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FRENCH CRET. DINOS
Pete Buchholz wrote...
> Also, aren't the Late Cretaceous faunas
> of France rather poorly known?
Actually, late Cretaceous France has a pretty good dinosaur fauna
which has been well reviewed in such journals as _Geology
Today_ and _Cretaceous Research_. I'm working without any references
here, so my info may be technically incorrect, but there are abundant
remains of the hadrosaurs _Telmatosaurus_ and _Orthomerus_, an
indeterminate medium-sized ornithopod whose name I have forgotten,
nodosaurid ankylosaurs, titanosaurid sauropods, and a motley of
theropods. I think the stuff is thought to be Campanian-
Pereda-Superbiola, Galton and others have recently described various
struthiosaur remains from late Cretaceous France, including a
partial skull. The apparent small size of _Struthiosaurs_ and the
hadrosaur _Telmatosaurus_ have led to frequent speculations about
island dwarfism, and you'll note this is in agreement with the
palaeogeographical model supported in the _Gargantuavis_ paper (which
I have still not seen).
A French late Cretaceous abelisaurid (known from a maxilla) was
described in _Comptes Rendu_, and there are also a variety of small
theropods including dromaeosaurids and possible troodonts. Sauropods
are famously well represented in the latest late Cretaceous faunas of
France, Buffetaut and Le Loueff (I think) have suggested that
European titanosaurids became extinct before latest late
Cretaceous times, but later re-invaded from Africa in the
Campanian-Maastrichtian. I recall this theory is also put forward in
the ?Le Loueff paper that names _Iuticosaurus_.
France's late Cretaceous fauna (which also includes madtsoiid snakes
and crocodile types known from Africa) thus has a very Gondwanan
flavour. Animals seem to have island-hopped from Africa, but there
are also native Laurasian types like the ornithopods.
Regarding _Gargantuavis_, is this the same animal as the avian series
of vertebrae Buffetaut et al. described in _Nature_ a few years back?
They thought that the vertebrae were most probably avian because the
tightness of the sutures was more characteristic of birds than other
theropods, but remarkably the large size of the series suggested a
bird either condor-sized (if volant) or big ratite-sized (if
flightless). This has got to be material of _Gargantuavis_, yes?
"And they competed in _all_ things, but none more fiercely than for
the love of a woman - Tang Chin"