New species of 'sail-backed' dinosaur found in Spain

December 16, 2015

Scientists describe a 'sail-backed' dinosaur species named Morelladon beltrani, which inhabited the Iberian landmass ~125 million years ago, according to a study published Dec. 16, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by José Miguel Gasulla from Grupo Biología Evolutiva (UNED-UAM) and colleagues.

The specimen the authors of this study describe is a partial skeleton mainly composed of dorsal and sacral vertebrae and pelvic bones. Morelladon is a medium-sized styracosternan ornithopod of around 6 meters long and 2.5 meters high, similar in body length and proportions to its relative Mantellisaurus atherfieldensis. The most conspicuous feature of this new, relatively gracile ornithopod is the presence of tall neural spines on dorsal vertebrae, which the authors suggest was possibly a 'sail' used for thermoregulation, or as a storage place for fat to be used during periods of low food supply.

The discovery of Morelladon beltrani in the same area and time period with its relatives Iguanodon bernissartensis and Mantellisaurus atherfieldensis may indicate a particularly diverse medium-large bodied styracosternan assemblage in the eastern Iberian landmass during the late Barremian, ~125 million years ago.

Co-author Dr. Escaso added, "We knew the dinosaur fauna from Morella was similar to those of other contemporary European sites. However, this discovery shows an interesting rise of the iguanodontoid diversity in southern Europe ~125 million years ago."
-end-
Adapted by PLOS ONE from release provided by the author

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0144167

Citation: Gasulla JM, Escaso F, Narváez I, Ortega F, Sanz JL (2015) A New Sail-Backed Styracosternan (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Early Cretaceous of Morella, Spain. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0144167. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144167

Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Authors Articles from Brightsurf:

Representation of female authors in family medicine academic journals is trending upward
After decades of underrepresentation in medicine, women are now entering many specialties in the United States, including family medicine, at higher rates than men.

Comparing proportions of female, male corresponding authors in preprint research repositories before, during COVID-19 pandemic
Researchers examined changes in the proportion of female corresponding authors in bioRxiv (biorxiv.org) and medRxiv (medrxiv.org), which are online archive and distribution services for unpublished preprint research in the life and health sciences, respectively, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authors' 'invisible' words reveal blueprint for storytelling
The ''invisible'' words that shaped Dickens classics also lead audiences through Spielberg dramas.

Only 1 in 3 COVID-19 research authors are women and even fewer are senior authors
Women make up only a third of all authors who have published research on COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in January this year, and even fewer of them are senior authors on these papers, suggests an analysis in BMJ Global Health.

TOS president-elect co-authors study on genetic test for obesity
President-elect of The Obesity Society (TOS) Lee M. Kaplan, MD, PhD, FTOS, has co-authored a new study that describes a newly developed genetic test that can identify newborns at the highest risk of developing severe obesity, the Society announced today.

Cell lines deserve unique considerations when creating research protections, authors say
New rules recently went into effect, seeking to protect patients who donate tissue samples for research in the age of genetic sequencing.

UM professor co-authors report on the use of biotechnology in forests
University of Montana Professor Diana Six is one of 12 authors of a new report that addresses the potential for biotechnology to provide solutions for protecting forest trees from insect and pathogen outbreaks, which are increasing because of climate change and expanded global trade.

Articles provide updated guidance to authors submitting to the British Journal of Pharmacology
New editorials published in the British Journal of Pharmacology provide guidance for authors of papers submitted to the journal, with guidance on how to design and conduct experiments as well as what key information should be provided in methodology and presentation of data.

Temperature resilient crops now an 'achievable dream' say authors of new study
Breeding temperature-resilient crops is an 'achievable dream' in one of the most important species of commercially cultivated plants, according to a new study.

Journal of Dairy Science® honors most prolific authors
As part of the centennial celebration for the Journal of Dairy Science, individuals who have authored or coauthored 100 or more papers in the journal will be inaugurated into JDS Club 100 at the 2017 American Dairy Science Association® Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Read More: Authors News and Authors Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.