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Vitakridrinda update

Brad McFeeters wrote- "Has the hypothesis of it being a non-fossil rock made it 
into the literature yet?"

I don't even know if anyone except Malkani has commented on Vitakridrinda in 
the literature.  Carrano and Sampson (2007) list it as an unconfirmed 
ceratosaur, and incorrectly cite the 2006b snout paper as the reference for 
it.  Molnar (pers. comm.) informs me Wilson has information on its identity, 
and that it is a fossil, but not of what Malkani described it as.  I've emailed 
Wilson and will report back with his response if I'm allowed.

To be fair, some of the material does look like bones.  The proposed holotype 
(syntypes?) consists of-
MSM-59-19 and MSM-60-19, proximal femora.  Figure 14a of Malkani 2006a does 
seem to show a hollow cross section of a long bone, but the perspective doesn't 
reveal which element or what kind of animal.  Figures 5-8 are too small to say 
anything from.  
MSM-61-19, posterior braincase. While figure 14b of Malkani 2006a may be a 
fossil inside a rock, I have no idea of what.  Based on his description, it's 
supposed to be an anterior view of paroccipital processes and basipterygoid 
processes, which is similar in rough outline to Abelisaurus (assuming the 
supposed basipterygoid processes are basal tubera instead) except for the 
decurved and much taller paroccipital processes.  The latter features match 
titanosaur braincases better, though in that case everything beneath the 
occipital condyle area would be broken off.  In either case, it's only the 
shape that is similar, and since there are no obvious surface features or 
natural edges, it could just as easily be part of an ilium, vertebra, etc..  
Figures 15a and b do have the rough shape of an occipital condyle, but no 
obvious foramen magnum above it.  Could be a non-fossil rock with a rounded 
protruding area for all I know.
MSM-62-19, tooth.  Assuming the gray chevron-shape in the rock (figure 16a of 
2006a) is it based on the description, it's the cross section of a carina.  But 
there are lots of other things a gray chevron shape can be.  
MSM-155-19, premaxilla, maxilla, partial nasal, palatine, teeth.  This was 
referred to the holotype individual in Malkani 2006b and illustrated in figure 
5 of that paper.  Despite labels, I don't see any distinction from the matrix 
or bone contacts.  The supposed anterior and ventral premaxillary edge is the 
right shape for an abelisaurid, and the supposed naris is darker (but so is the 
supposed nasal), but there are two steps in the lateral surface running 
longitudinally which make no sense for a maxilla.  The photo does not show any 
unambiguous fossil features.
There are also some referred vertebrae, but as they are from different 
localities and do not overlap the type, they are not relevent to the status of 
Vitakridrinda.  At least some look more similar to titanosaur caudals.

Several people sent me Malkani 2004, so I can verify that Vitakridinda is not 
validly named in it.  Not only is it a conference abstract (ICZN 9.9), it also 
doesn't indicate a holotype (16.4).  The same can be said for all other taxa 
mentioned in it.

I also was able to confirm that "Saurischian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous 
Pab Formation of Pakistan" is published based on its listing on the Geological 
Survey of Pakistan's website.  However, that indicates it was published in 
2006, not 2004 or 2005.  Which puts it in the running to be the official 
description of Vitakridrinda, depending on whether it was published before or 
after the April 2006 "Biodiversity of saurischian dinosaurs from the Latest 
Cretaceous park of Pakistan".  I've written both Malkani and the head of the 
Geological Survey to enquire about its exact date of publication and will 
update everyone if I get a response.  Regardless, the correct year for 
Vitakridrinda's publication is 2006.

References- Malkani, 2004. Saurischian dinosaurs from Late Cretaceous of 
Pakistan. In Hussain and Akbar (eds.). Fifth Pakistan Geological Congress, 
14-15 April, Islamabad, National Geological Society of Pakistan, Pakistan 
Museum of Natural History (Pakistan Science Foundation), Islamabad. 71-73.
Malkani, 2006a. Biodiversity of saurischian dinosaurs from the Latest 
Cretaceous park of Pakistan. Journal of Applied and Emerging Sciences. 1(3), 
Malkani, 2006b. First rostrum of carnivorous Vitakridrinda (abelisaurid 
theropod dinosaur) found from the latest Cretaceous Dinosaur Beds (Vitakri) 
Member of Pab Formation, Alam Kali Kakor locality of Vitakri area, Barkhan 
District, Balochistan, Pakistan. Sindh University Research Journal (Science 
Series). 38(2), 7-26. 
Malkani, 2006c. Saurischian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous Pab Formation of 
Pakistan. Geological Survey of Pakistan, Information Release. 823, 1-117. 

Mickey Mortimer