Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kimmeridgian/Tithonian Jurassic Sauropod Lourinhasaurus is Really a Camarasaur

Phylogenetic reassessment of Lourinhasaurus alenquerensis, a basal Macronaria (Sauropoda) from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal


Mocho et al


Lourinhasaurus alenquerensis is a Portuguese Upper Jurassic dinosaur whose lectotype is one of the most complete sauropod specimens from the Portuguese fossil record and from the Upper Jurassic of Europe. It was recovered from sediments of the Sobral Formation (upper Kimmeridgian to lower Tithonian) at Moinho do Carmo (Alenquer, Portugal). The lectotype of Lourinhasaurus was first related to Apatosaurus and then tentatively related to Camarasaurus. Finally, it was established as a new taxon, Lourinhasaurus, including the Moinho do Carmo specimen. At the time of writing, Lourinhasaurus had a poor diagnosis and an unstable phylogenetic position. Revision of the Moinho do Carmo specimen has led to a detailed description and a new and more complete codification for several morphological characters. The phylogenetic analyses proposed herein considered Lourinhasaurus as a Camarasauromorpha Macronaria. This study also recovered a Camarasauridae clade incorporating Lourinhasaurus, Camarasaurus and, putatively, Tehuelchesaurus and that implies the presence of Camarasauridae in the European Upper Jurassic. Besides the strong similarity to Camarasaurus, Lourinhasaurus alenquerensis is here considered a valid taxon with 13 putative autapomorphies such as a sagittal keel on the dorsal margin of sacral neural spines, circular and deep spinoprezygapophyseal fossa on proximal caudal vertebrae, marked crest and groove bordering the lateral margin of the acetabulum in the ischium, and a marked deflection of the entire femoral shaft without lateral bulge. The apparently high number of taxa among the sauropod fauna from the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Jurassic is similar to the palaeobiodiversity recorded in formations of the same age, i.e. Morrison and Tendaguru, and does not support the hypothesis of a connection between the North America and Iberian Peninsula faunas during the later part of the Late Jurassic reflected by other faunal and floral groups.

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