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Originally posted by merka
While you make an excellent argument, in the end they just they look like mangy/abused dogs/coyotes. And its been proven that most are.
[edit on 5-9-2007 by merka]
Synapsids include mammals and all extinct amniotes more closely related to mammals than to reptiles. Synapsids are the dominant large terrestrial animals worldwide, and they have also invaded the oceans (whales, pinnipeds) and the air (bats).
In 1978, paleontologist Phil Gingerich discovered a 52-million-year-old skull in Pakistan that resembled fossils of creodonts -- wolf-sized carnivores that lived between 60 and 37 million years ago, in the early Eocene epoch. But the skull also had characteristics in common with the Archaeocetes, the oldest known whales. The new bones, dubbed Pakicetus, proved to have key features that were transitional between terrestrial mammals and the earliest true whales. One of the most interesting was the ear region of the skull. In whales, it is extensively modified for directional hearing underwater. In Pakicetus, the ear region is intermediate between that of terrestrial and fully aquatic animals.
The pakicetids were carnivorous land animals, but are presumed to be ancestors of modern whales because of the three following features unique to whales: peculiarities in the positioning of the ear bones within the skull, the folding in a bone of the middle ear, and the arrangement of cusps on the molar teeth. The current theory is that modern whales evolved from archaic whales such as basilosaurids, which in turn evolved from something like the amphibious ambulocetids, which themselves evolved from something like the land-dwelling pakicetids.
Dogs, ungulates (hoofed mammals), cats, bears, weasels, raccoons, civets and hyenas all share a common ancestor. Thus, the wolf and the animals it preys upon (the ungulates) evolved from a common ancestor from which they both inherited their intelligence and their ability to run swiftly for long periods of time. This common ancestor lived about a hundred million years ago. Most mammalian orders then differentiated during the Paleocene epoch (65 to 55 million years ago) and can be recognized from Eocene (55 - 33 million year old) fossils.
Roughly 55 million years ago, a mammal with carnassials (teeth used for tearing flesh) evolved from the creodonts.
It was during this time that the Miacis of the family Miacidae, from which the dogs, cats, bears, weasels, raccoons, civets and hyenas diverged from, appeared. The Miacidae included forms that varied greatly in size - some were as small as squirrels, while others were dog sized.
About 30 to 40 million years ago, Miacis (a tree-climbing animal with retractable claws) diverged into two types of mammals that gave rise to the dog and bear lineages. The Cynodictis line eventually gave rise to the dog family.
2 Basic head shape is not equal
Originally posted by Indellkoffer
Oh... and the real skeletons/body bits are a pig, some dogs, and some cats. I remember the skeletons from when I took comparative anatomy in biology in college a very long long time ago.