Portellsaurus sosbaynati: New Dinosaur Species Identified in Spain
A new genus and species of styracosternan hadrosaurid dinosaur has been identified from a fossilized jawbone found in the Spanish province of Castellón.
The newly-identified dinosaur species roamed Earth between 130 and 129 million years ago (Barremian stage of the Cretaceous period).
Scientifically named Portellsaurus sosbaynati, the ancient creature was a herbivore.
“Portellsaurus sosbaynati is diagnosed by two autapomorphic features as well as a unique combination of characters,” said Dr. Andrés Santos-Cubedo of Jaume I University and his colleagues from Spain.
“The autapomorphies include: the absence of a bulge along the ventral margin directly ventral to the base of the coronoid process and the presence of a deep oval cavity on the medial surface of the mandibular adductor fossa below the eleventh-twelfth tooth position.”
The fossilized remains of Portellsaurus sosbaynati were recovered from the Margas de Mirambell Formation at the locality of Portell in eastern Spain.
The specimen — a nearly complete right dentary — was from a large individual about 6-8 m (20-26 feet) in length.
“Portellsaurus sosbaynati is definitely the first styracosternan dinosaur species identified from the Mirambell Formation in the Morella sub-basin (Maestrat Basin, eastern Spain),” the paleontologists said.
The phylogenetic analysis revealed that the new species is more closely related to Ouranosaurus nigeriensis and Bolong yixianensis – two hadrosaurs from the Early Cretaceous of Niger and China, respectively — than to other hadrosaurid dinosaurs.
“The recognition of Portellsaurus sosbaynati indicates that the Iberian Peninsula was home to a highly diverse assemblage of medium-to-large bodied styracosternan hadrosauriforms during the Early Cretaceous epoch,” the authors said.
Their paper was published online in the journal PLoS ONE.
A. Santos-Cubedo et al. 2021. A new styracosternan hadrosauroid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Early Cretaceous of Portell, Spain. PLoS ONE 16 (7): e0253599; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253599