HECHENLEITNER Esteban Martin
congresos y reuniones científicas
NEW THEROPOD ASSEMBLAGE FROM THE LATE CRETACEOUS OF WESTERN GONDWANA, LA RIOJA PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
FIORELLI, LUCAS ERNESTO; EZCURRA, MARTÍN D.; HECHENLEITNER, ESTEBAN MARTÍN; DIEGO POL; GERALD GRELLET-TINNER
Congreso; 4TH INTERNATIONAL PALAEONTOLOGICAL CONGRESS; 2014
Late Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages are well known in southern Argentina, but they are considerably less sampled in the north of the country. Indeed, Cretaceous dinosaur-bearing beds in La Rioja Province (NW Argentina) were virtually unknown until the discovery in 2007 of dinosaur eggshells and subsequently the Sanagasta sauropod-nesting site in beds of the Los Llanos Formation. Recent field work in the Tama locality of this unit resulted in the discovery of a new and diverse terrestrial vertebrate assemblage in a semi-arid palaeoenvironment with an active eolian sedimentation. These vertebrate remains are associated with Late Cretaceous microfossils (ostracods and charophytes) and include turtles, notosuchian crocodyliforms, and titanosaur, ornithischian and theropod dinosaurs. Four theropod specimens (CRILAR-Pv 501, 503, 505, 524) have been collected and their phylogenetic affinities are reported here. CRILAR-Pv 501 is represented by a partial left frontal and fragments of both prootics. This specimen is assigned to Abelisauridae because it possesses a dorsoventrally thick frontal with a coarse dorsal ornamentation, formed by low tubercles, and a median fossa between both supratemporal fossae. The prootics preserve partial natural casts of the innear ear and the osteological correlate of a small flocculus, which may represent an additional abelisaurid apomorphy. CRILAR-Pv 524 consists of a partial pelvic girdle that was found in association with CRILAR-Pv 501 and may belong to the same individual. In agreement, this pelvic girdle resembles that of abelisaurids in the presence of co-ossified bones and a straight dorsal margin of the ilium. CRILAR-Pv 503 includes the proximal end of a right pubis and fragments of femoral, tibial, and fibular shafts. This specimen is assigned to Maniraptora because it possesses a preacetabular tubercle and lacks a pubic apron on the proximal half of the bone. Lastly, CRILAR-Pv 505, a distal end of tibia with a weathered, articulated astragalus, is interpreted as an indeterminate averostran because of the presence of anteriorly projected condyles on the astragalar body. Within Averostra, this specimen resembles some abelisauroids, megaraptorans and coelurosaurs in the absence of a distinct step for the reception of the ascending process of the astragalus on the anterior surface of the tibia. The taxonomic composition of the theropod assemblage of the Los Llanos Formation contains theropod groups recorded in other Jurassic-Cretaceous beds of Gondwana and, as a result, is consistent with the Late Cretaceous dating of the unit recently suggested by micropalaeontological evidence and not with previous claims of a Cenozoic age.