Age (Ma)
Cretaceous Lower/
Berriasian younger
Jurassic Upper/
Tithonian ~145.0 152.1
Kimmeridgian 152.1 157.3
Oxfordian 157.3 163.5
Middle Callovian 163.5 166.1
Bathonian 166.1 168.3
Bajocian 168.3 170.3
Aalenian 170.3 174.1
Toarcian 174.1 182.7
Pliensbachian 182.7 190.8
Sinemurian 190.8 199.3
Hettangian 199.3 201.3
Triassic Upper/
Rhaetian older
Subdivision of the Jurassic system
according to the ICS, as of 2020[1]

In the geological timescale, the Tithonian is the latest age of the Late Jurassic epoch or the uppermost stage of the Upper Jurassic series. It spans the time between 152.1 ± 4 Ma and 145.0 ± 4 Ma (million years ago). It is preceded by the Kimmeridgian and followed by the Berriasian stage (part of the Cretaceous).[2]

Stratigraphic definitionsEdit

The Tithonian was introduced in scientific literature by German stratigrapher Albert Oppel in 1865. The name Tithonian is unusual in geological stage names because it is derived from Greek mythology. Tithonus was the son of Laomedon of Troy and fell in love with Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn. His name was chosen by Albert Oppel for this stratigraphical stage because the Tithonian finds itself hand in hand with the dawn of the Cretaceous.[3]

The base of the Tithonian stage is at the base of the ammonite biozone of Hybonoticeras hybonotum. A global reference profile (a GSSP or golden spike) for the base of the Tithonian had in 2009 not yet been established.

The top of the Tithonian stage (the base of the Berriasian stage and the Cretaceous system) is marked by the first appearance of small globular calpionellids of the species Calpionella alpina, at the base of the Alpina Subzone .


The Tithonian is often subdivided into Lower/Early, Middle and Upper/Late substages or subages. The Late Tithonian is coeval with the Portlandian stage of British stratigraphy.

The Tithonian stage contains seven ammonite biozones in the Tethys domain, from top to base:


In the ocean of Tethys, the Tithonian has a calcareous facies with a typical cephalopod fauna. The Solnhofen limestone of southern Germany, which is known for its fossils (especially Archaeopteryx), is of Tithonian age.



Ankylosauria of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Morrison Formation, Wyoming, USA The smallest and the earliest well-known ankylosaur. Its skull measures only 29 cm in length, and its total body length is an estimated three to four meters.
Gargoyleosaurus skeleton
  • Mymoorapelta maysi
Morrison Formation, Colorado, USA A poorly known early ankylosaurian.


Theropods of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
USA, Portugal, Tanzania The most common and most highly studied theropod dinosaur.
Archaeopteryx chasing a juvenile Compsognathus.
It is believed that the Port Waikato creature was similar to Compsognathus longipes, shown here.
Alte Schöpfel quarry, Schaudiberg, Bavaria A basal avialan, placed just above Archaeopteryx in the evolutionary tree.
Solnhofen, Germany The late Jurassic is notable for the first appearance in the fossil record of birds, in the form of Archaeopteryx, found in limestone quarries in Germany.
Morrison Formation, USA Fossils are less common than those of Allosaurus.
Solnhofen, Germany Found near Archaeopteryx fossils.
Port Waikato, New Zealand Only known Tithonian dinosaur in New Zealand.
Jimbo Quarry, Morrison Formation, Wyoming Hesperornithoides is a genus of basal troodontid theropod dinosaur.
Kimmeridge Clay Formation known from a single specimen consisting of an associated partial skeleton represented by a complete pelvis as well as a partially complete leg, and neck, back, and tail vertebrae.
Lourinhã Formation, Portugal A genus of medium sized carnivorous theropod dinosaurs. A basal tetanuran, might be an allosauroid, megalosauroid or a coelurosaur.
Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania The earliest known spinosaurid. Tooth fossil.
Morrison Formation, Utah Stokesosaurus is a genus of small early tyrannosauroid theropods.
Morrison Formation, Wyoming Tanycolagreus is a genus of basal coelurosaurian theropod.
  • Torvosaurus tanneri
  • Torvosaurus gurneyi
Torvosaurus was a very large megalosaurid predator, with an estimated maximum body length of 10 m (33 ft) and mass of 3.6–4.5 tonnes (4–5 short tons) for both its species, making Torvosaurus among the largest land carnivores of the Jurassic. Thomas Holtz estimated it at 12 meters (39 feet). Claims have been made indicating even larger sizes.
Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania The earliest known carcharodontosaurid, possibly sister to Acrocanthosaurus. Estimated to have been about 8.5 m (28 ft)-10 m (33 ft) in length; teeth that may belong to Veterupristisaurus indicate sizes in excess of 12 meters and 6 tonnes [5].
Solnhofen, Germany Wellnhoferia is a genus of early prehistoric bird-like theropod dinosaur closely related to Archaeopteryx, possibly a synonym of Archaeopteryx lithographica.


