[D] Cathartesaura anaerobica [sG] [T]
Gallina & Apesteguia 2005
Cretaceous Late Cenomanian
Saurischia Sauropodomorpha Sauropoda Diplodocidae Rebbachisauridae
Huincul Formation, Río Negro, Argentina
Genus - Typespecies
Cathartesaura anaerobica is known from an incomplete, but associated skeleton that includes diagnostic postcranial elements such as a posterior cervical, an anterior caudal, and a mid caudal vertebra, a left scapula, a left ilium and a right femur. Cathartesaura anaerobica gen. et sp. nov. exhibits several autapomorphies, such as a posterior cervical vertebra with an accessory lamina that arises from the mid length of the prezygodiapophysial lamina and reaches the centrum, a thin, wing-like transverse processes on the anterior caudal vertebrae mostly supported by a ventral bony bar that frames a deep triangular fossa, and each anterior caudal neural spine with the lateral laminae composed of the spinoprezygapophyseal lamina, the lateral spinopostzygapophyseal lamina and the spinodiapophyseal lamina.
The new taxon is related to Rebbachisaurus and Limaysaurus because of the presence of several synapomorphies, which support its inclusion in a separate clade of basal Diplodocidae, the Rebbachisauridae. Aspects of rebbachisaurid vertebral anatomy including musculature and pneumaticity are briefly commented upon. A cladistic analysis is presented in an attempt to partially resolve basal diplodocoid phylogenetic relationships.
The generic name is composed of Cathartes, the New World vulture genus and -saura, feminine declination of the Greek term sauros, \\\"lizard\\\". It also implies the juxtaposition of the components of the scientific name of the Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura, whose Spanish name, \\\"buitre\\\", named the locality where the fossil was found due to the abundance of such birds there. The specific epithet honors the Argentinian adhesive company Anaerobicos S. A. for providing field and laboratory support during the extraction and preparation of the fossils.