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First sauropod from Antarctica



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

More SVP news:

First Long-Necked Dinosaur Fossil Found In Antarctica
http://www.livescience.com/16883-sauropod-dinosaur-fossil-antarctica.html

SVP Abstracts 2011

THE FIRST RECORD OF SAUROPOD DINOSAURS FROM ANTARCTICA. CERDA, Ignacio,
CONICET-INIBIOMA, Neuquén, Argentina; PAULINA CARABAJAL, Ariana,
CONICET-Museo Carmen Funes, Plaza Huincul, Argentina; SALGADO, Leonardo,
CONICET-INIBIOMA, Neuquén, Argentina; CORIA, Rodolfo, CONICET-Museo Carmen
Funes, Plaza Huincul, Argentina; MOLY, Juan, Museo de La Plata, La Plata,
Argentina 

Sauropods were one of the most widely distributed group of dinosaurs for
most of the Mesozoic Era, although this clade has not been previously
recorded in Antarctica. Here we report the frst record of a sauropod
dinosaur from Antarctica, represented by an incomplete caudal vertebra from
the Late Cretaceous of the James Ross Island (Antarctic Peninsula). The
vertebra was collected from marine sediments assigned to the Gamma Member
of the Santa Marta Formation (Campanian), constituted mainly by fne-grained
to mid-size grained sandstones. The specimen consists of a strongly
procoelous middle caudal centrum lacking the neural arch. The centrum
length (excluding the posterior ball) is 170 mm and its height is 105 mm.
There is no pleurocoels, and a sagittal fracture has exposed the internal
bone structure, which is not pneumatized. The morphology and size of the
specimen allow it to be identifed as a caudal vertebra of a derived
sauropod dinosaur. The anterior position of the neural arch indicates
referral to Titanosauriformes. The procoely of the middle caudal vertebra
has been proposed to have a diagnostic feature of lithostrotian
titanosaurs. The biogeographical history of sauropods and the
interrelationships amongst titanosaurs from southern landmasses remain
obscure and controversial. The specimen is notable for representing the
frst Antarctic sauropod record, but also the most southern record of the
clade, adding new data in the process of resolving the affnities of South
American titanosaurs and the understanding of Gondwanan paleobiogeography.


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