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Herrerasaurus, to which Chindesaurus was closely related (Wikimedia Commons)


Chindesaurus (Greek for "Chinde Point lizard"); pronounced CHIN-deh-SORE-us


Swamps of North America

Historical Period:

Late Triassic (225 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 10 feet long and 20-30 pounds


Small animals

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Relative large size; long legs and long, whiplike tail


About Chindesaurus:

To show how plain-vanilla the first dinosaurs of the late Triassic period were, Chindesaurus was initially classified as an early prosauropod, rather than an early theropod--two very different types of dinosaur that still looked remarkably similar at the time. Later, paleontologists determined conclusively that Chindesaurus was a close relative of the South American theropod Herrerasaurus, and probably a descendant of this more famous dinosaur (since there's strong evidence that the first true dinosaurs originated in South America).

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