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meaning: "Excavated vertebra"
Named By: Richard Owen in 1875
Time Period: Late Jurassic, 157-152.2 Ma
Location: England - Kimmeridge Clay
Size: Uncertain due to lack of remains
Diet: Herbivore
Fossil(s): Four dorsal (back) and three sacral vertebrae
Classification: | Chordata | Reptilia | Dinosauria | Saurischia | Sauropoda | Titanosauriformes |

Bothriospondylus ("excavated vertebra") is a dubious genus of sauropod dinosaur. It lived during the Late Jurassic.

The type species, Bothriospondylus suffossus, was described by Richard Owen in 1875. The specific epithet suffossus means "undermined" in Latin, a reference to the fact that pleurocoels had hollowed out the sides of the vertebra. It is often incorrectly spelled as "suffosus". Owen based the species on holotype NHMUK R.44592-5, a set of four dorsal vertebrae found in Wiltshire in stratum from the Kimmeridgian, the Kimmeridge Clay. Also three unfused sacral vertebrae were referred.

At the same time Owen named three other species of Bothriospondylus. B. robustus was based on NHMUK R.22428, a dorsal from the same location. B. elongatus was based on a vertebra from Sussex, NHMUK R.2239, an original syntype of Ornithopsis hulkei. Finally, B. magnus was a new name for another syntype of Ornithopsis hulkei Seeley 1870, the present lectotype NHMUK 28632. Owen himself in an addendum to the same publication renamed B. robustus to Marmarospondylus robustus. Friedrich von Huene in 1908 referred the material to Pelorosaurus and in 1922 made B. suffossus into a Ornithopsis suffossa because the latter generic name has priority.

More complete material from Madagascar was named by Richard Lydekker as a fifth species, Bothriospondylus madagascariensis. Franz Nopcsa in 1902 assigned to Bothriospondylus a vertebra from Argentina that later would be renamed Nopcsaspondylus. A skeleton from France was assigned to Bothriospondylus madagascariensis, but has been described as a new genus and species of brachiosaurid, Vouivria.

Some of the material previously assigned to B. madagascariensis was reassigned to its own genus Lapparentosaurus by Jose Fernando Bonaparte..

A revision in 2010 by Philip Mannion concluded that Bothriospondylus is a nomen dubium. However, "Bothriospondylus" madagascariensis was treated as valid and distinct from other Middle Jurassic sauropods from Madagascar.

Bothriospondylus has over the years been assigned to many groups -- even in a Bothriospondylidae of its own -- with Brachiosauridae lately being the most popular designation. However, the sparse and eroded material shows no synapomorphies of the Brachiosauridae and cannot be further determined than a very general Neosauropoda.

Read more about Bothriospondylus at Wikipedia
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