Agustinia Bonaparte, 1999
(= Augustia Bonaparte, 1998 [unpublished])
Agustinia Bonaparte, 1999
(Natl Sci Mus Monogr 15, October: 2
NcZ) "for Agustin (Martinelli)"
ah-goo-STEE-nee-uh (Agustin + -ia) (f) named "to honor the young student
Agustin Martinelli, a member of the paleontological team [from the Museo Argentino
de Ciencias Naturales of Buenos Aires] and discoverer of the specimen"
(early mention of the dinosaur used the name "Augustia", a preoccupied name by
Zariquiey, 1927 in Coleoptera);
for a moderately large armored sauropod from the Early Cretaceous (Aptian) Lohan Cura Formation,
Cerro El Leon, near Picun Leufu, southern Neuquen Province, Argentina.
Known from a fragmentary skeleton consisting of weathered,
incomplete or distorted bones (Holotype: MCF-PVPH-110 (Museum of Plaza Huincul,
Neuquen Province)), including 3 dorsal, 6 sacral and 10 caudal vertebrae,
right tibia and femur, 5 left metatarsals and 9 dermal ossifications.
Agustinia is remarkable for its dorsal armor, somewhat similar to the plates
of stegosaurs, but with the flat surfaces of the plates oriented crosswise over the
crest of the backbone rather than parallel to the backbone. The armor is complex,
with plates consisting of a large body and one or two smaller thicker pieces connected
by soft tissue to the main body of the plate and to the expanded top of the vertebrae--
Agustinia evidently could move its dorsal armor using muscles under the skin,
perhaps for display. At least four types of osteoderms are present,
articulating along the top of the transversely expanded neural spines.
However, the series of armor plates is incomplete, and the precise arrangement
and appearance of these bones is not completely clear at present. Documented elements include:
1) unpaired, narrow leaf-shaped plates (tranverse width 21 cm) that appear
to form a single median row along the frontmost section of the vertebral column;
2) unpaired, thin, broad and rectangular plate-like bones with wide triangular projections
(possibly the cores of spikes), total transverse length 64 cm, apparently forming
a single row over the anterior half of the dorsal vertebrae;
3) paired, elongated, flat or cylindrical spike-like plates that project out to the sides,
forming two parallel rows over the posterior dorsal, sacral and possibly
anterior caudal vertebrae; 4) elongated osteoderms (up to 80 cm long),
bifucated at the proximal end, that projected dorsolaterally.
Given the fragmentary nature of the specimen, the precise classification of Agustinia
is difficult to determine. It appears to be sauropod, based on the morphology
of the metatarsals, tibia, fibula, and vertebrae--the shape of the neural spines
suggests it may be related to the Rebacchisauridae.
Type Species: Agustinia ligabuei [lee-gah-BOO-ay-ie] Bonaparte, 1999:
to honor Dr. Giancarlo Ligabue (from Venice, Italy) "an active philanthropist,
who supported the 1997 expedition to Patagonia."
Sauropoda Augustiniidae Early Cretaceous (Aptian) SA. [added 12/99]
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