Wilhelm (Guillermo) Schulz and the earliest discoveries of dinosaurs and marine reptiles in Spain
Published:January 01, 2010
Xabier Pereda Suberbiola, José-Ignacio Ruiz-Omeñaca, Nathalie Bardet, Laura Piñuela, José-Carlos García-Ramos, 2010. "Wilhelm (Guillermo) Schulz and the earliest discoveries of dinosaurs and marine reptiles in Spain", Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective, R. T. J. Moody, E. Buffetaut, D. Naish, D. M. Martill
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Wilhelm Schulz (1805–1877), known in Spain as Guillermo Schulz, was one of the most outstanding representatives of the geology and mining industry in Spain during the nineteenth century. Schulz is, likewise, the author detailing the first discoveries of dinosaurs and marine reptiles in Spain. In 1858 Schulz described a supposed dinosaur tooth from the Jurassic of Ruedes (Asturias) as belonging to a shark. Schulz's description, mainly the occurrence of crenulated edges, suggests that the tooth was that of a large theropod. It probably comes from the altered grey marls of the Upper Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) Lastres Formation. Although the exact year of the discovery before 1858 is not known, the Ruedes tooth (currently lost) is presumably the earliest known discovery of a dinosaur body fossil in the Iberian Peninsula. Moreover, Schulz mentioned in 1858 the discovery of plesiosaur remains from the Liassic near Villaviciosa (Asturias). The material probably comes from the Pliensbachian marls and limestone rhythmites (Jamesoni zone) of the Rodiles Formation. As no figure was provided and the specimen is currently lost, we have no definitive certainty about its affinities. However, it represents the earliest marine reptile fossil found in Spain.
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Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective
The discovery of dinosaurs and other large extinct ‘saurians’—a term under which the Victorians commonly lumped ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and their kin—makes exciting reading and has caught the attention of palaeontologists, historians of science and the general public alike. The papers in this collection go beyond the familiar tales about famous ‘fossil hunters’ and focus on relatively little-known episodes in the discovery and interpretation (from both a scientific and an artistic point of view) of dinosaurs and other inhabitants of the Mesozoic world. They cover a long time span, from the beginnings of ‘modern’ scientific palaeontology in the 1700s to the present, and deal with many parts of the world, from the Yorkshire coast to Central India, from Bavaria to the Sahara. The characters in these stories include professional palaeontologists and geologists (some of them well-known, others quite obscure), explorers, amateur fossil collectors, and artists, linked together by their interest in Mesozoic creatures.