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LUSITANOSAURUS

a plant-eating thyreophoran dinosaur, possibly hailing from the Early Jurassic of Portugal.
Pronunciation: loo-si-TAYN-o-SOR-us
Meaning: Portuguese lizard
Author/s: Lapparent and Zbyszewski (1957)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: São Pedro de Moel, Portugal
Chart Position: 161

Lusitanosaurus liassicus

No one knows exactly where Lusitanosaurus was actually unearthed but we do know it was rediscovered in a limestone block at The University of Lisbon in 1957, adorned with a label that read "Liassic" and "Scelidosaurus" but not a lot else. Based on its only remains—a partial upper jaw and eight teeth which represent the only Lower Jurassic and thus oldest dinosaur fossils known from Portugal, if they're dated correctly—Lapparent and Zbyszewski thought it was a stegosaur but "much different to Stegosaurus" and they were right... and possibly wrong, or at least a little presumptuous.

It is much different to Stegosaurus because it isn't Stegosaurus, nor is it complete enough to confirm as a member of the Stegosaurus-anchored family Stegosauria, and despite the label it isn't particularly Scelidosaurus-like either. Whatever it is, the enigmatic Lusitanosaurus has notably narrow and smooth-faced teeth unlike any other dinosaur, and appears to belong within Thyreophora—a group of herbivorous dinosaurs affectionately known as "armour bearers"—but outside of Stegosauria (the plated branch) and Ankylosauria (the fused branch).
(Portuguese lizard from the Jurassic)Etymology
Lusitanosaurus is derived from "Lusitania" (for ancient Lusitania, a Roman province that included most of what is now Portugal and part of Spain) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard). The species epithet, liasicus, refers to "the Lias" which is synonymous with "the Early Jurassic period" in older literature.
Discovery
Being exceptionally generous, Lusitanosaurus was "poorly documented" so the date and place of its discovery are a little hazy. Analysis of the fossil matrix suggests it was discovered near São Pedro de Muel in strata from the Sinemurian period of the "Liassic" (Early Jurassic), but this is far from certain.
The holotype (Ref.?) is a partial upper jaw, 10.5 cm long and 4.5 cm tall.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Jurassic
Stage: Simemurian?
Age range: 196-189 mya?
Stats:
Est. max. length: ?
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Thyreophora
Lusitanosaurus
liassicus
References
• Lapparent, A.F. de, and Zbyszewski, G. (1957) "The Dinosaurs of Portugal".
• D.B. Norman, L.M. Witmer and D.B. Weishampel (2004) "Basal Thyreophora" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Philip J. Currie & Kevin Padian (1997) Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. /uk.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "LUSITANOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 26th Jun 2017.
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