Duas espécies de dinossauros andaram da América do Sul à Austrália, via Antártida

terça-feira, outubro 25, 2016

New Australian sauropods shed light on Cretaceous dinosaur palaeobiogeography

Stephen F. Poropat, Philip D. Mannion, Paul Upchurch, Scott A. Hocknull, Benjamin P. Kear, Martin Kundrát, Travis R. Tischler, Trish Sloan, George H. K. Sinapius, Judy A. Elliott & David A. Elliott

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 34467 (2016)

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Biogeography Palaeontology Phylogenetics Taxonomy

Received: 15 April 2016 Accepted: 13 September 2016 Published online: 20 October 2016

Showing the possible high latitude dispersal routes that might have been utilised by titanosaurs and other sauropods during the late Albian–Turonian. The base map is the 105 Ma time slice from the Global Paleogeography and Tectonics in Deep Time series by Ron Blakey [© Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc.]. 

Australian dinosaurs have played a rare but controversial role in the debate surrounding the effect of Gondwanan break-up on Cretaceous dinosaur distribution. Major spatiotemporal gaps in the Gondwanan Cretaceous fossil record, coupled with taxon incompleteness, have hindered research on this effect, especially in Australia. Here we report on two new sauropod specimens from the early Late Cretaceous of Queensland, Australia, that have important implications for Cretaceous dinosaur palaeobiogeography. Savannasaurus elliottorum gen. et sp. nov. comprises one of the most complete Cretaceous sauropod skeletons ever found in Australia, whereas a new specimen of Diamantinasaurus matildae includes the first ever cranial remains of an Australian sauropod. The results of a new phylogenetic analysis, in which both Savannasaurus and Diamantinasaurus are recovered within Titanosauria, were used as the basis for a quantitative palaeobiogeographical analysis of macronarian sauropods. Titanosaurs achieved a worldwide distribution by at least 125 million years ago, suggesting that mid-Cretaceous Australian sauropods represent remnants of clades which were widespread during the Early Cretaceous. These lineages would have entered Australasia via dispersal from South America, presumably across Antarctica. High latitude sauropod dispersal might have been facilitated by Albian–Turonian warming that lifted a palaeoclimatic dispersal barrier between Antarctica and South America.


We would like to thank the staff from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Natural History Museum, the Queensland Museum, and the University of Queensland, and all of the volunteers, who participated in the “Elliot” and “Wade” digs from 2001–2005, and who prepared all of the specimens. We also thank the Elliott family for reinvigorating the search for dinosaurs in western Queensland, and for allowing excavations to take place on Belmont Station from 2001–2005. We are also grateful to all those who allowed us to study sauropod material in their care. S.F.P., S.A.H. and B.P.K.’s research was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (LP100100339). P.D.M.’s research was supported by an Imperial College London Junior Research Fellowship. P.U.’s contribution was facilitated by a Leverhulme Trust Research Grant (RPG-129). M.K. was funded by the Swedish Research Council.

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Author notes

Stephen F. Poropat, Philip D. Mannion & Paul Upchurch

These authors contributed equally to this work.


Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Stephen F. Poropat & Benjamin P. Kear

Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, The Jump-Up, Winton, Queensland, Australia

Stephen F. Poropat, Travis R. Tischler, Trish Sloan, George H. K. Sinapius, Judy A. Elliott & David A. Elliott

Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom

Philip D. Mannion

Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom

Paul Upchurch

Geosciences, Queensland Museum, Hendra, Queensland, Australia

Scott A. Hocknull

Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Benjamin P. Kear

Department of Ecology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Ilkovicova 6, SK-84215, Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Martin Kundrát

Center for Interdisciplinary Biosciences, Faculty of Science, University of Pavol Jozef Šafárik, Jesenná 5, SK-04154, Košice, Slovak Republic

Martin Kundrát


S.F.P., P.D.M., P.U., S.A.H. and B.P.K. designed the project. S.A.H., T.S., G.H.K.S., J.A.E. and D.A.E. oversaw the collection, preparation and curation of the fossils. S.F.P., P.D.M. and P.U. described the specimens, and M.K. analysed the endocranial structure of AODF 836. S.F.P., P.D.M. and P.U. scored the specimens for the phylogenetic analysis, and P.D.M. ran the analysis. P.U. ran the quantitative palaeobiogeographic analysis. S.F.P., S.A.H., M.K. and T.R.T. assembled the figures. S.F.P., P.D.M. and P.U. wrote and prepared the Supplementary Information. All authors contributed to the writing of the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephen F. Poropat.