Episode 353 is all about Alwalkeria, a small, basal saurischian, from the Late Triassic of what is now India.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- T. rex had complex nerves in its jaw which may have given it a sensitive bite source
- A new analysis of Carnotaurus skin found details of both “feature scales” and “basement scales” around its body source
- A new paper describes Allosaurus as an “Apex Scavenger” rather than a predator source
- A Triceratops prorsus horn was recently donated to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada source
- The Atlantic City Convention Center in New Jersey will have a “Dino Stroll” featuring animatronic dinosaurs source
- Phil Tippett is selling a segment of his 1984 short film Dinosaur! as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) source
- There’s going to be a VR Jurassic Snap game, assuming the kickstarter goes well source
The dinosaur of the day: Alwalkeria
- Basal saurischian that lived in the Late Triassic in what is now India (Maleri Formation)
- Bipedal, and small
- Had an elongated head, long arms and long tail
- In 2010 Gregory Paul estimated it to be about 5 ft (1.5 m) long and weigh 4.4 lb (2 kg)
- Probably an omnivore based on the teeth, and may have eaten plants, insects, and small vertebrates
- Had heterodont (different shaped) teeth in the upper jaw
- Front teeth were straight and slender, like Eoraptor
- Teeth in the sides of the jaw were like carnivorous theropods, curved backwards, but they were not serrated
- Teeth are similar to Eoraptor. Both have gaps between the teeth in the premaxillary and maxillary bones, in the upper jaw
- Type species is Alwalkeria maleriensis
- Originally named in 1987 by Sankar Chatterjee as Walkeria maleriensis, in honor of paleontologist Alick Walker, but turned out that name was used for a bryozoa (also known as moss animals, they live in shallow water in colonies)
- In 1994, Sankar Chatterjee and Ben Creisler renamed the dinosaur Alwalkeria maleriensis
- Genus name means “for Alick Walker”
- Species name refers to the Maleri Formation
- Holotype is incomplete and includes parts of the jaws, incomplete vertebrae, most of a femur, and an ankle bone (astragalus)
- Description called it “imperfectly known fragmentary material”
- Partial skull is about 1.5 in (4 cm) long
- In 2005 Rauhut and Remes said Alwalkeria was a chimera, with parts of the skull being a crurotarsan (archosauriform), vertebrae being from other reptiles, but the femur and astragalus being from a dinosaur, and the astragalus having saurischian features
- Originally thought to be a basal theropod similar to Coelophysis and Procompsognathus, then a herrerasaurid, then a basal saurischian
- Fossils found in red mudstone
- One of the earliest known dinosaurs from India
Fun Fact: According to a new paper, giant tortoises hunt and eat birds.
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