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RE: "Utah site yields first Cretaceous-era sauropod skulls ever in N. America"

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Jura
> Isn't _Alamosaurus_ the only known Cretaceous, North
> American sauropod? Does anyone know if this material
> can be attributed to it? If not, then I suppose
> Cretaceous sauropods were more abundant than was once
> thought.

Ummm, there are several more Cretaceous sauropods. The Maryland material (Astrodon johnstoni aka Pleurocoelus) were in fact the first sauropods found in North America. Sauroposeidon, the unnamed "Texas Pleurocoelus" material, Cedarsaurus, and Venenosaurus are all other Cretaceous North American sauropods. And sauropod tracks have long been known from the Cretaceous of North America.

When I read Jura's question I assumed he meant just LATE Cretaceous sauropods from North America. These do appear to be pretty thin on the ground, and so far only one (_Alamosaurus_) has been named from the end of the Cretaceous. (Maybe _Dyslocosaurus_ too; but its stratigraphic origin is unknown.)

As the good Dr Holtz says, Early Cretaceous sauropods are actually not uncommon in the United States. In addition to the list above, we also have _Sonorasaurus_ (which is listed as a nomen dubium in _Dinosauria II_). The idea that North America experienced a 'sauropod hiatus' in the Early Cretaceous is just a vicious rumor. :-) So far, only titanosauriforms have been found, but this could change.