Anchisaurus is a genus of dinosaurs
Discovery of Anchisaurus Dinosaur.
The first discovery of Anchisaurus
Dinosaur ("near lizard") leftovers
was made before anything was known about the dinosaurs,
and it was almost certainly the first dinosaur discovery
in North America. When, in 1818, some large bones were discovered
in Connecticut, USA, it was unspecified that they were of
human origin. Gradually, as a result of further finds in
Massachusetts, the number of these bones began to accumulate
and by 1855 they were at least recognized as reptilian.
Hitchcock collected these bones under the name "Megadactylus"
in 1865. The great paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh
named Anchisaurus in 1885, and Megadactylus become part
of the genus Anchisaurus. The complete skeleton Anchisaurus is displayed in Yale Peabody Museum. More bones belonging to the genus
were found in South Africa, suggesting that those two landmasses
were at the time joined in one super-continent (Pangaea).
A revival from Nova Scotia may also be Anchisaurus but this
Description Of Anchisaurus Dinosaur
All species lived through the late Jurassic era;
more specifically, the Pliensbachian to Toarcian periods, 200
to 188 million years ago.
Digesting plant matter is a much more concentrated biochemical
process than digesting meat, and so herbivorous dinosaurs
needed a huge gut. Since this had to be positioned in front
of the pelvis, complementary on two legs became increasingly
tricky, and they gradually evolved into the quadripedal
position that characterizes the later sauropods such as
Prosauropods, then, represented a center phase between the
earliest bipedal herbivores, and the later giant sauropods.
Anchisaurus was characteristic of this group that flourished
briefly during the late Triassic and Jurassic. It would
have spent most of its time on four legs, but could have
risen up on its hind legs to reach higher plants.
On the new hand, paleontologists believe Anchisaurus may also have eaten
meat, as it was in the transition between these two ultimately separate
groups. The teeth were blunt but with file-like edges, suggesting mostly
plant matter was eaten, and the jaw hinge was set in a way not entirely
suited for tearing meat. Nevertheless, there is still some debate. The
thumb had a huge claw, and the large eyes were not entirely on the side
(as would be expected in an animal used to being prey).
As a quadropedal/bipedal crossover, Anchisaurus have flexible
front legs. As hands, they could be turned inwards and be used for grasping.
It had a simple reversible first finger, similar to a thumb. As feet,
the five toes could be located flat against the floor and were strong
at the ankle. This unspecialized design is typical of the early dinosaurs.
Classification of Anchisaurus Dinosaur
Anchisaurus is sometimes known as Yaleosaurus, due to Huene (1932).
Marsh was initially happy with Hitchcock's name Megadactylus, but this
name was already taken. Therefore, he renamed it Amphisaurus in 1882.
However, this name was also worried! Therefore, it became Anchisaurus
The type species is Hitchcock's A. polyzelus. Marsh's A. major ("greater
near lizard") is still measured among the
Anchisaurs. However, his A. colurus of 1891 is now generally
established as a female A. polyzelus, and his A. solus of
1892 is now reclassified as Ammosaurus major.
However, Ammosaurus itself may well be a synonym of A. polyzelus.
Broom named "Gyposaurus" in 1911,
from the bones exposed in South Africa, but Peter Galton
officially named it A. capensis in 1971. This genus has
since been reclassified again, and is now Massospondylus
carinatus. Other specimens are still pending reclassification.
This confusion is typical of the first dinosaurs to be exposed,
when classification was not considered such a significant