Mussaurus

Name: Mussaurus ‭(‬Mouse lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Mus-sore-us.
Named By: J.‭ ‬F.‭ ‬Bonaparte‭ & ‬M.‭ ‬Vince‭ ‬-‭ ‬1979.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Sauropodomorpha,‭ ‬Prosauropoda.
Species: M.‭ ‬patagonicus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: First juveniles ranged between‭ ‬20‭ ‬and‭ ‬37‭ ‬centimetres long.‭ ‬Adult specimens now known and the estimated adult size is‭ ‬3‭ ‬meters.
Known locations: Argentina,‭ ‬Santa Cruz Province‭ ‬-‭ ‬El Tranquilo Formation.
Time period: Norian/Rhaetian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Initially only known from juveniles,‭ ‬adult specimens are now also know..

       When first described in‭ ‬1979,‭ ‬Mussaurus was only known from juvenile individuals,‭ ‬and until‭ ‬2013‭ ‬this was supposedly the case.‭ ‬However in‭ ‬1980‭ ‬the adult were actually described,‭ ‬they had just been classed under the genus Plateosaurus.‭ ‬With a re-evaluation of these in‭ ‬2013,‭ ‬Mussaurus is also known from adult remains,‭ ‬and the adult size of this sauropodomorph dinosaur is estimated to be about three meters.‭ ‬Prior to this discovery the genus Coloradisaurus was speculated as being the possible adult form.
       As a sauropodomorph dinosaur,‭ ‬living in the late Triassic,‭ ‬Mussaurus is thought to have been primarily if not exclusively an eater of plants.‭ ‬The skulls of juveniles are noted as being shorter but higher in proportion than adults with larger than usual orbits‭ (‬eye sockets‭)‬.‭ ‬These are common juvenile features of dinosaurs,‭ ‬and they reflect how the skeleton of juveniles had to form in order to fit inside the eggs as the embryos developed.
       Mussaurus represents a possible transitional form that links sauropodomorphs with sauropods.

Further reading
-‭ ‬El hallazgo del primer nido de dinosaurios triasicos,‭ (‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Prosauropoda‭)‬,‭ ‬Triasico Superior de Patagonia,‭ ‬Argentina‭ [‬The discovery of the first nest of Triassic dinosaurs‭ (‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Prosauropoda,‭) ‬from the Upper Triassic of Patagonia,‭ ‬Argentina.] -‭ ‬J.‭ ‬F.‭ ‬Bonaparte & M.‭ ‬Vince‭ ‬-‭ ‬1979.
-‭ ‬Postcranial anatomy and phylogenetic relationships of Mussaurus patagonicus‭ (‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Sauropodomorpha‭)‬.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology‭ ‬33‭ (‬5‭)‬:‭ ‬1138.‭ ‬-‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Otero‭ & ‬D.‭ ‬Pol‭ ‬-‭ ‬2013.



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