Rhabdodon

Rhabdodon (meaning "fluted tooth") is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that lived in Europe approximately 70–66 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous. It is similar in build to a very robust "hypsilophodont" (non-iguanodont ornithopod), though all modern phylogenetic analyses find this ("Hypsilophodontia/tidae") to be an unnatural grouping, and Rhabdodon to be a basal member of Iguanodontia.

Rhabdodon
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 70–66 Ma
Rhabdodon priscus mount
Reconstructed R. priscus skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Ornithopoda
Family: Rhabdodontidae
Genus: Rhabdodon
Matheron, 1869
Species
  • R. priscus Matheron, 1869
  • R. septimanicus Buffetaut & Le Loeuff, 1991

Discovery

Rhabdodon priscus
Wall mounted fossils of R. priscus on the silhouette of a Tenontosaurus

Two species of Rhabdodon are known, Rhabdodon priscus, the type species, and R. septimanicus (Buffetaut and Le Loeuff, 1991). Rhabdodon remains are currently known from southern France, although fragmentary remains from eastern Spain have been assigned to the genus. Rhabdodon was large compared to its nearest relatives, and indeed one recent paper ( Ősi et al. (2012)) determined it is larger than the basal rhabdodontid status; from this they suggested that it actually experienced gigantism on the "mainland"; and not insular dwarfism as previous suggested.[1]

Paleobiology

Rhabdodon by Tom Parker
Life reconstruction of Rhabdodon priscus

Rhabdodon was probably an important herbivore in Cretaceous Europe. Rhabdodon's predators include the abelisaur Arcovenator, and young may have been prey for Pyroraptor; thought adults where probably too big for either; as Arcovenator was around 2.5–3 m (16 ft), Pyroraptor around 2 m (6–7 ft), and Rhabdodon 6 m (18–20 ft).[1]

Paleoecology

Rhabdodon priscus is known from a specimen from the Marnes Rouges Inférieures Formation. The material of Rhabdodon priscus includes a dentary and many other postcranial remains. More specifically, it is known from the Bellevue layer, which has produced many vertebrate fossils. Even though it produced many vertebrates, the formation only has a scarce record of plants and invertebrates. The non-dinosaurian vertebrates consist of Lepisosteus, an indeterminate turtle, and a crocodile. Dinosaurian fauna from the Marnes Rouges Inférieures Formation include Ampelosaurus, an animal classified as Dromaeosauridae indet., and an indeterminate ankylosaur.[2][3] The bird Gargantuavis philoinos, and dinosaur eggs have also been recovered.[3]

Rhabdodon septimanicus
R. septimanicus fossil

Another formation Rhabdodon priscus is known from is Gres de Saint-Chinian. Along with both Rhabdodon priscus, Rhabdodon septimanicus, dinosaur eggs, Nodosauridae indet. (previously known as Rhodanosaurus lugdunensis), Theropoda indet., Variraptor mechinorum, Avialae indet., Enantiornithes indet., and a possible Abelisauridae indet. are known from this formation.[3]

Rhabdodon priscus is one of few vertebrates known from the Gres de Labarre Formation. The only other fossils from the formation belong to Ampelosaurus atacis and a Nodosauridae indet.[3]

Villalba de la Sierra Formation

Rhabdodon pelvis and vertebrae
Pelvis and vertebrae

Rhabdodon sp. is from the latest Cretaceous aged Lo Hueco region in the Villalba de la Sierra Formation. A study shows that the area around Lo Hueco dates to the late Campanian and early Maastrichtian, although a more recent study revised the later date to the latest Maastrichtian.[4] The study showed that Lo Hueco was near the coast of the Tethys Sea,[4] a large seaway through southern Europe and northern Africa. The area directly on the coast was shown to be a brackish-freshwater aquatic environment, with a muddy flood-plain beside it. Lo Hueco was found to be inside the flood-plain. The flood plain was found to have distributary channels of sand and terrigenous material.[5]

Many dinosaurs have been found in the Villalba de la Sierra Formation, including Rhabdodon sp. They consist of possible Lirainosaurus remains, Ampelosaurus atacis, unknown basal euornithopods, probable ankylosaurians, one undetermined dromaeosaurine, and one unknown velociraptorine. The plants known from the formation are represented by carbonized branches and leaves. Invertebrates are solely known from bivalves and gastropods. Fishes from the formation include lepisosteids, and unidentified actinopterygians and teleosteans. Turtle fossils are very common, but only two different groups have been identified, the bothremydids Polysternon and Rosasia, along with an undetermined Pancryptodiran. Squamate lizards are known only from a few undetermined specimens, and eusuchian crocodiles are known from a specimen with similarities to Allodaposuchus and Musturzabalsuchus.[5]

