[N] 2006 Diagnostic Titanosaur from the Arabian Peninsula
Wilson, J., Mustafa, H. & Zalmout, I. (2006) Latest Cretaceous reptiles from the hashemite kingdom of Jordan. JVP 26(3) Abstracts pp. 140
The paleobiogeographic relationships between Africa and neighboring landmasses during the Cretaceous remain a major question, due to differing paleocoastline reconstructions and the uneven distribution of fossiliferous sediments on southern landmasses. South America is the only region of Gondwana with good representation of vertebrates from both Lower and Upper Cretaceous sediments. Vertebrates of Africa and Australia are best known from Cenomanian and older horizons, whereas those of India, Antarctica, and Madagascar are best known from latest Cretaceous sediments. These latter share a common latest Cretaceous fauna that has not yet been documented on Africa, a pattern that has been interpreted to reflect Early Cretaceous biogeographic isolation of Africa from the rest of Gondwana.
Africa and Arabia maintained a broad geographic connection until rifting of the African and Arabian Plates and opening of the Red Sea ~34 Ma and the relatively recent collision between the Arabian Peninsula and Eurasia ~10 Ma. Jordan forms the northwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula, which was ringed by seas that received erosional products from the continent throughout the Phanerozoic. Recent field exploration in Cretaceous deposits in southern Jordan has uncovered major new Santonian and Maastrichtian localities that preserve diagnostic fossil reptiles. Santonian fossils include the recently described bothremydid side-necked turtle Karkaemys arabicus, which is closely related to Zolhafah bella from the Maastrichtian of Egypt.
Maastrichtian fossils include the first diagnostic dinosaur from the Arabian Peninsula and partially articulated cranial and postcranial remains of the azhdarchid pterosaur Arambourgiania philadelphiae (wingspan 6-7 m). The dinosaur is a titanosaur sauropod that is characterized by extreme camellate pneumaticity, a posteriorly inclined neural spine, absence of hyposphene-hypantrum articulations, and features linking
it to the Early Cretaceous Malawisaurus dixeyi from central Africa. These preliminary discoveries suggest that the Cretaceous of Jordan contains diagnostic vertebrate fossils that provide insights into African paleobiogeography.