Cetiosaurus Owen, 1842 [nomen conservandum]
Cetiosaurus Owen, 1841
(Proc. geol. Soc. London, 3, 460.
NcZ) "whale-like lizard"
SEE-tee-o-SAWR-us) (Gr. keteios "cetaceous" + Gr. sauros "lizard")* (m)
Owen explains: "on account of the vertebrae approximating in size and structure
to the vertebrae of the whale," with a coarse, cancellous texture similar to whalebone.
Owen (1875) defended his derivation from Greek keteios "whale-like, cetaceous" rather
than ketos "whale," and insisted on his original spelling, noting that:
"In framing this name the diphthong in keteios was dropped, as in 'pliocene,' 'miocene,' etc."
He therefore pronounced Cetiosaurus see-TIE-o-SAWR-us as his etymology demands,
not "SEE-tee-oo-SAWR-us" or "SEE-sho-SAWR-us" as many of his contemporaries did.
Owen originally described the genus as a giant marine crocodile "with carnivorous habits,
that it might keep in check the Crocodilians and Plesiosauri." Huxley suggested in 1869
that Cetiosaurus was an "Iguanodontid" dinosaur after examining a large femur
in the Oxford Museum. Prof. Phillips of the same institution gave a detailed description
of new material found in the Oxford region in 1870 and characterized the huge creature as
an upright terrestrial herbivore (though no evidence for its long neck was then available),
and thought it may have been "a marsh-loving or river-side animal."
Sauropoda Cetiosauridae M. - L. Jur. Eur. ?NAfr.
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