The Wino Dino

Rupert Glasgow has just sent me the latest news on Aragonese dinosaurs from the erudite maños at

Great news for the “Aragosaurus” team of palaeontologists at the University of Zaragoza. This month’s issue of the prestigious Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (no. 18, vol. 3) features the description of a new dinosaur, Tastavinsaurus sanzi, by José Ignacio Canudo, Rafael Royo-Torres and Gloria Cuenca-Bescós. Tastavinsaurus sanzi is an early Cretaceous sauropod dating from the early Aptian, over 110 million years ago. This huge, plant-eating quadruped, characterized by its long neck and tail, is estimated to have measured some 17 metres in length and weighed between 15 and 20 tonnes. It belongs to the clade known as “Titanosauriformes,” which also includes the brachiosaurids and titanosaurians and as such contains some of the most gargantuan dinosaurs ever to have trampled over the planet. Its remains were first discovered by two amateur palaeontologists in the early 1990s at the site of Arsis, Peñarroya de Tastavins, in the Aragonese province of Teruel. The name Tastavinsaurus is derived from the nearby River Tastavins, which means “wine-taster” in Catalan, while the name sanzi is in homage to the Spanish palaeontologist José-Luis Sanz. The exceptionally well-preserved condition of its skeleton made it possible to define a new genus and species from the fossils. It is the most complete sauropod from the Early Cretaceous of Europe, and the most complete sauropod in Spain. It was excavated between December 1996 and January 1997 (in fairly inclement weather conditions), the fossils requiring more than 4,000 hours of preparation over two years in a specially constructed laboratory in Peñarroya. The original fossils, as well as a real-size reconstruction of Tastavinsaurus sanzi in all its splendour, can be seen at a special Dinópolis centre at Peñarroya in Teruel.

For more information: see (Noticias, 7 October 2008).

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