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Coelophysis, to which Podokesaurus was closely related (Wikimedia Commons)


Podokesaurus (Greek for "swift-footed lizard"); pronounced poe-DOKE-eh-SORE-us


Woodlands of eastern North America

Historical Period:

Early Jurassic (190-175 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 3 feet long and 10 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; bipedal posture


About Podokesaurus:

For all intents and purposes, Podokesaurus can be considered an eastern variant of Coelophysis, a small, two-legged predator that lived in the western U.S. over the Triassic/Jurassic boundary (some experts believe that Podokesaurus was actually a species of Coelophysis). This early theropod had the same long neck, grasping hands, and two-legged posture as its more famous cousin, and it was probably carnivorous (or at the very least an insectivore). Unfortunately, the only fossil specimen of Podokesaurus (which was discovered way back in 1911 in the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts) was destroyed in a museum fire; researchers have to content themselves with a plaster cast that currently resides at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


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