Bavarisaurus is an extinct genus of lizard that lived in the Late Jurassic period, about 140 million years ago, in what is now Germany.
It is the only genus in the family Bavarisauridae, and is considered a basal squamate, meaning it is one of the earliest branches of the lizard evolutionary tree.
Bavarisaurus is famous for being found inside the stomach of a small theropod dinosaur, Compsognathus, which apparently ate it shortly before dying.
The fossil of Compsognathus with Bavarisaurus was discovered in the 1850s in Solnhofen, Bavaria, and was initially thought to be an embryo or a cannibalized specimen of the same species.
Later studies revealed that the bones belonged to a lizard, and it was named Bavarisaurus by Ostrom in 1978.
Bavarisaurus was a small animal, about 20 cm long, with a large head, long limbs, and a long tail.
It had a large upper temporal opening in the skull, similar to geckos, but lacked a parietal eye, a light-sensitive organ on the top of the head.
It had long fingers and toes, which may have helped it to climb or grasp.
Its vertebrae were amphicoelous, meaning they had concave ends on both sides.
Bavarisaurus lived in a dry and warm environment, with shrubs and low trees.
It shared its habitat with other lizards, such as Ardeosaurus, pterosaurs, such as Anurognathus and Pterodactylus, dinosaurs, such as Eustreptospondylus and Archaeopteryx, marine crocodiles, and various invertebrates.
It was probably preyed upon by small carnivorous dinosaurs, such as Compsognathus, which had to be very agile to catch such a fast-running lizard.
Bavarisaurus is one of the most well-known extinct lizards, and has been mentioned in various media, such as books, documentaries, and video games.
This lizard was a remarkable creature that gives us a glimpse into the diversity and evolution of lizards in the Jurassic era.
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