Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Phylogeny and Evolution".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 April 2024) | Viewed by 20829

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Guest Editor
Grupo de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Avda. Esparta s/n, Las Rozas, 28232 Madrid, Spain
Interests: Mesozoic; reptiles; turtles
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The fossil record of Reptilia (including the birds) is abundant, with numerous clades, adapted to very different lifestyles, being well-represented. These vertebrates are generally the most abundant and diverse in Mesozoic sites, but they are also relatively well-recorded throughout the Cenozoic. An analysis of new findings, as well as the reinterpretation of previously documented specimens, by applying traditional or other more innovative methodologies, can help to improve understanding around the evolutionary history of this relevant lineage. This Special Issue provides an opportunity to contribute new data on the diversity, lifestyle, and paleoecology of several lineages of reptiles, but also information on some of the ecosystems in which various extinct forms inhabited. Studies that analyze the systematics of extinct taxa, as well as those providing new data about the evolutionary history of specific clades of Reptilia, are particularly welcome.

Dr. Adán Pérez-García
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • reptiles
  • fossil record
  • paleontological sites
  • faunistic associations
  • systematics
  • diversity
  • evolutionary history
  • lifestyles
  • paleoecology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 1518 KiB  
Article
How Common Are Lesions on the Tails of Sauropods? Two New Pathologies in Titanosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Argentine Patagonia
by Penélope Cruzado-Caballero, Leonardo Sebastián Filippi, Javier González-Dionis and José Ignacio Canudo
Diversity 2023, 15(3), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15030464 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2098
Abstract
Studies of the paleopathology of the vertebrae provide an interesting, oblique approach to their paleobiology and even paleoethology. They tell us about possible ethological causes such as accidental blows with objects, social interactions within a group, and defense against predators, etc. There are [...] Read more.
Studies of the paleopathology of the vertebrae provide an interesting, oblique approach to their paleobiology and even paleoethology. They tell us about possible ethological causes such as accidental blows with objects, social interactions within a group, and defense against predators, etc. There are numerous works on the anatomical and phylogenetic aspects of sauropod dinosaurs, and in recent years paleopathological studies have also increased. Here, we describe the injuries recorded in the caudal vertebrae of two indeterminate titanosaurids, and undertake a compilation and analysis of the pathological fossil record worldwide, focusing on the tails of sauropods. Two pathologies have been identified as present in the indeterminate titanosaurids under study: a possible case of spondyloarthropathy in MAU-Pv-LI-601, and a case of suppurative spinal osteomyelitis in MAU-Pv-LJ-472/1. Both titanosaurids are from Gondwana. In the world registry of pathologies associated with the tails of sauropod dinosaurs, it is observed that titanosaurs are the sauropods with the highest percentage of diagnosed pathologies (69% including the two new records from the province of Neuquén) and that all of these have been described in Gondwanan specimens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record)
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16 pages, 2323 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Anomalies in a Middle Eocene Shell of Neochelys (Pleurodira, Podocnemididae) from the Duero Basin (Zamora, Spain)
by Andrea Guerrero, Francisco Ortega, Santiago Martín de Jesús and Adán Pérez-García
Diversity 2023, 15(3), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15030314 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Turtle shells frequently exhibit anomalous osseous modifications on their surface which can sometimes compromise the survival of the organism. Nowadays, despite the large number of anomalies identified in both extant and extinct turtle shells, the etiology, as well as the pathogenesis, of the [...] Read more.
Turtle shells frequently exhibit anomalous osseous modifications on their surface which can sometimes compromise the survival of the organism. Nowadays, despite the large number of anomalies identified in both extant and extinct turtle shells, the etiology, as well as the pathogenesis, of the various osseous modifications remains unknown in most documented extinct representatives. In fact, the interpretation of these anomalies in most fossil turtles is often speculative, the great majority of anomalous osseous modifications being attributed to vertebrate feeding traces, without considering other potential causative agents. In this context, we herein re-analyzed the shell anomalies recognized in an individual determined as Neochelys sp. (Pleurodira, Podocnemididae) from the middle Eocene (Lutetian) of the El Tejar fossil site (Corrales del Vino, Zamora, Spain), previously proposed as traumatic injuries resulting from a crocodile attack. The re-evaluation of these osseous alterations through detailed physical examination, comparison through direct observation and from the literature on extant turtles, and the use of the files obtained from a computerized axial tomography scan, allows the proposal of diverse causal agents, none of them supporting the previous interpretation. In addition, information regarding the pathogenesis and stages of the healing of the shell anomalies studied herein is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record)
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15 pages, 19845 KiB  
Article
Chelonians from the Middle Palaeolithic Site of Mealhada (Coimbra, Portugal): An Update
by Iratxe Boneta Jiménez, Adán Pérez-García and Corina Liesau von Lettow-Vorbeck
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020243 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2363
Abstract
The results of a review of the chelonian remains retrieved in the excavations carried out in Mealhada (Coimbra, central Portugal) are presented here. Mealhada is a Portuguese Middle Palaeolithic classical site, discovered at the end of the 19th century, and chronologically ascribed to [...] Read more.
