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New titanosauriform sauropod material from Cenomanian of Morocco



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new paper in the 2014 issue of the open access Japanese journal
Bulletin of the Gunma Museum of Natural History:

Matthew Lamanna  and Hasegawa Yoshikazu (2014)
New titanosauriform sauropod dinosaur material from the Cenomanian of
Morocco: implications for paleoecology and sauropod diversity in the
Late Cretaceous of North Africa.
Bulletin of the Gunma Museum of Natural History 18: 1-19
http://www.gmnh.pref.gunma.jp/research/no_18/bulletin18_3.pdf

Titanosauriform sauropod dinosaurs are widely regarded as the most
diverse and abundant large herbivores in Cretaceous paleoecosystems of
Gondwanan landmasses. Nevertheless, remains of these animals are
scarce in Late Cretaceous deposits of continental Africa and the
then-conjoined Arabian Peninsula. Here we describe two new
titanosauriform fossils from the lower Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian)
'Kem Kem beds' of Morocco that improve our understanding of the
morphology and paleoecology of Afro-Arabian members of this clade. One
specimen is a nearly complete, well-preserved anterior dorsal vertebra
that pertains to a large-bodied member of Somphospondyli, possibly to
a basal titanosaurian. The second specimen is a partial ischium that
is not identifiable beyond Somphospondyli; nevertheless, the element
is significant in exhibiting numerous tooth marks that we attribute to
a very large carnivorous dinosaur, probably a carcharodontosaurid or
Spinosaurus. These feeding traces constitute direct evidence that
sauropods were a food source for at least one African Late Cretaceous
theropod. It is presently uncertain whether or not the new
titanosauriform elements pertain to any of three named genera from the
early Late Cretaceous of Africa (Aegyptosaurus, Paralititan, and
Angolatitan), or whether they represent previously undescribed taxa.