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LUSOTITAN

a plant-eating brachiosaurid sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Portugal.
Pronunciation: LOO-so-TI-tan
Meaning: Luso Giant (see eymology)
Author/s: Antunes and Mateus (2003)
Synonyms: Brachiosaurus alataiensis
First Discovery: Lourinhã, Portugal
Chart Position: 425

Lusotitan atalaiensis

Brachiosaurus alataiensis, known from five different sites across Portugal but mostly from a single specimen found atop the Atalaia cliffs, was tentatively named by de Lapparent and Zbyszewski in 1957 on the strength of an elongated humerus; a hallmark feature of Brachiosaurus — the "Arm Lizard."

After a 2003 review of Portuguese dinosaurs this late Jurassic macronarian sauropod was severed from Brachiosaurus and renamed Lusotitan by Antunes and Mateus without a sniff of justification. But it was Brachiosaurus enough to remain in Brachiosauridae — the sauropod family closest to and anchored by Brachiosaurus — due to the proportions of its limbs, features of its vertebrae and tilt of its hip.

As is often the case with sauropods, its skull is missing. But if Lusotitan really is a brachiosaurid it probably had a short, dome-topped noggin adorned with huge nostrils (Macronaria means "huge nostrils") perched on a long neck that was held more vertically than the neck of non-brachiosaurid sauropods. But if it isn't, it possibly won't.
Etymology
Lusotitan is derived from "Luso" (the inhabitants of ancient Lusitania, a Roman province that included most of what is now Portugal and part of Spain) and the Greek "Titan" (the giant primordial Greek gods who ruled the roost before the Olympian Gods turned up flexing their various body parts). The species epithet, atalaiensis, means "from Atalaia" in Latin.
Discovery
The first fossils of Lusotitan were discovered in the Lourinhã Formation at Peralta, near Atalaia, Lourinhã, West Portugal, by Manuel de Matos, a collector for the Geological Survey of Portugal, in 1947. The Lourinhã Formation is notable for having a similar fauna to that of the USA'S Morrison Formation and Tanzania's Tendaguru beds.
The original authors failed to assign a holotype but those who renamed it in 2003 nominated the most complete skeleton as lectotype. Its "bits" are catalogued as MIGM 4798, 4801-10, 4938, 4944, 4950, 4952, 4958, 4964-6, 4981-2, 4985, 8807, 8793-5.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Jurassic
Stage: Kimmeridgian-Tithonian
Age range: 156-145 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 25 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 30 tons
Diet: Herbivore
References
• Lapparent and Zbyszewski (1957) "Les dinosauriens du Portugal [Dinosaurs of Portugal]". (Eng. trans.) Mémoires des Services Géologiques du Portugal, nouvelle série, 2:1-63.
• Miguel Telles Antunes and Octavio Mateus (2003) "Dinosaurs of Portugal". C. R. Palevol 2, 77–95
• Paul GS (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs".
• Mocho P, Royo-Torres R and Ortega F (2016) "New data of the Portuguese brachiosaurid Lusotitan atalaiensis (Sobral Formation, Upper Jurassic)". Historical Biology, Volume 29, Issue 1
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "LUSOTITAN :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 27th Apr 2017.
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