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The ornithopod dinosaur Rhabdodon from the Late Cretaceous of France : anatomy, systematics and paleobiology

Abstract : The ornithopod dinosaur Rhabdodon was named by Matheron in 1869 and a first species,Rhabdodon priscus, was proposed on the basis of a dentary fragment with its diagnostic teeth from the LateCretaceous of Bouches-du-Rhône in southern France. A new species, R. septimanicus, was subsequentlyerected by Buffetaut and Le Loeuff (1991) based on a characteristic dentary from a Late Cretaceous locality atMontouliers (Hérault). The validity of the latter species was in debate, the question being how many species ofRhabdodon existed in Southern France. Abundant unpublished material (both cranial and postcranial) ofRhabdodon discovered in recent excavations at various localities in southern France is described, as a result ofwhich the anatomy of this animal is now better known. A reconstruction of Rhabdodon is proposed. R.septimanicus is considered as valid by including new cranial elements from Quarante (Hérault). Two species ofRhabdodon undoubtedly coexisted in the same time interval (Late Campanian – Early Maastrichtian) insouthern France. The phylogenetic analysis confirms that Rhabdodon can be placed in a distinct family,Rhabdodontidae, which also includes its sister taxon, Zalmoxes, from which it is distinguished by numerouspostcranial characters. Rhabdodontidae has a close relation with Iguanodontia. It is suggested that the commonancestor of the rhabdodontid dinosaurs evolved in North America, and then dispersed to Europe and eventuallyevolved in geographical isolation on the various European landmasses during the Late Cretaceous.
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Phornphen Chanthasit. The ornithopod dinosaur Rhabdodon from the Late Cretaceous of France : anatomy, systematics and paleobiology. Paleontology. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I, 2010. English. ⟨NNT : 2010LYO10098⟩. ⟨tel-00841228⟩

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