STL Science Center

STL Science Center

03 August 2012

Traveling the Subcontinent

I think anyone mildly educated in geography knows that the phrase "the subcontinent" refers to India. Rarely do we have a chance to discuss Indian dinosaurs because Indian dinosaurs are not well documented and certainly not well understood. In the Late Cretaceous, however, we come upon a dinosaur so Indian it is named after one of the most important rivers of its home (using ancient Greek), Indosuchus. Indosuchus raptorius means "Raptorial Indus Crocodile." Indosuchus is, however, a bipedal predator that lived on the land, and not in the water. Living in the last five million or so years of the reign of the dinosaurs and measuring out to about twenty feet (six meters) long, Indosuchus was an average sized predator. Discovered in 1932-1933, Indosuchus only recently, 1986, was placed concretely in a family as an abelisaurid by Jose Bonaparte. Unfortunately, the remains are often considered difficult to assess and could be, some believe, attributed to other animals such as Indosaurus; an even more Indian named dinosaur described the same year. Regardless, I will use Indosuchus because the remains were initially found and described in the exact same paper by Huene and Matley in 1933 and would thus, I believe, have the same right to the name as Indosaurus since neither is older than the other. Additionally, in Gergory Paul's newest publication, and I know that in the past there have been entries that refute his claims in that book, he refers to Indosaurus as the included species under Indosuchus and not the other way around.

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