an plant-eating anchisaurid sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of North America.
(Much coveted near-lizard)Etymology
is derived from the Greek "agkhi" (near) and "sauros" (lizard) to indicate its assumed role as an evolutionary stepping stone between ancestral archosaurs like Palaeosaurus
and "proper" dinosaurs.
For what seemed like an eternity, the only evidence of former Connecticut Valley inhabitants were fossilised trackways, the first of which—found by Pliny Moody at his family's
farm in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1802—were initially identified as the footprints of Noah's Raven! So, when actual physical remains turned up in the form of fossils, O. C. Marsh chose the species epithet polyzelus
, meaning "much coveted", because that's exactly what they were.
(Hitchcock, 1865) - preoccupied name
(Marsh, 1882) - preoccupied name
The first recorded dinosaur remains from North America—a partial skeleton (YPM 2125) found during blasting for a well at Ketch's Mills in the Portland Formation (Agawam Group), East Windsor, Connecticut in 1818—was assigned to Anchisaurus
by Richard Swann Lull in 1920. Unfortunately, it has since been discredited as non-diognostic. The Anchisaurus holotype
(ACM 41109—housed at Amherst College's Pratt Museum of Natural History) was found by William Smith in the same formation at Springfield Armory, Hartford Basin, Hampden County, Massachusetts, during blasting to expand "Mill Pond" in 1855. Unfortunately, that specimen was discredited too. So, in 2015, the ICZN flexed its muscles in response to a 2012 petition from Peter Galton and installed a new holotype; YPM 1883, an almost complete skull and skeleton from Walcott Quarry, Conneticut, that was initially the holotype of Anchisaurus colurus
(Marsh, 1891), had been known as Yaleosaurus
(von Huene, 1932) for decades, and which eventually became a synonym of Anchisaurus polyzelus
Remains have been tentatively assigned to Anchisaurus
from elswhere in North America, Nova Scotia and South Africa, but may, in fact, belong to Massospondylus
• Smith N (1820) "Fossil bones found in red sandstones". American Journal of Science 2: 146–147.
• Hitchcock E (1865) "Supplement to the ichnology of New England". Wright and Potter. Boston, Massachusetts. USA. [coins Megadactylus]
• Cope ED (1870) "On the Megadactylus polyzelus
of Hitchcock". American
Journal of Science 49:390-392.
• Marsh OC (1885) "Names of extinct reptiles". American Journal of Science
29:169. [coins Anchisaurus]
• Marsh OC (1889) "Notice of new American dinosaurs". American Journal of Science 3 (37): 331–336. [coins Anchisaurus major]
• Marsh OC (1891) "Notice of new vertebrate fossils". American Journal of Science 3 (42): 265–269. [renames Anchisaurus major into Ammosaurus major]
• Marsh OC (1893) "Restoration of Anchisaurus
• Young CC (1941) "Gyposaurus sinensis
Young (sp. nov.) a New Prosauropoda from the Upper Triassic Beds at Lufeng, Yunnan". Acta Geologica Sinica, Volume 21, Issue 2-4, pages 205–252.
• Galton P (1976) "Prosauropod dinosaurs (Reptilia: Saurischia) of North America
". Postilla No.169
• Dodson P, Britt B, Carpenter K, Forster CA, Gillette DD, Norell MA, Olshevsky G, Parrish MJ and Weishampel DB "Anchisaurus" in "The Age of Dinosaurs
• Weishampel DB, Dodson P and Osmólska H (2004) "The Dinosauria: 2nd Edition
• Yates AM (2004) "Anchisaurus polyzelus
(Hitchcock): The Smallest Known Sauropod Dinosaur and the Evolution of Gigantism among Sauropodomorphs".
• Yates AM (2010) "A revision of the problematic sauropodomorph dinosaurs from Manchester, Connecticut and the status of Anchisaurus
• Tweet JS and Santucci VL (2011) "Anchisaurus
from Springfield Armoury". Brigham Young University Geology Studies, Volume 49(A):7S-S2.
• ICZN (2015 "Opinion 2361 (Case 3561): Anchisaurus Marsh, 1885 (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha): usage conserved by designation of a neotype for its type species Megadactylus polyzelus Hitchcock, 1865
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