Abydosaurus

Name: Abydosaurus ‭(‬Abydos lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ah-bee-dos-sore-us.
Named By: Daniel Chure,‭ ‬Brooks Britt,‭ ‬John A.‭ ‬Whitlock‭ & ‬Jeffrey A.‭ ‬Wilson‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Sauropodomorpha,‭ ‬Sauropoda,‭ ‬Titanosauriformes,‭ ‬Brachiosauridae.
Species: A.‭ ‬mcintoshi‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Uncertain due to lack of remains,‭ ‬see main text for more detail.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬Utah‭ ‬-‭ ‬Cedar Mountain Formation,‭ ‬Mussentuchit Member.
Time period: Albian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skulls and partial post cranial remains of several juvenile individuals.‭ ‬Holotype‭ (‬DINO‭ ‬16488‭) ‬is of a complete skull and lower jaws with the first four cervical‭ (‬neck‭) ‬vertebrae.

       Abydosaurus is the first early Cretaceous era sauropod from the USA to have an identifiable skull.‭ ‬This skull and other post cranial elements confirm its identity as a brachiosaurid sauropod,‭ ‬though one with unusually thin teeth for its kind.‭ ‬Remains of at least four individuals of Abydosaurus have been recovered and it seems that all of these fossils are from juveniles.‭ ‬Because the specimens found were not fully grown,‭ ‬and the fact that there is not enough remains to piece together a complete skeleton,‭ ‬a size estimate remains impossible to establish with certainty.‭ ‬Out of all the other brachiosaurid sauropods,‭ ‬Abydosaurus is thought to be most similar to Giraffatitian from North Africa,‭ ‬though subtle differences in teeth,‭ ‬maxilla and nasal bones mean that there are no doubts that Abydosaurus is a valid genus.
       It might seem odd to base the name of a dinosaur discovered in North America after a city in ancient Egypt,‭ ‬but there was a method to the describing team‭’‬s‭ ‬madness.‭ ‬In ancient Egyptian mythology the head of the god Osiris was said to be kept in a reliquary‭ ‬at Abydos‭ ‬after he had been cut up by his brother Set.‭ ‬Here the reference to the head of Osiris is made to the holotype of Abydosaurus which is just a skull and four vertebrae.‭ ‬The species name A.‭ ‬mcintoshi is in‭ ‬honour of John S.‭ ‬McIntosh,‭ ‬a professor of physics at the Wesleyan University who made several contirubtions to the study of sauropods and the Dinosaur National Monument.
       So far Abydosaurus has only been found in the Cedar Mountain Fomration of Utah,‭ ‬but this is also home to many other genera of dinosaur.‭ ‬Other sauropods that Abydosaurus may have shared its habitat with include Brontomerus,‭ ‬Venenosaurus and Cedarosaurus.‭ ‬Other plant eaters include ornithopods like Tenontosaurus,‭ ‬Zephyrosaurus and Eolambia as well as armoured dinosaurs like Gastonia,‭ ‬Animantarx and Cedarpelta‭ ‬that‭ ‬were also present.‭ ‬Numerous predatory theropods were also present in the Cedar Mountain Formation,‭ ‬but two in‭ ‬particular may have been a serious threat to Abydosaurus.‭ ‬Utahraptor was an unusually large dromaeosaurid that would have had little difficulty in attacking juvenile Abydosaurus,‭ ‬while the even bigger carcharodontosaurid Acrocanthosaurus was also present in the United States at the same time as Abydosaurus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬First complete sauropod dinosaur skull from the Cretaceous of the Americas and the evolution of sauropod dentition,‭ ‬Daniel Chure,‭ ‬Brooks Britt,‭ ‬John A.‭ ‬Whitlock‭ & ‬Jeffrey A.‭ ‬Wilson‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.



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