Scleromochlus

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Scleromochlus
Temporal range: Late Triassic, Carnian
Scleromochlus BW.jpg
Life restoration of Scleromochlus taylori
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Clade: Ornithodira
Clade: Pterosauromorpha
Family: Scleromochlidae
Huene, 1914
Genus: Scleromochlus
Woodward, 1907
Species: S. taylori
Binomial name
Scleromochlus taylori
Woodward, 1907

Scleromochlus (Greek for "hard fulcrum") is an extinct genus of small avemetatarsalians from the Late Triassic period.

Description[edit]

Scleromochlus taylori was about 181 mm (about 7.1 inches) long, with long hind legs; it may have been capable of four-legged and two-legged locomotion. Most recent studies about its gait suggest that it engaged in kangaroo- or springhare-like plantigrade hopping;[1][2][3] if Scleromochlus is indeed related to pterosaurs, this may offer insight as to how the latter evolved, since early pterosaurs also show adaptations for saltatorial locomotion.[4]

Discovery[edit]

Its fossils have been found in the Carnian Lossiemouth Sandstone of Scotland. The holotype is BMNH R3556, a partial skeleton preserved as an impression in sandstone; part of the skull and tail are missing.[5]

Scleromochlus is a monotypic genus (single species), including the type species S. taylori.

Classification[edit]

Skeletal restoration

A lightly built cursorial animal, its phylogenetic position has been debated; as different analyses have found it to be either the basal-most ornithodiran, the sister-taxon to Pterosauria, or a basal member of Avemetatarsalia that lies outside of Ornithodira.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sereno et Arcucci 1993; 1994
  2. ^ Benton 1999
  3. ^ Witton, Mark P. (2013). Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691150613. 
  4. ^ Witton, Mark P. (2015). "Were early pterosaurs inept terrestrial locomotors?". PeerJ. 3: e1018. doi:10.7717/peerj.1018. PMC 4476129Freely accessible. PMID 26157605. 
  5. ^ Basic information from Fossilsmith

Sources[edit]