STL Science Center

STL Science Center

19 February 2016


© Giant Screen Films
The name Effigia okeefeae refers to a small archosaur discovered in New Mexico, at the Ghost Ranch site famous for its astoundingly populous Triassic fossil beds which include dinosaurs like Coelophysis. The fossil was unearthed by Edwin Colbert in 1947 and 1948. The proximity of the site to sites used by popularly known artist Georgia O'keefe (who also visited Ghost Ranch) prompted the naming of the specific epithet by Sterling Nesbitt and Mark Norell in 2006. Nesbitt, as a graduate student at the time, had unboxed the remains of Effigia that Colbert shelved and the American Museum of Natural History seemingly forgot for nearly half a century. This happens often in paleontology. The important thing is that those fossils are eventually rediscovered and described. Effigia is an interesting archosaur. Not a dinosaur, but actually a member of the basal line of crocodylians within Suchia and only very vaguely appears to be an ornithomimid theropod. This convergent evolution has caused some to question whether Effigia is only an example of convergent evolution or is actually a synonym of a similar appearing theropod named Shuvosaurus.

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