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Rebbachisaurid material from Isle of Wight

From: Ben Creisler

New article in Cretaceous Research: 

Philip D. Mannion, Paul Upchurch and Stephen Hutt (2011)
New rebbachisaurid (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) material from the Wessex
Formation (Barremian, Early Cretaceous), Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. 
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)

Rebbachisauridae is a poorly understood clade of diplodocoid sauropod
dinosaurs, currently known only from the Cretaceous of Africa, Europe and
South America. European representatives are particularly rare and
fragmentary. Here, we report an anterior caudal vertebra from the Barremian
(Early Cretaceous) Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight, off the southern
coast of England. This specimen possesses several features known only in
rebbachisaurids and shares two synapomorphies with the Afro-European taxa
Demandasaurus darwini and Nigersaurus taqueti, both pertaining to the
morphology of the neural spine. These features are the development of
triangular lateral processes and the presence of an elliptical fossa on the
lateral surface, bounded by the lateral lamina and postspinal rugosity. The
Isle of Wight specimen also shares several features solely with
Demandasaurus, indicating a close relationship with the Spanish taxon.
These include the presence of a hyposphenal ridge, as well as an anteriorly
excavated caudal rib that is restricted almost entirely to the neural arch.
However, it differs from Demandasaurus in a number of ways, including the
lack of excavation on the posterior surface of the caudal rib, the
orientation of the neural spine, and the composition and morphology of the
lateral lamina. In addition, the Isle of Wight vertebra possesses one
potential autapomorphy: bifurcation of the elliptical fossa on the neural
spine. However, because of the fragmentary nature of the material, a new
name is not erected. Along with Demandasaurus and Histriasaurus
boscarollii, this caudal vertebra indicates the presence of at least three
European rebbachisaurid taxa and provides new anatomical information on
this enigmatic clade of sauropod dinosaurs.


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