Lagosuchus

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Lagosuchus
Temporal range: Middle Triassic, 230Ma
Lagosuchus Talampayensis.png
Mounted skeleton
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Lagosuchia
Paul, 1988
Family: Lagosuchidae
Bonaparte, 1975
Genus: Lagosuchus
Romer, 1971
Species: † L. talampayensis
Binomial name
Lagosuchus talampayensis
Romer, 1971

Lagosuchus is a genus of small archosaur from the middle Triassic period. It is generally thought to be closely related to dinosaurs, as a member of the Dinosauromorpha. Its fossils were found in the Chañares Formation of Argentina, dating to the Middle Triassic (Ladinian age), about 230 million years ago.

Description[edit]

Artist's impressions and skeletal restoration

Lagosuchus is known from very incomplete remains (only a hind leg plus a shoulder blade and vertebrae can be definitely assigned to it). However, features of the leg show that it was a lightly built archosaur, and is notable for its long slender legs and well-developed feet - features it shares with certain dinosaurs. These features, as well as comparisons to close relatives, suggest that it could run on its hind legs for short periods, although it probably moved on all fours most of the time. Lagosuchus was likely an agile predator that could use speed to chase its prey and to escape larger predators.[1] Lagosuchus was about the size of a ferret.[2]

Lagosuchus is regarded by some to be dubious and the second species assigned to the genus, L. lilloensis was reclassified as Marasuchus by Paul Sereno in 1994.

Related genera[edit]

Lagosuchus was related to Lewisuchus and Marasuchus which both lived in the same area as Lagosuchus. Relatives also include Nyasaurus and Lagerpeton.[citation needed]

Biology[edit]

It is believed that Lagosuchus and Marasuchus were transitional between cold blooded reptiles and warm blooded dinosaurs.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 97. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  2. ^ Paul, Gregory (1988). Predatory dinosaurs of the world. Simon & Schuster. 
  3. ^ Pontzer, Herman; Allen, Vivian; Hutchinson, John R. (2009). "Biomechanics of Running Indicates Endothermy in Bipedal Dinosaurs". PLoS ONE 4 (12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007783.