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, 7 (6), 933-6

First Spinosaurid Dinosaur From Australia and the Cosmopolitanism of Cretaceous Dinosaur Faunas

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First Spinosaurid Dinosaur From Australia and the Cosmopolitanism of Cretaceous Dinosaur Faunas

Paul M Barrett et al. Biol Lett.

Abstract

A cervical vertebra from the Early Cretaceous of Victoria represents the first Australian spinosaurid theropod dinosaur. This discovery significantly extends the geographical range of spinosaurids, suggesting that the clade obtained a near-global distribution before the onset of Pangaean fragmentation. The combined presence of spinosaurid, neovenatorid, tyrannosauroid and dromaeosaurid theropods in the Australian Cretaceous undermines previous suggestions that the dinosaur fauna of this region was either largely endemic or predominantly 'Gondwanan' in composition. Many lineages are well-represented in both Laurasia and Gondwana, and these observations suggest that Early-'middle' Cretaceous theropod clades possessed more cosmopolitan distributions than assumed previously, and that caution is necessary when attempting to establish palaeobiogeographic patterns on the basis of a patchily distributed fossil record.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Spinosaurid cervical vertebrae. (ae) NMV P221081, (fi) Baryonyx walkeri NHMUK R9951: (f,g) eighth and (h,i) third cervical vertebrae. Shown in (a,f) anterior, (b,g) left lateral, (c) dorsal, (d) ventral, and right lateral (i, reversed) views with (e,h) magnifications of the pleurocoel. Area of grey tone in (b) indicates proposed reconstruction, highlighted area in (g) indicates the portion not preserved in NMV P221081. Scale bars, (ad, fg,i) 50 mm and (e,h) 20 mm.

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