Sauropoda

Mateus, O., Mannion P. D., & Upchurch P. (2014).  Zby atlanticus, a new turiasaurian sauropod (Dinosauria, Eusauropoda) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34(3), 618-634. Abstractmateus_et_al_2014_zby_atlanticus.pdfWebsite

Here we describe a new partial sauropod skeleton from the late Kimmeridgian (Late Jurassic) of the Lourinhã Formation, central west Portugal. The closely associated specimen comprises a complete tooth (with root), a fragment of cervical neural arch, an anterior chevron, and an almost complete right pectoral girdle and forelimb. The new sauropod, Zby atlanticus, n. gen. et sp., can be diagnosed on the basis of four autapomorphies, including a prominent posteriorly projecting ridge on the humerus at the level of the deltopectoral crest. Nearly all anatomical features indicate that Zby is a non-neosauropod eusauropod. On the basis of several characters, including tooth morphology, extreme anteroposterior compression of the proximal end of the radius, and strong beveling of the lateral half of the distal end of the radius, Zby appears to be closely related to Turiasaurus riodevensis from approximately contemporaneous deposits in eastern Spain. However, these two genera can be distinguished from each other by a number of features pertaining to the forelimb. Whereas previously described Late Jurassic Portuguese sauropods show close relationships with taxa from the contemporaneous Morrison Formation of North America, it appears that turiasaurians were restricted to Europe. All adult sauropods recovered in the Late Jurassic of Portugal thus far are very large individuals: it is possible that the apparent absence of small- or medium-sized adult sauropods might be related to the occupation of lower-browsing niches by non-sauropods such as the long-necked stegosaur Miragaia longicollum.

Mateus, O., & Tschopp E. (2013).  Cathetosaurus as a valid sauropod genus and comparisons with Camarasaurus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts, 2013. 173.mateus__tschopp_2013_cathetosaurs_camarasaurus__svp_meeting_abstracts_213.pdf
Mannion, P. D., Upchurch P., Barnes R. N., & Mateus O. (2013).  Osteology of the Late Jurassic Portuguese sauropod dinosaur Lusotitan atalaiensis (Macronaria) and the evolutionary history of basal titanosauriforms. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 168, 98-206. Abstractmannion_et_al_2013_sauropod_lusotitan_portugal.pdfWebsite

Titanosauriforms represent a diverse and globally distributed clade of neosauropod dinosaurs, but their inter-relationships remain poorly understood. Here we redescribe Lusotitan atalaiensis from the Late Jurassic Lourinhã Formation of Portugal, a taxon previously referred to Brachiosaurus. The lectotype includes cervical, dorsal, and caudal vertebrae, and elements from the forelimb, hindlimb, and pelvic girdle. Lusotitan is a valid taxon and can be diagnosed by six autapomorphies, including the presence of elongate postzygapophyses that project well beyond the posterior margin of the neural arch in anterior-to-middle caudal vertebrae. A new phylogenetic analysis, focused on elucidating the evolutionary relationships of basal titanosauriforms, is presented, comprising 63 taxa scored for 279 characters. Many of these characters are heavily revised or novel to our study, and a number of ingroup taxa have never previously been incorporated into a phylogenetic analysis. We treated quantitative characters as discrete and continuous data in two parallel analyses, and explored the effect of implied weighting. Although we recovered monophyletic brachiosaurid and somphospondylan sister clades within Titanosauriformes, their compositions were affected by alternative treatments of quantitative data and, especially, by the weighting of such data. This suggests that the treatment of quantitative data is important and the wrong decisions might lead to incorrect tree topologies. In particular, the diversity of Titanosauria was greatly increased by the use of implied weights. Our results support the generic separation of the contemporaneous taxa Brachiosaurus, Giraffatitan, and Lusotitan, with the latter recovered as either a brachiosaurid or the sister taxon to Titanosauriformes. Although Janenschia was recovered as a basal macronarian, outside Titanosauria, the sympatric Australodocus provides body fossil evidence for the pre-Cretaceous origin of titanosaurs. We recovered evidence for a sauropod with close affinities to the Chinese taxon Mamenchisaurus in the Late Jurassic Tendaguru beds of Africa, and present new information demonstrating the wider distribution of caudal pneumaticity within Titanosauria. The earliest known titanosauriform body fossils are from the late Oxfordian (Late Jurassic), although trackway evidence indicates a Middle Jurassic origin. Diversity increased throughout the Late Jurassic, and titanosauriforms did not undergo a severe extinction across the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, in contrast to diplodocids and non-neosauropods. Titanosauriform diversity increased in the Barremian and Aptian–Albian as a result of radiations of derived somphospondylans and lithostrotians, respectively, but there was a severe drop (up to 40%) in species numbers at, or near, the Albian/Cenomanian boundary, representing a faunal turnover whereby basal titanosauriforms were replaced by derived titanosaurs, although this transition occurred in a spatiotemporally staggered fashion.

