New materials of Diplodocoidea sauropods from Villa El Chocón, Huincul Formation (late Cenomanian-early Turonian), Neuquén province, Argentina

E. SIMÓN (1) and L. SALGADO (2)

We present new sauropod materials recovered in the Huincul Formation outcropping at the Bustingorry I site (Villa El Chocón area, Neuquén Province, Argentina). The remains (MMCH-PV 47, Museo Municipal “Ernesto Bachmann” Villa El Chocón, Argentina) consist of articulated and disarticulated elements of at least two individuals, which are assigned to the Diplodocoidea clade. Elements from different parts of the skeleton are represented: three cervicals, nine dorsal and caudal vertebrae, one dorsal neural arch, three humeri, one ulna and one radius. The cervical ribs are shorter than the cervical centra, which characterizes to the Diplodocoidea. The rest of the material shows characters similar to Limaysaurus tessonei Calvo and Salgado: caudal centra with posterior articular surfaces more concave than the anterior surfaces, anterior caudal neural spines with distally thickened “lateral” laminae, and anterior caudal transverse processes composed of two laterodorsally projected osseous bars. Diplodocoids seem to have been numerically abundant in the Early Cretaceous of Patagonia, becoming extinct by the early Late Cretaceous. The record of the taxa Limaysaurus tessonei Calvo and Salgado, Zapalasaurus bonapartei Salgado et al. and Nopcsaspondylus alarconensis Apesteguía shows that, at least in the Neuquén Basin, basal diplodocoids were more diverse than previously thought.

(1) Museo Ernesto Bachmann. Villa El Chocón, Neuquén, Argentina.
(2) Inibioma-Conicet, Museo de Geología y Paleontología de la Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Neuquén, Argentina.

XXIV Jornadas Argentinas de Paleontología de Vertebrados, San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina. Mayo, 2009.

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