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ZAPALASAURUS

a plant-eating diplodocoid sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Argentina.
Pronunciation: ZAP-a-la-SOR-us
Meaning: Zapala (city) lizard
Author/s: Salgado et al. (2006)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Neuquén, Argentina
Chart Position: 495

Zapalasaurus bonapartei

Until 2006 most sauropods known from Argentina's Neuquén basin were titanosaurs, almost all of which came from the Upper Cretaceous, and diplodocoids—from the latest-Early Cretaceous of the same area—were represented solely by the weird critters known as rebbachisaurids.

For a short period of time these two families of lumbering plant munchers—the diplodocoids and titanosaurs—did co-exist, but by the Late Cretaceous the former, with their small, narrow-crowned teeth, were extinct and the latter were ruling the roost, probably for no other reason than they were better equipped to deal with the monumental Middle Cretaceous changes in native plant life.

However, Zapalasaurus fought for the honor of diplodocoids, and its discovery in the titanosaur-free Piedra Parada Member of the La Amarga Formation, and Amargasaurus before it, showed that diplodocoids were the dominant Neuquén mega-herbivores, but only during the Early-to-Middle Cretaceous.
(Bonaparte's Zapala Lizard)Etymology
Zapalasaurus is a derived from "Zapala" (a city in Neuquén Province, some 80 km to the north of the fossil's discovery site) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard).
The species epithet, bonapartei, honors holotype collector Dr. Jose Bonaparte "in recognition of his professional career, and to his important work in understanding Mesozoic vertebrates".
Discovery
The first remains of Zapalasaurus were discovered in the Piedro Parada Member of the La Amarga Formation, Puesto Morales, La Picaza, Neuquén Province, Argentina, by a joint commission of the Museo Argentina de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia,” of Buenos Aires, and the Museo “Prof. Dr. Juan A. Olsacher,” of Zapala, Neuquén, in 1995-1996. The holotype (Pv-6127-MOZ) is a neck (cervical) vertebra, 17 tail (caudal) vertebrae, a partial pelvis (a bit of the sacrum, the left ischium, a left pubis, a fragment of an ilium), an incomplete left thigh (femur) and a complete left shin (tibia). More material from the same specimen was discovered in 2004.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Cretaceous
Stage: Barremian-Aptian
Age range: 130-120 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: ?
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Herbivore
References
• Salgado L, IS Carvalho and AC Garrido (2006) "Zapalasaurus bonapartei, a new sauropod dinosaur from La Amarga Formation (Lower Cretaceous), northwestern Patagonia, Neuquén Province, Argentina".
• Coria RA and Salgado L (2005) "Mid-Cretaceous turnover of saurischian dinosaur communities: evidence from the Neuquén Basin" in "The Neuquen Basin, Argentina: A Case Study in Sequence Stratigraphy and Basin Dynamics" /uk.
• Fernández-Baldor FT, JI Canudo, P Huerta, D Montero, XP Suberbiola and L Salgado (2011) "Demandasaurus darwini, a new rebbachisaurid sauropod from the Early Cretaceous of the Iberian Peninsula".
• Fernando Novas (2009) "The Age of Dinosaurs in South America".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ZAPALASAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Aug 2017.
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