4.3" Triassic Fossil Phytosaur Vertebra - Texas
This is a large, 4.3" wide fossil vertebra from a Phytosaur collected from the Triassic Borden Group of Borden County, Texas. The proximal ends of the transverse processes are still present, however the distal ends broke free from the specimen. The dorsal spinous process is completely gone. The rest of the vertebra is in great shape, with some cortical bone still intact.
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.