Tendaguru Formation

The Tendaguru Formation, or Tendaguru Beds are a highly fossiliferous formation and Lagerstätte in southeastern Tanzania. The formation represents the oldest sedimentary unit of the Mandawa Basin, overlying Neoproterozoic basement, separating by a long hiatus and unconformity. The formation reaches a total sedimentary thickness of more than 110 metres (360 ft). The formation ranges in age from the late Middle Jurassic to the early Early Cretaceous, Oxfordian to Hauterivian stages, with the base of the formation possibly extending into the Callovian.

The Tendaguru Formation is subdivided into six members; from oldest to youngest Lower Dinosaur Member, the Nerinella Member, the Middle Dinosaur Member, Indotrigonia africana Member, the Upper Dinosaur Member, and the Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member. The succession comprises a sequence of sandstones, shales, siltstones, conglomerates with minor oolitic limestones, deposited in an overall shallow marine to coastal plain environment, characterized by tidal, fluvial and lacustrine influence with a tsunami deposit occurring in the Indotrigonia africana Member. The climate of the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous was semi-arid with seasonal rainfall and the eustatic sea level was rising in the Late Jurassic from low levels in the Middle Jurassic. Paleogeographical reconstructions show the Tendaguru area was located in the subtropical southern hemisphere during the Late Jurassic.

The Tendaguru Formation is considered the richest Late Jurassic strata in Africa. The formation has provided a wealth of fossils of different groups; early mammaliaforms, several genera of dinosaurs, crocodyliforms, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and flora. More than 250 tonnes (250 long tons; 280 short tons) of material was shipped to Germany during early excavations in the early twentieth century. The faunal assemblage of the Tendaguru is similar to the Morrison Formation of the central-western United States, with an additional marine interbed fauna not present in the Morrison.

The dinosaur fauna found in the formation is similar to that of other highly fossiliferous stratigraphic units of the Late Jurassic; among others the Kimmeridge and Oxford Clays of England, the Sables de Glos, Argiles d'Octeville, Marnes de Bléville of France, the Alcobaça, Guimarota and Lourinhã Formations of Portugal, the Villar del Arzobispo Formation of Spain, the Shishugou, Kalazha and Shangshaximiao Formations in China, the Toqui Formation of Chile and Cañadón Calcáreo Formation of Argentina and the Morrison Formation, with the presence of dinosaurs with similar counterparts, e.g., Brachiosaurus and Stegosaurus in the Morrison, and Giraffatitan and Kentrosaurus in the Tendaguru.[1]

Tendaguru Formation
Stratigraphic range:
~165–130 Ma
Tendaguru Formation - Tendaguru Hill
View of Tendaguru Hill, namesake of the formation
TypeGeological formation
Sub-unitsSee text
UnderliesMakonde Formation
OverliesNeoproterozoic gneiss basement
Thickness>110 m (360 ft)
OtherShale, siltstone, clay, conglomerate, limestone
Coordinates9°42′S 39°12′E / 9.7°S 39.2°ECoordinates: 9°42′S 39°12′E / 9.7°S 39.2°E
Approximate paleocoordinates29°24′S 16°42′E / 29.4°S 16.7°E
RegionLindi Region
Country Tanzania
ExtentMandawa Basin
Type section
Named forTendaguru Hill
Named byJanensch & Hennig
Year defined1914
Tendaguru Formation is located in Tanzania
Tendaguru Formation
Tendaguru Formation (Tanzania)
Tendaguru location map
Location of Tendaguru in Tanzania


Tendaguru Formation - map and stratigraphic column
Map and stratigraphic column of the Tendaguru Formation

The Tendaguru Formation represents the oldest sedimentary unit in the Mandawa Basin, directly overlying Neoproterozoic basement consisting of gneiss. The contact contains a large hiatus, a missing sequence of stratigraphy, spanning the Paleozoic, Triassic and Early Jurassic. The formation is unconformably overlain by late Early Cretaceous sediments of the Makonde Formation, that forms the top of several plateaus; Namunda, Rondo, Noto, and Likonde-Kitale.[2]

Based on extended geological and paleontological observations the "Tendaguruschichten" (Tendaguru Beds) were defined by Janensch as expedition leader and Hennig in 1914 to define a sequence of Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous strata, exposed in the Tendaguru area, which is named after Tendaguru Hill.[3]


The Tendaguru is divided into 6 members, which represent different depositional environments, with the 'Dinosaur Beds' representing terrestrial facies while the beds with genus/species names represent marine interbeds with shallow marine to lagoonal facies. In ascending order these are: the Lower Dinosaur Member, the Nerinella Member, the Middle Dinosaur Member, Indotrigonia africana Member, the Upper Dinosaur Member, and the Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member.[4]

