Villar del Arzobispo Formation

The Villar del Arzobispo Formation is a Late Jurassic to possibly Early Cretaceous geologic formation in eastern Spain. It is equivalent in age to the Lourinhã Formation of Portugal. It was originally thought to date from the Late Tithonian-Middle Berriasian, but more recent work suggests a Kimmeridigan-Late Tithonian, possibly dating to the Early Berriasian in some areas. The Villar del Arzobispo Formation's age in the area of Riodeva in Spain has been dated based on stratigraphic correlations as middle-upper Tithonian, approximately 145-141 million years old. In the area of Galve, the formation potentially dates into the earliest Cretaceous.[1]

Villar del Arzobispo Formation
Stratigraphic range: Kimmeridgian-early Berriasian?
TypeGeological formation
UnderliesAguilar del Alfambra Formation
OverliesOolitic limestones of the Higuerueles Formation
ThicknessGreatly variable;108–1,383 m (354–4,537 ft)
OtherLimestone, sandstone, conglomerate
Coordinates40°30′N 0°48′W / 40.5°N 0.8°W / 40.5; -0.8Coordinates: 40°30′N 0°48′W / 40.5°N 0.8°W / 40.5; -0.8
Approximate paleocoordinates31°24′N 8°36′E / 31.4°N 8.6°E / 31.4; 8.6
RegionAragón, Teruel, Valencia
Country Spain
ExtentMaestrazgo Basin
Type section
Named forVillar del Arzobispo
Villar del Arzobispo Formation is located in Spain
Villar del Arzobispo Formation
Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Spain)

Most of the unit consists of siliciclastic mudstone, however the lower portion of the formation is dominated by bioclastic, oolitic and peloidal limestone, while channelized sandstone and conglomerate is found in the middle portion of the unit. While the lower part of the formation was deposited in an inner carbonate platform, the upward gradation into mudstone in the middle and upper portions of the formation represents a change in depositional environment to paralic and alluvial plain conditions.[2]

Dinosaur remains are found throughout the unit, but are more abundant and better preserved in the terrestrially deposited middle-upper sections. Remains of the stegosaurid Dacentrurus were recovered in the Barranco Conejero locality in this formation.[3] Over the years, other stegosaurian remains have been discovered in this formation, but none have yet been referred to a specific genus.[4] Turiasaurs and brachiosaurids are also known from the formation. The formation is also well known for its fossil footprints, representing many different taxa.

Fossil contentEdit

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Dinosaurs of the Villar del Arzobispo Formation
Taxon Species Localities Material Notes Images
Allosauridae[5] Indeterminate Barrihonda-El Humero 5 teeth Typical allosaurid teeth.
Aragosaurus[6] A. ischiaticus Las Zabacheras partial postcranial skeleton A basal macronarian previously thought to come from the El Castellar Formation.
aff. Camptosaurus[7] C. sp. Fuentecillas fragmentary remains: an anterior cervical centrum; an anterior dorsal centrum; a dorsosacral centrum; four sacral centra; a caudosacral centrum; two anterior caudal centra; three medial caudal centra; and a distal fragment from the left humerus An ornithopod. The Fuentecillas specimen is seen to be closer to Camptosaurus than to Draconyx, hence its tentative placement within the Camptosaurus genus.
aff. Dacentrurus[8][3] D. sp
  • Barrihonda–El Humero
  • Barranco Conejero
  • El Romeral
  • La Quineta 2
  • Prado de las Arenas
several different elements Similar to Dacentrurus and Miragaia.
Dacentrurinae[9] Indeterminate
  • Barranco del Curro
  • El Balsón
two partial skeletons Cannot be compared with Miragaia.
Deltapodus[8] D. ibericus El Castellar trackway on tidal limestone Belongs to a large stegosaur, possibly related to Dacentrurus.
Diplodocidae[10] Indeterminate Pino de Jarque 2 ilium Similar to Diplodocus and Barosaurus.
Diplodocinae[10] Indeterminate El Carrillejo anterior caudal vertebra
Dromaeosauridae[5] Indeterminate
  • Barrihonda-El Humero
  • Puntal de Santa Cruz
7 teeth Possibly belonging to a velociraptorine.
Galvesaurus[11] G. herreroi Cuesta Lonsal-1 partial skeleton Was once thought to be a turiasaur or basal macronarian, but now known to be a brachiosaurid.
Iberosauripus[12] I. grandis El Castellar trackway Likely belonged to a megalosaurid.
Losillasaurus[13] L. giganteus
  • La Cañada
  • San Lorenzo
caudal vertebrae, and two partial skeletons A large turiasaur closely related to Turiasaurus.
Macronaria[10] Indeterminate
  • La Quineta 1
  • Las Viñas
  • San Lorenzo
caudal vertebrae
Megalosauridae[5][12] Indeterminate
  • Carretera
  • La Fonseca
  • Masía de la Hoya Alta
  • RD-39
teeth Tentatively referred to the Megalosauridae. Some of the largest theropod teeth of Spain.
Turiasaurus[14][13] T. riodevensis
  • Barrihonda–El Humero
  • Corral de la Cautiva
several postcranial and cranial elements A large turiasaur, similar to Losillasaurus.
Turiasauria[10] Indeterminate Puntal de Santa Cruz several postcranial elements Indeterminate turiasaur material originally referred to Turiasaurus, but does not share any unique features with the genus[15]
Turtles of the Villar del Arzobispo Formation
Taxon Species Localities Material Notes Images
Riodevemys R. inumbragigas Barrihonda–El Humero A pleurosternid freshwater turtle


