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Categories: TheropodaCarnivoreArgentinaLos ColoradosTriassic

ZUPAYSAURUS

Pronunciation: ZOO-pay-SOR-us
Meaning: Devil lizard
Named by: Arcucci & Coria (2003)
Previous names: None known
First discovery: La Rioja, Argentina
Roar factor: 5/10

Zupaysaurus rougieri

Zupaysaurus—"devil lizard"—was discovered at the Quebrada de los Jachaleros locality of Argentina's La Rioja Province and like most Late Triassic bipedal predators it has been a devil to classify. Once thought to be the oldest known tetanurine, Zupaysaurus sports several features which hint at a more basal position than that, and it may be a coelophysoid or a non-coelophysoid non-tetanuran theropod allied with the slightly more advanced dilophorosaurids—the critters formerly known as coelophysoids.

Its lower ankle bones (astragalus and calcaneum) are fused together which is a condition similar to that of primitive theropods such as Coelophysis. Scientists initially thought it was in posession of two parallel head crests running the length of its snout but recent research suggests they may just be two bony plates associated with the plumbing of its eyes (lacrimal bones) which had gone astray during fossilization.
(Rougier's devil lizard) Etymology
Zupaysaurus is derived from "Zupay" (the Incan Death God who rules Uka Pacha - the Incan underworld) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard). Zupay (aka Supay) was particularly fond of children, from a culinary point of view, and was such an unsavoury character that Catholic priests, after the Spanish "smash and grab" of the Americas, convinced the Quechuan people that he was actually the Christian Devil.
The species epithet, rougieri, honors expedition leader Guillermo Rougier.
Discovery
The remains of Zupaysaurus were discovered at the "Quebrada de los Jachaleros" locality within the Los Colorados Formation of La Rioja province, Argentina.
The holotype (PULR-076) consists of a partial skull, right shoulder girdle, lower right leg and ankle, and 12 vertebrae from the neck, back, and hips.
References
• A.B. Arcucci & Rodolfo A. Coria (2003) "A new Triassic carnivorous dinosaur from Argentina".
• D.B. Weishampel, P.M. Barrett, R.A. Coria, J. Le Loueff, X. Xu, X. Zhao, A. Sahni, E.M.P. Gomani and C.R. Noto (2004) "Dinosaur distribution" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska's "The Dinosauria: 2nd Edition". /uk
• M.D. Ezcurra (2007) "The cranial anatomy of the coelophysoid theropod Zupaysaurus rougieri from the Upper Triassic of Argentina".
• M.D. Ezcurra and F. E. Novas (2011) "Phylogenetic relationships of the Triassic theropod Zupaysaurus rougieri from NW Argentina".
Estimations
Timeline: Vital Stats:
Era: Mesozoic Est. Max. Length: 5.2 meters
Period: Late Triassic Est. Max. Height: 2 meters
Timespan: 209-201 million years ago Est. Max. Weight: 200 kg
Age: Rhaetian Diet: Carnivorous
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Neotheropoda
Dilophosauridae?
Zupaysaurus
rougieri
             
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