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Rebbachisaurids from Cretaceous of Patagonia



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

A new online paper:

Lucio M. Ibiricu, Gabriel A. Casal, Matthew C. Lamanna, Rubén D. Martínez,
Jerald D. Harris, Kenneth J. Lacovara (2011)
The southernmost records of Rebbachisauridae (Sauropoda: Diplodocoidea),
from early Late Cretaceous deposits in central Patagonia.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2011.11.003 
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667111001819

We describe new and redescribe previously discovered sauropod dinosaur
material from the Upper Cretaceous (middle Cenomanian-Coniacian) Bajo
Barreal Formation of south-central Chubut Province, central Patagonia,
Argentina. The remains consist of associated and isolated axial skeletal
elements recovered from three separate localities, and are herein assigned
to the morphologically aberrant Rebbachisauridae clade. Several of the
fossils exhibit osteological characters that were previously undocumented
in rebbachisaurids, enhancing our understanding of the morphological
diversity of this enigmatic sauropod group. In particular, the Bajo Barreal
material demonstrates the occurrence within Rebbachisauridae of bifurcate
neural spines in cervical vertebrae and well-developed, presumably
pneumatic fossae in caudal vertebrae; among Diplodocoidea, these
distinctive morphologies had previously been recognized only in
flagellicaudatans. Furthermore, the Bajo Barreal fossils constitute the
southernmost known occurrences of Diplodocoidea, adding to the globally
sparse Late Cretaceous record of these sauropods and augmenting our
knowledge of central Patagonian terrestrial vertebrate assemblages during
this interval.


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