Herrerasaurus was one of the earliest dinosaurs. Its name means
“Herrera’s lizard” after the rancher who discovered the first specimen.
All known fossils of this carnivore have been discovered in rocks of
Carnian age in northwestern Argentina. It appears to be the most
primitive member of the Theropod family, although it has been the
subject of a lot of debate among paleontologists.
Herrerasaurus was a lightly built bipedal carnivore with a long tail and
a relatively small head. Herrerasaurus displays traits that are found
in different groups of dinosaurs, and several traits found in
non-dinosaurian archosaurs. Although it shares most of the
characteristics of dinosaurs, there are a few differences, particularly
in the shape of its hip and leg bones. There is still much discussion
regarding this dinosaur. The study of early dinosaurs such as
Herrerasaurus and Eoraptor therefore has important implications for the
concept of dinosaurs as a monophyletic group (a group descended from a
The teeth of Herrerasaurus indicate that it was a carnivore; its size
indicates it would have preyed upon small and medium-sized plant eaters.
Although Herrerasaurus shared the body shape of the large carnivorous
dinosaurs, it lived during a time when dinosaurs were small and
insignificant. It was the time of non-dinosaurian reptiles, not
dinosaurs, and a major turning point in the Earth’s ecology.
QUALITY CAST REPLICA SKELETON
FORMATION: Ischigualasto Formation
LOCALITY: Northwestern Argentina