19.9.16

Los saurópodos de Morella del MNCN en las VII Jornadas de Salas de los Infantes


En las recientes VII Jornadas Internacionales sobre Paleontología de Dinosaurios y su Entorno celebradas en Salas de los Infantes (España) se presentó una comunicación enfocada en el material de dinosaurios saurópodos de las colecciones del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales en Madrid. Este material clásico encontrado en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX se ha revisado en detalle en un trabajo liderado por Pedro Mocho (Grupo de Biología Evolutiva de la UNED). El estudio del material ha permitido identificar formas afines al grupo Titanosauriformes, y sugiere la presencia de al menos formas distintas registradas en los sedimentos de la Formación Arcillas de Morella (Barremiense Superior).

Barremian‐Aptian sauropod faunas of the Iberian Peninsula include two described taxa, the titanosauriform Tastavinsaurus sanzi and the rebbachisaurid Demandasaurus darwini. In addition, recently found and historical specimens have been referred, especially in the Spanish areas of Morella (Castellón, Comunidad Valenciana) and Burgos (Castilla y León) (e.g. Canudo et al., 2008; Torcida Fernández‐Baldor et al., 2011, 2013; Royo‐Torres et al., 2012). The sediments of the Arcillas de Morella Formation are known, since the second half of the 19th century, by their relatively abundant fossil record of Lower Cretaceous vertebrates, especially in the Morella region. Several classic specimens of fossil reptiles, so far unpublished or not studied in detail, are housed in the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN), in Madrid (Spain). In fact, most of the first remains of dinosaurs discovered in Spain are part of the collection of vertebrate palaeontology of that institution. Juan Vilanova y Piera (1872; 1873) notified the finding of fragmentary remains of dinosaurs in Morella. Although he attributed these specimens to the ornithopod dinosaur Iguanodon, one of the currently preserved specimens at MNCN collections belong to a sauropod (Ruiz‐Omeñaca & Pereda‐Suberbiola, 1999; Ruiz‐Omeñaca et al., 2003). José Royo y Gómez was the first Spanish paleontologist who systematically collected dinosaur remains, and also performed the first systematic approaches based on comparative studies with specimens deposited in other European countries. However, the Spanish Civil War marked the end of these researches (see Pérez‐García et al., 2009). Most of the fossil remains collected by Royo y Gómez come from Morella. Herein, the sauropod historical material collected in Morella and housed in MNCN is described and discussed. Most of the elements were found isolated. These remains include a set of axial (dorsal and anterior and posterior caudal vertebrae) and appendicular elements (few appendicular bones, including two humeri, a femur, and pes and manus elements). The morphology presented by the caudal vertebrae is compatible with those of Titanosauriformes, sharing the presence of a significantly anteriorly displaced neural arch, and a dorsoventrally compressed centrum in the anterior caudal and some of the posterior caudal vertebrae. Two humeri morphotypes are recognized. The systematic study of this collection allows us to recognize two sauropod taxa (at least, one titanosauriform) in the sediments of the Barremian Arcillas de Morella Formation outcropping in the Morella area. None of them seems to represent a rebbachisaurid.

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