Musee des Dinosaures

Espéraza, France

Musee des Dinosaures

Espéraza, France
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Tong H.,CNRS ENS Geology Laboratory | Boudad L.,Moulay Ismaï University | Tabouelle J.,Musee Municipal | Aarab M.,Moulay Ismaï University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of African Earth Sciences | Year: 2010

Fossils of vertebrates have been found in great abundance in the continental and marine early Late Cretaceous sediments of Southeastern Morocco for more than 50 years. About 80 vertebrate taxa have so far been recorded from this region, many of which were recognised and diagnosed for the first time based on specimens recovered from these sediments. In this paper, we use published data together with new field data to present an updated overview of Moroccan early Late Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages. The Cretaceous series we have studied encompasses three Formations, the Ifezouane and Aoufous Formations, which are continental and deltaic in origin and are often grouped under the name " Kem Kem beds" , and the Akrabou Formation which is marine in origin. New field observations allow us to place four recognised vertebrate clusters, corresponding to one compound assemblage and three assemblages, within a general temporal framework. In particular, two ammonite bioevents characterise the lower part of the Upper Cenomanian (Calycoceras guerangeri Zone) at the base of the Akrabou Formation and the upper part of the Lower Turonian (Mammites nodosoides Zone), that may extend into the Middle Turonian within the Akrabou Formation, and allow for more accurate dating of the marine sequence in the study area. We are not yet able to distinguish a specific assemblage that characterises the Ifezouane Formation when compared to the similar Aoufous Formation, and as a result we regard the oldest of the four vertebrate " assemblages" in this region to be the compound assemblage of the " Kem Kem beds" . This well-known vertebrate assemblage comprises a mixture of terrestrial (and aerial), freshwater and brackish vertebrates. The archosaur component of this fauna appears to show an intriguingly high proportion of large-bodied carnivorous taxa, which may indicate a peculiar trophic chain, although collecting biases alter this palaeontological signal. A small and restricted assemblage, the OT1 assemblage, possibly corresponds to a specific, localised ecosystem within the Kem Kem beds compound assemblage. Microfossils and facies from the Aoufous Formation, corresponding to the top of the compound assemblage, provide evidence of extremely abiotic conditions (hypersalinity), and thus of great environmental instability. At the base of the Akrabou Formation the first ammonite bioevent, . Neolobites, corresponds to the onset of the marine transgression in the early Late Cenomanian while the Agoult assemblage (Late Cenomanian?) contains a variety of small fish species that have Central Tethyan affinities. Finally, the youngest . Mammites bioevent in the late Early Turonian corresponds to a deepening of the marine environment: this sequence is isochronous with the Goulmima assemblage, a diverse collection of fish and other marine taxa, and shows affinities with taxa from the South Atlantic, the Central Tethys and the Western Interior seaway of North America, and further highlights the biogeographical importance of these North African Late Cretaceous assemblages. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.


Le Loeuff J.,Musee des Dinosaures | Metais E.,Total S.A. | Rubino J.L.,Total S.A. | Buffetaut E.,Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris | And 6 more authors.
Geological Magazine | Year: 2010

Fossil vertebrates from the Cabao Formation discovered in the area of Nalut in northwestern Libya include the hybodont shark Priohybodus, the crocodilian Sarcosuchus, an abelisaurid, a baryonichine spinosaurid and a large sauropod with spatulate teeth. The Cabao Formation may be Hauterivian to Barremian in age, although an earlier Berriasian to Valanginian age cannot be excluded. Its dinosaur assemblage is reminiscent of that of the El Rhaz and Tiouraren formations of Niger and strongly differs from both the Cenomanian assemblages of Morocco and Egypt and the Late Aptian to Albian fauna of Tunisia. Fossil vertebrates may be an important tool to establish the stratigraphical framework of the poorly dated Early Cretaceous continental deposits of Africa. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010.


Diez Diaz V.,University of the Basque Country | Tortosa T.,University of Paris Descartes | Le Loeuff J.,Musee des Dinosaures
Annales de Paleontologie | Year: 2013

Recent discoveries in southern France and northern Spain suggest that the morphology of titanosaurian teeth shows much greater variations that previously thought. It is suggested that the different morphotypes are informative at specific or generic level and that titanosaurian genera may indeed be recognized by their isolated teeth. It is also confirmed that juvenile titanosaurian teeth have a rather uniform, cylindrical morphology. Four different morphotypes are described for the Ibero-Armorican Island in the Late Cretaceous. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.


