saurischian


saurischian
/saw ris"kee euhn/, n.
1. any herbivorous or carnivorous dinosaur of the order Saurischia, having a three-pronged pelvis resembling that of a crocodile. Cf. ornithischian.
adj.
2. belonging or pertaining to the Saurischia.
[1885-90; < NL Saurischi(a) name of the order (Saur(ia) (see -SAUR) + L -ischi(um) ISCHIUM + -a -A1) + -AN]

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Any "lizard-hipped" dinosaur species (order Saurischia), with hip bones arranged like those of modern reptiles, the pubis bone pointed forward and down.

The order includes all carnivorous and some giant herbivorous dinosaurs. Saurischians evolved from small bipedal dinosaurs called thecodonts; they first appeared in the Late Triassic epoch (227–206 million years ago). The order consists of three suborders: theropods, sauropods, and staurikosaurs (suborder Staurikosauria). Staurikosaurs, known only from the incomplete remains of a few species, seem to have been medium-sized flesh-eaters similar to the theropods. See also ornithischian.

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▪ dinosaur order
 any member of one of the two major lineages of dinosaurs (dinosaur), including birds (bird) and all dinosaurs more closely related to birds than to Triceratops. In 1888 paleontologist Harry G. Seeley, a former student of Richard Owen (Owen, Sir Richard), separated dinosaurs into two groups based primarily on the form of the pelvis (though he also considered features of the skull and neck vertebrae). One group had hip bones arranged like those of typical reptiles, in which the pubis points down and forward; he named this group Saurischia (“lizard-hipped” or “reptile-hipped”). In the other group, a portion of the pubis points downward and backward, a condition superficially similar to that seen in birds; hence the name Ornithischia (ornithischian) (“bird-hipped”).

      The saurischians and ornithischians separated as lineages perhaps 235 million to 240 million years ago during the Middle Triassic Period (242 million to 227 million years ago). The first dinosaurs were small and bipedal; only later did they evolve immense size and a variety of adaptations for feeding and other functions. For reasons that are not well understood, the fossil record of saurischians in the Late Triassic (Triassic Period) (227 million to 206 million years ago) is much better than that of the ornithischians, though both groups were simultaneously beginning to diversify.

 The two main groups of saurischians are the theropods (theropod) and the sauropodomorphs (dinosaur). The theropods of the Mesozoic Era were all two-legged carnivores, from which birds evolved at least 144 million years ago (Late or Middle Jurassic Period).

 The other main saurischian group, the Sauropodomorpha, consisted mostly of quadrupedal herbivores, although their first members were relatively small and bipedal. Its most primitive members were the prosauropods, which included the plateosaurs (Plateosaurus). These creatures died out in the Early Jurassic Period (206 million to 180 million years ago), but they appear to have given rise to the larger and more specialized sauropods (sauropod), which remained one of the dominant dinosaur groups until the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 million years ago. The sauropods included the largest of all dinosaur species, among them Apatosaurus (formerly Brontosaurus), , (Diplodocus) and Brachiosaurus (brachiosaur). In general, the sauropods were distinguished by their huge size, long necks and tails, small heads, columnar legs, and heavy, solid limb bones.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • saurischian — [sô ris′kē ən] n. any of an order (Saurischia) of dinosaurs with, typically, a pelvic structure similar to that of modern reptiles, including the theropods and sauropods adj. of the saurischians …   English World dictionary

  • saurischian — noun Etymology: New Latin Saurischia, ultimately from Greek sauros lizard + New Latin ischium ischium Date: circa 1889 any of an order (Saurischia) of herbivorous or carnivorous dinosaurs that have the pubis of the pelvis typically pointed… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • saurischian — noun herbivorous or carnivorous dinosaur having a three pronged pelvis like that of a crocodile • Syn: ↑saurischian dinosaur • Hypernyms: ↑dinosaur • Hyponyms: ↑sauropod, ↑sauropod dinosaur, ↑theropod, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • saurischian — 1. noun Any dinosaur of the order Saurischia 2. adjective Characteristic of these dinosaurs …   Wiktionary

  • saurischian — [sɔ: rɪskɪən, rɪʃɪən] noun Palaeontology a dinosaur of a group with a pelvic structure resembling that of lizards. Compare with ornithischian. Origin C19: from mod. L. Saurischia (name of an order), from Gk sauros lizard + iskhion hip joint …   English new terms dictionary

  • saurischian — saur·is·chi·an …   English syllables

  • saurischian — saur•is•chi•an [[t]sɔˈrɪs ki ən[/t]] n. 1) pal any carnivorous or herbivorous dinosaur of the order Saurischia, in which the pelvic structure resembles that of lizards 2) pal belonging or pertaining to the Saurischia • Etymology: < NL… …   From formal English to slang

  • saurischian dinosaur — noun herbivorous or carnivorous dinosaur having a three pronged pelvis like that of a crocodile • Syn: ↑saurischian • Hypernyms: ↑dinosaur • Hyponyms: ↑sauropod, ↑sauropod dinosaur, ↑theropod, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • dinosaur — /duy neuh sawr /, n. 1. any chiefly terrestrial, herbivorous or carnivorous reptile of the extinct orders Saurischia and Ornithischia, from the Mesozoic Era, certain species of which are the largest known land animals. 2. something that is… …   Universalium

  • Herrerasaurus — Taxobox name = Herrerasaurus fossil range = Late Triassic image width = 250px image caption = Mounted Herrerasaurus skeleton, at the Field Museum in Chicago regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Sauropsida superordo = Dinosauria ordo =… …   Wikipedia


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