03 April 2019

Spinosaurids in the lower Barremian of Spain


An enlarged theropod manual ungual (CSC1-4) from the lower Barremian El Castellar Formation has been recently described. The claw was found in the fossil locality of Caña Seca 1, Teruel province. The record of an isolated large manual claw in the El Castellar Formation yields new evidence on the common presence of spinosaurids within the vertebrate communities of the Barremian of SW Europe (i.e., Iberia). It also provides new data on the presence of a second spinosaurid taxon apart from Baryonyx walkeri, reinforcing the information from the tooth record which already pointed to the coexistence of various spinosaurid species in the Barremian of Europe.

In spite of the fact that studies of function are poorly developed in manual unguals, the presence of an enlarged manual claw in spinosaurids has been invoked as an anatomical feature that could be useful in various palaeoecological scenarios e i.e., for scavenging and/or as an offensiveweapon e but recently the option of its use in digging behaviour has also been considered.

This publication include a tridimensional model of the theropod claw CSC1-4 generated by photogrammetry. Free download here:
https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0195667117303804-mmc1.pdf

Reference:

Gasca, J.M., Díaz-Martínez, I., Moreno-Azanza, M., Canudo, J.I., Alonso, A. 2018. A hypertrophied ungual phalanx from the lower Barremian of Spain: implications for the diversity and palaeoecology of Spinosauridae (Theropoda) in Iberia. Cretaceous Research, 84, 141-152. DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2017.11.011

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