STL Science Center

STL Science Center

22 February 2012

Another Taquet Discovery

©Brian Franczak
During the middle of the 20th century Philippe Taquet was digging up dinosaur species all over Niger and a lot of African dinosaur species have become known or better understood in thanks to his efforts. Ouranosaurus, the 110 million year old hadrosaur, was found near Gadoufaoua in 1965 originally. The nearly complete skeleton and skull reside in Niamey, Niger today which is appropriate since that is the country where they were found. Approximately 27 feet long and 2.2 tonnes according to Gregory Paul's number (Taquet's were 23 feet and 4 tonnes), this hadrosaur would have been rather large with a lithe figure, for a hadrosaur. Regardless of which measurements are accepted, the femur itself was 81.1 centimeters long, approximately 32 inches or 2 feet 8 inches. That makes half its leg about half as tall as I am already; the woes of being a short man.

Of that giant ridge of bone making the sail shape on its back, the first four dorsal vertebrae are not known still, though the fifth already has a significantly large neural spine growing from the top of the back. This continues to the 17th dorsal vertebrae where the tall neural spine is longer than those of the sacral vertebrae (there are 6 over the hips) and then, after the hips and on toward the tail, the vertebrae again possess tall neural spines which gradually shorten down a short length of the tail. Ouranosaurus had a longer face than its cousin Iguanodon at 67 centimeters long. The average length of the skull of a horse is about 60 centimeters long, to put that in perspective. The skull of Ouranosaurus fitted 88 teeth, imagine a piano made of dinosaur teeth!, whereas that horse's head only manages about 44 teeth.

No comments:

Post a Comment