Crocodiles are more like birds (and dinosaurs!) than lizards

Answers for Globle, Chronogram, and Metazooa from Jan 22 - Jan 28

The Trainwreck Labs Newsletter

Coming to your inbox every Monday with educational fun-facts and all the answers to Trainwreck Labs games from the past week.

This week, we have…

  • A fun fact inspired by a recent Metazooa answer

  • Answers to last week's games

Crocodiles are more like birds (and dinosaurs!) than lizards

The Archosauria family reunion always ends with a contentious game of cards. Image generated by DALL-E.

The FAQ of Metazooa contains a surprising fun fact: there is no reptile class in the game because “crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are to lizards.”

To elaborate, according to evolutionary biologists, birds and crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators, and caimans) are both in the family “Archosauria”. They are the only remnants of this class since all the dinosaurs went extinct. But… crocodiles, birds, and dinosaurs are all pretty different, aren’t they? While they appear to have all had a common ancestor at some point, it turns out that a lot can change over 150 million years.

On one branch of the evolutionary tree, you have crocodiles (Metazooa Animal #175) which are sometimes called “living fossils” because they haven’t evolved much in millions of years. Meanwhile, birds started off as Theropoda, a clade of dinosaurs with hollow bones. These dainty-but-deadly creatures likely acquired feathers long before the ability to fly, but feathers serve many purposes: insulation, camouflage and protection, and aerodynamics, which was helpful when they weren’t flying yet but were running really fast.

As for dinosaurs, archaeologists and biologists examined their fossilised bones to find their place in the tree of life. They are placed in the archeosaur class, along with birds and crocs, because of the shapes of their skulls and vertebrae. So why did crocodiles and birds survive, but none of the other Archosaurs? No one really knows. But it’s possible that when an asteroid that hit the Earth off the coast Mexico 66 million years ago, smaller animals who could survive by flying or swimming had a better shot of making it to the modern era.

Would you like to see a dinosaur version of Metazooa? Reply to this email or let me know in the Discord!

Answers to last week's games

Monday, January 22 to Sunday, January 28.


  • Jan 22 Sierra Leone

  • Jan 23 Taiwan

  • Jan 24 Peru

  • Jan 25 Côte d'Ivoire

  • Jan 26 Romania

  • Jan 27 Senegal

  • Jan 28 Micronesia

  • Jan 29 Play now!

Globle: Capitals

  • Jan 22 Banjul

  • Jan 23 Juba

  • Jan 24 Kabul

  • Jan 25 Basseterre

  • Jan 26 Tokyo

  • Jan 27 Kuwait City

  • Jan 28 Stockholm

  • Jan 29 Play now!


  • #296 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

  • #297 Karl Marx

  • #298 F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • #299 Simón Bolívar

  • #300 Albert Einstein

  • #301 Judy Garland

  • #302 Thomas Paine

  • #303 Play now!


  • #64 Dagwood Bumstead

  • #65 Norman Bates

  • #66 Gregory House

  • #67 Jack Dawson

  • #68 Hermione Granger

  • #69 Mufasa

  • #70 Katniss Everdeen

  • #71 Play now!


  • #175 Crocodile

  • #176 Stick bug

  • #177 Sand dollar

  • #178 Stick bug

  • #179 Goat

  • #180 Polar bear

  • #181 Lemur

  • #182 Play now!


  • #114 Papaya

  • #115 Venus flytrap

  • #116 Flax

  • #117 Apricot

  • #118 Onion

  • #119 Silver birch

  • #120 Moss

  • #121 Play now!


"Portrait of a Woman in Gray" by Edgar Degas

Forgery of week, from Jan 24
91.4% Accurate

Degas, Edgar. Portrait of a Woman in Gray. 1865, oil paint on canvas, 91.4 x 72.4 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession no. 436152..

Play Forgeous for Jan 29.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading!

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