Thursday, February 21, 2013

Trinisaura santamartaensis: New Ornithopod Dinosaur from the Campanian of Antarctica

A new ornithopod (Dinosauria; Ornithischia) from Antarctica


1. Rodolfo A. Coria (a, b)
2. Juan J. Moly (c)
3. Marcelo Reguero (a, c, d)
4. Sergio Santillana (d)
5. Sergio Marenssi (a, d)


a. CONICET, Argentina

b. Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Subsecretaría de Cultura de Neuquén, Museo Carmen Funes, Av. Córdoba 55, 8318 Plaza Huincul, Neuquén, Argentina

c. Museo de La Plata, Paseo del bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Prov. Buenos Aires, Argentina

d. Instituto Antártico Argentino, Cerrito 1248, C1010AAZ Buenos Aires, Argentina


A new ornithopod dinosaur from Antarctica, Trinisaura santamartaensis n. gen. et n. sp. is diagnosed by a unique combination of characters that includes a scapula with a spike-like acromial process with a strong and sharp lateral crest and longer than other ornithopods, a humerus with a rudimentary deltopectoral crest represented as a thickening on the anterolateral margin of the humerus, and shaft strongly bowed laterally, and an ischium gently curved along its entire length. The holotype specimen comprises vertebral and appendicular elements. The presence of axially elongate distal caudal vertebrae, pubis with long prepubic and postpubic processes, as well as a femur with a distinct anterior trochanter, pendant 4th trochanter and shallow anterior intercondylar groove constitute a combination of characters present in the Late Cretaceous Patagonian Gasparinisaura, Anabisetia and Talenkahuen. The materials were found on the surface enclosed in a hard sandstone concretion collected near the Santa Marta Cove, James Ross Island, from the lower levels of the Snow Hill Island Formation (Campanian). This is the first ornithopod taxon identified from this unit, and the second ornithischian dinosaur, after the ankylosaur Antarctopelta oliveroi. However, other ornithopod reports from nearby localities of James Ross and Vega islands in outcrops of the overlying Lopez de Bertodano Formation suggest that this clade was widely represented in the Campanian and Maastrichtian of the James Ross Basin, Antarctic continent.

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