The Tendaguru Formation or Tendaguru Beds



The Tendaguru Formation, or Tendaguru Beds are a fossil-rich formation in Tanzania. It has been considered the richest of Late Jurassic strata in Africa. Continental reconstructions show Tendaguru to have been in the southern hemisphere during the Late Jurassic. Tendaguru is similar to the Morrison Formation of the United States except in its Marine Interbeds. The dinosaur life found there is similar to that of the Morrison, with the presence of dinosaurs with similar counterparts, e.g., Brachiosaurus and Stegosaurus in the Morrison, and Giraffatitan and Kentrosaurus in the Tendaguru.

The Tendaguru Beds as a fossil deposit were first discovered in 1906, when German pharmacist, chemical analyst and mining engineer Bernhard Wilhelm Sattler, on his way to a mine south of the Mbemkure River in German East Africa (today Tanzania), noticed enormous bones weathering out of the path near the base of a hill. Because of its morphology, the hill was locally known as “steep hill”: “tendaguru” in the language of the local Wamwera people.

Sattler sent a report of his discoveries that found its way to German palaeontologist Eberhard Fraas, then on a round trip through Africa, who visited the site in 1907 and with the aid of Sattler recovered two partial skeletons of enormous size. The material was transported to Fraas’ institution, the Royal Natural History Collection in Stuttgart, Germany. Fraas described two species in the badly known genus Gigantosaurus, G. robustus and G. africanus (today Janenschia robusta and Tornieria africana, respectively).






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