Named By : Othniel Charles Marsh - 1888
Diet : Herbivore
Size : uncertain there is no enough remains
Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod
Type Species : Pleurocoelus nanus (type)
Found in : USA
When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 99-84 million years ago
Pleurocoelus is a genus of sauropod dinosaurs, belonging to the group Titanosauriformes, that lived in the area of present-day North America during the Early Cretaceous Period. The status of the genus is uncertain.
In 1887, John Bell Hatcher excavated fragmentary remains of sauropods near Muirkirk in Maryland’s Prince George County, which he sent to his principal, Professor Othniel Charles Marsh. Marsh named the genus Pleurocoelus on this basis in 1888. The genus name was derived from the Classical Greek pleuron, “vertebra”, and koilos, “hollow”, a reference to the hollowed-out sides of the vertebral bodies. It had become clear to Marsh that the remains came from animals of different sizes: a smaller one about ten meters long and a larger one one and a half times this length. He therefore named two species: the type species Pleurocoelus nanus, the “dwarf”, based on the syntypes USNM 4968, 4969 and 4970, three vertebrae, and Pleurocoelus altus, the “high”, based on USNM 4971, a partial tibia and fibula.
In 1889 British paleontologist Richard Lydekker named a third species: Pleurocoelus valdensis. The specific name referred to teeth found in the Weald at Cuckfield, Hastings and Battle. Lydekker also assigned some vertebrae to the species. He did not point out a holotype.
In 1896, Marsh named a fourth species, Pleurocoelus montanus, based on specimen YPM 1908, a vertebra found in Quarry N°1 at Como Bluff in Montana in Jurassic strata.
Many fragments from the Lower Cretaceous of North America would later be assigned to Pleurocoelus, giving the impression that it had been an important and widespread part of the fauna, even serving as the official state fossil of Texas from 1997 to 2009.