Classification

Rhabdodon priscus
Foot bones

The cladogram below is based on the analysis of Ösi et al. (2012):[1]

Ornithopoda

Hypsilophodon

Thescelosaurus

Iguanodontia

Talenkauen

Dryomorpha

Tenontosaurus

Rhabdodontidae

Rhabdodon

Mochlodon

Zalmoxes

References

  1. ^ a b c Ősi, A.; Prondvai, E.; Butler, R.; Weishampel, D. B. (2012). Evans, Alistair Robert (ed.). "Phylogeny, Histology and Inferred Body Size Evolution in a New Rhabdodontid Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary". PLoS ONE. 7 (9): e44318. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044318. PMC 3448614. PMID 23028518.
  2. ^ Le Loeuff, J. (1995). "Ampelosaurus atacis (nov. gen., nov. sp.), un nouveau Titanosauridae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) du Crétacé supérieur de la Haute Vallée de l'Aude (France)" (PDF). Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences. IIa. Paris. 321: 693–699.
  3. ^ a b c d Weishampel, D.B.; Dodson, P. & Osmolska, H. (2004). The Dinosauria (2nd Edition). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 259–322, 588–593. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Knoll, F.; Ridgely, R. C.; Ortega, F.; Sanz, J. L.; Witmer, L. M. (2013). Butler, Richard J (ed.). "Neurocranial Osteology and Neuroanatomy of a Late Cretaceous Titanosaurian Sauropod from Spain (Ampelosaurus sp.)". PLoS ONE. 8: e54991. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054991. PMC 3552955. PMID 23355905.
  5. ^ a b Barroso-Barcenilla, F.; Cambra-Moo, O.; Escaso, F.; Ortega, F.; Pascual, A.; Pérez-García, A.; Rodríguez-Lázaro, J.; Sanz, J. L.; Segura, M.; Torices, A. (2009). "New and exceptional discovery in the Upper Cretaceous of the Iberian Peninsula: The palaeontological site of "Lo Hueco", Cuenca, Spain". Cretaceous Research. 30 (5): 1268. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2009.07.010.
  • Brinkmann, W., 1986. Rhabdodon Matheron, 1869 (Reptilia, Ornithischia): Proposed conservation by suppression of Rhabdodon Fleischmann, 1831 (Reptilia, Serpentes). Case 2536. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 43: 269-272.
  • ICZN, 1988. Opinion 1483. Rhabdodon Matheron, 1869 (Reptilia, Ornithischia): Conserved. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 45: 85-86.
1869 in paleontology

Paleontology or palaeontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 1869.

1881 in paleontology

Paleontology or palaeontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 1881.

Ampelosaurus

Ampelosaurus ( AM-pi-loh-SOR-əs; meaning "vine lizard") is a titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur hailing from the Late Cretaceous Period of what is now Europe. Its type species is A. atacis, named by Le Loeuff in 1995. A possible unnamed species has given Ampelosaurus an age reaching to the latest Cretaceous, from about 70 to 66 million years ago.

Like most sauropods, it would have had a long neck and tail but it also carried armor in the form of osteoderms. Over 500 bones have been assigned to Ampelosaurus and all but the braincase (assigned to A. sp.) has been assigned to A. atacis. They are assigned to the same species because all the differences in the limb proportions have been linked to individual variation. A. atacis is known from a few, well-preserved teeth and some cranial material. A right scapula was discovered associated with a coracoid. The blade of the scapula, contrary to most titanosaurs, is triangular. The blade narrows at one end instead of showing an expansion like most other genera. A. atacis is also known from a pubis about 75 centimetres (30 in) long and an ilium. Aside from that, it is known from a partial forelimb, and many femora.

Titanosaurians were a flourishing group of sauropod dinosaurs during Cretaceous times. The Spanish locality from the latest Cretaceous of “Lo Hueco” yielded a relatively well preserved, titanosaurian braincase, which shares a number of unique features with A. atacis from France. However, it appeared to differ from A. atacis in some traits also. The specimen has been provisionally identified as Ampelosaurus sp.; it is most likely a mature titanosaurian since the bones of the braincase have largely fused together.

