Tendaguru Formation

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Tendaguru Formation
Stratigraphic range: Late Jurassic
Type Geological formation
Location
Region Africa
Country Tanzania

The Tendaguru Beds are a fossil-rich formation in Tanzania. It has been considered the richest of Late Jurassic strata in Africa. Continental reconstructions show Tendaguru to have been in the southern hemisphere during the Late Jurassic. Tendaguru is similar to the Morrison Formation of the United States except in its Marine Interbeds. The dinosaur life found there is similar to that of the Morrison, with the presence of dinosaurs with similar counterparts, e.g., Brachiosaurus and Stegosaurus in the Morrison, and Giraffatitan and Kentrosaurus in the Tendaguru.[1]

Excavations[edit]

The Tendaguru Beds as a fossil deposit were first discovered in 1906, when German pharmacist, chemical analyst and mining engineer Bernhard Wilhelm Sattler, on his way to a mine south of the Mbemkure River in German East Africa (today Tanzania), noticed enormous bones weathering out of the path near the base of a hill.[2] Because of its morphology, the hill was locally known as "steep hill": "tendaguru" in the language of the local Wamwera people. Sattler sent a report of his discoveries that found its way to German palaeontologist Eberhard Fraas, then on a round trip through Africa, who visited the site in 1907 and with the aid of Sattler recovered two partial skeletons of enormous size.[3] The material was transported to Fraas' institution, the Royal Natural History Collection in Stuttgart, Germany. Fraas described two species in the badly known genus Gigantosaurus, G. robustus and G. africanus (today Janenschia robusta and Barosaurus africanus, respectively).[3]

German Tendaguru Expedition[edit]

Native excavators with Giraffatitan bones in German East Africa, near the city of Lindi, 1909

The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin excavated at Tendaguru hill and in the surroundings for four years. From 1909 through 1911, Werner Janensch as expedition leader and Edwin Hennig as assistant directed excavations, while Hans Reck and his wife Ina Reck led the 1912 field season. Other European participants include Hans von Staff. In the rainy seasons the scientists explored the geology of the colony German East Africa on long safaris.

British Museum Tendaguru Expedition[edit]

Vertebrate paleofauna[edit]

Possible dinosaur eggs have been recovered from the formation.[4]

Mammals[edit]

mammals reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Allostaffia

A. aenigmatica

  • Tanzania.

Three isolated molars.

Brancatherulum[5]

B. tendagurense

  • Tanzania.

Dentary without teeth.

Tendagurodon

T. janenschi

  • Tanzania.

Single tooth.

Tendagurutherium

T. dietrichi

  • Tanzania.

Partial dentary with damaged last molar.

Ornithischians[edit]

Ornithischians reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Dysalotosaurus[4]

D. lettowvorbecki[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"Large number of mostly disassociated cranial and postcranial elements."[6]

Kentrosaurus[4]

K. aethiopicus[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"[Two] composite mounted skeletons, [four] braincases, [seven] sacra, more than [seventy] femora, approximately 25 isolated elements, juvenile to adult."[7]

Pterosaurs[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Pterosaurs reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

?Indeterminate archaeopterodactyloid[8]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[8]
Humerus.[9]
Pterosaur fossils from Tendaguru

Indeterminate azhdarchid[8]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[8]

Indeterminate dsungaripteroid[9]

Humerus.[9]

Pterodactylus[8]

P. maximus[8]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[8]

Later determined to be an indeterminate pterodactyloid.[8]

P. brancai [8]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[8]

Later determined to be an indeterminate dsungaripteroid.[8]

P. arningi [8]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[8]

Later determined to be an indeterminate pterosaur.[8]

Rhamphorhynchus[8]

R. tendagurensis[8]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[8]

Later determined to be an indeterminate "rhamphorhynchoid".[8]

Tendaguripterus[8]

T. recki[8]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[8]

A partial mandible with teeth.

Sauropods[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Sauropods reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Australodocus

A. bohetii

  • Tanzania.

Two neck vertebrae

Barosaurus[4]

B. gracilis[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

Brachiosaurus[4]

B. brancai[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"[Five] partial skeletons, more than [three] skulls, [and] isolated limb elements."[10]

B. brancai was distinct enough from the non-Tendaguru Brachiosaurus type species B. altithorax that it was moved to its own genus, Giraffatitan.[11]

B. fraasi[4]

Remains attributed to B. fraasi were later referred to B. brancai, and thus now Giraffatitan.[11]

Dicraeosaurus[4]

D. hansemanni[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"Skeleton lacking skull and forelimbs, [two] partial skeletons, isolated vertebrae, and limb elements."[12]

D. sattleri[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"[Two] partial skeletons without skulls, isolated postcranial remains."[12]

Giraffatitan[4]

G. brancai[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

The new genus Giraffatitan was erected to hold the former Brachiosaurus species, B. brancai after scientists concluded that it was distinct enough from the Brachiosaurus type species, B. altithorax, to warrant such a reclassification.[11]

Janenschia[4]

J. robusta[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"[Three] hindlimbs, [two] forelimbs, manus, [two] dorsal vertebrae, [and a] caudal series."[13]

