European ornithomimosaurs (Dinosauria, Theropoda): an undetected record
Keywords:Dinosauria, Theropoda, Ornithomimosauria, Early Cretaceous, Europe, Palaeogeography
AbstractEarly 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.
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