Pronunciation: SOR-oh-puh-SIGH-don Meaning: Earthquake God Lizard Author/s: Wedel et al. (2000) Synonyms: Paluxysaurus jonesi First Discovery: Oklahoma, USA Chart Position: 389
Whilst walking across Harvey Arnold's Farmland which provides the only access to certain parts of the Howard McLeod Correctional Center next door, now-retired prison officer and K-9 Unit hound trainer Bobby Cross added to his already impressive tally of Oklahoma fossil discoveries when he found what would come to be known as Sauroposeidon weathering out of the ground. At First, its remains were deemed to be tree trunks 'cos they were so darn huge. But within a few months what turned out to be a block of four colossal vertebrae was dug up, plaster-wrapped and sawn into three pieces for ease of transport to the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Then expert preparators grafted for three whole years with chisel and brush until the specimen was ready for study.
EtymologySauroposeidon is derived from the Greek "sauros" (lizard) and "Poseidon" (the Greek God). Poseidon was primarily Greek God of the sea with side-lines in horses amongst other things, but in his guise as Enisokhthon ("earth shaker") he was God of earthquakes, the notion being this critter's weight was so great that the ground shook with its every step.
The species epithet, proteles (PROT-e-leez), means "perfect before the end" in Ancient Greek, which refers to Sauroposeidon's status as the last-living and most specialized giant sauropod known from the Early Cretaceous of North America.
DiscoveryThe first fossils of Sauroposeidon were discovered at the “Arnold’s Farm locality” (where Harvey Arnold's farm land meets McLeod prison grounds) in the Antlers Formation, Atoka County, Oklahoma, USA, by now-retired McLeod prison officer and K-9 unit hound trainer Bobby Cross in May 1994. The holotype (OMNH 53062) is a series of four neck vertebrae (5-8) with the neck ribs preserved in place. It was excavated by Dr. Richard Cifelli and a team from the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History during two digs in May and August 1994.
Since then Sauroposeidon has laid claim to remains that were previously known as Paluxysaurus, and before that the "Paluxy Pleurocoelus".