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DACENTRURUS

a plant-eating stegosaurid thyreophoran dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Europe.
dacentrurus.png
Pronunciation: da-sen-TROOR-us
Meaning: Very sharp tail
Author/s: Lucas (1902)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Wiltshire, England
Chart Position: 60

Dacentrurus armatus

Dacentrurus—one of the biggest stegosaurs but unfathomably referred to as small in much of the literature—was the first stegosaur ever discovered, and it caused quite a stir. At around eight meters long and weighing close to three tons the likes of it had never been seen before, and Sir Richard Owen was so taken by its incredibly stumpy front legs that he initially named it Omosaurus—"the forelimb lizard". Perhaps even more unusual were the four pairs of spikes that adorned its tail, so it was quite a stroke of luck that an Omosaurus was already known, albeit a crocodilian (Omosaurus perplexus—Leidy, 1856). So, in 1902, Lucas coined Dacentrurus in honour of its striking (no pun intended) tail. That's a far better name anyway.

Despite being known from much of the western EU, with more remains turning up in England, France and Portugal, Dacentrurus remained a bit obscure until the discovery of the "sauropod mimic" Miaragaia in 2009. The pair shared the exact same time and place—the Late Jurassic Sobral Formation of Lourinhã, Portugal—and because Dacentrurus is known mostly from its rear-end and Miragaia almost entirely from its front-end a theory began to gather steam in 2010 that they shared the same body too. However, a review of stegosaurids in 2017, using enhanced data and advanced technology, confirmed that Dacentrurus and Miragaia, and also Stegosaurus and Hesperosaurus, were very much separate entities.

Fossilised tridactyl (three-toed) footprints known as Deltapodus from Portugal, England and France have been attributed to meandering Dacentrurus.
Etymology
Dacentrurus is derived from the Greek "da" (very), "kentron" (sharp point) and "oura" (tail), in reference to the "thagomizer" on its tail.
The species epithet, armatus, means "equipped with armour" in Latin.
Discovery
The first remains of Dacentrurus were discovered at the "Swindon Brick and Tile Company" Quarry in the Kimmeridge Clay Formation of Wiltshire, England.
The holotype (BMNH 46013) is a partial skeleton including the pelvis, femur and some vertebrae, but no skull. "Dacentrurus" fossils have since been found at various other sites in England, France, Spain and Portugal. But most of them are fragmentary and considered not worth the bother by most paleontologists.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Jurassic
Stage: Oxfordian-Tithonian
Age range: 161-145 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 8 meters
Est. max. hip height: 2 meters
Est. max. weight: 2 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Synonyms
Omosaurus armatus (Owen, 1875)
Omosaurus lennieri (Nopcsa, 1911)
Dacentrurus lennieri (Nopcsa, 1911)
Astrodon pusillus (Galton, 1981)
References
• Owen R (1875) "Monographs on the fossil Reptilia of the Mesozoic formations. Part II. (Genera Bothriospondylus, Cetiosaurus, Omosaurus)". Palaeontogr. Soc. Monogr. 29:15-94.
• Lucas FA (1902) "Paleontological notes. The generic name Omosaurus: A new generic name for Stegosaurus marshi". Science, new series 16(402): 435.
• Mateus O, Maidment SCR, Christiansen NA (2009) "A new long- necked "sauropod-mimic" stegosaur and the evolution of the plated dinosaurs". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 276 (1663): 1815–1821.
• Galton PM (Dec. 1981) "A Juvenile Stegosaurian Dinosaur, "Astrodon pusillus", from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal, with Comments on Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous Biogeography". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Vol. 1, No. 3/4, pp. 245-256.
• Kenneth Carpenter (2001) "The Armored Dinosaurs".
• Miguel Telles Antunes and Octávio Mateus (2003) "Dinosaurs of Portugal".
• David E. Fastovsky and David B. Weishampel (2005) "Stegosaurs meet history: a short account of their discovery" in The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs".
• Cobos A, Royo-Torres R, Luque L, Alcalá L, Mampel L (July 2010) "An Iberian stegosaurs paradise: The Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Tithonian–Berriasian) in Teruel (Spain)". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 293 (1-2): 223–236.
• Raven TJ and Maidment SCR (2017) "A new phylogeny of Stegosauria (Dinosauria, Ornithischia)". Palaeontology, 2017, pp. 1–8. doi:10.1111/pala.12291.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "DACENTRURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 20th Aug 2017.
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