(Flying hollow lizard).
Named By: Jean Piveteau - 1926.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Sauropsida, Diapsida, Avicephala, Coelurosauravidae.
Species: C. jaekeli (type), C. elivensis.
Size: 40 centimetres long.
Known locations: Europe, Germany. Madagascar.
Time period: Permian.
Fossil representation: Fossils for two species known.
noteworthy feature of Coelurosauravus are the
dermal ossicles, creating
thin strands of bone that extended from the flanks and supported a
gliding wing. This may have provided a limited flight capability over
short distances by jumping from a high point and steering itself by
twisting towards a lower spot as it fell down.
In Coelurosauravus the back of the skull also features a frill similar to the kind seen in later ceratopsian dinosaurs. This is likely to have been a display feature as opposed to an aerodynamic one.
It is thought that Coelurosauravus would have lived within the tree canopy, gliding from branch to branch in a similar manner as a flying squirrel. This way it could quickly cover a number of trees in a shorter space of time than that required to climb down and up each individual tree.
These gliding membranes may also have been a display structure for attracting mates and/or dominance displays with rivals. They may have also formed a threat display by being quickly opened to startle predators when they got too close, allowing Coelurosauravus a chance to escape.