• Camarasus skull in the cliff face, rafters on the Green River, McKee Springs petroglyphs

    Dinosaur

    National Monument CO,UT

Paramacellodus

Artist rendition of Paramacellodus.
Artist rendition of Paramacellodus.
Walters & Kissenger, LLC
 
Although it can be hard to see, this Paramacellodus skull is remarkably complete for a Jurassic lizard skull. Most lizard skull remains are found as tiny teeth or jaw fragments. This specimen has most of the jaw.

Although it can be hard to see, this Paramacellodus skull is remarkably complete for a Jurassic lizard skull. Most lizard skull remains are found as tiny teeth or jaw fragments. This specimen has most of the jaw.

About Paramacellodus:

Paramacellodus is a small lizard with short, blunt teeth. It was ground dwelling. Its diet most likely consisted of insects and other invertebrates.

 
Despite being only the legs of the lizard, they are very well preserved. Scale bar is 1 inch.

Despite being only the legs of the lizard, they are very well preserved. Scale bar is 1 inch.

Why is Paramacellodus a superstar?

Paramacellodus is one of the lizard specimens from Dinosaur with a complete skull. Because of their small size and fragile bones, lizards are poorly known in the Morrison. Despite the poor fossil record, several different species have been found at Dinosaur. Scientists are currently trying to learn more about these tiny animals by using CT scans to see small, delicate bones in great detail. The CT scans also allow them to see bones that are still buried in the rock.

 
Both lower jaws are visible in this view. They are on the right hand side of the photo. The crushed braincase in on the left.
Both lower jaws are visible in this view. They are on the right hand side of the photo. The crushed braincase in on the left.
 
This rotating CT scan reveals details of a Paramacellodus skull still partially encased in rock. Courtesy of the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility and NSF grant to M. Kearney nd O. Rieppel
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Jurassic Fact: Some complete Paramacellodus skulls from Dinosaur are less than ¼ in (0.6 cm) long.

For more information: Visit the Quarry Exhibit Hall where a real skull is on display.

Did You Know?

Photo of tilted rock layers at sunrise.

Dinosaur National Monument's geology is a feast for the mind and the eye. The rock layers, which have been tilted by folding, expose a variety of colors and textures.