Order Proconolphonomorpha, Family Ownettidae
Time: Late Permian, Lopingian Stage (~ 260 million years ago)
mm = 1 inch): Reptile fossil is 265 mm if straight; Matrix is 385 mm by
Lower Sankamena Formation, Ranohira, Madagascar
This is a well-articulated, complete specimen of tNot to be confused
with the massive sauropod dinosaur Barosaurus, this is Barasaurus
beasiriei, an owenettid parareptile. The owenettids were established
with the genus Owenetta and possessed small heads and robust bodies.
Barasaurus may have survived the Great Dying at the end of the Permian,
but was certainly extinct by the early Triassic. This is a well-articulated
example and is quite complete. Notice the large number of stones
found associated with the central portion of the trunk. At first
glance, one might think these to be gastoliths, or stomach stones,
found associated with sauropod dinosaurs. Gastroliths served the
purpose of grinding the massive quantity of vegetation the dinosaurs
would eat, much like the gizzard stones of fowl. In this case the
parallel is more like the crocodylians which are known to swallow
stones to serve as ballast, making it easier for the reptile to
remain submerged. The large, paddle-like feet are certainly indicative
of at least a semiaquatic lifestyle, and the swallowed stones would
have made it easier for the animal to overcome its natural buoyancy.
See our other listings for another member of the Lower Sankamena
preservation and preparation are excellent. A certificate of authenticity
from the preeminent source will be provided.