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First dinosaurs from Saudi Arabia
From: Ben Creisler
New in PLoS ONE:
Benjamin P. Kear, Thomas H. Rich, Patricia Vickers-Rich, Mohammed A.
Ali, Yahya A. Al-Mufarreh, Adel H. Matari, Abdu M. Al-Massari,
Abdulaziz H. Nasser, Yousry Attia, Mohammed A. Halawani (2013)
First Dinosaurs from Saudi Arabia.
PLoS ONE 8(12): e84041.
Dinosaur remains from the Arabian subcontinent are exceedingly rare,
and those that have been documented manifest indeterminate affinities.
Consequently the discovery of a small, but diagnostic, accumulation of
elements from Campanian-Maastrichtian (~75 Ma) deposits in
northwestern Saudi Arabia is significant because it constitutes the
first taxonomically identifiable dinosaur material described from the
Arabian Peninsula. The fossils include a series of possible
lithostrotian titanosaur caudal vertebrae, and some isolated theropod
marginal teeth that share unique character states and metric
parameters (analyzed using multivariate statistical methods) with
derived abelisaurids – this is the first justifiable example of a
non-avian carnivorous dinosaur clade from Arabia. The recognition of
titanosaurians and abelisaurids from Saudi Arabia extends the
palaeogeographical range of these groups along the entire northern
Gondwanan margin during the latest Cretaceous. Moreover, given the
extreme paucity of coeval occurrences elsewhere, the Saudi Arabian
fossils provide a tantalizing glimpse into dinosaurian assemblage
diversity within the region.