Stratigraphy of the Tendaguru Formation[5]
Formation Time period Member Lithology Thickness Image
Makonde Early Albian
Fine to medium grained sandstones, intercalated conglomerates, siltstones and claystones ~200 m (660 ft)
Barremian Unconformity
Tendaguru Hauterivian
Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member Fine to medium grained sandstones with basal conglomerate 5–70 m (16–230 ft)
Tendaguru Formation - Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member
Berriasian Unconformity
Tithonian Upper Dinosaur Member Ripple cross bedded fine grained sandstones and siltstones with intercalated claystone and micritic carbonates ~32 m (105 ft)
Tendaguru Formation - Upper Dinosaur Member
Indotrigonia africana Member Calcite cemented sandstones, conglomerate beds, thin clay and silt layers with sandy limestones 20–50 m (66–164 ft)
Tendaguru Formation - Indotrigonia africana Member
Late Kimmeridgian
Middle Dinosaur Member Ripple cross bedded fine grained calcareous sandstones and siltstones and massive to crudely bedded silt and claystones 13–30 m (43–98 ft)
Tendaguru Formation - Middle Dinosaur Member
Nerinella Member Trough cross bedded sandstone to massive sandstone 5–45 m (16–148 ft)
Tendaguru Formation - Nerinella Member
Mid Oxfordian
Lower Dinosaur Member Cross bedded fine grained sandstones and siltstones, with Interbedded clay-rich siltstones >20 m (66 ft)
Early Jurassic Hiatus
Basement Neoproterozoic Gneiss

Paleogeography and depositional environment


Paleogeography and paleoclimate of the Late Jurassic - 150 Ma with dinosaur fossil localities
Paleogeography and paleoclimate of the Late Jurassic (150 Ma). The Tendaguru Formation is indicated by A1, the Morrison Formation with M1-6.

The Tendaguru Formation was deposited in the Mandawa Basin, a post-Karoo,[6] Mesozoic rift basin located between the Ruvu Basin and Rufiji Trough to the north and the Ruvuma Basin to the south.[7] To the west of the basin, Archaen and Early Proterozoic basement rocks crop out.[8] The main rift phase in present-day southeastern Africa led to the separation of Madagascar and the then-connected Indian subcontinent happened during the Early Cretaceous.[9] The Songo Songo and Kiliwani gas fields are located just offshore the basin.[10][11]

At time of deposition was undergoing a semi-arid climate with coastal influences that maintained somewhat higher moisture levels than seen inland.[12] The upper parts of the formation, the Middle Dinosaur and Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Members in particular, showed prevailing semiarid conditions with pronounced dry seasons, based on palynologic analysis.[13] The Tendaguru fauna was stable through the Late Jurassic.[14]

During the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, the Gondwana paleocontinent was breaking up and the separation of the Laurasian and Gondwana supercontinents resulted from the connection of the Tethys Ocean with the proto-Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. In addition, the South Atlantic developed towards the end of the Late Jurassic with the separation of South America and Africa. Africa became increasingly isolated from most other continents by marine barriers from the Kimmeridgian into the Early Cretaceous, but retained a continental connection with South America. Global sea levels dropped significantly in the Early Jurassic and remained low through the Middle Jurassic but rose considerably towards the Late Jurassic, deepening the marine trenches between continents.[15]

Depositional environment

Tendaguru Formation - Generalized depositional environment
Generalized depositional environment of the Tendaguru Formation
HWL - high water line, LWL - low water line

The sedimentary rocks and fossils record a repeated shift from shallow marine to tidal flat environments indicating that the strata of the Tendaguru Formation were deposited near an oscillating strandline which was controlled by sea level changes. The three dinosaur-bearing members are continental to marginal marine and the three sandstone-dominated members are marginal marine in origin.[16]

Nerinella Member

The composition of benthic molluscs and foraminifera, euhaline to mesohaline ostracods, and dinoflagellate assemblages indicate marine, shallow water conditions for the Nerinella Member, in particular for the lower part. Sedimentation occurred as tidal channel fills, subtidal and tidal sand bars, minor storm layers (tempestites), and beach deposits. Overall, the Nerinella Member represents a variety of shallow subtidal to lower intertidal environments influenced by tides and storms.[17]

