Jurassic June: Australopithecus
Name: Australopithecus (Aw-Strawl-Loe-Pith-The-Cus)
Which means: "Southern ape"
Australopithecus was an early hominid that roamed the plains of Africa during the Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene (approximately 4.5-1.9 million years ago), making it one of the longest lived primates. These primates were our earliest ancestors, standing to about 3-5 feet in height.
Like most primates, Australopithecus likely lived in social groups, looking out and taking care of one another. They also likely used tools for getting food and fending off predators.
There are in fact several different species of Australopithecus. And one of the most well known specimens of Australopithecus was Lucy, a member of Australopithecus afarensis. Lucy was one of the first hominin fossils to become a household name and the most complete hominin to have been discovered, with roughly 40% of her remains uncovered.
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Jurassic June: Pyroraptor
Name: Pyroraptor (Pie-roe-rap-tor)
Which Means: "fire thief"
Pyroraptor was a small carnivorous theropod that lived what would be modern France during the Late Cretaceous (approximately 70 million years ago). This dinosaur was very similar to its Asian relative Velociraptor. It was about the same length (measuring 6 feet) and size (at least a meter in height), both were dromeosaurids as they both had the signature curved claw on each foot, and both were feathered.
This was the first dromeosaurid dinosaur to have been discovered in Europe, whereas most dromeosaurid remains were found scattered throughout Asia, North America, and South America. It lived alongside various species of dinosaurs such as the iguanodont Rhabdodon, the long-necked titanosaur Atsinganosaurus, and the carnivorous abelisaur Tarascosaurus.
Pyroraptor got its name after partially preserved remains of this dinosaur were discovered outside of Providence, France, after a forest fire swept through the area. Its scientific name is in fact Pyroraptor olympius, which translates to "olympic fire thief".
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Jurassic June: Kronosaurus
Name: Kronosaurus (Krone-no-sawr-us)
Named after: The Greek titan, Kronos.
Kronosaurus was a large pliosaur that ruled the seas during the Early Cretaceous, approximately 100 million years ago. It was a massive reptile, measuring up to 36 feet from head to tail. Its skull alone measured up to 9 feet in length (approximately 3 meters).
This animal was the apex predator of the Cretaceous seas, feeding off of plesiosaurs, cephalopods, fish, sharks, and smaller pliosaurs. Hence why it was named after the king of the Greek titans, Kronos.
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