Morelladon

Name: Morelladon ‭(‬Morella‭ ‬tooth‭)‬.
Phonetic: Mo-rel-la-don.
Named By: Josť Miguel Gasulla,‭ ‬Fernando Escaso,‭ ‬IvŠn NarvŠez,‭ ‬Francisco Ortega‭ & ‬Josť Luis Sanz‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ornithopoda.
Species: M.‭ ‬beltrani‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Roughly estimated at about‭ ‬6‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Spain‭ ‬-‭ ‬Arcillas de Morella Formation.
Time period: Barremian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial post cranial skeleton,‭ ‬mostly of vertebrae but also including partial ribs,‭ ‬sacrum and partial tibia.

       First discovered in‭ ‬2013,‭ ‬and named in‭ ‬2015,‭ ‬Morelladon made headlines towards the end of‭ ‬2015‭ ‬as a rare example of a sailbacked dinosaur.‭ ‬Though dubbed a sailback,‭ ‬this sail was likely more like a hump as the neural spines of the vertebrae that supported it were very robust.‭ ‬These are way beyond what would be needed to support a thin skin sail,‭ ‬and so Morelladon probably had‭ ‬a‭ ‬hump that ran down the length of much of the body.‭ ‬This hump was possibly for fat storage that may have allowed Morelladon to survive times of drought,‭ ‬though it may have also served a display purpose,‭ ‬possibly for recognising members of the same species or even attracting a mate.
       Morelladon is not the first large ornithopod to have had a hump like sail growing on‭ ‬its back.‭ ‬Another dinosaur called Ouranosaurusis from Africa also known to have had such a feature,‭ ‬while possibly living slightly later in the early Cretaceous.‭ ‬This may help portray a picture of Europe and North Africa having similar ecosystems during the early Cretaceous given that a pattern of similar dinosaurs in both areas is emerging.‭ ‬Aside from hump backed ornithopods,‭ ‬these include similar types of sauropod dinosaurs,‭ ‬stegosaurs to even spinosaurid dinosaurs with genera such as Baryonyx known from‭ ‬Western Europe,‭ ‬to Suchomimus in North Africa.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A New Sail-Backed Styracosternan‭ (‬Dinosauria:‭ ‬Ornithopoda‭) ‬from the Early Cretaceous of Morella,‭ ‬Spain.‭ ‬-‭ ‬PLoS ONE‭ ‬10‭ (‬12‭)‬:‭ ‬e0144167.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Josť Miguel Gasulla,‭ ‬Fernando Escaso,‭ ‬IvŠn NarvŠez,‭ ‬Francisco Ortega‭ & ‬Josť Luis Sanz‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random favourites