Reconstruction of the Armuña Site (Campanian, Spain).

Vanished Forests gets it’s first blog entry and paleoartistic reconstruction. Today’s subject is the Campanian (Upper Cretaceous) site of Armuña at the Province of Segovia, a region in central Spain. The site was relatively unknown to the scientific community until the last years.

dscn3230
The landscape near the Village of Armuña. Note the cretaceous carbonates.

The Armuña site has yielded fossil bones, teeth and scales from actinopterygii fishes, turtles, crocodilians, lizards, mosasaurs, ornithischians, sauropods and theropods. However, the genus of most of them remains unknown. The fossils are scarce, often damaged, and never found showing anatomical connection. The site is found within the sands of the Vegas de Matute Formation, a unit composed of sandstones, clays and silts. It’s interpreted as fluvial deposits with some degree of marine influence. If anyone wants more taxonomic or geological info you can find it at Perez-García et al., 2015.

With this information at hand I reconstructed a little Campanian scene showing the shore of a river which would empty into the Tethys Ocean.

armuna
Paleontological reconstruction of the Campanian of Armuña, Segovia.

There is little info about the paleobotanical context, so the flora is restricted to the background of the picture and composed of some generic conifers, cykas and ferns. I promise more detailed flora in the future.

The main subjects here are the dinosaurs. At the left we have a family of little (~6 m long) ornithischians. Most of the studies agree that they likely belong to the genus Rhabdodon, found frequently at the late Cretaceous sites of Europe.

A family of titanosaur sauropods comes into picture from the right. They are bigger than the Rhabdodons, but small compared to the average sauropod. There is no consensus on the genus of these animals but they show similarities with Lirainosaurus. Note the osteoderms and spikes on the backs.

Additionally, you can find a few turtles and a crocodile minding their own business in the lower frame. You can also see a couple of pterosaurs flying far away. I must point that there is no description of pterosaur fossils from the Armuña site, they are there to add dynamism to the picture. Or something like that.

Missing from this picture, but present on the site, are the theropod and the mosasaur. The theropod doesn’t have a genus but seems related to Arcovenator (an abelisaurid theropod from France). The mosasaur is, as you probably know, a marine reptile, so it’s remains probably ended up in the site during one of the sea-influence episodes or by necrokinetic transport. Who knows? I want to make another reconstruction showing those two together.

Hope you like it.

Sources

Hernández, E. C., Sanz, J. L., Ortega, F., & Escaso, F. (2007). Restos de dinosaurios del Cretácico superior de Armuña (Segovia). In Cantera Paleontológica (pp. 133-142). Diputación Provincial de Cuenca Cuenca, Spain.

Pérez-García, A., Ortega, F., Bolet, A., Escaso, F., Houssaye, A., Martínez-Salanova, C. de Miguel Chaves, P. Mocho, I. Narvaez, M. Segura, A. Torices, D. Vidal & J.L. Sanz. (2016). A review of the upper Campanian vertebrate site of Armuña (Segovia Province, Spain). Cretaceous Research, 57, 591-623.

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