Paralititan

Paralititan (meaning "tidal giant"[1]) was a giant titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur genus discovered in coastal deposits in the Upper Cretaceous Bahariya Formation of Egypt. It lived between 99.6 and 93.5 million years ago.[2]

Paralititan
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 99.6–93.5 Ma
Paralititan stromeri by Hatem Moushir 9
Humeri at the Egyptian Geological Museum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Clade: Titanosauria
Genus: Paralititan
Smith et al., 2001
Type species
Paralititan stromeri
Smith et al., 2001 (type)

Description

Paralititan-Scale-Diagram-SVG-Steveoc86
Hypothetical scale diagram comparing Paralititan to some humans, with some of the known material in white.

Joshua Smith, who informally led the research team that found the dinosaur fossils, told an interviewer, "It was a truly enormous dinosaur by any reckoning."[3]

Little of Paralititan is known, so its exact size is difficult to estimate. However, the limited material, especially the long humeri, suggested that it is one of the most massive dinosaurs ever discovered, with an estimated weight of 59 t (65 short tons).[4] The complete right humerus measured 1.69 meters (5.54 ft) long which at the time of discovery was the longest known in a Cretaceous sauropod; this was surpassed in 2016 with the discovery of Notocolossus which had a 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in) humerus.[5] Using Saltasaurus as a guide, Carpenter estimated its length at around 26 m (85 ft).[6] Scott Hartman estimates an animal that is massive, but still smaller than the biggest titanosaurs such as Puertasaurus, Alamosaurus, and Argentinosaurus.[7] In 2010, Gregory S. Paul estimated the length at twenty metres, the weight at twenty tonnes.[8]

From the formation another sauropod had already been known, Aegyptosaurus. Paralititan differs from Aegyptosaurus in its larger size, the latter genus weighing only fifteen tons, possibly in not having pleurocoels in its front tail vertebrae, and in possessing a relatively longer deltopectoral crest on its humerus.[1]

Discovery

Paralititan stromeri by Hatem Moushir 3
First caudal vertebra and other fossils

Joshua Smith in 1999 in the Bahariya Oasis rediscovered the Gebel el Dist site where Richard Markgraf in 1912, 1913 and 1914 had excavated fossils for Ernst Stromer. In 2000, an American expedition was mounted to revisit the site. However, apparently Markgraf had already removed all more complete skeletons, leaving only limited remains behind. At a new site, the nearby Gebel Fagga, the expedition succeeded in locating a partial sauropod skeleton.[9] It was identified by Lacovara as a species new to science. It was named and described by Joshua B. Smith, Matthew C. Lamanna, Kenneth J. Lacovara, Peter Dodson, Jennifer R. Smith, Jason Charles Poole, Robert Giegengack and Yousri Attia in 2001 as the type species Paralititan stromeri. The generic name means "Stromer's tidal (Greek para + halos "near sea") titan" or "Stromer's tidal giant", in reference to the "paralic" tidal flats the animal lived on.[10] The specific name honors Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach, a German paleontologist and geologist who first established the presence of dinosaur fossils in this area in 1911. Paralititan represents the first tetrapod reported from the Bahariya Formation since Romer's publication of 1935.[1]

Paralititan stromeri
Speculative restoration

The holotype specimen of Paralititan, CGM 81119, was found in a layer of the Bahariya Formation, dating from the Cenomanian. It consists of a partial skeleton lacking the skull. It is incomplete, apart from bone fragments containing two fused posterior sacral vertebrae, two anterior caudal vertebrae, both incomplete scapulae, two humeri and a metacarpal. The Paralititan type specimen shows evidence of having been scavenged by a carnivorous dinosaur as it was disarticulated within an oval of eight metres length with the various bones being clustered. A Carcharodontosaurus tooth was discovered in between the clusters. The holotype is part of the collection of the Cairo Geological Museum.[1]

The large anterior dorsal vertebra 1912V11164, in 1932 by Stromer referred to an undetermined "Giant Sauropod", was in 2001 tentatively referred to Paralititan.[1]