Heterodontosaurs of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Fruita, Colorado, USA Fruitadens was a heterodontosaurid and the smallest known ornithischian dinosaur, weighing less than 2 pounds (0.91 kg) and measuring a little over 2 feet (0.61 m) in length. It is also one of the latest surviving heterodontosaurids known.


Ceratopsia of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Chaoyang area, Liaoning, China One of the earliest ceratopsians
Hebei, China A member of the family Chaoyangsauridae, it was one of the earliest ceratopsians

†Ornithopods and Basal NeornithischiansEdit

Ornithopoda and basal Neornithischia of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Kimmeridgian to Tithonian Wyoming, USA Camptosaurus could be more than 7.9 meters (26 feet) long, and 2.0 meters (6.6 feet) tall at the hips. They had heavy bodies but, as well as walking on four legs (quadrupedal), could also rear up to walk on two legs (bipedal). This genus is closely related to iguanodontid and hadrosaurid dinosaurs. It probably ate cycads with its beak.
Lourinhã, Portugal A camptosaurid iguanodont


Plesiosaurs of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images


Pterosaurs of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Solnhofen, Germany Short head with pin-like teeth, short tail but from a normally long tailed group "Rhamphorhynchoidea"
Morrison Formation, Wyoming, United States Known only from an intact fourth metacarpal, 57.5 millimetres long
Solnhofen, Germany
Solnhofen, Germany
Morrison Formation, Wyoming, United States
Solnhofen, Germany
Solnhofen, Germany
Neuquén, Argentina
Solnhofen, Germany
Solnhofen, Germany


Stegosaurs of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Kimmeridgian to Early Tithonian Morrison Formation, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, USA Averaging around 9 metres (30 feet) long and 4 metres (13 feet) tall, the quadrupedal Stegosaurus is one of the most easily identifiable dinosaurs, due to the distinctive double row of kite-shaped plates rising vertically along its arched back and the two pairs of long spikes extending horizontally near the end of its tail.


Sauropoda of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
  1. Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, Morrison Formation, USA


Thalattosuchians of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
  1. C. elegans
  2. C. gracilis
  3. C. macrospondylus
  4. C. suevicus


Dakosaurus, a marine crocodilian.
Geosaurus, a marine crocodilian.
Metriorhynchus, a marine crocodilian.
  1. D. maximus
  2. D. andiniensis

A large genus of metriorhynchid, that was a high order predator which fed on other marine reptiles

  1. The type species from Western Europe of the Late Jurassic (Early Tithonian).
  2. Argentina of the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous (Early Tithonian), nicknamed "Godzilla".
  1. G. giganteus
  2. G. grandis
  1. Western Europe
  2. Western Europe

A relatively small metriorhynchid genus. No known species of Geosaurus attained lengths in excess of 3 meters (9.8 feet). There were multiple Geosaurus species alive during the Tithonian.

  1. The type species from Western Europe of the Late Jurassic (Early Tithonian).
  2. Western Europe of the Late Jurassic (Early Tithonian).
  1. P. potens

An opportunistic carnivore that fed on fish, belemnites and other marine animals and possible carrion.

  1. R. gracilis
Mörnsheim Formation, Solnhofen, Bavaria, Germany A piscivorous rhacheosaurine


Belemnites of the Tithonian
Taxa Presence Location Description Images
Small belemnite fossils



  1. ^ http://www.stratigraphy.org/index.php/ics-chart-timescale
  2. ^ See for a detailed version of the geologic timescale Gradstein et al. (2004)
  3. ^ Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G.; Schmitz, M.D.; Ogg, G.M. (editors) (2012). The Geologic Timescale 2012. Elsevier. p. 746. ISBN 978-0-44-459390-0.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Mateus, Octávio; Hendrickx, Christophe (5 March 2014). "Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the Largest Terrestrial Predator from Europe, and a Proposed Terminology of the Maxilla Anatomy in Nonavian Theropods". PLOS ONE. 9 (3): e88905. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088905. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3943790. PMID 24598585.
  5. ^ Molina Pérez & Larramendi (2016). Récords y curiosidades de los dinosaurios Terópodos y otros dinosauromorfos. Barcelona, Spain: Larousse. p. 261. ISBN 9780565094973.


  • Gradstein, F.M.; Ogg, J.G. & Smith, A.G.; (2004): A Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press.
  • Oppel, C.A.; 1865: Die Tithonische Etage, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft, 1865: pp 535–558. (in German)

External linksEdit