Tornieria

Name: Tornieria ‭(‬named after Gustav Tornier‭)‬.
Phonetic: Tor-ne-re-ah.
Named By: Richard Sternfeld‭ ‬-‭ ‬1911.
Synonyms: Barosaurus africanus,‭ ‬Gigantosaurus africanus,‭ ‬Tornieria gracilis‭?.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Sauropodomorpha,‭ ‬Diplodocidae,‭ ‬Diplodocinae.
Species: T.‭ ‬africana‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Unavailable.
Known locations: Tanzania‭ ‬-‭ ‬Tendaguru Formation,‭ ‬and Zimbabwe‭ ‬-‭ ‬Kadzi Formation.
Time period: Late Kimmeridgian to the Tithonian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and postcranial remains.

       Tornieria fossils were first found in‭ ‬1907‭ ‬and described the next year by the German palaeontologist Eberhard Fraas.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬at this time Fraas decided to call the new genus Gigantosaurus,‭ ‬but the problem with this is that the name Gigantosaurus had already been used by Harry Govier Seeley to name a genus of sauropod from England.‭ ‬Fraas did not see this as a problem‭; ‬he considered Seeley’s description not complete enough as well as being seen as a synonym to another genus called Ornithopsis.‭ ‬Fraas however was wrong to do this on two counts,‭ ‬one being that as soon as a name has been logged and classified it cannot be used again.‭ ‬Second,‭ ‬even if a name is later found to be a synonym of another name,‭ ‬it still cannot be used,‭ ‬otherwise it creates the potential of confusion in further studies.
       Fortunately another palaeontologist named Richard Sternfield put things right in‭ ‬1911‭ ‬when he took the African fossils and created the genus Tornieria,‭ ‬named in honour of a herpetologist‭ (‬someone who studies reptiles and amphibians‭) ‬named Gustav Tornier.‭ ‬At this time there were two species named as T.‭ ‬africana and T.‭ ‬robusta based upon two species outlined by Fraas in‭ ‬1908.
       Things were fairly stable for the genus until‭ ‬1922‭ ‬when another palaeontologist named Werner Janensch moved T.‭ ‬africana to the North American genus Barosaurus.‭ ‬Normally this would mean that the second species T.‭ ‬robusta would need to be named as a new genus since there would be no type species to refer to,‭ ‬but this did not happen until‭ ‬1991‭ ‬when Rupert Wild named Janenschia.‭ ‬This meant that for a time the Torneria genus ceased to exist save for mentions of synonyms to Barosaurus and Janenschia.‭
       Then in‭ ‬2006‭ ‬Torneria returned.‭ ‬The decision to place the former type species T.‭ ‬africana in with Barosaurus by Werner Janensch never sat well with most palaeontologists since North America and Africa should have been totally isolated from each other by the late Jurassic,‭ ‬making the presence of the same genus of terrestrial animal upon both continents highly unlikely to impossible given the circumstances.‭ ‬In this year a study by Kristian Remes proved that the T.‭ ‬africana material was different to Barosaurus material and therefore should be rightfully treated as a distinct genus.
       Today Torneria is established as a distinct genus of diplodocid sauropod,‭ ‬though one that is similar to Barosaurus.‭ ‬The differences between these two genera are mainly seen in the proportions of the limb bones and in the form of the anterior‭ (‬frontal‭) ‬caudal‭ (‬tail‭) ‬vertebrae.‭ ‬Further differences between them are hard to point out due to lack of remains for other body parts across both genera.‭ ‬This is a good point to return to the other former species T.‭ ‬robustus which was now known as Janenschia.‭ ‬The re-evaluation of the T.‭ ‬robustus fossils saw them identified as belonging to a titanosaur,‭ ‬meaning that they actually should never have been described as belonging to Torneria‭ (‬originally Gigantosaurus robustus by Fraas‭) ‬in the first place.‭ ‬Therefore Janenschia remains valid as a titanosaur genus,‭ ‬while Torneria remains based upon only the species T.‭ ‬africanus.
       That should wrap things up with regards to classification,‭ ‬but there is one more loose end.‭ ‬In‭ ‬1961‭ ‬Werner Janensch had named a gracile form of T.‭ ‬africanus,‭ ‬though remember that at this time T.‭ ‬africanus had been labelled as an African species of Barosaurus.‭ ‬This was known as B.‭ ‬africanus var.‭ ‬gracilis,‭ ‬though in‭ ‬1980‭ ‬it was renamed as a full species,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬gracilis.‭ ‬This would mean a second species of Torneria by modern classification,‭ ‬though as pointed out by Remes in‭ ‬2006,‭ ‬not only is this species not represented by a holotype,‭ ‬there is no diagnosis for it either,‭ ‬meaning that the species cannot be held as valid.
       As a diplodocid sauropod,‭ ‬Torneria can be further classified as a member of the Diplodocinae.‭ ‬This group represents the more lightly built diplodocids which are notably more gracile than the apatosaurines which were physically more heavily built.‭ ‬As with its relatives,‭ ‬Torneria would have been browsers of plants,‭ ‬sweeping their necks in wide arcs so that they could browse with only the minimum of necessary movement of their legs.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Dinosaurierfunde in Ostafrika‭ ‬-‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Fraas‭ ‬-‭ ‬1908.
-‭ ‬Zur Nomenklatur der Gattung Gigantosaurus Fraas‭ [‬On the nomenclature of the genus Gigantosaurus Fraas‭] ‬-‭ ‬Richard Sternfield‭ ‬-‭ ‬1911.
-‭ ‬Das Handskelett von Gigantosaurus robustus und Brachiosaurus brancai aus den Tendaguru-Schichten Deutsch-‭ ‬Ostafrikas‭ ‬-‭ ‬W.‭ ‬Janensch‭ ‬-‭ ‬1922.
-‭ ‬Paleoecology of the dinosaurs of Tendaguru‭ (‬Tanzania‭) ‬-‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Russell,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬Beland‭ & ‬J.‭ ‬McIntosh‭ ‬-‭ ‬1980.
-‭ ‬Revision of the Tendaguru sauropod Tornieria africana‭ (‬Fraas‭) ‬and its relevance for sauropod paleobiogeography‭ ‬-‭ ‬Kristian Remes‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.
-‭ ‬A phylogenetic analysis of Diplodocoidea‭ (‬Saurischia:‭ ‬Sauropoda‭)‬.‭ ‬-‭ ‬J.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Whitlock‭ ‬-‭ ‬2011.



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