New evidence of shared dinosaur across Upper Jurassic Proto-North Atlantic: Stegosaurus from Portugal

Abstract

More than one century after its original description by Marsh in 1877, we report in this paper the first uncontroversial evidence of a member of the genus Stegosaurus out of North America. The specimen consists of a partial skeleton from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal, herein considered as Stegosaurus cf. ungulatus. The presence of this plated dinosaur in the upper Kimmeridgian–lower Tithonian Portuguese record and synchronic levels of the Morrison Formation of North America reinforces previous hypothesis of a close relationship between these two areas during the Late Jurassic. This relationship is also supported by geotectonic evidences indicating high probability of an episodic corridor between the Newfoundland and Iberian landmasses. Together, Portuguese Stegosaurus discovery and geotectonic inferences could provide a scenario with episodical faunal contact among North Atlantic landmasses during the uppermost Kimmeridgian–lowermost Tithonian (ca. 148–153 Ma ago).

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Abbreviations

LHNB:

Laboratório de História Natural da Batalha, Batalha, Portugal

DMNH:

Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, CO, USA

YPM:

Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

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Acknowledgements

We thank Mr. Rui de Sousa Pinheiro and his son, who found the fossil site, and their family for their hospitality during the fieldwork. We also thank the volunteers that collaborated in the excavation and the preparation of the material, for their help particularly Ms. Graça Ramalheiro; P.M. Galton, K. Carpenter, and two anonymous referees for their useful comments; and R. Martín for drawings. This research was supported by the project POCTI/1999/PAL/36550—“Dinosaur Osteological and Ichnological studies of the Mesozoic of Portugal (Dinos)”—from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portugal), Câmara Municipal da Batalha, and the Agreement of Collaboration JCCM-UAM.

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Correspondence to Fernando Escaso.

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Escaso, F., Ortega, F., Dantas, P. et al. New evidence of shared dinosaur across Upper Jurassic Proto-North Atlantic: Stegosaurus from Portugal. Naturwissenschaften 94, 367–374 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-006-0209-8

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Keywords

  • Upper Jurassic
  • Portugal
  • Stegosauria
  • Phylogeny
  • Paleogeography