The osteology of Shaochilong maortuensis, a carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Asia

Brusatte, S. L. and Chure, D. J. and Benson, R. B. J. and Xu, X. (2010) The osteology of Shaochilong maortuensis, a carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Asia. Zootaxa (2334). pp. 1-46. ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition); 1175-5334 (onine edition)

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Large-bodied theropod dinosaurs from the Early-mid Cretaceous of the northern continents (Laurasia) are poorly known. One of the most complete and intriguing theropods from this interval is Shaochilong maortuensis Hu, 1964 from the Turonian (< 92 Ma) Ulansuhai Formation of Inner Mongolia, China. The phylogenetic placement of Shaochilong has long been a subject of debate, as it has been referred to several disparate theropod groups (e.g., Megalosauridae, Allosauridae, Tyrannosauroidea, Maniraptora). In a recent taxonomic reassessment, Shaochilong was identified as the first Asian member of Carcharodontosauridae, a clade of allosauroid theropods that was once thought to be restricted to Gondwana and includes some of the largest terrestrial predators to ever live. However, the characters supporting such a placement were only briefly discussed, and a full anatomical description of Shaochilong has yet to be presented. We provide a detailed osteological description of the lectotype and paralectotype series, show that Shaochilong is a small-bodied and short-snouted carcharodontosaurid, and highlight numerous cranial features shared with other carcharodontosaurids. We argue that the vicariant hypothesis of allosauroid biogeography, in which lineages split in concert with the fragmentation of Pangaea, is poorly supported. Finally, large-scale patterns of theropod evolution and faunal replacement are discussed, and it is argued that allosauroids persisted as large-bodied predators later in the Cretaceous than previously thought.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 09AREP; IA59;
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
Journal or Publication Title: Zootaxa
Page Range: pp. 1-46
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2010 22:34
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:56

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