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Gibert L.,University of Barcelona | Scott G.R.,Berkeley Geochronology Center | Montoya P.,University of Valencia | Ruiz-Sanchez F.J.,University of Valencia | And 4 more authors.
Geology | Year: 2013

The accurate timing of biogeographic dispersal can be determined by examining the age of fossiliferous strata on either side of a physical barrier. Here we show that African mammals migrated to Iberia and European mammals migrated to North Africa at the same time before isolation of the Mediterranean Sea during the Messinian. The fossil site of Venta del Moro (Spain) exhibits western Europe's most complete vertebrate fauna for the latest Miocene. Its uniquely cosmopolitan assemblage is evidence of faunal dispersals from Africa and Asia to Europe during the latest Miocene glaciation. A preliminary paleomagnetic study suggested an age of 5.8 Ma for this site, but our expanded magnetostratigraphy dates the site at 6.23 Ma. In addition, we recalibrated the paleomagnetic age of the Librilla site (Spain) and the North Africa site of Afoud-1 (Morocco) using the Astronomical Tuned Neogene Time Scale. Our results show a two-way African-Iberian mammal dispersal just before 6.2 Ma. These new ages indicate that an ephemeral land corridor existed between the two continents 250 k.y. before the onset of the Messinian Salinity Crisis, reflecting a tentative initial isolation of the Mediterranean Sea. This corridor developed after tectonics closed the Betic Seaway at 6.3 Ma and during the intensification of the latest Miocene glaciation at 6.26 Ma, when water circulation in the Mediterranean became very restricted. © 2013 Geological Society of America. Source

Pesquero M.D.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Alcala L.,Fundacion Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel Dinopolis | Fernandez-Jalvo Y.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences
Lethaia | Year: 2013

This article reports a detailed taphonomic study of the reference Miocene vertebrate site of Cerro de la Garita, (Concud, Teruel, Spain). The sedimentary record of the site indicates that it was a palaeo-lakeshore, and this conclusion is supported by aquatic environment-related taphonomic modifications of its fossils (both on their surfaces and internally). The site provided a water source that appears to have been regularly visited by herbivores. It was, therefore, also likely to have been a good feeding ground for predators and scavengers. Hyaena coprolites have been found at the site, and tooth marks were identified on some fossil bone surfaces. Bone fragments 2-5 cm in length showed clear evidence of heavy digestion and probable regurgitation. Abundant trampling marks were seen on the surface of many of the fossil bones, traits that are congruent with a damp lakeshore environment. Most of the remains were broken, and only a few anatomical elements belonging to the same individual were found close together, although never articulated (i.e. in a manner reflecting their anatomical connections). The fossils showed no signs of selection (either by shape or size) or abrasion, although a certain re-orientation suggests the influence of wave or strand line activity. Despite being an open-air site, none of the fossils appeared to be weathered, further suggesting that the surrounding environment was a damp lakeshore probably shaded by vegetation. Indeed, abundant signs of root activity were observed. No evidence of reworking, that is, post-burial disturbance or diachronic mixing of fossils, was seen, confirming the international value of Cerro de la Garita as a reference site for continental Miocene mammal assemblages. © 2013 The Lethaia Foundation. Source

Royo-Torres R.,Fundacion Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel Dinopolis | Upchurch P.,University College London
Journal of Systematic Palaeontology | Year: 2012

