New species of huge Ankylopollexia dinosaur – fossils found in Spain

Fossil bones have revealed new Jurassic-era dinosaur species named Oblitosaurus bunnueli.
Mrigakshi Dixit
Representational image
Representational image


Fossil bones have revealed new Jurassic-era dinosaur species named Oblitosaurus bunnueli.

According to a report, Oblitosaurus means "forgotten lizard," and bunnueli is named after the famed Spanish film director Luis Buuel. 

This new study was undertaken by researchers at the Fundación Conjunto Paleontológico de Teruel-Dinópolis in Spain. 

The discovery of the fossil remains

A new ornithopod genus and species have been reported based on fossil specimens recovered from the South-Iberian Basin's Villar del Arzobispo Formation. 

This formation dates back to the Upper Jurassic era, which spanned from 161.5 million to 145 million years ago. 

The remains of this new species include a tooth, a finger, and nearly the entire left hindlimb. 

The newly discovered species was most likely the early ancestor of the giant Ankylopollexia dinosaurs. These were herbivorous ornithopod dinosaurs with two legs. 

The diverse Ankylopollexia roamed across parts of North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia between the Late Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous (161.5 million to 66 million years ago). 

The fossil remains show that an adult of this species was approximately 6-7 m long, making it one of Europe's largest ornithopods in the Upper Jurassic period. 

Mysterious large tracks

According to the study, the latest findings might help answer the question of which dinosaur species produced enormous footprint traces in the same South Iberian basin. 

Researchers previously discovered giant dinosaur tracks measuring up to 30 cm long. However, it was difficult to determine which species left such huge tracks. Moreover, many other Upper Jurassic places in Spain and Portugal have also revealed the presence of footprints measuring 25 to 33 cm.   

The authors estimate that Oblitosaurus bunnueli footprints are noted to be between 29 and 31 cm in length, implying that the traces were made by this new species. 

The results have been published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society

Study abstract:

Ankylopollexia was an abundant and diverse clade of ornithopods present in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia from the Late Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous. However, the relationships between the basal ankylopollexians are poorly understood. A new ankylopollexian ornithopod genus and species is described here, based on a dentary tooth, an ungual pollex of the manus, and an almost complete left hindlimb. The fossils come from deposits of the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (upper Kimmeridgian–Tithonian). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that Oblitosaurus bunnueli gen. et sp. nov. is the basalmost member of Ankylopollexia, together with Draconyx loureiroi. Furthermore, these results have relevant taxonomic implications for the genus Camptosaurus, being the first phylogenetic analysis to support the monophyly of Camptosaurus species. The estimated size of Oblitosaurus bunnueli suggests that it is the largest ornithopod described in the Upper Jurassic of Europe and one of the largest around the world, and could be the trackmaker of large ornithopod tracks found in the Upper Jurassic of the Iberian Peninsula. This discovery increases the known ankylopollexian diversity in Iberia, revealing the presence of an Iberian basal ankylopollexian clade that does not appear to be present in the contemporaneous outcrops of North America.

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