Tendaguria[4]

T. tanzaniensis[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"[Two] associated cranial dorsal vertebrae."[14]

Tornieria[4]

T. africanus[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"More than [three] partial skeletons, a few skull elements, [and] many isolated postcranial elements."[15]

Turiasauria indet.[16]

Intermediate[16]

Teeth.[16]

Teeth potential indicating a turiasaurian sauropod; a group currently only known from Europe. Presence in the Lourinhã Formation also support that this group would be present here given the similarity of the two faunas.[16]

"The Archbishop"

Theropods[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Theropods reported from the Tendaguru Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

?Allosaurus[4]

?A. tendagurensis[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

A tibia.[17]

Allosaurus tendagurensis bones, Naturkunde Museum Berlin

Ceratosaurus[4]

C. roechlingi[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"Quadrate, fibula, caudal vertebrae, astragalus."[18]

Remains now considered indeterminate.[4]

Indeterminate[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

Elaphrosaurus[4]

E. bambergi[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"Postcranial skeleton."[19]

Labrosaurus[4]

L. stechowi[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"Isolated teeth."[18]

Remains later determined to be an indeterminate species of Ceratosaurus.[4]

Megalosaurus[4]

M. ingens[4]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[4]

"Tooth."[20]

Later determined to be an indeterminate theropod.[4]

Ostafrikasaurus[21]

O. crassiserratus[21]

"Tooth."[21]

Veterupristisaurus[22]

V. milneri[22]

"Vertebrae."[22]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Mateus (2006). Pp. 223–232.
  2. ^ Maier , G. (2003).
  3. ^ a b Fraas, E. (1908). "Ostafrikanische Dinosaurier". Palaeontolographica 55:105-144 [German]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay Weishampel, David B; et al. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution (Late Jurassic, Africa)." In: Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 552. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  5. ^ http://www.dinodata.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8707&Itemid=148
  6. ^ "Table 19.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 414.
  7. ^ "Table 16.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 344.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Barrett, P.M., Butler, R.J., Edwards, N.P., & Milner, A.R. Pterosaur distribution in time and space: an atlas. p61-107. in Flugsaurier: Pterosaur papers in honour of Peter Wellnhofer. 2008. Hone, D.W.E., and Buffetaut, E. (eds). Zitteliana B, 28. 264pp.[1]
  9. ^ a b c Costa F. R., Kellner A. W. A., 2009, On two pterosaur humeri from the Tendaguru beds (Upper Jurassic, Tanzania), Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, vol.81 no.4 Rio de Janeiro Dec. 2009
  10. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 267.
  11. ^ a b c Taylor, M.P. (2009). Pp. 787-806.
  12. ^ a b "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 264.
  13. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 268.
  14. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 261.
  15. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 265.
  16. ^ a b c d Mateus, O., Mannion P. D., & Upchurch P. (2014). Zby atlanticus, a new turiasaurian sauropod (Dinosauria, Eusauropoda) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34(3), 618-634.
  17. ^ "Table 4.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 75.
  18. ^ a b "Table 3.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 50.
  19. ^ "Table 3.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 48.
  20. ^ "Table 4.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 78.
  21. ^ a b c d Buffetaut, Eric (2012). "An early spinosaurid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Tendaguru (Tanzania) and the evolution of the spinosaurid dentition". Oryctos 10: 1–8. 
  22. ^ a b c d Rauhut, Oliver W. M. (2011). "Theropod dinosaurs from the Late Jurassic of Tendaguru (Tanzania)". Special Papers in Palaeontology 86: 195–239. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01084.x. 

References[edit]

  • Fraas, E. (1908). "Ostafrikanische Dinosaurier". Palaeontolographica 55:105-144 [German].
  • Khalaf-von Jaffa, Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2006). "Ornithomimid Dinosaur Tracks from Beit Zeit, West of Jerusalem, Palestine." Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin, Number 56, August 2006. pp. 1–7.
  • Paul, G. S. 1988. The brachiosaur giants of the Morrison Tendaguru with a description of a new subgenus, Giraffatitan, and a comparison of the world's largest dinosaurs. Hunteria 2 (3): 1-14.
  • Maier, G. African dinosaurs unearthed : the Tendaguru expeditions. Bloomington, Indiana : Indiana University Press, 2003. (Life of the Past Series). At Google Books
  • Mateus, Octávio (2006). "Late Jurassic dinosaurs from the Morrison Formation (USA), the Lourinhā and Alcobaça formations (Portugal), and the Tendaguru Beds (Tanzania): a comparison". In Foster, J.R., and Lucas, S.G. (eds.). Paleontology and Geology of the Upper Morrison Formation. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (bulletin 36). pp. 223–232. ISSN 1524-4156. 
  • Taylor, M.P. (2009). "A Re-evaluation of Brachiosaurus altithorax Riggs 1903 (Dinosauria, Sauropod) and its generic separation from Giraffatitan brancai (Janensh 1914)." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29(3): 787-806.
  • Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. 861 pp. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.

Coordinates: 10°03′S 39°07′E / 10.050°S 39.117°E / -10.050; 39.117