STL Science Center

STL Science Center

01 July 2017

Volcano Tooth

Welcome to July one and all. We are going to start one of the hotter months of the summer here in the Northern Hemisphere with an early sauropod that has a name that sounds fairly hot. Volcanodon karibaensis of the Early Jurassic was discovered in Rhodesia in 1969 (presently known as Zimbabwe) and described by Michael Raath. Raath, as a side note to the dinosaur, famously described many fossils from Zimbabwe during the 1960's (1969 was an especially prolific year for Raath) from the Port Elizabeth Museum of South Africa and many southern African dinosaurs are known to science due to his descriptions. Vulcanodon was a moderately sized early sauropod at 11m (35ft) and was an obligate quadruped; some contemporaneous early sauropods were still considered to be facultatively bipedal. Vulcanodon, though had limbs that were not entirely consist with later obligate quadrupedal sauropods. This little known, but very important, early sauropod will tell us a lot about Jurassic Africa and the history of sauropods.
©Nobu Tamura

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