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Tanycolagreus facts for kids

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Tanycolagreus
Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 153–150Ma
Tanycolagreus holotype, North American Museum of Ancient Life
Scientific classification
Genus: Tanycolagreus
Species: topwilsoni

Tanycolagreus is a genus of coelurosaur theropod from the Upper Jurassic of North America.

Tanycolagreus reconstruction
Restoration

The fossil holotype was donated to science by an anonymous benefactor. It is part of the collection of Thanksgiving Point Institute, and displayed in the North American Museum of Ancient Life at Lehi, Utah. It includes an incomplete skull and mandible (lower jaws) and much of the postcranial skeleton, i.e. the parts behind the head. The size of this specimen suggests a size in life of about 3.3 meters (11 feet) long.

Habitat

The fossil was found in the Morrison Formation, where originally there was a great variety of life. This environment a savannah with many rivers. Along the rivers were conifer forests, with ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, and horsetails rushes.

Insects were very similar to modern species, with termites building 30 m (100 ft.) tall nests. Along the rivers, there were fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards, crocodiles, turtles, pterosaurs, crayfish, clams, and monotremes (prototherian mammals, the largest of which was about the size of a rat). The dinosaurs were most likely along the rivers as well. Hundreds of dinosaur fossils have been discovered.

According to radiometric dating, the Morrison Formation dates from 156.3 ± 2 million years old (mya) at its base, to 146.8 ± 1 mya at the top, so it lasted just under 10 million years.

Phylogeny

Carpenter and his co-workers said that this genus most closely resembles Coelurus, though it has some more "primitive" features. Although a 2007 analysis suggested it was a basal Tyrannosaur, later work showed once again its basal position in the Coelurosauria.

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