Journal of Iberian Geology

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 25–54 | Cite as

The Baurusuchidae vs Theropoda record in the Bauru Group (Upper Cretaceous, Brazil): a taphonomic perspective

  • Kamila L. N. Bandeira
  • Arthur S. Brum
  • Rodrigo V. Pêgas
  • Giovanne M. Cidade
  • Borja Holgado
  • André Cidade
  • Rafael Gomes de Souza
Research Paper

Abstract

Purpose

The Bauru Group is worldwide known due to its high diversity of archosaurs, especially that of Crocodyliformes. Recently, it has been suggested that the Crocodyliformes, especially the Baurusuchidae, were the top predators of the Bauru Group, based on their anatomical convergence with theropods and the dearth of those last ones in the fossil record of this geological group.

Methods

Here, we erect the hypothesis that assumption is taphonomically biased. For this purpose, we made a literature survey on all the published specimens of Theropoda, Baurusuchidae and Titanosauria from all geological units from the Bauru Group. Also, we gathered data from the available literature, and we classified each fossil find under a taphonomic class proposed on this work.

Results

We show that those groups have different degrees of bone representativeness and different qualities of preservation pattern. Also, we suggest that baurusuchids lived close to or in the abundant flood plains, which explains the good preservation of their remains. Theropods and titanosaurs did not live in association with such environments and the quality of their preservation has thus been negatively affected.

Conclusions

We support the idea that the Baurusuchidae played an important role in the food chain of the ecological niches of the Late Cretaceous Bauru Group, but the possible biases in their fossil record relative to Theropoda do not support the conclusion that baurusuchids outcompeted theropods. Rather, this taphonomic bias must be tackled first, which previous studies have not regarded.

Keywords

Bauru Group Baurusuchidae Theropoda Titanosauria Taphonomy Palaeoecology 

Resumen

Objetivo

El Grupo Bauru es mundialmente conocido debido a su diversidad de arcosaurios, especialmente Crocodyliformes. Recientemente, se ha sugerido que los Crocodyliformes –y, particularmente los Baurusuchidae– fueron superdepredadores del Grupo Bauru debido a sus convergencias anatómicas con los terópodos y a la escasez de estos últimos en el registro fósil de este grupo geológico.

Métodos

En el presente trabajo presentamos la posibilidad que esta hipótesis esté tafonómicamente sesgada. Para lograr este objetivo, realizamos una evaluación bibliográfica sobre todos los especímenes publicados de Theropoda, Baurusuchidae y Titanosauria de todas las unidades geológicas del Grupo Bauru. Asimismo, también recopilamos datos de la literatura disponible y clasificamos cada hallazgo fósil dentro de una clase tafonómica propuesta en este estudio.

Resultados

Mostramos que tales grupos tienen grados muy diferentes de representatividad ósea y calidad en los patrones de preservación. Además, sugerimos que los baurusúquidos vivieron bien cerca o en llanuras de inundación, lo que podría explicar la buena preservación de sus restos. Terópodos y titanosaurios no vivieron en asociación a tales ambientes y la calidad de su preservación se vería así negativamente afectada.

Conclusiones

Apoyamos la idea que los Baurusuchidae jugaron un papel importante en la cadena trófica de los nichos ecológicos del Cretácico Superior del Grupo Bauru, pero los posibles sesgos en su registro fósil referentes a los Theropoda no apoya la conclusión que los baurusúquidos desplazaron a los terópodos. Más bien, este sesgo tafonómico debe ser encarado primero, lo que hasta ahora estudios previos al presente no han contemplado.

Palabras clave

Grupo Bauru Baurusuchidae Theropoda Titanosauria Tafonomía Paleoecología 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Ángela D. Buscalioni (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) for her suggestions and discussion. The comments made by Adam C. Pritchard, André E. P. Pinheiro and Francisco Ortega greatly improved the quality of the manuscript during the review process. The authors of this work are funded by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for the technical support scholarship number 385064/2015-2 to KLNB, by PhD scholarship number 140808/2016-7 to GMC, by PhD scholarship number 140789/2016-2 to BH, by the MSc scholarship by 134422/2016-3 to ASB, MSc scholarship by CNPq to RVP and PhD scholarship by CAPES to RGS. We also thank Alexandra Elbakyan for ‘removing the barriers from Science’ and allowing us to access several articles that would not be possible under other conditions. Although our current government on Brazil neglects investment on Science and Education, we will persevere.

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Sistemática e Tafonomia de Vertebrados Fósseis, Departamento de Geologia e PaleontologiaMuseu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Quinta da Boa VistaRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Paleontologia, Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão PretoUniversidade de São PauloRibeirão PrêtoBrazil

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