From HandWiki
Short description: Extinct genus of dinosaurs

Temporal range: Norian
~213 Ma
Coloradisaurus skull reconstruction.png
Diagram showing known skull elements; shaded parts represent missing bones
Scientific classification e
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Sauropodomorpha
Family: Massospondylidae
Genus: Coloradisaurus
Galton, 1990[2][3]
Type species
Coloradisaurus brevis
(Bonaparte, 1978)[4]

Coloradisaurus (meaning "Los Colorados lizard") is a genus of massospondylid sauropodomorph dinosaur. It lived during the Late Triassic period (Norian stage) in what is now La Rioja Province, Argentina . It is known from two specimens collected from the Los Colorados Formation of the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin.


Coloradisaurus brevis was originally named Coloradia brevis by José Bonaparte in 1978,[4] but that genus name was preoccupied by the pine moth Coloradia,[5] so it needed a replacement name. In 1983, David Lambert used the name Coloradisaurus for the genus, but did not indicate it was a replacement or diagnose it.[6] Lambert had gotten the name from Bonaparte in a personal communication and mistakenly thought that Bonaparte had already published it.[3] Peter Galton was the next to use the name Coloradisaurus in 1990, which he credited to Lambert, when he gave the taxon a diagnosis in his review of prosauropods in The Dinosauria.[2][3] Authorship of Coloradisaurus has traditionally been attributed to Lambert, but in 2020, Greenfield et al. judged Lambert's use of the name to be a nomen nudum. They concluded that authorship should be attributed to Galton, who was the first to use the name Coloradisaurus in a way that met the requirements of the ICZN.[3]


The holotype of Coloradisaurus (PVL 3967) is a mostly complete skull found associated with an undescribed partial skeleton.[4] While the right side of the skull is well-preserved with almost all bones intact, the left side is distorted and missing more bones.[7] The holotype individual has been estimated to have been 3 m (10 ft) long with a mass of 70 kg (150 lb).[8] A referred specimen (PVL 5904) is a partial skeleton including the most of the dorsal vertebrae and parts of the pectoral and pelvic girdles and limbs.[9] All of this material was discovered in 1971 at the La Esquina locality in the upper section of the Los Colorados Formation near Pagancillo, La Rioja Province, Argentina .[4][7][9] The top of the Los Colorados Formation has been dated to 213 Ma,[1] which would place Coloradisaurus in the Norian stage of the Late Triassic.


Coloradisaurus was classified as a plateosaurid in the original description by Bonaparte,[4] but this pre-dated the use of phylogenetic analyses in paleontology. He later became opposed to cladistics[10] and continued to consider Coloradisaurus a plateosaurid without testing its phylogenetic position.[11] The analyses of Galton (1990), Galton & Upchurch (2004), and Upchurch et al. (2007) found it to be a plateosaurid, supporting Bonaparte's placement.[2][12][13] However, the analyses of Benton et al. (2000) and Yates (2003) recovered it in a polytomy with other basal sauropodomorphs or as a massospondylid, respectively.[14][15] Subsequent analyses such as Yates et al. (2010), Apaldetti et al. (2013; 2014), Wang et al. (2017), and Müller (2020) have reached the consensus that Coloradisaurus is a massospondylid most closely related to Lufengosaurus and Glacialisaurus.[7][9][16][17][18] These three taxa share four synapomorphies found in the metatarsals and femur.[9]

Below is a simplified cladogram after Galton & Upchurch (2004), reflecting its early placement as a plateosaurid.[12]
















"Gyposaurus" sinensis





Below is a simplified cladogram after Müller (2020), showing its current position as a massospondylid.[18]













