Welcome to our LEXOVISAURUS entry...
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a dubious stegosaurian dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of England.
Pronunciation: lek-SOH-vi-SOR-us
Meaning: Lexovii lizard
Author/s: Hoffstetter (1957)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Cambridgeshire, England
Chart Position: 161

Lexovisaurus durobrivensis

The dinosaur literature is awash with tales of calamity including (but by no means limited to) raising entire genera based on fossils that turned out to belong to the big hitters, such as Seismosaurus (Diplodocus), Agathaumas and Polyonax (probably Triceratops), and Manospondylus (T.rex). But if you want the real juice on monumental muddles and whatnot, the obscure English dinosaurs are the go-to critters. The Late Jurassic Lexovisaurus is a prime example.

Initially mentioned by English geologist Henry Bolingbroke Woodward in September 1885 after their discovery at a brick pit in Tanholt, the remains that would become Lexovisaurus were assigned by Hulke in 1887 to Omosaurus as a second species: Omosaurus durobrivensis, referring to the old Roman town of Durobrivae in the Parish of Water Newton, Cambridgeshire. Unfortunately, Joseph Leidy had already claimed the name Omosaurus for an American phytosaur—Omosaurus perplexus—in 1856. So, Frederick A. Lucas proposed Dacentrurus as a replacement in 1902, but he only officially renamed the type specimen (Omosaurus armatus), and we didn't see Dacentrurus hastiger, phillipsi, lennieri, nor Dacentrurus durobrivensis in print until Edwin Hennig published them in 1915.

With the discovery of a new specimen (MHBR 001) at Argences in 1957, Robert Hoffstetter reviewed all known stegosaurian material and realised that his new find was closest to Dacentrurus durobrivensis which, at the time, included two "armour plates" that O.C. Marsh identified as skull bones from a giant fish in 1888 and which A.S. Woodward named Leedsichthys the following year. But Hoffstetter also realised that Dacentrurus durobrivensis was unlike any other stegosaur from anywhere, so he renamed it Lexovisaurus in honour of Lexovii—the ancient Gallic peoples who later inhabited the same region of France as his new specimen. At the same time, he assigned his MHBR 001 to it, along with Baron Franz Nopcsa's 1911-named Stegosaurus priscus and more fragmentary material from the same Fletton brick pit.

During a review of Stegosauria in 2008, Susannah Maidment tagged the Lexovisaurus holotype a nomen dubium because it lacks diagnostic features, then snaffled BMNH R3167 (Stegosaurus priscus) and Hoffstetter's French material to raise a new genus: Loricatosaurus. What this means is that Lexovisaurus has been trimmed back to its initial Cambridgeshire remains, so it's now entirely English and has nothing to do with the French folk that initially inspired its name.
(Lexovii lizard from Durobrivae)Etymology
Lexovisaurus is derived from "Lexovii" (an ancient Celtic people of the Calavados region of Normandy, northwestern France) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard).
The species epithet, durobrivensis, is derived from "Durobrivae" (for a Roman settlement in Cambridgeshire) and the Latin "ensis" (from).
Alfred Nicholson Leeds discovered the remains of Lexovisaurus in the Peterborough Member of the Oxford Clay Formation, in a brick pit at the Hamlet of Tanholt, close to Eye, Water Newton, west of Peterborough, (historically in Northamptonshire but now part of Cambridgeshire), England, in the early 1880s. Later workers assumed, erroneously, that the specimen was found at Fletton brick pit 2, Peterborough, England, simply because that is where Leeds did most of his collecting.
The holotype (BMNH R1989-1992, originally "Omosaurus" durobrivensis) consists of a partial sacrum and both ilia (hip bones), a left femur (thigh), a metatarsal and a toe bone.
Hoffstetter's specimen (MHBR 001, found in an unnamed formation of Le Fresne d’Argences, near Lisieux in the Calavados region of Normandy, northwestern France, in 1957) consists of cervical, dorsal and caudal (neck, back and tail) vertebrae, a left humerus, a right femur, tibia and fibula, and some dermal armour. Also included is a large "spike" that Hoffstetter placed on the shoulder, Galton placed on the hip and Maidment placed on the tail.
Nopcsa's "Stegosaurus priscus" specimen (BMNH R3167, including two cervical vertebrae, six dorsal vertebrae, 16 caudal vertebrae, a right humerus, right ulna, carpus, two metacarpals (one incomplete), partial ilia, partial right ischium and pubis, left femur, left partial tibia and partial fibula with fused tarsals, and dermal armour) was found in the Oxford Clay of Fletton, near Peterborough, England, in 1901.
The latter two specimens were referred to Loricatosaurus priscus by Maidment in 2008.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Middle Jurassic
Stage: Callovian
Age range: 164-161 mya
Est. max. length: 6 meters
Est. max. hip height: 2 meters
Est. max. weight: 2 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
• Hulke JW (1887) "Note on some dinosaurian remains in the collection of A. Leeds, Esq, of Eyebury, Northamptonshire". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 43, January 1887, pp 695-702.
• Lucas FA (1902) "Paleontological notes — the generic name Omosaurus + a new generic name for Stegosaurus marshi". Science, new ser., vol. 16, p. 435, 1902.
• Hoffstetter R, & Brun R (1956) "Un Dinosaurien Stégosauridé dans le Callovien du Calvados". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, 243: 1651-1653.
• Maidment SCR, DB Norman, PM Barrett and P Upchurch (2008) "Systematics and phylogeny of Stegosauria (Dinosauria: Ornithischia)". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 6(4):1815-1821.
• Moody RTJ, Buffetaut E, Naish D and Martill DM (2010) "Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective". Geological Society, Special Publication 343, Pages 59-62.
• Noè LF, Liston JJ and Chapman SD (2010) "‘Old bones, dry subject’: the dinosaurs and pterosaur collected by Alfred Nicholson Leeds of Peterborough, England". Geological Society, London, Special Publications 343: 49-77.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "LEXOVISAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 15th Dec 2017.