Placerias

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Placerias
Temporal range: Late Triassic, 220–216Ma
Placerias.jpg
Skeleton
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Order: Therapsida
Infraorder: Dicynodontia
Family: Stahleckeriidae
Subfamily: Placeriinae
Genus: Placerias
Lucas, 1904
Species

P. gigas
P. hesternus (Type)

Placerias (meaning broad body)[1] is an extinct genus of dicynodonts that lived during the late Carnian age of the Triassic Period (221-210 million years ago). Placerias belongs to a group of dicynodonts called Kannemeyeriiformes, which was the last known group of dicynodonts before most of dicynodonts went extinct at the end of the Triassic.

Description[edit]

P. hesternus compared to a human

Placerias was one of the largest herbivores in the Late Triassic, measuring up to 3.5 metres (11 ft) long and weighing up to a ton (1000 kilograms).[2] with a powerful neck, strong legs, and a barrel-shaped body. There are possible ecological and evolutionary parallels with the modern hippopotamus, spending much of its time during the wet season wallowing in the water, chewing at bankside vegetation. Remaining in the water would also have given Placerias some protection against land-based predators such as Postosuchus. Placerias used its beak to slice through thick branches and roots with two short tusks that could be used for defence and for intra-specific display. Placerias was closely related to Ischigualastia and similar in appearance.

Discovery[edit]

Restoration of a herd

Fossils of forty Placerias were found near St. Johns, southeast of the Petrified Forest in Arizona. This site has become known as the 'Placerias Quarry' and was discovered in 1930, by Charles Camp and Samuel Welles, of the University of California, Berkeley. Sedimentological features of the site indicate a low-energy depositional environment, possibly flood-plain or overbank. Bones are associated mostly with mudstones and a layer that contains numerous carbonate nodules.

It was originally considered the last of the Dicynodonts, but recent fossil finds from Queensland revealed that the Dicynodonts actually survived until the Early Cretaceous.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paleofile. "Page on Placerias". Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Gaines, Richard M. (2001). Coelophysis. ABDO Publishing Company. p. 19. ISBN 1-57765-488-9. 
  3. ^ Thulborn, T. & Turner, S. (2003) The last dicynodont: an Australian Cretaceous relic. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 270, 985-993

External links[edit]