While it’s true that dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago, decades of research has proven that many dinosaurs’ not-too-distant relatives walk the Earth today. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most well-known descendants of dinosaurs—a few of which you might even have in your own backyard!


Snakes

Descendents of:
The evolution of snakes is tough to pin down, but several theories support that snakes descended from mosasaurs, which had a transparent layer of skin fused over its eyes, webbed toes and large, crescent-shaped tails. Mosasaurs were pretty much the babes of the Triassic era.

Snakes today:
Snakes are the animal most often cited by people as their worst fear. They often struggle to form allyships with other snakes. They’re cold to the touch and have relatively poor eyesight, so they often struggle to see the general direction that things are heading. Because of their brittle bones, snakes are far more fragile than they appear. Compared to the average man, they have microscopic penises.

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Birds

Descendents of:
Birds descended from Compsognathus dinosaurs, which were classified by their delicate builds, long legs and their habit of travelling in groups, similar to the wealthy women you just can’t connect with at Orangetheory.

Birds today:
Today, birds are best known for their colorful coats, their ability to take to the skies whenever they want, and for squawking at the slightest provocation, similar to the wealthy women you just can’t connect with at Orangetheory.

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Lizards

Descendents of:
Most lizards are descendents of the Hylonomus genus of dinosaurs, which had small, sharp teeth and sought shelter in hollow tree stumps. Picture a Keebler elf covered in scales, peering at you from a hollow tree stump with its jet black eyes and giant fingernails. That’s pretty much a Hylonomus dinosaur in a nutshell.

Lizards today:
The most common North American lizard is the Green Anole. The Anole is a territorial lizard and, if incensed, will even go so far as to mistakenly fight its own reflection. Male anoles spend their days sunbathing, catching bugs and exposing a pinkish mound of flesh to female lizards that they sometimes find attractive. Much to the Anole’s chagrin, this rarely results in mating.

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Saltwater Crocodiles

Descendents of:
Saltwater crocodiles are the only living direct descendants of Archosaurs, which became the dominant land-dwelling creatures in the Triassic era because of their ability to survive in low oxygen climates. Billions of years later, crocodiles still won’t shut the fuck up about it.

Crocodiles today:
Saltwater crocodiles are best known for being large, aggressive predators that feed on animals far lower in the food chain. They’re widely regarded as one of the most dangerous reptiles in the very saltwaters that people often regard as mysterious and intriguing, but couldn’t survive in their wildest dreams.

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Chameleons

Descendents of:
Many chameleons are thought to be descendants of the Chamaeleo intermedius, a lizard that originated in Upper Miocene in mainland Africa. And, yes—if chameleons could speak, they’d no doubt find a way to mention that they’re, like actually, two percent African.

Chameleons today:
Chameleons are known best for their ability to change colors—whether it be blue pastel, pink pastel, or even yellow pastel. Chameleons swaggering gait and distinctively large eyes are no doubt enticing, but beware, ladies: chameleons often look at two things at once without letting anyone know that they aren’t giving them their full attention. And in as little as 0.7 seconds, chameleons can have their outrageously large tongues latched onto unsuspecting prey that definitely didn’t ask for it.

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Boa Constrictors

Descendents of:
Boa constrictors are thought to have evolved from Ophidians, a class of aquatic lizards that lived during the Middle Jurassic era—although, it’s hard to be sure, as Ophidians’ brittle bones meant many of their fossils weren’t well-preserved. As far as Ophidian is concerned, the whole “brittle bones” thing is a myth.

Boa constrictors today:
Boa constrictors’ sedentary behavior and earthy, patterned outerwear mean it might take a while for you to notice you’re in the same room as a boa constrictor. This works to their advantage, as boa constrictors ambush their unsuspecting prey by squeezing the life out of them with one swift, strong embrace. Boa constrictors can survive on this one squeeze for up to several months before they’ll hunger for another full-bodied strike.

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Marine Iguanas

Descendents of:
Marine iguanas, as well as land iguanas, both descended from Ctenosaura Iguanas of Central America. Despite land iguanas’ habit of dwelling around Costa Rican resorts and marine iguanas’ way of dwelling near tide pools, marine iguanas will swear that they didn’t draw the short end of the evolutionary stick.

Marine iguanas today:
Charles Darwin famously referred to marine iguanas as the “most disgusting, clumsy lizards,” so it’s safe to assume they’re pleasant to be around. A marine iguana’s nostrils are often caked with white granules of salt, though you’re free to assume that “salt” could be anything ingested through one’s nose. Sometimes, marine iguanas will even expel chunks of white salt from glands above their noses, giving them the appearance of having white or grey hair.

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Turtles

Descendents of:
Turtles are descendants of dinosaurs from the placodus genus. Dinosaurs in the placodus genus had stocky bodies, abdomens protected by an armor of rib bones and were clumsy outside of water. Dinosaurs in the placodus genus were giant fucking nerds.

Turtles today:
Turtles are most vocal when interested in mating. Their excellent vision makes them extremely sensitive to changes in color in their environments. The built-in protection afforded by their shells means turtles can live long lives without having to develop strategies against environmental dangers. Because of the shape of their heads, turtles spend much of their lives looking down on whatever’s in front of them.

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