Life image of Cryolophosaurus ellioti

  • Antarctica ( Antarctica )
  • Cryolophosaurus ellioti

Cryolophosaurus ( " frozen crest lizard" ) is a genus theropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic, the fossil remains were discovered on the slopes of Mount Kirkpatrick on the Antarctic mainland.

Description and systematics

Like all theropods of six to eight feet long Cryolophosaurus moved legged ( biped ) continuous and fed on meat. Three claws were on his claws. A special feature pointed to the skull, wearing a forward bony crest on the nose ( nasal ). Also over his eyes wore the dinosaurs smaller crest outgrowths. It is speculated that this comb was used to attract potential partners during the mating season.

Cryolophosaurus lived during the lower Jurassic ( Sinemurian to Pliensbachian ) than the present Antarctic continent still formed part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana. Its systematic position within the Coelophysoidea has long been controversial because it showed both primitive and modern features. Although he was often described as Tetanurae, it is put by recent research into the family Dilophosauridae, which is considered the sister taxon Averostra ( Tetanurae Ceratosauria ). He is the first dinosaur that was found in Antarctica and scientifically described. The name " Cryolophosaurus " refers both to the unusual finding situation as well as the unusual skull anatomy.

Fund history

William R. Hammer and William J. Hickerson published in 1994, the scientific description of Cryolophosaurus ellioti. Its fossils were found in 1991 by a run by the American professor hammer research group in about 4100 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount Kirkpatrick in the volcanic siltstone of the Hanson Formation. 2003 more remains were discovered, totaling retrieved the expedition members, about half of the skeleton.

With his discovery could be substantiated that the dinosaurs were spreading even to the Antarctic. While the Earth's climate was milder than it is today, but also in the law, there were already months in which the temperature fell below zero degrees Celsius. It is therefore to assume that Cryolophosaurus was a warm-blooded animal.