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Italy Ngala Offline
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First Ornithomimid (Theropoda, Ornithomimosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation of Tögrögiin Shiree, Mongolia
Aepyornithomimus tugrikinensis Tsogtbaatar et al., 2017

*This image is copyright of its original author

Reconstruction credits: Masato Hattori

Abstract:
"The Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation has been intensively surveyed for its fossil vertebrate fauna for nearly a century. Amongst other theropods, dromaeosaurids and parvicursorines are common in the formation, but ornithomimosaurs are extremely rare. A new ornithomimosaur material was discovered from the Djadokhta Formation, represented by eolian deposits, of the Tögrögiin Shiree locality, Mongolia. This is only the third ornithomimosaur specimen reported from this formation, and includes the astragalus, the calcaneum, the third distal tarsal, and a complete pes. The new material is clearly belonged to Ornithomimidae by its arctometatarsalian foot condition and has the following unique characters; unevenly developed pair of concavities of the third distal tarsal, curved contacts between the proximal ends of second and fourth metatarsals, the elongate fourth digit, and a laterally inclined medial condyle on phalanx IV-1. These diagnostic characters of the Djadokhtan ornithomimosaur indicate that this is a new taxon. Our phylogenetic analysis supports three clades within derived ornithomimosaurs, and the new taxon is placed a member of the derived ornithomimosaurs. The present specimen is the first ornithomimid record from eolian Tögrögiin Shiree locality, and is indicative of their capability to adapt to arid environments."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Reappraisal of Austrosaurus mckillopi Longman, 1933 from the Allaru Mudstone of Queensland, Australia’s first named Cretaceous sauropod dinosaur Poropat et al., 2017

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Fig. 11. Reconstruction of the possible sequence of events that led to the preservation of the carcass of the sauropod Austrosaurus mckillopi in the Eromanga Sea. (A) Austrosaurus as a living animal on land; (B) freshly deceased Austrosaurus prior to bloating; © bloated Austrosaurus carcass washed out to sea, where it was possibly scavenged by marine reptiles like Kronosaurus; (D) the partially defleshed but still effectively intact thoracic portion of the Austrosaurus carcass is picked at by sharks as it sinks to the seafloor; (E) the thoracic portion of the Austrosaurus carcass is buried along with several ammonites (Beudanticeras) and bivalves (Inoceramus), which were possibly drawn to the carcass as it decayed. Reconstruction by Travis R. Tischler.

Abstract:
"Austrosaurus mckillopi was the first Cretaceous sauropod reported from Australia, and the first Cretaceous dinosaur reported from Queensland (northeast Australia). This sauropod taxon was established on the basis of several fragmentary presacral vertebrae (QM F2316) derived from the uppermost Lower Cretaceous (upper Albian) Allaru Mudstone, at a locality situated 77 km west-northwest of Richmond, Queensland. Prior to its rediscovery in 2014, the type site was considered lost after failed attempts to relocate it in the 1970s. Excavations at the site in 2014 and 2015 led to the recovery of several partial dorsal ribs and fragments of presacral vertebrae, all of which clearly pertained to a single sauropod dinosaur. The discovery of new material of the type individual of Austrosaurus mckillopi, in tandem with a reassessment of the material collected in the 1930s, has facilitated the rearticulation of the specimen. The resultant vertebral series comprises six presacral vertebrae—the posteriormost cervical and five anteriormost dorsals—in association with five left dorsal ribs and one right one. The fragmentary nature of the type specimen has historically hindered assessments of the phylogenetic affinities of Austrosaurus, as has the fact that these evaluations were often based on a subset of the type material. The reappraisal of the type series of Austrosaurus presented herein, on the basis of both external morphology and internal morphology visualized through CT data, validates it as a diagnostic titanosauriform taxon, tentatively placed in Somphospondyli, and characterized by the possession of an accessory lateral pneumatic foramen on dorsal vertebra I (a feature that appears to be autapomorphic) and by the presence of a robust ventral mid-line ridge on the centra of dorsal vertebrae I and II. The interpretation of the anteriormost preserved vertebra in Austrosaurus as a posterior cervical has also prompted the re-evaluation of an isolated, partial, posterior cervical vertebra (QM F6142, the ‘Hughenden sauropod’) from the upper Albian Toolebuc Formation (which underlies the Allaru Mudstone). Although this vertebra preserves an apparent unique character of its own (a spinopostzygapophyseal lamina fossa), it is not able to be referred unequivocally to Austrosaurus and is retained as Titanosauriformes indet. Austrosaurus mckillopi is one of the oldest known sauropods from the Australian Cretaceous based on skeletal remains and potentially provides phylogenetic and/or palaeobiogeographic context for later taxa such as Wintonotitan wattsi, Diamantinasaurus matildae and Savannasaurus elliottorum."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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On the largest Ichthyosaurus: A new specimen of Ichthyosaurus somersetensis containing an embryo
Ichthyosaurus somersetensis Lomax & Massare, 2017

