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Re: [dinosaur] Middle Jurassic vertebrate assemblage from Siberia + dinosaurs of Pakistan + Arctic dinosaurs

This doesn't seem to have been reported on the DML yet, but the Malkani and Sun paper mentions several sauropods that were new as of 2014 and 2015.  As usual for Malkani taxa, they are based on unprepared elements which cannot be properly evaluated from their tiny photos.  I'm actually credited with some information on Vitakridrinda and Vitakrisaurus from when we had email correspondence a few years ago, so that's nice.

Gspsaurus pakistani is the skull previously referred to Marisaurus, since the latter's type lacks cranial material.  Good rationale, and once it's prepared will no doubt be more diagnostic than Marisaurus itself.  Also a Malkani staple is naming new families for Pakistani animals, so here we get the Gspsauridae.  The genus and family are credited to Malkani, 2014, but that is a conference abstract so is not valid according to the ICZN.  The first valid publication may be Malkani's 2015 "Dinosaurs, mesoeucrocodiles, pterosaurs, new fauna and flora from Pakistan" which seems to follow all the rules.  The latter also names the redundant Gspsaurinae.

Also supposedly named in 2014 but only in abstracts and actually named in that 2015 paper is Saraikimasoom vitakri.  This is for the skull previously referred to Balochisaurus, which again lacks referrable cranial material.  Also supposedly a gspsaurid, this gets its own subfamily Saraikimasoominae in the 2015 paper.

Incorrectly credited to Malkani's 2015 abstract "Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs from Pakistan" is the supposed saltasaurid Nicksaurus razashahi.  It also seems to be properly named in the later 2015 paper.  Nice to see something referred to a non-exclusively Pakistani family.

The same publication history holds for the supposed balochisaurid Maojandino alami.  This is based on material previously referred to Marisaurus by Malkani (2008).

Interestingly, Malkani has taken Wilson's suggestion I reported on a few years back that Vitakridrinda's referred snout is crocodylian, and made it the holotype of his new induszalimine induszalimid croc Induszalim bala.  Then there's supposed mesoeucrocodylian Khuzdarcroco zahri based on a rib cross section.  I don't give that one much of a future.  Finally for archosaurs, the Oligocene eucrocodyle Asifcroco retrai and the saraikisaurine saraikisaurid pterosaur Saraikisaurus minhui based on a dentary.

One good thing about Malkani is that he makes all of his publications available online, so it's easy to find them all.  The 2015 paper is his best so far.

Mickey Mortimer

From: dinosaur-l-request@usc.edu <dinosaur-l-request@usc.edu> on behalf of Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 11:36 AM
To: dinosaur-l@usc.edu
Subject: Re: [dinosaur] Middle Jurassic vertebrate assemblage from Siberia + dinosaurs of Pakistan + Arctic dinosaurs

The Pakkstan dinosaur paper is now available from Research Gate:

M. Sadiq Malkani;SUN Ge (2016)
Fossil biotas from Pakistan with focus on dinosaur distributions and discussion on paleobiogeographic evolution of Indo-Pak Peninsula.
Global Geology 19(4): 230-240

Free pdf:

On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 6:00 PM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

Ben Creisler

New dino-related papers in the English-language edition of the Chinese journal Global Geology. These papers are currently posted on some non-open access sites. 

The open access links have not posted issue 4 yet. I'll update when the free pdfs become available.

Global Geology (English)
open access link (4 not yet posted)


Meantime, here are the refs and abstracts (with one paper link):

Alexander Averianov; Thomas Martin; Pavel Skutschas; Igor Danilov; Julia Schultz; Rico Schellhorn; Ekaterina Obraztsova; Alexey Lopatin; Evgenia Sytchevskaya; Ivan Kuzmin; Sergei Krasnolutskii; Stepan Ivantsov (2016)
Middle Jurassic vertebrate assemblage of Berezovsk coal mine in western Siberia (Russia).
Global Geology 19(4): 187-204

Free pdf here:

