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[dinosaur] Aeolosaurus + Ingentia + Mary Anning + Protorosaurus + more

Ben Creisler

Some recent items:

The Earliest Sauropodomorph Giant | New species reported this week



Missed It? | Full list of the 61 paleontological papers published this week



Paleontological papers on the news this week



Missed It? | News from around the world published this week




Your Friends The Titanosaurs, part 2: Aeolosaurus



Ingentia prima, the first giant



More details on recent Gobi expedition...

Hong Kong dinosaur hunters make amazing discoveries in Mongolia while retracing steps of famous 1920s explorer (with video)
Almost a century after Roy Chapman Andrews led an expedition across the Gobi Desert and uncovered the first nest of dinosaur eggs ever found, Explorers Club Hong Kong employs NASA technologies to see what is left to discover



New fossil dig in Torrelara turns up more remains of sauropod, including limb bones and vertebrae, after only four days (with video) (in Spanish)



Iguanodont hand (for Magnamanus soriaensis)Â is "specimen" for the months of July, August, and September for the Museo Numantino (in Spanish)



'Ferocious' new Kourisodon mosasaur skeleton coming to Morden Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre






Mary Anning and Fossil Hunting (BBC radio Science Stories broadcast (with download))



New Geologic Time Stratigraphic Chart for 2018



Protorosaurus model installed in Kupfersuhl, Germany, where historic fossil was found in 1706

A life-size model of Protorosaurus has been installed in the town center of Kupfersuhl, along with a large information panel sign. See this free issue of the local newsletter with a photo on the cover and text coverage on pages 6 and 7. (in German)


[A recent news story (posted back in May) in German noted the commemoration of 750 years for the town ofÂKupfersuhl, site ofÂthe discovery of the first described skeleton of Protorosaurus deep in a copper mine in 1706, and plans to have a model.ÂÂ

http://eisenach.thueringer-allgemeine.de/web/eisenach/startseite/detail/-/specific/Aelteste-fossile-Saurier-in-Kupfersuhls-Tiefe-entdeckt-1143791353Â ]

The "disquisition" on the find published by Christian Maximilian Spener in 1710 is often considered the first true scientific description of a fossil reptile. Spener concluded the object found in Kupfersuhl was not a "sport of nature" (a then still common interpretation of fossils) but a real crocodile that evidently had been carried from the Nile all the way to Germany by the Great Flood, where its skeleton had metalized in the ground and was petrified in rock in the copper slates.Â

Spener's original description in Latin is here:

Spener, Christian M. 1710. Disquisitio de crocodilo in lapide scissili expresso, aliisque Lithozois. Miscellanea berolinensia ad incrementum scientiarum, ex scriptis Societatiregiae scientiarum exhibitis. 1: 92-110, figs 24-32.



French translation of parts of Spener's Latin text:

Jean Gaudant. 2010 Il y a trois siÃcles, lâirruption dâun âcrocodileâ dans le bestiaire fossile. Travaux du Comità franÃais dâHistoire de la GÃologie, Comità franÃais dâHistoire de la GÃologie, 2010, 3Ãme sÃrie(tome 24), pp.173-184. <hal-00913952>



Cuvier later reclassified the animal (by then known from additional fossils) as the "monitor of Thuringia."Â

<<On ne comptera donc plus les animaux de Spener et de Linck parmi les crocodiles, ni celui de Swedenborg parmi les guenons ou les sapajous; mais on les rangera tous parmi les monitors ou tupinambis.>>Â (pg. 110)

Cuvier, G. 1808. Sur les ossements fossiles de crocodiles: et particuliÃrement sur ceux des environs du Havre et de Honfleur, avec des remarques sur les squelettes des Sauriens de la Thuringe. Annales du MusÃum d'histoire naturelle 12: 73-110




Hermann von Meyer famously considered it a completely new form of extinct reptile based on a number of distinctive features and named the creature Protorosaurus in 1829, and officially as Protorosaurus speneri in 1832.Â


The original specimen of Protorosaurus from Kupfersuhl ended up in the Royal College of Surgeons collection in London, where it survived heavy bomb damage to the building in WWII (the type specimens of some other fossils (such as Massospondylus) were destroyed). For more on the history of the specimen, see the webpage from the Royal College:



Hermann von Meyer published a monograph on Protorosaurus in 1856, but allegedly did not clearly designate a type specimen. He was not able to examine the Royal College specimen himself.

Meyer, Hermann von (1856)
Saurier aus dem Kupferschiefer der Zechstein-Formation : mit neun Tafeln Abbildungen.[Saurians from the Copper Slates of the Zechstein Formation: with nine plate illustrations]ÂÂ
Zur Fauna der Vorwelt 3; Frankfurt am Main: Keller : pp. 28

full text online:



Seeley treated the Royal College specimen from Kupfersuhl as the holotype in 1887:

Seeley, Henry G. 1887. On Protorosaurus speneri (von Meyer). I. In: Researches on the Structure, Organization, and Classification of the Fossil Reptilia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences. 178 (b): 18



Gottmann-Quesada and Sander (2009), however, designated the specimen now in Vienna as the lectotype. The fossilÂwas described in Latin (with an illustration) by the Swedish philosopher Swedenborg in 1734, who, according to some translations, thought it might be a monkey ("felis marina" = Meerkatze?? [German for monkey]).Â

GOTTMANN-QUESADA, A., SANDER, M. T. (2009). A redescription of the early archosauromorph Protorosaurus speneri Meyer, 1832, and its phylogenetic relationships. Palaeontographica, (A), 287 (4-6), p. 123-220.

Full pdf on Research Gate:



For some discussion of what Swedenborg meant by "felis marina," see:





Martin Kroniger creates life-size models of prehistoric animals, often sculpted over a steel frame, sometimes simply out of cement, making the outdoor replicas sturdy enough to be hands-on kid-friendly (even for climbing or sitting on some cases). The heavier build makes the Kupfersuhl Protorosaurus look rather chunky but chummy. (In some ways, the tradition goes back to Waterhouse Hawkins and the Crystal Palace sculptures.)

Kroniger's outdoor sculptures of prehistoric "saurians" are featured in recreational-educational Saurier-Erlebnispfade [saurian adventure trails] in parts of Germany, where life-size sculptures of ancient reptiles and amphibians from Germany are installed in park surroundings, often with plaques or panels that provide explanatory texts.



Unfortunately, vandalism has been a problem on the trails. A pair of Seymouria models nicknamed the <<Tambacher Liebespaar>> [Tambach Loving Couple] (based on two complete Seymouria fossils found together in 1997) was stolen from a saurian adventure trail and had to be replaced a few years back. With luck, the new Protorosaurus model will stay in place!