Reassessment of Laplatasaurus araukanikus

Pablo Ariel Gallina and Alejandro Otero

The original material assigned to Laplatasaurus araukanicus Huene come from five different localities in northern Patagonia (Argentina) where the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) lies exposed. This material includes several postcranial bones from multiple specimens and showing different conditions of preservation, often lacking anatomical overlap. The taxonomic status of the taxon is further obscured by the absence of quarry maps of the multiple localities (lacking the recognition of associated materials), and a proper designation of type material in its original description. After Huene, new material was assigned to this taxon, although none of it resolved the existing taxonomic issues. In 1979, the designation of a lectotype (one tibia and one fibula) was the first stage in the nomenclatural stabilization of the species. However, the assignment of the remaining material to L. araukanicus remained uncertain. Here we review all the material hitherto assigned to this taxon in order to clarify its taxonomic status. We also provide a re-description of the lectotype and discuss the taxonomic identification of material previously referred to this taxon. Lastly we include it for the first time in an updated phylogenetic data matrix. Laplatasaurus araukanicus is retained only for the lectotype. The material from Rancho de Ávila is referred to cf. Bonitasaura sp. because they share diagnostic features and are stratigraphically congruent. The remaining material is referred as Lithostrotia indet. A phylogenetic analysis nests Laplatasaurus within Titanosauria in a clade formed by ((Laplatasaurus + Uberabatitan) + (Bonitasaura + (Futalognkosaurus + Mendozasaurus))).

Gallina, P. A. and Otero, A. 2015. Reassessment of Laplatasaurus araukanicus (Sauropoda: Titanosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina. Ameghiniana 52(5): 487-501.