Tapuiassauro: um fóssil de 120 milhões de anos

sexta-feira, fevereiro 11, 2011

A Complete Skull of an Early Cretaceous Sauropod and the Evolution of Advanced Titanosaurians

Hussam Zaher1*, Diego Pol2, Alberto B. Carvalho1, Paulo M. Nascimento1, Claudio Riccomini3, Peter Larson4,5, Rubén Juarez-Valieri6, Ricardo Pires-Domingues1,3, Nelson Jorge da Silva Jr.7, Diógenes de Almeida Campos8

1 Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 2CONICET, Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, Trelew, Chubut, Argentina, 3Instituto de Geociências, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 4Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Hill City, South Dakota, United States of America, 5 University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom,6 Museo Patagónico de Ciencias Naturales, General Roca, Río Negro, Argentina, 7 Departamento de Biologia, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás, Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil, 8 Museu de Ciências da Terra, Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Abstract Top

Advanced titanosaurian sauropods, such as nemegtosaurids and saltasaurids, were diverse and one of the most important groups of herbivores in the terrestrial biotas of the Late Cretaceous. However, little is known about their rise and diversification prior to the Late Cretaceous. Furthermore, the evolution of their highly-modified skull anatomy has been largely hindered by the scarcity of well-preserved cranial remains. A new sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil represents the earliest advanced titanosaurian known to date, demonstrating that the initial diversification of advanced titanosaurians was well under way at least 30 million years before their known radiation in the latest Cretaceous. The new taxon also preserves the most complete skull among titanosaurians, further revealing that their low and elongated diplodocid-like skull morphology appeared much earlier than previously thought.

Citation: Zaher H, Pol D, Carvalho AB, Nascimento PM, Riccomini C, et al. (2011) A Complete Skull of an Early Cretaceous Sauropod and the Evolution of Advanced Titanosaurians. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16663. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016663

Editor: Paul Sereno, University of Chicago, United States of America

Received: August 30, 2010; Accepted: January 8, 2011; Published: February 7, 2011

Copyright: © 2011 Zaher et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This research was supported by a grant from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo BIOTA/FAPESP to H. Zaher (http://www.fapesp.br/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

* E-mail: hzaher@usp.br