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Padillasaurus, new brachiosaurid sauropod from Early Cretaceous of Colombia

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

José L. Carballido, Diego Pol, Mary L. Parra Ruge, Santiago Padilla
Bernal, María E. Páramo-Fonseca & Fernando Etayo-Serna (2015)
A new Early Cretaceous brachiosaurid (Dinosauria, Neosauropoda) from
northwestern Gondwana (Villa de Leiva, Colombia).
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (advance online publication)

Brachiosaurid sauropods achieved a broad distribution during the Late
Jurassic, which has been considered to provide evidence of their
origins during the Middle Jurassic, prior to the breakup of Pangea. In
contrast to their broad geographic distribution during the Late
Jurassic, formally named brachiosaurid species from the Cretaceous
have so far been restricted to the Aptian–Albian of North America,
which has been interpreted as a signal of differential extinction
and/or a bias in the Early Cretaceous fossil record. Here we describe
a new brachiosaurid titanosauriform taxon from the Early Cretaceous of
Colombia, which is represented by axial elements. The material was
recovered from marine sediments of the Paja Formation (Barremian),
close to the locality of Villa de Leiva. The weakly laterally expanded
and divided transverse processes of the anterior-most caudal vertebrae
allows the recognition of a new sauropod taxon, Padillasaurus
leivaensis, gen. et sp. nov. In order to test the phylogenetic
relationships of the new taxon, we performed a cladistic analysis that
recovered Padillasaurus as a brachiosaurid titanosauriform. This
position is supported by a combination of characters, including the
presence of blind fossae in anterior caudal vertebrae. Among
titanosauriforms, the presence of blind fossae in anterior caudal
vertebrae is an apomorphic character that is exclusive to
Giraffatitan, Venenosaurus, Cedarosaurus, and Abydosaurus. Although
more complete remains are needed to test more thoroughly the
affinities of the new taxon, the available evidence indicates that
brachiosaurids survived at lower latitudes in Gondwana until at least
the Early Cretaceous.


SUPPLEMENTAL DATA—Supplemental materials are available for this
article for free at www.tandfonline.com/UJVP