vide Chapman & Brett-Surman, 1990
Anatotitan Brett-Surman in Chapman & Brett-Surman, 1990
(In Carpenter & Currie [Eds]. Dinosaur systematics. Approaches and perspectives.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York etc.: 177.
NcZ) "duck titan"
a-NAT-o-TIE-tan (Lat. anat- (anas) "duck" +
Gr. Titan, a mythical giant) (m)
named for its duckbill snout and great size; formerly called Anatosaurus copei,
a species now considered distinct from Edmontosaurus annectens.
The new generic name was suggested by Donald Baird. Cope's original type specimen (AMNH #5886)
is the source of the popular term "duckbilled dinosaur," a term Cope himself did not use,
however. In one of the great dinosaur finds of all time, two of Cope's collectors,
J. L. Wortman and R. S. Hill, unearthed a well preserved, almost complete hadrosaur skeleton
in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the summer of 1882. The skull and lower jaws were
virtually intact, providing the first good evidence for a startling looking creature,
quite distinct from the European Iguanodon, the former model for hadrosaurs.
Cope's 1883 description of the skull noted in particular the "double spoon-like bill"
that formed "a weak spatulate beak." Unfortunately, part of a bone on the inner lower jaw
was missing, leading Cope to conclude, in error, that the teeth were only "slightly attached,"
and that any attempt to eat branches of trees would "have scattered [the teeth] on the floor
of the mouth," thus inviting the mistaken notion that hadrosaurs were habitually
aquatic dinosaurs designed for dabbling after succulent water plants.
Cope called his new Lance age "spoonbill" Diclonius mirabilis,
claiming that Leidy had abandoned the generic name Trachodon in 1868.
It is not completely clear what taxonomic reasoning led Cope to use Leidy's old Judith River
species name mirabilis for the Lance find, or to substitute his own 1876 name
Diclonius--another Judith River form based only on teeth--as a synonym of Trachodon.
Questionable nomenclature aside, Cope established the key feature of the new animal
when he cited various bird resemblances in the skull: "The general form and appearance
of the skull, as seen in profile, is a good deal like that of a goose.
From above it has more the form of a rather short-billed spoonbill." As early as 1890,
however, the German textbook Elemente der Palaeontologie decribed the skull
of Cope's Diclonius as resembling "that of a gigantic duck."
Cope's original characterization of the genus as a "spoonbill dinosaur"
(the popular term used in the famous 1897 Century Magazine article "Strange Creatures
of the Past," based on interviews with Cope) was a perfectly apt description for
a flat-headed hadrosaur--yet the epithet "spoonbill" never stuck.
Cope's famous collection of fossil reptiles was purchased for the American Museum in 1899,
including his specimen of the "spoonbill dinosaur." In the meantime,
Marsh had made Cope's Diclonius a synonym of Leidy's Hadrosaurus in 1892,
a usage that was widely accepted until Hatcher (1902) argued for use of the name Trachodon.
The April-May 1901 issue of the American Museum Journal (forerunner to Natural History magazine)
carried a letter from the field by Barnum Brown, describing his new dinosaur finds
in Wyoming and Montana. An anonymous footnote to the letter identified Hadrosaurus
(= Cope's Diclonius) as the "Duck-billed dinosaur." This footnote seems to be
the earliest published use of the term (in English, at least),
and indicates that staff at the American Museum already favored "duckbilled dinosaur"
over Cope's original term "spoonbill dinosaur," perhaps by analogy with "duckbilled platypus."
The celebrated mounted pair of specimens in the American Museum made the "duckbilled dinosaur"
world famous, although the official scientific name assigned the form was
variously cited over the years as Diclonius mirabilis, Hadrosaurus mirabilis,
Trachodon mirabilis, Claosaurus annectens, Trachodon annectens,
Thespesius annectens, Anatosaurus copei, Anatosaurus annectens,
Edmontosaurus annectens, and, finally, Anatotitan copei!
The nontechnical term "duckbilled dinosaur" later was adopted to refer
to all varieties of hadrosaurs. Ornithopoda Hadrosauridae Hadrosaurinae L. Cret. NA.
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