(Copyright: Nobu Tamura)
Living in the late Triassic (about 225 million years ago), Herrerasaurus, one of the oldest Dinosaurs, emerged with a breakthrough body plan. A fast and ferocious hunter, this Meat-Eater set the standard for future Dinosaurs. Living just before the Age of Dinosaurs, Herrerasaurus had to cope with Protosuchus, the hunter of Dinosaurs. This ancient relative of the modern crocodile dominated the landscape. To evade this formidable predator, Herrerasaurus had to use his speed and agility, escaping through the underbrush.
Herrerasaurus was a predator in his own right. As one of the first predators to walk on two legs, He started the chain that resulted in future Dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex ruling the land. To successfully hunt, Herrerasaurus had sharp claws on his fingers. These claws had hooks to slice meat from the bones. Meanwhile, the bones in his short arms reminded paleontologists of modern Birds. One feature unique to Him was his sliding lower jaw, which enabled Herrerasaurus to rake his teeth through his prey. As one of the first Dinosaurs, Herrerasaurus is considered by scientists to be a Basal (Basic) Theropod. (Theropods includes T.-rex and other Raptors.)
First found on an Argentine ranch in 1950, Herrerasaurus (Herrera’s lizard) was not considered a new species. Only in 1988, when his skull was discovered, did anyone know that He was different. Then after scientists determined that He was a Dinosaur, they had a spirited debate about what Family Herrerasaurus belonged to. Since He was found in the same region as Eoraptor, They decided upon “Basal Theropod.”
As one of the first Dinosaurs, Herrerasaurus pushed the envelope beyond what existed at the time. To the Others, He was “the Shock of the New.” Living more than 100 million years before T.-rex, He stood up to hunt his prey. Furthermore, his arms precluded the advent of Birds. Herrerasaurus helped to usher in the Age of the Dinosaurs. He was avant-garde, since He was innovative, and expanded the boundaries of what Dinosaurs could become. When you embrace being avant-garde, you may be laughed at, but who knows what future you have allowed to come into being. Let Herrerasaurus show you how to shock people with the New.