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PLATEOSAURUS

a plant-eating plateosaurid sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Late Triassic of Germany.
Pronunciation: PLAT-ee-o-SOR-us
Meaning: Broad lizard
Author/s: von Meyer (1837)
Synonyms: See below
First Discovery: Heroldsberg, Germany
Chart Position: 5

Plateosaurus engelhardti

Etymology
The name Plateosaurus is shrouded in mystery because the original author didn't provide a meaning for what he had in mind. It has been variously decribed as stemming from the Greek "Plata" (flat), "Platy" (paddle), and "plateia" (broadway), with some sources going so far as suggesting they all allude to its broad teeth... which were unknown at the time it was named! Plateosaurus is probably derived from the Greek "platos" (breadth, width, bulk) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard), based on the size of its original remains.
The species epithet, engelhardti, honors Johann Friedrich Engelhardt.
Synonyms
Dimodosaurus (Pidancet & Chopard, 1862)
Gresslyosaurus (Rütimeyer, 1856)
Pachysaurops (von Huene, 1961)
Pachysaurus (von Huene, 1907–1908)
Pachysauriscus (Kuhn, 1959)
Sellosaurus? (von Huene, 1907–1908)
Discovery
The first fossils of Plateosaurus were discovered in a Trossingen Formation clay pit about 2 km South of Heroldsberg, Feuerletten, NE Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, by chemistry teacher Dr. Johann Friedrich Philipp Engelhardt in the summer of 1834. Although not assigned as holotype, a set of hip vertebrae (UEN 552) that von Meyer referred to explicitly when discussing the distinctiveness of Plateosaurus in his initial description were nominated as neotype by Markus Moser in 2003.
Since then, Galton petitioned the ICZN to install an almost complete skull and skeleton (SMNS 13200), which has a tumultuous history itself, as replacement neotype because he considers all Plateosaurus engelhardti remains to be either non-diagnostic or "unidentifiable". Although long thought of as the unofficial Plateosaurus holotype, that specimen belongs to an altogether different species — Plateosaurus trossingensis (Fraas, 1913) — which was itself considered a nomen nudum by von Huene. On top of that, he changed its epithet to fraasianus for its official description in 1932 due to concerns over a possible confusion with Teratosaurus trossingensis, which was unnecessary.
Given that a holotype of one valid species cannot act as neotype of another, Galton pushed to have SMNS 13200 installed as the new Plateosaurus name-bearer entirely. But some paleontologists were far from impressed by this proposed course of action, and the ICZN have yet to make a decision one way or the other.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Triassic
Stage: Norian
Age range: 228-209 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 8.5 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 2 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Sauropodomorpha
Plateosauridae
Plateosaurus
engelhardti
References
• von Meyer H (1837) Mittheilungen, an Professor Bronn gerichtet [Communications, sent to Professor Bronn].
• Galton PM (2001) "The prosauropod dinosaur Plateosaurus Meyer, 1837 (Saurischia: Sauropodomorpha; Upper Triassic). II. Notes on the referred species".
• Moser M (2003) "Plateosaurus engelhardti Meyer, 1837 (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha) from the Feuerletten (Mittelkeuper; Obertrias) of Bavaria".
• Hurum JH, Bergan M, Müller R, Nystuen JP and Klein N (2006) "A Late Triassic dinosaur bone, offshore Norway".
• Carpenter K and Currie PJ (1990) "Dinosaur Systematics: Approaches and Perspectives".
• Brett-Surman MK, Dr. Holtz TR Jnr. and Farlow JO (2012) "The Complete Dinosaur: Second Edition".
• Mallison Heinrich (2010) "The digital Plateosaurus II: An assessment of the range of motion of the limbs and vertebral column and of previous reconstructions using a digital skeletal mount".
• Galton PM (2012) "Plateosaurus engelhardti Meyer, 1837 (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha): proposed replacement of unidentifiable name-bearing type by a neotype".
• Reiss S and Mallison H (2014) "Motion range of the manus of Plateosaurus engelhardti von Meyer, 1837".
• Button DJ, Barrett PM and Rayfield EJ (2016) "Comparative cranial myology and biomechanics of Plateosaurus and Camarasaurus and evolution of the sauropod feeding apparatus". Palaeontology, 59: 887–913. doi:10.1111/pala.12266.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "PLATEOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 22nd Oct 2017.
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