Telmatosaurus

Name: Telmatosaurus ‭(‬Marsh lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Tel-mat-oh-sore-us.
Named By: B. F. Nopcsa‭ ‬-‭ ‬1903.
Synonyms: Hecatasaurus,‭ ‬Limnosaurus transsylvanicus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ornithopoda,‭ ‬Hadrosauridae.‭
Species: T.‭ ‬transsylvanicus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Around‭ ‬5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Romania‭ ‬-‭ ‬Transylvania‭ ‬-‭ ‬Sanpetru Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Many individuals.

       Telmatosaurus was originally named as Limnosaurus transsylvanicus,‭ ‬however after this naming in transpired that the genus name Limnosaurus had already been used by the American palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh to name a crocodile‭ (‬later it would actually be declared a synonym of Pristichampsus‭)‬.‭ ‬The original name came about from the popular idea of the time that hadrosaurids like Telmatosaurus foraged for soft plants in swamps,‭ ‬though later discoveries and more modern analysis has now cast serious doubts upon the idea that hadrosaurids like Telmatosaurus only lived in swamps.‭
       Unaware of the name change,‭ ‬another American palaeontologist named Barnum Brown established Hecatasaurus,‭ ‬though today this exists only as a synonym to Telmatosaurus.‭ ‬In addition,‭ ‬Telmatosaurus was temporarily assigned as a synonym to the dinosaur genus Orthomerus,‭ ‬though later Orthomerus was established as a nomen dubium‭ (‬a genus name founded upon poor quality fossil remains that are hard to identify and attribute to further remains‭)‬,‭ ‬something that saw Telmatosaurus resurrected as a distinct genus.
       Telmatosaurus was one of the dinosaurs that lived upon Hateg Island,‭ ‬a late Cretaceous island that would one day go on to form the Hateg Basin of Romania.‭ ‬Many of the dinosaurs of Hateg Island grew smaller through a process called insular dwarfism.‭ ‬In the simplest terms,‭ ‬they grew smaller so that they did not need to eat so much food to fuel their bodies,‭ ‬and so they could continue to thrive upon the limited amounts of resources.‭ ‬Telmatosaurus itself also seems to have grown smaller through this process since it only attained a length of around five meters.‭ ‬Other hadrosaurids in other parts of the world and living upon larger land masses comfortably attained sizes around the nine to ten meter long range,‭ ‬with many genera exceeding even this.‭
       Growing to larger sizes may have given them a degree of protection from predators in reducing the kinds that could be a threat,‭ ‬but so far Hateg Island has a distinct lack of large theropod dinosaurs such as the large tyrannosaurs of Asia and North America,‭ ‬or the abelisaurs of South America and Africa.‭ ‬Danger still existed on Hateg Island however with one good example being the dromaeosaur Balaur.‭ ‬Although only around two meters long itself,‭ ‬Balaur had four sickle claws instead of the usual dromaeosaurid two,‭ ‬and legs adapted for delivering powerful strikes.‭ ‬A healthy adult Telmatosaurus may have still been a difficult target for such a dinosaur,‭ ‬but smaller juveniles as well as sick or injured adults would have been at risk.

Further reading
- Telmatosaurus, new name for the dinosaur Limnosaurus. - Geological Magazine, decade 4 10:94-95. - B. F. Nopcsa - 1903.
- Telmatosaurus and the other hadrosaurids of the Cretaceous European Archipelago. An overview. - Natura Nascosta 32: 1-55. - F. M. Dalla Vecchia - 2006.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random favourites