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ZUPAYSAURUS

Pronunciation: ZOO-pay-SOR-us
Meaning: Devil lizard
Author/s: Arcucci and Coria (2003)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: La Rioja, Argentina
Chart Position: 417

Zupaysaurus rougieri

Zupaysaurus—"devil lizard"—was discovered in the Quebrada de los Jachaleros locality of Argentina's La Rioja Province, and like most Late Triassic predatory dinosaurs 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 that were formerly members of Coelophysoidea.

Its lower ankle bones (astragalus and calcaneum) are fused together which is a feature typical of ceratosaurs. Scientists initially thought it was in possession 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 in the Los Colorados Formation (Agua de la Peña Group), 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.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Triassic
Stage: Norian-Rhaetian
Age range: 228-209 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 5.2 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 200 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Neotheropoda
Dilophosauridae?
Zupaysaurus
rougieri
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: Second Edition".
• 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".
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›. Web access: 01st Oct 2016.
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