Suteethorn S.,Mahasarakham University | Suteethorn S.,Montpellier University | Loeuff J.L.,Musee des Dinosaures | Buffetaut E.,CNRS ENS Geology Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica | Year: 2013

An isolated posterior cervical vertebra of a sauropod discovered at Phu Dan Ma (Kalasin Province, northeastern Thailand) is the first informative postcranial specimen from the Phu Kradung Formation, a Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous continental unit. The vertebra is referred to the family Mamenchisauridae, otherwise mainly known from China. In addition, spatulate teeth from the same formation and a mid-dorsal vertebra from the Upper Jurassic Khlong Min Formation of southern Thailand are reassigned to this family. The occurrence of mamenchisaurids in the earliest Cretaceous of Thailand supports a hypothesis of geographical isolation of Central, Eastern, and Southeast Asia during the Late Jurassic. It also suggests that the main changes in their dinosaur assemblages occurred during the Early Cretaceous, rather than at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary. © 2013 S. Suteethorn et al. 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.


Vila B.,University of Zaragoza | Vila B.,Institute Catala Of Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont | Galobart A.,Institute Catala Of Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont | Canudo J.I.,University of Zaragoza | And 7 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2012

Southwestern Europe is a key setting to evaluate the diversity of non-avian dinosaurs before the end of the Cretaceous (below the K-Pg boundary). The ancient Ibero-Armorican Island, encompassing the current regions of North-East Iberia and South France, provides a substantial record of sauropod fossils. The study of multiple sauropod femora from localities where upper Campanian to uppermost Maastrichtian successions are both exposed, together with the integration of the information gathered from previously known localities has allowed the biodiversity of sauropods to be reassessed within a precise and clear chronostratigraphic framework. From the studied sample several titanosaur forms have been distinguished including a gracile and small-sized titanosaur (Lirainosaurus astibiae), a robust medium-sized titanosaur (Ampelosaurus atacis), a gracile medium-sized titanosaur (Atsinganosaurus velauciensis), and five other indeterminate but distinct titanosaurs, which span the late Campanian through the entire Maastrichtian. The youngest of these occurs in the uppermost part of palaeomagnetic chron C30n in the latest Maastrichtian (~. 0.4-1. Ma before the K-Pg boundary), representing the youngest sauropod yet documented in Eurasia. The pattern of diversity on the Ibero-Armorican Island rules out a decline in sauropod diversity at the very end of the Cretaceous. As with other regions during the late Cretaceous, the abundance and quality of the sauropod fossil record is probably influenced by multiple biases (sampling, ecological, and environmental). © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


The global Late Maastrichtian non-avian dinosaur apparent biodiversity is extensively surveyed for the first time. It amounts to 104 species (including unnamed forms) in 2010. The real biodiversity being obscured by taphonomical biases and the scarcity of the continental fossil record, a species-area relationship is used to estimate it. The results show that several hundreds (between 628 and 1078) non-avian dinosaur species were alive in the Late Maastrichtian, which is almost an order of magnitude above previous estimates. Because of the complex Late Cretaceous palaeobiogeography, discussions about dinosaur extinction should be based on this estimated real global biodiversity, not on the apparent biodiversity of a single area. Given the mean duration of dinosaur genera (7.7 Ma), the presence of so many dinosaur species in the Latest Cretaceous is consistent with the termination of most lineages at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (the Late Maastrichtian sub-stage is 2.8 m.y. long). The Late Maastrichtian dinosaurian biodiversity is therefore consistent with the sudden extinction of the group following the Chicxulub impact.


Le Loeuff J.,Musee des Dinosaures
Geological Society Special Publication | Year: 2010

Geologist Yves Milon, the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences of Rennes, hired the painter Mathurin Méheut in 1941 to produce a large mural decoration for the new Geological Institute. This resulted in a little known 130 m2 artwork that includes a Mesozoic triptych, the genesis of which is described here. The work was executed during the World War II, when Milon's illegal activities in several English intelligence services-led Resistance movements possibly prevented him from supervising the artist's work and which led to some anatomical inaccuracies. This decoration has survived several threats and constitutes a unique example of a large decorative palaeontological artwork in France. It has a special place in the history of dinosaur reconstructions as the choice of a decorative painting style is far from the usual forms of natural history illustration. © The Geological Society of London 2010.