Early Cretaceous stratigraphy of Iberia
Ma Age Paleomap \ Basins Cantabrian Olanyà Cameros Maestrazgo Oliete Galve Morella South Iberian Pre-betic Lusitanian
100 Cenomanian La Cabana Sopeira Utrillas Mosquerela Caranguejeira
Altamira Utrillas
125 Albian Ullaga - Balmaseda Lluçà Traiguera
Monte Grande Escucha Escucha Jijona
Itxina - Miono
Aptian Valmaseda - Tellamendi Ol Gp. - Castrillo Benassal Benassal Olhos
Font En Gp. - Leza Morella/Oliete Oliete Villaroya Morella Capas
Patrocinio - Ernaga Senyús En Gp. - Jubela Forcall Villaroya Upper
Barremian Vega de Pas Cabó Abejar Xert Alacón Xert Huérguina Assises
Prada Artoles Collado Moutonianum Papo Seco
Rúbies Tera Gp. - Golmayo Alacón/Blesa Blesa Camarillas Mirambel
150 Hauterivian   Ur Gp. - Pinilla Llacova Castellar Tera Gp. - Pinilla Villares Porto da
Huerva Gaita
Valanginian Villaro Ur Gp. - Larriba Ped Gp. - Hortigüela
Ped Gp. - Hortigüela Ped Gp. - Piedrahita
Peñacoba Galve Miravetes
Berriasian   Cab Gp. - Arcera Valdeprado hiatus Alfambra
TdL Gp. - Rupelo Arzobispo hiatus Tollo
On Gp. - Huérteles
Sierra Matute
Tithonian Lastres Tera Gp. - Magaña Higuereles Tera Gp. - Magaña Lourinhã
Legend Major fossiliferous, oofossiliferous, ichnofossiliferous, coproliferous, minor formation

