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DINODOCUS

a plant-eating sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of England.
Pronunciation: die-NOD-o-kus
Meaning: Terrible beam
Author/s: Owen (1884)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Kent, England
Chart Position: 44

Dinodocus mackesoni

The remains that would become Dinodocus were mentioned in passing in 1841 by Sir Richard Owen who thought they belonged to a "large marine crococodile" known as Polyptychodon. Still obsessed with the "large croc" notion, Owen released a poor description of the bones a decade later and officially named them Dinodocus when its dinosaurian affinities became apparent some 33 years after that. Richard Lydekker assigned Dinodocus to Sauropoda as a member of Cetiosauridae (along with Titanosaurus) in 1888 when Polyptychodon turned out to be a pliosaurian with very different limb bones. Then it was synonymised with Pelorosaurus in 1908 by A.S. Woodward who, like Harry Seeley before him, suspected the Wealden vertebrae known as Ornothopsis belonged to the same critter.

As noted by Owen himself, owing to the difficulty of extracting its fossils from their matrix they were "less characteristic" when they reached the British Museum than when he took the description and sketches of them on the spot where they were found, which is never a good thing. A 2004 review by Paul Upchurch concluded that its remains were too poor to be synonymising with anything. Dinodocus is dubious at best.
(Mackeson's Terrible beam) Etymology
Dinodocus is derived from the Greek "deinos" (terrible) and "dokos" (beam) referring to a long, slender humerus that Owen misidentified as a portion of the ilium and lower femur of a large crocodile. The species epithet, mackesoni, honors Mr. H. B. Mackeson (see below).
Discovery
The remains of Dinodocus were discovered in the Lower Green-sand Formation, near Hythe, Kent, England, by Mr H. B. Mackeson in 1840.
The holotype (NMHUK 14695) was listed by Owen as "portions of the corocoid, humerus and ulna, iliac, ischial and pubic bones, a large portion of the shaft of a femur, parts of a tibia and fibula, and several metatarsal bones".
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Cretaceous
Stage: Aptian-Albian
Age range: 125-100 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: ?
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Sauropodomorpha
Sauropoda
Dinodocus
mackesoni
References
• Owen R (1841) "Report on British Fossil Reptiles. Part II". Page 195. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 11th Meeting (1841).
• Owen R (1851) "A monograph on the fossil Reptilia of the Cretaceous formations. Part I". Page 47-55. London: Printed for the Palaeontographical Society.
• Owen R (1849–84a) "A history of British fossil reptiles. Volume 2". London: Cassell & Company Limited.
• Lydekker R (1888) "Catalogue of the Fossil Reptilia and Amphibia in the British Museum (Natural history). Part 1. Containing the Orders Ornithosauria, Crocodilia, Dinosauria, Squamata, Rhynchocephalia and Proterosauria". Page 132-136. British Museum (Natural History), London.
• Upchurch P, Barrett P M and Dodson P. (2004) "Sauropoda". Page 259-322 in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second edition". University of California Press, Berkeley.
• Woodward A S (May 1908) "Note on Dinodocus mackesoni, a cetiosaurian from the Lower Greensand of Kent". Geological Magazine 5(5): 204-206.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "DINODOCUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 16th Dec 2017.
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