Pronunciation: zal-MOCH-seez Meaning: for Zalmoxis (Dacian deity) Author/s: Weishampel et al. (2003) Synonyms: See below First Discovery: Hunedoara, Romania Chart Position: 423
EtymologyZalmoxes is named for Zalmoxis—also known as Salmoxis, Beleizis or Gebeleizis, and perhaps adopted by the Celts under the name Belenos—who was apparently a Romanian slave of the Greek teacher Phythagoras on the island of Samos. He was freed, returned home to Dacia (an ancient European land that includes present Romania) where he ammassed great riches, and built a huge hall for feasting and frivolity where he would enteratain noblefolk and fill their heads with notions of immortality and eternal wealth. Then he buried himself for four years in an undeground tomb, emerged unscathed to prove his point, and was inducted into the Dacian pantheon as God of the mysteries and the underworld. Now aloof, it was utterly important that the Dacian folk get messages to their favourite deity every four years, and bearing in mind the high regard with which Godly messengers were held in other cultures, such as Hermes to the Greeks, the mail-man was the job to have. So to whittle-down the overwhelming number of applicants the village folk would throw them one by one high into the air, then catch them, on the business-end of their spears! Anyone who survived was deemed unworthy of the task and appointments were made on a "die first and the job is yours" basis. Zalmoxes the dinosaur was entombed for more than a measely four years, but when Franz Nopcsa released it from its subterranean crypt in the twilight of the 19th Century it likewise attained immortality, in a literary sense.
The species epithet, robustus, means "robust" in Latin.
DiscoveryThe first remains of Zalmoxes were discovered in the Sânpetru Formation, Hațeg (say "Hat-zeg") Basin, Hunedoara County, Romania, in 1897 by Farenc Nopcsa who named them Mochlodon robustum in 1902.
The holotype (BMNH R3392) a right dentary (tooth-bearing bone of the lower jaw).