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Re: Torvosaurus (or Megalosaurus) in Europe?

Paul Cambridge (pcambridge@explorer.org) wrote:

<[S]o if one were to correctly recognize a megalosaurid from Portugal,
what should one look up if to know the proper name for it? Torvosaurus
sp.? I know there is still research pending, but I am very interested in
finding out what is available. Thanks.>

  Mateus and Mateus presently recognize the material as being most similar
to limb material of *Torvosaurus tanneri*. Thus, they refer the material
to *Torvosaurus* sp. This means the material may be specifically or even
generically distinct ... or not. Other material from Portugal in the
Lourinha area include forms that are very nearly identical to those taxa
of the Morrison Formation of the American West:

  Lourinha                          Morrison

  *Torvosaurus* sp. --------------- *Torvosaurus tanneri*
  *Ceratosaurus* sp. -------------- *Ceratosaurus nasicornis*
  *Dinheirosaurus lourinhanensis* - Diplodocidae
  *Lourinhanosaurus antunesi* ----- Allosauridae
  *Allosaurus fragilis* ? --------- *Allosaurus fragilis*
  *Brachiosaurus atalaiensis* ----- *Brachiosaurus altithorax*
  *Draconyx loureiroi* ------------ *Camptosaurus dispar*

  Similarly, while smaller Morrison ornithischians are poorly known, there
are several basal ornithischians in Portugal, including several
thyreophroans, which do not presently compare well to Morrison material.
teeth identified as tyrannosaur, velociraptorine, and *Ricardoestesia* [my
copy of the Currie, Rigby, and Sloan paper (1990) makes no use of
*Ric[h]ardoestesia,* oddly enough...]. Some remains from the Portugal
levels are similar to the Kimmeridgian Solnhofen Limestone (cf.
*Compsognathus*, teeth of *Archaeopteryx* sp.) and this is also
contemporaneous with the lower Morrison. So there's a lot of copmparativ
fossils that indicate thet western Europe of today was connected to NA
during the Late Jurassic in such a broad area to permit extensive faunal
interchange. This is why much of the Weald fauna resmembles the late
Jurassic fauna of the Morrison, and parts east in NA.

  The French have *Poekilopleuron*, a megalosaur that Greg Paul (1988)
considers to be *Megalosaurus* as well, and there's the more generalized
megalosaur *Edmarka rex* from the Morrison, and material that Bakker et
al. have in prep that had a name, but remains to be described (making the
name unavailable to use (so a warning: don't even try to use it here, it
won't help)) of a more general nature that appears to be distinct. But,
for the moment, the confusion of Morrison "megalosaurs" makes the
identities of the material into different taxa ... questionable. We await
study. Recent research by Holtz, Sereno and others indicates that
*Torvosaurus* is closer to birds than is *Megalosaurus*, and in fact may
be the sister group with spinosaurs. Allain agrees and places
*Streptospondylus* from France next to *Eustreptospondylus*, which Sereno
et al. (1996, 1998) place next to *Torvosaurus*.

Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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