Atlasaurus Monbaron, D. A. Russell & Taquet, 1999
Atlasaurus Monbaron, Russell & Taquet, 1999
(C R Acad Sci Ser II A Sci Terre Planetes 329 (7), 15 Octobre: 520.
NcZ) "Atlas lizard"
AT-luh-SAWR-us (Atlas, a giant who held up the heavens according to Greek
mythology + Gr. sauros "lizard") (m) named for the type location in the Atlas Mountains
of Morocco (spot at which the Titan Atlas was said to hold up the heavens),
and for the animal's gigantic size. Atlasaurus is a moderately large (about 15 m
(50 ft) long) sauropod, known from a nearly complete skeleton with skull found at Wawmda,
in the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian-Callovian) Tiougguit Formation, Azilal Province,
High Atlas of Morocco. A relatively primitive sauropod identified as a "cetiosaur"
when first discovered in 1981, Atlasaurus appears to be closer to Brachiosaurus
than to any other known sauropod based on detailed similarities between the vertebral column
and limbs. It differs from Brachiosaurus, relative to the estimated length of the dorsal
vertebral column (assuming 12 vertebrae, 3.04 m)), in having a proportionately larger skull,
a shorter neck (with at least 13 cervical vertebrae, shorter and more uniform in length than
in Brachiosaurus), a longer tail and more elongated limbs (humerus to femur ratio: 0.99;
ulna to tibia ratio: 1.15). The lower jaw is about 69 cm long; the neck about 3.86 m long;
humerus 1.95 m long; femur about 2 m long; total estimated length: around 15 m (50 ft);
estimated weight: 22.5 metric tons. The teeth are spoon-shaped and have denticles.
Type Species: Atlasaurus imelakei [ee-me-LAH-kay-ie] Monbaron, Russell & Taquet, 1999:
from Arabic Imelake, name of a giant; for a large animal found in North Africa.
Sauropoda Eusauropoda Middle Jurassic (Bathonian-Callovian) NAfr. [added 11/99]
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