[D] Berberosaurus liassicus [sG] [T]
Allain, Tykoski, Aquesbi, Jalil, Monbaron, Russell & Taquet, 2007
Jurassic Early Pliensbachian Toarcian
Saurischia Theropoda Abelisauridae
Upper bone-bed (“Fossil locality B” of Allain et al., 2004) of the Toundoute continental series. Douar of Tazouda, near the village of Toundoute in the Province of Ouarzazate, High Atlas of Morocco
Associated postcranial material housed in the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Marrakech, including a cervical vertebra (MHNM-Pt9); anterior part of the sacrum (MHNMPt23); the second left metacarpal (MHNM-Pt22); a right femur *Corresponding author. (MHNM-Pt19); the proximal end of the left tibia (MHNM-Pt21); the distal end of the right tibia (MHNM-Pt16); and the left fibula (MHNM-Pt20).
The proximal end of a right femur (MHNM-To1–218).
Generic name is from the Berbers who live mainly in Morocco; “sauros” is Greek for lizard. Specific name from Lias, referring to the statigraphic epoch of the specimen.
Berberosaurus is the oldest known and most basal abelisauroid.
Berberosaurus is characterized by the following unique combination of characters that nests the taxon among the abelisauroid ceratosaurs: highly pneumatic cervical vertebrae; anteroposteriorly short cervical vertebral centra with camerate internal structure; cervical neural spine anteroposteriorly short; ventral margin of sacral series strongly arched dorsally; transversely narrow sacral centra; proximal end of the second metacarpal deeply grooved ventrally; femoral anterior trochanter reaches proximally to mid-point of femoral head; large femoral trochanteric shelf; tibia with subtriangular distal profile; presence of an oblique ridge that proximally caps the medial sulcus of the fibula.
Berberosaurus differs from Elaphrosaurus in: short cervical centra, pneumatic foramina on the cervical neural arch; from Ceratosaurus in: camerate structure of cervical vertebra, low and short neural spine of the cervical vertebra, femoral anterior trochanter reaches proximally to mid-point of femoral head; from Spinostropheus in: absence of the epipophysealprezygapophyseal lamina on the cervical neural arches, short cervical neural spine; from Abelisauria in: distal end of metacarpal with deep extensor pits; pronounced femoral trochanteric shelf.