New spinosaurids from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous, UK) and the European origins of Spinosauridae

Chris T. Barker, David W. E. Hone, Darren Naish, Andrea Cau, Jeremy A. F. Lockwood, Brian Foster, Claire E. Clarkin, Philipp Schneider, Neil J. Gostling

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Abstract

Spinosaurids are among the most distinctive and yet poorly-known of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs, a situation exacerbated by their mostly fragmentary fossil record and competing views regarding their palaeobiology. Here, we report two new Early Cretaceous spinosaurid specimens from the Wessex Formation (Barremian) of the Isle of Wight. Large-scale phylogenetic analyses using parsimony and Bayesian techniques recover the pair in a new clade within Baryonychinae that also includes the hypodigm of the African spinosaurid Suchomimus. Both specimens represent distinct and novel taxa, herein named Ceratosuchops inferodios gen. et sp. nov. and Riparovenator milnerae gen. et sp. nov. A palaeogeographic reconstruction suggests a European origin for Spinosauridae, with at least two dispersal events into Africa. These new finds provide welcome information on poorly sampled areas of spinosaurid anatomy, suggest that sympatry was present and potentially common in baryonychines and spinosaurids as a whole, and contribute to updated palaeobiogeographic reconstructions for the clade.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19340
Number of pages15
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date29 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 29 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • UKRI
  • EPSRC
  • 2283360

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