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Saturnalia, Atlasaurus, Zupaisaurus



To: dinosaur@usc.edu
From: Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org
Subject: Saturnalia, Atlasaurus, Zupaisaurus

The University of Washington Library just got their copy 
of the new Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences. 
Earth and Planetary Sciences. 1999(329) with two new 
dinosaurs previously mentioned on the mailing list. I 
thought I would give a short synopsis since this journal 
is hard to find.

Saturnalia tupiniquim
Langer, Abdala, Richter & Benton, 1999. A sauropodomorph 
dinosaur from the Upper Triassic (Carnian) of southern 
Brazil. Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences. Science 
de la terre and des planetes. 329:511-517.

Abstract--Three newly discovered skeletons from the 
Carnian red beds of the Santa Maria Formation, south 
Brazil, represent one of the oldest dinosaurs ever found. 
The new taxon, Saturnalia tupiniquim, is equivalent in age 
to the earliest dinosaurs from northwestern Argentine, 
being the oldest sauropodomorph dinosaur known from 
plentiful skeletal material. The record of Saturnalia, a 
1.5-m-lomg gracile plant-eating animal, indicates that, 
like other major dinosaur lineages, the first 
representatives of the mainly heavy-built sauropodomorphs 
were gracile animals. 

Etymology: Saturnalia (Latin equivalent of carnival, in 
reference to the feasting period when the paratypes were 
found);
tupiniquim, Portuguese word of indigenous - Guarani - 
origin, an endearing way of referring to native things 
from Brazil.

Holotype is a well preserved, semi-articulated skeleton, 
including most of the presacral vertebral series, both 
sides of the pectoral girdle, right humerus, partial right 
ulna, both sides of the pelvic girdle with the sacral 
series, left femur and most the right hand limb. Paratypes 
include the natural cast of a mandibular ramus bearing 
teeth, plus numerous post-cranial elements. Found on the 
outskirts of the city of Santa Maria, state of  Rio do 
Sul, Brazil, same locality in which the  type material for 
the cynodont Gomphodontosuchus Huene and archosaur 
Hoplitosuchus Huene were found. Classified as the "most 
basal member" known of the Sauropodomorpha.

Atlasaurus imelakei
Monbaron, D. A. Russell, & Taquet, 1999. Atlasaurus 
imelakei n.g., n.sp., a brachiosaurid-like sauropod from 
the Middle Jurassic of Morocco. Comptes Rendus de 
l'Academie des Sciences. Science de la terre and des 
planetes. 329:519-517.

Abstract--The nearly complete skeleton of a large sauropod 
discovered at Wawmda (High Central Atlas of Morocco) in 
strata of Bathonian-Callovian age represents a new taxon: 
Atlasaurus imelakei n.g., n.sp. The sauropod appears to be 
closer to Brachiosaurus than any other known known 
sauropod, but possesses (relative to the length of the 
dorsal vertebral column) a larger skull, shorter neck, 
longer tail and more elongated limbs. The presence of  
large sauropods of Middle Jurassic age is very important 
in understanding the history  and the evolution of these 
Mesozoic giants.

Etymology: Atlasaurus: Atlas, the mountain chain from 
Morocco and also Atlas, the giant
Imelake: (arabic)  giant

The description of the specimen is abridged and 
preliminary, and a fuller description will appear 
elsewhere. 

Zupaisaurus
Now that I have spread the news about two descriptions of 
dinosaurs I have at hand, I'm wondering if anyone has info 
about Zupaisaurus (don't know if the spelling is correct)--
this dinosaur was shown on the Discovery Channel Friday 
Nov. 12, 1999 on Discovery News. I can't recall anybody 
mentioning this find after the program aired. Zupaisaurus 
(said to mean "devil lizard"--I would guess from a local 
Native American language) is a large Late Triassic 
theropod from Argentina, similar in size to the Early 
Jurassic Dilophosaurus--7 feet tall with a skull 20 inches 
long. Andrea Arcucci showed the well preserved skull 
(still mostly in the matrix at this point) and indicated 
it was more closely related to Jurassic and Cretaceous 
theropods than to Triassic forms. Does anybody known more 
than the TV spot provided? Also, the news show announced 
that a 3-hour version of Walking with Dinosaurs would air 
on Discovery Channel April 16, 2000--sounds like the BBC 7-
part magnum opus was drastically edited for export.