The Lagerpetidae (/ˌlædʒərˈpɛtɪdiː/; originally Lagerpetonidae) is a family of basal dinosauromorphs. Members of the family are known from Late Triassic of Argentina, Arizona, Brazil, New Mexico, and Texas.[1][2][3][4] Lagerpetids were typically small, although some, like Dromomeron gigas, were fairly large. Lagerpetid fossils are very rare, the most common finds are of the hindlimbs, which possessed a number of unique features.[5]

Temporal range: Late Triassic, 236–211.9 Ma
Dromomeron BW
Dromomeron gregorii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauromorpha
Family: Lagerpetidae
Arcucci, 1986


As with most early dinosauromorphs, the most characteristic adaptations of lagerpetids occurred in their hip, leg and ankle bones, likely as a result of these being the bones most commonly preserved. Hip material is only known in Lagerpeton and Ixalerpeton, which share three adaptations of the ilium (upper blade of the hip). The supraacetabular crest, a ridge of bone which lies above the acetabulum (hip socket), is thickest above the middle portion of the acetabulum, rather than the front of it. However, it also extends further forwards than in most dinosauromorphs, snaking along the length of the pubic peduncle (the area of the ilium which connects to the pubis). The ilium's facet for the pubis opens downwards, a trait also acquired by ornithischian dinosaurs.[3] The hip in general was wide, had a closed acetabulum (i.e. one with a bony inner wall), and had two sacral vertebrae, lacking many specializations of later dinosauromorphs, like dinosaurs.[1]

Like other early archosaurs (and archosaur relatives such as Euparkeria), the femur (thigh bone) was slender and S-shaped. The femoral head was thin when seen from above, and its apex projected about 45 degrees between medially (inwards) and anteriorly (forwards). Most archosaurs had three tubera (bumps) on their flattened femoral head, one at the middle of the anterolateral (forwards/outwards) surface, another at the middle of the posteromedial (backwards/inwards) surface, and a small third one which was near the apex of the femoral head. However, lagerpetids lack the anterolateral tuber, instead having an emargination in the head just below where the tuber would normally be expected. The femoral head itself was notably hook-shaped when seen from the side. The distal portion of the femur (i.e. the portion near the knee) had a pair of condyles (knobs) on either side of the rear surface, as well as a third knob-like structure known as a crista tibiofibularis, which was present just above the lateral condyle. The crista tibiofibularis was uniquely enlarged in lagerpetids, and undergoes further evolution in Ixalerpeton and particularly Dromomeron.[5]

The tibia and fibula (shin bones) were long and thin, with the tibia longer than the femur and generally resembling the tibia of early theropod dinosaurs.[3] The ankle was formed by two main bones: the astragalus (which contacts both the tibia and fibula), and the calcaneum (which only contacts the fibula). As with other dinosauromorphs, the astragalus was twice as wide as the reduced calcaneum. In addition, the two bones were co-ossified (fused together), akin to the condition in pterosaurs and some early dinosaurs (coelophysoids, for example). A pair of small, pyramid-shaped structures rise up out of the astragalus, one in front of the facet for the tibia, and the other behind it. The one in front is similar to a structure found in dinosauriform ankles known as the anterior ascending process, and it may be homologous with it. However, the posterior ascending process (the one behind the tibial facet) is entirely unique to lagerpetids. The rear of the astragalus lacks a horizontal groove, similar to Tropidosuchus, theropods, and ornithischians, but unlike most other archosauriforms. Like pterosaurs and dinosaurs (but unlike Marasuchus and most other archosaurs), the facet on the calcaneum which receives the fibula is concave and there is no evidence of a pronounced rearward bump known as a calcaneal tuber.[5][3]


The lagerpetids were relatives of the dinosaurs, being a branch of the group Dinosauromorpha. The family was originally named Lagerpetonidae by Arcucci in 1986,[1] though it was later renamed Lagerpetidae in a phylogenetic study by S. J. Nesbitt and colleagues in 2009. A clade of lagerpetids was also recovered in the large phylogenetic analyses of early dinosaurs and other dinosauromorphs that were produced by Baron, Norman & Barrett (2017).[6] More recently, Muller et al. (2018) carried out the most comprehensive study on lagerpetid phylogeny, which assembled all lagerpetid specimens, taxa and morphotypes known so far into three of the most recent data matrices on early dinosauromorph/archosaur evolution.[7] Finally, Garcia et al. (2019) added an unnamed lagerpetid (a new morphotype) to the data matrices used in the study by Muller et al. (2018).[4]

