Sunday, 8 April 2018

Diluvicursor pickeringi: A small-bodied Ornithopod Dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Victoria, Australia.

The southern portion of Victoria State in Australia contains extensive deposits laid down in the Early Cretaceous, when the area was part of a rift valley system formed as Australia separated from Antarctica. This region had a rich terrestrial biota inhabiting a series of river floodplains, with a high input of volcanic material. These deposits have produced a wide range of Vertebrate fossils, including Temnospondyl Amphibians, Ornithischian and Theropodan Dinosaurs, Multituberculate, Monotreme and Tribosphenic Mammals, Plesiosaurs, Pterosaurs and Chelonians.

In a paper published in the journal PeerJ on 11 January 2018, Matthew Herne of the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, Alan Tait of the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University, Vera Weisbecker, also of the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, Michael Hall, also of the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University, Jay Nair, again of the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, Michael Cleeland of the Bunurong Environment Centre, and Steven Salisbury, once again of the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, describe a new species of small-bodied Ornithopod Dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Eumeralla Formation of Victoria, Australia.

The new species is named Diluvicursor pickeringi, where 'Diluvicursor' means 'flood-runner' in reference to the deposits in which it was found, which are interpretted as having been laid down in a deep scour-channel in a fast moving river, and 'pickeringi' honours the late David Pickering for his contributions to the palaeontology of Australia. It is described from a single, partial specimen comprising the tail and right foot from a Dinosaur somewhere between the size of that of a Turkey and that of a Rhea.

Diluvicursor pickeringi, as prepared on five blocks of sandstone. (A) Specimen viewed from above, normal to the bedding. (B) Schematic. Abbreviations: as, astragalus; B #, host block number; Ca #, designated caudal vertebra and position; cal, calcaneum; fib, fibula; ha #, haemal arch/process and position; pd #, pedal digit number; tib, tibia. Stephen Poropat/Museums Victoria in Herne et al. (2018).

The specimen was located within the Eric the Red West Sandstone member, which is interpreted as a deep scour channel laid down within a wide, fast moving river. This bed contains a large amount of woody material, which suggests that the river was running through a forested terrain, and has produced fossils of Fish, Chelonians, Plesiosaurs, Pterosaurs, small Ornithischians, Theropods and Mammals, though most of these are yet to be formally described.

Artist’s interpretation of the early Albian, volcaniclastic, floodplain palaeoenvironment within the Australian-Antarctic rift graben, in the region of Eric the Red West. Scene depicting two individuals of Diluvicursor pickeringi on the cutbank of a high-energy meandering river, regional floral components and distant rift margin uplands. Floral components potentially included forest trees of Araucariaceae (Agathis and Araucaria), Podocarpaceae and Cupressaceae and lower story/ground cover plants, including Pteridophytes (Ferns, including Equisetaleans), Hepatics, Lycopods, Cycadophytes, Bennettitaleans, Seed-bearing Fern- or Cycad-like Taeniopterids and early Australian Angiosperms. Peter Trusler in Herne et al. (2018).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/ankylosaurus-magniventris-redescription.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/matheronodon-provincialis-new-species.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/burianosaurus-augustai-new-species-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/chilesaurus-diegosuarezi-how-enigmatic.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/borealopelta-markmitchelli.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/zuul-crurivastator-new-and.html
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