.75" Fossil Phytosaur Scute - Arizona
This is a .75" wide, scute (bony plate) of a Triassic Phytosaur (Leptosuchus?) collected this fall from the Chinle Formation of Arizona.
Phytosaurs are members of the order Phytosauria. These are semiaquatic, crocodile like reptiles characterized by long snouts, conical teeth, short legs and long, low slung bodies. They had skin armored with scale like scutes. It is not clearly understood when Phytosaurus evolved. A number of apparently antecedent species have been found in the fossil record but their relationship to Phytosaurs is still being debated. Phytosaurus disappears from the fossil record during the Triassic- Jurassic Extinction, about 200 million years ago.