Thursday, June 29, 2017

[Paleontology • 2017] Europatitan eastwoodi • A New Sauropod from the lower Cretaceous of Iberia in the Initial Radiation of Somphospondylans in Laurasia

Europatitan eastwoodi
Fernández-Baldor​, Canudo​, Pedro Huerta​, Moreno-Azanza​ & Montero​, 2017

.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3409 


The sauropod of El Oterillo II is a specimen that was excavated from the Castrillo de la Reina Formation (Burgos, Spain), late Barremian–early Aptian, in the 2000s but initially remained undescribed. A tooth and elements of the axial skeleton, and the scapular and pelvic girdle, represent it. It is one of the most complete titanosauriform sauropods from the Early Cretaceous of Europe and presents an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the radiation of this clade in the Early Cretaceous and study the paleobiogeographical relationships of Iberia with Gondwana and with other parts of Laurasia. The late Barremian–early Aptian is the time interval in the Cretaceous with the greatest diversity of sauropod taxa described in Iberia: two titanosauriforms, Tastavinsaurus and Europatitan; and a rebbachisaurid, DemandasaurusThe new sauropod Europatitan eastwoodi n. gen. n. sp. presents a series of autapomorphic characters in the presacral vertebrae and scapula that distinguish it from the other sauropods of the Early Cretaceous of Iberia. Our phylogenetic study locates Europatitan as the basalmost member of the Somphospondyli, clearly differentiated from other clades such as Brachiosauridae and Titanosauria, and distantly related to the contemporaneous Tastavinsaurus. Europatitan could be a representative of a Eurogondwanan fauna like Demandasaurus, the other sauropod described from the Castrillo de la Reina Formation. The presence of a sauropod fauna with marked Gondwananan affinities in the Aptian of Iberia reinforces the idea of faunal exchanges between this continental masses during the Early Cretaceous. Further specimens and more detailed analysis are needed to elucidate if this Aptian fauna is caused by the presence of previously unnoticed Aptian land bridges, or it represents a relict fauna from an earlier dispersal event.

Figure 10: First caudal vertebra (MDS-OTII,2) of Europatitan eastwoodi n. gen. n. sp.
(A) Anterior view. (B) Right lateral view. (C) Posterior view. (D) Dorsal view. (E) Ventral view.

 ACDL, anterior centrodiapophyseal lamina; POSZG, postzygapophyses; PRDL, prezygodiapophyseal lamina; PRZG, prezygapophyses; SPOL, spinopostzygapophyseal lamina; SPRL, spinoprezygapophyseal lamina. Scale: 10 cm.

Figure 2: Quarry map of the partial skeleton of Europatitan eastwoodi n. gen. n. sp. from the late Barremian–early Aptian, Early Cretaceous, of El Oterillo II site, Spain.
The arrow indicates an iguanodontoid ilium (Contreras et al., 2007). Circular symbols correspond to splinters, and triangles to isolated teeth of theropods.

illustration: Davide Bonadona

Order SAURISCHIA Seeley, 1887
Infraorder SAUROPODA Marsh, 1878
NEOSAUROPODA Bonaparte, 1986

Titanosauriformes Salgado, Coria & Calvo, 1997
Somphospondyli Wilson & Sereno, 1998

Genus Europatitan gen. nov. 

Etymology: In reference to Europe, the continent where it was found, and the titans, ancient Greek deities known for their gigantic size, endowed with great power.

Type Species: Europatitan eastwoodi sp. nov. 

Etymology: Dedicated to US actor Clint Eastwood, the protagonist of the film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” which was partially filmed near Salas de los Infantes.

Type Locality and Horizon: The site of El Oterillo II is located in the province of Burgos in northern Spain, 2.5 km to the west of the village of Barbadillo del Mercado in Salas de los Infantes (Fig. 1), Burgos Province, Spain; Urbión Group, Castrillo de la Reina Fm., lower Cretaceous, regarded as late Barremian–early Aptian in age (Martín-Closas & Alonso Millán, 1998).

Holotype: MDS-OTII,1 to MDS-OTII-32. The disarticulated carcass of a single specimen consisting of the following material: one tooth, five cervical vertebrae, one dorsal vertebra, nine caudal vertebrae, 11 cervical ribs, five dorsal ribs, seven hemal arches, the two scapulae, the left coracoid, the left metacarpals I and III, the two pubes, and the two ischia.


Fidel Torcida Fernández-Baldor​, José Ignacio Canudo​, Pedro Huerta​, Miguel Moreno-Azanza​ and Diego Montero​. 2017. Europatitan eastwoodi, A New Sauropod from the lower Cretaceous of Iberia in the Initial Radiation of Somphospondylans in Laurasia.  
 PeerJ. 5:e3409.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3409

El Europatitan eastwoodi, un nuevo saurópodo hallado en la Sierra de La Demanda... via @burgosconecta  @gabi_iglesia