Neuquensaurus

Neuquensaurus (meaning "Neuquén lizard") is a genus of saltasaurid sauropod dinosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous, about 80 million years ago in Argentina and Uruguay in South America. Its fossils were recovered from outcrops of the Anacleto Formation around Cinco Saltos, near the Neuquén river from which its name is derived.

Neuquensaurus
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 80 Ma
Titanosaurus australis
Holotypic caudal vertebrae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Clade: Titanosauria
Clade: Lithostrotia
Family: Saltasauridae
Subfamily: Saltasaurinae
Genus: Neuquensaurus
Powell, 1992
Species
Synonyms

History

Neuquensaurus australis
Restored skeleton of N. australis

In 1893, Richard Lydekker named Titanosaurus australis, based on a series of caudal vertebrae and limb elements. The remains had been found by Santiago Roth and F. Romero in the Neuquén Province of Argentina at the Neuquén River, and were by Lydekker assigned to a single individual.[1] Six caudal vertebrae, with the inventory numbers MLP Ly 1-6-V-28-1, were the holotype of the species. They had probably been found in a layer of the Anacleto Formation.

Some elements that had been referred to Titanosaurus australis were reassigned to Laplatasaurus araukanicus by Friedrich von Huene in 1929.[1] The same year, von Huene named a Titanosaurus robustus, and claimed it differed from T. australis in the limb material. Von Huene described all the slender limb material to T. australis, but did not identify any differentiating features between the vertebrae.[2] When describing T. robustus, von Huene did not really compare other genera and species to it.[1] From the syntype material assigned by von Huene to T. robustus José Fernando Bonaparte et al. in 1978 chose four lectotypes, specimens MLP 26-250, MLP 26-252, MLP 26-254, and MLP 26-259, a left femur, both ulnae, and a left radius.[3][1]

In 1986, Jaime Eduardo Powell, concluding that Titanosaurus australis was less similar than Laplatasaurus araukaicus to Titanosaurus indicus, named a separate genus: Neuquensaurus.[4] However, he did so in an unpublished dissertation which caused Neuquensaurus australis and Neuquensaurus rubustus to remain invalid nomina ex dissertatione. In 1990, the two species were assigned to Saltasaurus by John Stanton McIntosh, as a Saltasaurus australis and a Saltasaurus robustus, claiming that the features found by Bonaparte were not of sufficient taxonomic importance to justify a generic separation.[1]

In 1992 Powell validly named Neuquensaurus, with as type species Titanosaurus australis of which the combinatio nova then is Neuquensaurus australis. He also found Titanosaurus robustus to be assignable to the new genus, but considered it non-diagnostical, and so a nomen dubium.[5]

Description

Neuquensaurus
Remains

This dinosaur is believed to have possessed armor-like osteoderms.[1] A relatively small sauropod, with a femur only 0.75 metres (2.5 ft) long. It is one of the most completely known of Patagonian sauropods.[1] In addition to the original fossils described by Lydekker in 1893, it is represented by fossils collected in the early twentieth century, and more recent material, including a well preserved and partially articulated specimen described in 2005 (with two associated osteoderms),[6] as well as additional undescribed material.

Skeleton

Neuquensaurus has an almost complete skeleton. Among the preserved elements are a scapula. The scapula is co-ossified with the coracoid, a feature also found in Opisthocoelicaudia. In general aspect, the scapula resembles Saltasaurus, Opisthocoelicaudia, Lirainosaurus, and Alamosaurus. The coracoids of the scapulae are roughly quadrangular in shape, and are alike Saltasaurus and Lirainosaurus, but not Opisthocoelicaudia, Rapetosaurus, or Isisaurus, all of which have a rounded coracoid.[1]

Distinguishing characteristics

Many characters distinguish Neuquensaurus from other titanosaurians. The features found by Otero in 2010 are listed below:[1]

  • the possession of posterior caudal centra that are dorsoventrally flattened;
  • and strongly developed fibular lateral tuberosity.

