Tag: Jonathan P. Tennant
Jon is currently finishing off his PhD in Palaeontology at Imperial College London, where he has been investigating diversity and extinction patterns in Mesozoic tetrapods, in particular around the Jurassic–Cretaceous boundary, 145 million years ago. He has also been investigating the taxonomy of atoposaurids, and has a keen interest in the evolutionary history of crocodyliforms in general. Alongside his PhD, Jon is a freelance science writer for venues such as Discover Magazine, a PLOS Paleo Community Editor, the Communications Director for ScienceOpen, and author of the kids’ book Excavate Dinosaurs! He tweets far too much as @protohedgehog, and you can often find him inanely ranting about science communication and open access on social media or in the pub.
Mr Jonathan P. Tennant, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London, SW7 2AZ, UK.
by Jonathan P. Tennant*1
Crocodilians are truly iconic creatures, and throughout history have inspired stories of dragons and soul-devouring gods. Modern crocodilians are the crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials, all part of the crown group Crocodylia (Fig. 1). There are only 23 recognized species alive today, and of these 10 are considered to be endangered, according to the IUCN red list, due to ongoing environmental disruption and human activity. This relative lack of modern diversity stands out in stark contrast to that of their close relatives, the dinosaurs, whose modern descendants, the birds, have about 10,000 species around today! It isn’t obvious from looking at modern birds and crocodiles that they share a common ancestor. For instance, when was the last t