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Elasmosaurid from Negev, Israel + Triassic dinosaur tracks + other papers

Ben Creisler

A number of recent and not so recent papers:

R. Rabinovich, H. Hanan, M. Schudack, U. Schudack, S.
Ashckenazi-Polivoda and G. Rogolsky (2014)
A late Cretaceous elasmosaurid of the Tethys Sea margins (southern
Negev, Israel), and its palaeogeographic reconstruction.
Netherlands Journal of Geosciences (advance online publication)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/njg.2014.26

Recent research on the late Cretaceous (Santonian), Menuha Formation
of the southern Negev, Israel, has revealed several unconformities in
its exposures, spatial changes in its lithofacies, agglomerations of
its carbonate concretions and nodules at a variety of localities. At
Menuha Ridge Site 20, portions of a new elasmosaurid skeleton were
found within deposits of laminated bio-micritic muddy limestone with
thin phosphatic layers. The sediments are rich in microfossils –
foraminifera and ostracods preserved in the carbonate mud. Planktic
foraminifera species (e.g. Dicarinella asymetrica, D. concavata,
Sigalia decoratissima carpatica) appear as well as species indicative
of opportunistic life strategies typical of a forming upwelling system
in the region. Marine ostracods (e.g. Brachycythere angulata,
Cythereis rosenfeldi evoluta) and many echinoid spines suggest an open
marine environment. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we offer here
a reconstruction of the micro-regional palaeogeography along a segment
of the ancient shoreline of the Tethys Sea during the Santonian, and
explain the environmental conditions under which the various fauna
lived. This new elasmosaurid is examined in light of the above and
compared with evidence from the adjacent areas along the margins of
the southern Tethys Sea.


A paper from a few months back but not yet mentioned:

M. Marzola & F.M. Dalla Vecchia (2014)
New dinosaur tracks from the Dolomia Principale (Upper Triassic) of
the Carnic Prealps (Friuli-Venezia Giulia, NE Italy).
Bollettino della Società Paleontologica Italiana 53: 1-18.
Available as pre-print:

Ten new track-bearing boulders discovered in the Parco Naturale delle
Dolomiti Friulane area (Carnic Prealps, NE Italy) during the last 15
years demonstrate that bipedal dinosaurs with a functionally
tridactyl, digitigrade pes, within the size-class of the ichnogenus
Anchisauripus Lull, 1904, were the most common trackmakers in the
carbonate tidal flats of the Dolomia Principale during the latest
Triassic. If the footprint morphology actually reflects the functional
tridactyl condition of the trackmakers’ feet, theropods are the most
suitable trackmakers. The ichnoassociation of the Parco delle Dolomiti
Friulane area differs from coeval ichnoassociations in the dominance
of mid-sized tridactyl footprints and the rarity of small tridactyl
(Grallator Hitchcock, 1858; length <15 cm) and chirotheriid tracks.
Tracks potentially produced by basal sauropodomorphs, which were the
most common European dinosaurs in the late Norian-Rhaetian interval,
are underrepresented.

Older Chinese papers that may be of interest...

Kuang Hongwei, Xu Kemin, Liu Yongqing, Dong Chao, Peng Nan, Wang
Kebai, Chen Shuqing Zhang Yanxia (2013)
Geochemistry and Taphonomy of Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Bonebeds in
Zhucheng, Eastern Shandong, China. (in Chinese)
Geological Review 59 (6): 1001-1023

[pdf can be downloaded for free]

