ornithodirans

Weird Triassic Reptile Drawing no. 3 - “U have done me a big frighten”

An unsuspecting Scleromochlus is startled by another member of his species landing on the ground in front of him. Comical faces ensue. 

Scleromochlus is a strange little Triassic reptile that is currently thought to be fairly closely related to the ancestors of pterosaurs and dinosaurs. Since pterosaurs and dinosaur were both covered in fuzzy stuff, it is plausible that Scleromochlus had similar fuzz as well. 

I say “fuzzy stuff” as a general term because the structures developed in different directions once pterosaurs split off the family tree. Dinosaurian fuzz became the first “proto-feathers”, which later evolved into more advanced forms, while pterosaur fuzz stayed fairly hair-like, and is called “pycnofibres”.

Scleromochlus had very long legs in proportion to the rest of its body. Unusually for a reptile, these legs seem fairly well-adapted to hopping, suggesting that Scleromochlus may have bounced around like an Australian desert hopping-mouse (look them up, they’re adorable). This would have undoubtedly enhanced their ability to do a big frighten to other Scleromochlus.

Oh, and Scleromochlus is not a dinosaur either. Just thought I’d make it clear.

I’m in the paleontology fandom. I ship the cranial display structures present in many lineages of Ornithodirans with the hypothesis that these structures evolved due to mutual sexual selection, as proposed by Hone et al. 2011.