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Siats is an extinct genus of large neovenatorid theropod dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah, US. It contains a single species, Siats meekerorum. S. meekerorum is the first neovenatorid discovered in North America and represents the geologically youngest allosauroid yet discovered from the continent.

DiscoveryEdit

Siats was first described and named by Lindsay E. Zanno and Peter J. Makovicky in 2013 and the type species is Siats meekerorum. The generic name is derived from the name of Siats, a man-eating monster in the Ute mythology.[1] The specific name meekerorum honours the late geologist John Caldwell Meeker who bequeathed a fund for the support of paleontological research, his widow Withrow Meeker and their daughter Lis Meeker, one of the volunteers in the research project.[1]

Siats is known from the holotype FMNH PR 2716, a partial postcranial skeleton housed at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. FMNH PR 2716 consists of five dorsal and eight caudal vertebrae, a chevron, partial right ilium, ischium and fibula, a partial left tibia, and several right and left pedal phalanges.[1] FMNH PR 2716 was discovered by Lindsay Zanno, as a part of a 2008 expedition of the Field Museum led by Peter Makovicky.[2] It was collected between 2008 and 2010 from the Mussentuchit Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation, in Emery County of Utah, dating to the early Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, approximately 98.5 million years ago. FMNH PR 2716 is the first specimen referable to the Neovenatoridae discovered in North America and represents the geologically youngest allosauroid yet discovered from the continent.

DescriptionEdit

The holotype came from a single immature individual, based on the incomplete fusion of neural arches to their centra in the vertebral column. Siats is characterized by seven diagnostic, including four autapomorphic (i.e. unique), traits. Its autapomorphies include the subtriangular cross section of the distal caudal vertebrae, elongated centrodiapophyseal laminae lacking noticeable infradiapophyseal fossae on the proximal caudals, a transversely concaved acetabular rim of iliac pubic peduncle, and the presence of a notch on the end of the truncated lateral brevis shelf. Other notable traits include the broad neural spines on the dorsal vertebrae.[1]

Siats represents the third largest theropod from North America, after Acrocanthosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. It has been suggested that this individual would have been about nine meters (30 ft) in length and weighing roughly 2.5 metric tons. However, a full grown Siats would have grown about as long as the earlier carcharodontosaurid Acrocanthosaurus, measuring about 12 meters (40 ft) in length and nearly 4 metric tons in weight.[3] The discovery of this neovenatorid also reveals that allosauroids did not yield dominance in North America to tyrannosauroids until the late Cretaceous.

PhylogenyEdit

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