Abrosaurus

Abrosaurus (/ˌæbroʊˈsɔːrəs/; 'delicate lizard' from the Greek αβρος meaning 'delicate' or 'dainty' and σαυρος meaning 'lizard') is a genus of macronarian sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic Period of what is now Asia, one of many dinosaurs found at the Dashanpu Quarry in the Sichuan Province of China. Like most sauropods, Abrosaurus was a quadrupedal herbivore but it was rather small for a sauropod, not much more than 30 feet (9 m) long. Its head was boxy and topped with a tall bony arch containing the nostrils.

The generic name meaning 'delicate lizard', refers to the nature of the skull, with large openings separated by thin bony struts. The only named species is now known as A. dongpoi, and is named after eleventh-century Chinese poet Su Shi, also known as Su Dongpo, who was born in Sichuan.

Abrosaurus head
Illustration of the head

The naming of Abrosaurus has been a long and convuluted process. Abrosaurus was discovered in 1984 and was first described in the 1986 Ph.D. thesis of Chinese paleontologist Ouyang Hui, with the specific name "A. gigantorhinus". However, this does not meet ICZN standards of publication, so the species "Abrosaurus gigantorhinus" counts only as a nomen nudum, although it has been used incorrectly in at least one paper (Zhang & Chen, 1996). Ouyang formally described this species in 1989 under the specific epithet A. dongpoensis, but in biological nomenclature, the Latin suffix -ensis is correctly used only to honor localities and the name has since been revised to include the more correct -i suffix, which is used to honor male individuals (Peng & Shu, 1999). Abrosaurus dongpoi is now the accepted name for this taxon.

Abrosaurus was originally described as a camarasaurid sauropod, and while it may not turn out to be a member of that particular family, further research has indicated that it is a basal member of Macronaria, much like Camarasaurus itself. However, the remains of Abrosaurus have not been fully described, making its exact placement in the sauropod family tree difficult to determine (Upchurch et al., 2004).

The holotype, or original specimen, of Abrosaurus is a fossil skull which is nearly complete and very well preserved. A fragmentary skull and a skeleton have also been referred to this taxon but published description is lacking (Zhang & Chen, 1996). All of the material comes from the famous Dashanpu Quarry near Zigong in China, and is housed in the dinosaur museum there. Abrosaurus and at least 4 other species of sauropod are known from the Lower Shaximiao Formation (also called Xiashaximiao) at Dashanpu. These sediments are dated from the Bathonian to Callovian stages of the Middle Jurassic Period, or about 168 to 161 million years ago.

Abrosaurus
Temporal range: Middle Jurassic
Abrosaurus2
Restoration
Scientific classification
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Abrosaurus

Ouyang, 1989
Type species
A. dongpoi
Ouyang, 1989

References

  • Ouyang H. 1989. [A new sauropod dinosaur from Dashanpu, Zigong County, Sichuan Province (Abrosaurus dongpoensis gen. et sp. nov.)]. [Newsletter of the Zigong Dinosaur Museum]. 2: 10-14. [In Chinese] [1]
  • Peng G. & Shu C. 1999. Vertebrate Assemblage of the Lower Shaximiao Formation of Sichuan Basin, China. In: Wang Y. & Deng T. (Eds.). Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Chinese Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Beijing: China Ocean Press. Pp. 27–35.
  • Upchurch, P., Barrett, P.M. & Dodson, P. 2004. Sauropoda. In: Weishampel, D.B., Dodson, P., & Osmolska, H. (Eds.) The Dinosauria (2nd Edition). Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 259–322.
  • Zhang Y. & Chen W. 1996. Preliminary research on the classification of sauropods from the Sichuan Basin, China. In: Morales, M. (Ed.). The Continental Jurassic. Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin. 60: 97-107.
1989 in paleontology

Paleontology or palaeontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 1989.

Bathonian

In the geologic timescale the Bathonian is an age and stage of the Middle Jurassic. It lasted from approximately 168.3 Ma to around 166.1 Ma (million years ago). The Bathonian age succeeds the Bajocian age and precedes the Callovian age.

Brasilotitan

Brasilotitan is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous (early Maastrichtian) Adamantina Formation of Brazil. The type species is Brasilotitan nemophagus.

Cetiosauridae

Cetiosauridae is a family of sauropod dinosaurs. While traditionally a wastebasket taxon containing various unrelated species, some recent studies have found that it may represent a natural clade. Additionally, at least one study has suggested that the mamenchisaurids may represent a sub-group of the cetiosaurids, which would be termed Mamenchisaurinae.

