Procompsognathus

The adorable minidinosaur

Procompsognathus-description

  • Name: Procompsognathus
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Weight: 2 kg
  • Period: Triassic
  • Found In: Germany

The genus Procompsognathus was a genus of cellophysical theropod saurisky dinosaurs that lived about 218 million years ago, in the Late Triassic Period.

The remains of Procompsognathus have been found in Germany (Europe), and they are the only remains found.

If you have found interesting what you have read about this dinosaur and are looking for more information about the Procompsognathus, below you will have all the details about it. Find out everything about this carnivorous dinosaur from the Triassic period!

Taxonomy of Procompsognathus

  • The Procompsognathus belongs to the Animalia kingdom.
  • Corresponding to the phylum Chordata.
  • Of the Sauropsida class.
  • Belongs to the superorder Dinosauria.
  • The Procompsognathus corresponds to the order Saurischia.
  • It belongs to the suborder Theropoda.
  • Being part of the superfamily Coelophysoidea.
  • Within the family Coelophysidae.
  • From the genus Procompsognathus.

History of Procompsognathus

Its name has a particular and descriptive meaning, one that refers to the jaw area of the animal and the elegance of this area.

This name was given to the animal by a scientist later identified as Eberhard Fraas, who in 1913 was in charge of reviewing the specimen, taking as a basis for study a bone structure that was little preserved and had been found in the central European country of Germany, in a place known mostly as Württemberg.

This dinosaur is quite frequently confused with another specimen that has a rather similar official name, the famous Compsognathus, and in fact it is quite understandable that many people confuse these two specimens.

But for now we must clarify that it is actually the dinosaur which is the protagonist of this article that developed long before Compsognathus, so it is actually an ancestor of the latter, thus indicating its own name, which means “before Compsognathus”.

Let us remember and clarify that the prefix PRO has a similar meaning to “ancestor of” or “before”, or “before”, that is why it is possible to deduce in a very simple way what the official name of the animal means.

The remains found of this creature were located in a series of German sediments called Keuper, although other formations in South Africa and France also have Procompsognathus.

And as we have already mentioned, the same palaeontologist, Frass, was in charge of the description a few years after its important finding, although at first he made a big mistake because he thought that the structure was actually a Hallopus celerrimus.

Procompsognathus-picture

However, after a year of studies and recognizing mistakes, the same researcher came to recognize his mistake and had the great courage to admit that in fact the remains belonged to the dinosaur protagonist of this article.

After a few years, other remains could also be found in a place called Panty-y-ffynnon (Wales). These remains were attributed to a specimen named Megapnosaurus, initially by Wagner, in 1983.

Over the years, the scientific community realized that this recently found structure could actually belong to the Procompsognathus, or a very close relative of it, and not to Megapnosaurus, as it was believed to be true some years ago, a fact that is still under debate.

Characteristics of Procompsognathus

As we have already had the opportunity to mention, the remains that were found were in a very bad state, so the study and analysis of this specimen was not the easiest task in the world.

In short, this mysterious specimen reached a length of approximately 120 centimeters, some 26 centimeters as far as height is concerned and its weight was really lower, not even 1 kg.

On his skull we can argue that it presented this structure with an elongated shape, which also had the eye area of elongated shape.

This specimen only used a pair of extremities to be able to walk from one place to another, the extremities that were located in the back zone enjoyed having a considerable length if we compare it with the rest of its body, the extremities of the front part were little elongated in opposition, whereas the hands located in these extremities, had claws of considerable dimension.

Likewise, the structure of this animal also presented a jaw area of elongated characteristic, which had a structure of teeth of tiny size, and let’s not forget the tail, which was generally quite rigid and without much mobility.

The natural environment in which it developed its long existence was probably one of dry weather conditions, so its diet could have been based simply on the consumption of small insects, and even some smaller lizards, as well as other beings that do not represent any problem due to its smaller size.

Classification of Procompsognathus

In addition to this, there is a curious and intense debate about this animal, there is a group of scientists who claim that even this specimen is not really a dinosaur, but would actually be a primitive ornithodyrus, and since not much data can be obtained from the remains of this creature, the doubt remains and as long as no more remains are found, no one can get anywhere.

The Procompsognathus in our culture

If we want to see the presence of this creature known as Procompsognathus, we may have to read the famous and entertaining novels of a great and prestigious writer named Michael Crichton, among which we have the well-known novel called “Jurassic Park” and the other not so well known but equally interesting, the one with the title “The Lost World”.

In these novels this animal appears as a creature that has been newly created by a science that today is known as Genetic Engineering, a science that manages to make these animals exist again from the manipulation of their genomes.

In these novels these animals have been considered as really carrion-eating creatures, that is to say, that they took advantage of the work of another animal to later go and snatch the food obtained.