Tarascosaurus

Name: Tarascosaurus ‭(‬Tarasque lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Tah-ras-coe-sore-us.
Named By: Jean Le Loeuff‭ & ‬Eric Buffetaut‭ ‬-‭ ‬1991.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Ceratosauria,‭ ‬Abelisauridae‭?
Species: T.‭ ‬salluvicus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Preserved‭ ‬length of holotype femur‭ ‬22‭ ‬centimetres which accounts for a reconstructed length of‭ ‬35‭ ‬centimetres when complete.‭ ‬Scaling this to generic abelisaurid theropod‭ ‬dinosaur‭ ‬proportions results in reconstructed estimate of‭ ‬2.6-2.7‭ ‬meters long for the holotype individual
Known locations: France -‭ ‬Fuvelian Beds.‭ ‬Spain.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Fragmentary remains,‭ ‬including upper femur and‭ ‬2‭ ‬caudal‭ (‬tail‭) ‬vertebrae.‭ ‬Further remains from Spain have been attributed to the genus.

       Despite its appearance in dinosaur documentaries like‭ ‬Dinosaur Planet‭,‭ ‬not much is known about Tarascosaurus.‭ ‬The type material is very incomplete but has still seen this dinosaur tentatively placed within the Abelisauridae.‭ ‬Aside from Betasuchus,‭ ‬Tarascosaurus is the only representative of this group of theropod dinosaurs which were previously considered to be present only in the southern continents and absent from Europe.‭ ‬Indeed not all palaeontologists are convinced about the placement of Tarascosaurus with the abelisaurs.‭ ‬Most of the renditions of Tarascosaurus are based upon much more complete abelisaurid genera like Aucasaurus.
       Tarascosaurus was named after Tarasque,‭ ‬a legendary dragon once said to live in Provence.‭ ‬Since this time the names of other legendary European dragons have been used to name genera of prehistoric creatures,‭ ‬one example being Smok that was named for a dragon in Polish mythology.

Further reading
- Tarascosaurus salluvicus nov. gen., nov. sp., dinosaure théropode du Crétacé supérieur du sud de la France [Tarascosaurus salluvicus nov. gen., nov. sp., a theropod dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of southern France]. - Géobios 25(5):585-594 - J. Le Loeuff & E. Buffetaut - 1991.




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