Preprator Vicki Fitzgerald and Curator Jacques Gauthier examine the Poposaurus specimen still in its plaster casing.
While working in Utah in the summer of 2003, the Yale Peabody Museum’s
Divison of Vertebrate Paleontology field team collected what could be
the most complete remains ever found of the extremely rare Poposaurus, dating from approximately 220 million years ago. Poposaurus
is a representative from a fleet-footed, land-dwelling, side line in
crocodile evolution that could easily have preyed on dinosaurs, and
certainly challenged them as the top carnivores of their day.
The skeleton is perfectly articulated, preserved from near the shoulders down to the tip of the tail, including complete hind limbs and at least some forelimb bones, with bits and pieces of the rest of the skeleton lying nearby. “This marvelous fossil vastly improves our understanding of the evolution of a very poorly known cursorial and terrestrial side branch of the crocodile line,” comments Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology Jacques Gauthier. “When one thinks of today’s lumbering amphibious crocodiles, these beasts seem all the more striking for having independently evolved a surprising range of morphological novelties seen otherwise only in carnivorous dinosaurs.”
Today, the Peabody’s Office of External Relations is actively raising funds to support the preparation of the skeleton by the Museum’s Vertebrate Paleontology Lab, which will eventually be mounted and displayed as a new exhibit in the Great Hall of Dinosaurs.
If you would like to sponsor this project, contact Director of External Relations Eliza J. Cleveland at 203.432.3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.