Fossil Friday: Dilophosaurus

chibi_dilo

 

Species: Dilophosaurus wetherilli (dih-lohf-oh-saw-rus weh-the-rill-eye)

What it means: Two-crested lizard

Where I live: Arizona in the U.S.A.- The Kayenta formation

When to find me: The Early Jurassic period, about 196 million years ago.

My favorite food: Meat! I’m a carnivore.

Size_dilo_flat

dry floodplains_flat
During the dry season only the toughest cycads stay green

wet floodplains
During the wet season ferns and horsetails come to life

My neighborhood: The Kayenta formation used to be a tropical floodplain, a bit like African savannah today- but no grass or flowers. Ferns cover the open plains, dotted with islands of spiky cycad groves. Rivers crisscross the land with lush tree ferns, ginkgo trees, and conifers. Every year during the wet season the plains turn into a flooded marsh, but the hottest months bring no rain, and the rivers shrink until the plains are almost as dry as the great desert that lies to the north.

 

A few of my neighbors: Sarahsaurus (an early sauropod) and Scelidosaurus (armored dinosaur) are some tough neighbors. We don’t talk much. But if I’m lucky, little Scutellosaurus (small armored dinosaur) might join me for lunch. Coelophysis (smaller meat-eater) scurry around everywhere and are happy to take a few leftovers, or join me on a quick chase after frogs, turtles, or a crocodile cousin or two. They like to stay close to the rivers. A long-tailed pterosaur patrols the skies for insects like beetles, dragonflies, an ancient cousin of the moth, and something called a snakefly.

Critter of the Month: Scutellosaurus

Meet Skittles.  She might be all hard and pebbly on the outside, but on the inside she wants nothing more than a nice warm hug.  Scratch just a little in between those rocky scutes, and she’ll roll on her back so you can rub her smooth, soft belly scales.

Skittles_profileupdate2

 

The tips of her clawed toes softly scratched stone as she walked. Her head tilted this way and that, like a lizard, large eyes wide as she stared at the straight, dead trees and clean, flat ground. Shiny loops and ledges stuck out from smooth, white walls. Stone? She sniffed the air. Stinging, acidic, not natural, but underneath it was the scent of warm earth.

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