Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Longisquama is a bit of a conundrum. These extinct reptiles were very small, lived way back in the Triassic, and had massive protrusions sticking out of their backs. In fact, those crazy looking growths are responsible for the genus name-- "Long Scales."

What were these hockey-stick shaped things? The most popular theory is that they were primitive feathers. However, it is still a mystery as to how they were specifically oriented. In a straight line? Staggered? Did they help the reptiles to glide? Or where they purely ornamental?

Notice that I never call Longisquama a Dinosaur-- that's because they weren't one. They were primitive reptiles in the Diapsid group, or so we think with the limited evidence. There is also some speculation that they may be a very ancient bird ancestor, but that would really mess up years of thinking-- it has generally been accepted that Birds evolved from more advanced Dinosaurs, not from primitive Diapsids like Longisquama!

IUCN Status : Extinct for 230 million years
Location : Asia
Size : Body Length up to 6in (15cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Subclass : Diapsida
Genus : †Longisquama -- Species : L. insignis
Image : Nobu Tamura

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