The Berezovsk coal mine in western Siberia has yielded the most diverse Middle Jurassic limnic and terrestrial vertebrate assemblage of Asia.  The vertebrate remains were recovered by screen washing from floodplain deposits on top of a thick coal seam of the Bathonian Itat Formation.  A total of 29 vertebrate taxa has been recorded so far, including hybodontiform sharks, acipenseriforms, palaeonisciforms, amiiforms, dipnoans, anurans, caudates, turtles, squamates, choristoderans, crocodyliforms, pterosaurs, dinosaurs, tritylodontids, and a diverse mammaliaform and mammalian assemblage (eleutherodontids, docodontans, ? amphilestids, dryolestids, and zatherians).  The caudates are among the oldest in the fossil record and the anurans represent the oldest Asian record of this group.  Among the mammals, Anthracolestes is the oldest and most basal known member of Dryolestidae and so far the only record from Asia. The vertebrate assemblage from the Berezovsk coal mine is very similar to that from the British Forest Marble Formation (Bathonian) and suggests a limited provincialism in the Middle Jurassic Laurasian landmass.  


M. Sadiq Malkani;SUN Ge (2016)
Fossil biotas from Pakistan with focus on dinosaur distributions and discussion on paleobiogeographic evolution of Indo-Pak Peninsula.
Global Geology 19(4): 230-240

Recent geological and paleontological exploration in the Indus basin of Pakistan allowed the discoveries of numerous remains of non-marine reptiles (titanosaurian sauropod, abelisaurian and noasaurian theropod dinosaurs), and marine reptiles (crocodiles),  flying reptiles (pterosaurs), marine and non-marine mammals, fishes, invertebrates, and plants, especially Pakistan is relatively rich in footprints/trackways in the Mesozoic. These vertebrates of Indo-Pakistan are very significant for paleobiogeographic study due to the present-day connection of this continent with Asia in Northern Hemisphere, whereas during past (Jurassic and pre-Jurassic) it was connected to the Gondwana.  The Mesozoic vertebrates show close affinities with Gondwanan landmasses. The Cenozoic vertebrates show Eurasian affinity and migrated from Indo-Pak subcontinent to Eurasia or vice versa via Paleo Indus River systems along Western Indus Suture, after long journey of about 6 000 km the first collision of Indo-Pak subcontinent with Asia occurred at terminal Cretaceous.  


Robert A. Spicer; Alexei B. Herman; Romain Amiot; Teresa E.V. Spicer (2016)
Environmental adaptations and constraints on latest Cretaceous Arctic dinosaurs.
Global Geology 19(4): 187-204

The Arctic hosts an extraordinary wealth of terrestrial fossil biotas of Late Cretaceous age representing a diverse and highly productive near-polar ecosystem that has no modern analogue.  Compared to the rest of the Late Cretaceous Maastrichtian plant diversity was at its lowest and the temperature regime the coolest, yet the semi-open forests supported a rich dinosaur fauna made up of a wide range of body sizes and feeding strategies. The combination of mild winter temperatures and continuous darkness lasting several months imposed severe constraints on primary productivity.  Plant survival strategies involved almost universal winter loss of foliage, which in turn limited food supply for non-migratory overwintering herbivorous animals.  A combination of leaf form and tree ring studies has been used to quantify year round variations in temperature and determine the timing of spring bud-break and autumnal leaf fall.  While Maastrichtian winter temperatures were cold enough (down to- 10 ° C for brief intervals) for frequent frosts and snowfall, summer temperatures were cool but highly variable and at ~83 ° N along the north Alaskan coast frequently fell below + 10 ° C.  Theropod egg shell fragments at ~76 ° N in the Maastrichtian of Northeastern Russia may indicate that dinosaur reproduction took place in the Arctic ecosystem, as distinct from taking place at lower latitude breeding grounds reached by migration. This raises the question of nest management and specifically the maintenance of incubation temperatures, and the duration of incubation.  Of critical importance to year-round residency is the timing of hatching and juvenile care before winter darkness set in, temperatures fell to near freezing and food resources became limited.