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Lirainosaurus (Sauropoda: Titanosauria) axial skeleton from Late Cretaceous of Spain

From: Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Verónica Díez Díaz, Xabier Pereda Suberbiola & José Luis Sanz (2013)
The axial skeleton of the titanosaur Lirainosaurus astibiae
(Dinosauria: Sauropoda) from the latest Cretaceous of Spain.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2013.03.002

Lirainosaurus astibiae was originally described by Sanz and
collaborators in 1999 on the basis of a skull fragment, isolated
teeth, several vertebrae (e.g. the holotypic anterior caudal vertebra)
and appendicular bones from the Late Cretaceous of Laño (northern
Spain). A review of all the vertebral remains, including new material
(cervical, dorsal and caudal vertebrae, dorsal ribs, haemal arch),
provides additional information about the axial skeleton of
Lirainosaurus. A study of the laminae and fossae shows interesting
variations in these structures in the axial series, especially
concerning the prezygapophyses and diapophyses: e.g. the X-shaped
morphology of the centroprezygapophyseal lamina only in the posterior
dorsal vertebrae, and the division of the postzygodiapophyseal fossa
into two fossae in the posterior dorsal vertebrae and the proximal
caudal vertebrae. Two vertebral characters are here considered to be
autapomorphic for L. astibiae: the presence of a lamina in the
interzygapophyseal fossa in the most proximal caudal vertebrae (a
postzygodiapophyseal lamina that separates the ventral
postzygapophyseal centrodiapophyseal fossa and the dorsal
postzygapophyseal spinodiapophyseal fossa), and the
spinopostzygapophyseal structure not posteriorly projected in the
posterior caudal vertebrae. The combination of characters present in
the axial remains of Lirainosaurus astibiae supports the idea that it
is a derived lithostrotian close to Saltasaurinae.