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a plant-eating rhabdodontid ornithischian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Europe.
picture of Rhabdodon
Pronunciation: RAB-doh-don
Meaning: Fluted Tooth
Author/s: Matheron (1869)
Synonyms: See below
First Discovery: Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Chart Position: 23

Rhabdodon priscus

The first remains of Rhabdodon priscus—named by Philippe Matheron in 1869—were fragmentary and French. More sketchy French fossils were assigned here over the coming years, but the best booty was found in Haţeg, Romania, and was initially split between Mochlodon suessi — coined by Seeley in 1881 for Austrian scraps that Bunzel had named Iguanodon suessi 1871 — and the larger, raised-for-the-occasion Mocholodon robustum by Baron Franz Nopcsa in 1900.

By 1902 the Baron was mulling the possibility that all of these specimens represented the same kind of critter, and suspected that their anatomical twists, mainly size-related, were evidence of sexual dimorphism; the differences in appearance between males and females of the same species. Nevertheless, in 1915 he opted to split the remains again while conceding to Matheron's claim of priority name-wise, but after announcing that Moch. robustum was indistinguishable from Rhabdodon priscus and Moch. suessi should be known as Rhabdodon suessi the pair faded into obscurity and received little more than a passing mention until the 1990s when European dinosaurs became trendy again.

Although back in vogue, many paleontologists still referred to Rhabdodon as Mochlodon simply because they thought Rhabdodon was a snake — Rhabdodon fuscus — which physician F.L. Fleischmann coined in his thesis way back in 1831 though, as it turns out, it had never received an official description, had been sunk into synonomy... twice, and its remains were lost. An irate Winand Brinkmann pleaded with the ICZN to flex their muscles and show the dinosaur some love, and they duly obliged in 1988. Then all was quiet for the next five years... until David Weishampel moved the Romanian bits to two species of Zalmoxes!

Since the Romanian cull, Rhabdodon has inherited fossils from Spain and France, and possibly owns some from the Czech Republic too, but it remains somewhat obscure. Its fluted, name-prompting teeth, long tail, short neck, beaked mouth, and stocky body have been assigned to Kalodontidae (Nopcsa 1901), Hypsilophodontidae and Dryosauridae (Weishampel, Norman, and Milner 1984), Iguanodontia (Sereno (1986) and Iguanodontidae (Carroll 1988), and have been labelled a "missing link" between Iguanodontia and Hypsilophodontidae. Latest research pegs it as a member of Rhabdodontidae — the family that it anchors — which, like all Trannsylvanian dinosaurs, have been called "Island dwarfs" because of their modest size. However, at over four meters in length Rhabdodon is actually a giant amongst rhabdodontids, and it may be more closely related to a run-of-the-mill iguanodontid called Tenontosaurus.
(Ancient fluted tooth)Etymology
Rhabdodon is derived from the Greek "rhabdosis" (the vertical fluting on a column) and "odon" (tooth), named for the grooves on its teeth. The species epithet, priscus, means "ancient" in Latin. (Rhabdodon priscus was misspelled Rabdodon priscum on at least one occasion by Matheron during 1869... the same year he named it!)
Oligosaurus adelus (Seeley, 1881)
Ornithomerus gracilis (Seeley, 1881)
Both were discovered in the Grünbach Formation, Muthmannsdorf, Austria, and both were named by Harry Govier Seeley in 1881.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age range: 71-66 mya
Est. max. length: 4.5 meters
Est. max. hip height: 1.3 meters
Est. max. weight: 220 Kg
Diet: Herbivore
Rhabdodon septimanicus
Rhabdodon septimanicus (Buffetaut and Le Loeuff 1991) is known only from a robust, single right dentary (tooth-bearing bone of the lower jaw), discovered in the "Grès à Reptiles" Formation, Montouliers, Hérault, France. Its "unique" features are probably artifacts of preservation and it may be synonymous with Rhabdodon priscus.
• P. Matheron (1869) "Note sur les reptiles fossiles des dépôts fulvio-lacustres crétaces du bassin à lignite de Fuveau [Note on the fossil reptiles from the fluvio-lacustrine deposits of the Fuveau lignite basin]". Memoires de L’Academie Impériale des Sciences, BellesLettres et Arts de Marseilles, série 2, 26:781‐795. Translated by Emile M. Moacdieh, University of Michigan, 2011.
• Nopcsa F (1900) "Dinosaurierreste aus Siebenbürgen. Schädel von Limnosaurus transsylvanicus nov. gen. et spec.". Denkschriften der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften Wien, Mathematisch Naturwissenschaftliche Classe 68: 555–591.
• Nopcsa F (1902) "Dinosaurierreste aus Siebenbürgen II. (Schädel von Mochlodon ). Mit einem Anhange: zur Phylogenie der Ornithopodiden". Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe. 72: 149–175.
• F. Nopcsa (1915) "Die dinosaurier der Siebenbürgischen landesteile Ungarns" (The dinosaurs of the Transylvanian province in Hungary). Mitteilungen aus dem Jahrbuche der königlich ungarsichen geologischen Reichsanstalt, Budapest 23: 3–24.
• Winand Brinkmann (1986) "Rhabdodon Matheron, 1869 (Reptilia, Ornithischia): Proposed conservation by suppression of Rhabdodon Fleischmann, 1831 (Reptilia, Serpentes)". Case 2536. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 43: 269-272.
• ICZN (1988) "Rhabdodon Matheron, 1869 (Reptilia, Ornithischia): Conserved. Opinion 1483. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 45: 85-86.
• Weishampel, David B. (2011) "Transylvanian Dinosaurs".
• Attila Ősi, Edina Prondvai, Richard Butler, David B. Weishampel (2012) "Phylogeny, Histology and Inferred Body Size Evolution in a New Rhabdodontid Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary". PLoS ONE 7(9): e44318.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "RHABDODON :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 19th Jan 2018.