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a plant-eating somphospondyl sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Angola.
Pronunciation: an-GO-luh-TIE-tan
Meaning: Angola Giant
Author/s: Mateus et al. (2011)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Bengo Province, Angola
Chart Position: 628

Angolatitan adamastor

Angola had a rough trot since the 1960's when anti-colonial war broke out. Things should have been rosy from 1975 when it gained independence from Portugal, but within months the three guerrilla groups, who agreed to establish a transitional government, were knocking seven bells out of each other as the country was gripped by civil war.

After a dozen assassination attempts, elusive rebel leader Jonas Malheiro Savimbiright eventually met his match in the form of 17 bullets fired by government troops and a truce was reached in 2002. The life expectancy of its inhabitants is still at the wrong end of the world charts compared to its diamond trade and petrol reserves. But at least the country's doors are now open to the organised exploration of its diverse geology, which is great... if you're willing to take your chances amongst the hidden remnants of war.

By sheer luck, Octavio Mateus and crew managed to avoid the copious amounts of still-active landmines when they discovered the meagre remains of Angolatitan sticking out of a cliff at Iembe in 2005. During the Turonian this area was underwater, and scientists speculate that Angolatitan was washed out to sea then torn apart and eaten by sharks, which could explain why only a shoulder blade and partial forelimb have been found to date.

Notable for being a non-titanosaurian sauropod from a time when sub-Saharan Africa was taken to be dominated by titanosaurian sauropods, Angolatitan is Angola's first known non-bird dinosaur and first known Cretaceous terrestrial animal. However, when paleontologists liken the country to a "museum in the ground" and describe it as "the final frontier for palaeontology" you can bet your bottom dollar that it won't be the last.
Angolatitan is combines "Angola" (the country in which it was discovered) with the Greek "titan" (giant, after the giant primordial deities who were thorns in the side of the Olympian Gods, and vice-versa). The species epithet, adamastor, is named after a sea giant in Portuguese sailor's folklore. The story goes; Adamastor was once a giant of Olympus that was smitten by a sea nymph called Thetis, but she was repulsed by his size and hideous looks. Thetis' mother, Doris, arranged a romantic rendezvous between Adamastor and her daughter, but as she appeared and the amorous giant ran towards her, he found himself embracing a rock, at which point he was transformed into Table Mountain on the Cape of Storms, and henceforh terrorised sailors who dared to venture into his domain.
Octávio Mateus discovered Angolatitan in the "Tadi Beds" of the Itombe Formation near Iembe, municipality of Ambriz, Bengo Province, Angola, in 2005. Remains of fish and shark teeth proved that this area was once a marine environment.
The holotype is a partial right arm including a shoulder blade, the upper arm bone (humerus) - 110 centimetres long, two bones of the lower arm (the ulna and radius), and three "hand" bones (metacarpals).
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Turonian
Age range: 94-89 mya
Est. max. length: ?
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Herbivore
• Mateus O, LL Jacobs, AS Schulp, MJ Polcyn, TS Tavares, AB Neto, ML Morais and MT Antunes (2011) "Angolatitan adamastor, a new sauropod dinosaur and the first record from Angola". Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 83(1); 221-233
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ANGOLATITAN :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Feb 2018.