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1 January 2015 Titanosauria (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) Bissekty Formation of Uzbekistan
Hans-Dieter Sues, Alexander Averianov, Ryan C. Ridgely, Lawrence M. Witmer
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Exposures of the Bissekty Formation (Upper Cretaceous: middle-upper Turonian) at Dzharakuduk in the central Kyzylkum Desert of Uzbekistan have yielded abundant dinosaurian remains. We report here on cranial and postcranial remains that can be attributed to titanosaurian sauropods. This material is of considerable interest in view of the relative scarcity of sauropod fossils from the Upper Cretaceous of Central Asia. An incomplete braincase originally assigned to the ceratopsian Turanoceratops tardabilis actually belongs to a derived titanosaurian. It shares a number of features (including broad basal tubera and presence of wide depression between basal tubera) with braincases of various derived titanosaurian taxa from Asia and South America. Computed tomographic (CT) scanning of the braincase permitted digital reconstruction of a partial endocast. Overall, this endocast resembles those of other sauropods, although the pituitary fossa is considerably swollen. As in other derived titanosaurians, the abducens nerve passed lateral to the pituitary fossa. The inner ear resembles that of some other titanosaurs in having a very short lateral semicircular canal and that the anterior semicircular canal is only slightly longer than the posterior one. Isolated sauropod teeth from Dzharakuduk have slender, ‘pencil-shaped’ crowns, which often bear high-angle apical wear facets. The caudal vertebrae are gently opisthocoelous rather than procoelous, as is typically the condition on at least the anterior caudals in many other titanosaurs. An anterior caudal vertebra shows extensive pneumatization of its neural arch. The sauropod remains from the Bissekty Formation establish the presence of titanosaurians in Central Asia during the Turonian.

© by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Hans-Dieter Sues, Alexander Averianov, Ryan C. Ridgely, and Lawrence M. Witmer "Titanosauria (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) Bissekty Formation of Uzbekistan," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35(1), (1 January 2015).
Received: 21 November 2013; Accepted: 1 January 2014; Published: 1 January 2015

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