In 1992, Jack Horner discovered a typical Anasazisaurus, which turned out to be a Critosaurus ( Kritosaurus navajovius ). Hunt and Lucas discovered that the K. navajovius holotype was undiagnostic in 1993, and this taxon was designated as nomen dubium. As a result, they established a new genus and species, Anasazisaurus horneri. The taxonomic status of A. horneri is unknown. Some consider it a junior synonym for Kritosaurus navajovius, while others consider it a significant species.
Learn more facts about Anasazisaurus.
1: Anasazisaurus quick facts:
Name: Anasazisaurus (Greek for “Anasazi Lizard”); pronounced An-ah-sah-ze-sore-us
When it lived: Late Cretaceous, 74 million years ago
Type of dinosaur: Ornithopod
Habitat: Terrestrial habitats.
Length/Weight: 7.5 meter/2500kg
Distinguishing Characteristics: It had a nasal crest that extended past the nose area.
Named by: Hunt & Lucas (1993)
2: How do you pronounce ‘Anasazisaurus’?
The name Anasazisaurus should be pronounced “An-ah-sah-ze-sore-us.”
3: What does the name Anasazisaurus mean?
American palaeontologists Adrian Hunt and Spencer G. Lucas named Anasazisaurus in 1993. Anasazisaurus derives its name from the Anasazi, a defunct title for the Ancestral Pueblo Native Americans, and the Greek word sauros (“lizard”). The Ancestral Puebloans were renowned for their cliff-dwellings, such as those in Chaco Canyon, close to the fossilised remains of Anasazisaurus.
The term “Anasazi” originates from the Navajo language: anaasáz (“enemy ancestors”). There is one known species (A. horneri), which was named after the prominent palaeontologist Jack Horner, who initially described the skull in 1992.
4: What Did Anasazisaurus Look Like?
Anasazisaurus remains were not dissected, completely described, or illustrated until 2006. The tiny crest above the eyes generated by the nasal bone is a distinguishing feature of the anasazizaura. Lucas and colleagues classified Anasazisaurus horneri and Kritosaurus navajovius as distinct taxa in a 2006 research.
Prieto-Márquez regarded Anasazisaurus to be a synonym of Kritosaurus, but kept them separate on the species level, resulting in Kritosaurus horneri. Sullivan and Lucas determined in 2015 that Anasazisaurus should be retained as a significant genus. As a result, the question of whether both types are distinct or synonymous remains unresolved.