Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 23, 556-574 (2003)
A beaked herbivorous archosaur with dinosaur affinities from the early Late Triassic of Poland

Jerzy Dzik
Instytut Paleobiologii PAN, Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warszawa, Poland. e-mail:

Abstract. An accumulation of skeletons of the pre-dinosaur Silesaurus opolensis gen. et sp. n. is described from the Keuper (Late Triassic) claystone of Krasiejów in southern Poland. The strata are correlated with the late Carnian Lehrberg Beds and contain a diverse assemblage of tetrapods, including the phytosaur Paleorhinus, which in other regions of the world co-occurs with the oldest dinosaurs. A narrow pelvis with long pubes and the extensive development of laminae in the cervical vertebrae place S. opolensis close to the origin of the clade Dinosauria above Pseudolagosuchus, which agrees with its geological age. Among the advanced characters is the beak on the dentaries, and the relatively low tooth count. The teeth have low crowns and wear facets, which are suggestive of herbivory. The elongate, but weak, front limbs are probably a derived feature.