(meaning "beaked Rhynchosaurs lizards") were a group of unusual herbivorous quadrupedal archosauromorphs that lived during the Triassic period. Rhynchosaurs ranged in size from the 50 cm long to the 2 meter (6 feet) long Rhynchosaurus , with the average size being 1 meter (3.3 feet). Rhynchosaurs were a widespread and worldwide Hyperodapedon taxon, being found all across the supercontinent of Pangaea. Rhynchosaur fossils have been found in Britain, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Madagascar, India, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and the United States, although they are poorly represented in the Northern Hemisphere fossil record. 15 species are currently regarded as valid, and another five are valid taxa still in need of a name. In some fossil assemblages, several taxa lived alongside one another, as evidenced by the four contemporaneous species were contemporaneous in the Upper Triassic Santa Maria Formation of Brazil. Rhynchosaurs went extinct during the Permian-Triassic extinction event that marked the end of the Carnian stage of the Late Triassic. Rhynchosaur fossils are very abundant in some assemblages (in some fossil localities accounting for 40 to 60% of specimens found) and the anatomy and ontogeny of a few species is comparatively well known. Early primitive forms like and Mesosuchus were more typically lizard-like in build, and had skulls rather similar to the early Howesia diapsid , except for the Younginia beak and a few other features.
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is an American Paul Sereno paleontologist who is the discoverer of several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger. He is a professor at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence." Sereno's most widely publicized discovery is that of a nearly complete specimen of (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Sarcosuchus imperator - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Eoraptor , the first good skull of Jobaria , Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis , Afrovenator and the African Suchomimus pterosaur.
The utility [of the sail] is difficult to imagine. Unless " the animal had aquatic habits and swam on its back, the crest or fin must have been in the way of active movements.
— Edward Drinker Cope, 1886, in the American Naturalist, "The Long-Spined Theromorpha of the Permian Epoch", in which he described his idea as to the purpose of Dimetrodon's sail.
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