Ecology

The autochthonous, scavenged skeleton was preserved in tidal flat deposits containing in the form of fossil leaves and root systems, a mangrove vegetation of seed ferns, Weichselia reticulata. The mangrove ecosystem it inhabited was situated along the southern shore of the Tethys Sea. Paralititan is the first dinosaur demonstrated to have inhabited a mangrove habitat. It lived at approximately the same time and place as giant predators Carcharodontosaurus, Spinosaurus, and the sauropod Aegyptosaurus.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Smith JB, Lamanna MC, Lacovara KJ, Dodson P, Smith JR, Poole JC, Giegengack R, Attia Y (June 2001). "A giant sauropod dinosaur from an Upper Cretaceous mangrove deposit in Egypt". Science. 292 (5522): 1704–6. doi:10.1126/science.1060561. PMID 11387472.
  2. ^ Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. (2012) Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, Winter 2011 Appendix.
  3. ^ Roach, John (May 31, 2001). "'Tidal Giant' Roamed Coastal Swamps of Ancient Africa". National Geographic News. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  4. ^ Burness, G.P. and Flannery, T. (2001). "Dinosaurs, Dragonslayer, and Dwarfs: The Evolution of Maximal Body Size." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(25): 14518-14523.
  5. ^ González Riga BJ, Lamanna MC, Ortiz David LD, Calvo JO, Coria JP (January 2016). "A gigantic new dinosaur from Argentina and the evolution of the sauropod hind foot". Scientific Reports. 6 (1): 19165. doi:10.1038/srep19165. PMC 4725985. PMID 26777391.
  6. ^ Carpenter K (2006). Foster JR, Lucas SG (eds.). "Biggest of the Big: a Critical Re-evaluation of the Mega-sauropod Amphicoelias fragillimus Paleontology and Geology of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation". New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin. 36: 131–138.
  7. ^ Hartman, Scott. "The biggest of the big". Skeletal Drawings.
  8. ^ Paul, G.S., 2010, The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, Princeton University Press p. 209
  9. ^ Nothdurft, William; Joshua Smith; Matt Lamana; Ken Lacovara; Jason Poole & Jen Smith, 2002, The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt: The Astonishing and Unlikely True Story of One of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Paleontological Discoveries, Random House, 272 pp
  10. ^ "Paralititan Stromeri". Paleobiology Database. Retrieved December 31, 2012.

External links

Argyrosauridae

Argyrosauridae is a family of large titanosaurian dinosaurs known from the late Cretaceous period of Argentina and Egypt. The group has been recovered as monophyletic, including the type genus Argyrosaurus as well as Paralititan.

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).

Epachthosaurus

Epachthosaurus (meaning "heavy lizard") was a genus of dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous. It was a titanosaurid sauropod. Its fossils have been found in Central and Northern Patagonia in South America.

Ernst Stromer

Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach (12 June 1871 – in Nürnberg; 18 December 1952 in Erlangen) was a German paleontologist.

He described the following Cretaceous dinosaurs from Egypt: Aegyptosaurus, Bahariasaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and the enigmatic theropod, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. Stromer also described the giant crocodilian Stomatosuchus. The fossil bird genus Stromeria, named in his honor by Kálmán Lambrecht in 1929, is today synonymized with Eremopezus. The sauropod Paralititan stromeri is also named in his honor. The majority of his fossil discoveries were destroyed during World War Two and only photographs of some remain.

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.

Fossils of Egypt

Egypt has many fossil-bearing geologic formations, in which many dinosaurs have been discovered.

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.

Kenneth Lacovara

Kenneth John Lacovara is an American paleontologist and geologist at Rowan University and fellow of the Explorers Club, known for the discovery of the titanosaurian dinosaur Dreadnoughtus and his involvement in the discovery and naming of the giant sauropod dinosaur Paralititan, as well as his work applying 3D printing technology to paleontology. Lacovara is the founder of the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University in Mantua Township, New Jersey and a TED speaker. He is author of the general-audience book, Why Dinosaurs Matter (2017), for which he received a Nautilus Book Award. Additionally, he serves as Paleontology Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences. He is a recipient of the Explorers Club Medal, the highest honor bestoyed by The Explorers Club.

