Fun Scleromochlus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 20, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 30, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Scleromochlus facts are extremely captivating to read.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

An inhabitant of the Late Carnian, Late Triassic period of Scotland, Scleromochlus taylori belongs to the animal kingdom of class Sauropsida, family Scleromochlidae, and genus Scleromochlus. It has been under intense scrutiny for a very long time. Several books and papers have been published, such as 'On a New Dinosaurian Reptile' in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society by Woodward (1907), 'Dinosaurian precursors from the Middle Triassic of Argentina: Marasuchus lilloensis, gen. nov' in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by Sereno (1991), 'Scleromochlus taylori and the Origin of the Pterosaurs' published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London, Series B: Biological Sciences by Benton to substantiate the debate regarding its phylogenetic position. It is believed to be a member of the archosauromorpha clade for exhibiting features that are unique to early ornithodirans and pterosauria. Recovered fossil remains that include preserved impressions on sand dunes suggest that they dwelled in desert lands and displayed saltatorial locomotion (hopping movement) with the help of elongated hind legs and narrow feet.

Keep reading to discover more facts about the Scleromochlus! If you like this article, do not forget to check out Ichthyovenator facts and Heterodontosaurus facts to discover and learn various lesser-known facts about them.

Scleromochlus Interesting Facts

Was the Scleromochlus a dinosaur?

The Scleromochlus was first described as a dinosaur by Woodward (1907) in an article called 'On a New Dinosaurian Reptile' in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society. Since then, the phylogenetic position of this dinosaur has been a topic of debate. In 1984, it was considered an ornithodiran (an ally of pterosaurs and dinosaurs) by Padian and a sister taxon to pterosaurs by Sereno in a paper called 'Dinosaurian precursors from the Middle Triassic of Argentina: Marasuchus lilloensis , gen. nov' which was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Later, in 1999, Benton M.J., with the help of 16 taxa, mapped Scleromochlus' ancestral lineage and determined that it was a descendant of pterosauria, LagerpetonLagosuchus (Marasuchus), and the Dinosauria. His paper called 'Scleromochlus taylori and the Origin of the Pterosaurs' was published by Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London, Series B 354 : 1423-1446.

How do you pronounce 'Scleromochlus'?

The pronunciation of this species' name is 'skl-ro-muck-lus'. Additionally, the pronunciation of its scientific name is 'skl-ro-muck-lus tay-luh-ri'.

What type of prehistoric flying bird was a Scleromochlus?

Scleromochlus taylori is conventionally accepted as an ornithodiran, the term is a combination of two Greek words, 'ornithos' meaning 'bird' and 'diran' meaning 'dominant. Since the accurate ancestral lineage of this dinosaur is unknown, scientists currently believe that they were either the very first ornithodira or pterosuar's sister taxon. The two major bird-like features that were observed from the recovered fossils were a longer tibia compared to the femur, and four long metatarsals on the feet. Hence, it is safe to classify them under the clade Archosauromorpha (combination of ornithodira and pterosaur) and conclude that they were exquisite bird-like animals that have played an important role in the evolution of early birds (evolution of pterosaurs or flying reptiles).

In which geological period did the Scleromochlus live?

It is estimated that this dinosaur dates back to approximately 217 million years ago, particularly during Late Carnian, Late Triassic.

When did the Scleromochlus become extinct?

Approximately 200 million years ago, the Earth underwent global warming that led to many natural disasters especially volcanic eruptions. It is believed that this was the cause of the Triassic extinction along with the animals that lived during this period.

Where did a Scleromochlus live?

Several fossil remains of this small archosaur have been found at Carnian Lossiemouth Sandstone Formation in Scotland.

What was a Scleromochlus's habitat?

The Lossiemouth Sandstone fossil specimens of these archosaurs that had been recovered from the site were sediment molds and/or preserved impressions of the animals on sand dunes. Hence, it can be concluded that their habitat range encompassed a desert with a fairly hot climate. It is assumed that their bodies were buried by sandstorms or dune collapses. Additionally, the saltatorial locomotion found in them also suggests that they were adapted to desert life.

Who did a Scleromochlus live with?

Although the social behavior of this species is unknown, it can still be assumed that these archosaurs lived in groups and engaged in social interactions. This is because several fossil specimens had been recovered from a single site wherein the specimens of two individuals were discovered in a state which looked like they were huddled together before death. However, it is not exactly known who they coexisted with.

How long did a Scleromochlus live?