Ampelosaurus lived alongside many other animals. Over 8500 specimens have been found alongside it, including gastropods, bivalves, crocodiles, other sauropods, plants and invertebrates in the Villalba de la Sierra, Gres de Saint-Chinian, Marnes Rouges Inférieures and Gres de Labarre formations. Recent attention has made Ampelosaurus one of the most well-known dinosaurs known from France.

Aralosaurini

Aralosaurini is a tribe of basal lambeosaurine hadrosaurs endemic to Eurasia. It currently contains Aralosaurus (from the Aral sea of Kazakhstan) and Canardia (from Toulouse, Southern France).

Burianosaurus

Burianosaurus is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that lived in what is now the Czech Republic (it was found in 2003 near the city of Kutná Hora), being the first validly named dinosaur from that country. It was named B. augustai in 2017; the genus name honours the Czech palaeoartist Zdeněk Burian, and the species name honours the Czech palaeontologist Josef Augusta. The holotype specimen is a femur discovered in 2003, which was described as possibly belonging to an iguanodont in 2005.

Dryosauridae

Dryosaurids were primitive iguanodonts. They are known from Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous rocks of Africa, Europe, and North America.

Elasmaria

Elasmaria is a clade of iguanodont ornithopods known from Cretaceous deposits in South America, Antarctica, and Australia.

Gres de Labarre Formation

The Gres de Labarre Formation is a geological formation in France whose strata date back to the Late Cretaceous. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation.

Gres de Saint-Chinian

The Gres de Saint-Chinian is a geological formation in Aude and Hérault, France whose strata date back to the Late Cretaceous. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation.

Hypselosaurus

Hypselosaurus (meaning 'highest lizard', from Greek ὑψηλός meaning 'high' or 'lofty' and σαυρος meaning 'lizard') was a dubious titanosaurian sauropod that lived in southern France during the Late Cretaceous, approximately 70 million years ago in the early Maastrichtian. Hypselosaurus was first described in 1846, but was not formally named until 1869, when Phillip Matheron named it under the binomial Hypselosaurus priscus. The holotype specimen includes a partial hindlimb and a pair of caudal vertebrae, and two eggshell fragments were found alongside these bones. Because of the proximity of these eggshells to the fossil remains, many later authors, including Matheron and Paul Gervais, have assigned several eggs from the same region of France all to Hypselosaurus, although the variation and differences between these eggs suggest that they do not all belong to the same taxon. Hypselosaurus has been found in the same formation as the dromaeosaurids Variraptor and Pyroraptor, the ornithopod Rhabdodon, and the ankylosaurian Rhodanosaurus, as well as indeterminate bones from other groups.

Iguanodontia

Iguanodontia (the iguanodonts) is a clade of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived from the Middle Jurassic to Late Cretaceous. Some members include Camptosaurus, Dryosaurus, Iguanodon, Tenontosaurus, and the hadrosaurids or "duck-billed dinosaurs". Iguanodontians were one of the first groups of dinosaurs to be found. They are among the best known of the dinosaurs, and were among the most diverse and widespread herbivorous dinosaur groups of the Cretaceous period.

Matheronodon

Matheronodon (meaning "Matheron tooth") is a genus of rhabdodontid ornithopod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of France. The genus contains a single species, M. provincialis, which is known from a single maxilla and associated teeth. It was named by Pascal Godefroit and colleagues in 2017. The teeth of Matheronodon are large but few in number. The teeth are also in an unusual arrangement, emerging alternatingly from one of a pair of fused tooth sockets in its mouth. In life, the teeth would have functioned like a pair of scissors, allowing Matheronodon to feed on the tough leaves of monocot plants.

Mochlodon

Mochlodon is a genus of iguanodont dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous.

Pararhabdodon

Pararhabdodon (meaning "near fluted tooth" in reference to Rhabdodon) is a genus of tsintaosaurin hadrosaurid dinosaur, from the Maastrichtian-age Upper Cretaceous Tremp Formation of Spain. The first remains were discovered from the Sant Romà d’Abella fossil locality and assigned to the genus Rhabdodon, and later named as the distinct species Pararhabdodon isonensis in 1993. Known material includes assorted postcranial remains, mostly vertebrae, as well as maxillae from the skull. Specimens from other sites, including remains from France, a maxilla previously considered the distinct taxon Koutalisaurus kohlerorum, an additional maxilla from another locality, the material assigned to the genera Blasisaurus and Arenysaurus, and the extensive Basturs Poble bonebed have been considered at different times to belong to the species, but all of these assignments have more recently been questioned.