Classification

Neuquensaurus is a derived saltasaurine. Its closest relatives were Saltasaurus, Rocasaurus, and Bonatitan, and together they made up Saltasaurinae.[1]

Paleoecology

Neuquensaurus is known from fossils from the Anacleto Formation.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Alejandro Otero (2010). "The appendicular skeleton of Neuquensaurus, a Late Cretaceous saltasaurine sauropod from Patagonia, Argentina" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 55 (3): 399–426. doi:10.4202/app.2009.0099.
  2. ^ F. v. Huene, 1929, "Los sauriquios y ornitisquios del Cretáceo argentino", Anales del Museo de La Plata, serie 2 3: 1-196
  3. ^ Bonaparte, J.F. and Gasparini, Z., 1978, "The sauropods of the Neuquén and Chubut Groups and their chronological relations", VII Congreso Geologico Argentino, Neuquén 11 pp 393–406
  4. ^ Powell, J.E., 1986, Revisión del titanosáuridos de América del Sur, dissertation Universidad Nacional de Tucumán
  5. ^ J.E. Powell, 1992, "Osteologia de Saltasaurus loricatus (Sauropoda - Titanosauridae) del Cretácico Superior del noroeste Argentino" In: J.L. Sanz & A.D. Buscalioni (eds.), Los Dinosaurios y Su Entorno Biotico: Actas del Segundo Curso de Paleontologia in Cuenca. Institutio "Juan de Valdes", Cuenca, Argentina pp 165-230
  6. ^ A New Specimen of Neuquensaurus australis, a Late Cretaceous Saltasaurine Titanosaur from North PatagoniaLeonardo Salgado, Sebastián Apesteguía and Susana E. HerediaJournal of Vertebrate PaleontologyVol. 25, No. 3 (Sep. 30, 2005), pp. 623-634
Aeolosaurini

Aeolosaurini is an extinct clade of titanosaurian dinosaurs known from the late Cretaceous period of Argentina and Brazil. Thomas Holtz (2011) assigned Adamantisaurus, Aeolosaurus, Gondwanatitan, Muyelensaurus, Panamericansaurus, Pitekunsaurus and Rinconsaurus to Aeolosauridae. Rodrigo M. Santucci and Antonio C. de Arruda-Campos (2011) in their cladistic analysis found Aeolosaurus, Gondwanatitan, Maxakalisaurus, Panamericansaurus and Rinconsaurus to be aeolosaurids.

Austroposeidon

Austroposeidon is an extinct genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Presidente Prudente Formation of Brazil. It contains one species, Austroposeidon magnificus.

Euhelopodidae

Euhelopodidae is a family of sauropod dinosaurs which includes the genus Euhelopus. All known euhelopodids lived in what is now East Asia. The family name was first proposed by American paleontologist Alfred Sherwood Romer in 1956. The four genera Chiayusaurus, Omeisaurus, Tienshanosaurus, and Euhelopus were the original proposed euhelopodines (subfamily Euhelopodinae). Other genera such as Mamenchisaurus and Shunosaurus were formerly placed within this family, but these are now regarded as more basal sauropods.

Michael D'Emic (2012) formulated the first phylogenetic definition of Euhelopodidae, defining it as the clade containing "neosauropods more closely related to Euhelopus zdanskyi than to Neuquensaurus australis". Below is a cladogram presenting the cladistic hypothesis of Euhelopodidae proposed by D'Emic.

Flagellicaudata

Flagellicaudata is a clade of Dinosauria. It belongs to Sauropoda and includes two families, the Dicraeosauridae and the Diplodocidae.

Futalognkosaurus

Futalognkosaurus ( FOO-tə-long-ko-SAW-rəs; meaning "giant chief lizard") is a genus of titanosaurian dinosaur. The herbivorous Futalognkosaurus lived approximately 87 million years ago in the Portezuelo Formation, in what is now Argentina, of the Coniacian stage of the late Cretaceous Period. The fish and fossilized leaf debris on the site, together with other dinosaur remains, suggest a warm tropical climate in Patagonia during this period.

