1877 in paleontology

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Paleontology, palaeontology or palæontology (from Greek: paleo, "ancient"; ontos, "being"; and logos, "knowledge") is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils.[1] This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because mankind has encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred in the year 1877.

Arthropods[edit]

Newly named insects[edit]

Name Novelty Status Authors Age Unit Location Notes Images

Aphaenogaster longaeva[2]

Sp nov

nomen dubium

Scudder

Oligocene?

Fraser Formation?

 Canada

Myrmicin ant species, placement uncertain

Fish[edit]

Name Novelty Status Authors Age Unit Location Notes Images

Heliobatis[3]

gen et sp nov.

Valid

Wasatchian

Green River Formation

 USA

One of two stingrays from the Green River Formation

Non-dinosaurian reptiles[edit]

Name Novelty Status Authors Age Unit Location Notes Images

Dasygnathus

Junior synonym

Huxley

Late Triassic

Lossiemouth Sandstone Formation

 Scotland

A misidentified ornithosuchid archosaur whose name was preoccupied by MacLeay, 1819. It was later renamed Dasygnathoides. Synonym of Ornithosuchus

Palaeoctonus

Nomen dubium

Cope

Late Triassic

 US

Dubious genus of misidentified phytosaur.

Suchoprion

Nomen dubium

Cope

 US

Dubious genus of misidentified phytosaur.

Dinosaurs[edit]

Laelaps trihedrodon, Cope criticizes Dryptosaurus[edit]

O. W. Lucas collected the first remains of what would later in the year be named Laelaps trihedrodon from Quarry I of the Saurian Hill at Garden Park, Colorado.[4] Edward Drinker Cope would describe the material later in the year in a short paper titled "On a carnivorous dinosaurian from the Dakota beds of Colorado."[5] The "Dakota beds" he references are actually Morrison Formation strata.[4] Cope claims to have a skeleton of unspecified completeness on which to establish the new species, but only describes a partial dentary which has 5 successional teeth, 2 functional teeth, and one tooth missing from its socket.[5] All of the preceding material has since been lost to science with the exception of 5 broken, partial tooth crowns.[6] From the now missing dentary, Cope infers that the creature is a carnivore and compares its dentition to that belonging to other members of his infamous "Laelaps" genus, L. aquilunguis and L. incrassatus.[5] Cope concludes the paper with a pointed criticism of his rival O. C. Marsh's attempt to rename the Laelaps genus Dryptosaurus because the generic name Laelaps has been used in entomology.[7] Cope claims that since the mite genus Laelaps was a synonym that the name was not truly preoccupied and Marsh's erection of Dryptosaurus has therefore created a new, redundant synonym of Laelaps the dinosaur.[7] However, subsequent researchers have supported Marsh's new name.

Apatosaurus[edit]

  • Apatosaurus specimen found with preserved gastroliths.[8]

New genera[edit]

Name Status Authors Age Unit Location Notes

Allosaurus

Valid

Othniel Charles Marsh

 US

An allosaurid theropod. Best known Late Jurassic large bodied theropod from North America.

Amphicoelias

Nomen dubium

Edward Drinker Cope

 US

A diplodocoid

Apatodon

Nomen dubium

Othniel Charles Marsh

 US

Possible subjective synonym of Allosaurus.

Apatosaurus

Valid

Othniel Charles Marsh

 US

An apatosaurine diplodocid

Atlantosaurus

Nomen dubium

Othniel Charles Marsh

Possible subjective synonym of Apatosaurus.

Camarasaurus

Valid

Edward Drinker Cope

 US

A camarasaurid.

Caulodon

Jr. synonym

Edward Drinker Cope

 US

Junior subjective synonym of Camarasaurus.

Dryptosaurus

Valid

Othniel Charles Marsh

Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian)

New Egypt Formation

 US

A tyrannosauroid.

Dystrophaeus

Valid

Edward Drinker Cope

Late Jurassic

Summerville Formation

 US

A eusauropod of unknown affinities

Nanosaurus

Valid

Othniel Charles Marsh

Late Jurassic

Morrison Formation

 US

An ornithischian

Stegosaurus

Valid

Othniel Charles Marsh

Late Jurassic

Morrison Formation

 US

A stegosaur

Tichosteus

Nomen dubium

Edward Drinker Cope

 US

Affinities unknown

Titanosaurus

Nomen dubium

Richard Lydekker

Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian)

Lameta Formation

 India

A titanosaur

Titanosaurus

Preoccupied.

Othniel Charles Marsh

Preoccupied by a genus erected by Richard Lydekker this same year. Later renamed Atlantosaurus.

Synapsids[edit]

Non-mammalian[edit]

Name Novelty Status Authors Age Unit Location Notes Images

Archaeobelus

Valid

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Gini-Newman, Garfield; Graham, Elizabeth (2001). Echoes from the past: world history to the 16th century. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. ISBN 9780070887398. OCLC 46769716. 
  2. ^ Carpenter, F. M. (1930). "The fossil ants of North America.". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 70: 1–66. 
  3. ^ Grande, Lance (1984), "Paleontology of the Green River Formation, with a review of the fish fauna", Bulletin of the Wyoming State Geological Survey (Laramie, WY), 63 2nd ed. 
  4. ^ a b "Introduction," Chure (2001) page 11.
  5. ^ a b c Cope (1887) pages 805-806.
  6. ^ "Description of 5780," Chure (2001) page 11.
  7. ^ a b Cope (1887) page 806.
  8. ^ Cannon (1907). Sanders, Manley, and Carpenter (2001), "Table 12.1" page 167.

References[edit]

  • Cannon, G.L. (1907). Sauropodan gastroliths. Science 24, 116.
  • Chure, Daniel J. (2001). "On the type and referred material of Laelaps trihedrodon Cope 1877 (Dinosauria: Theropoda)". In Tanke, Darren; and Carpenter, Kenneth (eds.). Mesozoic Vertebrate Life. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. pp. 10–18. ISBN 0-253-33907-3. 
  • Cope, E.D. (1877). On a carnivorous dinosaurian from the Dakota beds of Colorado. Bull. U.S. Geol. Surv. Territories 3: 805-806.
  • Sanders F, Manley K, Carpenter K. Gastroliths from the Lower Cretaceous sauropod Cedarosaurus weiskopfae. In: Tanke D.H, Carpenter K, editors. Mesozoic vertebrate life: new research inspired by the paleontology of Philip J. Currie. Indiana University Press; Bloomington, IN: 2001. pp. 166–180.