DescriptionHerrerasaurus is named after Victorino Herrera, the Andean farmer who first stumbled on its skeleton. It is one of the earliest known dinosaurs. a medium-sized, bipedal carnivore, it had sharp teeth, short arms, and three-fingered hands with curved claws. Seemingly old- fashioned features of the leg and foot bones made scientist think Herrerasaurus more primitive than any in the two main groups, the Saurischia and the Ornithischia but in 1992 Paul Sereno and Fernando Novas proved Herrerasaurus was an early theropod, not a pre-saurichian, pre- ornithischian dinosaur.
The discovery of a complete skull revealed that it had a sliding lower jaw joint in common with some other theropods. Like most theropods Herrerasaurus had a small first toe that faced backwards instead of pointing forwards. Several skeletons, one complete skull, have give scientist a full picture of this creature. The skull of Herrerasaurus was long and narrow, with small nostril holes.
A flexible (lower jaw) let the front half move against the rear half, to give a grasping bite. Herrerasaurus differs from Staurikosaurus in its considerably larger size (length of the femur 47.3 cm vs 22.9 cm in the respective holotypes.) and in a number of features of the postcranial skeleton (Reig, 1963; Benedetto, 1973).
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