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Rhynchosaurs (meaning "beaked lizards") were a group of unusual herbivorous quadrupedal archosauromorphs that lived during the Triassic period. Rhynchosaurs ranged in size from the 50 cm long Rhynchosaurus to the 2 meter (6 feet) long Hyperodapedon, with the average size being 1 meter (3.3 feet). Rhynchosaurs were a widespread and worldwide 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 Mesosuchus and Howesia were more typically lizard-like in build, and had skulls rather similar to the early diapsid Younginia, except for the beak and a few other features. (Read more...)


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Paul Sereno2

Paul Sereno is an American 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 Sarcosuchus imperator (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Eoraptor - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Jobaria, the first good skull of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, Afrovenator, Suchomimus and the African pterosaur. (Read more...)

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"The head was as long or longer than that of a fully grown grizzly bear, and the jaws were deeper in proportion to their length. The muzzle was shorter and deeper than that of a bull-dog. The teeth were all sharp cylindric fangs, smooth and glistening, and of irregular size. At certain distance in each jaw they projected three inches above the gum, and were sunk one inch into the jaw margin, being thus as long as the fangs of a tiger, but more slender. Two such fangs crossed each other on each side of the middle of the front. Besides the smaller fishes, the reptiles no doubt supplied the demands of his appetite."
E.D. Cope describing the head and jaws of the giant prehistoric fish Xiphactinus.


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Malerisaurus is an extinct genus of prolacertiform from the Late Triassic of India belonging to the family Protorosauridae.

Two incomplete Malerisaurus skeletons were discovered in what is thought to be the gastric contents of a Parasuchus hislopi. The fossils were retrieved from fluvial flood plain deposits of the Late Triassic Maleri Formation of the Gondwana supergroup, India. Malerisaurus was a small eosuchian, presumably bipedal, and probably capable of climbing trees and swimming. The skull has some adaptations to a carnivorous diet, but is nevertheless unspecialized and probably more of an insectivore. Malerisaurus, seen as a diapsid skull, shows primitive and advanced facies in its unossified laterosphenoid, absence of antorbital and mandibular fenestrae, gracile form, primitive girdles, elongated cervicals and absence of dermal armour. The suborder Prolacertiformes currently represents four families: Petrolacosauridae, Protorosauridae, Prolacertidae and Tanystropheidae. Provisionally, Malerisaurus is regarded as being phylogenetically close to Protorosaurus.

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