STL Science Center

STL Science Center

08 February 2012

Little Known Frenchmen

Phillipe Taquet's very short stub of a biography available online claims that he
is a French paleontologist who specializes in dinosaur systematics of finds primarily in northern Africa. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences since November 30, 2004. He has studied and described a number of new dinosaur species from Africa, especially from the Aptian site of Gadoufaoua in Niger (such as Ouranosaurus). He also researches the Lower Cretaceous stratigraphic relationship between western Africa and Brazil by reconstructing the paleobiology from fossil floras and faunas. He was president of the French National Museum of Natural History from 1985 to 1990 ("Philippe Taquet." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 22 Jan. 2012. Web. 08 Feb. 2012. .)
The fact that so little is available is not anything new when discussing paleontologists. There is no mention of how he came to find it, why he was in Niger, or the exact time. The only thing we know for certain from online sources is that Taquet found the formation, the Elrhaz Formation, Gadoufaoua, in the Niger Republic, and described the formation and its contents very loosely in a paper in 1976. Thankfully, however, scientific interest in the formation did not die away. and the story of how Paul Sereno's team found, cleaned, studied, and described the nearly translucent, highly pneumatic, and fragile bones of this dinosaur was all summarized in a 1999 paper. Without that paper and the since continued efforts in understanding this dinosaur we would have had nothing to discuss all week. Also, we have this because of all the efforts of paleontologists:

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