The skull of Turiasaurus is known from a nearly complete posterior section (e.g. braincase, skull roof, quadrates and left mandible) and fragments of the snout (e.g. portions of premaxilla, maxilla, nasal and lacrimal). Skull material of the holotypic individual was discovered in close association. Comparisons with other sauropods suggest that the Turiasaurus skull most closely resembled those of Jobaria, Camarasaurus and Mamenchisaurus youngi, possessing large spatulate teeth, enlarged and partially retracted external nares, and a broadly rounded muzzle. The list of autapomorphies for Turiasaurus is augmented by the new cranial data, including features such as: (1) a shelf-like projection of bone from the medial surface of the distal end of the maxillary ascending process; and (2) a rounded boss-like area on the lateral surface of the jugal. There are also unusual character states, such as the excavation of the posterior surfaces of the basal tubera (present in Turiasaurus and Losillasaurus) that probably have a wider phylogenetic significance. Phylogenetic analyses, using two different datasets, support the view that Turiasaurus, Losillasaurus and Galveosaurus form a monophyletic Turiasauria clade that lies just outside of Neosauropoda. The addition of the new cranial data slightly strengthens the support for this topology, but the relationships of other taxa (such as Jobaria) become less stable. The Turiasauria might represent a distinct group of non-neosauropods with a wide geographic distribution across Europe and Africa during the Late Jurassic. Copyright © 2012 The Natural History Museum. Source

McNamara M.E.,Yale University | McNamara M.E.,University College Dublin | Orr P.J.,University College Dublin | Alcala L.,Fundacion Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel Dinopolis | And 2 more authors.
Palaios | Year: 2012

The exceptional preservation of organisms is potentially influenced by various factors that reflect either the environmental context or aspects of the organisms' biology. There has been no systematic investigation of the relative impact of such factors upon the fidelity of preservation of an exceptionally preserved taxon. In this study, we present an integrated approach to taphonomic analysis of exceptionally preserved taxa using primarily quantitative data to analyze the taphonomy of exceptionally preserved frogs (Rana (Pelophylax) pueyoi) from the lacustrine-hosted, upper Miocene, Libros Konservat-Lagersttte (Teruel, northeastern Spain). The frogs occur within several different laminated mudstone facies and vary in their size, degree of completeness, degree of articulation, limb positions, and the extent, type, and fidelity of preserved soft tissues. For each specimen, we coded its physical and soft-tissue taphonomy using twelve indices, and identified its lithological context. Systematic statistical analysis reveals no correlation between specimen size, any taphonomic index, and lithological context: variations in the taphonomy of the frogs are independent of centimeter-scale variations in lithology and, by inference, short-term fluctuations in environmental conditions. The consistently high fidelity of skeletal preservation and the preservation of soft tissues, therefore, ultimately reflect the general nature of the sedimentary environment, i.e., burial within laminated organic-rich muds below anoxic, monimolimnetic waters of a deep, stratified meromictic lake. The statistical analysis did, however, identify significant correlations between various taphonomic indices. These indicate that the observed variation in the fidelity of frog preservation can be attributed, in large part, to a suite of factors related to the biology of the frogs; the most important of these is the original biochemistry of specific tissues, especially the skin, and the postmortem fate of the skin. Copyright © 2012 SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology). Source

Buscalioni A.D.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Alcala L.,Fundacion Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel Dinopolis | Espilez E.,Fundacion Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel Dinopolis | Mampel L.,Fundacion Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel Dinopolis
Revista Espanola de Paleontologia | Year: 2013

Although goniopholidids constitute the most abundant remains of the Lower Cretaceous record of the Iberian Peninsula crocodilians, few specimens have been found complete enough to provide precise taxonomic determinations. The palaeontological site of Mina Santa María in Ariño (Teruel, Early Albian Escucha Formation) has yielded several neosuchian monotaxic concentrations. The skulls discovered at the Ariño Mine show a character combination linking them to the latter European species. The Ariño skulls share apomorphies with Anteophthalmosuchus hooleyi, Goniopholis willetti (e.g., loss of the transverse frontal crest and of the prefrontal-lachrymal crest, supratemporal fossa larger than the orbit and supratemporal fenestra subequal, among other derived characters). The new taxa, Hulkepholis plotos gen. n., sp. n. and Anteophthalmosuchus escuchae sp. n., are herein erected, and they constitute the most recent record of their clade in Europe. These sympatric species lived in a coastal marsh system with barrier islands and lagoon. © Sociedad Española de Paleontología ISSN 2255-0550. Source

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