List of African dinosaurs

This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from Africa. Africa has a rich fossil record, but it is patchy and incomplete. It is rich in Triassic and Early Jurassic dinosaurs. African dinosaurs from these time periods include Coelophysis, Dracovenator, Melanorosaurus, Massospondylus, Euskelosaurus, Heterodontosaurus, Abrictosaurus, and Lesothosaurus. In the Middle Jurassic, the sauropods Atlasaurus, Chebsaurus, Jobaria, and Spinophorosaurus, flourished, as well as the theropod Afrovenator. The Late Jurassic is well represented in Africa, mainly thanks to the spectacular Tendaguru Formation. Veterupristisaurus, Ostafrikasaurus, Elaphrosaurus, Giraffatitan, Dicraeosaurus, Janenschia, Tornieria, Tendaguria, Kentrosaurus, and Dysalotosaurus are among the dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from Tendaguru. This fauna seems to show strong similarities to that of the Morrison Formation in the United States and the Lourinha Formation in Portugal. For example, similar theropods, ornithopods and sauropods have been found in both the Tendaguru and the Morrison. This has important biogeographical implications.

The Early Cretaceous in Africa is known primarily from the northern part of the continent, particularly Niger. Suchomimus, Elrhazosaurus, Rebbachisaurus, Nigersaurus, Kryptops, Nqwebasaurus, and Paranthodon are some of the Early Cretaceous dinosaurs known from Africa. The Early Cretaceous was an important time for the dinosaurs of Africa because it was when Africa finally separated from South America, forming the South Atlantic Ocean. This was an important event because now the dinosaurs of Africa started developing endemism because of isolation.

The Late Cretaceous of Africa is known mainly from North Africa. During the early part of the Late Cretaceous, North Africa was home to a rich dinosaur fauna. It includes Spinosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, Rugops, Bahariasaurus, Deltadromeus, Paralititan, Aegyptosaurus, and Ouranosaurus.

Losillasaurus

Losillasaurus (meaning "Losilla lizard") is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary in the southeast of Spain. The type species of the turiasaurian Losillasaurus giganteus was discovered in the Los Serranos basin in Valencia and formally described by Casanovas, Santafé and Sanz in 2001. The material is from a subadult and includes part of a skull; complete cervical, dorsal, sacral, and caudal vertebrae as well as several fragments; skeletal elements from the limbs including a humerus, ulna, radius, and metacarpal; sternal plates; and from the pelvis: the ilium, ischium, and pubis. The genus is characterized by the dimension and shape of the neural spine of the proximal caudal vertebrae. The humerus is 143 centimetres (56 in) long, which despite being from a subadult specimen is within 20% of the size of Paralititan. The size estimation proposed by Francisco Gascó in his master thesis is 15–18 m (49–59 ft) and 12-15 tons.

Notocolossus

Notocolossus is a genus of herbivorous lithostrotian titanosaur sauropod dinosaur from late Cretaceous strata of Mendoza Province, Argentina.

Peter Dodson

Peter Dodson (born August 20, 1946) is an American paleontologist who has published many papers and written and collaborated on books about dinosaurs. An authority on Ceratopsians, he has also authored several papers and textbooks on hadrosaurs and sauropods, and is a co-editor of The Dinosauria, widely considered the definitive scholarly reference on dinosaurs. Dodson described Avaceratops in 1986; Suuwassea in 2004, and many others, while his students have named Paralititan and Auroraceratops. He has conducted field research in Canada, the United States, India, Madagascar, Egypt, Argentina, and China. A professor of vertebrate paleontology and of veterinary anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania, Dodson has also taught courses in geology, history, history and sociology of science, and religious studies. Dodson is also a research associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences. In 2001, two former students named an ancient frog species, Nezpercius dodsoni, after him (as well as after the Native American Nez Perce people). Dodson has also been skeptical to the theory of a dinosaurian origin of birds, but more recently has come down on the side of this theory.

Planet Dinosaur

Planet Dinosaur, is a six-part documentary television series created by Nigel Paterson and Phil Dobree, produced by the BBC, and narrated by John Hurt. It first aired in the United Kingdom in 2011, with VFX studio Jellyfish Pictures as its producer. It is the first major dinosaur-related series for BBC One since Walking with Dinosaurs. There are more than 50 different prehistoric species featured, and they and their environments were created entirely as computer-generated images, for around a third of the production cost that was needed a decade earlier for Walking with Dinosaurs. Much of the series' plot is based on scientific discoveries made since Walking with Dinosaurs. The companion book to Planet Dinosaur was released on 8 September 2011, and the DVD and Blu-ray were released on 24 October 2011.

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.

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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