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a herbivorous nemegtosaurid sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Argentina.
Pronunciation: boh-NEE-tah-SOR-uh
Meaning: La Bonita Hill lizardess
Author/s: Apesteguía (2004)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Rio Negro, Argentina
Chart Position: 451

Bonitasaura salgadoi

When you think of beaks chances are you think birds or turtles, or ornithischian or theropod dinosaurs at a pinch. You probably think that beaks only feature on the front of their face too, but apparently not. Described as "a beaked sauropod from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia", the short and high-skulled Bonitasaura had thin, pencil like teeth in the front of its unusually square lower jaw but a bony plate on each side which was possibly sheathed in keratin — the same tough stuff that coats the snouts of birds and forms their beaks — and paleontologists suspect they were used as guillotines for shearing tough vegetation.
Salgado's La Bonita Hill lizard(ess)Etymology
Bonitasaura is derived from "La Bonita" Hill (its place of discovery) and the Greek "saura" (female version of the ever-popular suffix "sauros" meaning lizard).
The species epithet, salgadoi, honors Argentine paleontologist Leonardo Salgado.
The first remains of Bonitasaura were discovered at La Bonita Hill Quarry in the Bajo de la Carpo Formation (Neuquén Group), near the town of Cerro Policía, Rio Negro Province, Argentina, in the 1950s by shepherds who thought it was perhaps the skeleton of a dead horse. This general area had been explored and fossils found by Walter Schiller and Santiago Roth of the Museo de la Plata (under director Francisco P. Moreno) as early as 1922 but they left no clues to the precise location in the hope of preventing looters, and as the land changed hands many times their presence was eventually forgotten. Intrigued, Sebastián Apesteguía and crew arrived in the early 21st century looking for petrified bones which drew a blank from locals who feared they were fossil dealers, until a phone call from the daughter of Filomena Avila (also known as "Doña Tica") — by now 103 years old and almost blind — who was actually a guide on the earliest expeditions as a child, and she miraculously re-traced her steps and led paleontologists to the site, about 10 miles from her home.
The holotype (MPCA 200) initially included a right lower jaw with 15 teeth, two cervical (neck), six dorsal (back) and 12 caudal (tail) vertebrae, a femur (thigh) and tibia (shin), two metatarsals, a couple of chevrons, a radius (a forearm bone that turned out to be a metacarpal) and several neck and back ribs that were excavated in 2003, but in 2005 it was bolstered by a single tooth, further vertebra, three more chevrons, an incomplete humerus (upper arm bone), some skull bones, the left pubis and ischium (hip bones), a fragmentary left fibula (calfbone), both astragali (ankles), and some bones from the hands and feet that were missing from the original find. All material comes from the same quarry and pertains to the same individual.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Santonian
Age range: 86-84 mya
Est. max. length: 10 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 5 tons
Diet: Herbivore
• Apesteguía S (2004) "Bonitasaura salgadoi gen. et sp. nov.: a beaked sauropod from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia". Naturwissenschaften. 2004 Oct;91(10):493-7.
• Gallina PA (Mar. 2011) "Notes on the axial skeleton of the titanosaur Bonitasaura salgadoi (Dinosauria-Sauropoda)". An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. vol.83 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Mar. 2011.
• Novas F (2009) "The Age of Dinosaurs in South America".
• Gallina PA and S Apesteguía (2011) "Cranial anatomy and phylogenetic position of the titanosaurian sauropod Bonitasaura salgadoi". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 56 (1): 45–60.
• Paul GS (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs". (page 210)
• Pablo Ariel Gallina (2012) "Histología Ósea del Titanosaurio Bonitasaura salgadoi (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) del Cretácico Superior de Patagonia". Ameghiniana 49(3):289-302.
• Gallina PA and S Apesteguía (2015) "Postcranial anatomy of Bonitasaura salgadoi (Sauropoda, Titanosauria) from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Volume 35, Issue 3. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.924957
• Sebastien Apesteguía (2010) "pers. comm."
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "BONITASAURA :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 18th Dec 2017.