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Categories: SauropodaHerbivoreEgyptBaharijaLate Cretaceous

AEGYPTOSAURUS

Pronunciation: ee-JIP-toe-SOR-us
Meaning: Egyptian lizard
Author: Stromer (1932)
Synonyms: None known
First discovery: Marsah Matruh, Egypt
Roar factor: 3/10

Aegyptosaurus baharijensis

Aegyptosaurus is a titanosaur that takes its name from its place of discovery—Egypt. We know there is no "A" in Egypt. And the customary Greek term from which its name derives (Aigyptos) doesn't have an "E". Heck, as far as we know the Egyptian alphabet lacks written vowels altogether, but this Late Cretaceous sauropod is no stranger to mystery, and the odd extra letter is the least of its worries.

The vertebrae and limb bones that would become Aegyptosaurus were found at Bahariya Oasis by Baron Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach way back in 1939 so it isn't unreasonable to assume that he and other paleontologists have spent many a year scrutinizing them and compiling info to share with the public. They haven't. But, to be fair, there was a slight hitch. Stromer carted his discoveries back to Germany for study when—POW!—WWII allied forces bombed their Munich Museum home, accidently, in 1944 and all of its fossils, including those of Aegyptosaurus and Spinosaurus, went up in smoke. With new remains a little shy of presenting themselves the Baron's 60-year-old notes had to be relied upon to garner what we know but, sadly, what we know is not a lot.

We know that Aegyptosaurus is a titanosaur, and we also know that Titan means "giant" but Aegyptosaurus wasn't. At around sixteen meters long and a fairly modest fourteen tons in weight, you don't need to leave Egypt to find a bigger one (Paralititan was thrice the weight and almost twice as long). And we know that its remains include an unusually long humerus, like those of the same area's Giraffatitan which, confusingly, isn't a titanosaur but a brachiosaurid.

With so much uncertainty surrounding Aegyptosaurus, geologists from Pennsylvania felt compelled to travel back to Bahariya in 1999 and were so committed to retracing Stromer's steps that they painstakingly matched descriptions from his notes to actual landmarks as they went along. Remarkably, they managed to pinpoint some of his quarries and discovered a hotchpotch of remnants belonging to turtles, crocodiles, gastropods, possibly Spinosaurus and, just maybe, Aegyptosaurus. That was eleven years ago as of 2010, and we still haven't seen hide nor hair of new info. No news is often good news but, we have a sneaking suspicion, not on this occasion.
Etymology
Aegyptosaurus is derived from the Greek "Aigyptos" (Egypt) and "sauros" (lizard).
The species epithet, baharijensis, menas "from Bahariya" in Latin, referring to its discovery in the Bahariya (aka Bahrija) formation.
Discovery
The remains of Aegyptosaurus were discovered in the Baharija Formation at Marsa Matruh, 524km northwest of Egypt's capital Cairo, in 1932.
The Holotype (1912VIII61) consists of three caudal (tail) vertebrae, a partial scapula (shoulder blade), and some limb bones.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Period: Late Cretaceous
Timespan: 99-94 million years ago
Age: Cenomanian
Vital Stats:
Est. Max. Length: 16 meters
Est. Max. Height: ?
Est. Max. Weight: 14 tons
Diet: Herbivorous
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Sauropodomorpha
Sauropoda
Titanosauria
Aegyptosaurus
baharijensis
References
• Stromer, E. (1932a) Ergebnisse der Forschungsreisen Prof. E. Stromers in den Wüsten Ägyptens. II. Wirbeltierreste der Baharîje-Stufe (unterstes Cenoman). 11. Sauropoda. Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Abteilung, Neue Folge, 10: 1-21.
• A. F. d. Lapparent (1960) "Les Dinosauriens du "Continental intercalaire" du Saharal central [The dinosaurs of the "Continental Intercalaire" of the central Sahara]".
• W.E. Nothdurft and J. Smith (2003) "The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt".
                    
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, Lee (DinoChecker) "AEGYPTOSAURUS: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
http://www.dinochecker.com/dinosaurs/AEGYPTOSAURUS›. Web access: 20th Dec 2014.