Procompsognathus (Greek for "before the elegant jaw"); pronounced pro-comp-SOG-nah-thuss
Swamps of western Europe
Late Triassic (210 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 4 feet long and 5-10 pounds
Small animals and insects
Small size; long legs and snout
Despite its name--"before Compsognathus"--the evolutionary relationship of Procompsognathus to the later and better known Compsognathus is uncertain at best. Because of the poor quality of its fossil remains, the best we can say about Procompsognathus is that it was a carnivorous reptile, but beyond that, it's unclear if it was an early theropod dinosaur or a late archosaur like the bipedal Marasuchus (and thus not a dinosaur at all). Either way, though, Procompsognathus (and other reptiles like it) certainly lay at the base of later dinosaur evolution.