CARBALLIDO Jose Luis
The appendicular skeleton of the dwarf macronarian sauropod Europasaurus holgeri from the Late Jurassic of Germany and a re-evaluation of its systematic affinities
CARBALLIDO J. L.; SCHEIL, N; KNÖTSCHKE N.; SANDER P. M.
JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC PALAEONTOLOGY
CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
Lugar: Cambridge; Año: 2019
The Late Jurassic was a period of great diversity for sauropod dinosaurs, with different lineages of Neosauropoda flourishing, including several camarasauromorph taxa. Efforts made in recent years have resulted in a great increase in our current knowledge of basal camarasauromorph evolution, including both the detailed description of new and previously poorly known sauropods and expanded phylogenetic analyses. Although most recent phylogenies converge in their results on early camarasauromorph diversification, the phylogenetic position of Europasaurus, from the Late Jurassic of Germany, remains controversial despite the completeness of the material representing this species. Although Europasaurus was recovered as a relatively basal camarasauromorph in all phylogenetic analyses to date, some of them retrieved this taxon in a slightly more derived position, among basal brachiosaurids. Europasaurus is not only one of the most complete camarasauromorphs but also the first unequivocal dwarf that evolved through paedomorphosis, retaining several plesiomorphic characters, especially in the cranium. Cranial and axial material of Europasaurus has been described in detail but the appendicular skeleton has not. The current paper rectifies this by providing detailed descriptions and illustrations of its appendicular skeleton. In addition, an extensive re-evaluation of the systematic position of Europasaurus was done based on the three most substantial data sets published in recent years. These analyses resolved Europasaurus as a basal camarasauromorph in all cases, but brachiosaurid affinities remain plausible, especially considering the heterochronic evolution of the lineage.