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SARCOLESTES

a plant-eating ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of England.
Pronunciation: SAHR-ko-LES-teez
Meaning: Flesh robber
Author/s: Lydekker (1893)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Cambridgeshire, England
Chart Position: 56

Sarcolestes leedsi

In a monumental mis-naming of Oviraptor proportions (the "egg plunderer" didn't plunder eggs, it simply mothered them), Sarcolestes was named "flesh robber" on the assumption that its fragmentary fossils, found in a Cambridgeshire brick pit, belonged to a carnivorous dinosaur.

Actually, "fragmentary fossils" may be a tad generous. Sarcolestes is known only from a partial left-side lower jaw bone, closer inspection of which revealed banks of replacement teeth typical of herbivorous dinosaurs, and its next stop was Stegosauria, courtesy of Franz Nopcsa in 1901.

In 1980 Peter Galton assigned it to Nodosauridae as the oldest known member no less, mainly because its jaw appears to be similar to that of Sauropelta, which was previously the oldest nodosaurid but is a good 50 million years younger than Sarcolestes. However, many experts believe Sarcolestes' fossils are too poor to be classified as anything so specific, and suggest it is a dubious critter at worst or an ankylosaur of uncertain affinities at best. Either way, it isn't good.
Etymology
Sarcolestes is derived from the Greek "sarx" (flesh) and "lestes" (robber) - the same as "raptor" in Latin. This name was bestowed by Richard Lydekker who would surely be ashamed of himself if he hadn't been dead for ninety six years as of 2011.
The species epithet, leedsi, is named in honor of Mr. A. N. Leeds of Eyebury, near Peterborough, who discovered the fossil.
Discovery
The remains of Sarcolestes were discovered in a brick-pit of the Oxford Clay Formation at Fletton, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, in 1893.
The holotype (BMNH R2682) is a single left lower jaw bone.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Middle Jurassic
Stage: Callovian
Age range: 165-161 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 3 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 150 Kg
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Thyreophora
Ankylosauria
Nodosauridae?
Sarcolestes
leedsi
References
• Lydekker R (1893) "On the Jaw of a New Carnivorous Dinosaur from the Oxford Clay of Peterborough". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 49, January 1893, pp 284-287.
• Huene F von (1901) "Notizen aus dem Woodwardian-Museum in Cambridge [Notes from the Woodwardian Museum in Cambridge]". Centralblatt fur Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaontologie. 715-719.
• Nopsca F von (1901) "Synopsis und Abstammung der Dinosaurier". Földtani Közlöny. 31: 27.
• Galton P (1980) "Armored dinosaurs (Ornithischia: Ankylosauria) from the Middle and Upper Jurassic of England". Geobios. 13 (6): 825–837.
• Moody RTJ, Buffetaut E, Naish D and Martill DM (2010) "Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective". Geological Society, Special Publication 343, Page 65-67.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "SARCOLESTES :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 26th Jul 2017.
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