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AGNOSPHITYS

an omnivorous guaibasaurid sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Late Triassic of England.
agnosphitys cromhallensis
Pronunciation: ag-nohs-FIE-tis
Meaning: Unknown begetter
Author/s: Fraser et al. (2002)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Avon, England
Chart Position: 417

Agnosphitys cromhallensis

Although disputed by some, Agnosphitys (also mispelled Agnostiphys and Agnosphytis) seems to lie close to the ancestry of dinosaurs, but the whereabouts of its bed isn't exactly clear. Deciphering extinct critters and working out where they belong on the tree of life is always fraught with uncertainty, but sometimes the stars will align and a combination of closely associated remains, solid fossils and plain old luck will make palaeontologist's lives so much easier. Unfortunately, Agnosphitys lacks all of those things. The coining authors even chose the name "unknown begetter", which means they have no idea what begot it nor what it begot.

Among dis-articulated and randomly assigned remains, its holotype ilium (part of the pelvis) sports a deep groove (brevis fossa) found in dinosaurs, a maxilla (upper jaw bone) may be theropodan... or lack any dinosaurian features depending on which scientist you follow, a humerus ("funny" bone) and astragali (ankle joint) are distinctly dinosaurian though don't necessarily belong to the same dinosaur and its two sacral vertebrae are one short of the minimum found in dinosaurs. The odd tooth could belong to absolutely anything.

Unsuprisingly, Agnosphitys is a nightmare to classify. Depending on how Dinosauria is defined, it is either a small primitive meat-eating dinosaur, one of the dinosaur's closest non-dinosaur relatives known as dinosauriformes, or possibly a guaibasaurid—the most primitive group of sauropodomorphs that were small, bipedal, probably omnivorous, and originally thought to be theropods. Given the uncertainty, we're plumping for "a primitive saurischian with impossible to classify chimaeric remains belonging to theropods and god knows what else", which pretty much sums it up.
(Unknown begetter from Cromhall)Etymology
Agnosphitys is derived from the Greek "agnos" (unknown) and "phitys" (begetter; procreator or generator of offspring, normally referring to the male parent).
The species epithet, cromhallensis (krom-haw-LEN-sis) means "from Cromhall" in Latin, and refers to its discovery in Cromhall Quarry.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Triassic
Stage: Norian
Age range: 228-209 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 0.7 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 3 Kg
Diet: Omnivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Sauropodomorpha
Guaibasauridae
Agnosphitys
cromhallensis
References
• Fraser NC, Padian K, Walkden GM and Davis ALM (2002) "Basal dinosauriform remains from Britain and the diagnosis of the Dinosauria". Palaeontology 45(1):79-95.
• Max C. Langer (2004) "Basal Saurischia" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Ezcurra MD (2010) "A new early dinosaur (Saurischia: Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic of Argentina: a reassessment of dinosaur origin and phylogeny". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 8(3):371-425.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "AGNOSPHITYS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 19th Aug 2017.
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