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New basal sauropod Tazoudasaurus naimi (advance online publication)
New basal sauropod Tazoudasaurus naimi (advance online
In case this has not been mentioned here, the Articles in
Press for the Comptes Rendus Paleovol has a new dinosaur:
Ronan Allain, Najat Aquesbi, Jean Dejax, Christian Meyer,
Michel Monbaron, Christian Montenat, Philippe Richir,
Mohammed Rochdy, Dale Russell and Philippe Taquet .
A basal sauropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of
Comptes Rendus Palevol (online advance publication)
Available online 30 April 2004.
Continental strata of Early Jurassic age are seldom
exposed, and little is known of the history of sauropod
dinosaurs prior to the Middle Jurassic radiation of
neosauropods. Well-preserved skeletons and skulls have not
been recovered from strata older than the Middle Jurassic.
Here we report, in the Early Jurassic of the Moroccan High
Atlas, the discovery of the skeleton, including cranial
material, of a new vulcanodontid sauropod. Tazoudasaurus
naimi n.g., n.sp. represents with Vulcanodon the sister
group of the eusauropods and the most complete basal
sauropod material available to date. To cite this article:
R. Allain et al., C. R. Chimie 00 (2004).
Sauropodomorpha Huene, 1932
Sauropoda Marsh, 1878
Vulcanodontidae Cooper, 1984
Tazoudasaurus naimi gen. et sp. nov.
Etymology. Generic name is from the type locality of
Tazouda, plus sauros, Greek for lizard. Specific name from
naimi, Arabic, masculine, for slender, referring to the
small size of the holotype.
Holotype. To 2000-1, `Mus?e des Sciences de la Terre',
Rabat, Morocco, partially articulated skeleton and cranial
material including complete left mandible with teeth,
quadrate, jugal, postorbital, parietal, frontal and
Referred specimen. To 2000-2, associated remains of a
Locality and horizon. Douar of Tazouda near Toundoute
village in the Province of Ouarzazate, High Atlas of
Morocco. Toundoute overthrust, Toarcian continental
detrital series concordantly overlying early to middle
Lower Jurassic marine carbonates.
Diagnosis. A primitive sauropod displaying the following
autapomorphies: a thin bony plate extending from
posterodorsal margin of postorbital; distal chevrons
forked with unfused anterior and posterior processes,
prominent crest on the lateral surface of the proximal end
of the fibula. Moreover, Tazoudasaurus exhibits a unique
combination of sauropod synapomorphies (see below) and
sauropodomorph symplesiomorphies including: 20 dentary
teeth with denticulate crown margins; anterior end of the
dentary only slightly expanded relative to depth of
dentary at midlength ;dentaries meet in a V-shaped
symphysis; posterior fossa absent on quadrate; lesser
trochanter present laterally on femur; flat pubic apron;
plantar surface of pedal unguals II-III flattened.
As the most primitive and relatively completely known
sauropod, Tazoudasaurus augments our understanding of
basal sauropod features, and resets some previously
ambiguous eusauropod synapomorphies to the base of the
sauropod clade.Nevertheless, like Vulcanodon,
Tazoudasaurus still shares many primitive characters with
prosauropods, including the absence of quadratic fossa,
the slightly expanded anterior end of the dentary, the
high dentary-tooth count, the V-shaped tooth rows, the non-
overlapping tooth crowns, the lesser trochanter on the
femur, the anteriorly projecting tibial cnemial crest and
the long pedal phalanges.