Sunday, 2 March 2014

Histriasaurus: the basal rebbachisaurid from Istria

The dinosaur bone bed near Bale

There are only three dinosaur species (two genera) from Croatia, that were properly described and named. Both of the new genera holotypes were determined and named by the Italian paleontologist Fabio Marco Dalla Vecchia. While one of them is an ichnospecies, Titanosaurimanus nana (Dalla Vecchia & Tarlao, 2000), based solely on its tracks, the other one is based on the fossil bones. It was a mid-sized rebbachisaurid Histriasaurus boscarollii (Dalla Vecchia, 1998)
Rebbachisauridae was a family of sauropod dinosaurs known from fragmentary fossil remains from the Cretaceous of South America, Africa, and Europe.
 In the photo is the small museum Ulika in an old town Bale, in  Istria, Croatia, where the holotype of Histriasaurus and the rest of the Croatian dinosaur fossils are housed. The dinosaur fossil site is just a couple of kilometres away. The dinosaur undersea graveyard is still a sort of terra incognita, because there was no funding for extensive excavation and research. Matt Lamanna told me there were attempts of getting funded form the National Geographic, but so far unsuccessful. Hopefully, the research in Bale will resume, soon.

A few rebbachisaurid dorsal vertebrae comparison (not exactly to scale): the Spanish Demandasaurus darwini (Fernández-Baldor et al.), 2011 - photo ©Fidel Torcida, the fossil housed at  EL Museo de Dinosaurios de Salas de los Infantes (A), the African Rebbachisaurus garasbae (Lavocat, 1954) - photo by ©Muséum National d’Histoire Natural where the fossil is housed (B), the Croatian Histriasaurus boscarollii (Dalla Vecchia, 1998) - photo by B. Krzic (C). 

An article on new Spanish rebbachisaurid.

My old Histriasaurus boscarollii restoration (from 2003?):

It is interesting noting that the only Croatian dinosaurs with names were never given a scientific and public attention they have deserved. There was no sculptural restoration, no postal stamp, no dedicated book. One feeble attempt to mark the presence of dinosaur fossil bones in Croatia was made by issuing a postal stamp . An iguanodontoid was featured in the image.

The recent Ulika museum is the first to give them the credit. Pity that the museum is still relatively unknown, although, it has been open for public almost a year ago.

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