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      Allodaposuchus palustris sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous of Fumanya (South-Eastern Pyrenees, Iberian Peninsula): Systematics, Palaeoecology and Palaeobiogeography of the Enigmatic Allodaposuchian Crocodylians


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          The controversial European genus Allodaposuchus is currently composed of two species ( A. precedens, A. subjuniperus) and it has been traditionally considered a basal eusuchian clade of crocodylomorphs. In the present work, the new species A. palustris is erected on the base of cranial and postcranial remains from the lower Maastrichtian of the southern Pyrenees. Phylogenetic analyses here including both cranial and postcranial data support the hypothesis that Allodaposuchus is included within Crocodylia. The studied specimen suggests little change in postcranial skeleton along the evolutionary history of crocodylians, except for some bone elements such as the axis, the first caudal vertebra and the ilium. The specimen was found in an organic mudstone corresponding to a coastal wetland environment. Thus, A. palustris from Fumanya is the first Allodaposuchus reported in lacustrine-palustrine settings that expand the ecological range for this genus. The S-DIVA palaeobiogeographic reconstruction of ancestral area suggests that early members of Crocodylia rapidly widespread for the Northern Hemisphere landmasses no later than the Campanian, leading the apparition of endemic groups. In that way “Allodaposuchia” represents an endemic European clade probably originated in the Ibero-Armorican domain in the late Campanian and dispersed by the Southern European archipelago prior to the early Maastrichtian.

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          Insights into the Ecology and Evolutionary Success of Crocodilians Revealed through Bite-Force and Tooth-Pressure Experimentation

          Background Crocodilians have dominated predatory niches at the water-land interface for over 85 million years. Like their ancestors, living species show substantial variation in their jaw proportions, dental form and body size. These differences are often assumed to reflect anatomical specialization related to feeding and niche occupation, but quantified data are scant. How these factors relate to biomechanical performance during feeding and their relevance to crocodilian evolutionary success are not known. Methodology/Principal Findings We measured adult bite forces and tooth pressures in all 23 extant crocodilian species and analyzed the results in ecological and phylogenetic contexts. We demonstrate that these reptiles generate the highest bite forces and tooth pressures known for any living animals. Bite forces strongly correlate with body size, and size changes are a major mechanism of feeding evolution in this group. Jaw shape demonstrates surprisingly little correlation to bite force and pressures. Bite forces can now be predicted in fossil crocodilians using the regression equations generated in this research. Conclusions/Significance Critical to crocodilian long-term success was the evolution of a high bite-force generating musculo-skeletal architecture. Once achieved, the relative force capacities of this system went essentially unmodified throughout subsequent diversification. Rampant changes in body size and concurrent changes in bite force served as a mechanism to allow access to differing prey types and sizes. Further access to the diversity of near-shore prey was gained primarily through changes in tooth pressure via the evolution of dental form and distributions of the teeth within the jaws. Rostral proportions changed substantially throughout crocodilian evolution, but not in correspondence with bite forces. The biomechanical and ecological ramifications of such changes need further examination.
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            A Late Cretaceous ceratopsian dinosaur from Europe with Asian affinities.

            Ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) represent a highly diverse and abundant radiation of non-avian dinosaurs known primarily from the Cretaceous period (65-145 million years ago). This radiation has been considered to be geographically limited to Asia and western North America, with only controversial remains reported from other continents. Here we describe new ceratopsian cranial material from the Late Cretaceous of Iharkút, Hungary, from a coronosaurian ceratopsian, Ajkaceratops kozmai. Ajkaceratops is most similar to 'bagaceratopsids' such as Bagaceratops and Magnirostris, previously known only from Late Cretaceous east Asia. The new material unambiguously demonstrates that ceratopsians occupied Late Cretaceous Europe and, when considered with the recent discovery of possible leptoceratopsid teeth from Sweden, indicates that the clade may have reached Europe on at least two independent occasions. European Late Cretaceous dinosaur faunas have been characterized as consisting of a mix of endemic 'relictual' taxa and 'Gondwanan' taxa, with typical Asian and North American groups largely absent. Ajkaceratops demonstrates that this prevailing biogeographical hypothesis is overly simplified and requires reassessment. Iharkút was part of the western Tethyan archipelago, a tectonically complex series of island chains between Africa and Europe, and the occurrence of a coronosaurian ceratopsian in this locality may represent an early Late Cretaceous 'island-hopping' dispersal across the Tethys Ocean.
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              Dynamic Similarity in Titanosaur Sauropods: Ichnological Evidence from the Fumanya Dinosaur Tracksite (Southern Pyrenees)

              The study of a small sauropod trackway from the Late Cretaceous Fumanya tracksite (southern Pyrenees, Catalonia) and further comparisons with larger trackways from the same locality suggest a causative relationship between gait, gauge, and body proportions of the respective titanosaur trackmakers. This analysis, conducted in the context of scaling predictions and using geometric similarity and dynamic similarity hypotheses, reveals similar Froude numbers and relative stride lengths for both small and large trackmakers from Fumanya. Evidence for geometric similarity in these trackways suggests that titanosaurs of different sizes moved in a dynamically similar way, probably using an amble gait. The wide gauge condition reported in trackways of small and large titanosaurs implies that they possessed similar body (trunk and limbs) proportions despite large differences in body size. These results strengthen the hypothesis that titanosaurs possessed a distinctive suite of anatomical characteristics that are well reflected in their tracks and trackways.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                31 December 2014
                : 9
                : 12
                : e115837
                [1 ]Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, C/Escola Industrial 23, E-08201, Sabadell, Spain
                [2 ]Grupo Aragosaurus–IUCA, Área de Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Zaragoza, Pedro Cerbuna 12, 50009, Zaragoza, Spain
                University of Pennsylvania, United States of America
                Author notes

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

                Conceived and designed the experiments: AB JM EPP AGS BV. Performed the experiments: AB EPP AGS BV JM. Analyzed the data: AB EPP AGS. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: BV JM. Wrote the paper: AB EPP JM BV AGS.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 21 July 2014
                : 1 December 2014
                Page count
                Pages: 34
                The present work was funded by the project CGL2011-30069-C02-01/BTE (Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad) and INTERREG III-A (European Council). A. B. is supported by FI AGAUR grant from DGR of Generalitat de Catalunya (2013FI_B 01059). B. V. acknowledges support from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Subprograma Juan de la Cierva (MICINN-JDC) 2011). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Evolutionary Biology
                Evolutionary Systematics
                Animal Phylogenetics
                Prehistoric Animals
                Fossil Record
                Vertebrate Paleontology
                Animal Taxonomy
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                The authors confirm that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restriction. All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.



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