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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
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.