Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Europe's Largest Dinosaur?

Recently in Cretaceous Research:

Europe's largest dinosaur? A giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England. Darren Naisha, David M. Martill, David Cooper, and Kent A. Stevens. 2005. Cretaceous Research 25: 787-795.
A single brachiosaurid sauropod cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Barremian, Early Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight is remarkable for its size. With a partial centrum length (i.e., excluding evidence of the anterior condyle) of 745 mm it represents the largest sauropod cervical reported from Europe and is close in size to cervical vertebrae of the giant brachiosaurid Brachiosaurus brancai from Late Jurassic Tanzania. The complete animal probably exceeded 20 m in total length. The specimen shares important morphological characters with Sauroposeidon proteles from Early Cretaceous USA, including extensive lateral fossae and well-developed posterior centroparapophyseal laminae, indicating that it is part of a Brachiosaurus–Sauroposeidon clade, and in some characters is intermediate between the two. Owing to the complexities of Isle of Wight sauropod taxonomy the specimen is not attributed to a named taxon.