The first dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Lower Cretaceous Bayan Gobi Formation of Nei Mongol, China

  • Pittman M
  • Pei R
  • Tan Q
  • et al.
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Abstract

The first dromaeosaurid theropod from the Lower Cretaceous Bayan Gobi Formation is identified based on an incompletely preserved partially-articulated left leg, increasing the known diversity of its understudied ecosystem. The leg belongs to specimen IVPP V22530 and includes a typical deinonychosaurian pedal phalanx II-2 with a distinct constriction between the enlarged proximal end and the distal condyle as well as a typical deinonychosaurian enlarged pedal phalanx II-3. It possesses a symmetric metatarsus and a slender and long MT V that together suggest it is a dromaeosaurid. Two anatomical traits suggest the leg is microraptorine-like, but a more precise taxonomic referral was not possible: metatarsals II, III and IV are closely appressed distally and the ventral margin of the medial ligament pit of phalanx II-2 is close to the centre of the rounded distal condyle. This taxonomic status invites future efforts to discover additional specimens at the study locality because—whether it is a microraptorine or a close relative—this animal is expected to make important contributions to our understanding of dromaeosaurid evolution and biology. IVPP V22530 also comprises of an isolated dromaeosaurid manual ungual, a proximal portion of a right theropod anterior dorsal rib and an indeterminate bone mass that includes a collection of ribs. Neither the rib fragment nor the bone mass can be confidently referred to Dromaeosauridae, although they may very well belong to the same individual to whom the left leg belongs.

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Pittman, M., Pei, R., Tan, Q., & Xu, X. (2015). The first dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Lower Cretaceous Bayan Gobi Formation of Nei Mongol, China. PeerJ, 3, e1480. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1480

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