|Arkansaurus fridayi Hunt & Quinn, 2018|
Illustration by Brian Engh twitter.com/GreyGriffon
Whereas ornithomimosaurs (ostrich-mimic dinosaurs) are well known from Asia during the Early Cretaceous, they are less well known from this time in North America. Represented by a single specimen consisting of pedal elements, a new North American taxon, Arkansaurus fridayi, gen. et sp. nov., consists of a nearly complete right foot, recovered from the Lower Cretaceous (Albian–Aptian) Trinity Group of Arkansas. Arkansaurus fridayi can be distinguished from other ornithomimosaurs based on differentiated pedal unguals, a laterally compressed third metatarsal that is ovoid in proximal view, and a distal ungual with a very weak flexor tubercle, lacking spurs. The condition of this third metatarsal suggests that Arkansaurus fridayi is more basal than Asiatic ornithomimosaurs of similar age, but consistent with older North American forms. This specimen provides knowledge of a poorly understood radiation of ornithomimosaurs in Appalachia and is the only known saurischian dinosaurian fossil from the state of Arkansas.
|FIGURE 3. Arkansaurus fridayi, UAM-74–16-1 to UAM-74–16-3,
articulated right metatarsals, in A, proximal and B, anterior views. Scale bar equals 10 cm.
DINOSAURIA Owen, 1842
SAURISCHIA Seeley, 1887
THEROPODA Marsh, 1881; Gauthier, 1986
ORNITHOMIMOSAURIA Barsbold, 1976; Lee et al., 2014
ARKANSAURUS FRIDAYI, gen. et sp. nov.
Etymology—The genus is named for the state of Arkansas, where the specimen was discovered. The species name is in honor of Joe B. Friday, who discovered the remains in 1972.
Arkansaurus fridayi currently is one of the oldest basal ornithomimosaurs known from North America. Its occurrence in the southeastern portion of the North American continent is significant biogeographically, because most of the Early Cretaceous basal ornithomimosaurs were flourishing in Asia at the time, but are otherwise not well represented in North America. Further discoveries of similar ornithomimosaur taxa in North America will provide better understanding of additional, currently unknown, characters.
ReBecca K. Hunt and James H. Quinn. 2018. A New Ornithomimosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Trinity Group of Arkansas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2017.1421209