Fossil range: Late Triassic
| Scientific classification
Megalancosaurus is a genus of extinct reptile from the Late Triassic period of Northern Italy, and one of the best known drepanosaurids. The type species is M. preonensis; a translation of the animal's scientific name would be "long armed reptile from the Preone Valley."
Megalancosaurus was fairly small, its adult length was only about 25 centimeters (10 inches). It was built like a chameleon and probably lived a similar arboreal lifestyle. Even its feet were chameleon like, with two toes being opposed to the remaining three. The tail is long, prehensile, and bears a strange claw like organ made of fused vertebrae at its end. Its shoulders formed a withers that would have served as an attachment site for especially strong muscles.
Some specimens have an opposable digit on the feet. Because not all members of the species appear to bear this digit, it has been speculated that it is an instance of sexual dimorphism, only being possessed by whatever gender needed a stronger grip on the branch during copulation.
- Calzavara M., Muscio G. & Wild R., 1980. “Megalancosaurus preonensis, n. g., n. sp., a new reptile from the Norian of Friuli”. Gortania, 2. pp. 49-63.