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Carcharodontosauridae

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Carcharodontosauridae
Fossil range: EarlyLate Cretaceous, 127-92 Ma
Giganotosaurus AustMus email
Giganotosaurus skeleton at the Australian Museum, Sydney.
Scientific classification

Class

Sauropsida

Superorder

Dinosauria

Order

Saurischia

Suborder

Theropoda

Infraorder

Carnosauria

Superfamily

Allosauroidea

Family

Carcharodontosauridae
Stromer, 1931

Genera

Gualicho

Taurovenator


Carcharodontosaurids (from the Greek Carcharodontosauros: "shark-toothed lizards") were a group of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs. In 1931 Ernst Stromer named Carcharodontosauridae as a family, in modern paleontology this name indicates a clade within Carnosauria. Carcharodontosaurids included some of the largest land predators ever known: Giganotosaurus, Mapusaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Tyrannotitan all rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus in size.

EvolutionEdit

Along with the spinosaurids, carcharodontosaurids were the largest predators in the early and middle Cretaceous throughout Gondwana, with species present in North America (Acrocanthosaurus), and Asia (Shaochilong).[1] Their ages range from the Barremian (127-121 million years ago) to the Turonian (93-89 million years ago).

However, past the Turonian, there seem to be no signs of the presence of these animals anywhere on the world. They were replaced by the smaller abelisaurids in Gondwana and by tyrannosaurids in North America and Asia. According to Fernando Novas and colleagues, the disappearance of not only carcharodontosaurids but also spinosaurids and other fauna in both Gondwana and North America seem to indicate that this faunal replacement occurred on a global scale.[2]

SystematicsEdit

TaxonomyEdit

The family Carcharodontosauridae was originally named by Ernst Stromer in 1931 to include the single newly discovered species Carcharodontosaurus saharicus. A close relative of C. saharicus, Giganotosaurus, was added to the family when it was described in 1995. Additionally, many paleontologists have included Acrocanthosaurus in this family (Sereno et al. 1996, Harris 1998, Holtz 2000, Rauhut 2003), though others place it in the related family Allosauridae (Currie & Carpenter, 2000; Coria & Currie, 2002). Neovenator may also be a member of the Carcharodontosauridae (Rauhut, 2003; Holtz et al., 2004).

With the discovery of Mapusaurus in 2006, Rodolfo Coria and Phil Currie erected a subfamily of Carcharodontosauridae, the Giganotosaurinae, to contain the most advanced South American species, which they found to be more closely related to each other than to the African and European forms. Coria and Currie did not formally refer Tyrannotitan to this subfamily, pending a more detailed description of that genus, but noted that based on characteristics of the femur, it may be a giganotosaurine as well.[3]

PhylogenyEdit

In 1998 Paul Sereno defined Carcharodontosauridae as a clade, consisting of Carcharodontosaurus and all species closer to it than to either Allosaurus, Sinraptor, Monolophosaurus, or Cryolophosaurus. Therefore, this clade is by definition outside of the clade Allosauridae. The cladogram below follows the analysis of Brusatte et al., 2009.[1]

Carcharodontosauridae

{{{1}}}





Acrocanthosaurus



Eocarcharia





Shaochilong



Tyrannotitan




Carcharodontosaurus


Giganotosaurinae

Giganotosaurus



Mapusaurus







The placement of Acrocanthosaurus and Neovenator is unclear, with some researchers favoring Carcharodontosauridae and others favoring Allosauridae. Bahariasaurus has also been proposed as a carcharodontosaurid, but its remains are too scarce to be certain. It appears to be synonymous with the ceratosaur Deltadromeus.

Carcharodontosaurids have been proposed as more closely related to abelisaurids, as opposed to the allosaurids. This is due to these two clades sharing some cranial features (see link below). However, these similarities appear to derive from parallel evolution between these two groups. A larger number of cranial and postcranial characters support their relationship with allosaurids. Carcharodontosauridae

         Acrocanthosaurus
         Concavenator
         Eocarcharia
         Kelmayisaurus
         Neovenatoridae
         Sauroniops
         Shaochilong
         Veterupristisaurus
         Taurovenator
               Carcharodontosaurus
                       Tyrannotitan
                       Mapusaurus
                       Giganotosaurus

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Brusatte, S., Benson, R., Chure, D., Xu, X., Sullivan, C., and Hone, D. (2009). "The first definitive carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from Asia and the delayed ascent of tyrannosaurids." Naturwissenschaften, DOI: 10.1007/s00114-009-0565-2
  2. ^ Novas, de Valais, Vickers-Rich, and Rich. (2005). "A large Cretaceous theropod from Patagonia, Argentina, and the evolution of carcharodontosaurids." Naturwissenschaften,
  3. ^ Coria, R.A., and Currie, P.J. (2006). "A new carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina." Geodiversitas, 28(1): 71-118.
  4. ^ Sereno, P.C. and Brusatte, S.L. 2008. "Basal abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods from the Lower Cretaceous Elrhaz Formation of Niger". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 53 (1): 15–46.


External linksEdit

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