Named By: J. F. Bonaparte & M. Vince - 1979.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropodomorpha, Prosauropoda.
Species: M. patagonicus (type).
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..
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
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.
- 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.