Temporal range: Early Jurassic, 183Ma
|Representative vertebrae of Tazoudasaurus naimi|
Allain et al., 2004
Tazoudasaurus is a genus of vulcanodontid sauropod dinosaur hailing from the Early Jurassic Toundoute overthrust beds located in the High Moroccan Atlas Mountains. The remains, consisting of a partial adult skeleton and associated partial juvenile skeleton found in continental detrital sediments, were described by Ronan Allain et al. in early 2004. The generic name derives from one of the localities, Tazouda, while the specific descriptor is a latinization of the Arabic term for "slender" due to the animal’s small size for a sauropod. Its fossil was found alongside that of Berberosaurus.
Tazoudasaurus, a small sauropod at 9 meters long (30 ft), is characterized by rather primitive features such as the prosauropod-like mandible with spatulate and denticle-bearing teeth, lack of a U-shaped mandibular symphysis as other more derived sauropods. Teeth wear in V-shaped marks indicates tooth occlusion, suggesting that vulcanodontids processed food orally when feeding. The neck is flexible with elongate vertebrae that lack true pleurocoels while dorsal and caudal vertebrae series tend to be more rigid. T. naimi bears the most complete fossil skeleton for Early Jurassic sauropod remains found to date due to the scarcity of exposed strata of that age. This sauropod is most closely related to Vulcanodon, differing only in caudal vertebrae features while it also possesses characters that place it outside Eusauropoda.
- Allain, Ronan; Najat Aquesbi, Jean Dejax, Christian Meyer, Michel Monbaron, Christian Montenat, Philippe Richir, Mohammed Rochdy, Dale Russell, Philippe Taquet (2004). "A basal sauropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of Morocco". Comptes Rendus Palevol 3 (3): 199–208. doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2004.03.001. ISSN 1631-0683.