*This image is copyright of its original author

Reconstruction credits: Joschua Knüppe

*This image is copyright of its original author

Fig. 2.  Skeleton of Ichthyosaurus somersetensis Lomax and Massare, 2017 (NLMH 106234) from the Lower Jurassic (lower Hettangian) of Doniford Bay, Watchet, Somerset, UK. 

Abstract:
"A formerly undescribed Ichthyosaurus specimen from the collection of the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum (Lower Saxony State Museum) in Hannover, Germany, provides valuable new information. The skeleton was collected from the Lower Jurassic strata (lower Hettangian, Blue Lias Formation) of Doniford Bay, Somerset, UK. However, the specimen is a composite as almost the entire tail has been added and other parts are reconstructed. Regardless of the incomplete preservation, the estimated total length of this individual, based on the skull and precaudal length, is between 300 and 330 cm and it is thus the largest unequivocal example of the genus Ichthyosaurus. Cranial and postcranial characters, specifically from the maxilla, lacrimal, jugal, the humerus, and the ilium justify a referral to I. somersetensis. A fork-like shape of the proximal end of the ilium is unusual and has not been reported for any species of Ichthyosaurus. Likewise the presence of four elements in the third row of the hindfin, indicated by the presence of a bifurcation is novel for the species and has wider implications for the taxonomic utility of hindfins within the genus. The specimen also bears an embryo, which is only the third embryo known for Ichthyosaurus and the first to be positively identified to species level."

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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A new basal elasmosaurid (Sauropterygia: Plesiosauria) from the Lower Cretaceous of Germany
Lagenanectes richterae Sachs, Hornung & Kear, 2017

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FIGURE 13. Life reconstruction of Lagenanectes richterae, gen. et sp. nov. Artwork by Frederik Spindler, 2015.

*This image is copyright of its original author

FIGURE 4. Lagenanectes richterae, gen. et sp. nov., BGR Ma 13328, holotype, reconstruction of the skull showing the preserved portions (shaded) in A, lateral and B, ventral views. The missing parts are reconstructed based on Libonectes spp. (partly after Carpenter 1997:figs. 2, and 5). Abbreviations: bo, basioccipital; den, dentary; in, internal naris; mx, maxilla; pal, palatine; pmx, premaxilla; ps, parasphenoid; pt, pterygoid; qu, quadrate; v, vomer. Scale bar equals 5 cm.

Abstract:
"Here we report on a new basal elasmosaurid plesiosaurian, Lagenanectes richterae, gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Cretaceous (probably Upper Hauterivian) of Germany. The material includes a partial skull (cranium and mandible), the atlas-axis complex, additional cervical vertebrae, caudal vertebrae, an ilium, and limb elements. The basioccipital and atlas intercentrum are pathologically deformed, probably due to an osteomyelitic infection. Two potential autapomorphies were found in the mandible: (1) the alveolar margin at the symphysis is laterally expanded with the rostral-most alveoli being markedly procumbent and situated along the lateral margins of the dentaries; and (2) the ventral midline at the symphysis is produced into a prominent wedge-shaped platform indented by numerous irregular pits. Lagenanectes richterae, gen. et sp. nov., also shows a number of typical elasmosaurid traits, including a longitudinal lateral ridge on the cervical vertebral centra (although a ventral notch is absent) and teeth with oval cross-sections. Lagenanectes richterae, gen. et sp. nov., is one of the best-preserved plesiosaurians from the Lower Cretaceous of Europe."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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