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Walgettosuchus facts for kids

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Walgettosuchus
Temporal range: Early-mid Cenomanian
~99–96Ma
Caudal
Holotype caudal vertebra seen from three different angles
Scientific classification
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Walgettosuchus

von Huene, 1932
Binomial name
Walgettosuchus woodwardi
von Huene, 1932
Synonyms

Walgettosuchus (meaning "Walgett crocodile") is a dubious or maybe even invalid genus of extinct tetanuran theropod dinosaur, possibly belonging to the Ornithomimosauria due to the shape of the preserved caudal vertebra, that lived in Australia during the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian). It is only known from a single caudal vertebra.

Discovery and naming

An opalised vertebra of a theropod dinosaur was discovered in 1905 by Tullie Cornthwaite Wollaston (May 17, 1863-July 17, 1931) in an opal bearing sandstone at Lightning Ridge near Walgett, in New South Wales. The fossil was sent to the British Museum of Natural History and was reported in January 1909 by Arthur Smith Woodward and briefly described by Woodward in 1910.

In 1932 the type species Walgettosuchus woodwardi was named by Friedrich von Huene, based on this vertebra. The generic name is derived from the town of Walgett and Soukhos, the Greek name of the Egyptian crocodile god Sobek. During the 1930s Von Huene tended to form dinosaur names with the ending ~suchus instead of ~saurus because of the closer relationship to crocodiles than to lizards. The specific name honours Woodward.

The holotype, BMNH R3717, was found in the Cenomanian-age Late Cretaceous Griman Creek Formation. It consists of a 63-millimetre-long (2.5 in) incomplete amphicoelous (concave surfaces for articulation on the anterior and posterior faces) caudal vertebral centrum. For unknown reasons, he believed it had elongate prezygapophyses. He also suggested that if more material was known, it could prove to be synonymous with other Lightning Ridge "coelurosaurs" (i.e. Rapator; coelurosaur in the outdated sense of any small theropod).

Classification

Von Huene assigned Walgettosuchus to the Ornithomimidae in 1932. In his 1990 review, Ralph Molnar noted that the type cannot be distinguished from tail vertebrae from ornithomimids or allosaurids, and considered it to be an indeterminate theropod and a nomen dubium or (more likely) an invalid taxon.

Possible synonymy with Rapator

It is possible that Walgettosuchus and Rapator are the same dinosaur, but it is impossible to prove that Walgettosuchus and Rapator are the same dinosaur, as some have contended, because Rapator is only known from a hand bone and cannot be compared with Walgettosuchus since Walgettosuchus is known from martial from a different part of its body than that of Rapator.

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