STL Science Center

STL Science Center

09 February 2011

Dryosaurus and Dysalotosaurus

Dryosaurus altus: Marsh 1878 as Laosaurus altus. The entire Laosaurus genus has been considered nomen dubium by this point, the animals belonging to other species. Dryosaurus lettowvorbecki: Virchow 1919 as Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki. Lately Virchow's Tanzanian Dryosaur has been cast back as Dysalotosaurus by some members of the paleo community. It is a fluid community to belong to and things are always changing up. If someone finds info on H. Virchow, a German anatomist, please share!

An interesting story of Dysalotosaurus: There is a double entendre in this fossil's name.The name Dysalotosaurus - ("uncatchable lizard") is sometimes thought to be a reference to its gracile, sleek, morphology, but in fact the species name, lettowvorbecki, suggests the real intent behind the name. A World War I German general, Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck stationed in Tanzania, proved uncatchable to pursuing British and South African armies. In 1919 (just after the end of Word War I), the unrepentant German paleontologist, H. Virchow, in naming this Tanzanian dinosaur; celebrated this fact with its name.

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