Hello all! Time for Terrific Tetanurae! #4! This is part 1 in a series about Giganotosaurines. So without further adieu…

Welcome to Terrific Tetanurae!, a series where I highlight some of the weird and wondrous animals within the clade Tetanurae. This week we have Mapusaurus,a medium-sized Giganotosaurine carcharodontosaurid which lived during the Cenomanian stage of the Cretaceous in what is now Argentina. It was slightly smaller then its relative Giganotosaurus, with size estimates placing it around 33-40 feet long and around 3.3 tons. Mapusaurus is actually fairly well known (in terms of remains) for a carcharodontosaurid due to the fact that Mapusaurus is represented by several individuals from different growth stages which were found in a bone bed. The rocks in which M. roseae were discovered in are from the Huincul Formation. This same formation has also yielded the bones of the supermassive titanosaur Argentinosaurus huinculensis, leading some to speculate that M. roseae preyed on large sauropods like A. huinculensis. The fact that many individuals of M. roseae were discovered in the same place also leads some to speculate these massive theropods hunted in packs. Mapusaurus was most likely the (if not one of) the top predators in it’s ecosystem and may have competed with other, smaller predators of the Huincul Formation, such as Skorpiovenator and Ilokelesia (both abelisaurids), for food. Many other animals made up the environment in which M. roseae lived in, including various ornithopod and rebbachisaurids. As the top predator of the Huincul Formation, M. roseae most likely preyed on many of these animals. Because of the well-preserved remains of Mapusaurus, we can better piece together the appearance, ontogeny, and paleobiology of other, lesser known carcharodontosaurids.

Mapusaurus roseae hunting Argentinosaurus huinculensis by the author. Colored pencils on paper, 2015.
Mapusaurus roseae hunting Argentinosaurus huinculensis by the author. Colored pencils on paper, 2015.

References

1.  Coria, R. A.; Currie, P.J. (2006). “A new carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina”. Geodiversitas 28 (1): 71-118. ISSN 1280-9659.

2. Novas, Fernando E. (2013). “Evolution of the carnivorous dinosaurs during the Cretaceous: The evidence from Patagonia”. Cretaceous Research 45: 174-215. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2013.04.001.

3. Sánchez, Maria Lidia; Heredia, Susana & Calvo, Jorge O. (2006): Paleoambientes sedimentarios del Cretácico Superior de la Formación Plottier (Grupo Neuquén), Departamento Confluencia, Neuquén [Sedimentary paleoenvironments in the Upper Cretaceous Plottier Formation (Neuquen Group), Confluencia, Neuquén]. Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina 61(1): 3-18. PDF fulltext

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