Mansourasaurus shahinae gen. et sp. nov.Â
Hesham M. Sallam, Eric Gorscak, Patrick M. OâConnor, Iman A. El-Dawoudi, Sanaa El-Sayed, Sara Saber, Mahmoud A. Kora, Joseph J. W. Sertich, Erik R. Seiffert & Matthew C. Lamanna (2018)
New Egyptian sauropod reveals Late Cretaceous dinosaur dispersal between Europe and Africa.
Nature Ecology & Evolution (2018)
Prominent hypotheses advanced over the past two decades have sought to characterize the Late Cretaceous continental vertebrate palaeobiogeography of Gondwanan landmasses, but have proved difficult to test because terrestrial vertebrates from the final ~30 million years of the Mesozoic are extremely rare and fragmentary on continental Africa (including the then-conjoined Arabian Peninsula but excluding the island of Madagascar). Here we describe a new titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur, Mansourasaurus shahinae gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Quseir Formation of the Dakhla Oasis of the Egyptian Western Desert. Represented by an associated partial skeleton that includes cranial elements, Mansourasaurus is the most completely preserved land-living vertebrate from the post-Cenomanian Cretaceous (~94â66âmillion years ago) of the African continent. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that Mansourasaurus is nested within a clade of penecontemporaneous titanosaurians from southern Europe and eastern Asia, thereby providing the first unambiguous evidence for a post-Cenomanian Cretaceous continental vertebrate clade that inhabited both Africa and Europe. The close relationship of Mansourasaurus to coeval Eurasian titanosaurians indicates that terrestrial vertebrate dispersal occurred between Eurasia and northern Africa after the tectonic separation of the latter from South America ~100âmillion years ago. These findings counter hypotheses that dinosaur faunas of the African mainland were completely isolated during the post-Cenomanian Cretaceous.
Cecily S.C. Nicholl, Philip D. Mannion, and Paul M. Barrett (2018)
Sauropod dinosaur remains from a new Early Jurassic locality in the Central High Atlas of Morocco.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (in press)
Despite being globally widespread and abundant throughout much of the Mesozoic, the early record of sauropod dinosaur evolution is extremely poor. As such, any new remains can provide significant additions to ourÂ understanding of this important radiation. Here, we describe two sauropod middle cervical vertebrae from a new Early Jurassic locality in the Haute Moulouya Basin, Central High Atlas of Morocco. The possession of opisthocoelous centra, a well-developed system of centrodiapophyseal laminae, and the higher elevation of the postzygapophyses relative to the prezygapophyses, all provide strong support for a placement within Sauropoda. Absence of pneumaticity indicates non-neosauropod affinities, and several other features, including a tubercle on the dorsal margin of the prezygapophyses and an anteriorly slanting neural spine, suggest close relationships with various basal eusauropods, such as the Middle Jurassic taxa Jobaria tiguidensis and Patagosaurus fariasi. Phylogenetic analyses also support a position close to the base of Eusauropoda. The vertebrae differ from the only other Early Jurassic African sauropod dinosaurs preserving overlapping remains (the Moroccan Tazoudasaurus naimi and South African Pulanesaura eocollum), as well as stratigraphically younger taxa, although we refrain from erecting a new taxon due to the limited nature of the material. These new specimens represent one of the earliest eusauropod taxa and are an important additional data point for elucidating the early evolution of the clade.