Pronunciation: AM-pel-o-SOR-us Meaning: Vineyard Lizard Author/s: Le Loeuff (1995) Synonyms: None known First Discovery: C.s.Aude, France Chart Position: 323
Ampelosaurus is a member of Lithostrotia—meaning "paved with stones"—which is a group of titanosaurian sauropods typified by armour plates and scutes embedded in the skin of their backs and flanks. Its remains were initially meagre, which hampered research somewhat. But the later discovery of a relatively complete skeleton from "Campagne-sur-Aude" prompted a spurt of media interest that made Ampelosaurus France's most popular sauropod, and one of the most complete and understood sauropods from all of Europe.
EtymologyAmpelosaurus is derived from the Greek "ampelos" (vine) and "sauros" (lizard) alluding to the fossil site at the Blanquette de Limoux vineyards. Only a dinosaur from France could be called "the Vineyard Lizard"! The species epithet, atacis, is named after the nearby Aude River, which is known as "Atax" in Latin.
DiscoveryThe first remains of Ampelosaurus were discovered at the above mentioned vineyard within the Marnes Rouges Inferieures Formation, Campagne-sur-Aude, France, in 1989. The holotype, C3-247 - housed at the Musee de Dinosaurs of Esperaza, consists of three back (dorsal) vertebrae.