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Saltopus (Getty Images)


Saltopus (Greek for "hopping foot"); pronounced SAL-toe-puss


Swamps of western Europe

Historical Period:

Late Triassic (210 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About two feet long and a few pounds


Small animals

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; numerous teeth


About Saltopus:

Saltopus is yet another of those Triassic reptiles that inhabits a "shadow zone" between the most advanced archosaurs and the earliest dinosaurs. Because the single fossil of this creature is incomplete, experts differ about how it should be classified, some assigning it as an early theropod dinosaur and others saying it was akin to "dinosauriform" archosaurs like Marasuchus Recently, the weight of the evidence points to Saltopus being a late Triassic "dinosauriform" rather than a true dinosaur.

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