Estesia

Name: Estesia ‭(‬named after Richard Estes‭)‬.
Phonetic: Es-te-se-ah.
Named By: M.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Norell,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬McKenna‭ & ‬M.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Novacek‭ ‬-‭ ‬1992.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Lepidosauria,‭ ‬Anguimorpha,‭ ‬Anguimorpha,‭ ‬Helodermatoidea.
Species: E.‭ ‬mongoliensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull about‭ ‬11‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Mongolia‭ ‬-‭ ‬Barun Goyot Formation,‭ ‬Djadokhta Formation.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skulls of several individuals.

       When first described Estesia was considered to be a member of the Varanoidea,‭ ‬the group that contains modern day monitor lizards‭ (‬i.e.‭ ‬lace monitor,‭ ‬komodo dragon,‭ ‬etc‭)‬.‭ ‬This relationship was based mostly upon the similarity of the jaws as well as the teeth which were sharp and recurved‭ (‬curve to face the back of the mouth‭)‬.‭ ‬Closer analysis of the teeth however later revealed the presence of grooves than ran along the lengths of the teeth,‭ ‬revealing a closer relationship with members of the Helodermatoidea,‭ ‬which include Gila Monsters.‭ ‬By extension,‭ ‬this is a strong indicator that Estesia may have also had a venomous bite.‭ ‬Perhaps just as well given that Estesia lived in Mongolia at a time that saw a multitude of predatory dinosaurs such as Byronosaurus,‭ ‬Saurornithoides,‭ ‬Mahakala and most famous of all Velociraptor all hunting and killing what they could to survive.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Estesia mongoliensis,‭ ‬a new fossil Varanoid from the Late Cretaceous Barun Goyot Formation of Mongolia.‭ ‬-‭ ‬American Museum Novitates‭ ‬3045:1-24‭ ‬-‭ ‬M.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Norell,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬McKenna‭ & ‬M.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Novacek‭ ‬-‭ ‬1992.
-‭ ‬Braincase and phylogenetic relationships of Estesia mongoliensis from the Late Cretaceous of the Gobi Desert and the recognition of a new clade of lizards.‭ ‬-‭ ‬American Museum Novitates‭ ‬3211:1-25.‭ ‬-‭ ‬M.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Norell‭ & ‬K.‭ ‬Gao‭ ‬-‭ ‬1992.



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