Phytosaurs are a genus of extinct semiaquatic, crocodile like, reptiles of the late Triassic. When they first appear is not completely understood but they disappear from the fossil record at the time of the Triassic-Jurassic Extinction, 200 million years ago. Though they bear a strong resemblance to crocodiles, they are closely not related.
Phytosaurs are members of the order Phytosauria. These are semiaquatic, crocodile like reptiles characterized by long snouts, conical teeth, short legs and long, low slung bodies. They had skin armored with scale like scutes. They also have gastralia (rib-like bones) to protect their belly.
When Did Phytosaurus Live?
Phytosaurs lived primarily during the Late Triassic, though what is considered to be the earlier phytosaur is still up for debate.
Phytosaurs disappears from the fossil record during the Triassic- Jurassic Extinction, about 200 million years ago. There have been fossils found that appear to have been from deposits above the T-J Boundary, but these have generally been found to be misinterpreted sediment layers.
What Did Phytosaurs Look Like?
Generally, Phytosaurs looks like modern crocodilian. It had a long snout, a mouth with conical teeth, short legs, long body with a long, heavy tail and thick armored skin. Some species had longer, thinner snouts with thin conical teeth for catching fish, while others had comparatively shorter, wider snouts with conical teeth in the front and ripping teeth in the back of the mouth. These were likely ambush hunters that snatched prey at the water’s edge, much like modern crocodiles. The longest known Phytosaur was 39 feet long and would have been about as tall as a human at the top of its back. Unlike modern Crocodilians, whose nostrils are at the end of their snouts, phytosaurs had their nostrils at the base of their snouts just below, or at the same level as their eyes.
Leptosuchus (Smilosuchus) gregorii, a phytosaur from the Late Triassic of North America. By Nobu Tamura (http://spinops.blogspot.com) Creative Commons License
Are Phytosaurs Related To Modern Crocodilians?
No, phytosaurs is not related to modern Crocodilians. The similarities are an example of convergent evolution. This is when two different animals develop similar characteristics and attributes without a common ancestor.
Where Are Phytosaur Fossils Found?
Phytosaurs were nearly globally distributed. The result is their fossils have been found in Europe, North America, India, Thailand, Brazill, Greenland and even antarctica.
Washington state has now joined over a dozen other states to put in place “shelter in place” or “stay at home” orders. While we agree this is the correct course of action, it will have a substantial impact on our business. It effectively shuts down much of our company for several weeks.
We will continue taking orders on our website and we will have a single staff member at our warehouse to facilitate shipping of these new orders. Depending on the order volume this may mean that we do experience some shipping delays, particularly with large or fragile items that require more packaging time.
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