Temporal range: Late Triassic, Carnian
|Life restoration of Scleromochlus taylori|
|Species:||† S. taylori|
Scleromochlus (Greek for "hard fulcrum") is an extinct genus of small avemetatarsalian from the Late Triassic period. 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.
Scleromochlus is a monotypic genus (single species), including the type species S. taylori.
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; 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.
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.
- Benton, M. J. (1999). "Scleromochlus taylori and the origin of dinosaurs and pterosaurs". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 354 (1388): 1423–1446. doi:10.1098/rstb.1999.0489. JSTOR 57034. PMC 1692658.
- Woodward, A. S. (1907). "On a New Dinosaurian Reptile (Scleromochlus Taylori, gen. Et sp. Nov.) from the Trias of Lossiemouth, Elgin". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 63: 140–144. doi:10.1144/GSL.JGS.1907.063.01-04.12.
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