Middle Dinosaur Member

The sedimentological characteristics of the basal part of the Middle Dinosaur Member suggest deposition on tidal flats and in small tidal channels of a lagoonal paleoenvironment. The ostracod Bythocypris sp. from the member indicates polyhaline to euhaline conditions. Slightly higher up, a faunal sample dominated by the bivalve Eomiodon and an ostracod assemblage composed of brackish to freshwater taxa is indicative of a brackish water paleoenvironment with distinct influx of freshwater as revealed by the nonmarine ostracod genus Cypridea, charophytes, and other freshwater algae. The paleoenvironment of the ostracod assemblages of the Middle Dinosaur Member changed upsection from a marine setting in the basal parts through alternating marine-brackish conditions to freshwater conditions in the higher parts of this member.[17] The highly sporadic occurrence, in this part of the section, of molluscs typical of marginal marine habitats indicates only a very weak marine influence,[18] at sabkha-like coastal plains with ephemeral brackish lakes and ponds are recorded in the upper part of the Middle Dinosaur Member. This part also contains pedogenic calcretes indicating subaerial exposure and the onset of soil formation.[17] The calcrete intraclasts within adjacent sandstone beds testify to erosive reworking of calcrete horizons.[18] The presence of crocodyilforms indicates freshwater to littoral environments and adjacent terrestrial areas.[19]

Indotrigonia africana Member

The coarse-grained sandstone of the lower part of the Indotrigonia africana Member that shows highly variable transport directions is interpreted as deposits of large tidal channels. Grain-size, large-scale sedimentary structures, and the lack of both trace fossils and epifaunal and infaunal body fossils suggest high water energy and frequent reworking. This basal succession passes upward in cross-bedded sandstone and minor siltstone and claystone with flaser or lenticular bedding that are interpreted as tidal flat and tidal channel deposits. Horizontal to low-angle cross-bedded, fine-grained sandstone with intercalated bivalve pavements indicates tidal currents that operated in small flood and ebb tidal deltas and along the coast. Stacked successions of trough cross-bedded, medium- to coarse-grained sandstone of the upper part of the Indotrigonia africana Member are interpreted as tidal channel and sand bar deposits. At some places in the surroundings of Tendaguru Hill, these sediments interfinger with oolitic limestone layers that represent high-energy ooid shoals.[17]

In the Tingutinguti stream section, the Indotrigonia africana Member exhibits several up to 20 centimetres (7.9 in) thick, poorly sorted, conglomeratic sandstone beds. They contain mud clasts, reworked concretions and/or accumulations of thick-shelled bivalves (mainly Indotrigonia africana and Seebachia janenschi), and exhibit megaripple surfaces. These conglomeratic sandstone layers are interpreted as storm deposits. In the Dwanika and Bolachikombe stream sections, and in a small tributary of the Bolachikombe creek, a discrete, up to 70 centimetres (2.3 ft) thick conglomerate in the lower portion of the Indotrigonia africana Member displays evidence of a tsunami deposit. Overall, lithofacies and the diverse macroinvertebrate and microfossil assemblages of the Indotrigonia africana Member suggest a shallow marine environment. Based on the diverse mesoflora and the abundance of Classopollis, a nearby vegetated hinterland is postulated that was dominated by xerophytic conifers.[17]

Upper Dinosaur Member

The small-scale trough and ripple cross-bedded fine-grained sandstone at the base of the Upper Dinosaur Member is interpreted as tidal flat deposits. Unfossiliferous sandstone in the upper part was most likely deposited in small fluvial channels in a coastal plain environment, whereas argillaceous deposits were laid down in still water bodies such as small lakes and ponds. Rare occurrences of the ostracod Cypridea and charophytes signal the influence of freshwater, whereas the sporadic occurrence of marine invertebrates suggests a depositional environment close to the sea.[17]

Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member

Fining upward sequences of the basal part of the Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member are interpreted as tidal channel fills, the overlying fine-grained sandstone, silt- and claystone as tidal flat deposits. From the immediate surroundings of Tendaguru Hill, invertebrates and vertebrates are poorly known and limit the palaeoenvironmental interpretation of this member. The composition of the land-derived sporomorph assemblage suggests a terrestrial vegetation which was dominated by cheirolepidiacean conifers in association with ferns.[16]

Excavation history

Geologic map Tendaguru Formation members, Tanzania
Geologic map of the Tendaguru Formation with sample locations

The Tendaguru Beds as a fossil deposit were first discovered in 1906, when German pharmacist, chemical analyst and mining engineer Bernhard Wilhelm Sattler, on his way to a mine south of the Mbemkure River in German East Africa (today Tanzania), noticed enormous bones weathering out of the path near the base of Tendaguru Hill, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of Mtapaia (close to Nambiranji village, Mipingo ward, 60 kilometres (37 mi) northwest of Lindi town).[3][20] Because of its morphology, the hill was locally known as "steep hill": "tendaguru" in the language of the local Wamwera people. Sattler sent a report of his discoveries that found its way to German palaeontologist Eberhard Fraas, then on a round trip through Africa, who visited the site in 1907 and with the aid of Sattler recovered two partial skeletons of enormous size.[21]