Initially, the material was thought to belong to a rhabdodontid dinosaur, or some other similar type of primitive iguanodontian. Later discoveries of additional material revealed its true nature as a hadrosaur. Its placement within the group remained controversial - in 1999 it was proposed it belonged to the subfamily Lambeosaurinae, making it the first known from the continent of Europe. Later studies questioned this, instead classifying it as a more primitive hadrosauroid. In 2009 evidence was put forward that it was indeed a lambeosaurine, and more specifically a close relative of Tsintaosaurus, a genus from China. This position has been consistently found since, and the group containing them was later named Tsintaosaurini.

Philippe Matheron

Philippe Matheron full name Pierre Philippe Émile Matheron (29 October 1807 – 1899) was a French palaeontologist and geologist. He was born on October 29, as the son of Jean Esprit Matheron and Rosalie Françoise Sansan. On June 7, 1896, Matheron was awarded a gold medal by the Academy of Marseille to mark his 60th year as an academic. Matheron named the dinosaurs Hypselosaurus and Rhabdodon, and the crocodilian Crocodylus affuvelensis (now in its own genus, Massaliasuchus) in 1869, in addition to describing the first eggshells that are now considered dinosaurs.

Rhabdodontidae

Rhabdodontidae is a family of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaurs that first appeared during the late Barremian of Spain, 129.4–125.0 million years ago, in the middle of the Lower Cretaceous. With their deep skulls and jaws, Rhabdodontids were similar to large, robust iguanodonts. The family was first proposed by David B. Weishampel and colleagues in 2003. Rhabdodontid fossils have been mainly found in Europe in formations dating to the Late Cretaceous.

The defining characteristics of the clade Rhabdodontidae include the spade-shape of the teeth, the presence of three or more premaxillary teeth, the distinct difference between the two maxillary and dentary teeth ridge patterns, and the uniquely shaped femur, humerus, and ulna. Members of Rhabdodontidae have an adult body length of 1.6 to 6.0 meters.

Rhabdodontomorpha

Rhabdodontomorpha is a clade of basal iguanodont dinosaurs. This group was named in 2016 in the context of the description, based on Spanish findings, of an early member of the Rhabdodontidae. A cladistic analysis was conducted in which it was found that Muttaburrasaurus was the sister species of the Rhabdodontidae sensu Weishampel. Therefore, Paul-Emile Dieudonné, Thierry Tortosa, Fidel Torcida Fernández-Baldor, José Ignacio Canudo and Ignacio Díaz-Martínez defined Rhabdodontomorpha as a nodal clade: the group consisting of the last common ancestor of Rhabdodon priscus Matheron, 1869 and Muttaburrasaurus langdoni Bartholomai and Molnar, 1981; and all its descendants. Within the clade are included also Zalmoxes and Mochlodon.The group consists of small to large plant eaters from Europe and Gondwana. It must have split from other iguanodont groups during the Middle Jurassic.

Villalba de la Sierra Formation

The Villalba de la Sierra Formation is a Campanian to Maastrichtian geologic formation in Spain. Fossil dinosaur eggs have been reported from the formation, that comprises gypsiferous, grey, argillaceous mudstones and sandstones, deposited in a floodplain environment. Abundant titanosaurian remains, including Lohuecotitan were found in the formation. More than 10,000 fossil remains of various fishes, amphibians, lizards, dinosaurs (Ampelosaurus sp., Rhabdodon sp.), turtles (Foxemys mechinorum, Iberoccitanemys convenarum), and crocodiles (Lohuecosuchus megadontos, Agaresuchus fontisensis, Musturzabalsuchus sp.) are also known from the site, one of the richest for the Late Cretaceous in Europe.

Zalmoxes

Zalmoxes is an extinct genus of rhabdodontid ornithopod dinosaur from the Maastrichtian of Romania. The genus is known from specimens first named as the species Mochlodon robustum in 1899 by Franz Nopcsa before being reclassified as Rhabdodon robustum by him in 1915. In 1990 this name was corrected to Rhabdodon robustus by George Olshevsky, and in 2003 the species was once more reclassified, this time as the type species Zalmoxes robustus. Zalmoxes refers to the Dacian deity Zalmoxis, and robustus to the robustness of the remains. In 2003 another species was named, Zalmoxes shqiperorum, named for the Albanian name for Albanians.

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