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Youngest sauropod evidence in Europe

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Albert G. Sellés, Josep Marmi, Sergio Llácer & Alejandro Blanco (2015)
The youngest sauropod evidence in Europe.
Historical Biology (advance online publication)

Titanosaur sauropods constituted one of the major dinosaur faunal
components in Europe along the latest Cretaceous. Although they were
abundant in the late Campanian–early Maastrichtian, titanosaurs
apparently demised in terms of diversity and abundance in the late
Maastrichtian Ibero-Armorican domain. Thus, any finding in this
crucial period provides new clues to understand the biodiversity trend
of the group prior to the K–Pg boundary. Here, we report the
occurrence of a vertebral element attributed to a titanosaur in
fluvial deposits dated as uppermost Maastrichtian (C29r chrone). The
specimen corresponds to the right posterior part of a posterior
cervical vertebra. CT-scan and histological analyses revealed high
pneumatisation with laminar structures composed of compact bone,
strongly remodelled with at least three generations of secondary
osteons. These evidences suggest a relatively advanced age for the
individual at death. Given that the partial vertebra was recovered
from the uppermost portion of the late Maastrichtian, it might
represent the youngest evidence for titanosaur sauropods in Europe
discovered so far. Further, alongside to other remains (i.e. eggshells
and footprints), the studied partial vertebra provides evidence for
the persistence of this taxonomic group at the very end of the
Cretaceous in southwestern Europe.