Staurikosaurus (Southern cross lizard)
Edwin H. Colbert - 1970
Estimated 2 meters long
S. pricei (type)
Brazil - Santa Maria Formation
Late Triassic, 225 million years ago
Staurikosaurus is a genus of small theropod dinosaur that lived in what is now Brazil during the Late Triassic period, around 225 million years ago. The name “Staurikosaurus” means “southern cross lizard”, and refers to the prominent constellation that is visible in the southern hemisphere.
Staurikosaurus is known from several partial skeletons and isolated bones, which indicate that it was a small, agile predator that probably grew to about 2 meters (6.5 feet) in length. It had a relatively long, slender skull with sharp teeth, as well as long, slender arms with sharp claws that it likely used to catch and hold its prey.
Staurikosaurus is an important dinosaur for understanding the early evolution of theropod dinosaurs, as it is one of the oldest known members of this group. Its fossils provide evidence that theropods were already diversifying and adapting to different ecological niches during the Late Triassic period, which was a time of significant change and upheaval in the Earth’s ecosystems.
Although Staurikosaurus is relatively obscure compared to some other dinosaur genera, it has played an important role in the history of dinosaur research, and its fossils continue to be studied by paleontologists around the world.