Researchers are yet to uncover the accurate longevity of these archosaurs.

How did they reproduce?

Detailed information about the reproductive behavior of this species is not available. However, it is known that dinosaurs were oviparous and reproduced by laying eggs post-copulation. The hatchlings hatch out of the eggs after a long gestation period and do not need parental care after birth.

Scleromochlus Fun Facts

What did a Scleromochlus look like?

The fossil remains consist of the holotype that displays a partial skeleton without a part of the skull and tail. It is assumed that the skeleton of this bipedal creature exhibits the shape of a small lizard with elongated hind legs and tiny arms with four digits on each foot (only the short metatarsal of the fifth toe remained) with a slender femur, humerus, and fibula. It is assumed that it has a triangular skull frame in the anterior and slightly wide posterior with a tiny tail. The small yet powerful jaws had 15-16 teeth positions. The shape of its ankle displays a crurotarsal morphology that is not found in ornithodirans. Remains of fossil skin and ancestral conditions suggest that their body was covered with scales and hair. These features classify the phylogenetic position of this dinosaur under archosauromorpha clade that includes both ornithodirans and pterosaurs (flying reptiles).

Scleromochlus facts are all about early ornithodira.

How many bones did a Scleromochlus have?

There is a lack of scientific evidence regarding the exact number of bones that a Scleromochlus had.

How did they communicate?

Although the communication styles that this creature used lack detailed information, it is a known fact that dinosaurs used both vocal and visual cues to interact with each other. Paleontologists believe that the common vocalization displayed by them sounded like a horn.

How big was a Scleromochlus?

It is estimated that the average body length of a Scleromochlus measured 4.3 in (10.9 cm). It is known to be much smaller than a Protoavis.

How fast could a Scleromochlus move?

The locomotion found in this creature is an extremely interesting subject for paleontologists who were involved in this project. This bipedal triassic pterosaur had long, slender hind legs that were suitable for saltatorial locomotion (a kind of hopping movement found in most desert animals). It had a small yet strong pelvis, a short trunk, and narrow metatarsals that helped it to achieve great speed while moving. This type of locomotion that was initially found in ornithodirans has led to the evolution of pterosaurs as 'flying reptiles'.

How much did a Scleromochlus weigh?

The partial skeleton that was discovered failed to estimate the weight of a Scleromochlus taylori. However, being ornithodirans, they were probably lightweight creatures.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names assigned to the male and female counterparts. They are simply known as male and female Scleromochlus.

What would you call a baby Scleromochlus?

Since a baby Scleromochlus taylori, like all other babies, hatched out of eggs, it is called a hatchling or chick.

What did they eat?

There is no scientific evidence regarding what comprised its diet. However, considering the skull structure that displayed powerful jaws, it can be assumed that they were carnivores by nature and consumed insects and small animals.

How aggressive were they?

Considering the type of jaw structure that these pterosaurs had, it can be assumed that they were somewhat aggressive. The jaws could house 15-16 tiny isodonts that were capable of tearing apart insects and small animals.

Did you know...

It is assumed that the average size of a baby Scleromochlus is 1.9-2.3 in (4.9-5.9 cm).

Pterosaurs dodged predation by bigger animals since they were nocturnal by nature and preferred to forage at night.

'Scleromochlus taylori and the Origin of the Pterosaurs' was published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London. This 'Scleromochlus taylori and the Origin of the Pterosaurs' of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London was used to substantiate the debate regarding its phylogenetic position.

What does Scleromochlus mean?

'Scleromochlus' is a Greek word that means 'hard fulcrum'. The scientific name of this creature, Scleromochlus taylori, was given by Woodward (1907).

Is Scleromochlus related to crocodile?

A renowned scientist, Peters, was the only one to suggest that this pterosaur was closely related to Crocodylomorpha (crocodiles) alongside other clades such as Terrestrisuchus, Saltopus, and Gracilisuchus.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Tupandactylus fun facts, or Thalassomedon facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dinosaurs riding a motorcycle coloring pages.

Main image by Nobu Tamura

Second image by Jaime A. Headden (User:Qilong)

Fun Scleromochlus Facts For Kids

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

Skin Type

Scales and hair

How Long Were They?

4.3 in (10.9 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Sauropsida

Genus

Scleromochlus

Family

Scleromochlidae

Scientific Name

Scleromochlus taylori

What Were Their Main Threats?

Predatory animals, sandstorms, dune collapses
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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