior
        skelotal worrior  13 hours back

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

        • Raptarion 69
          Raptarion 69  2 days back

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

          • Justin Copenace
            Justin Copenace  4 days back

            The way i see us is like ants

            • LaughingSaint
              LaughingSaint  5 days back

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

              • Zerg Zerg
                Zerg Zerg  7 days back

                "Next mass extinction"

                • House Music Everyday
                  House Music Everyday  7 days back

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

                  • mrdfac
                    mrdfac  1 weeks back

                    Thanks! 👍

                    • Spacecookie
                      Spacecookie  1 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  1 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  1 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  3 weeks back

                                can she breath

                                • ivan abrosimov
                                  ivan abrosimov  4 weeks back

                                  eeeee a truly epic episode

                                  • craig muscat
                                    craig muscat  4 weeks back

                                    I think that the mega beasts were weirdest

                                    • Delaney Ness
                                      Delaney Ness  4 weeks 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  4 weeks back

                                        "Birdhead"? they should sue!

                                        • Cá Rô Chiên
                                          Cá Rô Chiên  4 weeks 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  1 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  1 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  1 months back

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

                                                        • Matthew Stephens
                                                          Matthew Stephens  1 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 😡

                                                                      • Oel Dave
                                                                        Oel Dave  2 months back

                                                                        How do they know their original colors? Or do they? Just curious

                                                                        • Rick Farwell
                                                                          Rick Farwell  2 months back

                                                                          Listening to you explain evolution sounds Lamarkian.

                                                                          • 49erfaithful
                                                                            49erfaithful  2 months back

                                                                            I wish all the animals that ever went extinct would come back to life so we could see/study them cuz it would be so awesome to see a spinosaurus and then a t-rex and then a megalodon and then a massive 10 foot bear and so much more

                                                                            • Max Mandujano
                                                                              Max Mandujano  2 months back

                                                                              Triassic Chepokemon

                                                                              • Matthew Bittenbender
                                                                                Matthew Bittenbender  2 months back

                                                                                They were weird because the era would tie-assic anything to evolve.

                                                                                • Mikey 58
                                                                                  Mikey 58  2 months back

                                                                                  Lady youre scaring us.

                                                                                  • Ernie H.
                                                                                    Ernie H.  2 months back

                                                                                    Ok, clawed tail..!
                                                                                    That's really cool..!

                                                                                    • InHouseMaterial
                                                                                      InHouseMaterial  2 months back

                                                                                      As "some guy" once said life finds a way. SOME GUY? that's DOCTOR some guy to you young lady

                                                                                      • Old Dominion Outfitters
                                                                                        Old Dominion Outfitters  2 months back

                                                                                        Anyone wanna help me start the human water dwelling fish eater branch?

                                                                                        • Mitchell Whitehead
                                                                                          Mitchell Whitehead  2 months back

                                                                                          The comments are phenomenal! Just keep scrolling.

                                                                                          • hades Cerberus
                                                                                            hades Cerberus  2 months back

                                                                                            So bogus lol