Publications in the Year: 2021

Journal Article

Beccari, V, Pinheiro FL, Nunes I, Anelli LE, Mateus O, Costa FR.  2021.  Osteology of an exceptionally well-preserved tapejarid skeleton from Brazil: Revealing the anatomy of a curious pterodactyloid clade, 2021/08/25. PLOS ONE. 16(8):e0254789-.: Public Library of Science Abstractbeccari_et_al_2021.pdfWebsite

A remarkably well-preserved, almost complete and articulated new specimen (GP/2E 9266) of Tupandactylus navigans is here described for the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil. The new specimen comprises an almost complete skeleton, preserving both the skull and post-cranium, associated with remarkable preservation of soft tissues, which makes it the most complete tapejarid known thus far. CT-Scanning was performed to allow the assessment of bones still covered by sediment. The specimen can be assigned to Tupa. navigans due to its vertical supra-premaxillary bony process and short and rounded parietal crest. It also bears the largest dentary crest among tapejarine pterosaurs and a notarium, which is absent in other representatives of the clade. The new specimen is here regarded as an adult individual. This is the first time that postcranial remains of Tupa. navigans are described, being also an unprecedented record of an articulated tapejarid skeleton from the Araripe Basin.

Fernandes, AE, Mateus O, Bauluz B, Coimbra R, Ezquerro L, Núñez-Lahuerta C, Suteu C, Moreno-Azanza M.  2021.  The Paimogo Dinosaur Egg Clutch Revisited: Using One of Portugal’s Most Notable Fossils to Exhibit the Scientific Method, 2021. Geoheritage. 13(3):66. Abstractfernandes_et_al-2021-geoheritage.pdfWebsite

Found in the Upper Jurassic outcrops of Lourinhã, Portugal, and first published in 1997, the Paimogo dinosaur egg clutch is one of Portugal’s most remarkable fossils, with over one hundred eggs preserved in association with embryonic bones, of the allosauroid theropod Lourinhanosaurus. However, many questions about it have remained unanswered, even until the present day. After its discovery, this extraordinary fossil became the keystone of a small local museum, greatly kick-starting regional tourism, while also holding the fossils in trust for future generations to study. More than 20 years later, continually sustained paleontological interest from the public has even given rise to both a highly successful dinosaur theme park in the region and an aspiring UNESCO Geopark. Recently, a multidisciplinary team of preparators, paleontologists, sedimentologists, mineralogists, and geochemists revisited an unopened jacket from the original excavation using an array of techniques to address various questions. Studies are ongoing, but the corpus of information obtained and the methodologies utilized to gather data have offered an opportunity to design an exhibit around the history of the Paimogo clutch, highlighting the scientific methods involved, and asserting the importance of preserving geological heritage for the future, when new tools will doubtlessly become available to provide yet another new look at old fossils. Here, we describe our analytical procedures and present an innovative exhibit designed to introduce to the public the latest advances on the research behind an iconic piece of Portuguese geoheritage, increasing its value both as a research item and as an educational resource.

Milàn, J, Mateus O, Mau M, Rudra A, Sanei H, Clemmensen LB.  2021.  A possible phytosaurian (Archosauria, Pseudosuchia) coprolite from the Late Triassic Fleming Fjord Group of Jameson Land, central East Greenland. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark. 69:71-80. Abstractmilan_et_al_2021_coprolites_greenland_bull69-71-80.pdfWebsite

A large, well-preserved vertebrate coprolite was found in a lacustrine sediment in the Malmros Klint Formation of the Late Triassic Fleming Fjord Group in the Jameson Land Basin, central East Greenland. The size and internal and external morphology of the coprolite is consistent with that of crocodilian coprolites and one end of the coprolite exhibits evidence of post-egestion trampling. As the associated vertebrate fauna of the Fleming Fjord Group contains abundant remains of pseudosuchian phytosaurs, the coprolite is interpreted as being from a large phytosaur.

