Skip to main content

Embryonic skin from Late Cretaceous Sauropods (Dinosauria) of Auca Mahuevo, Patagonia, Argentina

  • Rodolfo A. Coria (a1) and Luis M. Chiappe (a2)

We describe the integumentary anatomy of titanosaur sauropod embryos from the Auca Mahuevo nesting site. Natural (calcitic) casts of the skin show the non-imbricating, tuberculate scales (i.e., tubercles) typical of other non-avian dinosaurs. However, a variety of scale patterns previously unknown for the skin of these animals is reported. The observed integumentary patterns include ground tubercles, large and elongated tubercles, parallel rows of large tubercles, tubercles in rosette-like and flower-like arrangements, and in striate-like rows. Ground tubercles and rosette-like patterns resemble the few examples of skin known for adult sauropods. The former pattern also resembles the arrangement of osteoderms of the armored titanosaur Saltasaurus. Although the embryonic skin does not show definitive evidence of armor, the posthatching development of osteoderms cannot be ruled out. This material, the only available evidence of the embryonic skin of non-avian dinosaurs, contributes significantly to our knowledge of the integumentary morphology of these animals.

Hide All
Allen, M. J. 1933. Report on a collection of Amphibians and reptiles from Sonora, Mexico, with the description of a new lizard. Occasional Papers Museum of Zoology University of Michigan, 259:115.
Anderson, B. G., Lucas, S. G., Barrick, R. E., Heckert, A. B., and Basabilvazo, G. T. 1998. Dinosaur skin impressions and associated skeletal remains from the upper Campanian of Southwestern New Mexico: New data on the integument morphology of hadrosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 18:739745.
Bonaparte, J. F. and Powell, J. E. 1980. A continental assemblage of tetrapods from the Upper Cretaceous beds of El Brete, northwestern Argentina (Sauropoda – Coelurosauria – Carnosauria – Aves). Mémoirs Societe Géologic du France, 59:1828.
Bonaparte, J. F., Novas, F. E., and Coria, R. A. 1990. Carnotaurus sastrei Bonaparte, the horned, lightly built Carnosaur from the Middle Cretaceous of Patagonia. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Contribution in Science, 416:142.
Brown, B. 1916. Corythosaurus casuarius: Skeleton, musculature and epidermis. American Museum of Natural History Bulletin, 35:709716.
Brown, B. 1917. A complete skeleton of the horned dinosaur Monoclonius, and the description of a second skeleton showing skin impression. American Museum of Natural History Bulletin, 37:281306.
Chiappe, L. M., Salgado, L., and Coria, R. 2001. Embryonic skull of titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs. Science, 293:24442446.
Chiappe, L. M., Jackson, F., Coria, R., and Dingus, L. 2005. Nesting titanosaurids from Auca Mahuevo and adjacent sites (Late Cretaceous, Patagonia, Argentina): Understanding sauropod reproductive behavior and embryonic development, p. 285302. In Curry-Rogers, K. and Wilson, J. (eds.), Sauropods, University of California Press, Berkeley.
Chiappe, L. M., Coria, R. A., Dingus, L., Jackson, F., Chinsamy, A., and Fox, M. 1998. Sauropod dinosaur embryos from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia. Nature, 396:258261.
Coria, R. A. and Chiappe, L. M. 2004. Piel embrionaria de saurópodos (Dinosauria) del Cretácico Tardío de Auca Mahuevo, Patagonia, Argentina. Ameghiniana, 41 (Suppl.4): 9R.
Coria, R. A., Chiappe, L. M., and Negro, G. 2001. Sauropod embryonic integument from Auca Mahuevo (Late Cretaceous), Argentina. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 21:42A.
Curry-Rogers, K. and Forster, C. 2001. The last of the dinosaur titans: A new sauropod from Madagascar. Nature, 412:530534.
Czerkas, S. A. 1992. Discovery of dermal spines reveals a new look for sauropod dinosaurs. Geology, 20:10681070.
Czerkas, S. A. 1994. The history and interpretation of sauropod skin impression, p. 173182. In Lockley, M. G., Dos Santos, V. F., Meyer, C. A., and Hunt, A. P. (eds.), Aspects of Sauropod Paleobiology. Gaia, 10, Lisbon.
Czerkas, S. A. 1997. Skin, p. 669675. In Currie, P. J. and Padian, K. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Academic Press, San Diego.
Gilmore, C. W. 1925. A nearly complete articulated skeleton of Camarasaurus, a saurischian dinosaur from the Dinosaur National Monument. Memoirs of the Carnegie Museum, 10:347384.
Gilmore, C. W. 1946. Notes on some recently mounted reptile fossil skeleton in the United States National Museum. Proceeding of the United States Natural History Museum, 96:195203.
Giménez, O. del V. 1996. Hallazgo de impronta de piel de un dinosaurio saurópodo en la Provincia de Chubut. Ameghiniana, 33:465.
Grellet-Tinner, G., Chiappe, L. M., and Coria, R. A. 2004. Eggs of titanosaurid sauropods from the Upper Cretaceous of Auca Mahuevo (Argentina). Canadian Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 41:949960.
Horner, J. R. 1984. A “segmented” epidermal tail frill in a species of hadrosaurian dinosaur. Journal of Paleontology, 58:270271.
Lull, R. S. and Wright, N. E. 1942. Hadrosaurian dinosaur of North America. Geological Society of America Special Paper 40, 242 p.
Manning, T. W., Joysey, K. A., and Cruikshank, A. R. I. 1997. Observations of microstructures within dinosaur eggs from Henan Province, Peoples' Republic of China, p. 287290. In Wolberg, D. L., Stump, E., and Rosenberg, G. D. (eds.), Dinofest International, Academy of the Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
Negro, G. 2001. Phylogenetic interpretations of hadrosaurian skin. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 21:83A.
Osborn, H. F. 1909. The epidermis of an Iguanodon dinosaur. Science, 29:793795.
Osborn, H. F. 1911. A dinosaur mummy. American Museum Journal, 2:711.
Osborn, H. F. 1912. Integument of the iguanodon dinosaur Trachodon. American Museum of Natural History Memoirs, 1:3354.
Powell, J. E. 2003. Revision of South American titanosaurid dinosaurs: Palaeobiological, palaeobiogeographical and phylogenetic aspects. Records of the Queen Victoria Museum, 111:1173.
Rich, T. H., Vichers-Rich, P., Giménez, O., Cuneo, R., Puerta, P., and Vacca, R. 1999. A new sauropod dinosaur from Chubut Province, Argentina, pp. 6184. In Tomida, Y., Rich, T. H., and Vickers-Rich, P. (eds.), Proceedings of the Second Gondwanan Dinosaur Symposium. National Science Museum Monographs. Tokyo.
Romer, A. S. 1956. Osteology of the Reptiles. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 772 p.
Salgado, L. and Coria, R. A. 1993. El género Aeolosaurus (Sauropoda, Titanosauridae) en la Formación Allen (Campaniano—Maastrichtiano) de la Provincia de Río Negro. Ameghiniana, 30:119128.
Sternberg, C. M. 1935. Hooded hadrosaurs of the Belly River series of the Upper Cretaceous: A comparison, with description of new species. Canada, Department of Mines, Natural History Museum Bulletin 77, Geological Series, 52:137.
Wilson, J. A. and Sereno, P. C. 1998. Early evolution and higher-level phylogeny of sauropods dinosaurs. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Memoir 5. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 18(2):168.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed