Dinosaurs and mammal-like reptiles

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Romer earned the everlasting gratitude and respect of all reptilian paleontologists with his Osteology of the Reptiles, a bountifully illustrated guide to skulls, limbs, and vertebrae of all the Reptilia, including dinosaurs and mammal-like reptiles. (Life size dinosaur model)Romer's classification of reptiles, which places nearly every known fossil and living species in a formal hierarchy, is one of the most widely used among herpetologists and paleontologists. When I was a graduate student at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, I was fortunate to have a study carrel around the corner from Romer's office.(Animatronic dinosaur costume) He was always ready to talk about his first love, the evolution of mammallike reptiles, at coffee break when he and the other senior paleontologist, Bryan Patterson, a pioneer in the analysis of Mid Cretaceous mammal teeth, sat on the basement stoop with the students and staff. For his affability, scholarship, and generous support of students, (Dinosaur costume)Al Romer is justly remembered as a prince among the reptile specialists.


But Romer did one thing I disagree with, vigorously.(Animatronic dinosaur for sale) He wrote that after the close of the Cretaceous, the entire Reptilia became second-class, an overaged, unprogressive group that decayed steadily in biological importance down to the present time, the evolutionary equivalent of the senile Ottoman Empire gradually losing its grip over the eastern Mediterranean after its apogee in the fifteenth century.


Far from declining senile groups, the Reptilia and their coldblooded cousins, the Amphibia, are today full of vigor, full of spe cies, and full of ecological importance. To prove this, one need only stroll through any tropical rain forest in today's world. These habitats, the richest in vertebrate species, are quite literally crawling with frogs, snakes, and lizards鈥攁 hopping, slithering, scampering horde of highly specialized species whose numbers overwhelm those of the supposedly "higher" mammals.

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