Tetrapod Zoology

There’s a big crossover, sure, but I often wonder if everyone who visits Tet Zoo also visits SV-POW! Today is the day we put that to the test. To find out more about this image….


…. you must, by law, go here.

Next: oh no, it’s the giant killer opossums!


  1. #1 johannes
    June 26, 2008

    > oh no, it’s the giant killer opossums!

    Stagodontids (giants at least by mesozoic mammalian standards, but not even marsupials sensu stricto, leave alone opossums)? Sparassodonts?

  2. #2 ctenotrish
    June 26, 2008


  3. #3 Stevo Darkly
    June 26, 2008


    There was a short reference to thylacoleo in TetZoo back in April, but you really can’t have too much thylacoleo.

  4. #4 Graeme Elliott
    June 26, 2008

    Totally off topic, there’s an interesting bit of frog news on Science Daily.


  5. #5 Lars Dietz
    June 26, 2008


    That’s not a giant killer opossum, more like a giant killer koala or wombat.

  6. #6 Allen Hazen
    June 26, 2008

    Now, then ***I*** was a child I was taught that “opossum,” spelled with an “o,” was for the American species (criters like the famous cartoon character Pogo the Possum). And that “possum,” without the “o,” means either the Australian kind or that the speaker is an illiterate redneck. So if you asked me to guess, I’d guess that Darren’s next (or next but n-th) post will be about some American type or types, not about a derived Australidelphian like Thylacoleo. But WHICHEVER he writes about I expect to be delighted and educated by it!

  7. #7 neil
    June 26, 2008

    Nice some one should do this for real – in the middle of London…

  8. #8 Nathan Myers
    June 26, 2008

    It’s like a flying battleship!

  9. #9 Matt Wedel
    June 26, 2008

    It’s like a flying battleship!

    That is exactly what it’s like, and I salute you for just putting it out there so boldly.

  10. #10 Stevo Darkly
    June 27, 2008


    That’s not a giant killer opossum, more like a giant killer koala or wombat.

    Wait, I thought Thylacoleo was a member of the phalanger family — aren’t those Australian possums? Or did he get reclassified?

  11. #11 johannes
    June 27, 2008

    I once saw a book titled “Possums and Opossums” in a bookstore. It was from the late eighties or early nineties. It dealt with all kinds of extinct and recent metatherians (all called marsupials in the book), not just phalangers and American opossums. There were colour plates depicting reconstructions of *Wakaleo* and other thylacoleonids in the book.
    If I remember right, there was a microbiothere depicted on the cover.

  12. #12 J.S. Lopes
    June 27, 2008

    Killer opossums must be the borhyenids… In Brazil there’s a lot of names for the opossums (Didelphis): gamb�, sarigu�, timbu, mucura, etc…

  13. #13 J.S. Lopes
    June 27, 2008

    Is the size of the Quetzalcoatlus correct?

  14. #14 Darren Naish
    June 27, 2008

    Shh – you’ll spoil it for everyone else! 🙂

  15. #15 Lars Dietz
    June 27, 2008

    “Wait, I thought Thylacoleo was a member of the phalanger family — aren’t those Australian possums? Or did he get reclassified?”

    At least it was a diprotodont, like Australian possums, kangaroos, wombats, and koalas. According to Mikko Haaramo’s site recent diprotodonts fall into the Vombatiformes (wombats, koalas, diprotondontids) and the Phalangeriformes (phalangers, kangaroos). Thylacoleonidae aren’t part of any of these groups. But of course Aus. possums aren’t opossums, and don’t really have that much in common with them. So it might have been a killer possum, but certainly not a killer *o*possum.
    I hope I didn’t spoil anything here.

  16. #16 Mark Witton
    June 27, 2008

    J. S. Lopes: the azhdarchid in question isn’t Quetzalcoatlus but it’s bigger, tougher brother from Transylvania, Hatzegopteryx. There’s not many fossils to work with, but wingspan estimates of this critter are in the region of 12 m: this gives it a standing shoulder height of 3 m and a similar neck length. What’s more, the fragmentary skull remains hint at a skull half-a-metre wide and 2.5 m long. Yowee.

    It would be shameless of me to exploit Darren’s blog to link to this page for more information, so I won’t.

    Hold on a second…

  17. #17 Gorgonop S. Ian
    June 27, 2008

    That brachiosaurus skeleton came from the outside of the Field Museum in Chicago, as did the elephant. The azdarchid is from one of your earlier blog. I don’t know anything about the background picture or the whale skeleton.

  18. #18 Jura
    June 28, 2008

    Yeah guys, where did the blue whale skeleton come from?

  19. #19 Darren Naish
    June 28, 2008

    Where is the whale skeleton/background image from? Go here and here.

  20. #20 craig york
    June 30, 2008

    Neat image, and an amazing testament the power of modern
    image technology…I’ll try to visit SV-POW more often.

    Mr. Meyers,Mr. Wedel-Nowhere near as big as battleship, and it isn’t made of anti-matter either. ( Still pretty
    damn impressive. Oddly, it makes me wonder if any smaller
    pterosaurs occupied the Tickbird niche… )

  21. #21 Nathan Myers
    July 3, 2008

    Mr. York: Absolute size is hardly species-diagnostic, much less so subatomic constitution. Be aware that you are also arguing with no less a figure than Richard Hing, who will not be pleased at your skepticism. I give thanks that I have not (yet!) suffered his wrath.

    Larger pterosaurs occupying the Tickbird niche would need impressively large ticks. One might wonder, parenthetically, if supersonic sauropod tail lashings could be aimed precisely enough to dislodge or discomfit troublesome kopidodons and other vermin.

  22. #22 David Marjanovi?
    July 5, 2008

    Would require a time machine. Kopidodon is middle Eocene in age.

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