Jackson, Y, Economos R, Jacobs L, Mateus O, Gonçalves AO.  2021.  When Dinosaurs Walked Through Diamonds: Constraining the Age of Early Cretaceous Footprints in Volcanic Crater Sediments. SMU Journal of Undergraduate Research. 6(1): DOI: https://doi.org/ 10.25172/jour.6.1.1 Available at: https://scholar.smu … Abstractwhen_dinosaurs_walked_through_diamonds.pdf

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Puértolas-Pascual, E, Marx M, Mateus O, Saleiro A, Fernandes AE, Marinheiro J, Tomás C, Mateus S.  2021.  A new plesiosaur from the Lower Jurassic of Portugal and the early radiation of Plesiosauroidea. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 66(2):369-388. Abstracta_new_plesiosaur_from_the_lower_jurassic_of_portugal_and_the_early_radiation_of_plesiosauroidea.pdfWebsite

A new plesiosaur partial skeleton, comprising most of the trunk and including axial, limb, and girdle bones, was collected in the lower Sinemurian (Coimbra Formation) of Praia da Concha, near São Pedro de Moel in central west Portugal. The specimen represents a new genus and species, Plesiopharos moelensis gen. et sp. nov. Phylogenetic analysis places this taxon at the base of Plesiosauroidea. Its position is based on this exclusive combination of characters: presence of a straight preaxial margin of the radius; transverse processes of mid-dorsal vertebrae horizontally oriented; ilium with sub-circular cross section of the shaft and subequal anteroposterior expansion of the dorsal blade; straight proximal end of the humerus; and ventral surface of the humerus with an anteroposteriorly long shallow groove between the epipodial facets. In addition, the new taxon has the following autapomorphies: iliac blade with less expanded, rounded and convex anterior flank; highly developed ischial facet of the ilium; apex of the neural spine of the first pectoral vertebra inclined posterodorsally with a small rounded tip. This taxon represents the most complete and the oldest plesiosaur species in the Iberian Peninsula. It is also the most complete, best preserved, and oldest marine vertebrate in the region and testifies to the incursion of marine reptiles in the newly formed proto-Atlantic sea, prior to the Atlantic Ocean floor spreading in the Early Cretaceous.

Marx, MP, Mateus O, Polcyn MJ, Schulp AS, Gonçalves OA, Jacobs LL.  2021.  The cranial anatomy and relationships of Cardiocorax mukulu (Plesiosauria: Elasmosauridae) from Bentiaba, Angola, 2021/08/17. PLOS ONE. 16(8):e0255773-.: Public Library of Science AbstractWebsite

We report a new specimen of the plesiosaur Cardiocorax mukulu that includes the most complete plesiosaur skull from sub-Saharan Africa. The well-preserved three-dimensional nature of the skull offers rare insight into the cranial anatomy of elasmosaurid plesiosaurians. The new specimen of Cardiocorax mukulu was recovered from Bentiaba, Namibe Province in Angola, approximately three meters above the holotype. The new specimen also includes an atlas-axis complex, seventeen postaxial cervical vertebrae, partial ribs, a femur, and limb elements. It is identified as Cardiocorax mukulu based on an apomorphy shared with the holotype where the cervical neural spine is approximately as long anteroposteriorly as the centrum and exhibits a sinusoidal anterior margin. The new specimen is nearly identical to the holotype and previously referred material in all other aspects. Cardiocorax mukulu is returned in an early-branching or intermediate position in Elasmosauridae in four out of the six of our phylogenetic analyses. Cardiocorax mukulu lacks the elongated cervical vertebrae that is characteristic of the extremely long-necked elasmosaurines, and the broad skull with and a high number of maxillary teeth (28–40) which is characteristic of Aristonectinae. Currently, the most parsimonious explanation concerning elasmosaurid evolutionary relationships, is that Cardiocorax mukulu represents an older lineage of elasmosaurids in the Maastrichtian.