The discovery of Mansourasaurus was considered quite significant by paleontologists, because very few Late Cretaceous sauropod remains had been found in Africa where the rocky strata that preserve remains elsewhere and produce rich fossil beds were typically not found exposed at or near ground level.
Temporal range: Campanian
Sallam et al., 2018
Sallam et al., 2018
Hesham Sallam, a paleontologist at Mansoura University, together with a team of students discovered a sauropod skeleton in the Dakhla Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert. In 2016, it was reported that over thirty dinosaur specimens had been excavated, among them titanosaurian sauropods.
Based on this skeleton, the type species Mansourasaurus shahinae was named and described in January 2018, by Hesham M. Sallam, Eric Gorscak, Patrick M. O'Connor, Iman A. El-Dawoudi, Sanaa El-Sayed, Sara Saber, Mahmoud A. Kora, Joseph J. W. Sertich, Erik R. Seiffert and Matthew C. Lamanna. The generic name refers to the Mansoura University. The specific name honours Mona Shahin, one of the founders of the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology Center.
The Mansourasaurus specimen described in 2018 is its holotype, MUVP 200, discovered in a layer of the Quseir Formation dating from the late Campanian, about seventy-three million years old. It consists of a partial skeleton with skull and lower jaws. It contains a fragment of the skull roof, a part of the lower braincase, the dentaries of the lower jaws, three neck vertebrae, two back vertebrae, eight ribs, the right scapula, the right coracoid, both humeri, a radius, a third metacarpal, three metatarsals, and parts of osteoderms. The skeleton was found on a surface of four by three metres. It was not articulated. The authors concluded that the holotype is a juvenile specimen, because the bones of its shoulder girdle had not yet fused. An ulna, specimen MUVP 201, found at twenty metres distance from the skeleton, was not referred to the species as it seemed somewhat too large for the holotype individual and a general connection to the species could not be proven.
The describing authors indicated a number of distinguishing traits. These are autapomorphies, unique derived characters. Each lower jaw dentary bears ten teeth. Where the dentaries touch each other, at the front of the lower jaws, they possess a common "chin", equalling a third of the front height. The horizontal groove in the inner side of the dentary, the fossa Meckeliana, largely opens to below. The anterior middle neck vertebrae are pierced by a foramen in the rear side. In at least one anterior middle neck vertebra the parapophysis, the process which bears the facet for the lower rib head, has a horizontal length equal to the vertebral centrum as a whole. With some anterior neck vertebrae, the bone web between the heads of the neck rib is pierced by a foramen. The lower end of the radius has a transverse width four times larger than the width measured from the front to the rear.
Mansourasaurus was placed in the Titanosauria in a derived position as a sister species of Lohuecotitan. A cladistic analysis showed it to belong to a clade of otherwise largely Eurasian sauropods, also including Ampelosaurus, Lirainosaurus, Nemegtosaurus, Opisthocoelicaudia and Paludititan, more or less contemporaneous forms. Hypotheses about relationships between Late Cretaceous African and Eurasian sauropods had been hard to test, because very few of their remains had been found in Africa. Mansourasaurus represents the best-known continental African (i.e. excluding Madagascar) titanosaur of the Upper Cretaceous from the time period after the Cenomanian. Its existence would show that the continent was far less isolated from the various Eurasian landmasses than had been assumed. The ancestors of Mansourasaurus would have reached Africa from Europe.
