dinochecker
Welcome to our SALTOPUS entry...
Archived dinosaurs: 784
fbtwitg+feed
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 ?

SALTOPUS

a dinosauriform from the Late Triassic of Scotland.
saltopus
Pronunciation: SALT-oh-puss
Meaning: Hopping foot
Author/s: Friedrich von Huene (1910)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Lossiemouth, Scotland
Chart Position: 71

Saltopus elginensis

McSaltopus was once thought to be Scotland's first and only contribution to the dinosaurian fossil record. It was once thought to be the oldest dinosaur too, and upon discovery German paleontologist Friedrich von Huene reckoned its hind legs resembled those of a frog. According to his 1910 notes, the legs of Saltopus were too long and misproportioned to allow an upright posture, never mind elevated transit, and locomotion would be limited to creeping and hopping, hence the name.

Saltopus was probably about the size of a domestic cat, with hollow bones and five-fingered hands, and a tail that accounted for 50% of its modest body length. The problem is; it's known mostly from spine, hip, tail, and limb imprints of where bones used to be (a negative fossil, if you like) with just the faintest whiff of actual physical remains, so any estimations are, well, guestimations. From what we can see it seems to have died lying belly down.

Because Saltopus remains are so miserably poor, its taxonomy—the science of grouping things based on common features—has been nothing but problematic and provoked feelings of fear, anxiety and irritation, even in seasoned science veterans. At various times paleontologists have classed it as a saurischian, a juvenile theropod, an herrerasaurid, a lagosuchid and an ornithosuchian. Unfortunately for Scotland, it may be a dinosauriforme; not a member of Dinosauria—a family that belongs within Dinosauriformes, but one of the dinosaur's closest non-dinosaur relatives. It's lucky to have a web page.
(Elgin's Hopping Foot)Etymology
Saltopus is derived from the Latin "salto" (spring or hop) and the Greek "pous" (foot). The species epithet, elginensis, combines "Elgin" (a city close to the discovery site that is steeped in ancient history) with the Latin "ensis" (from).
Discovery
The remains of Saltopus were discovered in the Lossiemouth West & East Quarries, Lossiemouth Sandstone Formation, Elgin, Moray (Morayshire), Scotland, by William Taylor. The holotype (BMNH R3915) consists of the ropiest of partial skeletons.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Triassic
Stage: Norian
Age range: 227-209 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 0.6 meters
Est. max. hip height: 0.2 meters
Est. max. weight: 1 Kg
Diet: Omnivore
Family Tree:
Reptilia
Dinosauromorpha
Dinosauriformes
Saltopus
elginensis
References
• Huene, F.R. von (1910) "Ein primitiver Dinosaurier aus der mittleren Trias von Elgin" [A primitive dinosaur from the Middle Trias of Elgin]. Geologie und Paläontologie Abhandlungen, n.s., 8:317-322.
• Benton M.J. and Walker A.D. (2011) "Saltopus, a dinosauriform from the Upper Triassic of Scotland". Edinburgh Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh / Volume 101 / Special Issue 3-4 / September 2010, pp 285-299.
• Rahaut and Hungerbuhler (1998) "A review of European Triassic theropods".
Email    Facebook    Twitter    Google+    Stumbleupon    Reddit    Pinterest    Delicious
Time stands still for no man, and research is ongoing. If you spot an error, or want to expand, edit or add a dinosaur, please use this form. Go here to contribute to our FAQ.
All dinos are GM free, and no herbivores were eaten during site construction!
To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "SALTOPUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 28th Feb 2017.
  top