Mateus, O. (2012).  New dinosaur and pterosaur tracksites from the Late Jurassic of Portugal. , Chongqing, China: 2012 Abstract Book of Qijiang International Dinosaur Tracks Symposium Abstractmateus_2012_dinosaur_tracks_portugal__abstract_book_qijiang_int_dinosaur_tracks_symposium.pdf

Portugal is rich on dinosaur remains (bones, eggs, and tracks) from Early Jurassic to Late
Cretaceous ages, but mainly from the Late Jurassic, in which dozen of tracksites have been reported.
Here are reported new or poorly known track localities:
1) Five tracksites share the preservation substrate (marine carbonated limestone), age (late Jurassic), geographic area (Leiria district of Portugal), kind of preservation (true tracks), and completeness (trackways of multiple individuals):
i) Praia dos Salgados includes eight trackways, mostly ornithopods and theropods, and one wide gauge sauropod, made in very soft sediment; some preserve the hallux impression.
ii) Serra de Mangues is mostly covered with vegetation but seems to include dozens of tracks comprising theropods, thyreophorans, ornithopods and sauropods.
iii) Sobral da Lagoa (Pedreira do Rio Real) include six trackways but poorly preserved;
and
iv) Serra de Bouro that preserves four sauropod trackways in one single layer.
v) Pedrógão, preserved, at least, one theropod trackway and several isolated tracks of
theropods and ornithopods were found in different layers in the Early Oxfordian.
2) The locality in Praia de Porto das Barcas yielded natural casts of stegosaur tracks
(including pes print with skin impression) and a very large sauropod pes print with about
1.2 m long pes.
3) A new pterosaur tracksite was found in the Late Jurassic of Peralta, Lourinhã (Sobral Member, Lourinhã Fm.; Late Kimmeridgian/Early Tithonian). More than 220 manus and pes tracks have been collected in about five square meters, all ascribed to pterosaurs. The tracks were produced in a thin mud layer that has been covered by sand which preserved them as sandstone mould infill (natural casts). The manus of the largest specimens is 13 cm wide and 5.5 cm long and the pes measures 14.5 cm in length and 9 cm in width. This shows the occurrence of very large pterosaurs in the Late Jurassic. Other pterosaur tracksites in the Late Jurassic of Portugal are: Porto das Barcas (Lourinhã Municipality), South of Consolação (Peniche Municipality), and Zambujal de Baixo (Sesimbra Municipality).

Nova espécie de dinossauro descrita por paleontólogos da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (UNL) e Museu da Lourinhã

Nova espécie de dinossauro descrita por paleontólogos da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (UNL) e Museu da Lourinhã

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  • kaatedocus_head_by_davide_bonadonna.jpg
Tschopp, E., & Mateus O. (2013).  The skull and neck of a new flagellicaudatan sauropod from the Morrison Formation and its implication for the evolution and ontogeny of diplodocid dinosaurs. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 11(7), 853–888. Abstracttschopp__mateus_2013_the_skull_and_neck_of_a_new_flagellicaudatan_sauropod_from_the_morrison.pdfWebsite

A new taxon of diplodocid sauropod, Kaatedocus siberi gen. et sp. nov., is recognized based on well-preserved cervical vertebrae and skull from the Morrison Formation (Kimmeridgian, Late Jurassic) of northern Wyoming, USA. A phylogenetic analysis places it inside Diplodocinae (Sauropoda: Flagellicaudata: Diplodocidae), as a sister taxon to a clade uniting Tornieria africana and the classical diplodocines Barosaurus lentus and Diplodocus. The taxon is diagnosed by a unique combination of plesiomorphic and derived traits, as well as the following unambiguous autapomorphies within Diplodocidae: frontals separated anteriorly by a U-shaped notch; squamosals restricted to the post-orbital region; presence of a postparietal foramen; a narrow, sharp and distinct sagittal nuchal crest; the paired basal tuber with a straight anterior edge in ventral view; anterior end of the prezygapophyses of mid- and posterior cervical vertebrae is often an anterior extension of the pre-epipophysis, which projects considerably anterior to the articular facet; anterodorsal corner of the lateral side of the posterior cervical vertebrae marked by a rugose tuberosity; posterior margin of the prezygapophyseal articular facet of posterior cervical vertebrae bordered posteriorly by conspicuous transverse sulcus; posterior cervical neural spines parallel to converging. The inclusion of K. siberi and several newly described characters into a previously published phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as basal diplodocine, which concurs well with the low stratigraphical position of the holotype specimen. Dinheirosaurus and Supersaurus now represent the sister clade to Apatosaurus and Diplodocinae and therefore the most basal diplodocid genera. The geographical location in the less known northern parts of the Morrison Fm., where K. siberi was found, corroborates previous hypotheses on faunal provinces within the formation. The probable subadult ontogenetic stage of the holotype specimen allows analysis of ontogenetic changes and their influence on diplodocid phylogeny.

