Press "Enter" to skip to content

New Spinosaurid Dinosaur Unearthed in Portugal


A new genus and species of dinosaur being named Iberospinus natarioi has been discovered by Dr. Octávio Mateus and Dr. Darío Estraviz-López from Portugal’s Museu da Lourinhã.

Life reconstruction of Iberospinus natarioi showing 3D digitalization of some of the recovered bones, along with reconstructed musculature: right lateral (upper) and anterolateral left (bottom) views. Image credit: Victor Feijó de Carvalho.

Life reconstruction of Iberospinus natarioi showing 3D digitalization of some of the recovered bones, along with reconstructed musculature: right lateral (upper) and anterolateral left (bottom) views. Image credit: Victor Feijó de Carvalho.

Iberospinus natarioi roamed our planet during the Barremian age of the Early Cretaceous epoch, approximately 129 million years ago.

This spinosaurid dinosaur had a crocodile-like skull, a spiny back, and may have been a wading, fish-eating predator.

Spinosaurids are some of the most enigmatic Mesozoic theropod dinosaurs due to their unique adaptations to aquatic environments and their relative scarcity,” the paleontologists said.

“They are characterized by their robust forelimbs, tall neural spines and elongated jaws.”

“Phylogenies point towards a ghost lineage for them of approximately 50 million years, between the Middle Jurassic and the Early Cretaceous during which spinosaurid material is scarce or disputed.”

“Possible spinosaurid specimens from the Jurassic includes isolated teeth from the Tiourarén Formation of Niger and the Tendaguru beds of Tanzania as well as a manual ungual phalanx previously attributed to Torvosaurus, from the Morrison Formation of Colorado.”

The fossilized bones of Iberospinus natarioi were recovered from the outcrops of the Papo Seco Formation in Cabo Espichel, the Setúbal Peninsula, central west Portugal.

The specimen includes a jaw, isolated teeth, ribs, a dorsal vertebra, neural arches, pubic shaft, 15 caudal vertebrae, and other material.

Its description reinforces Iberia as a hotspot for spinosaur biodiversity, with several endemic species for the region.

“Currently, despite the lack of relatively complete material (a problem common in the group overall), the record of spinosaurid material from the Iberian Peninsula is one of the best in the world,” the researchers said.

Iberospinus natarioi increases the large spinosaurid diversity from Iberia despite the fragmentary nature of its remains and it is currently one of the most complete spinosaurid specimens in the world.”

“Given the probable European origin of megalosauroids and that most of the earliest known spinosaurids come from Western Europe in general and the Iberian Peninsula in particular, the inclusion of Iberospinus natarioi makes a probable European origin of the clade even more likely,” they added.

“Despite this, given the protracted time period (around 30 million years) in which there are no undisputed spinosaurid fossils, except maybe some potential spinosaurid teeth and a possible claw, this European origin cannot be confirmed until the discovery of unquestionable Jurassic representatives of the group in the region.”

The team’s paper was published online in the journal PLoS ONE.

_____

O. Mateus & D. Estraviz-López. 2022. A new theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian) of Cabo Espichel, Portugal: Implications for spinosaurid evolution. PLoS ONE 17 (2): e0262614; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0262614



Source link

Comments are closed.