STL Science Center

STL Science Center

31 July 2015

Silly Saurs

Asilisaurus kongwe is not actually a funny name. It comes from Swahili and means "Ancestor lizard." As a Middle Triassic Dinosauriform, Asilisaurus is in a very primitive or basal position on the phylogenetic tree. It is so far down the tree, in fact, that it appears to be very near the pterosaur and dinosaur branchings on the family tree. One of the most specific labels we can assign to Asilisaurus is actually Avemetatarsalia, the group that does include both pterosaurs and dinosaurs. This is going to be an interesting look at the bottom of the tree, a phylogenetic placement that is not often examined.

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