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Eoabelisaurus - almost complete Aalenian-Bajocian abelisaurid.

Diego Pol & Oliver W. M. Rauhut (2012) A Middle Jurassic abelisaurid from 
Patagonia and the early diversification of theropod dinosaurs. Proc. R. Soc. B 
rspb20120660; published ahead of print May 23, 2012, 1471-2954

Abstract = Abelisaurids are a clade of large, bizarre predatory dinosaurs, most 
notable for their high, short skulls and extremely reduced forelimbs. They were 
common in Gondwana during the Cretaceous, but exceedingly rare in the Northern 
Hemisphere. The oldest definitive abelisaurids so far come from the late Early 
Cretaceous of South America and Africa, and the early evolutionary history of 
the clade is still poorly known. Here, we report a new abelisaurid from the 
Middle Jurassic of Patagonia, Eoabelisaurus mefi gen. et sp. nov., which 
predates the so far oldest known secure member of this lineage by more than 40 
Myr. The almost complete skeleton reveals the earliest evolutionary stages of 
the distinctive features of abelisaurids, such as the modification of the 
forelimb, which started with a reduction of the distal elements. The find 
underlines the explosive radiation of theropod dinosaurs in the Middle Jurassic 
and indicates an unexpected diversity of ceratosaurs at that time. The apparent 
endemism of abelisauroids to southern Gondwana during Pangean times might be 
due to the presence of a large, central Gondwanan desert. This indicates that, 
apart from continent-scale geography, aspects such as regional geography and 
climate are important to reconstruct the biogeographical history of Mesozoic 



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