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Jobaria tiguidensis: the worlds most medium sauropod...



Howdy,

The name of the In Abaka sauropod has finally been announced.  Back in 1994
when Sereno et al. first described _Afrovenator_ they also mentioned the
discovery of the remains of a new sauropod.  Today, at National Geographic
Explorers Hall, the name of this dinosaur was revealed: _Jobaria
tiguidensis_.  "Jobar" is apparently a creature from Tuareg legend; the
trivial nomen refers to a cliff near the dig.

As Wilson discussed at SVP, _Jobaria_ is probably the sister taxon to
Neosauropoda, and indeed he said it was hard to find autapomorphies on it.
If it had been found in the early  part of the Middle Jurassic, this
dinosaur might have made a very reasonable potential ancestor of all
advanced sauropods: as it is, though, it occurs too late in time
(Barremian).

Wilson also revealed at SVP that _Jobaria_ is known from VERY complete
specimens of various ontogenetic stages.  In completeness terms, it seems to
rival _Camarasaurus_ and _Diplodocus_ and thus surpass ALL other previously
named sauropods.

Much coolness, for the most medium sauropod of all.

(According to the press release at
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/events/releases/pr991111.html, _Jobaria_
is some 70 feet long (about 21 m for sensible people... :-).  My reference
to this dinosaur being the "most medium" has to do with its lack of unusual
specializations, not its size).

(Oh, and yes: technically I should wait until tomorrow to use _Jobaria_
rather than "Jobaria", but what is a few hours).

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843