Zupaysaurus

Name: Zupaysaurus ‭(‬Devil lizard‭ ‬-‭ ‬from the Quechua word zupay which means‭ ’‬devil‭’)‬.
Phonetic: Zoo-pay-sore-us.
Named By: A.‭ ‬B.‭ ‬Arcucci‭ & ‬A.‭ ‬C Rodolfo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2003.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Neotheropoda.
Species: Z.‭ ‬rougieri‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull‭ ‬45‭ ‬centimetres long,‭ ‬total body length about‭ ‬4‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Argentina,‭ ‬La Rioja Province‭ ‬-‭ ‬Los Colorados Formation.
Time period: Rhaetian of the Triassic to Hettangian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Almost complete skull,‭ ‬right lower leg and ankle,‭ ‬right shoulder girdle,‭ ‬twelve assorted vertebrae.

       Zupaysaurus is often reconstructed with a pair of crests rising from the top of its skull like the more famous Dilophosaurus.‭ ‬Indeed,‭ ‬Zupaysaurus‭ ‬also has a similar upper jaw arrangement to Dilophosaurus with a notable gap between the teeth of the maxilla and premaxilla forming a small notch.‭ ‬However if a‭ ‬2005‭ ‬presentation by M.‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Ezcurra‭ & ‬F.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Novas is correct,‭ ‬then these‭ ‘‬crests‭’ ‬were actually formed when skull was crushed during fossilisation,‭ ‬the resulting pressures pushing the lacrimal bones of the skull upwards,‭ ‬making look like they were crests in life.
       Zupaysaurus was once considered to be one of the first tetaneuran theropods‭ (‬stiff tailed theropods that would become the dominant forms during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods‭)‬,‭ ‬though today it is considered by most to be a basal coelophysoid theropod,‭ ‬something that again confirms a connection with Dilophosaurus on the grounds of family relationship.‭ ‬In addition the‭ ‬2006‭ ‬description of Dracovenator placed Zupaysaurus in a group with Dracovenator and Dilophosaurus as a dilophosaurid,‭ ‬though not all palaeontologists are convinced about this assessment,‭ ‬preferring to treat Zupaysaurus as related but separate.‭ ‬Zupaysaurus is also considered to be even more primitive than other coelophysoids such as Coelophysis,‭ ‬Liliensternus and Megapnosaurus.
       Zupaysaurus has been found in the Los Colorados Formation of Argentina,‭ ‬and other dinosaurs from this formation include Coloradisaurus,‭ ‬Lessemsaurus and Riojasaurus.‭ ‬Only Coloradisaurus is confirmed to match Zupaysaurus for a Rhaetian era deposit,‭ ‬revealing at possible predator prey interaction for these two genera.‭ ‬Lessemsaurus and Riojasaurus were earlier in the Norian period,‭ ‬but if they managed to overlap into the Rhaetian,‭ ‬or Zupaysaurus first appeared earlier in the Norian‭ (‬neither proven by current fossils‭) ‬then Zupaysaurus,‭ ‬or an ancestor of may have preyed upon juveniles of these genera.

Further reading
- A new Triassic carnivorous dinosaur from Argentina,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬B.‭ ‬Arcucci‭ & ‬A.‭ ‬C Rodolfo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2003.
- Phylogenetic relationships of the Triassic theropod‭ *‬Zupaysaurus rougieri‭* ‬from NW Argentina.‭ ‬Presented in August‭ ‬2005‭ ‬during the II Latin American Congress of Vertebrate Paleontology,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Ezcurra‭ & ‬F.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Novas‭ ‬-‭ ‬2005.
-‭ ‬A new theropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of South Africa and its implications for the early evolution of theropods,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Yates‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.



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