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An articulated titanosaur from Patagonia (Argentina): new evidence of neosauropod pedal evolution
Most titanosaur dinosaurs are represented by incomplete skeletal elements lacking articulated pes. An exceptionally preserved specimen from the Late Campanian–Early Maastrichtian strata of Patagonia (Argentina) provides new data on pedal morphology and the evolutionary trends of these huge dinosaurs. This finding is one of the few articulated titanosaur pes known in the world, and shows a phalangeal formula of 2-2-2-2-0. The first three digits possess sickle-shaped claws and the articular facets of ungual phalanges, suggesting mobility in horizontal and vertical planes. A comparative analysis of available record suggests that titanosaurs had a progressive reduction of size and number of pedal phalanges in digits III and IV during the Late Cretaceous.
Skeletal disposition of bone in La Invernada site (Patagonia, Argentina): (A) map of the quarry; (B) excavation of the specimen.