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Campos-Soto, Sonia; Benito, M. Isabel; Cobos, Alberto; Caus, Esmeralda; Quijada, I. Emma; Suarez-Gonzalez, Pablo; Mas, Ramón; Royo-Torres, Rafael; Alcalá, Luis (2019-05-03). "Revisiting the age and palaeoenvironments of the Upper Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous? dinosaur-bearing sedimentary record of eastern Spain: implications for Iberian palaeogeography". Journal of Iberian Geology. 45 (3): 471–510. doi:10.1007/s41513-019-00106-y. hdl:10651/52154. ISSN 1698-6180. S2CID 155353782.
  2. ^ Campos-Soto, Sonia; Cobos, Alberto; Caus, Esmeralda; Benito, M. Isabel; Fernández-Labrador, Laura; Suarez-Gonzalez, Pablo; Quijada, I. Emma; Mas, Ramón; Royo-Torres, Rafael; Alcalá, Luis (November 2017). "Jurassic Coastal Park: A great diversity of palaeoenvironments for the dinosaurs of the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Teruel, eastern Spain)". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 485: 154–177. Bibcode:2017PPP...485..154C. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.06.010.
  3. ^ a b Periáñez, Alberto Cobos; Gascó, Francisco (2013). "New vertebral remains of the stegosaurian dinosaur Dacentrurus from Riodeva (Teruel, Spain)". Geogaceta (53): 17–20. ISSN 0213-683X.
  4. ^ Weishampel, et al. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution." Pp. 517-607.
  5. ^ a b c Gascó, Francisco; Cobos, Alberto; Royo-Torres, Rafael; Mampel, Luis; Alcalá, Luis (2012-05-09). "Theropod teeth diversity from the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Tithonian–Berriasian) at Riodeva (Teruel, Spain)". Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments. 92 (2): 273–285. doi:10.1007/s12549-012-0079-3. ISSN 1867-1594. S2CID 129930988.
  6. ^ Royo-Torres, Rafael; Upchurch, Paul; Mannion, Philip D.; Mas, Ramón; Cobos, Alberto; Gascó, Francisco; Alcalá, Luis; Sanz, José Luis (2014-07-01). "The anatomy, phylogenetic relationships, and stratigraphic position of the Tithonian-Berriasian Spanish sauropod dinosaur Aragosaurus ischiaticus". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 171 (3): 623–655. doi:10.1111/zoj.12144. ISSN 0024-4082.
  7. ^ Sánchez-Fenollosa, S.; Verdú, F. J.; Suñer, M.; de Santisteban, C. (2022-01-08). "Tracing Late Jurassic ornithopod diversity in the eastern Iberian Peninsula: Camptosaurus-like postcranial remains from Alpuente (Valencia, Spain)". Journal of Iberian Geology. 48: 65–78. doi:10.1007/s41513-021-00182-z. ISSN 1698-6180. S2CID 245804125.
  8. ^ a b Cobos, Alberto; Royo-Torres, Rafael; Luque, Luis; Alcalá, Luis; Mampel, Luis (2010-07-01). "An Iberian stegosaurs paradise: The Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Tithonian–Berriasian) in Teruel (Spain)". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 293 (1): 223–236. Bibcode:2010PPP...293..223C. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.05.024. ISSN 0031-0182.
  9. ^ Company, J.; Pereda Suberbiola, X.; Ruiz-omeñaca, J.I. (2010). "New stegosaurian (Ornithischia, Thyreophora) remains from Jurassic-Cretaceous transition beds of Valencia province (Southwestern Iberian Range, Spain)". Journal of Iberian Geology. 36 (2): 243–252. doi:10.5209/rev_JIGE.2010.v36.n2.10. ISSN 1698-6180.
  10. ^ a b c d Royo‐Torres, Rafael; Cobos, Alberto; Luque, Luis; Aberasturi, Ainara; Espílez, Eduardo; Fierro, Ignacio; González, Ana; Mampel, Luis; Alcalá, Luis (2009). "High European sauropod dinosaur diversity during Jurassic–Cretaceous transition in Riodeva (Teruel, Spain)". Palaeontology. 52 (5): 1009–1027. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2009.00898.x. ISSN 1475-4983.
  11. ^ Pérez-Pueyo, M.; Moreno-Azanza, M.; Barco, J.L.; Canudo, J.I. (2019). "New contributions to the phylogenetic position of the sauropod Galvesaurus herreroi from the late Kimmeridgian-early Tithonian (Jurassic) of Teruel (Spain)" (PDF). Boletín Geológico y Minero. 130 (3): 375–392. doi:10.21701/bolgeomin.130.3.001.
  12. ^ a b Cobos, Alberto; Lockley, Martin G.; Gascó, Francisco; Royo–Torres, Rafael; Alcalá, Luis (April 2014). "Megatheropods as apex predators in the typically Jurassic ecosystems of the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Iberian Range, Spain)". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 399: 31–41. Bibcode:2014PPP...399...31C. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.02.008. ISSN 0031-0182.
  13. ^ a b Royo-Torres, Rafael; Cobos, Alberto; Mocho, Pedro; Alcalá, Luis (2021-01-01). "Origin and evolution of turiasaur dinosaurs set by means of a new 'rosetta' specimen from Spain". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 191 (1): 201–227. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa091. ISSN 0024-4082.
  14. ^ Royo-Torres, Rafael; Cobos, Alberto; Alcalá, Luis (2006-12-22). "A Giant European Dinosaur and a New Sauropod Clade" (PDF). Science. 314 (5807): 1925–1927. Bibcode:2006Sci...314.1925R. doi:10.1126/science.1132885. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17185599. S2CID 9343711.
  15. ^ Mannion, Philip D; Upchurch, Paul; Schwarz, Daniela; Wings, Oliver (2019-02-27). "Taxonomic affinities of the putative titanosaurs from the Late Jurassic Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania: phylogenetic and biogeographic implications for eusauropod dinosaur evolution". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 185 (3): 784–909. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zly068. ISSN 0024-4082.

