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Science. 1999 Nov 12;286(5443):1342-7.

Cretaceous sauropods from the sahara and the uneven rate of skeletal evolution among dinosaurs

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Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, 1027 East 57 Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Laboratoire de Paleontologie-EPHE-Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 8 rue du Buffon, 75005 Paris, France. Project Explorati.


Lower Cretaceous fossils from central Niger document the succession of sauropod dinosaurs on Africa as it drifted into geographic isolation. A new broad-toothed genus of Neocomian age ( approximately 135 million years ago) shows few of the specializations of other Cretaceous sauropods. A new small-bodied sauropod of Aptian-Albian age ( approximately 110 million years ago), in contrast, reveals the highly modified cranial form of rebbachisaurid diplodocoids. Rates of skeletal change in sauropods and other major groups of dinosaurs are estimated quantitatively and shown to be highly variable.

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