Not every dinosaur named in the 19th century has lasted into the 21st. Here are 10 dinosaurs that didn't make the cut, ranging from Ceratops to Zapsalis, and including one genus that references a very sensitive part of the human anatomy.
Illustration of Laelaps: Charles R. Knight
Believe it or not, the ultimate ancestors of modern whales were small, dog-sized prehistoric mammals that prowled the riverbeds of central Asia 50 million years ago. Here's everything you need to know about whale evolution, including a comprehensive list of prehistoric whale species.
Illustration of Georgiacetus: Nobu Tamura
From the Giant Wombat to the Saber-Tooth Tiger, the Cenozoic Era was chock-full of oversized, menacing, and vaguely comical-looking mammals. Here's a picture gallery of over 60 megafauna mammals, ranging from Aepycamelus to Uintatherium.
Illustration of Teleoceras: Heinrich Harder
Primates--a category of megafauna mammals that includes not only humans and hominids, but monkeys, apes, lemurs, baboons and tarsiers--have a deep evolutionary history that stretches as far back as the age of dinosaurs. Here's everything you need to know about primate evolution.
Illustration of Mesopithecus: Wikimedia Commons
Now that HBO's "Bone Wars" movie is presumably a no-go--the late, great James Gandolfini was slated to star opposite Steve Carell--you may think the opportunity has vanished to popularize this late 19th-century rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel C. Marsh. Well, fear not--the Bone Wars are still getting their due, not on cable TV, but in an entertaining kids' book written by Ted Enik and illustrated by G.F. Newland.
In the "unhinged history book" Sticks 'n Stones 'n Dinosaur Bones, Enik takes as his starting point the bare historical facts: Marsh and Cope engaged in a vicious competition to dig up, and announce, as many new dinosaurs as they possibly could, seizing as their playing field the vast, lonesome quarries of the American west. But rather than plunge into the (somewhat tedious) specifics of this rivalry, Enik quickly spins off into Dr. Seuss land, as Cope and Marsh publicize their increasingly bizarre discoveries. A sample passage:
"With a day's-worth of fangs, and a week's-worth of frills,
and a month's-worth of monstrously segmented gills,
With detachable legs and reversible paws,
and invisible wings and uncountable claws;
My beast is a creature of legend and lore,
an animal never on earth seen before!
'Behold!' bellowed Cope like a one-person chorus,
To be fair, at the end of the book, Enik powers down the whimsy a bit and gives a nod to the actual discoveries made by Cope and Marsh, such as Diplodocus and Dimetrodon. To sum up, this is a book I'd vastly enjoy reading to my three-year-old twins, who are too young to appreciate the intricacies of paleontology but would love to hear more about a dinosaur "Ten Matterhorns high and ten Grand Canyons wide/with squiggles and dots decorating its side." You can read more about Sticks 'n Stones 'n Dinosaur Bones, and order your own copy, at Unhinged History.
Everyone knows about the dinosaurs, but the fact is that a wide variety of reptiles, mammals, birds and other animals have gone extinct during historical times--not 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic Era, but recently, and under the watch of civilized humans who should have known better. Here's our canonical list of 100 recently extinct animals.
Photograph of the Quagga: Wikimedia Commons
Scientists have pretty good theories for why dinosaurs went extinct--but that hasn't prevented some popular myths from spreading about how, when, and even whether tyrannosaurs, raptors and ceratopsians went down for the count. Here are the top 10 misconceptions about dinosaur extinction.
Illustration: Getty Images
The world may be teeming with insects and invertebrates, but that doesn't mean individual species can't go extinct every now and then. Here's a list of 10 moths, butterflies, worms and snails that have gone extinct in historical times.
Photograph of the Polynesian Tree Snail: Wikimedia Commons
Since Woolly Mammoths are often found preserved in 10,0000-year-old permafrost, they would seem to be ideal candidates for cloning and reintroduction into the wild. But how close are we to actually engineering, gestating and raising a living, breathing Mammoth?
Photograph of a Woolly Mammoth skeleton: Wikimedia Commons
Like other animals around the world, the marsupials of Australia are prone to extinction, usually as a result of habitat loss or predation by invasive species (including human beings). Here's a list of 10 kangaroos, wallabies and wombats that have gone extinct in historical times.
Illustration of the Crescent Nail-Tail Wallaby: John Gould