Brasilotitan is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous (early Maastrichtian) Adamantina Formation of Brazil. The type species is Brasilotitan nemophagus.Daxiatitan
Daxiatitan is a genus of titanosaur dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Lanzhou Basin, Gansu Province, northwestern China. It is known from fossils including several neck vertebrae, a shoulder blade, and a thigh bone.It was a very large dinosaur, estimated at 23–30 meters (75–98 feet). Like both Euhelopus and Huanghetitan, it had an enormously long neck.Ferganasaurus
Ferganasaurus was a genus of dinosaur first formally described in 2003 by Alifanov and Averianov. The type species is Ferganasaurus verzilini. It was a sauropod similar to Rhoetosaurus. The fossils were discovered in 1966 in Kyrgyzstan from the Balabansai Formation and date to the Callovian stage of the Middle Jurassic.Flagellicaudata
Flagellicaudata is a clade of Dinosauria. It belongs to Sauropoda and includes two families, the Dicraeosauridae and the Diplodocidae.Fossils of Egypt
Egypt has many fossil-bearing geologic formations, in which many dinosaurs have been discovered.Gravisauria
Gravisauria is a clade of sauropod dinosaurs consisting of some genera, Vulcanodontidae and Eusauropoda.Hesham Sallam
Hesham Sallam is an Egyptian Associate Professor at Department Of Geology, Mansoura University, Egypt and the founder of Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology Center. In January 2018, Sallam and his team discovered Mansourasaurus in Mansoura, Egypt.Huangshanlong
Huangshanlong is a genus of mamenchisaurid dinosaurs native to the Anhui province of China. It contains a single species, Huangshanlong anhuiensis. H. anhuiensis represents, along with Anhuilong and Wannanosaurus, one of three dinosaurs fround in Anhui province.Jiutaisaurus
Jiutaisaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Quantou Formation of China. Jiutaisaurus was a sauropod which lived during the Cretaceous. The type species, Jiutaisaurus xidiensis, was described by Wu et al. in 2006, and is based on eighteen vertebrae.Kaijutitan
Kaijutitan (meaning "Kaiju titan" after the type of Japanese movie monsters) is a genus of basal titanosaur dinosaur from the Sierra Barrosa Formation from Neuquén Province in Argentina. The type and only species is Kaijutitan maui.Lithostrotia
Lithostrotia is a clade of derived titanosaur sauropods that lived during the Early Cretaceous and Late Cretaceous. The group was defined by Unchurch et al. in 2004 as the most recent common ancestor of Malawisaurus and Saltasaurus and all the descendants of that ancestor. Lithostrotia is derived from the Ancient Greek lithostros, meaning "inlaid with stones", referring to the fact that many known lithostrotians are preserved with osteoderms. However, osteoderms are not a distinguishing feature of the group, as the two noted by Unchurch et al. include caudal vertebrae with strongly concave front faces (procoely), although the farthest vertebrae are not procoelous.Microcoelus
Microcoelus is a dubius genus of small Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur native to Argentina. It is known from only a single dorsal vertebra. A left humerus was formerly referred to this species, but it is now considered to belong to Neuquensaurus. This species may be a synonym of the contemporary sauropod Neuquensaurus australis.It was described by British paleontologist Richard Lydekker in 1893.Oceanotitan
Oceanotitan is a genus of titanosauriform sauropod known from the Upper Jurassic Praia da Amoreira-Porto Novo Formation of Portugal. It contains one species, Oceanotitan dantasi.The holotype consists of the scapula, almost all of the pelvis, a complete leg sans the toes, and nine caudals.Pilmatueia
Pilmatueia is a diplodocoid sauropod belonging to the family Dicraeosauridae that lived in Argentina during the Early Cretaceous.Quseir Formation
The Quseir Formation is a Geological Formation in the vicinity of the Kharga Oasis in Egypt. It is Campanian In age. The lithology largely consists of soft shale with hard bands of sandstone, siltstone and phosphorite. The environment of deposition was nearshore to freshwater fluvio-lacustrine characterized by moist and aquatic habitats with a tropical warm-humid climate. It is conformably overlain by the marine late Campanian-Maastrichtian Duwi Formation, and unconformably overlies the Turonian Taref Formation. The dinosaur Mansourasaurus was discovered in the formation., Additionally the lungfish genera Lavocatodus and Protopterus and the Crocodyliform Wahasuchus are also known.Tambatitanis
Tambatitanis is an extinct genus of titanosauriform dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous (probably early Albian) of Japan. It is known from a single type species, Tambatitanis amicitiae. It was probably around 14 meters long and its mass was estimated at some 4 tonnes. It was a basal titanosauriform and possibly belonged to the Euhelopodidae.Tengrisaurus
Tengrisaurus (meaning "Tengri lizard") is a genus of lithostrotian sauropod, from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian-Aptian), of the Murtoi Formation, Russia. It was described in 2017 by Averianov & Skutschas. The type species is T. starkovi.Titanosauria
Titanosaurs (members of the group Titanosauria) were a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs which included Saltasaurus and Isisaurus of Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and Australia. The titanosaurs were the last surviving group of long-necked sauropods, with taxa still thriving at the time of the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous. The group includes the largest land animals known to have existed, such as Patagotitan—estimated at 37 m (121 ft) long with a weight of 69 tonnes (76 tons)—and the comparably sized Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus from the same region. The group's name alludes to the mythological Titans of Ancient Greece, via the type genus (now considered a nomen dubium) Titanosaurus. Together with the brachiosaurids and relatives, titanosaurs make up the larger clade Titanosauriformes.Vulcanodontidae
The Early Jurassic sauropod dinosaurs Zizhongosaurus, Barapasaurus, Tazoudasaurus, and Vulcanodon may form a natural group of basal sauropods called the Vulcanodontidae. Basal vulcanodonts include some of the earliest known examples of sauropods. The family-level name Vulcanodontidae was erected by M.R. Cooper in 1984. In 1995 Hunt et al. published the opinion that the family is synonymous with the Barapasauridae. One of the key morphological features specific to the family is an unusually narrow sacrum.