Following the discovery in 1906, teams from the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin (1907–1913), and the British Museum (Natural History), London (1924–1931) launched a series of collecting expeditions that remain unequalled in scope and ambition. Led by the vision and influence of geologist Wilhelm von Branca, the German expeditions were particularly successful, in large part because the project was taken up as a matter of national ambition (Germany was then a young nation, having been unified by von Bismarck less than 40 years earlier) and enjoyed the benevolence of many wealthy patrons. Eventually, nearly 250 tons of bones, representing an entirely new dinosaur fauna that remains the best understood assemblage from all of former Gondwana, was shipped to Berlin.[22]

From there, the material was transported to Fraas' institution, the Royal Natural History Collection in Stuttgart, Germany. Fraas described two species in the badly known genus "Gigantosaurus"; G. robustus and G. africanus (today Janenschia robusta and Tornieria africana, respectively).[21]

German Tendaguru Expedition

The Berlin's Natural History Museum excavated at Tendaguru hill and in the surroundings for four years. From 1909 through 1911, Werner Janensch as expedition leader and Edwin Hennig as assistant directed excavations, while Hans Reck and his wife Ina Reck led the 1912 field season. Other European participants include Hans von Staff. In the rainy seasons the scientists explored the geology of the colony German East Africa on long safaris.

Paleontological significance

Possible dinosaur eggs have been recovered from the formation.[23]

The fauna of the Tendaguru Formation has been correlated with the Morrison Formation of the central-western United States,[24] several formations in England, among which the Kimmeridge Clay and Oxford Clay, and France (Sables de Glos, Argiles d'Octeville, Marnes de Bléville), the Alcobaça, Guimarota and Lourinhã Formations of Portugal,[25] the Villar del Arzobispo Formation of Spain, the Shishugou, Kalazha and Shangshaximiao Formations of China, and the Toqui Formation of the Magallanes Basin, Chile and the Cañadón Calcáreo Formation of the Cañadón Asfalto Basin in central Patagonia, Argentina.[26]

Fossil content

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.


Mammaliaformes reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Member Material Notes Images
Allostaffia A. aenigmatica Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Three isolated molars Originally described as Staffia, later renamed Allostaffia as Staffia was preoccupied bya foraminifer.[27]
Assigned to Haramiyida (though possibly a gondwanathere instead).[28]
Brancatherulum B. tendagurense Unspecified Upper Dinosaur[29] Dentary without teeth Either a stem-zatherian or dryolestidan.[30]
Tendagurodon T. janenschi Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Single tooth One of the earliest amphilestids[31]
Tendagurutherium T. dietrichi Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Partial dentary with damaged last molar Either a peramurid or an australosphenidan[28]


Tendaguru pterosaurs
Pterosaur fossils from Tendaguru


Ornithischians reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Member Material Notes Images
Dysalotosaurus D. lettowvorbecki Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur "Large number of mostly disassociated cranial and postcranial elements" [23][35]
Dryosaurus lettowvorbecki skeleton
Kentrosaurus K. aethiopicus Quarry Q, Ig, St, S, Ny, Li, XX, r, y, d, Ng, X, H, IX, Om, bb, Ha, XIV, II, IV, V, VIII, G, e, g, Ki Lower, Middle & Upper Dinosaur "[Two] composite mounted skeletons, [four] braincases, [seven] sacra, more than [seventy] femora, approximately 25 isolated elements, juvenile to adult" [23][36]
Kentrosaurus NT


