Procompsognathus - Wiki
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[Photo] Life-sized model of Procompsognathus triassicus dinosaur built by Steve Baldock, otherwise known as the musician Dr. Busker http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Busker ; Photograph by -=# Amos E Wolfe talk #=- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:AmosWolfe
Procompsognathus was a small archosaur that lived during the Late Triassic Period, about 222 to 219 million years ago. Procompsognathus was named by Eberhard Fraas in 1913. He named the type species, P. triassicus, on the basis of a poorly-preserved skeleton found in W??rttemberg, Germany.
The name is derived from Compsognathus /k??mp's??g.næ.θ??s/ meaning 'elegant jaw' (Greek kompsos/κομψο?? meaning 'elegant', 'refined' or 'dainty' and gnathos/γναθο?? meaning 'jaw'), which was a later (Jurassic) dinosaur. The prefix προ/pro implies 'before' or 'ancestor of', although this direct lineage is not supported by subsequent research.
Procompsognathus may have been about 1.2 meters long (4 feet). A biped, it had long hind legs, short arms, large clawed hands, a long slender snout with many small teeth, and a stiff tail. It lived in a relatively dry, inland environment and may have eaten insects, lizards, and other small prey.
While it is undoubtedly a small, bipedal carnivore, the extremely poor preservation of the only known Procompsognathus fossil makes its exact identity difficult to determine. It has historically been considered a theropod dinosaur, though some, such as Allen (2004), have found Procompsognathus to be a primitive, non-dinosaurian ornithodiran. However, Rauhut and Hungerbuhler (2000) noted features of the vertebrae that suggest it may be a coelophysid or ceratosaur, and Carrano et al. (2005), in their re-study of the related genus Segisaurus, found both Segisaurus and Procompsognathus to belong to the Coelophysidae within Dinosauria.
In popular culture
In Michael Crichton's novels Jurassic Park and The Lost World, Procompsognathus (often referred to as "compys") are one of the extinct species recreated through genetic engineering. Crichton portrays these dinosaurs as being venomous, a characteristic invented for the novel and not supported by fossil evidence. He also portrays them as scavengers and coprophagists (eaters of feces), useful in keeping the park clean of sauropod excrement. In the film adaptation of The Lost World, Procompsognathus were replaced with the distantly related coelurosaur Compsognathus.
In Eric Garcia's trio of "Rex" novels, Procompsognathus is one of sixteen genera to survive into the present day, and several minor players in the series are procompsognathids. As in Jurassic Park, Garcia refers to them as "compys". Like other dinosaurs in the novels, they disguise themselves as humans.
In the video-game, Tomb Raider III (1998), adventurer Lara Croft encounters a number of Compys in the South Pacific level, The Crash Site.
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