Monday, July 28, 2014

Itemirus: a Dromaeosaur From Turonian Cretaceous Uzbekistan


Sues et al


Skeletal remains of dromaeosaurid theropods are uncommon in the richly fossiliferous continental strata of the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) Bissekty Formation of the Kyzylkum Desert in Uzbekistan. The phylogenetic position of the first published specimen, a partial braincase designated as the holotype of Itemirus medullaris Kurzanov, 1976, has long been contentious. Our examination of the specimen supports its attribution to Dromaeosauridae. Additional, mostly well-preserved dromaeosaurid skeletal remains from the Bissekty Formation include cranial bones, teeth, vertebrae, and some podial elements. They are tentatively referred to the same taxon, Itemirus medullaris, and establish the presence of dromaeosaurid paravians in present-day Central Asia during the Turonian.

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