Titanosaur nesting strategies

E. Martín Hechenleitner, Gerald Grellet-Tinner and Lucas E. Fiorelli

Titanosauria is a globally distributed clade of sometimes extremely large Mesozoic herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs. On the basis of current evidence these giant dinosaurs seem to have reproduced in specific and localized nesting sites. However, no investigations have been performed to understand the possible ecological and geological biases that acted for the selection of these nesting sites worldwide. In this study, observations were performed on the best-known Cretaceous nesting sites around the world. Our observations strongly suggest their eggs were incubated with environmental sources of heat, in burial conditions. Taking into account the clutch composition and geometry, the nature and properties of the sediments, the eggshells’ structures and conductance, it would appear that titanosaurs adopted nesting behaviors comparable to the modern Australasian megapodes, using burrow-nesting in diverse media and mound-building strategies.
Hechenleitner et al. (2015),What do giant titanosaur dinosaurs and modern Australasian megapodes have in common? PeerJ 3:e1341; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1341

Una nueva vitrina en el MAU

Se han realizado cambios en una de las vitrinas del Museo Municipal Argentino Urquiza, como continuación de un plan de reestructuración de la exhibición. En este caso se ha incorporado la réplica del brazo de Megaraptor, proyecto que se estaba desarrollando desde hace unos meses. Los resultados han superado las expectativas, por lo que se planean llevar adelante nuevas réplicas para mejorar la actual exhibición.

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.

A new ornithopod from Antartica

Sebastián Rozadilla, Federico L. Agnolin, Fernando E. Novas, Alexis M. Aranciaga Rolando, Matías J. Motta, Juan M. Lirio, Marcelo P. Isasi

A new ornithopod dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Snow Hill Island Formation, at James Ross Island, Antarctica is here described. This new taxon, named as Morrosaurus antarcticus gen. et sp. nov., is represented by a fragmentary right hind limb belonging to a medium-sized individual. Our phylogenetic analysis nests the new taxon in a monophyletic clade of Southern Hemisphere ornithopods that includes most Patagonian and Antarctic ornithopods. Several members of this group share a slender and bunched foot with narrow metatarsal IV, expanded chevrons, and bowed humerus without deltopectoral crest. Several features indicate that these ornithopods exhibit adaptations for a specialized cursorial mode of life. The recognition of Patagonian and Antarctic Ornithopoda belonging to a monophyletic clade reinforces palaeobiogeographical signals indicating that Patagonia, Antarctica and Australia shared a common Late Cretaceous terrestrial fauna.

 Rozadilla, S., Agnolin, F.L.,  Novas, F.E., Aranciaga Rolando, A.M., Motta, M. J.,Lirio, J. M. and Isasi, M.P. 2016. A new ornithopod (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Upper Cretaceous of Antarctica and its palaeobiogeographical implications. Cretaceous Research 57: 311-324