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Noasaurids (was Re: New Sauropod from Portugal)



Luis Perez wrote:

Hi. I'm doing a hypothetical reconstruction of Noasaurus for my senior project, and I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find Journals on Noasaurus and Dinosaur Reconstructions
in general or even the "Noasauridae"

The noasaurids are a very intereresting group, but it's difficult to get a handle on their overall morphology. _Noasaurus_ itself is very poorly known, as is _Ligabueino_ and especially _Laevisuchus_. _Masiakasaurus_ and _Deltadromeus_ are better known, but their skeletons are only about 40% complete (for _M_, this is the combined result from several individuals).


(Masiakasaurus, Ligabueino, Deltadromeus (is it
really a big Noasaur? What makes a Noasaur a Noasaur?))

The original description of _Deltadromeus_ regarded it as a basal coelurosaur, like _Ornitholestes_ (Sereno et al., 1996), but a later analysis reassigned _D_ to the Noasauridae (Sereno et al., 2004). Time will tell whether either hypothesis has legs. Speaking of legs, the character that was cited by Sereno et al. (2004) to unite Noasauridae (including _Deltadromeus_) was "metatarsal IV distal end reduced". Potentially complicating matters is the unresolved issue over whether _Deltadromeus_ is the same theropod as _Bahariasaurus_.


Carrano et al. (2002) put _Laevisuchus_ in the Noasauridae, with _Noasaurus_ and _Masiakasaurus_. _Noasaurus_ and _Masiakasaurus_ share: cervical neural spine placed on the anterior half of the centrum; reduced shaft of metatarsal II; simple maxillary palatal process; prominent rim on the antorbital fossa. _Laevisuchus_ has the first character in common with _N_ and _M_, as well as postzygapophyses that are swept back strongly posteriorly.

_Masaiakasaurus_ has an interesting lower jaw morphology, in that the front teeth are procumbent and are positioned below the level of the ventral margin of the dentary. It is not known whether this feature is shared by all noasaurids, because this part of the skull is lacking in other taxa (AFAIK).

Bonaparte (1995) provisionally assigned _Ligabueino_ to the Noasauridae, but it is not clear if it is a member of this clade, although it is certainly some kind of small abelisauroid. Also, _Velocisaurus_ may be a noasaurid, and maybe _Jubbulpuria_ and _Coeluroides_ too. These three taxa are all very poorly known (the last two are probably nomina dubia).

Cheers

Tim

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