The results of a review of the chelonian remains retrieved in the excavations carried out in Mealhada (Coimbra, central Portugal) are presented here. Mealhada is a Portuguese Middle Palaeolithic classical site, discovered at the end of the 19th century, and chronologically ascribed to the interglacial Riss-Würm (ca. 120 ka BP). This study has allowed the identification, justification, and figuration of remains attributed to three Iberian chelonian taxa, Testudinidae indet., Mauremys leprosa, and Emys orbicularis, the last one being recognized for the first time in this site. Thus, an update on the data concerning the chelonian record from Mealhada has been achieved, offering new justified taxonomic evidence regarding Iberian chelonian taxa distribution during the Upper Pleistocene. Furthermore, chelonian consumption amongst pre-Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer groups has been documented worldwide. Frequently a locally captured resource, archaeological turtle remains offer relevant information concerning the role that small prey has played in hominid nutritional choices. The potential presence of anthropic alterations (e.g., cutmarks) in some of the chelonian remains from Mealhada is here analysed and the human consumption hypothesis assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record)
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22 pages, 1913 KiB  
Article
An Eudromaeosaurian Theropod from Lo Hueco (Upper Cretaceous. Central Spain)
by Elisabete Malafaia, Fernando Escaso, Rodolfo A. Coria and Francisco Ortega
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020141 - 19 Jan 2023
Viewed by 4654
Abstract
The Lo Hueco fossil site (Cuenca, Spain) is one of the most relevant localities for the study of Late Cretaceous continental vertebrate faunas from Europe. The fossil record of theropod dinosaurs from this locality is represented by scarce isolated postcranial materials that were [...] Read more.
The Lo Hueco fossil site (Cuenca, Spain) is one of the most relevant localities for the study of Late Cretaceous continental vertebrate faunas from Europe. The fossil record of theropod dinosaurs from this locality is represented by scarce isolated postcranial materials that were preliminarily attributed to abelisaurids and to a possible giant bird, in addition to a large assemblage of isolated teeth that were related to different maniraptoran clades. Here, we describe an isolated partial left tibia articulated with the proximal tarsals and discuss their taxonomic affinities. A review of the European fossil record of Late Cretaceous theropods was performed to analyze possible changes in the faunistical composition during this period. The specimen from Lo Hueco exhibits some characters that have been interpreted as apomorphies for maniraptoran coelurosaurs and a combination of features compatible with deinonychosaurians. Within this clade, the specimen is more favorably comparable with velociraptorine dromaeosaurids and is tentatively interpreted as a member of this group. This specimen is one of the few non-dental specimens of dromaeosaurids described thus far from the Upper Cretaceous of the Iberian Peninsula and contributes to a better understanding of the composition and evolutionary history of the European theropod fauna during the last stages of the Mesozoic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record)
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18 pages, 3240 KiB  
Article
Testing the Usefulness of the Surface Collecting Method in a Vertebrate Microfossil Site from the Barremian of Spain (Los Menires, Mirambel Formation)
by José M. Gasca, Jara Parrilla-Bel, Miguel Moreno-Azanza, Pablo Navarro-Lorbés and José I. Canudo
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020135 - 18 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2121
Abstract
Surface collecting is the first and sometimes the only type of sampling carried out in many fossiliferous localities, including vertebrate microfossil assemblages. Nevertheless, it is rare to test how representative these surface-collected samples are of the palaeobiocoenosis. A first approach to the palaeontological [...] Read more.