"Massospondylus" kaalae







  1. 1.0 1.1 Kent, D.V.; Malnis, P.S.; Colombi, C.E.; Alcober, O.A.; Martínez, R.N. (2014). "Age constraints on the dispersal of dinosaurs in the Late Triassic from magnetochronology of the Los Colorados Formation (Argentina)". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (22): 7958–7963. doi:10.1073/pnas.1402369111. PMID 24843149. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Galton, P.M. (1990). "Basal Sauropodomorpha - Prosauropoda". The Dinosauria. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 320–344. ISBN 0-520-06726-6. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Greenfield, T.; Bivens, G.; Fonseca, A. (2020). "The correct authorship of Coloradisaurus (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha): Galton, 1990, not Lambert, 1983". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 77 (1): 153–155. doi:10.21805/bzn.v77.a050. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Bonaparte, J.F. (1978). "Coloradia brevis n. g. et n. sp. (Saurischia - Prosauropoda), dinosaurio Plateosauridae de la Formacion Los Colorados, Triasico Superior de La Rioja, Argentina" (in es). Ameghiniana 15 (3–4): 327–332.  English translation available here
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blake, C.A. (1863). "Description of a supposed new genus and species of Saturniidae from the Rocky Mountains". Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia 2 (3): 279. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Lambert, D. (1983). A Field Guide to Dinosaurs. New York, NY: Avon Books. p. 102. ISBN 0-380-83519-3. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Apaldetti, C.; Martinez, R.N.; Pol, D.; Souter, T. (2014). "Redescription of the Skull of Coloradisaurus brevis (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic Los Colorados Formation of the Ischigualasto-Villa Union Basin, northwestern Argentina". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34 (5): 1113–1132. doi:10.1080/02724634.2014.859147. 
  8. Paul, G.S. (2016). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (2nd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-691-16766-4. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Apaldetti, C.; Pol, D.; Yates, A.M. (2013). "The postcranial anatomy of Coloradisaurus brevis (Dinosauria: Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic of Argentina and its phylogenetic implications". Palaeontology 56 (2): 277–301. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2012.01198.x. 
  10. Lessem, D. (1993). "Jose Bonaparte: Master of the Mesozoic". Omni 15 (7): 52–56. 
  11. Bonaparte, J.F.; Pumares, J.A. (1995). "Notas sobre el primer craneo de Riojasaurus incertus (Dinosauria, Prosauropoda, Melanosauridae) del Triasico Superior de La Rioja, Argentina" (in es). Ameghiniana 32 (4): 341–349.  English translation available here
  12. 12.0 12.1 Galton, P.M.; Upchurch, P. (2004). "Prosauropoda". The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 232–258. ISBN 0-520-24209-2. 
  13. Upchurch, P.; Barrett, P.M.; Galton, P.M. (2007). "A phylogenetic analysis of basal sauropodomorph relationships: implications for the origin of sauropod dinosaurs". Special Papers in Palaeontology 77: 57–90. 
  14. Benton, M.J.; Juul, L.; Storrs, G.W.; Galton, P.M. (2000). "Anatomy and systematics of the prosauropod dinosaur Thecodontosaurus antiquus from the upper Triassic of southwest England". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20 (1): 77–108. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2000)020[0077:AASOTP2.0.CO;2]. 
  15. Yates, A.M. (2003). "A new species of the primitive dinosaur Thecodontosaurus (Saurischia: Sauropodomorpha) and its implications for the systematics of early dinosaurs". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 1 (1): 1–42. doi:10.1017/S1477201903001007. 
  16. Yates, A.M.; Bonnan, M.F.; Neveling, J.; Chinsamy, A.; Blackbeard, M.G. (2010). "A new transitional sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of South Africa and the evolution of sauropod feeding and quadrupedalism". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 277 (1682): 787–794. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1440. PMID 19906674. 
  17. Wang, Y-M.; You, H-L.; Wang, T. (2017). "A new basal sauropodiform dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic of Yunnan Province, China". Scientific Reports 7: 41881. doi:10.1038/srep41881. PMID 28205592. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Müller, R.T. (2020). "Craniomandibular osteology of Macrocollum itaquii (Dinosauria: Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic of southern Brazil". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 18 (10): 805–841. doi:10.1080/14772019.2019.1683902. 

Wikidata ☰ Q2300979 entry