Sauropods reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Member Material Notes Images
Australodocus A. bohetii Quarry G Upper Dinosaur Two neck vertebrae [37]
Dicraeosaurus D. hansemanni Quarry Q, m, St, dd, Sa Lower, Middle & Upper Dinosaur "Skeleton lacking skull and forelimbs, [two] partial skeletons, isolated vertebrae, and limb elements" [23][38]
Dicraeosaurus hansemanni22
D. sattleri Quarry La, s, O, ab, E, M, o, Ob, bb, XIV, G, GD Middle & Upper Dinosaur "[Two] partial skeletons without skulls, isolated postcranial remains" [23][38]
Giraffatitan[23] G. brancai Quarry Q, J, Ig, Y, St, dd, S, TL, XX, Ma, JR, Ng, Bo, To, p, t, Lw, D, N, ab, cc, X, IX, Z, T, Aa, l, E, XIV, II, G, e, Ki, No, R, F, XII, GD, XV, Sa, U, i Lower, Middle & Upper Dinosaur The new genus Giraffatitan was erected to hold the former Brachiosaurus species, B. brancai after scientists concluded that it was distinct enough from the Brachiosaurus type species, B. altithorax, to warrant such a reclassification.[39]
Giraffatitan DB
Janenschia J. robusta Quarry dd, P, IX, B, G, Oa, NB Middle & Upper Dinosaur Known from hindlimb and forelimb material, left pubis and two right ischia [23][40]
Tendaguria T. tanzaniensis Nambango site Upper Dinosaur "[Two] associated cranial dorsal vertebrae" A turiasaur[23][41]
Tornieria T. africanus Quarry St, k, MD, A, e, Sa Middle & Upper Dinosaur "More than [three] partial skeletons, a few skull elements, [and] many isolated postcranial elements" [23][42]
Wamweracaudia W. keranjei A sequence of caudal vertebrae [40]
Brachiosaurus B. brancai Mkoawa Mtwara "[Five] partial skeletons, more than [three] skulls, [and] isolated limb elements" B. brancai was distinct enough from the non-Tendaguru Brachiosaurus type species B. altithorax that it was moved to its own genus, Giraffatitan.[23][39][43]
B. fraasi Remains attributed to B. fraasi were later referred to B. brancai, and thus now Giraffatitan[23][39]
Diplodocinae indet. Indeterminate Kijenjere Upper Dinosaur Partial skull Belonging to a form that is closely related to Diplodocus[44]
Diplodocinae indet. - Tendaguru Formation
Diplodocidae indet. Indeterminate Kijenjere Upper Dinosaur Caudal vertebrae and metatarsal Originally referred to as "Barosaurus africanus"[45]
Diplodocidae indet. (Barosaurus africanus) - Tendaguru Formation
Diplodocidae indet. Indeterminate Trench XIV Upper Dinosaur Articulated pedes Possibly representing two different taxa[46]
Diplodocidae indet. - Tendaguru Formation
Flagellicaudata indet. Indeterminate Upper Dinosaur Braincase Referred to Flagellicaudata indet. based on the derived characters shared with this group[47]
Flagellicaudata indet. - braincase - Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania
Turiasauria indet. Indeterminate Teeth Teeth potential indicating a turiasaurian sauropod; a group currently only known from Europe. Presence in the Lourinhã Formation also support that this group would be present here given the similarity of the two faunas.[48]
"The Archbishop" [note 1]
The Archbishop.jpeg


Theropods reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Member Material Notes Images
Elaphrosaurus E. bambergi Quarry Ig, dd, ?RD Middle Dinosaur, ?Upper Dinosaur "Postcranial skeleton"[49] An elaphrosaurine noasaurid[23]
Ostafrikasaurus O. crassiserratus Quarry Om Upper Dinosaur "Tooth" The earliest known spinosaurid[50]
Ostafrikasaurus by PaleoGeek Variant 1
Veterupristisaurus V. milneri Quarry St Middle Dinosaur "Vertebrae" The earliest known carcharodontosaurid[51]
Veterupristisaurus milneri life restoration
?Allosaurus[23] ?A. "tendagurensis" Quarry TL A tibia[52] Remains now considered "Tetanurae indet."
Allosaurus tendagurensis
Ceratosaurus C. roechlingi Quarry St, MW Middle & Upper Dinosaur Caudal vertebra Remains now considered indeterminate[23]
Labrosaurus L. stechowi Quarry St, MW Middle Dinosaur Teeth Remains now considered indeterminate[23]
Megalosaurus M. ingens Quarry St, MW Upper Dinosaur Teeth Remains now considered indeterminate[23]


Group Fossils Member Notes Images
Crocodyliforms Bernissartia sp. Upper & Middle Dinosaur [29][53]
Bernissartia BW


Group Fossils Member Notes Images
Lissamphibia ?Salientia Middle Dinosaur [29]


Group Fossils Member Notes Images
Rhinobatoidea Engaibatis schultzei Upper Dinosaur [54]
Engaibatis schultzei - Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania
Semionotidae Lepidotes tendaguruensis Middle Dinosaur [29]
Lepidotes sp. Upper & Middle Dinosaur [55]
Lepidotes sp. - Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania
Hybodontidae Hybodus sp. Upper Dinosaur [56]
Hybodus sp. - Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania
Lonchidiidae Lonchidion sp. Upper Dinosaur [57]
Lonchidion sp. - Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania
Orthacodontidae Sphenodus sp. Upper Dinosaur [58]
Sphenodus sp. - Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania


