Massospondylus is a genus of prosauropoddinosaur from the early JurassicPeriod, ca. 200–183 million years ago. It was described by Sir Richard Owen in 1854 from remains found in South Africa, and is thus one of the first dinosaurs to have been named. Fossils have since been found in other parts of South Africa, as well as Lesotho and Zimbabwe. Further material from the United StatesKayenta Formation, India, and Argentina has been assigned to this genus, but may not belong to Massospondylus. The type, and only universally recognized species, is M. carinatus, although six other species have been named during the past 150 years. Prosauropod systematics have undergone numerous revisions during the last several years, and many scientists disagree where exactly Massospondylus lies on the dinosaur evolutionary tree. Although Massospondylus was long depicted as quadrupedal, a 2007 study found it to be bipedal. It was probably a plant eater (herbivore), although it is speculated that the prosauropods may have been omnivorous. This animal, 4–6 meters (13–20 ft) long, had a long neck and tail, with a small head and slender body. (Read more...)
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