#FossilFriday #paleontology #preprint
The holotype and only known vertebra of the Early Cretaceous British sauropod Xenoposeidon, by @MikeTaylor (2017) in PeerJ Preprints:
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Xenoposeidon proneneukos is a sauropod dinosaur represented by a single partial dorsal vertebra, NHMUK R2095, which consists of the centrum and the base of a tall neural arch. Despite its fragmentary nature, it is recognisably distinct from all other sauropods, and is here diagnosed with five unique characters. One character previously considered unique is here recognised as shared with Rebbachisaurus garasbae: an “M”-shaped arrangement of laminae on the lateral face of the neural arch. Following the more complete Rebbachisaurus garasbae, these laminae are now interpreted as ACPL and lateral CPRL, which intersect anteriorly; and PCDL and CPOL, which intersect posteriorly. Similar arrangements are also seen in some other rebbachisaurid specimens (though not all, possibly due to serial variation), but never in non-rebbachisaurid sauropods. Xenoposeidon is therefore referred to Rebbachisauridae. Due to its elevated parapophysis, the holotype vertebra is considered a posterior dorsal despite its elongate centrum. Since Xenoposeidon is from the from the Berriasian–Valanginian (earliest Cretaceous) Ashdown Beds Formation of the Wealden Supergroup of southern England, it is the earliest known rebbachisaurid by some 10 million years. Electronic 3D models were invaluable in determining Xenoposeidon's true affinities: descriptions of complex bones such as sauropod vertebrae should always provide them where possible.