Saturday, April 21, 2012

Creature Feature: Sinonyx.

I admit it: I've been a bad girl and been doing more extinct creatures than stuff one can find in the current era.Any extinct creatures besides dinosaurs, saber-tooth tigers, and mammoths tend to get shoved to the side- or even combined in the same era. *GAG.* Pardon my favoritism towards the lesser-known beings that dwell in the depths of your nightmares...and actually existed, of course.

Enter mesonychids. Oh, how I love mesonychids at this blog. Sinonyx up there was one of the first, and was found in China. It lived around 56 million years ago. Like all mesonychids, it was a rare example of a hooved carnivore. It probably lived along shorelines, snapping up fish and whatever other forms of meat it could find.

Sinonyx was a little badass. It was about the size of the modern wolf and similarly built for stamina and speed. It had hooves, so it was probably a little faster than a wolf, even though the two animals were roughly the same size. This was small for a mesonychid, but still a threat.

Found here, please don't sue.

Two words: Those JAWS! Sinonyx had a huge skull in proportion to its body, much like a pit bull (no offense pitty lovers) or Tasmanian devil. Unfortunately, every aspect of that skull was geared toward jaw power; the skull housed an extremely tiny brain.

Sinonyx was, debatably, one of the first cetaceans-to-be. There's a lot of subtle detail that goes into defending that this particular mesonychid as a whale relative, but the best and most easily-explained piece of evidence is that insane jaw. It's very long and narrow, just like the jaw of a dolphin or killer whale. There are more subtle things (like earbones) that make people think Sinonyx was the first real step towards whales.

Also, that name. Seriously, tell me that that name doesn't sound like it should belong to the fursona of a teen trying to be goth and cooler than they actually are. In all seriousness? It means "Chinese claw." Still a cool name for a metal band or something, which I would totally listen to if they used the animal as their mascot.

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