Who Has Worked on Aetosaurs?

By now almost everyone probably knows that aetosaurs are my favorite Triassic critter and the animal in which I choose to specialize (although I deal from time to time with phytosaurs and other Triassic beasties, as well as early dinosaurs). What amazed me when I first started researching aetosaurs (I was not really familiar with them prior to 1997) was who had worked on them. Here is a short (and certainly not complete) list of prominent researchers who have worked on and/or collected aetosaur specimens. Although many of the earliest workers thought they were dealing with fish, crocodylians, or phytosaurs they laid the foundation for our modern studies. How many other fossil animals can claim this pedigree?

Louis Agassiz. Named Stagonolepis in 1844. First description of an aetosaur.

Thomas Huxley. Provided first detailed descriptons of Stagonolepis and determined its reptilian affinities.

Hermann von Meyer. Described first material of Paratypothorax.

Edward Cope. Named Typothorax coccinarum, Episcoposaurus horridus, and E. haplocerus.

Oscar Fraas. Named Aetosaurus ferratus.

Eberhard Fraas. Named Aetosaurus crassicauda.

Othniel Marsh. Named Stegomus arcuatus.

Freidrich von Huene. Redescribed several taxa.

Barnum Brown. Collected several specimens from Arizona and Utah (see photo above).

Maurice Mehl. Named Acompsosaurus wingatensis.

Ermine Case. Named Desmatosuchus spurensis. Collected holotype of Calyptosuchus wellesi.

Charles Camp. Collected many specimens. Studied Stagonolepis holotype.

Samuel Welles. Collected specimens.

Glenn Jepsen. Described Stegomus arcuatus jerseyensis. First good description of caudal armor.

Joseph Gregory. Collected specimens. Reviewed Typothorax and Desmatosuchus.

Donald Baird. Described more specimens of S. arcuatus.

Alick Walker. Produced defining monograph of Stagonolepis.

Jose Bonaparte. Named Neoaetosauroides engaeus.

Note that I have left out many recent workers, not because they have not made important contributions to aetosaurs, but because it would be premature to judge how they will be remembered by their peers in regards to those named above.

Below is a photo of an aetosaur femur collected from the Chinle Formation of Utah by Barnum Brown in the late 1800s. Photo courtesy of the USMN.


  1. It is humbling for a two-bit hack like me to have worked with the same group of animals as these giants of paleontology. I am also impressed with the current generation of aetosaur workers, some of whom will be mentioned with these heavy hitters someday. Aetosaurs rock!

  2. Bryan,

    I'm sure that you will definitely make the list.



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