Isanosaurus (meaning "Isan [north-eastern Thailand] lizard") was one of the first sauropod dinosaurs. It lived approximately 210 million years ago during the Late Triassic (late Norian to Rhaetian stages) in Thailand. The only species is Isanosaurus attavipachi. Though important for the understanding of sauropod origin and early evolution, Isanosaurus is poorly known. Exact relationships to other early sauropods remain unresolved.
|Isanosaurus attavipachi thigh bone|
Buffetaut et al. 2000
Buffetaut et al. 2000
The only specimen includes a neck vertebra, a back vertebra and part of a second, six tail vertebra, two chevrons, fragmentary ribs, the right sternal plate, the right shoulder blade, and the left thigh bone (femur). This individual may have measured 6.5 metres (21 ft) when alive; the thigh bone measures 76 centimetres in length. However, the vertebral neural arches have been found separated from the vertebral centra, indicating that these elements were not fused with each other; thus, this individual probably was not fully grown.
Early sauropodomorphs were primitively bipedal (two-legged). Isanosaurus, being one of the first sauropods known, already shows a quadrupedal locomotion (with all four legs on the ground). The legs were column-like, as indicated by the robust and straight thigh bone. In prosauropods, but also in the very basal sauropod Antetonitrus, the thigh bone was slightly sigmoidal (S-curved). Also, like in other sauropods, bony processes of the femur were reduced in Isanosaurus; most notably, the lesser trochanter was lacking.
Additional important features can be found in the vertebrae. The neck vertebrae were distinctly opisthocoelous (convex at the front and hollow at the back), forming ball-and-socket joints with neighbouring vertebrae. The tail vertebrae, on the other hand, were amphicoelous (concave at both ends). The dorsal neural spines were very high, like those of some later sauropods, unlike the low prosauropod neural spines. The lateral sides of the vertebrae were concave, but not deeply excavated (a structure known as pleurocoels) as in later sauropods.
The specimen was found in dark red sandstone of the Nam Phong Formation near the village of Ban Non Thaworn, in Chaiyaphum Province. When discovered in 1998, the skeleton had unfortunately been mostly eroded away. With regard to vertebrate fossils, the Nam Phong Formation is poorly explored: besides Isanosaurus, only two articulated ischia were found. Whether these ischia belong to Isanosaurus is unclear, because no pelvic bones are preserved in the holotype specimen.
Isanosaurus was described by French palaeontologist Éric Buffetaut and colleagues in 2000. The name is derived from Isan (north-eastern Thailand); the species name honours P. Attavipach, a supporter of palaeontological research in Thailand and former Director General of the Thai Department of Mineral Resources.
Amygdalodon (; "almond tooth" for its almond shaped teeth) was a genus of basal sauropod from the Middle Jurassic of Argentina.Antetonitrus
Antetonitrus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur found in Early Jurassic rocks in South Africa. The only species is Antetonitrus ingenipes. As one of the oldest known sauropods, it is crucial for the understanding of the origin and early evolution of this group. It was a quadrupedal herbivore, like all of its later relatives, but shows primitive adaptations to use the forelimbs for grasping, instead of purely for weight support.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.Chinshakiangosaurus
Chinshakiangosaurus (JIN-shah-jiahng-uh-SOR-us, meaning "Chinshakiang lizard") is a genus of dinosaur and probably one of the most basal sauropods known. The only species, Chinshakiangosaurus chunghoensis, is known from a fragmentary skeleton found in Lower Jurassic rocks in China. Chinshakiangosaurus is one of the few basal sauropods with preserved skull bones and therefore important for the understanding of the early evolution of this group. It shows that early sauropods may have possessed fleshy cheeks.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.Gongxianosaurus
Gongxianosaurus is a genus of basal sauropod dinosaur from the early Jurassic Period (Toarcian stage). The only species is Gongxianosaurus shibeiensis. Based on four fragmentary to complete specimens found in China (Sichuan Province), it is one of the most completely known early sauropods. The skeleton is known in large part, missing both the hand and the majority of the skull. Gongxianosaurus was firstly named and described in a short note published in 1998; however, a comprehensive description has yet to be published. Gongxianosaurus shibeiensis was named for the place it was found, near the village Shibei in Gong County (珙县; Pinyin: Gǒng Xiàn).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.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.Omeisaurus
Omeisaurus (meaning "Omei lizard") is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic Period (Bathonian-Callovian stage) of what is now China. Its name comes from Mount Emei, where it was discovered in the lower Shaximiao Formation of Sichuan Province.
Like other sauropods, Omeisaurus was herbivorous and large. It measured 20.2 metres (66 ft) long, and weighed 9.8 tonnes.Pilmatueia
Pilmatueia is a diplodocoid sauropod belonging to the family Dicraeosauridae that lived in Argentina during the Early Cretaceous.Shunosaurus
Shunosaurus, meaning "shu lizard", is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from Early Jurassic (Oxfordian) beds in Sichuan Province in China, approximately 159±2 million years ago. The name derives from "Shu", an ancient name for the Sichuan province.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.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.Vulcanodon
Vulcanodon (meaning "volcano tooth") is an extinct genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of southern Africa. The only known species is V. karibaensis. Discovered in 1969 in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe), it was regarded as the earliest known sauropod for decades, and is still one of the most primitive sauropods that has been discovered. As a quadrupedal, ground-dwelling herbivore, Vulcanodon already showed the typical sauropod body plan with column-like legs and a long neck and tail. It was smaller than most other sauropods, measuring approximately eleven metres (35 ft) in length. Vulcanodon is known from a fragmentary skeleton including much of the pelvic girdle, hindlimbs, forearms, and tail, but lacking the trunk and neck vertebrae as well as the skull.
Originally, this genus was believed to be a prosauropod because of the knife-shaped teeth found near its fossils, which fit in with the idea that prosauropods were omnivorous. Scientists now know that the teeth belonged to an unidentified theropod that may have scavenged on the Vulcanodon carcass. Vulcanodon is now known to be a true sauropod. Upon the discovery of the related Tazoudasaurus, both animals were unified in the family Vulcanodontidae, though this has not been universally accepted.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.