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Crumbs .. Early Jurassic .. India .. Kota .. Herbivore .. Sauropoda ..


a herbivorous cetiosaurid sauropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of India.
Pronunciation: buh-RAH-pa-SOR-us
Meaning: Big-legged Lizard
Author/s: Jain, Kutty, et al. (1975)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Andhra Pradesh, India
Chart Position: 193

Barapasaurus tagorei

In 1959 one of the most primitive sauropods of all was unearthed in the Kota Formation at Pochampalli Village, Maharashtra, India, and when Jain, Kutty, Roy-Chowdhury and Chatterjee named it Barapasaurus — big legged lizard — a mere sixteen years later they weren't joking. But the "bigness" wasn't restricted to its legs.

Barapasaurus may have been the first sauropod to become truly huge but because it was around before "posh" sauropods developed their niche strategies and honed their new-fangled weight saving features it was a bit cumbersome, even by sauropod standards, because its bones were virtually solid with only the faintest whiff of hollowing.

Barapasaurus was afforded just a preliminary description in 1975, and we had to wait 35 years while paleontologists sifted through 300 bones from six individuals found scattered around a fossilized tree trunk-laden site before anyone so much as picked up a pen and wrote a new word about it. Funnily enough, there was no skull amongst these remains, and no feet either, but this sort of thing has never curbed scientists love of a wild stab in the dark. Experts reckon Barapasaurus may have been around 15 meters long, 4 meters high at the hip, and tipped the scales at a very respectable 14 tons. FYI, 63,503 weasels weigh exactly the same. Just sayin'.

Although not initially assigned to any particular family within Sauropoda, the first meaningful crack at cladistic analysis by Paul Upchurch in 1995 plonked Barapasaurus squarely in a group called Eusauropoda, albeit in a rather basal position. As it turns out, Barapasaurus is even more primitive than the archaic Vulcanodon, according to the latest review by Bandyopadhyay in 2010, and while it's still a "true" sauropod, in the sense that it's, well, a sauropod as opposed to a non-sauropod sauropodomorph or prosauropod, it is no longer classed as a member of Eusauropoda which literally means "the true sauropods". Go figure.
(Tagore's Big-Legged Lizard) Etymology
Barapasaurus is derived from the Bengali "bara" (big) and "pa" (leg), and the Greek "sauros" (lizard).
The species epithet, tagorei, honors the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.
The remains of Barapasaurus were discovered in a 276 meter square area of the Kota Formation in the vicinity of Pochampalli village, Maharashtra, India, in 1959, but they weren't described until 1975.
The holotype (ISI R. 50), plucked from a hotch-potch of 300 bones, is a distinctly narrow sacrum - a block of four fused sacral (hip) vertebrae which joins the last dorsal (back) vertebrae to the first caudal (tail) vertebrae. Of the skull, only three crowns and three whole teeth are known, the largest of which is 5.8 cm in height.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Jurassic
Stage: Hettangian-Toarcian
Age range: 199-175 mya
Est. max. length: 15 meters
Est. max. hip height: 4 meters
Est. max. weight: 14 tons
Diet: Herbivore
• S.L. Jain, T.S. Kutty, T. Roy-Chowdhury and S. Chatterjee (1975) "The sauropod from the Lower Jurassic Kota formation of India".
• S. Bandyopadhyay, D.D. Gillette, S. Ray and D.P. Sengupta (2009) "Osteology of Barapasaurus tagorei (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) from the Early Jurassic of India".
• Upchurch, Barrett, Dodson (2004) Chapter Thirteen "Sauropoda" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• K.C. Rogers and J. Wilson (2006) "The Sauropods: Evolution and Paleobiology".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "BARAPASAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 20th Jan 2017.