Pellegrinisaurus

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Pellegrinisaurus
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, Campanian–Maastrichtian
Pellegrinisaurus Skeleton reconstruction.jpg
Diagram showing known fragments from the holotype
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Clade: Titanosauria
Clade: Lithostrotia
Family: Saltasauridae
Subfamily: Opisthocoelicaudiinae
Genus: Pellegrinisaurus
Salgado, 1996
Type species
Pellegrinisaurus powelli
Salgado, 1996

Pellegrinisaurus (meaning Lizard from Pelligrini) is a genus of large titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur that lived in South America during the Late Cretaceous period. The holotype was found in the Allen Formation, Argentina.[1]

Discovery and naming

Locality of Pellegrini Lake

The assigned holotype, MPCA 1500, was discovered back in 1975 by Roberto Abel and his assistant Jaime E. Powell, recovered from the lower member of the Allen Formation in the locality of the Pellegrini Lake, Argentina, dating from the Late Cretaceous, Campanian to Lower Maastrichtian, but it wasn't formally described until 1996 by Leonardo Salgado. Initially, the recovered remains were associated to Epachthosaurus, but later discarded since MPCA 1500 did not share derived features with the holotype of Epachthosaurus. The generic name Pellegrinisaurus, is in relation to the location of Pellegrini Lake, in which, the specimen was found. The specific name, powelli, is in honour to Jaime E. Powell.[1]

Description

Pellegrinisaurus is a pretty large titanosaur, the estimated body size is about 20–25 m (66–82 ft), the unearthed holotype includes an incomplete right femur, 26 caudals and 4 dorsals vertebrae. Autapomorphic features of Pellegrinisaurus can be distinguished by:

  • The ventral side of the dorsals have transverse width of the centrum that are twice the dorsoventral depth.
  • The mid-posterior and posterior caudals are anteroposteriorly elongated and have dorsoventrally depressed neural spines, the anterior ends of which are higher anteriorly than posteriorly.

Pellegrinisaurus differs from other titanosaurs by having anteroposteriorly elongate and dorsoventrally depressed mid posterior and posterior caudal spines, Salgado interpreted these conditions as an extra-articulation between the neural spine and the articular process of the mid-posterior vertebra, that reduced tail movement.[1]

The right femur is partially preserved. It is anteroposteriously compressed with a very flattened fourth trochanter. Laterally, it features a pronounced bulge similar to those of Chubutisaurus, brachiosaurids and other titanosaurs.[1]

Paleoecology

Pellegrinisaurus was unearthed from the Allen Formation, in which it probably lived alongside other titanosaurs, such as Aeolosaurus and Rocasaurus.[2] Salgado suggested that contemporaneous Hadrosaurids and the titanosaur Aeolosaurus inhabited coastal lowlands, meanwhile, other larger titanosaurs (such as Pellegrinisaurus) and theropods inhabited interior environments of the region.[1]

Pellegrinisaurus compared to the known fauna of the Allen Formation (Pellegrinisaurus in beige)

Classification

Initially, Salgado placed Pellegrinisaurus as a possible sister taxon of the Saltasaurinae, in relation to the vertebrae condition of the holotype.[1] Later, during the description of Mansourasaurus, Sallam et al. (2017) published a complete phylogenetic analysis of the Titanosauria, in which, Pellegrinisaurus is found to be part of the clade Lithostrotia in the subfamily Opisthocoelicaudiinae.[3]

Opisthocoelicaudiinae
Lognkosauria

Futalognkosaurus

Epachthosaurus

Atsinganosaurus

Mendozasaurus

Pellegrinisaurus

Dreadnoughtus

Alamosaurus

Baurutitan

Ampelosaurus

Paludititan

Lohuecotitan

Mansourasaurus

Lirainosaurus

Nemegtosaurus

Opisthocoelicaudia

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Salgado, L. (1996). "Pellegrinisaurus powelli nov. gen. et sp. (Sauropoda, Titanosauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of Lago Pellegrini, Northwestern Patagonia, Argentina". Ameghiniana. 33 (4): 355–365. ISSN 1851-8044.
  2. ^ Garcia, R. A.; Salgado, L. (2013). "The Titanosaur Sauropods from the Late Campanian—Early Maastrichtian Allen Formation of Salitral Moreno, Río Negro, Argentina". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 58 (2): 269–284. doi:10.4202/app.2011.0055.
  3. ^ Sallam, H.; Gorscak, E.; O'Connor, P.; El-Dawoudi, I.; El-Sayed, S.; Saber, S. (2017-06-26). "New Egyptian sauropod reveals Late Cretaceous dinosaur dispersal between Europe and Africa". Nature. 2 (3): 445–451. doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0455-5. PMID 29379183.
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