Gravisauria

Gravisauria is a clade of sauropod dinosaurs consisting of some genera, Vulcanodontidae and Eusauropoda.

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.

Lohuecotitan

Lohuecotitan is an extinct genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur which lived during the Late Cretaceous in Spain. The only species known in the genus is Lohuecotitan pandafilandi, described and named in 2016.

Loricosaurus

Loricosaurus (meaning "armour lizard") is a genus of sauropod represented by a single species. It is a titanosaurian that lived near the end of the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 71 million years ago in the late Campanian or early Maastrichtian. Found in the province of Neuquen, Argentina in the Allen Formation. Due to the presence of armour, at first it was thought that it was an ankylosaur, but today it is considered to be the armour of a titanosaur.

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.

Nemegtosauridae

Nemegtosauridae is a family of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs based originally on two late Cretaceous Mongolian species known only from their diplodocid-like skulls: Nemegtosaurus and Quaesitosaurus.

Rocasaurus

Rocasaurus (meaning "Roca lizard") is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod that lived in South America. Rocasaurus was discovered in Argentina in 2000, within the Allen Formation which is dated to be middle Campanian to early Maastrichtian in age (75 to 70 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous). This genus grew up to 8 metres (26 ft) long, making it one of the smaller sauropods. It seems to be closely related to saltasaurid dinosaurs, like Saltasaurus and Neuquensaurus.

The type species, Rocasaurus muniozi, was formally described by Leonardo Salgado and Azpilicueta in 2000.

Saltasauridae

Saltasauridae (named after the Salta region of Argentina where they were first found) — a family of armored herbivorous sauropods from the Upper Cretaceous. They are known from fossils found in South America, Asia, North America, and Europe. They are characterized by their vertebrae and feet, which are similar to those of Saltasaurus, the first of the group to be discovered and the source of the name. The last and largest of the group and only one found in North America, Alamosaurus, was thirty-four metres (112 feet) in length and the last sauropod to go extinct.

Most of the saltasaurids were smaller, around fifteen metres (49 feet) in length, and one, Rocasaurus, was only eight metres (26 feet) long. Like all sauropods, the saltasaurids were quadrupeds, their necks and tails were held almost parallel to the ground, and their small heads had only tiny, peg-like teeth. They were herbivorous, stripping leaves off of plants and digesting them in their enormous guts. Although large animals, they were smaller than other sauropods of their time, and many possessed distinctive additional defenses in the form of scutes along their backs.

Saltasaurinae

Saltasaurinae is a subfamily of titanosaurian sauropods known from the late Cretaceous period of South America, India and Madagascar. They are considered to be the most derived of all sauropods.

Saltasaurus

Saltasaurus (which means "lizard from Salta") is a genus of titanosaurid sauropod dinosaur of the Late Cretaceous Period of Argentina. Small among sauropods, though still heavy by the standards of modern creatures, Saltasaurus was characterized by a short neck and stubby limbs. It was the first genus of sauropod known to possess armour of bony plates embedded in its skin. Such small bony plates, called osteoderms, have since been found on other titanosaurids.

Tangvayosaurus

Tangvayosaurus (meaning "Tang Vay lizard") is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Aptian-Albian age Lower Cretaceous Grès Supérior Formation of Savannakhet, Laos. It was a basal somphospondylan, about 15 m long, and is known from the remains of two or three individuals.

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.

Titanosaurus

Titanosaurus (meaning 'titanic lizard' – named after the mythological Titans, deities of Ancient Greece) is a dubious genus of sauropod dinosaurs, first described by Lydekker in 1877. It is known from the Maastrichtian (Upper Cretaceous) Lameta Formation of India.

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