(Southern cross lizard).
Named By: Edwin H. Colbert - 1970.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Herrerasauridae.
Species: S. pricei (type).
Size: About 2.25 meters long.
Known locations: Brazil - Santa Maria Formation.
Time period: Carnian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Lower jaw and partial post cranial remains.
may have been only a small theropod dinosaur, but it is also one of
the earliest known confirmed dinosaurs. By the time of the Carnian,
the first definitive theropods were roaming around South America and
hunting other animals. At a little over two meters long,
Staurikosaurus was probably a predator of smaller
lizards, though it may have hunted for other smaller, possibly
juvenile dinosaurs of genera like Saturnalia
as well as scavenging the
kills of other larger predators of the time. The long hind legs of
Staurikosaurus indicate that it was a dinosaur that
relied upon speed.
It is this very bipedal form that would become the ‘blueprint’ of dinosaurian predators for the next one hundred and eighty million years till the end of the Mesozoic, when large powerful predators like Tyrannosaurus and small exceptionally fast and agile predators like Velociraptor took the basic body design of Staurikosaurus to its extreme. This is not to say that Staurikosaurus itself was the ancestor of all later theropod genera, just that it is a member of a group of dinosaurs that either were or very closely related to those that were ancestral.
- A saurischian dinosaur from the Triassic of Brazil, E. H. Colbert - 1970.
- Recovering missing data: estimating position and size of caudal vertebrae in Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970 - , O. N. Grillo & S. A. K. Azevedo - 2011.