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The first dinosaur from the Niobrara Chalk

Marsh, O. C., 1872.

Notice of a new species of Hadrosaurus.

American Journal of Science, Series 3, 16:301

Copyright © 2002-2009 by Mike Everhart

Last updated 02/14/2009

LEFT: The mounted type specimen of Claosaurus agilis (YPM 1190) in the Yale Peabody Museum.

Wherein, O. C. Marsh recounts the discovery of the remains of a dinosaur from the chalk of western Kansas. According the Carpenter, et al. (1995), these remains were found by Marsh about four miles east of present day Russell Springs, Kansas, on the north side of the Smoky Hill River. Marsh later (1890) changed the genus name to Claosaurus ("broken lizard") when major differences between it and Hadrosaurus became apparent. The remains found in Kansas indicated a 12 to 15 foot long animal.


II. Geology and Natural History.

     1. Notice of a new species of Hadrosaurus; by O. C. MARSH.   Among the Reptilian remains obtained by the Yale College party during the past summer [1871] was the greater part of a skeleton of a small Hadrosaurus, discovered by the writer in the blue Cretaceous shale near the Smoky Hill River, in Western Kansas. This species was somewhat smaller than H. minor Marsh, from New Jersey, and hardly more than one-third the bulk of H. Foulkei of Leidy. It was of more slender proportions, with the tail much elongated. The cervical vertebra are proportionally shorter than in H. Foulkei, and the caudals appear more compressed, Some of the distal caudals have a longitudinal ridge on the lateral surface. The sacrum, which is composed of six confluent vertebrę is 414 mm. in length. The first caudal vertebra is 62 mm. in length. The feet are nearly entire, and are proportionally more slender than the known remains of the other species would indicate. The third metatarsal is 235 mm. in length, and 77 mm. in transverse diameter at its distal end. This species, which may be called Hadrosaurus agilis, will be fully described in this Journal at an early day.                                  Yale College, New Haven, March 19th, 1872.

(See Kansas 1872 map HERE)

See more on recent discoveries of Kansas dinosaurs HERE and HERE

For a further discussion of this specimen and Kansas dinosaurs in general, see:

Carpenter, K., D. Dilkes, and D.B. Weishampel, 1995. The dinosaurs of the Niobrara Chalk Formation (upper Cretaceous, Kansas), Jour. Vert. Paleon. 15(2):275-297.

Everhart, M.J. and Hamm, S.A. 2005. A new nodosaur specimen (Dinosauria: Nodosauridae) from the Smoky Hill Chalk (Upper Cretaceous) of western Kansas. Kansas Academy of Science, Transactions 108(1/2), p. 15-21.

Liggett, G.A. 2005. A review of the dinosaurs from Kansas. Kansas Academy of Science, Transactions 108(1/2), p. 1-14.

Marsh, O.C. 1890. Additional characters of the Ceratopsidae, with notice of new Cretaceous dinosaurs. American Journal of Science, Series 3, 39, p. 418-426, with pls. v-vii.

Williston, S. W., 1898. Dinosaurs. The University Geological Survey of Kansas, Part III, 4:67-70, pl. 9.

The picture below shows a related species of hadrosaur discovered by O. C. Marsh in Wyoming. Earl Manning notes (pers. comm, May, 2003) that "Hadrosaurus" annectens is now considered to be a primitive hadrosaurine called Edmontosaurus.

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