Kugou, Konglongjian, Xijiantun and Zangjiazhuang of Zhucheng, Eastern
Shandong, China are famous for the world class dinosaur bone beds of
the early Late Cretaceous. Based on analyses by thin section and
Electronic Probe Microanalyzer (EPMA) and the analyses of Major
element, rare earth element(REE) and trace element, the paper
systemically studies the micro structure and geochemical
characteristics of dinosaur bones, analyzes the taphonomy and
diagenetic process of dinosaur bones, clarifies the interrelationships
of the four bone beds stratigraphically and the resource provenance
direction of dinosaur bones and discusses the possible facts causing
the death of the dinosaurs. Apatite and calcite are the main mineral
composition of dinosaur bones in study areas, with a small amount of
odd Fe, Mn, BaSO4 and SiO2, etc. Analysis the principle and Major
element, REE and trace element of the dinosaur bones and the host
matrix shows that the values of CaO, P2O5, F, REE, Y, Sr, Ba and U in
the former are much higher than in the latter. The high value of CaO,
P2O5, F, Sr and Ba in dinosaur bones may have been resulted from a
high background value in life; whereas the abnormal high values of
REE, Y and U may have been caused by postmodern absorption during the
diagenetic process. Since Rb, Th, Nb, SiO2, Al2O3, TiO2, Zr and Hf
belong to sedimentophile clastics elements from the weathering
products of parent rocks, they occupy less in dinosaur bones than the
host rock. REE of dinosaur bones belong to the enriching type of light
rare earth element(LREE), similar to that of the upper crust, with a
slight positive anomaly of Eu and a passive anomaly of Ce. Our study
suggests that shallow burying diageneses under a draught climate and
oxide environment may have caused the high content of Sr, Ba and REE
such as Eu and Ce in dinosaur bones and the host rock. Based on
comparisons between apatite and calcite, molecular weathering ratios
between dinosaur bones and the host rock, and the correlation of many
elements, such as REE, HREE (high rare earth element), LREE
and(La/Yb)N,(Ce/Yb)N and(La/Sm)N, δEu, δCe, the four dinosaur bone
beds are stratigraphically redefined as, in ascending order, Kugou,
Xijiantun, Konglongjian and Zangjiazhuan. The provenances of the host
rack are mainly from the volcanite of the underlying Qingshan Group
and the erosion products of the Laiyang group’s sedimentary rocks. The
frequent discovery of dinosaur bone beds in the lower strata (less
than 100 meters) of the Hongtuya Formation of the Late Cretaceous
suggest that the taphonomy of those fossil bones is not an isolated
event. Draught climate, especially the high anomaly of Sr and Ba in
the background environment may have played important roles in the
mortality of dinosaurs. Moreover, the shortage of water and food may
have been another critical factor causing the death of dinosaurs. Then
dinosaur bones were transported and accumulated by seasonal floods or
surging debris flows in the direction of the northwest to southeast of

Li Su, Zhou Yaoqi, Yao Xu & Li Chao (2012)
Study on Dinosaur Track Fossils and Footprints Reconstruction in
Zhucheng Area, Shandong Province. (in Chinese)
Geological Review 58(3):434-443
[pdf can be downloaded for free]

Diverse dinosaur tracks (Theropoda, Ornithopoda and Sauropoda) were
discovered from the Early Cretaceous, Laiyang Group, Longwangzhuang
Formation in the Huanghuazhen Area, Zhucheng City, Shandong Province.
Dinosaur track fossils were preserved in yellow green, gray green
shore—shallow lacustrine and fluvial sediments of argillaceous
siltstone and fine grained sandstone. The deep elliptic footprints of
sauropoda dinosaurs show they weigh much, walk on manus and pes of the
similar size. Both ornithopod and theropod walk on two feet. The
footprints show their feet are three toed. Theropoda have the lightest
weight and the largest number among the three kinds of dinosaurs. Most
dinosaurs were taking a walk or in a trot from east to west. Part of
dinosaur footprints show the motion states of turning, slowing down
and stopping. From the strong regularity of dinosaur trackways, we
deduce the dinosaurs may be in collective migration. Based on
footprints' characteristics and conservation situation, the
deformation degree of dinosaur footprints in this area were divided
into four kinds of degree (un deformation, weak deformation, medium
deformation, strong deformation). Furthermore, in order to provide
more accurate information for species, sizes, behaviors, kinematic
features of dinosaurs and lithology, palaeoenvironment, palaeoecology
of strata, simple methods of dinosaur footprints reconstruction were
put forward and discussed in this paper.


Zhang Lijun, Ji Shu'an & Zhang Lijun (2010)
Stratigraphic horizon and taphonomic environment of the large
tyrannosauroid dinosaur [Sinotyrannus kazuoensisin] in Kazuo (Harqin
Left Wing Mongolian Autonomous) County, Western Liaoning, China. (in
Geological Review 56 (2): 153-160

A large bodied tyrannosauroid was firstly discovered at Dachengzi
Town, Harqin Left Mongol Autonomous County, Western Liaoning Province.
The geological surveys and section measurements were carried out
around and at fossil site. According to the comparison of the measured
sections to the typical section in the Dachengzi Basin, it is
concluded that the tyrannosauroid bearing strata are the First Member
of the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation. Moreover, the analyses of
sedimentary and taphonomic environments reveal that the large
tyrannosauroid was preserved in situ and buried in diara deposits.