Tschopp, E., & Mateus O. (2013).  Clavicles, interclavicles, gastralia, and sternal ribs in sauropod dinosaurs: new reports from Diplodocidae and their morphological, functional and evolutionary implications. Journal of Anatomy. 222, 321-340. Abstracttschopp__mateus_2013_clavicles_interclavicles_gastralia_and_sternal_ribs_in_diplodocid.pdfWebsite

Ossified gastralia, clavicles and sternal ribs are known in a variety of reptilians, including dinosaurs. In sauropods, however, the identity of these bones is controversial. The peculiar shapes of these bones complicate their identification, which led to various differing interpretations in the past. Here we describe different elements from the chest region of diplodocids, found near Shell, Wyoming, USA. Five morphotypes are easily distinguishable: (A) elongated, relatively stout, curved elements with a spatulate and a bifurcate end resemble much the previously reported sauropod clavicles, but might actually represent interclavicles; (B) short, L-shaped elements, mostly preserved as a symmetrical pair, probably are the real clavicles, as indicated by new findings in diplodocids; (C) slender, rod-like bones with rugose ends are highly similar to elements identified as sauropod sternal ribs; (D) curved bones with wide, probably medial ends constitute the fourth morphotype, herein interpreted as gastralia; and (E) irregularly shaped elements, often with extended rugosities, are included into the fifth morphotype, tentatively identified as sternal ribs and/or intercostal elements. To our knowledge, the bones previously interpreted as sauropod clavicles were always found as single bones, which sheds doubt on the validity of their identification. Various lines of evidence presented herein suggest they might actually be interclavicles – which are single elements. This would be the first definitive evidence of interclavicles in dinosauromorphs. Previously supposed interclavicles in the early sauropodomorph Massospondylus or the theropods Oviraptor and Velociraptor were later reinterpreted as clavicles or furculae. Independent from their identification, the existence of the reported bones has both phylogenetic and functional significance. Their presence in non-neosauropod Eusauropoda and Flagellicaudata and probable absence in rebbachisaurs and Titanosauriformes shows a clear character polarity. This implicates that the ossification of these bones can be considered plesiomorphic for Sauropoda. The proposed presence of interclavicles in sauropods may give further support to a recent study, which finds a homology of the avian furcula with the interclavicle to be equally parsimonious to the traditional theory that furcula were formed by the fusion of the clavicles. Functional implications are the stabilizing of the chest region, which coincides with the development of elongated cervical and caudal vertebral columns or the use of the tail as defensive weapon. The loss of ossified chest bones coincides with more widely spaced limbs, and the evolution of a wide-gauge locomotor style.

Tschopp, E., & Mateus O. (2012).  Evidence for presence of clavicles and interclavicles in sauropod dinosaurs and its implications on the furcula-clavicle homology. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts, 2012, 184. ISSN 1937-2809 . 184. Abstracttschopp__mateus_2012_interclavicles_clavicles_svp_2012_abstract.pdf

