Named By: Alfred S. Romer - 1937.
Classification: Chordata, Synapsida, Eupelycosauria, Varanopidae, Varanodontinae.
Species: A. greenleeorum (type), A. wellesi.
Size: From about 75 to 100 centimetres long.
Known locations: USA, New Mexico - Abo Cutler Formation.
Time period: Gzhelian of the Carboniferous through to the Roadian of the Permian.
Fossil representation: Two individuals.
considered to have been a precursor to later pelycosaurs
yet there are some questions as to the true nature of
Aerosaurus. The teeth of Aerosaurus
are sharp and recurved backwards
like those of a predator, yet they are very tightly packed so that
they form a continuous row kind of like a saw blade. This could
denote a specialised method of feeding like a filter feeder, or
perhaps being a form of rudimentary rake for stripping fronds of
vegetation from fern-like plants.
In addition to the teeth, the ribs were also quite long which meant that the body was deeper with possibly more room for a larger digestive system which may have been necessary for processing plant matter. Aerosaurus is also noted for having a proportionately long tail, almost as much as half of the total body length.
- New genera and species of pelycosaurian reptiles. Proccedings of the New England Zoological Club XVI: 90-96. Alfred S. Romer - 1937.
- Aerosaurus wellesi, New Species, a Varanopseid Mammal-Like Reptile (Synapsida: Pelycosauria) from the Lower Permian of New Mexico, W. Langston Jr & R. R. Reisz - 1981.