Surface collecting is the first and sometimes the only type of sampling carried out in many fossiliferous localities, including vertebrate microfossil assemblages. Nevertheless, it is rare to test how representative these surface-collected samples are of the palaeobiocoenosis. A first approach to the palaeontological analysis of Los Menires, a Barremian vertebrate microfossil assemblage, is here performed while testing the usefulness of the surface collection method. New fossil material obtained by surface collection is described, and the resulting data are compared with those obtained by screen-washing. The fossil assemblage of Los Menires is dominated by parautochthonous remains of freshwater aquatic and semiaquatic organisms—i.e., charophytes, ostracods, bivalves, gastropods, testudinatans, crocodylomorphs, lissamphibians, and osteichthyans—although parautochthonous remains of terrestrial vertebrates—i.e., dinosaurs, lacertilians, and mammaliforms—are also present. The accumulation of vertebrate hard parts in Los Menires took place in a low-energy, shallow-water, depositional environment within the alluvial-lacustrine system represented by the Mirambel Formation. Sampling test results indicate that surface collection is effective in recognizing the main fossil groups present in an assemblage. Yet, it is not suitable for capturing delicate and tiny fossils nor for recognizing the abundance of eggshells. In contrast, it can generate an overrepresentation of other hard components such as coprolites or ornithopod teeth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record)
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15 pages, 4442 KiB  
Article
New Fossils of Stegosaurs from the Upper Jurassic of the Eastern Iberian Peninsula (Spain)
by Sergio Sánchez-Fenollosa, Maite Suñer and Alberto Cobos
Diversity 2022, 14(12), 1047; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14121047 - 29 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3368
Abstract
The eastern Iberian Peninsula is one of the places with most stegosaur fossils in all of Europe. In the present study, we describe new remains from six different fossil sites from the Upper Jurassic of the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Kimmeridgian–Tithonian). The remains [...] Read more.
The eastern Iberian Peninsula is one of the places with most stegosaur fossils in all of Europe. In the present study, we describe new remains from six different fossil sites from the Upper Jurassic of the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Kimmeridgian–Tithonian). The remains comprise: a left humerus from CT-61 (El Castellar, Teruel), a dermal spine from Puntal de la Magdalena (Alpuente, Valencia), two caudal neural arches and five caudal vertebrae from Cañada París (Alpuente, Valencia), two caudal centra from Alpuente (Valencia) and four caudal vertebrae from Barrihonda-El Humero (Riodeva, Teruel). The left humerus (CT-61-1) and dermal spine (MPA D-110) are referred to Stegosauria indet. The caudal vertebrae from Alpuente (Cañada París specimen, MPA-653 and MPA D-1086) are referred to cf. Dacentrurus sp. Finally, the caudal vertebrae from Riodeva (Barrihonda-El Humero specimen) are referred to Dacentrurus armatus and assigned to a previously known caudal series from this site. The presence of abundant localities with stegosaurian remains reaffirms the important role of stegosaur dinosaurs in Late Jurassic coastal ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record)
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16 pages, 3201 KiB  
Article
Pterosaur Tracks from the Upper Cretaceous Anacleto Formation (Neuquén Basin), Northern Patagonia, Argentina: Insights into Campanian Pterosaur Diversity in Gondwana
by Ignacio Díaz-Martínez, Arturo M. Heredia, Santiago N. González, Nerina Canale, Silvina de Valais, Carlos A. Cónsole-Gonella, Romina M. Montes, Martina Caratelli, Sofía Urzagasti-Torres, Geraldine Fischer, Agustina Lecuona, Pablo Paniceres, Leonardo Salgado and Paolo Citton
Diversity 2022, 14(11), 1007; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14111007 - 20 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3391
Abstract
The Campanian Anacleto Formation holds an abundant and diverse ichnofossil and body-fossil vertebrate record. Despite the striking diversity of this record, pterosaur fossils had never been described from the unit. Here, we report four pterosaur manus tracks from fluvial red beds cropping out [...] Read more.
The Campanian Anacleto Formation holds an abundant and diverse ichnofossil and body-fossil vertebrate record. Despite the striking diversity of this record, pterosaur fossils had never been described from the unit. Here, we report four pterosaur manus tracks from fluvial red beds cropping out in the Área Natural Protegida Municipal Paso Córdoba (Río Negro Province, northern Patagonia, Argentina). Tracks are longer than wide, tridactyl with digit impressions of different lengths (I < II < III), anteriorly directed and laterally asymmetrical. Being on loose slabs and lacking direct examination of pes morphology, the material is classified as undetermined pterosaur tracks. The new find represents the first occurrence of pterosaurs from the lower–middle Campanian of Argentina and one of the few evidences from South America for this time interval. In addition, it is one of the few ichnological pterosaur records from Gondwana, thus shedding light on the palaeobiogeography of this clade during the latest Cretaceous. Pterosaur tracks from the Anacleto Formation allow us to integrate the body-fossil record from the unit and to add a new component, along with birds, to the flying archosaur fauna coexisting with non-avian dinosaurs, notosuchians, chelonians, squamates and mammals in the Campanian of northern Patagonia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fossil Reptiles and Associated Faunal Record)
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