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Concept: Hettangian

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Approximately 40% of a skeleton including cranial and postcranial remains representing a new genus and species of basal neotheropod dinosaur is described. It was collected from fallen blocks from a sea cliff that exposes Late Triassic and Early Jurassic marine and quasi marine strata on the south Wales coast near the city of Cardiff. Matrix comparisons indicate that the specimen is from the lithological Jurassic part of the sequence, below the first occurrence of the index ammonite Psiloceras planorbis and above the last occurrence of the Rhaetian conodont Chirodella verecunda. Associated fauna of echinoderms and bivalves indicate that the specimen had drifted out to sea, presumably from the nearby Welsh Massif and associated islands (St David’s Archipelago). Its occurrence close to the base of the Blue Lias Formation (Lower Jurassic, Hettangian) makes it the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur and it represents the first dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic of Wales. A cladistic analysis indicates basal neotheropodan affinities, but the specimen retains plesiomorphic characters which it shares with Tawa and Daemonosaurus.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Wales, Dinosaur, Jurassic, Cardiff, Early Jurassic, Hettangian, Lias Group

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Fragmentary caudal ends of the left and right mandible assigned to Lesothosaurus diagnosticus, an early ornithischian, was recently discovered in the continental red bed succession of the upper Elliot Formation (Lower Jurassic) at Likhoele Mountain (Mafeteng District) in Lesotho. Using micro-CT scanning, this mandible could be digitally reconstructed in 3D. The replacement teeth within the better preserved (left) dentary were visualised. The computed tomography dataset suggests asynchronous tooth replacement in an individual identified as an adult on the basis of bone histology. Clear evidence for systematic wear facets created by attrition is lacking. The two most heavily worn teeth are only apically truncated. Our observations of this specimen as well as others do not support the high level of dental wear expected from the semi-arid palaeoenvironment in which Lesothosaurus diagnosticus lived. Accordingly, a facultative omnivorous lifestyle, where seasonality determined the availability, quality, and abundance of food is suggested. This would have allowed for adaptability to episodes of increased environmental stress.

Concepts: Teeth, Ornithischia, Sinemurian, Hettangian