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.

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


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Laplatasaurus araukaicus to Titanosaurus indicus, named a separate genus: Neuquensaurus.[4] However, he did so in an unpublished dissertation which caused Neuquensaurus australis and Neuquensaurus rubustus to remain invalid nomina ex dissertatione.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]



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.


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.


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


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


  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

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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.


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


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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 (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.


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