Clavicles and interclavicles are plesiomorphically present in Reptilia. However, several groups show reduction or even loss of these elements. Crocodylimorpha, e.g., lost the clavicles, whereas dinosaurs are generally interpreted to only preserve the clavicles, the theropod furcula representing an unique case of fused clavicles. In sauropods, reports of clavicles are relatively frequent in non-titanosauriforms. These elements are elongated, curved, and rather stout bones with a spatulate and a bifurcate end. However, they were always found as single bones, and differ from the relatively short and unbifurcated clavicles found articulated with the scapulae of basal sauropodomorphs.
Elements from the Howe Quarry (Late Jurassic; Wyoming, USA) shed new light on these interpretations. Besides the elongated, curved bones (herein named morphotype A), also pairs of symmetric, L-shaped bones were recovered (morphotype B), associated with diplodocid dorsal and cervical vertebrae. Elements resembling morphotype B - articulated between the scapulae - have recently been reported from a diplodocid found near Tensleep, Wyoming. Taphonomic evidence, as well as the fact that they were preserved in symmetrical pairs, therefore implies that morphotype B represents the true sauropod clavicles.
Contrary to earlier reports, morphotype A elements from the Howe Quarry, as well as of previously reported specimens show a symmetry plane following the long axis of the elements. It is thus possible that the morphotype A elements were single bones from the body midline. The only such element present in the pectoral girdle of tetrapods are the interclavicle and the furcula. Comparison with crocodilian and lacertiform interclavicles indicates that the bifurcate end of the sauropod elements might represent the reduced transverse processes of the anterior end, and the spatulate end would have covered the coracoids or sternal plates ventrally.
The presence of both clavicles and interclavicles in the pectoral girdle stiffens the anterior trunk, and enhances considerably its stability. Such an enforcement might have been needed in diplodocids due to the strong lateral forces induced to the fore-limbs by the posteriorly placed center of mass (due to shorter fore- than hind-limbs), as well as lateral movements of the enormously elongated necks and tails. The absence of clavicles and interclavicles in titanosauriforms coincides with the development of wide-gauge locomotion style.
The presence of interclavicles in sauropods supports the recently proposed homology of the furcula with the interclavicle, instead of representing fused clavicles. Interclavicles were thus not lost, but may have remained cartilaginous or have yet to be found in basal dinosauriforms.

Tschopp, E., & Mateus O. (2012).  A sternal plate of a large-sized sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Portugal. 10th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists ¡Fundamental! . 20, 263-266.: European Association of Vertebrate Paleontologist tschopp__mateus_2012_sternal_plate_sauropod_portugal.pdf
Mateus, O. (2008).  Checklist for Late Jurassic reptiles and amphibians from Portugal. Livro de Resumos do X Congresso Luso-Espanhol de Herpetologia. 55., Coimbra Abstractmateus_2008_lista_de_repteis_e_anfibios_do_jurassico_superior_de_portugal__list_congressoherpetolog.pdf

The richness of Late Jurassic vertebrates in Portugal is known since the 19th century by Paul Choffat, Henri Sauvage and other. The Kimmeridgian Guimarota fauna assemblage is the best known, followed by the fauna of Lourinhã formation. Here is presented an attempt to provide a checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of the Late Jurassic. Amphibia: Lissamphibia (Celtedens, cf. Marmorerpeton, Discoglossidae indet.). Chelonia: Eucryptodira (Pleurosternidae indet., Platychelyidae indet., Plesiochelys cf. etalloni, Plesiochelys choffati, Anosteirinae indet.). Squamata: Scincomorpha (Becklesius hoffstetteri; Paramacellodus sp., Saurillodon proraformis, S. henkeli, S. cf. obtusus). Squamata: Anguimorpha (Dorsetisaurus pollicidens, Parviraptor estesi). Crown Lepidosauromorpha (Marmoretta sp.). Choristodera: Cteniogenidae (Ctenogenys reedi). Sauropterygia: Plesiosauria: Cryptoclidoidea: Cryptoclididae indet. Crocodylomorpha (Lisboasaurus estesi, L. mitrocostatus). Crocodyliformes: Neosuchia (Machimosaurus hugii, Goniopholis cf. simus, Goniopholis baryglyphaeus, cf. Bernissartia, Atoposauridae, Theriosuchus guimarotae, cf. Alligatorium, Metriorhynchus sp.). Pterosauria (Rhamphorhynchus sp., Pterodactylus sp.). Dinosauria: Theropoda (Ceratosaurus sp. , Torvosaurus sp., Lourinhanosaurus antunesi, Allosaurus europaeus, Cf. Compsognathus sp., cf. Richardoestesia sp., Dromaeosaurinae indeter., Velociraptorinae indeter., cf. Archaeopteryx sp., aff. Paronychodon). Dinosauria: Sauropoda: Eusauropoda (Dinheirosaurus lourinhanensis, Lourinhasaurus alenquerensis, Lusotitan atalaiensis, Apatosaurus sp.). Dinosauria: Ornithischia: Thyreophora (Dacentrurus armatus, Stegosaurus sp., Dracopelta zbyszewskii). Dinosauria: Ornithischia: Ornithopoda (Phyllodon henkeli, Dryosaurus sp., Hypsilophodon sp., Alocodon kuehnei, Trimucrodon cuneatus, Draconyx loureiroi).