Vouivria is a genus of herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs, belonging to the Brachiosauridae, that lived in the area of present France during the Late Jurassic. The type species is Vouivria damparisensis.

Temporal range: Late Jurassic, Oxfordian
Middle cervical vertebra of Vouivria
Middle cervical vertebra
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Family: Brachiosauridae
Genus: Vouivria
Mannion, Allain & Moine, 2017
V. damparisensis
Binomial name
Vouivria damparisensis
Mannion, Allain & Moine, 2017


Excavation plan of Vouivria
Original excavation plan

In 1926, the Solvay company began to exploit a chalkstone quarry at Belvoye, near Damparis in Franche-Comté. In April 1934, workers noticed the presence of large fossil bones in the southeastern face of the quarry. A scapula was shown to foreman Koehret who notified the company engineers Verhas and Chardin. They advised director Étienne Haerens to immediately excavate the marl lens containing the remains. Paleontologists Jean Piveteau and Raymond Ciry were asked to supervise this effort. The excavation started in May and was finished on 22 June 1934.[1][2] The same year, baron Jean de Dorlodot published an article about the excavation process, considering most bones part of a single sauropod skeleton, washed into the sea by river flooding.[3]

The company donated the bones to the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle at Paris where preparator Pansard partly freed them from the rock matrix. In 1939, Albert-Félix de Lapparent began to study them in detail, benefiting from further preparation by Pansard. In 1943, de Lapparent published a description referring the sauropod bones to Bothriospondylus madagascariensis, a species based on fragmentary remains from Madagascar. Seven theropod teeth found among the bones he referred to Megalosaurus insignis.[1]

Humerus of Vouivria

By the 1980s, a consensus had developed that the skeleton had little to do with Bothriospondylus madagascariensis. It was referred to as the "French Bothriospondylus" or the "Damparis sauropod". As it was one of the most complete sauropod finds in France and of a considerable age, it was deemed important enough to be named as a separate taxon. In 2017, Philip D. Mannion, Ronan Allain and Olivier Moine named and described the type species Vouivria damparisensis. The generic name is a latinisation of French la vouivre — itself derived from Latin vipera, "adder" — a winged dragon or wyvern from local legend. French writer Marcel Aymé in 1941 dedicated a famous novel to this theme, La Vouivre, the creature taking the shape of a beautiful lady adorned with an enormous ruby.[4] The specific name refers to the provenance at Damparis. The naming article appeared in an electronic publication and therefore Life Science Identifiers were needed to make the name valid. These are B06BCF72-56A8-4DD6-BC27-CC0BA6D0092D for the genus and CCAA960C-6A39-46A4-8AC9-70D8BA816647 for the species.[4]

Vouivria NT
Life restoration

The holotype, MNHN.F.1934.6 DAM 1-42, was found in a layer of the Calcaires de Clerval, possibly the Tidalites de Mouchard member dating from the middle to late Oxfordian. Its age is likely between 163.5 and 157.3 million years. It consists of a partial skeleton lacking the skull. It contains five teeth, three neck vertebrae, two back vertebrae, the first four vertebrae of the sacrum, a front tail vertebra, ribs, both shoulderblades, the right coracoid, the right humerus, both ulnae, a right carpal, the first, second and third right metacarpals, the first phalanges of the first to fourth left fingers, two possible hand claws, the left pelvis, the right ischium, both thighbones, both shinbones, both calfbones, a left astragalus, the first left metatarsal and the first, second and third right metatarsals. The bones were recovered from a surface area of about thirty square metres. They were not articulated but roughly located in their natural position. From this it was concluded in 2017 that the animal had died in situ near a coastal lagoon, its weight forming a lens in soft chalkstone, and after an exposure of several years during which it was scavenged by theropods, was covered by a new chalk layer which protected the bones after hardening.[4]


Vouivria teeth

The body length of Vouivria has been estimated at fifteen metres, its weight at fifteen tonnes.[5] The thighbone length is 146 centimetres.[4]

The describing authors identified a number of distinguishing traits, autapomorphies or unique derived characters. Four of these distinguished Vouivria from all other known sauropods. In the middle and rear neck vertebrae, the spinopostzygapophyseal laminae, or SPOLs, ridges that run from the rear joint processes to the neural spine, thicken towards the rear near the top of the spine. In the third metacarpal of the hand, the ridge that runs along the inner rear corner of the shaft, if the bone is held vertically, splits at about a quarter of the shaft length measured from the top, the outer branch having the form of a bulge. The fourth metacarpal has a flange along the top third of the inner rear corner. Between the lower condyles of the thighbone, two transverse ridges run, at the border with the rear shaft.[4]

