Home Previous Random Next Search
meaning: "Mud lizard"
Named By: X. Xu, J. M. Clark, J. Mo, J. Choiniere, C. A. Forster, G. M. Erickson, D. W. E. Hone, C. Sullivan, D. A. Eberth, S. Nesbitt, Q. Zhao, R. Hernandez, C.inK Jia, F.inL. Han, & Y. Guo in 2009
Time Period: Oxfordian, 161-156 Ma
Location: China, Junggar Basin - Shishugou Formation
Size: Around 1.7 meters long
Diet: Herbivore
Fossil(s): Almost complete articulated remains from two sub adults
Classification: | Chordata | Reptilia | Dinosauria | Saurischia | Theropoda | Ceratosauria |

Limusaurus (meaning "mud lizard") is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Jurassic (Oxfordian stage) Upper Shishugou Formation in the Junggar Basin of western China. The genus contains a single species, L. inextricabilis. Limusaurus was a small, slender animal, about 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in) in length, that had a long neck and legs but also highly reduced forelimbs. It underwent a drastic morphological transformation as it aged; while juveniles were toothed, these teeth were completely lost and replaced by a beak with age, corresponding to a shift in diet from omnivory to herbivory.

Limusaurus is the first definitively known ceratosaur from Eastern Asia; while originally considered to be the most basal members (i.e. phylogenetically closest to the origin) of the group Ceratosauria along with its closest relative, Elaphrosaurus, a 2016 analysis showed that they are in fact members of the Noasauridae, a group of similarly small and lightly-built abelisaurs. The pattern of digit reduction in Limusaurus has been used to support the contested hypothesis that the three-fingered hand of tetanuran theropods is the result of the loss of the first and fifth digits from the ancestral five-fingered theropod hand, which has implications for the evolution of birds. However, it is now considered to be irrelevant to the subject of digit homology.

Read more about Limusaurus at Wikipedia
PaleoCodex is a weekend hack by Saurav Mohapatra