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Patagonian Mesozoic Reptiles



Just got this today (a week earlier than expected too!)

Nothing really novel, the book provides a general overview, I don't
think I had ever seen a photograph of _Loncosaurus_ before, and the
various illustrations by Jorge Gonzalez are at the least visually
bright and eye catching (although some seem a little
odd--_Alvarezsaurus_ for example). There's a new(?) skeletal
reconstruction of _Anabisetia_ that looks totally improbable
(downright terrible even).

I can't comment very much on the other chapters, but some thoughts
- Coria and Cambiaso include _Pisanosaurus_ with heterodontosaurids
(which they consider basal ornithopods) while covering the Laguna
Colorada heterodontosaurid (_Heterodontosaurus_ sp.).
- Disappointing that a lot of other SAm ornithopods were re-figured,
but not _Notohypsilophodon_.
- They continue to include _Secernosaurus_ in the Hadrosaurinae, and
apparently perceive its primitive features as suggesting a "vicariant
origin [...] for at least some South American hadrosaurids" (what?),
yet believe that the presence of plesiomorphic features in the
Salitral Moreno lambeosaurine are possible grounds for considering an
alternate placement.
- The authors do not believe that _Notoceratops_ represents a
ceratopsian (understandably) and also the material corresponding to it
has been lost.
- The authors suggest the inclusion of derived ornithopods (such as
_Iguanodon_ or _Camptosaurus_) would alter the basal position of
_Gasparinisaura_ in Norman's work, as well as provide other
significant changes to the resulting trees. They predict that SAm
ornithopods (_Notohypsilophodon_, _Gasparinisaura_, _Anabisetia_,
_Talenkauen_) will fall out close together, but don't provide any
support for this.

New clade name:
Saltasaurini Salgado and Bonaparte 2007
"The less inclusive clade containing _Saltasaurus loricatus_ and
_Neuqeunsaurus australis_" (Salgado and Bonaparte 2007: 213)

This definition apparently already exists for the Saltasaurinae
(through Salgado et al. 1997), The authors proposed this as a
replacement in order to apparently incorporate more "saltasaur"-branch
titanosaurs (my poor phrasing, not theirs). Apparently this clade is
supposed to be limited to _Neuquensaurus_, _Saltasaurus_ and
_Rinconsaurus_.

Salgado and Bonaparte don't offer any real commentary on the unusual
dentary of _Bonitasaura_, in fact, they seem to have neglected it
largely?

Coria points out that the skull of _Abelisaurus_ was largely initially
restored after the "Laurasian stereotype of theropods with long and
low skulls", and that its length is a "preparation artifact".
Apparently the skull is in need of restudy in order to find new
diagnostic characters as most of those previously used to diagnose it
are "simplesiomorphies".

Oddly, it seems Jaime Headden's reconstructions are featured in a
portion of this book:
http://dino.lm.com/images/display.php?id=1816
This image appears horizontally reversed with small alterations and no
credit, acknowledgment or attributions are given towards Jaime on this
end.

Gasparini et al's chapter on faunal succession mentions _Bayosaurus
pubica_ and references Coria's chapter in this volume, which mentions
nothing of it. Apparently it is a new abelisauroid from the late
Cenomanian-early Turonian of Patagonia. No material was figured or
assigned in the book.

Overall, the book isn't really on par with other volumes in the Life
of the Past series. Misspellings are not infrequent, as well as
seemingly incoherent passages that might be the fault of poor
translation from Spanish, quite possibly. It's worth picking up at the
price that Amazon.com is vending it for (roughly 33.00 USD), but don't
expect too much out of it, at least not in the dinosaurian chapters. I
think I'll find it more useful as a bibliographic tool, myself.

Nick Gardner