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Pantydraco
Pantydraco (where "panty-" is short for Pant-y-ffynnon, signifying hollow of the spring/well in Welsh, referring to the quarry at Bonvilston in South Wales where it was found)[1] was a genus of basal sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Late Triassic of the United Kingdom. It is based on a partial juvenile skeleton once thought to belong to Thecodontosaurus. Only one valid species of Pantydraco is recognised: P. caducus.

Description

Pantydraco was of moderate build, and was about the height of a full grown adult human. The creature had a long tail that tapered towards the end and was broad at the hip joint. It had a dragon shaped head with a strong jaw. The forelimbs of the dinosaur were developed for grasping prey while the hind limbs were adapted for supporting the creature’s body weight. The center of mass lies near the pelvic bone, meaning the creature was in fact, bipedal. The forelimbs were shorter than the hind limbs. The hands had three movable digits while the fourth digit was embedded. It had well-developed claws. It hunted on lesser animals that could be easy prey to this dinosaur’s agility and flexibility. The juvenile fossils’ estimated height is from about 0.7 meters to a meter long. Adults are believed to have been about three meters long. The estimated weight for an average adult of this species of dinosaurs is about 50 kilograms. Thus, the creature was fairly gracile. The teeth were well developed. Pantydraco was bipedal, walking on its hindlimbs. The limbs were stout for supporting the body.

Discovery and naming

In 2003, Adam Yates named the new species Thecodontosaurus caducus for a skull and a skull, a partial jawbone, and vertebrae of the cervix, an incomplete right pelvic bone, and partial forelimbs of an immature sauropodomorph. This material had been known in the scientific literature since 1984, and had been used to represent the genus Thecodontosaurus.[4] However, changed understanding of the relationships and characteristics of basal sauropodomorphs (also known as prosauropods) has led Peter Galton, Yates, and D. Kermack to give T. caducus its own genus.[5] The genus was named after the Pant-y-ffynnon quarry where it was discovered.

Pantydraco takes its name from the "pant" of Pant-y-ffynnon quarry, meaning a dry valley and "draco" (a dragon or mythical dragon-like creature in Latin). This is because the quarry is located near Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan, in Southern Wales, at the base of a mountain between two rivers. The species epithet, caducus, means "fallen" in Latin, referring to the assumption that it fell into a fissure fill (quarry) and died there.

Paleobiology

Pantydraco is considered to have most probably been omnivorous, being at the transition from carnivory to herbivory in the sauropodomorph lineage. It is probable that Pantydraco would have walked bipedally.

Paleoecology

The Pant-y-ffynnon region was a characteristic wetland during the Triassic. The area consists of alluvial silts deposited by the rivers and sand and limestone. The climate ranges from arid to semi-humid.

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