Chindesaurus (Greek for "Chinde Point lizard"); pronounced CHIN-deh-SORE-us
Swamps of North America
Late Triassic (225 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 10 feet long and 20-30 pounds
Relative large size; long legs and long, whiplike tail
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).