Thursday, 26 December 2013

Elginia mirabilis

Elginia was a small pareiasaur, and part of the family pareiasauridae. Fossils of Elginia have been discovered in rocks dating to the Wuchiapingian and Tatarian Stages of the late Permian Period. It was discovered at Cutties Hillock Millstone Quarry, near Elgin, Scotland hence the name Elginia, at least two adult specimens have been discovered at this locality.

Elginia was a dwarf form of pareiasaur, it probably only reached about 60 centimetres in length (2feet). Perhaps the most striking feature about this animal was the several protruding spikes from the skull two of which were exceedingly long; the spikes were probably used for display purposes as opposed to a defence mechanism. Ribs, presacral vertebrae, sections of the shoulder girdle and forelimbs have also been discovered from Elginia. Two species of Elginia are currently considered valid; mirabilis and gordoni. Elginia like all pareiasaurs was herbivorous and probably fed on land plants, it became extinct at the end of the Permian Period. Several tracks of footprints in Scotland have also been considered to belong to Elginia.

Elginia mirabilis
Newton, 1893
Meaning of generic name
From Elgin
Meaning of specific name
Length: ~60 cm
Skull, Ribs, Presacral Vertebrae, Shoulder Girdle and Forelimbs
Age and Distribution
Upper Permian Elgin Formation of Scotland, UK.
Anapsida Hallucicrania Pareiasauria
Further Reading
Newton, E. T., 1893, On some new reptiles from the Elgin Sandstone: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, series B, v. 184, p. 473-489.

P. S. SPENCER and M. S. Y. LEE. A JUVENILE ELGINIA AND EARLY GROWTH IN PAREIASAURS. Journal of Paleontology; November 2000; v. 74; no. 6; p. 1191-1195; DOI: 10.1666/0022-3360 (2000 074<1191:AJEAEG>2.0.CO;2 © 2000 Paleontological Society)
Image by Nobu Tamura (click to enlarge)
Elginia mirabilis, November 8, 2007:

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