Patagosaurus (Patagonian lizard)
Patagosaurus (Patagonian lizard)
Named By : José Bonaparte - 1979
Diet : Herbivore
Size : Estimated 15 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod
Type Species : P. fariasi (type)
Found in : Argentina
When it Lived : Mid Jurassic, 164-159 million years ago
Patagosaurus, which means “Patagonia Lizard”, is an extinct genus eusauropod dinosaur that belonged to the Middle-Late Toarcian period of Patagonia. It was discovered in the Canadon Asfalto Formation deposits, which date back to around 179-177 million years. Although twelve specimens were originally assigned to the taxon at first, at least one may be from a different genera. Patagosaurus likely lived with genera like Condorraptor and Piatnitzkysaurus.
Patagosaurus’ anatomy and growth is well-understood, thanks to the many specimens that have been collected, which include at least one juvenile. Both ages have the same features as a sauropod: a long neck and a small head. They are also quadrupedal. Although their anatomy is very similar, the juvenile has distinct features from the adult, such as the mandible and pectoral girdle. Many specimens are available to fill in any gaps in the anatomy of genus. The skeleton’s parts, such as the pubis, pectoral girdle and tibia are more sturdy than others. Others, such as the forelimb or ischium are more fragile. Patagosaurus’ material is similar to closely related taxa such as Cetiosaurus, Volkheimeria, primitive genera like Barapasaurus, Amygdalodon and Diplodocus, and more derived sauropods such as Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Camarasaurus.
Many specimens of an unknown dinosaur were discovered in the 1970s, all found together in one bed and location: a pebbly layer near Cerro Condor. Jose Bonaparte first described the specimens in 1979. He created the genus Patagosaurus and its type species P. fariasi for the fossil. Patagosaurus is the generic name. Its location in Patagonia and its reptile status are the reasons for the generic name. Ricardo Farias was the first to discover it. This name is in honor of him. Although the original genus was known from a nearly complete postcranial skull, which was not the holotype, many other specimens were available. However, it was discovered that a dentary could be used to identify the species in 2003. More specimens therefore likely belong to this taxon. Its skeleton was located near the ones of Piatnitzkysaurus, Volkheimeria, and the Callovian-Oxfordian-Aged Patagonian deposits in the Canadon Asfalto Formation. Patagosaurus is nearly completely known, with numerous articulated specimens covering almost the entire skeleton and even parts of its skull. Although the species has been described by more than twelve specimens, some of the material may be unique to a taxon. Bonaparte (1986), assigned three other specimens to the genus, including the holotype PVL4170, PVL 4076 and MACNCH 934. The holotype has a postcranial skull, but the other specimens are known from cranial material as well as a complete juvenile skeleton. MACN CH933 is identical to Patagosaurus’ type material, which supports its association with this genus. The MPEF-PV1670 specimen, which is a single lower jaw, was first identified as Patagosaurus in 2003. Differences can be associated age so MPEF-PV1670 may be adult cranial material. The teeth of MACN CH934 are different than those of the lower jaws (MACN CH933 and MPEF-PV 1670), so this specimen can be identified as another Sauropod from the same deposit that Patagosaurus. The taxon includes PVL 4170 and MACN CH 933 as well as MPEF-PV 1670.