Daxiatitan

Daxiatitan is a genus of titanosaur dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Lanzhou Basin, Gansu Province, northwestern China. It is known from fossils including several neck vertebrae, a shoulder blade, and a thigh bone.It was a very large dinosaur, estimated at 23–30 meters (75–98 feet). Like both Euhelopus and Huanghetitan, it had an enormously long neck.

Diplodocinae

Diplodocinae is an extinct subfamily of diplodocid sauropods that existed from the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous of North America, Europe and South America, about 161.2 to 136.4 million years ago. Genera within the subfamily include Tornieria, Supersaurus, Leinkupal, Galeamopus, Diplodocus, Kaatedocus and Barosaurus.Cladogram of the Diplodocidae after Tschopp, Mateus, and Benson (2015).

Ferganasaurus

Ferganasaurus was a genus of dinosaur first formally described in 2003 by Alifanov and Averianov. The type species is Ferganasaurus verzilini. It was a sauropod similar to Rhoetosaurus. The fossils were discovered in 1966 in Kyrgyzstan from the Balabansai Formation and date to the Callovian stage of the Middle Jurassic.

Flagellicaudata

Flagellicaudata is a clade of Dinosauria. It belongs to Sauropoda and includes two families, the Dicraeosauridae and the Diplodocidae.

Gravisauria

Gravisauria is a clade of sauropod dinosaurs consisting of some genera, Vulcanodontidae and Eusauropoda.

Huangshanlong

Huangshanlong is a genus of mamenchisaurid dinosaurs native to the Anhui province of China. It contains a single species, Huangshanlong anhuiensis. H. anhuiensis represents, along with Anhuilong and Wannanosaurus, one of three dinosaurs fround in Anhui province.

Jiutaisaurus

Jiutaisaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Quantou Formation of China. Jiutaisaurus was a sauropod which lived during the Cretaceous. The type species, Jiutaisaurus xidiensis, was described by Wu et al. in 2006, and is based on eighteen vertebrae.

Kaijutitan

Kaijutitan (meaning "Kaiju titan" after the type of Japanese movie monsters) is a genus of basal titanosaur dinosaur from the Sierra Barrosa Formation from Neuquén Province in Argentina. The type and only species is Kaijutitan maui.

Microcoelus

Microcoelus is a dubius genus of small Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur native to Argentina. It is known from only a single dorsal vertebra. A left humerus was formerly referred to this species, but it is now considered to belong to Neuquensaurus. This species may be a synonym of the contemporary sauropod Neuquensaurus australis.It was described by British paleontologist Richard Lydekker in 1893.

Oceanotitan

Oceanotitan is a genus of titanosauriform sauropod known from the Upper Jurassic Praia da Amoreira-Porto Novo Formation of Portugal. It contains one species, Oceanotitan dantasi.The holotype consists of the scapula, almost all of the pelvis, a complete leg sans the toes, and nine caudals.

Pilmatueia

Pilmatueia is a diplodocoid sauropod belonging to the family Dicraeosauridae that lived in Argentina during the Early Cretaceous.

Tambatitanis

Tambatitanis is an extinct genus of titanosauriform dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous (probably early Albian) of Japan. It is known from a single type species, Tambatitanis amicitiae. It was probably around 14 meters long and its mass was estimated at some 4 tonnes. It was a basal titanosauriform and possibly belonged to the Euhelopodidae.

Tastavinsaurus

Tastavinsaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur belonging to the Titanosauriformes. It is based on a partial skeleton from the Early Cretaceous of Spain. The type species is Tastavinsaurus sanzi, named in honor of the Rio Tastavins in Spain and Spanish paleontologist José Luis Sanz.

Tengrisaurus

Tengrisaurus (meaning "Tengri lizard") is a genus of lithostrotian sauropod, from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian-Aptian), of the Murtoi Formation, Russia. It was described in 2017 by Averianov & Skutschas. The type species is T. starkovi.

Vulcanodontidae

The Early Jurassic sauropod dinosaurs Zizhongosaurus, Barapasaurus, Tazoudasaurus, and Vulcanodon may form a natural group of basal sauropods called the Vulcanodontidae. Basal vulcanodonts include some of the earliest known examples of sauropods. The family-level name Vulcanodontidae was erected by M.R. Cooper in 1984. In 1995 Hunt et al. published the opinion that the family is synonymous with the Barapasauridae. One of the key morphological features specific to the family is an unusually narrow sacrum.

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