Tendaguru Formation

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Tendaguru Formation
Stratigraphic range: Callovian–Hauterivian
Tendaguru Tendaguru2.jpg
Skeleton of Dicraeosaurus hansemanni in the Tendaguru Formation
TypeGeological formation
Unit ofMandawa Basin
Sub-units
  • Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member
  • Upper Dinosaur Member
  • Indotrigonia africana Member
  • Middle Dinosaur Member
  • Nerinella Member
  • Lower Dinosaur Member
UnderliesMakonde Formation
OverliesNeoproterozoic gneiss basement
ThicknessOver 110 m
Lithology
PrimarySandstone
OtherShale Siltstone Clay Conglomerate Limestone
Location
Coordinates10°03′S 39°07′E / 10.050°S 39.117°E / -10.050; 39.117Coordinates: 10°03′S 39°07′E / 10.050°S 39.117°E / -10.050; 39.117
RegionAfrica
Country Tanzania
ExtentLindi Region
Type section
Named forTendaguru Hill

The Tendaguru Formation, or 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]

Stratigraphy[edit]

The Tendaguru is divided up into 6 Members, which represent different environments, with the 'Dinosaur Beds' representing terrestrial facies while the beds with genus/species names represent marine interbeds with shallow marine to lagoonal facies. In ascending order these are: the Lower Dinosaur Member, the Nerinella Member, the Middle Dinosaur Member, Indotrigonia africana Member, the Upper Dinosaur Member, and the Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member.

Stratigraphy of the Tendaguru formation[2]
Formation Time period Member Lithology Thickness
Makonde Fm Aptian-Early Albian Fine to medium grained sandstones, intercalated conglomerates, siltstones and claystones. ~200 m
Tendaguru Fm Valanginian- Hauterverian Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member Fine to medium grained sandstones with basal conglomerate 5 to 70 m
Unconformity
Tithonian Upper Dinosaur Member Ripple cross bedded fine grained sandstones and siltstones with intercalated claystone and micritic carbonates ~ 32 m
Late Kimmeridgian-Tithonian Indotrigonia africana Member Calcite cemented sandstones, conglomerate beds, thin clay and silt layers with sandy limestones 20 to 50 m
Late Kimmeridgian Middle Dinosaur Member Ripple cross bedded fine grained calcareous sandstones and siltstones and massive to crudely bedded silt and claystones 13 to 30 m
Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian Nerinella Member Trough cross bedded sandstone to massive sandstone 5 to 45 m
?Callovian-Middle Oxfordian Lower Dinosaur Member Cross bedded fine grained sandstones and siltstones, with Interbedded clay-rich siltstones >20 m
Unconformity
Basement Neoproterozoic gneiss

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.[3] 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.[4] 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 Tornieria africana, respectively).[4]

German Tendaguru Expedition[edit]

The Berlin's Natural History Museum 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.

Vertebrate paleofauna[edit]

Possible dinosaur eggs have been recovered from the formation.[5]

Mammaliaformes[edit]

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

Allostaffia

A. aenigmatica

Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Member

Three isolated molars.

Assigned to Haramiyida (though possibly a gondwanathere instead).[6]

Brancatherulum

B. tendagurense

Unspecified Middle Dinosaur Member

Dentary without teeth.

Either a stem-zatherian or dryolestidan.[7]

Tendagurodon

T. janenschi

Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Member

Single tooth.

One of the earliest amphilestids

Tendagurutherium

T. dietrichi

Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Member

Partial dentary with damaged last molar.

Either a peramurid or an australosphenidan.[6]

Ornithischians[edit]

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

Dysalotosaurus[5]

D. lettowvorbecki[5]

Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Member

"Large number of mostly disassociated cranial and postcranial elements."[8]

Kentrosaurus[5]

K. aethiopicus[5]

Quarry Q, Ig, St, S, Ny, Li, XX, r, y, d, Ng, X, H, IX, Om, bb, Ha, XIV, II, IV, V, VIII, G, e, g, Ki Lower, Middle & Upper Dinosaur Members

"[Two] composite mounted skeletons, [four] braincases, [seven] sacra, more than [seventy] femora, approximately 25 isolated elements, juvenile to adult."[9]

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[10]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[10]
Humerus.[11]
Pterosaur fossils from Tendaguru

Indeterminate azhdarchid[10]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[10]

Indeterminate dsungaripteroid[11]

Humerus.[11]

Pterodactylus[10]

P. maximus[10]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[10]

Later determined to be an indeterminate pterodactyloid.[10]

P. brancai [10]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[10]

Tibiotarsi.[12]

Later determined to be an indeterminate dsungaripteroid.[10]

P. arningi [10]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[10]

Later determined to be an indeterminate pterosaur.[10]

Rhamphorhynchus[10]

R. tendagurensis[10]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[10]

Later determined to be an indeterminate "rhamphorhynchoid".[10]

Tendaguripterus[10]

T. recki[10]

Quarry Ig Middle Dinosaur Member

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

Quarry G Upper Dinosaur Member

Two neck vertebrae

Brachiosaurus[5]

B. brancai[5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]

"[Five] partial skeletons, more than [three] skulls, [and] isolated limb elements."[13]

