Euhelopus ‭(‬True marsh foot‭)

Short Info

Euhelopus ‭(‬True marsh foot‭)

Phonetic : You-he-lo-pus.

Named By : Alfred Romer – 1956 (originally named as Helopus by Carl Wiman in 1929)

Diet : Herbivore

Size : Estimated 10 – 15 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod

Type Species : E.‭ ‬zdanskyi‭ (‬type‭)‬

Found in : China‭ ‬-‭ ‬Shangdong Province

When it Lived : Late Jurassic, 154-142 million years ago

Euhelopus, a genus sauropod dinosaur, lived between 145 million and 133 millions years ago in the Berriasian-Valanginian stages in the Early Cretaceous of what is now Shandong Province. It was a large, quadrupedal herbivore. Euhelopus was a large quadrupedal herbivore, with longer forelegs and hind legs than most sauropods. It was a significant paleontological discovery because it was the first dinosaur to be scientifically examined from China. The fossils were discovered in 1913 and rediscovered in 1920. They were excavated in 1923 by T’an and studied in the following year. It has a complete skull, which is a rare feature among sauropod specimens.


Euhelopus in Japan★Kumiko★, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Father R. Mertens (a Catholic priest) made the original discovery in 1913. He presented some of the remains to Gustav Behaghel, a German mining engineer who had in 1916 sent three vertebrae (“V.K. Ting”). This was the first time that dinosaur bones from China had been scientifically examined. Johan Gunnar Andersson, Tan Xichou, and Father Alfred Kaschel helped to re-discover the site in November 1922. Otto Zdansky, an Austrian student, excavated two skeletons on three kilometres from each other in March 1923. H. C. T’an also studied the holotype in 1923.


Euhelopus skull★Kumiko★ from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


In 1929, Carl Wiman, a Swedish paleontologist, first described it and gave it the name Helopus. This was after the Greek elos (helos), “swamp”, pous, pous and “foot”. Its name refers both to the marshy area where the finds were found and to truga which are Swedish swamp shoes that Wiman said resemble the large feet of the animal. The name belonged to a bird, however, as the Caspiantern was once called Helopus caspius Wagler1832. Alfred Sherwood Romer renamed the sauropod dinosaur Euhelopus in 1956 to mean “True marsh-foot”. Euhelopus was found to be a plant genera (a grass). Euhelopus was permitted because a genus from one biological kingdom might have a name that is used in a different kingdom’s genus name. Helopus zdanskyi is the type species. Euhelopus zdanskyi is the combinatio nova. Zdansky is the specific name.

Wilson & Upchurch derived the holotype and descriptive basis for the species Euhelopus zdanskyi from specimen PMU 24705 formerly known as PMU R233. It is one of the Zdansky skeletons, called “Exemplar A” by Wiman who didn’t formally assign a Holotype. Mertens found the original skeleton. The partial skeleton of specimen PMU 24705 includes the skull and lower jaws. It also contains the following bones: the rostral portion of the left nose; the partial right jugal process; the tapered right jugal process; the dorsal process for the right quadratojugal. A series of 25 presacral vertebrae, and the left hipbone.

Wiman designated the second skeleton as “Exemplar B”, a skeleton that was about twice as big as the holotype. Wilson & Upchurch referred it to Euhelopus. PMU 24706, previously PMU 234, consists of nine articulated dorsal vertebrae, the sacrum and two dorsalribs. It also has a near complete pelvis and a right hindlimb that lacks the fifth metatarsal. There are several pedal phalanges.

The two specimens are kept in the Paleontological Museum at Uppsala University in Uppsala (Sweden), where they are displayed together since the 1930s.

Zdansky was unable to complete the excavation of the Holotype in 1923. Yang Zhongjian (“C.C.”) was born in the Autumn 1934. Young”) and Bian Meinian (M.N. Bien”) returned to quarry and obtained four back vertebrae, a left shouldergirdle, and a left hip girdle. Wilson & Upchurch designated these bones as “exemplar c”, in 2009. Wilson & Upchurch considered it most probable that these bones belonged the same person as the holotype. In 2007, they were informed that the material could not be found in the Chinese collections.

Source: Wikipedia