Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ammosaurus Major

Hail Comrades!

        So I was going to do a 1 year anniversary special post thing, but my amazing wondrous plan for it was just too massive of an undertaking. Or maybe I'm just too lazy. Anyway maybe I'll do it next week or something. Today however is about Ammosaurus.

        I picked out Ammosaurus at random, and it had a name that reminded me of the ammonites, but it has nothing to do with ammonites. It's just a prosauropod. A dinosaur ammonite hybrid would be awesome though. It would probably look a bit like Cthulhu.
Oh jeeze it's horrifying.

       Ammosaurus Major (the only currently known species of Ammosaurus)'s name means "Primary Sand Lizard." These "Sand Lizards" roamed what is now known as Connecticut, which was at the time (along with most of North America) a dry desert-like ecosystem. The time being the Carnian stage of the Triassic, 228 million years ago (wikipedia says the Jurassic. It liessssss). Ammosaurus was about 4m or 13ft long, and resembled many of its prosauropod brethren. It had a long neck and four legs, although it was apparently well suited for either bipedalism or quadrupedalism. Thus far, an Ammosaurus skull has never been discovered, but from teeth, it seems that Ammosaurus could have been an omnivore. This ability would've been especially helpful in the desert ecosystem it was native to, where food was scarce, but melange plentiful.

Connecticut-Carnian-Desert Ecosystem

        Despite the fact that prosauropods would evolve into some of the most well known dinosaurs known today, it's worth noting that they were fairly rare in the late Triassic. This is probably due to the dry climate, as they became far more plentiful and successful as the world became more humid. Also interestingly, many prosauropods (Ammosaurus included) ate insects and plants, hence the omnivorous teeth.  Once they became larger 100% sauropods, they settled for only eating plants.
         Ammosaurus was discovered by that jerk-face Othniel Charles Marsh in 1889.  It was once thought that Ammo was one and the same species as Anchisaurus, a very similar prosauropod.  This theory has since been reputed thanks to "the emarginated proximal portion of the pubis in Anchisaurus versus emargination of the proximal end of the ischium in Ammosaurus" (that's a quote from the big book). Don't you love heavy-handed scientific terms? Essentially that's saying that the two have notches on different parts of their hips, so they're different species. So, for now at least, Ammosaurus can sleep soundly knowing its existence has been ascertained.

Thanks for reading, sorry this took forever to get up. Now it's up though. I'll try to do that one year anniversary post soon.


Weishampel, David B., Peter Dodson, and Halszka Osmólska. The Dinosauria. Berkeley: U of California, 1990. Print.

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