Further readingEdit

  • L. Alcalá, A. Cobos, E. Espilez, F. Gascó, L. Mampel, C. M. Escorza, and R. Royo-Torres. 2012. Icnitas de dinosaurios en la Formación Villar del Arzobispo de Ababuj (Teruel, España) [Dinosaur footprints from the Villar del Arzobispo Formation in Ababuj (Teruel, Spain)]. Geogaceta 51:35-38
  • J. L. Barco. 2005. Estudio y comparación del esqueleto axial de un saurópodo (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha) procedente de la Formación Villar del Arzobispo (Titónico-Berriasiense) de Galve, Teruel [Study and comparison of the axial skeleton of a sauropod (Dinosauria, Sauropodomorpha) from the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Tithonian-Berriasian) of Galve, Teruel]. Treballs del Museu de Geología de Barcelona 13:15-59
  • J. L. Barco, J. I. Canudo, J. I. Ruiz-Omeñaca and R. Royo-Torres. 1999. Bones, teeth and tracks: about sauropod dinosaur remains from Aragón (northeastern Spain). In J. I. Canudo & G. Cuenca-Bescós (eds.), IV European Workshop on Vertebrate Paleontology, Albarracin, Spain. Universidad de Zaragoza 22-23
  • M. L. Casanovas-Cladellas, J. V. Santafé-Llopis, J. Pereda-Suberbiola and C. Santisteban-Bové. 1995. Presencia, por primera vez en España, de dinosaurios estegosaurios (Cretácico Inferior de Aldea de Losilla, Valencia) [Presence, for the first time in Spain, of stegosaurian dinosaurs (Lower Cretaceous of Aldea de Losilla, Valencia)]. Revista Española de Paleontología 10(1):83-89
  • A. Cobos and F. Gascó. 2013. New vertebral remains of the stegosaurian dinosaur Dacentrurus from Riodeva (Teruel, Spain). Geogaceta 53:17-20
  • A. Cobos, R. Royo-Torres, L. Alcalá and L. Mampel. 2010. An Iberian stegosaurs paradise: The Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Tithonian–Berriasian) in Teruel (Spain). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 293(1-2):223-236
  • F. Gascó, A. Cobos, R. Royo-Torres, L. Mampel, and L. Alcalá. 2012. Theropod teeth diversity from the Villar del Arzobispo Formation (Tithonian–Berriasian) at Riodeva (Teruel, Spain). Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments
  • R. Royo-Torres, A. Cobos, and L. Alcalá. 2008. Primeros restos directos de dinosaurios en la Sierra de Albarracín (Teruel) [First direct remains of dinosaurs in the Sierra de Albarracín (Teruel)]. In J. I. Ruiz-Omeñaca, L. Piñuela and J. C. García-Ramos (eds), XXIV Jornadas de la Sociedad Española de Paleontología, 15–18 October 2008, Museo del Jurásico de Asturias (MUJA), Colunga, Spain, Libro de Resúmenes 189-190
  • R. Royo-Torres, A. Cobos, A. Aberasturi, E. Espílez, I. Fierro, A. González, L. Luque, L. Mampel, and L. Alcalá. 2007. Riodeva sites (Teruel, Spain) shedding light to European sauropod phylogeny. Geogaceta 41:183-186
  • B. Sánchez-Hernández, M. J. Benton, and D. Naish. 2007. Dinosaurs and other fossil vertebrates from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous of the Galve area, NE Spain. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 249:180-215
  • C. d. Santisteban, B. Vila, and M. Suñer. 2007. Huellas de dinosaurios conservadas en materiales del cortejo transgresivo en cauces encajados. Jurásico superior y Cretácico inferior de Alpuente, Valencia [Dinosaur footprints preserved in deposits of the transgressive systems tract in incised valleys. Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous of Alpuente, Valencia ]. Geogaceta 42:79-82