Field of Science

"Belodon" from Creatures of Other Days by Hutchinson and Flower (1894)

Is everyone still here? ;) This is an early reconstruction of the phytosaur "Belodon" by artist Joseph Smit who provided many of the illustrations for Creatures of Other Days. Interestingly the skull is based on what is now called Nicrosaurus kapffi and the dorsal carapace is actually from the aetosaur Paratypothorax andressorum. The idea that some phytosaurs possessed aetosaur-like osteoderms was to plague the  taxonomy of these two groups until the work of Long and Ballew (1985) who named Paratypothorax and assigned all of these type of osteoderms to aetosaurs. Interestingly, this reassignment was done using existing specimens only. No 'rosetta stone' specimen was found (i.e., the skull of Paratypothorax) to support this referral. However, subsequent discoveries have verified Long and Ballew's hypothesis.

The small animals in the reconstruction are the aetosaur Aetosaurus. The one of the left seems to be wondering why the phytosaur is wearing aetosaur armor.

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