The Wino Dino

October 17th, 2008

Rupert Glasgow has just sent me the latest news on Aragonese dinosaurs from the erudite maños at aragosaurus.com:

Great news for the “Aragosaurus” team of palaeontologists at the University of Zaragoza. This month’s issue of the prestigious Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (no. 18, vol. 3) features the description of a new dinosaur, Tastavinsaurus sanzi, by José Ignacio Canudo, Rafael Royo-Torres and Gloria Cuenca-Bescós. Tastavinsaurus sanzi is an early Cretaceous sauropod dating from the early Aptian, over 110 million years ago. This huge, plant-eating quadruped, characterized by its long neck and tail, is estimated to have measured some 17 metres in length and weighed between 15 and 20 tonnes. It belongs to the clade known as “Titanosauriformes,” which also includes the brachiosaurids and titanosaurians and as such contains some of the most gargantuan dinosaurs ever to have trampled over the planet. Its remains were first discovered by two amateur palaeontologists in the early 1990s at the site of Arsis, Peñarroya de Tastavins, in the Aragonese province of Teruel. The name Tastavinsaurus is derived from the nearby River Tastavins, which means “wine-taster” in Catalan, while the name sanzi is in homage to the Spanish palaeontologist José-Luis Sanz. The exceptionally well-preserved condition of its skeleton made it possible to define a new genus and species from the fossils. It is the most complete sauropod from the Early Cretaceous of Europe, and the most complete sauropod in Spain. It was excavated between December 1996 and January 1997 (in fairly inclement weather conditions), the fossils requiring more than 4,000 hours of preparation over two years in a specially constructed laboratory in Peñarroya. The original fossils, as well as a real-size reconstruction of Tastavinsaurus sanzi in all its splendour, can be seen at a special Dinópolis centre at Peñarroya in Teruel.

For more information: see www.aragosaurus.com (Noticias, 7 October 2008).

Dinosaurs in Aragon

November 17th, 2007

Aragonese dinosaur man Rupert Glasgow of the excellent aragosaurus has kindly sent me this news review of their recent work with dinosaurs.

theropod dinosaur tooth (aragosaurus)

New Lower Cretaceous Dinosaur Site Found

The search for vertebrate fossils from the Lower Cretaceous of Teruel (part of a regional-government backed project) has borne fruit in the form of fossils from a new site. The location in question is the Aragonese town of Miravete de la Sierra, where a number of dinosaur teeth have recently come to light.These discoveries have been presented to the scientific community at the international palaeontology congress held at Salas de los Infantes (Burgos, Spain) from 13-15 September and at the meeting of the Spanish Palaeontology Society at Caravaca de la Cruz (Murcia, Spain).
The findings include isolated teeth from various small theropod dinosaurs (carnivores), as well as tooth fragments from spinosaurid theropods and iguanodontid ornithopods. This latter group comprises medium-sized and large plant-eaters, of which the most famous one is Iguanodon. At present the material recovered is too fragmentary to be able to provide a more specific classification.
The discoveries represent an extension of the ongoing research being carried out in Teruel by the Grupo Aragosaurus, the Mesozoic and Quaternary Vertebrate Palaeontology Group of the University of Zaragoza.Let’s hope this new area proves to be as rich in fossils as Galve, Josa or Peñarroya de Tastavins. For more information: see www.aragosaurus.com (Noticias, 9 Oct 2007)

Found: Spain’s most modern dinosaur ichnites

The Grupo Aragosaurus has recently discovered a whole new cluster of ichnites produced by hadrosaur dinosaurs (a group of “duck-billed” herbivores) from the Upper Maastrichtian of the Pyrenees, near the town of Serraduy in Huesca, Aragon.
Sites of ichnites, or fossilized footprints, from the end of the Cretaceous are rare in the Iberian Peninsular. The only other one currently known in Aragon is to be found at Arén, also in Huesca. Thus the great interest generated by this new discovery of ichnites in rocks from the Upper Maastrichtian, just over 65 million years ago. The footprints in question were produced by hadrosaur dinosaurs sinking into the mud of ancient rivers. A number of such ichnites are in evidence, clearly enough preserved to make out the individual toes. Together with other footprints from north of Barcelona, they represent the most modern record of dinosaur ichnites in the Iberian Peninsular, and are among the most modern in the world.
At present scientists are still unsure of the exact timing of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (or K-T boundary), when the meteorite impact took place, but it is known that these ichnites were formed a few thousand years prior to the extinction of the dinosaurs. For this reason, the ichnites are of great scientific interest, although they are not spectacular enough to warrant exhibition, for the time being at least. For more information see: www.aragosaurus.com (Noticias, 19 July 2007)