Cladogram simplified after Cabreira et al., 2016:[3]














  1. ^ a b c Arcucci, Andrea (1986). "New materials and reinterpretation of Lagerpeton chanarensis Romer (Thecodontia, Lagerpetonidae nov.) from the Middle Triassic of La Rioja, Argentina" (PDF): 3. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  2. ^ Sterling J. Nesbitt; Julia Brenda Desojo; Randall B. Irmis, eds. (2013). Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and Their Kin. The Geological Society of London. p. 164. ISBN 9781862393615. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e Cabreira, S.F.; Kellner, A.W.A.; Dias-da-Silva, S.; da Silva, L.R.; Bronzati, M.; de Almeida Marsola, J.C.; Müller, R.T.; de Souza Bittencourt, J.; Batista, B.J.; Raugust, T.; Carrilho, R.; Brodt, A.; Langer, M.C. (2016). "A Unique Late Triassic Dinosauromorph Assemblage Reveals Dinosaur Ancestral Anatomy and Diet". Current Biology. 26 (22): 3090–3095. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.040. PMID 27839975.
  4. ^ a b Garcia, Maurício S.; Müller, Rodrigo T.; Da-Rosa, Átila A.S.; Dias-da-Silva, Sérgio (2019-4). "The oldest known co-occurrence of dinosaurs and their closest relatives: A new lagerpetid from a Carnian (Upper Triassic) bed of Brazil with implications for dinosauromorph biostratigraphy, early diversification and biogeography". Journal of South American Earth Sciences. 91: 302–319. doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2019.02.005. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ a b c Nesbitt, S.J. (2011). "The Early Evolution of Archosaurs: Relationships and the Origin of Major Clades" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 352: 189. doi:10.1206/352.1. hdl:2246/6112. ISSN 0003-0090.
  6. ^ Baron, M.G.; Norman, D.B.; Barrett, P.M. (2017). "A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution" (PDF). Nature. 543 (7646): 501–506. doi:10.1038/nature21700. PMID 28332513.
  7. ^ Müller, Rodrigo Temp; Langer, Max Cardoso; Dias-Da-Silva, Sérgio (2018-03-07). "Ingroup relationships of Lagerpetidae (Avemetatarsalia: Dinosauromorpha): a further phylogenetic investigation on the understanding of dinosaur relatives". Zootaxa. 4392 (1): 149–158. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4392.1.7. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 29690420.

Averostra, or "bird snouts", is a clade that includes most theropod dinosaurs that have a promaxillary fenestra (fenestra promaxillaris), an extra opening in the front outer side of the maxilla, the bone that makes up the upper jaw. Two groups of averostrans, the Ceratosauria and the Orionides, survived into the Cretaceous period. When the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event occurred, ceratosaurians and two groups of orionideans within the clade Coelurosauria, the Tyrannosauroidea and Maniraptoriformes, were still extant. Only one subgroup of maniraptoriformes, Aves, survived the extinction event and persisted to the present day.


Avetheropoda, or "bird theropods", is a clade that includes carnosaurians and coelurosaurs to the exclusion of other dinosaurs.


Cerapoda ("ceratopsians and ornithopods") is a clade of the dinosaur order Ornithischia.


Dinosauriformes is a clade of archosaurian reptiles that include the dinosaurs and their most immediate relatives. All dinosauriformes are distinguished by several features, such as shortened forelimbs and a partially to fully perforated acetabulum, the hole in the hip socket traditionally used to define dinosaurs. The oldest known member is Asilisaurus, dating to about 245 million years ago in the Anisian age of the middle Triassic period.


Dinosauromorpha is a clade of archosaurs that includes the clade Dinosauria (dinosaurs), and all animals more closely related to dinosaurs than to pterosaurs. Birds are the only surviving dinosauromorphs.


Dromomeron (meaning "running femur") is a genus of lagerpetonid dinosauromorph archosaur that lived around 220 to 211.9 ± 0.7 million years ago. The genus contains species known from Late Triassic-age rocks of the southwestern United States and northwestern Argentina. It is described as most closely related to the earlier Lagerpeton of Argentina, but was found among remains of true dinosaurs like Chindesaurus, indicating that the first dinosaurs did not immediately replace related groups.Based on the study of the overlapping material of Dromomeron and Tawa hallae, Christopher Bennett proposed that the two taxa were conspecific, forming a single growth series of Dromomeron. However, noting prominent differences between their femurs which cannot be attributed to variation with age, Rodrigo Muller rejected this proposal in 2017. He further noted that, while D. romeri is known from juveniles only, it shares many traits in common with D. gigas, which is known from mature specimens.

