Epidendrosaurus

Now, we know that the transition from reptiles to birds, there was thanks to some small theropods, hunters quickly and nimbly leaping from branch to branch to pounce upon its prey. Increasingly lighter and more agile, were those who had the most jumped protofeathers, who came to the farthest branches and so more prey. Until a jump, went to plan ... a prelude to fly like birds.

One of the clearest examples of these prehistoric animals, with characteristics of birds but without turning it was the Epidendrosaurus, whose name means "lizard on the branches." It is a small theropod maniraptor (hand robber), a taxon whose main feature is the very long, curved fingers ... a feature that served to grip tree branches.

But do not think that the change from reptile to bird was linearly which followed a straight way without errors. The evolution experienced with the species, and species were able to survive for tens of thousands of years and others not, and there is almost no such evidence. But Epidendrosaurus was very successful. In fact, this prehistoric animal lived after the first birds and thousands of years after the first bird which is known Archaeopteryx, this means that even still undergoing evolution and squeezing the characteristics that conditioned the animals, even appeared almost winged reptiles and birds flying when they appeared. The few fossils has been discovered that in the legs and tail feathers had slight marks, similar to those of Microraptor (another small thief).



If we saw now, we look like a bird more than a reptile, if we looked we would see that no beak, but a tiny little mouth full of sharp little teeth and suitable for hunting small reptiles, insects and even mammals were climbing clueless the branches of the trees in late Jurassic. We seem a small bird, it is thought that it was not larger than a dove. The only bones found are young specimens and their skeletons are as big as sparrows.

Sauroniops

Who has not seen The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring? Or The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers? o The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King?, probably all have seen and certainly know who Sauron. The science fiction character created by Tolkien and that is the representation of evil. Its eye is all-seeing, is the eye of the devil on earth.


Well curiously, there was a dinosaur that, when discovered, was baptized with the name of Sauroniops, which means "Eye of Sauron". Personally I look weird, I find it very curious that have given the name of a science fiction character to a prehistoric animal, well known for it. So I've been investigating why this curious name and I discovered something: this saurian bones were found a few years ago, in Morocco (Africa) and at first had only one bone, the top of the skull closed eye and I had conical pyramid shape (reminiscent of Mordor mountain), so researchers, in a moment of inspiration, decided to borrow the name of Sauron for naming this prehistoric animal.

Well, part of this curiosity, how was the Sauroniops?

This was a theropod and theropod. The was a large theropod dinosaurs group with common characteristics such as walking with strong hind legs and essentially carnivores. A group where we can meet other dinosaurs like T-Rex or Giganotosaurus.

The species Sauroniops pachytholus, could reach up to 13 meters (42 ft)  and the skull could exceed 1.5 meters (5 ft) in length. A powerful bite of a mouth full of sharp teeth as knives adapted for tearing the body of their prey.

A physical characteristic that would help to distinguish it from other theropods (and in particular of other Carcharodontosaurios, physically very similar) was the bulge protruding from the top of the skull and that was the inspiration for its name. We look like a small T.Rex but one bump on the head.

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