Group Fossils Member
bold is defining
Notes Images
Gastropods Pseudomelania dietrichi Middle Dinosaur [19]
Promathildia sp. Middle Dinosaur [19]
Nerinella cutleri Nerinella [59]
Tendaguru Formation - invertebrates
Bivalves Eomiodon cutleri Upper Dinosaur [60]
Indotrigonia africana Indotrigonia africana [61]
Rutitrigonia bornhardti Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi [60]
Rutitrigonia schwarzi [60]
Acesta cutleri Lower Dinosaur [62]
Actinostreon hennigi Indotrigonia africana [63]
Entolium corneolum Lower Dinosaur [62]
Falcimytilus dietrichi Middle Dinosaur [19]
Grammatodon irritans Lower Dinosaur [62]
Indotrigonia dietrichi Lower Dinosaur [62]
Liostrea dubiensis, L. kindopeensis Indotrigonia africana [63]
Lithophaga suboblonga Indotrigonia africana [63]
Meleagrinella radiata Lower Dinosaur [62]
Nanogyra nana Lower Dinosaur [62]
Protocardia schenki Lower Dinosaur [62]
Seebachia janenschi Indotrigonia africana [17]
Corals Astrocoenia bernensis Indotrigonia africana [63]
Meandrophyllia oolithotithonica Indotrigonia africana [63]
Thamnoseris sp. Indotrigonia africana [63]
Ostracods Bythocypris sp. Middle Dinosaur [17]
Cypridea sp. Middle & Upper Dinosaur [17]


Group Fossils Member Notes Images
Araucariaceae Araucariacites Lower Dinosaur [64]
Cheirolepidiaceae Classopollis Indotrigonia africana
Lower Dinosaur
Cupressaceae Cupressinoxylon sp. Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi [65]
Cycadaceae Cycadoxylon sp. Indotrigonia africana [66]
Ginkgoaceae Ginkgoxylon sp. Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi [67]
Taxodiaceae Glyptostroboxylon sp. Middle Dinosaur [65]
Taxaceae Taxaceoxylon sp. Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi [67]
Prasinophyta Cymatiosphaera sp. Indotrigonia africana [68]
Zygnemataceae Ovoidites parvus Middle Dinosaur [68]
Dinoflagellates various Indotrigonia africana
Middle Dinosaur
Gymnosperm pollen various Indotrigonia africana
Middle Dinosaur
Pteridophytic and bryophytic spores various Indotrigonia africana
Middle Dinosaur

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ Formal description in preparation by Michael Taylor in 2019


  1. ^ Mateus, 2006, pp.223–232
  2. ^ Bussert et al., 2009, p.154
  3. ^ a b Bussert et al., 2009, p.142
  4. ^ Schwarz-Wings & Böhm, 2014, p.82
  5. ^ Bussert et al., 2009, p.152
  6. ^ Muhongo, 2013, p.28
  7. ^ Muhongo, 2013, p.8
  8. ^ Muhongo, 2013, p.33
  9. ^ Muhongo, 2013, p.3
  10. ^ Muhongo, 2013, p.17
  11. ^ Muhongo, 2013, p.22
  12. ^ Noto & Grossmann, 2010, p.7
  13. ^ Schrank, 1999, p.181
  14. ^ Noto & Grossmann, 2010, p.9
  15. ^ Arratia et al., 2002, p.227
  16. ^ a b Bussert et al., 2009, p.168
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bussert et al., 2009, p.167
  18. ^ a b Aberhan et al., 2002, p.32
  19. ^ a b c d Aberhan et al., 2002, p.33
  20. ^ Maier, 2003
  21. ^ a b Fraas, 1908
  22. ^ Cifelli, 2003, p.608
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Weishampel et al., 2004, p.552
  24. ^ Taylor, 2009, p.790
  25. ^ Mateus, 2006, p.1
  26. ^ Noto & Grossmann, 2010, p.3
  27. ^ Heinrich, 2004
  28. ^ a b Chimento et al., 2016
  29. ^ a b c d e Aberhan et al., 2002, p.30
  30. ^ Averianov & Martin, 2015, p.327
  31. ^ Heinrich, 1998, p.269
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h Barrett et al., 2008
  33. ^ a b Costa & Kellner, 2009, p.814
  34. ^ Galton, 1980
  35. ^ "Table 19.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.414
  36. ^ "Table 16.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.344
  37. ^ Remes, 2007
  38. ^ a b "Table 13.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.264
  39. ^ a b c Taylor, M.P., 2009, pp.787-806
  40. ^ a b Mannion et al., 2019
  41. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.261
  42. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.265
  43. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.267
  44. ^ Remes, 2009, p.26
  45. ^ Remes, 2009, p.28
  46. ^ Remes, 2009, p.30
  47. ^ Remes, 2009, p.34
  48. ^ Mateus et al., 2014
  49. ^ "Table 3.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.48
  50. ^ Buffetaut, 2012, p.2
  51. ^ Rauhut, 2011
  52. ^ "Table 4.1," in Weishampel et al., 2004, p.75
  53. ^ Bussert et al., 2009, p.164
  54. ^ Arratia et al., 2002, p.219
  55. ^ Arratia et al., 2002, p.224
  56. ^ Arratia et al., 2002, p.213
  57. ^ Arratia et al., 2002, p.216
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  59. ^ Bussert et al., 2009, p.159
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  62. ^ a b c d e f g Aberhan et al., 2002, p.27
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  64. ^ a b Aberhan et al., 2002, p.25
  65. ^ a b Kahlert et al., 1999, p.192
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  • Aberhan, Martin; Robert Bussert; Wolf-Dieter Heinrich; Eckhart Schrank; Stephan Schultka; Benjamin Sames; Jürgen Kriwet, and Saidi Kapilima. 2002. Palaeoecology and depositional environments of the Tendaguru Beds (Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, Tanzania). Fossil Record 5. 19–44. Accessed 2019-04-02. CC-BY icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  • Bussert, Robert; Wolf-Dieter Heinrich, and Martin Aberhan. 2009. The Tendaguru Formation (Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, southern Tanzania): definition, palaeoenvironments, and sequence stratigraphy. Fossil Record 12. 141–174. Accessed 2019-04-01.ISSN 1435-1943 CC-BY icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  • Muhongo, S. 2013. Tanzania: an emerging energy producer, 1–35. Chatham House, London. Accessed 2019-04-02.
1908 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 1908.


