Saltopus

Name: Saltopus ‭(‬hopping foot‭)‬.
Phonetic: Salt-o-puss.
Named By: Friedrich von Huene‭ ‬-‭ ‬1910.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauriformes.
Species: S.‭ ‬elginensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore/Insectivore.
Size: Estimated to be about‭ ‬80-100‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Scotland‭ ‬-‭ ‬Lossiemouth Sandstone Formation.
Time period: Carnian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Partial post cranial skeleton.

       Saltopus has had a murky taxonomic history with some researchers crediting it with being an early theropod dinosaur,‭ ‬while others insist that it was an advanced archosaur similar to Marasuchus.‭ ‬Currently most palaeontologists agree that Saltopus is most probably a dinosauriform,‭ ‬more advanced than an archosaur,‭ ‬but not quite a dinosaur.‭ ‬One argument to support this is that the sacrum‭ (‬hip‭) ‬only has two vertebrae.‭ ‬Some primitive dinosaurs such as herrasaurid theropods may have three sacral vertebrae,‭ ‬while most more advanced dinosaurs have between four and five sacral vertebrae,‭ ‬depending upon type,‭ ‬development,‭ ‬and possible specialisation.
       Though only known from partial remains,‭ ‬we know that Saltopus would have been a very small bipedal animal with‭ ‬at least half of its total body length taken up by the tail.‭ ‬Saltopus still had five fingers,‭ ‬though the fourth and fifth fingers were already reduced in size.‭ ‬Given that most dinosauriformes of this type seem to have been meat eaters,‭ ‬it has been presumed that Saltopus would have also been a meat eater,‭ ‬though no stomach contents or skull and‭ ‬teeth‭ ‬fossils exist to confirm this.‭ ‬If Saltopus were a predator,‭ ‬it would have most probably hunted for small animals,‭ ‬such as lizards and larger invertebrates such as beetles and scorpions.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Ein primitiver Dinosaurier aus der mittleren Trias von Elgin‭ [‬A primitive dinosaur from the Middle Trias of Elgin‭]‬.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Geologie und Paläontologie Abhandlungen‭ (‬n.s.‭) ‬8‭(‬6‭)‬:317-322.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Friedrich von Huene‭ ‬-‭ ‬1910.
-‭ ‬Saltopus,‭ ‬a dinosauriform from the Upper Triassic of Scotland.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh,‭ ‬Volume‭ ‬101,‭ ‬Special Issue‭ ‬3-4,‭ ‬pp‭ ‬285‭ ‬-‭ ‬299.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Michael J.‭ ‬Benton‭ & ‬Alick D.‭ ‬Walker‭ ‬-‭ ‬2011.



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