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Neuquensaurus (titanosaur from Argentina) morphological diversity

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

V. Zurriaguz (2015)
Morphological diversity of Neuquensaurus Powell, 1992 (Sauropoda;
Titanosauria): insights from geometric morphometrics applied to the
vertebral centrum shape.
Historical Biology (advance online publication)

Neuquensaurus is a small-sized titanosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of
Patagonia, Argentina, for which two species were recognised in the
past (Neuquensaurus australis and Neuquensaurus robustus). Given that
such division was only based on the relative robustness of the limb
bones, the validity of the species N. robustus has been questioned. In
this work, we studied the morphological variation of the vertebrae of
this genus through geometric morphometric techniques and the
description of relevant anatomical features in order to assess if
there are one or more morphotypes within Neuquensaurus. We found two
distinguishable morphotypes, one belonging to N. australis and other
that includes specimens assigned to both N. australis and N. robustus.
The occurrence of a posterior cervical vertebra with a particular
anatomical feature (i.e. four sprl) could indicate the presence of
another taxon than N. australis in the studied sample. Although the
validity of the species N. robustus cannot be discussed on the basis
of the current data, our study supports the hypothesis of at least two
different morphotypes of Neuquensaurus (which could be related to
different taxa).