Australodocus (meaning "southern beam" from the Latin australis "southern" and the Greek dokos/δοκоς "beam") is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago, in what is now Tanzania. Though initially considered a diplodocid, recent analyses suggest it may instead be a titanosauriform.


Brancatherulum is an extinct genus of Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian - Tithonian) mammal from the Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania. It is based on a single toothless dentary 21 mm in length. It is currently considered either a stem-zatherian or dryolestidan.

Dinosaurs of Tendaguru

Dinosaurs of Tendaguru (original title: Dinosaria wa Tendaguru) is a Tanzanian book for young readers on natural history, focussing on the excavation of dinosaur fossils at Tendaguru in the Lindi Region of South Eastern Tanzania . It was written in the country’s official language Kiswahili by authors Cassian Magori and Charles Saanane, with illustrations by the German graphic artist Thomas Thiemeyer. This book was published in 1998 with the support of the Goethe-Institut in Dar es Salaam, the local branch of the German cultural institute, by E&D Vision Publishing, Tanzania.


Dysalotosaurus (meaning 'uncatchable lizard') is a genus of herbivorous iguanodontian dinosaur. It was a dryosaurid iguanodontian, and its fossils have been found in late Kimmeridgian age-rocks (Late Jurassic) of the Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania. The type and only species of the genus is D. lettowvorbecki. This species was named by Hans Virchow in 1919 in honour of the Imperial German Army Officer, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. For much of the 20th century the species was referred to related and approximately contemporary genus Dryosaurus, but newer studies reject this synonymy. In 2016, Gregory S. Paul estimated its length at 2.5 metres (8.2 ft), its weight at 80 kilograms (180 lb).

Eberhard Fraas

Eberhard Fraas (26 June 1862 – 6 March 1915) was a German scientist, geologist and paleontologist. He worked as a curator at the Stuttgarter Naturaliensammlung and discovered the dinosaurs of the Tendaguru formation in then German East Africa (now Tanzania). The dinosaur Efraasia is named after him.


Elaphrosaurus ( el-AH-froh-SOR-əs) is a genus of ceratosaurian theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 154 to 150 million years ago during the later part of the Jurassic Period in what is now Tanzania in Africa. Elaphrosaurus was a medium-sized but lightly built member of the group that could grow up to 6.2 m (20 ft) long. Morphologically, this dinosaur is significant in two ways. First, it has a relatively long trunk but is very shallow-chested for a theropod of its size. Second, it has very short hindlimbs when compared to its relatively long trunk. Phylogenetic analyses indicates that this genus is likely a ceratosaur, and earlier suggestions that it is a late surviving coelophysoid have been examined but generally dismissed. Elaphrosaurus is currently believed to be a very close relative of Limusaurus, an unusual beaked ceratosaurian which may have been herbivorous or omnivorous.


Giraffatitan (name meaning "titanic giraffe") is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic Period (Kimmeridgian–Tithonian stages). It was originally named as an African species of Brachiosaurus (B. brancai), but this has since been changed. Giraffatitan was for many decades known as the largest dinosaur but recent discoveries of several larger dinosaurs prove otherwise; giant titanosaurians appear to have surpassed Giraffatitan in terms of sheer mass. Also, the sauropod dinosaur Sauroposeidon is estimated to be taller and possibly heavier than Giraffatitan.

All size estimates for Giraffatitan are based on the specimen HMN SII, a subadult individual between 21.8–22.5 metres (72–74 ft) in length and about 12 meters (39 ft) tall. Mass estimates are varied and range from as little as 15 tonnes (17 short tons) to as much as 78.3 tonnes (86.3 short tons) but there is evidence supporting that these animals could grow larger; specimen HMN XV2, represented by a fibula 13% larger than the corresponding material on HMN SII, might have attained 26 metres (85 ft) in length or longer.


