• Herrerasaurus


    Herrerasaurus was one of the earliest dinosaurs. Its name means “Herrera’s lizard” after the rancher who discovered the first specimen. All known fossils of this carnivore have been discovered in rocks of Carnian age in northwestern Argentina. It appears to be the most primitive member of the Theropod family, although it has been the subject of a lot of debate among paleontologists.

    Herrerasaurus was a lightly built bipedal carnivore with a long tail and a relatively small head. Herrerasaurus displays traits that are found in different groups of dinosaurs, and several traits found in non-dinosaurian archosaurs. Although it shares most of the characteristics of dinosaurs, there are a few differences, particularly in the shape of its hip and leg bones. There is still much discussion regarding this dinosaur. The study of early dinosaurs such as Herrerasaurus and Eoraptor therefore has important implications for the concept of dinosaurs as a monophyletic group (a group descended from a common ancestor).

    The teeth of Herrerasaurus indicate that it was a carnivore; its size indicates it would have preyed upon small and medium-sized plant eaters. Although Herrerasaurus shared the body shape of the large carnivorous dinosaurs, it lived during a time when dinosaurs were small and insignificant. It was the time of non-dinosaurian reptiles, not dinosaurs, and a major turning point in the Earth’s ecology.


    LOCALITY: Northwestern Argentina