saurodn2.jpg (58291 bytes)  

Stewart, A., 1898.

Some notes on the genus Saurodon and allied species.

Kansas University Quarterly, series A, 7:177-186, with pls.

(Introduction only)


Copyright © 2002-2009 by Mike Everhart

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VOL. VII.                     OCTOBER, 1898.                              No. 4.


Some Notes on the Genus Saurodon and

Allied Species.

Contribution from the Paleontological Laboratory No. 34.


With Plates XIV, XV, XVI.

     In the year 1824, Dr. Harlan* described the genus Saurocephalus from a fragment of a superior maxilla collected by Lewis and Clark in their expedition up the Missouri river in 1804. Six years later, Dr. Hays§ described the jaws and a portion of the skull of a second form Saurodon leanus from the Marl of New Jersey. He also examined the specimen described by Dr. Harlan and found "that the teeth, instead of being 'in a longitudinal groove' 'in close contact throughout' 'there being no distinct alveoli, are in fact placed in distinct alveoli.§§   Dr. Hays then reached the conclusion that the two genera were synonymous, and that since Dr. Harlan's genus was founded upon erroneous characters, the name Saurodon should take precedence over it. In the year 1856, Dr. Leidy redescribed both of the above genera in a paper read before the American Philosophical Society §§§ and as there had been nothing new added to the knowledge of them in America up to that time, concluded that the name Saurodon should be abandoned, and that the type of this species should be known as Saurocephalus leanus Hays. Nothing further was done regarding


* Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phil. 1830, vol. iii. p. 331.

§ Trans. Am. Phil. Soc. vol. iii, p. 471

§§ L. c. p. 476.

§§§ Trans. Am. Phil. Soc., vol. xi, p. 91.

(177) KAN. UNIV. QUAR., VOL. VII. NO., 4 OCT., 1898, SERIES A.

178                         KANSAS UNIVERSITY QUARTERLY.

either of the generic terms until 1875, when Prof. Cope* added the allied genus Daptinus from the cretaceous of Kansas, but which he later recognized as a synonym of Saurodon Hays.

     The exact date of Prof. Cope's retraction I have been unable to exactly determine, but it was probably not until after 1878, as at this time Mr. E. T. Newton§ described a fish from the lower chalk of Dover and provisionally placed it in Daptinus. A little later, in the same year, Mr. Newton published a paper entitled§§ "Remarks on Saurocephalus, and on the Species which have been referred to that Genus." In this paper Mr. Newton carefully goes over the ground and finally concludes, as Dr. Leidy had already done, that the name Saurodon should be no longer used.

     After carefully examining the material at my command I am led to the conclusion that there are two distinct genera, which should be known as Saurocephalus and Saurodon; the evidence for which the following descriptions, I think will make apparent.

     During the past summer the museum was presented with a fine specimen of Saurodon by Mr. H. M. McDowell of this place; and was also loaned another specimen of this genus by Mr. W. O. Bourne of Scott City. The second specimen is not so complete as the first yet it shows many points of interest that are not visible in the first specimen mentioned. The two forms are new to science and will be called Saurodon xiphirostris and Saurodon ferox respectively.


* Cret. Vert. West. p. 213

§ Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc., 1878, No. 135, p. 439.

§§ Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc., 1878, No. 13, p. 786.