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).
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.
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
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.
- 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.