Chilesaurus

Name: Chilesaurus ‭(‬Chile lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Chill-e-sore-us.
Named By: F.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Novas,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Salgado,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Suárez,‭ ‬F.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Agnolín,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Ezcurra,‭ ‬N.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Chimento,‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Cruz,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬P.‭ ‬Isasi,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬O.‭ ‬Vargas‭ & ‬D.‭ ‬Rubilar-Rogers‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Neotheropoda,‭ ‬Tetanurae.
Species: C.‭ ‬diegosuarezi‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Up to about‭ ‬3.2‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Chile‭ ‬-‭ ‬Toqui Formation.
Time period: Tithonian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial remains of at least five individuals representing various ages from juvenile to adult.

       Chilesaurus is a very exciting find,‭ ‬and not just because it was the first Jurassic aged dinosaur to be discovered in Chile.‭ ‬Chilesaurus is a theropod dinosaur,‭ ‬yet there is no doubt that Chilesaurus was a plant eater,‭ ‬and not a carnivore like most other theropods were.‭ ‬Firstly the teeth of spatulate and project slightly forwards,‭ ‬Perfect for snipping of fronds of plants.‭ ‬The pubic bone of the hip also points backwards,‭ ‬something that would allow for a larger gut that would have been necessary for processing plant matter.‭ ‬Finally the feet of Chilesaurus were broad with a first toe adapted for weight bearing,‭ ‬suggesting that Chilesaurus was not as well suited to fast and agile running as its predatory cousins.
       There would have been a time when a plant eating theropod dinosaur would have been unthinkable,‭ ‬but we can actually see switches from meat eating to plant eating happening many times.‭ ‬Therizinosaurs are also theropods,‭ ‬but ones that adapted to eating plants,‭ ‬while ornithomimosaurs may have developed omnivorous diets eating both meat and plants.‭ ‬The sauropod dinosaurs are also of the lizard hipped branch that theropods are,‭ ‬and they too evolved from sauropodomorph dinosaurs that would have had meat eating ancestors.‭ ‬What Chilesaurus shows us more than anything else is that given time and opportunity,‭ ‬evolution‭ ‬will push changes in descendants that were very different from their ancestors.
       Chilesaurus means‭ ‘‬Chile lizard‭’‬,‭ ‬a simple reference to the country where the first fossils were found.‭ ‬The species name C.‭ ‬diegosuarezi is in recognition of Diego Suárez,‭ ‬who as a seven year old discovered the first rib and vertebrae of Chilesaurus back‭ ‬2004.

Further reading
-‭ ‬First Late Jurassic dinosaur bones from Chile.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology‭ ‬28.‭ ‬-‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Salgado,‭ ‬R.‭ ‬De La Cruz,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Suárez,‭ ‬Z.‭ ‬Gasparini‭ & ‬M.‭ ‬Fernández‭ ‬-‭ ‬2008.
-‭ ‬An enigmatic plant-eating theropod from the Late Jurassic period of Chile.‭ - ‬Nature.‭ ‬-‭ ‬F.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Novas,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Salgado,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Suárez,‭ ‬F.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Agnolín,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Ezcurra,‭ ‬N.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Chimento,‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Cruz,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬P.‭ ‬Isasi,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬O.‭ ‬Vargas‭ & ‬D.‭ ‬Rubilar-Rogers‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015.



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