The Dinosaurs of the Santana Formation, Brazil – #365papers – 2018 – 64

Naish, Martill, and Frey, 2004, Ecology, systematics and biogeographical relationships of dinosaurs, including a new theropod, from the Santana Formation (?Albian, Early Cretaceous) of Brazil: Historical Biology, v. 16, p. 1-14.

What’s it about?

The Santana Formation of the Araripe Basin of northeastern Brazil has yielded many important fossils, including some dinosaurs. Notably, Santanaraptor, described in an earlier post, is one of many dinosaurs known from the Santana Formation. It is interesting, however, that almost all the dinosaurs known from the Santana Formation are predatory dinosaurs.

Why does it matter?

In ecosystems, typically prey animals greatly outnumber predators. That carnivorous dinosaurs dominate in the Santana Formation is interesting and needs to be explained.

Why did I read this?

I was looking up information on Santanaraptor, and came across this. I thought it would provide some interesting background on what Santanaraptor really was.

What did I learn?

The authors concluded that the dinosaurs were preserved in shoreline deposits in an otherwise arid environment. It seems likely that carnivorous dinosaurs are concentrated in the Santana Formation because they may have been taking advantage of abundant fish and they might also have floated in after death.


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