Suteethorn S.,Montpellier University | Loeuff J.L.,Musee des Dinosaures | Buffetaut E.,CNRS ENS Geology Laboratory | Suteethorn V.,Bureau of Mineral Resources
Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie - Abhandlungen | Year: 2010

The holotype of Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae MARTIN, BUFFETAUT and SUTEETHORN 1994, a 10 % complete sauropod skeleton, was excavated in the early 1980s by a Thai-French expedition. In 1993, the site was re-opened and yielded two additional vertebrae: one posterior dorsal and one proximal caudal vertebra. On the basis of the size and shape of the vertebrae and the absence of identical bones from the type locality, we conclude that these vertebrae belong to the same individual as the holotype of P. sirindhornae and consider them as topotypes. A phylogenetic analysis, which for the first time includes recently described cranial and postcranial material, indicates that Phuwiangosaurus is a basal member of Titanosauriformes. ©2010 Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany.


Allain R.,CNRS Center for Research on Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Vullo R.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes | Le Loeuff J.,Musee des Dinosaures | Tournepiche J.-F.,Musee dAngouleme
Geologica Acta | Year: 2014

Early Cretaceous ornithomimosaurian theropod dinosaurs have been reported from various localities in Asia, whereas they remain poorly represented and extremely rare in North America, Africa and Europe. So far, the only known European ornithomimosaur is Pelecanimimus from the Barremian of Spain. The recent discovery in southwestern France of the Angeac bone bed, which has yielded several hundred ornithomimosaur bones, sheds new light on the ornithomimosaurian fossil record. Based on this new material, we re-evaluate here the systematic position of various isolated theropod bones from the Wealden of England, including historical taxa of uncertain affinities. Based on a unique combination of derived characters, Thecocoelurus and Valdoraptor are linked to the Angeac taxon but are considered to be nomina dubia. Valdoraptor from the Valanginian of West Sussex appears to be the oldest known ornithomimosaur together with the contemporaneous Nqwebasaurus from South Africa. Ornithomimosaurs were a common component of the Early Cretaceous European dinosaur fauna. Their presence in Spain, France and England further strengthens the palaeobiogeographic affinities of the European fossil biota with that of Asia during this period.


Klein N.,University of Bonn | Sander P.M.,University of Bonn | Stein K.,University of Bonn | Loeuff J.,Musee des Dinosaures | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Long bone histology of the most derived Sauropoda, the Titanosauria suggests that titanosaurian long bone histology differs from the uniform bone histology of basal Sauropoda. Here we describe the long bone histology of the titanosaur Ampelosaurus atacis and compare it to that of basal neosauropods and other titanosaurs to clarify if a special titanosaur bone histology exists. Methodology/Principal Findings: Ampelosaurus retains the laminar vascular organization of basal Sauropoda, but throughout most of cortical growth, the scaffolding of the fibrolamellar bone, which usually is laid down as matrix of woven bone, is laid down as parallel-fibered or lamellar bone matrix instead. The remodeling process by secondary osteons is very extensive and overruns the periosteal bone deposition before skeletal maturity is reached. Thus, no EFS is identifiable. Compared to the atypical bone histology of Ampelosaurus, the large titanosaur Alamosaurus shows typical laminar fibrolamellar bone. The titanosaurs Phuwiangosaurus, Lirainosaurus, and Magyarosaurus, although differing in certain features, all show this same low amount or absence of woven bone from the scaffolding of the fibrolamellar bone, indicating a clear reduction in growth rate resulting in a higher bone tissue organization. To describe the peculiar primary cortical bone tissue of Phuwiangosaurus, Ampelosaurus, Lirainosaurus, and Magyarosaurus, we here introduce a new term, "modified laminar bone" (MLB). Conclusions/Significance: Importantly, MLB is as yet not known from extant animals. At least in Lirainosaurus and Magyarosaurus the reduction of growth rate indicated by MLB is coupled with a drastic body size reduction and maybe also a reduction in metabolic rate, interpreted as a result of dwarfing on the European islands during the Late Cretaceous. Phuwiangosaurus and Ampelosaurus both show a similar reduction in growth rate but not in body size, possibly indicating also a reduced metabolic rate. The large titanosaur Alamosaurus, on the other hand, retained the plesiomorphic bone histology of basal neosauropods. © 2012 Klein et al.

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