B. brancai was distinct enough from the non-Tendaguru Brachiosaurus type species B. altithorax that it was moved to its own genus, Giraffatitan.[14]

B. fraasi[5]

Remains attributed to B. fraasi were later referred to B. brancai, and thus now Giraffatitan.[5][14]

Dicraeosaurus[5]

D. hansemanni[5]

Quarry Q, m, St, dd, Sa Lower, Middle & Upper Dinosaur Members

"Skeleton lacking skull and forelimbs, [two] partial skeletons, isolated vertebrae, and limb elements."[15]

D. sattleri[5]

Quarry La, s, O, ab, E, M, o, Ob, bb, XIV, G, GD Middle & Upper Dinosaur Members

"[Two] partial skeletons without skulls, isolated postcranial remains."[15]

Giraffatitan[5]

G. brancai[5]

Quarry Q, J, Ig, Y, St, dd, S, TL, XX, Ma, JR, Ng, Bo, To, p, t, Lw, D, N, ab, cc, X, IX, Z, T, Aa, l, E, XIV, II, G, e, Ki, No, R, F, XII, GD, XV, Sa, U, i Lower, Middle & Upper Dinosaur Members

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.[14]

Janenschia[5]

J. robusta[5]

Quarry dd, P, IX, B, G, Oa,NB Middle & Upper Dinosaur Members

Known from hindlimb and forelimb material, left pubis and two right ischia[16]

Tendaguria[5]

T. tanzaniensis[5]

Nambango site Upper Dinosaur Member

"[Two] associated cranial dorsal vertebrae."[17]

A turiasaur

Tornieria[5]

T. africanus[5]

Quarry St, k, MD, A, e, Sa Middle & Upper Dinosaur Members

"More than [three] partial skeletons, a few skull elements, [and] many isolated postcranial elements."[18]

Wamweracaudia[16]

W. keranjei

A sequence of caudal vertebrae.

Turiasauria indet.[19]

Intermediate[19]

Teeth.[19]

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.[19]

"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[5]

?A. "tendagurensis"[5]

Quarry TL

A tibia.[20]

Remains now considered "Tetanurae indet."

Ceratosaurus[5]

C. roechlingi[5]

Quarry St, MW Middle & Upper Dinosaur Members

Caudal vertebra

Remains now considered indeterminate.[5]

Elaphrosaurus[5]

E. bambergi[5]

Quarry Ig, dd, ?RD Middle Dinosaur Member, ?Upper

"Postcranial skeleton."[21]

An elaphrosaurine noasaurid.

Labrosaurus[5]

L. stechowi[5]

Quarry St, MW Middle Dinosaur Members

Teeth

Remains now considered indeterminate.[5]

Megalosaurus[5]

M. ingens[5]

Quarry St, MW Upper Dinosaur Members

Teeth

Remains now considered indeterminate.[5]

Ostafrikasaurus[22]

O. crassiserratus[22]

Quarry Om Upper Dinosaur Member

"Tooth."[22]

The earliest known spinosaurid.

Veterupristisaurus[23]

V. milneri[23]

Quarry St Middle Dinosaur Member

"Vertebrae."[23]

The earliest known carcharodontosaurid.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mateus (2006). Pp. 223–232.
  2. ^ Bussert, Robert; Heinrich, Wolf-Dieter; Aberhan, Martin (August 2009). "The Tendaguru Formation (Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, southern Tanzania): definition, palaeoenvironments, and sequence stratigraphy". Fossil Record. 12 (2): 141–174. doi:10.1002/mmng.200900004. ISSN 1435-1943.
  3. ^ Maier , G. (2003).
  4. ^ a b Fraas, E. (1908). "Ostafrikanische Dinosaurier". Palaeontolographica 55:105-144 [German]
  5. ^ 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 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.
  6. ^ a b Nicholas Chimento, Frederico Agnolin, Agustin Martinelli, Mesozoic Mammals from South America: Implications for understanding early mammalian faunas from Gondwana, May 2016
  7. ^ Averianov, A. O.; Martin, T. (2015). "Ontogeny and taxonomy of Paurodon valens (Mammalia, Cladotheria) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of USA". Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS. 319: 326–340.
  8. ^ "Table 19.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 414.
  9. ^ "Table 16.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 344.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t 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]
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Galton, Peter M. (December 1980). "Avian-like tibiotarsi of pterodactyloids (Reptilia: Pterosauria) from the Upper Jurassic of East Africa". Paläontologische Zeitschrift. 54 (3): 331–342. doi:10.1007/BF02988135.
  13. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 267.
  14. ^ a b c Taylor, M.P. (2009). Pp. 787-806.
  15. ^ a b "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 264.
  16. ^ a b Philip D. Mannion; Paul Upchurch; Daniela Schwarz; Oliver Wings (2019). "Taxonomic affinities of the putative titanosaurs from the Late Jurassic Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania: phylogenetic and biogeographic implications for eusauropod dinosaur evolution". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. in press. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zly068.
  17. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 261.
  18. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 265.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "Table 4.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 75.
  21. ^ "Table 3.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 48.
  22. ^ a b c 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.
  23. ^ a b c 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 (inactive 2019-02-06).

Bibliography[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.; Lucas, S.G. 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.