Also, two "local" autapomorphies were identified, that distinguished Vouvria from its nearest relatives in the Brachiosauridae. In the front tail vertebrae both the anterior centrodiapophyseal lamina (ACDL) and the posterior centrodiapophyseal lamina (PCDL), ridges that run on the front underside, respectively the rear underside, of the transverse process towards the vertebral body, are well-formed. The humerus or upper arm bone, has a deltopectoral crest, serving for the attachment of the musculus deltoideus and the pectoralis major, that doubles in transverse width to below.[4]


Already de Lapparent considered the specimen an exemplar of the Brachiosauridae. This was confirmed by a phylogenetic analysis in 2017, showing Vouivria to be a basal member of the Brachiosauridae, placed above Europasaurus and below Brachiosaurus altithorax in the evolutionary tree. If correct, this would make Vouivria the oldest known brachiosaurid and the oldest known member of the Titanosauriformes.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Lapparent, A.-F. de, 1943, "Les dinosauriens jurassiques de Damparis (Jura)", Mémoires de la Société Géologique de France (Nouvelle Série) 47: 1-20
  2. ^ Dreyfuss M., 1934, "Sur une roche à ossements de Sauriens", Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle du Doubs 44: 52-54
  3. ^ Dorlodot J. de, 1934, "L'exploration du gîte à dinosauriens jurassiques de Damparis", La Terre et la Vie 10: 563-586
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Philip D. Mannion, Ronan Allain & Olivier Moine, 2017, "The earliest known titanosauriform sauropod dinosaur and the evolution of Brachiosauridae", PeerJ 5: e3217 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3217
  5. ^ Imperial College London. "Earliest relative of Brachiosaurus dinosaur found in France: Scientists have re-examined an overlooked museum fossil and discovered that it is the earliest known member of the titanosauriform family of dinosaurs." ScienceDaily, 2 May 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170502084043.htm>

Bothriospondylus ("excavated vertebra") is a dubious genus of sauropod dinosaur. It lived during the Late Jurassic.


The Brachiosauridae ("arm lizards", from Greek brachion (βραχίων) = "arm" and sauros = "lizard") are a family or clade of herbivorous, quadrupedal sauropod dinosaurs. Brachiosaurids had long necks that enabled them to access the leaves of tall trees that other sauropods would have been unable to reach. In addition, they possessed thick spoon-shaped teeth which helped them to consume tough plants more efficiently than other sauropods. They have also been characterized by a few unique traits or synapomorphies; dorsal vertebrae with 'rod-like' transverse processes and an ischium with an abbreviated pubic peduncle.Brachiosaurus is one of the best-known members of the Brachiosauridae, and was once thought to be the largest land animal to ever live. Brachiosaurids thrived in the regions which are now North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. They first appear in the fossil record in the Late Jurassic Period and disappear in the late Early Cretaceous Period. The broad distribution of Brachiosauridae in both northern and southern continents suggests that the group originated prior to the breakup of Pangaea. In the Early Cretaceous the distribution of the group is dramatically reduced. It is still unclear whether this reduction is due to local extinctions or to the limited nature of the Early Cretaceous fossil record.Brachiosauridae has been defined as all titanosauriforms that are more closely related to Brachiosaurus than to Saltasaurus. It is one of the three main groups of the clade Titanosauriformes, which also includes the Euhelopodidae and the Titanosauria.


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 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.


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


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


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 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 (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.


Lapparentosaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic. Its fossils were found in Madagascar.

In 1895 Richard Lydekker named a new species of Bothriospondylus, B. madagascariensis based on fossils found before 1894 by J.T. Last in the Majunga Basin in layers of the Bathonian, the Isalo III Formation. Because there was no real connection with this English form, in 1986 José Fernando Bonaparte named a separate genus. The type species, the only known, is Lapparentosaurus madagascariensis. The generic name honours Albert-Félix de Lapparent. The holotype assigned by Bonaparte, MAA 91-92, consists of two neural arches. Much more abundant material has been referred, from at least three but perhaps as much as ten individuals from different growth stages. This includes vertebrae and limb elements but no skulls. The species is still lacking a good description and diagnosis. It should not be confused with ?Bothriospondylus madagascariensis, a distinct taxon now named Vouivria.

Age determination studies performed using growth ring counts suggest that this sauropod took 31–45 years to reach sexual maturity and was relatively fast-growing given the presence of a large amount of fibrolamellar bone.


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


Ruyangosaurus (Ruyang County lizard) is a genus of titanosauriform sauropod dinosaur recovered from the Early Cretaceous Haoling Formation of China. The type species is R. giganteus, described in 2009 by Lü Junchang et al. Along with Huanghetitan and Daxiatitan, Ruyangosaurus is among the largest dinosaurs discovered in Cretaceous Asia.


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 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 (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.


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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