Pronunciation: LIL-ee-en-SHTER-nus Meaning: for Lilienstern Author/s: Welles (1934) Synonyms: Halticosaurus liliensterni First Discovery: Thuringia, Germany Chart Position: 247
Liliensternus was initially assigned to Halticosaurus as Halticosaurus liliensterni by Friedrich von Huene in 1934. But when Samuel Paul Welles found that the Halticosaurus type specimen—Halticosaurus longotarsus—was dubious on account of its remains being hardly identifiable as the property of a dinosaur, von Huene's critter was in need of a new name. Welles coined Liliensternus in 1984 for Dr. Hugo Rühle von Lilienstern,[•] following the lead of von Huene, who named the epithet after Lilienstern too. But was Liliensternus liliensterni so good they named it twice? Well, no, despite being the best-represented Triassic theropod from the whole of Europe, because "the best" isn't that good.
EtymologyLiliensternus is named in honor of Hugo Ruhle von Lilienstern, full-time doctor and amateur paleontologist from Bedheim, Germany. The species epithet was named for von Lilienstern too, as a thank you for opening a paleontological museum in his castle on 1st July 1934. The Liliensternus fossils remained there until 1969 when they were transferred to the Humboldt Museum in Berlin.
DiscoveryThe first remains of Liliensternus were discovered in the Trossingen Formation of Großen Gleichberg, Römhild, Thuringia, central Germany by Hugo Rühle von Lilienstern in 1922 and 1923. In keeping with the bad habits of early paleontologists, Lilienternus liliensterni was not assigned a holotype. Welles named the "larger" of two specimens (HMN BM.R 2175) as a syntype in 1984 but it's almost impossible to separate the pair by size (there may even be more than two of them) so all of its remains were bundled together by Rauhaut and Hungerbuühler in 1998.