Welcome to our PISANOSAURUS entry...
Archived dinosaurs: 711 (31 Aug.2015)
Dinosaurs from A to Z
Click a letter to view...
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z ?
 
Categories: OrnithischiaHerbivoreArgentinaIschigualastoTriassic

PISANOSAURUS

Pronunciation: pee-SAHN-o-SOR-us
Meaning: Pisano's lizard
Author: Casamiquela (1967)
Synonyms: None known
First discovery: La Rioja, Argentina
Roar factor: 1/10

Pisanosaurus mertii

Although initially described by Rodolfo Magín Casamiquela in 1967 as "a good and rather primitive member of Ornithopoda" and given its own family (Pisanosauridae), Pisanosaurus mertii is now thought to be the earliest known ornithischian. With its discovery in the same Argentine Formation as Herrerasaurus (the earliest known saurischian), both of Dinosauria's main lineages were covered, which suggests that the first dinosaurs rose in South America during the Triassic and when the "great dying" wiped out the competition they began their opportunistic march to global domination from there.

Because of a weird suite of features, Pisanosaurus has been accused in the past of being a chimera of two different critters jumbled together, not least because its pubis (a hip bone) points forward like a saurischian rather than backwards like an ornithischian. However, its ridged teeth are typical of ornithischians, and they are set towards the inside of the jaws, leaving a broad shelf on the outside. That shelf probably anchored cheeks that prevented food loss while chewing and gave Pisanosaurus a distinct advantage over the competition who were still dropping their fodder all over the floor. Pisanosaurus also set ornithischians on the road to spectacular success by adopting a most efficient predator-avoidance system; the small size of its shoulder blade and forearm suggest it wasn't built for quadrupedal locomotion but for moving swiftly and evasively on two legs. That said, the latest living and most successful ornithischians moved on all fours, but they were built like Sherman tanks.

(Merti and Pisano's Lizard)Etymology
Pisanosaurus is derived from "Pisano" (for Argentine paleontologist Juan A. Pisano of La Plata Museum) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard).
The species epithet, mertii, honors late Araucanian naturalist Carlos Merti.
Discovery
The remains of Pisanosaurus were discovered at "Agua de Las Catas" (aka Hoyada del Cerro Las Lajas) in the Ischigualasto Formation, La Rioja Province, Argentina, by Galileo J. Scaglia in 1962. The holotype (PVL 2577) is a badly weathered partial skeleton including fragments of upper and lower jaws, seven back vertebrae, and the lower part of a hindlimb, and impressions in the rock where its pelvis and hip vertebrae used to be. A shoulder blade and some forearm bones were assigned here too but they've since been lost.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Period: Late Triassic
Stage: Carnian
Age: 235-221 million years ago
Vital Stats:
Est. Max. Length: 1 meter
Est. Max. Height: ?
Est. Max. Weight: 8 kg
Diet: Herbivorous
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Neornithischia
Pisanosaurus
mertii
References
• Casamiquela R.M. (1967) "Un nuevo dinosaurio ornitisquio triásico (Pisanosaurus mertii; Ornithopoda) de la Formación Ischigualasto, Argentina".
• Bonaparte J.F. (1976) "Pisanosaurus mertii Casamiquela and the origin of the Ornithischia".
• Novas F.E. (2009) "The Age of Dinosaurs in South America". /uk.
• Brett-Surman M.K., Holtz Jnr T.R. and Farlow J.O. (2012) "The Complete Dinosaur: Second Edition". /uk.
                    
Time stands still for no man, and research is ongoing. If you spot an error, or want to expand, edit or suggest an entry feel free to drop us a line. Go here to answer an FAQ.
© 2010-2015 Dinochecker unless stated | Rss feed | Kindly site donations here.
All dinos are GM free, and no herbivores were eaten during site construction!
To cite this page:
(DinoChecker) "PISANOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 31st Aug 2015.