Janenschia (named after Werner Janensch) is a large herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania, Africa, 155 million years ago.


Kentrosaurus ( KEN-tro-SAWR-əs) is a genus of stegosaurian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Tanzania. The type species is K. aethiopicus, named and described by German palaeontologist Edwin Hennig in 1915. Often thought to be a "primitive" member of the Stegosauria, several recent cladistic analyses find it as more derived than many other stegosaurs, and a close relative of Stegosaurus from the North American Morrison Formation within the Stegosauridae.

Fossils of K. aethiopicus have been found only in the Tendaguru Formation, dated to the late Kimmeridgian and early Tithonian ages, about 152 million years ago. Hundreds of bones were unearthed by German expeditions to German East Africa between 1909 and 1912. Although no complete skeletons are known, the remains provided a nearly complete picture of the build of the animal.

Kentrosaurus generally measured around 4.5 metres (15 ft) in length as an adult, and weighed about one tonne (1.1 tons). It walked on all fours with straight hindlimbs. It had a small, elongated head with a beak used to bite off plant material that would be digested in a large gut. It had a, probably double, row of small plates running down its neck and back. These plates gradually merged into spikes on the hip and tail. The longest spikes were on the tail end and were used to actively defend the animal. There also was a long spike on each shoulder. The thigh bones come in two different types, suggesting that one sex was larger and more stout than the other.

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.

List of stratigraphic units with dinosaur trace fossils

This is a list of stratigraphic units dinosaur trace fossils have been recovered from. Although Dinosauria is a clade which includes the descendant taxon Aves (modern birds), this article covers only stratigraphic units containing Mesozoic forms. Units listed are all either formation rank or higher (e.g. group).


Mamenchisauridae is a family of sauropod dinosaurs known from the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous of Asia and Africa.


Ostafrikasaurus is a genus of spinosaurid theropod dinosaur known from the Jurassic of Tendaguru, southeastern Tanzania. It contains a single species, Ostafrikasaurus crassiserratus.


Paramacellodidae is an extinct family of scincomorph lizards that first appeared in the Middle Jurassic around 170 million years ago (Ma) and became extinct in the Early Cretaceous about 100 Ma. It was one of the earliest groups of lizards to have undergone an evolutionary radiation, with members found across the supercontinent Laurasia. The phylogenetic relationships and constituent species of Paramacellodidae are uncertain. Many studies regard it to be closely related to Scincoidea, a large group that includes skinks and their closest extinct relatives, and possibly also to Cordyoidea, a group that includes spinytail lizards and relatives. Like modern skinks, paramacelloidids had rectangular bony plates called osteoderms covering most of their bodies, including their backs, undersides, and tails. They also had short and robust limbs.The family was named in 1983 to include two well-known genera, Paramacellodus and Becklesius, from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous of Europe. A third genus, Sharovisaurus, was named in 1984 from the Late Jurassic of Kazakhstan, and a fourth, Mimobecklesisaurus, in 1985 from the Late Jurassic of China. Remains of Paramacellodus were later described from the Morrison Formation in Utah. Possible paramacellodid remains have also been found in Late Cretaceous deposits in Mongolia, as well as the Late Jurassic Tendaguru Formation in Tanzania, which would indicate that the family was also present in Gondwana. Three other early scincomorphs—Pseudosaurillus, Saurillodon, and Saurillus—have also commonly been referred to Paramacellodidae, although some recent phylogenetic studies find them to be non-paramacellodid scincomorphs. Collectively, paramacellodids and taxa formerly referred to Paramacellodidae may represent a paraphyletic grade of basal scincomorphs closely related to Scincoidea. In 2002, the newly named genus Atokasaurus from the Early Cretaceous Antlers Formation in Oklahoma was described as a "paramacellodid-grade" scincomorph to reflect this phylogenetic ambiguity.


Tenda may refer to:

Tende, a town in southeastern France and formerly part of Italy

Tenda, a character and tribe in the video game EarthBound

Construtora Tenda

Tendaguru Formation, fossil-rich formations in Tanzania

Tenda, ethnic group of Guinea-Bissau

Tenda, is a village in vaishali district of bihar in India


Tendaguria ( TEN-də-GEWR-ee-ə; meaning "the Tendaguru one") is a genus of herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Tanzania.


Veterupristisaurus is an extinct genus of carcharodontosaurid theropod dinosaur known from the Jurassic of Tendaguru, southeastern Tanzania.


Wamweracaudia is a large herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania, Africa, 155 million years ago.


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