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EOPLOPHYSIS

a dubious plant-eating stegosaurid dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of England.
Pronunciation: EE-oh-plo-FY-sis
Meaning: Dawn armed form
Author/s: Ulansky (2014)
Synonyms: Omosaurus vetustus (Huene, 1910)
First Discovery: Oxfordshire, England
Chart Position: 736

Eoplophysis vetustus

Like most stegosaurs from the Jurassic of Europe, the remains that would become Eoplophysis were farcically fragmentary. They were also assigned to not one, nor two, but three separate critters before being afforded a standalone name. But as we write, it's still causing mischief.

Based on a thighbone (OUM J.14000) from the Cornbrash Formation of Enslow Bridge, but perhaps churned-up from the older and more fossil-rich Forest Marble given its battered state, Eoplophysis vetustus was initially assigned to Omosaurus (as Omosaurus vetustus) by Friedrich von Huene in 1910. That in itself is strange because Lucas realised that a crocodile had already snaffled the name Omosaurus (Omosaurus perplexus, Leidy 1856) and had renamed "Omosaurus" the dinosaur Dacentrurus in 1902. Nevertheless, Omosaurus vetustus eventually made its way to Dacentrurus 62 years later courtesy of Oscar Kuhn, but it was only there for 21 years before Peter Malcolm Galton tentatively referred its remains to Lexovisaurus as Lexovisaurus vetustus.

Galton's reservations were justified as the dinosaurian equivalent of the Bible (the Dinosauria II) rejected his theory, merely listing Lexovisaurus vetustus alongside a big fat question mark to highlight its dubiosity, and ditto for Omosaurus vetustus. Just to be sure, Susannah Maidment and colleagues reviewed the anchor of Lexovisaurus (Lexovisaurus durobrivensis) in 2008 and found its holotype to be dubious and therefore in no position to be accepting new species. Furthermore, they realised that the sole bone of Omosaurus vetustus (the thigh, OUM J.14000) sported features of both sauropods and stegosaurs but none that were exclusive to the latter, and thus it was consigned to the dinosaur graveyard—"Dinosauria indet". This was the end of the story as far as professional paleontologists were concerned, but someone less qualified had other ideas.

In 2014, freelance "paleontologist" Roman Ulansky rode roughshod over "Zoobank" (the repository for official dinosaur names) and raised new taxa left, right, and center. Amongst 12 in total, he coined Eoplophysis for Lexovisaurus vetustus, having concluded that OUM J.14000 was distinct from other stegosaurs, and not just because it probably isn't one. Worse still, he referred other Bathonian-age stegosaur remains from the UK to it based on little more than a whim. The vast majority of paleontologists have criticized Ulansky for assigning new names to species that have already been dismissed as dubious in respected publications and refuse to take them seriously because his serial self-publishing really gets their goat.
In any case, how can you trust a dinosaur with "plop" in its name?
(Ancient dawn armoured form)Etymology
Eoplophysis is derived from the Greek "eo" (dawn), "hoplon" (a heavy shield carried by the Greek infantry known as "Hoplites"), and "physis" (form).
The species epithet, vetustus, means "ancient" in Latin.
Discovery
The remains of Eoplophysis were discovered in the Cornbrash Formation at Enslow Bridge, near Oxford, England. The holotype (OUM J.14000) is a juvenile right thigh, 60cm in length.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Middle Jurassic
Stage: Bathonian
Age range: 166 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: ?
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Thyreophora
Stegosauria
Stegosauridae
Eoplophysis
vetustus
References
• Huene (1910) "Über den ältesten Rest von Omosaurus (Dacentrurus) im englischen Dogger [On the oldest remains of Omosaurus (Dacentrurus) from the English Dogger]".
Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paläontologie 1910(1):75-78.
• Lucas F.A. (1902) "Paleontological notes. The generic name Omosaurus: A new generic name for Stegosaurus marshi".
• Kuhn O. (1964) Ornithischia: Fossilium Catalogus, I: Animalia, Pars 105, pp 1-80.
• Galton P.M. and Powell H.P. (1983) "Stegosaurian dinosaurs from the Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) of England, the earliest record of the family Stegosauridae".
• Maidment S.C.R, Norman D.B, Barrett P.M, Upchurch P. (2008) "Systematics and phylogeny of Stegosauria (Dinosauria: Ornithischia)".
• Ulansky R.E. (2014) "Evolution of the stegosaurs (Dinosauria; Ornithischia)". Dinologia, 35 pp. [in Russian].
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "EOPLOPHYSIS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 18th Dec 2017.
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