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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 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.

ExcavationsEdit

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 ExpeditionEdit

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 lead 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 ExpeditionEdit

Vertebrate paleofaunaEdit

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

MammalsEdit

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

Allostaffia

A. aenigmatica

  • Tanzania.

Three isolated molars.

Brancatherulum[1]

B. tendagurense

  • Tanzania.

Dentary without teeth.

Tendagurodon

T. janenschi

  • Tanzania.

Single tooth.

Tendagurutherium

T. dietrichi

  • Tanzania.

Partial dentary with damaged last molar.

OrnithischiansEdit

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

Dysalotosaurus[2]

D. lettowvorbecki[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"Large number of mostly disassociated cranial and postcranial elements."[3]

Kentrosaurus[2]

K. aethiopicus[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"[Two] composite mounted skeletons, [four] braincases, [seven] sacra, more than [seventy] femora, approximately 25 isolated elements, juvenile to adult."[4]

PterosaursEdit

Template:Paleobiota-key-compact

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

?Indeterminate archaeopterodactyloid[5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]
Humerus.[6]

Indeterminate azhdarchid[5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]

Indeterminate dsungaripteroid[6]

Humerus.[6]

Pterodactylus[5]

P. maximus[5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]

Later determined to be an indeterminate pterodactyloid.[5]

P. brancai [5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]

Later determined to be an indeterminate dsungaripteroid.[5]

P. arningi [5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]

Later determined to be an indeterminate pterosaur.[5]

Rhamphorhynchus[5]

R. tendagurensis[5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]

Later determined to be an indeterminate "rhamphorhynchoid".[5]

Tendaguripterus[5]

T. recki[5]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[5]

A partial mandible with teeth.

SauropodsEdit

Template:Paleobiota-key-compact

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

Australodocus

A. bohetii

  • Tanzania.

Two neck vertebrae

Barosaurus[2]

B. gracilis[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

Brachiosaurus[2]

B. brancai[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"[Five] partial skeletons, more than [three] skulls, [and] isolated limb elements."[7]

B. brancai was distinct enough from the non-Tendaguru Brachiosaurus type species B. altithorax that it was moved to its own genus, Giraffatitan.[8]

B. fraasi[2]

Remains attributed to B. fraasi were later referred to B. brancai, and thus now Giraffatitan.[8]

Dicraeosaurus[2]

D. hansemanni[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"Skeleton lacking skull and forelimbs, [two] partial skeletons, isolated vertebrae, and limb elements."[9]

D. sattleri[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"[Two] partial skeletons without skulls, isolated postcranial remains."[9]

Giraffatitan[2]

G. brancai[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

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.[8]

Janenschia[2]

J. robusta[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"[Three] hindlimbs, [two] forelimbs, manus, [two] dorsal vertebrae, [and a] caudal series."[10]

Tendaguria[2]

T. tanzaniensis[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"[Two] associated cranial dorsal vertebrae."[11]

Tornieria[2]

T. africanus[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"More than [three] partial skeletons, a few skull elements, [and] many isolated postcranial elements."[12]

Turiasauria indet.[13]

Intermediate[13]

Teeth.[13]

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.[13]

"The Archbishop"

TheropodsEdit

Template:Paleobiota-key-compact

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

?Allosaurus[2]

?A. tendagurensis[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

A tibia.[14]

Ceratosaurus[2]

C. roechlingi[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"Quadrate, fibula, caudal vertebrae, astragalus."[15]

Remains now considered indeterminate.[2]

Indeterminate[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

Elaphrosaurus[2]

E. bambergi[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"Postcranial skeleton."[16]

Labrosaurus[2]

L. stechowi[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"Isolated teeth."[15]

Remains later determined to be an indeterminate species of Ceratosaurus.[2]

Megalosaurus[2]

M. ingens[2]

  • Mkoawa Mtwara, Tanzania.[2]

"Tooth."[17]

Later determined to be an indeterminate theropod.[2]

Ostafrikasaurus[18]

O. crassiserratus[18]

"Tooth."[18]

Veterupristisaurus[19]

V. milneri[19]

"Vertebrae."[19]

See alsoEdit


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