Struthiosaurus (Ostrich lizard)
Struthiosaurus (Ostrich lizard)
Named By : Emanuel Bunzel - 1871
Diet : Herbivore
Size : Estimated 2.2 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Armoured Dinosaur
Type Species : S. austriacus (type), S. languedocensis, S. transylvanicus
Found in : Austria - Coal-Bearing Complex Formation, Grünbach Formation. France. Romania - Sânpetru Formation, Sard Formation, Sebes Formation. Spain - Sierra Perenchiza Formation, Vitoria Formation
When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 83-75 million years ago
Struthiosaurus (Latin struthio = ostrich + Greek sauros = lizard) is a genus of nodosaurid dinosaurs, from the Late Cretaceous period (Santonian-Maastrichtian) of Austria, Romania, France and Hungary in Europe. They protected it with body armor. While estimates of its size vary the possibility is that it was just 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) long.
In 1859 geologist Eduard Suess at the Gute Hope coal mine near Muthmannsdorf close to Wiener Neustadt in Austria, discovered a dinosaur’s tooth on a stone heap. With the assistance of the mine’s chief engineer Pawlowitsch the team attempted to discover the origin of the fossil substance. The search failed initially, but in the end, the thin layer of marl was discovered, surrounded by an obliquely sloped mine shaft, that included an abundance of bones from various types. They were later extracted from the site by Suess along with Ferdinand Stoliczka. The marl was an old water deposit that is now to be part of the Grunbach Formation.
The remains were placed within the museums in the University of Vienna but received not much interest until they were studied in the hands of Emanuel Bunzel in 1870. The year 1871 was the time Bunzel wrote a book detailing the fossils and naming numerous new species and genera. One of it is the genus Struthiosaurus that was based on one fragment of the posterior portion of the skull. It was largely composed from the braincase. The sole known species in the Genus at the time is Struthiosaurus austriacus. Bunzel declared that he tentatively named the taxon and did not provide any etymological explanation for the name. The name itself originates from the new Latin struthio, which itself is originated in Ancient Greek stroutheios, stroutheios, “of the ostrich”. Bunzel selected the name in light of the birdlike shape that the skull has. The particular name refers to the origins of Austria.
Beyond the skullcase Bunzel did not know about other items from Struthiosaurus. He was aware that bones and osteoderms of armored dinosaurs among the remains and referred to Scelidosaurus sp. and the Hylaeosaurus sp. and a Hylaeosaurus sp. British genera are among the best known thyreophoran types in the early days. Bunzel also found two rib fragments that featured a remarkably puzzling structure. They were two-headed, however their upper head of rib, called the tuberculum, was small and was positioned in an angle that it couldn’t possibly be in contact with the vertebra, even in the event that the shaft was placed in the typical vertical orientation. He believed that the lower capitulum was the only one that connected to vertebral bodies. A rib that is connected to the vertebra by only one surface is typical for lizards, but they have heads of the ribs are joined into one synapophysis. Bunzel thus determined that the ribs belong to an enormous lizard. To make a similarity to Mosasaurus the giant lizard named for the River Maas, he named the lizard Danubiosaurus anceps after the Danube. The term anceps is “double-headed” in Latin, in reference to the Lizard, the unique trait of having ribs with double heads. Actually, the ribs were similar to those of Struthiosaurus. The rump of Ankylosauria is so flat that the top portion of the rib shaft extends out in a lateral direction, and then rotates the short tuberculum towards the diapophysis which is its vertebral contact surface.
Numerous species have been assigned to Struthiosaurus The majority of these are is based on extremely fragmentary and non-diagnostic materials. Three species that are validly recognized by paleontologists as S. Austriacus Bunzel 1871, based upon holotype the PIWU 2349/6 S. transylvanicus Nopcsa 1915, based upon BMNH R4966 which is a skull, and a part of a Skeleton from Romania and S. languedocensis Garcia and Pereda-Suberbiola, 2003. Based on UM2 OLV-D50A-G CV, a skeleton that was partially discovered during 1998, in France. It is named after this nodosaurid subfamily Struthiosaurinae and its members can only be found in Europe.
There are a number of taxa that are invalid. have been proven to be junior synonyms for Struthiosaurus austriacus. The majority of them were created after Harry Govier Seeley in 1881 modified his Austrian material. These include: Danubiosaurus anceps Bunzel 1871 Crataeomus Pawlowitschii Seeley in 1881. Crataeomus lepidophorus Seeley 1881; Pleuropeltis suessii Seeley, 1881; Rhadinosaurus alcimus Seeley 1881, Hoplosaurus ischyrus Seeley 1881 and Leipsanosaurus Nopcsa noricus 1918. Another European ankylosaurid, Rhodanosaurus ludguensis Nopcsa, 1929, from Campanian-Maastrichtian-age rocks of southern France, is now regarded as a nomen dubium and referred to Nodosauridae incertae sedis.
The three distinct varieties that make up Struthiosaurus differ from each other in that S. Austriacus, for instance, is less that S. transylvanicus, and has lower cervical vertebrae with a shorter length. Also, though the quadrate-paroccipital process contact is fused in S. transylvanicus, it is unfused in S. austriacus. Its skull S. languedocensis is unknown however, the taxon is different with S. transylvanicus due to its flatter form of dorsal vertebrae. It is different in comparison to S. austriacus by its schium shape. (Vickaryous, Maryanska, and Weishampel 2004).