Haya griva

Haya is an extinct genus of basal neornithischian dinosaur known from Mongolia.


Ixalerpeton (meaning "leaping reptile") is a genus of small, bipedal dinosauromorphs in the lagerpetid family, containing one species, I. polesinensis. It lived in the Late Triassic of Brazil alongside the sauropodomorph dinosaur Buriolestes.


Jeholosaurids were herbivorous neornithischian dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period (Aptian - Santonian, with a possible Campanian record) of Asia. The family was first proposed by Han et al. in 2012. The jeholosaurids were defined as those ornithischians more closely related to Jeholosaurus shangyuanensis than to Hypsilophodon foxii, Iguanodon bernissartensis, Protoceratops andrewsi, Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis, or Thescelosaurus neglectus. The Jeholosauridae includes the type genus Jeholosaurus and Yueosaurus.


Jingshanosaurus (meaning "Jingshan lizard") is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaurs from the early Jurassic period.


Lagerpeton is a genus of basal dinosauromorph. First described by A. S. Romer in 1971, it includes only the species L. chanarensis. This species is incompletely known, with fossil specimens accounting for the pelvic girdle, hindlimbs and posterior presacral, sacral and anterior caudal vertebrae.


Lutungutali (meaning "high hip" in the Bemba language) is an extinct genus of silesaurid dinosauriform from the Middle Triassic of Zambia. The single type species of the genus is Lutungutali sitwensis. Lutungutali was named in 2013 and described from a fossil specimen, holotype NHCC LB32, including hip bones and tail vertebrae. The specimen was collected in 2009 from the upper Ntawere Formation, which dates to the Anisian stage of the Middle Triassic. Lutungutali is the first known silesaurid from Zambia and, along with the Tanzanian silesaurid Asilisaurus and dinosauriform Nyasasaurus, the oldest bird-line archosaur known from body fossils (i.e. parts of the skeleton).


Neotheropoda (meaning "new theropods") is a clade that includes coelophysoids and more advanced theropod dinosaurs, and the only group of theropods who survived the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Yet all of the neotheropods became extinct during the early Jurassic period except for Averostra.


Orionides is a clade of tetanuran theropod dinosaurs from the Middle Jurassic to the Present. The clade includes most theropod dinosaurs, including birds.


Orodrominae is a subfamily of parksosaurid dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of North America and Asia.


Teleocrater (meaning "completed basin", in reference to its closed acetabulum) is a genus of avemetatarsalian archosaur from the Middle Triassic Manda Formation of Tanzania. The name was coined by English paleontologist Alan Charig in his 1956 doctoral dissertation, but was only formally published in 2017 by Sterling Nesbitt and colleagues. The genus contains the type and only species T. rhadinus. Uncertainty over the affinities of Teleocrater have persisted since Charig's initial publication; they were not resolved until Nesbitt et al. performed a phylogenetic analysis. They found that Teleocrater is most closely related to the similarly enigmatic Yarasuchus, Dongusuchus, and Spondylosoma in a group that was named the Aphanosauria. Aphanosauria was found to be the sister group of the Ornithodira, the group containing dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

A carnivorous quadruped measuring 7–10 feet (2.1–3.0 m) long, Teleocrater is notable for its unusually long neck vertebrae. The neural canals in its neck vertebrae gradually become taller towards the back of the neck, which may be a distinguishing trait. Unlike the Lagerpetidae or Ornithodira, the hindlimbs of Teleocrater are not adapted for running; the metatarsal bones are not particularly elongated. Also unlike lagerpetids and ornithodirans, Teleocrater inherited the more flexible ankle configuration present ancestrally among archosaurs, suggesting that the same configuration was also ancestral to Avemetatarsalia but was lost independently by several lineages. Histology of the long bones of Teleocrater indicates that it had moderately fast growth rates, closer to ornithodirans than crocodilians and other pseudosuchians.


Unaysauridae is a family of basal sauropodomorphs from the Late Triassic of India and Brazil.


Xixiposaurus is a genus of prosauropod dinosaur which existed in what is now Lower Lufeng Formation, China during the lower Jurassic period. It was first named by Sekiya Toru in 2010 and the type species is Xixiposaurus suni.


Yueosaurus is an extinct genus of basal ornithopod dinosaur known from Zhejiang Province, China.


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