Mexico’s Palaeontology is hard work… at all levels! The numerous but very fragmentary material has palaeontologists squabbling and scratching their heads as to what the myriad of fragments are. This time I have selected two new remarkable new discoveries: Claudia Serrano has just described fragments from a large Ornithomimosaur that she classifies as a Deinocheirid and called it Paraxenisaurus. If this is so, it is a revolutionary discovery, since no deinocheirid has been discovered in the American Continent. It makes sense though because we know that Tyrannosaurus ancestors most probably originated in Europe and went through to Asia to arrive in the Americas… but surely we can’t assume Paraxenisaurus is just-as Deinocheirus, with its many peculiarities, hump and strange skull. We need more evidence than just robust bits of legs and feet and other parts of the skeleton of this big ornithomimosaur (unfortunately no skull).
Nevertheless, as seen in the background of the picture, I depicted Paraxenisaurus as a large, really derived Deinocheirus-like ornithomimid (it might have also been a relative of Garudimimus or Beishalong) compared in size with a flock of other speculative ornithomimids “Saltillomimus”,(invalid genus) closely related to some of the many Mexico has produced., like Tototlmimus and others.
The other main protagonist is no other than Titanoceratops, a reasonably large ceratopsian with massive recurved horns… here in a mating ritual.
It is the role of the “paleo artist” to use the evidence and actually go beyond and start speculating. For a few professional palaeontologists and paleo-people, this may result in a cacophonous “noise” of species living in contradicting environments. For what we know, most of the species known from the north of Mexico are from the familiar Cretaceous fauna… most of the Ceratopsians are chasmosaurines Nasutoceratops-like; hadrosaurs are either lambeosaurid or Kritosaurus or Edmontosaurus-like and ornithomimimids include now Deinocheirus-like big ones! And not only that, many species across Mexico have Mexican peculiarities that suggest common ancestors, even with time-spans of millions of years in between them!
I have done two versions of this mural… the second includes an intruding Velafrons.
In reality, this artwork should be subdivided in at least three illustrations… but or the sake of art I have combined them in yet another possible Mexican palaeofauna tableau… You can call this a Covid19 work in process…subject to alterations, corrections and modifications in the future! This is what Paleoart is all about… a marriage between raw data and speculation… we risk it to see if it survives the final evidence tests!
Thank you Claudia Serrano Brañas, Angel Ramírez and Ruben Molina for expert feedback and headaches!
For more information read Claudia Serrano’s new paper on Paraxenisaurus.