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Sample records for early dinosaur trackmakers

  1. Dynamic locomotor capabilities revealed by early dinosaur trackmakers from southern Africa.

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    Jeffrey A Wilson

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: A new investigation of the sedimentology and ichnology of the Early Jurassic Moyeni tracksite in Lesotho, southern Africa has yielded new insights into the behavior and locomotor dynamics of early dinosaurs. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The tracksite is an ancient point bar preserving a heterogeneous substrate of varied consistency and inclination that includes a ripple-marked riverbed, a bar slope, and a stable algal-matted bar top surface. Several basal ornithischian dinosaurs and a single theropod dinosaur crossed its surface within days or perhaps weeks of one another, but responded to substrate heterogeneity differently. Whereas the theropod trackmaker accommodated sloping and slippery surfaces by gripping the substrate with its pedal claws, the basal ornithischian trackmakers adjusted to the terrain by changing between quadrupedal and bipedal stance, wide and narrow gauge limb support (abduction range = 31 degrees , and plantigrade and digitigrade foot posture. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The locomotor adjustments coincide with changes in substrate consistency along the trackway and appear to reflect 'real time' responses to a complex terrain. It is proposed that these responses foreshadow important locomotor transformations characterizing the later evolution of the two main dinosaur lineages. Ornithischians, which shifted from bipedal to quadrupedal posture at least three times in their evolutionary history, are shown to have been capable of adopting both postures early in their evolutionary history. The substrate-gripping behavior demonstrated by the early theropod, in turn, is consistent with the hypothesized function of pedal claws in bird ancestors.

  2. Sauropod and theropod dinosaur tracks from the Upper Cretaceous of Mendoza (Argentina): Trackmakers and anatomical evidences

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    González Riga, Bernardo Javier; Ortiz David, Leonardo Daniel; Tomaselli, María Belén; dos Anjos Candeiro, Carlos Roberto; Coria, Juan Pedro; Prámparo, Mercedes

    2015-08-01

    New findings of dinosaur ichnites from Agua del Choique section (Mendoza Province, Argentina) provides ichnological and anatomical information about the Cretaceous sauropods and theropods. Around 330 tracks distributed in six footprint levels were identified in this area, one of most important of South America. Two ichnocenoses are located in different paleoenvironmental contexts. In the Anacleto Formation (early Campanian) around 20 titanosaurian tracks were found in floodplain and ephemeral channel deposits. Herein, one pes track shows three claw impressions and this is congruent to two new titanosaur specimens recently discovered in Mendoza Province that have articulated and complete pedes. In this context, for the first time to titanosaurs, ichnological evidences are supported by skeletal elements. In the Loncoche Formation (late Campanian-early Maastrichtian) titanosaurian tracks of Titanopodus mendozensis are abundant (around 310 tracks) and were produced by titanosaurs that walked in a very wet substrate of tidally dominated deltas related with the first Atlantic transgression for northern Patagonia. In this facies association, three different trydactl tracks indicate the presence of small theropods (1-2 m long), expanding the knowledge about the faunistic components that lived in these marine marginal environments.

  3. What's New, Dinosaur?

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    Prime, Carol Spirkoff; Cox, Judy

    1987-01-01

    Activities and information relating to dinosaurs are presented, including: study of warm- and cold-blooded animals; research about recent dinosaur discoveries; track-making; studying and making fossils; and extinction theories. (CB)

  4. Dinosaur Extinction, Early Childhood Style

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    Murray, Mary; Valentine-Anand, Lesley

    2008-01-01

    Do dinosaurs have bellybuttons? This intriguing question launched a journey into inquiry science that captivated a class of four-year-olds for eight months. As students enjoyed dinosaur books, examined dinosaur artifacts, drew pictures, watched videos, and generally immersed themselves in all things dinosaur, the authors built a culture of…

  5. The origin and early radiation of dinosaurs

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    Brusatte, Stephen L.; Nesbitt, Sterling J.; Irmis, Randall B.; Butler, Richard J.; Benton, Michael J.; Norell, Mark A.

    2010-07-01

    Dinosaurs were remarkably successful during the Mesozoic and one subgroup, birds, remain an important component of modern ecosystems. Although the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous has been the subject of intense debate, comparatively little attention has been given to the origin and early evolution of dinosaurs during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic, one of the most important evolutionary radiations in earth history. Our understanding of this keystone event has dramatically changed over the past 25 years, thanks to an influx of new fossil discoveries, reinterpretations of long-ignored specimens, and quantitative macroevolutionary analyses that synthesize anatomical and geological data. Here we provide an overview of the first 50 million years of dinosaur history, with a focus on the large-scale patterns that characterize the ascent of dinosaurs from a small, almost marginal group of reptiles in the Late Triassic to the preeminent terrestrial vertebrates of the Jurassic and Cretaceous. We provide both a biological and geological background for early dinosaur history. Dinosaurs are deeply nested among the archosaurian reptiles, diagnosed by only a small number of characters, and are subdivided into a number of major lineages. The first unequivocal dinosaurs are known from the late Carnian of South America, but the presence of their sister group in the Middle Triassic implies that dinosaurs possibly originated much earlier. The three major dinosaur lineages, theropods, sauropodomorphs, and ornithischians, are all known from the Triassic, when continents were joined into the supercontinent Pangaea and global climates were hot and arid. Although many researchers have long suggested that dinosaurs outcompeted other reptile groups during the Triassic, we argue that the ascent of dinosaurs was more of a matter of contingency and opportunism. Dinosaurs were overshadowed in most Late Triassic ecosystems by crocodile-line archosaurs and

  6. The origin and early evolution of dinosaurs.

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    Langer, Max C; Ezcurra, Martin D; Bittencourt, Jonathas S; Novas, Fernando E

    2010-02-01

    The oldest unequivocal records of Dinosauria were unearthed from Late Triassic rocks (approximately 230 Ma) accumulated over extensional rift basins in southwestern Pangea. The better known of these are Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis, Pisanosaurus mertii, Eoraptor lunensis, and Panphagia protos from the Ischigualasto Formation, Argentina, and Staurikosaurus pricei and Saturnalia tupiniquim from the Santa Maria Formation, Brazil. No uncontroversial dinosaur body fossils are known from older strata, but the Middle Triassic origin of the lineage may be inferred from both the footprint record and its sister-group relation to Ladinian basal dinosauromorphs. These include the typical Marasuchus lilloensis, more basal forms such as Lagerpeton and Dromomeron, as well as silesaurids: a possibly monophyletic group composed of Mid-Late Triassic forms that may represent immediate sister taxa to dinosaurs. The first phylogenetic definition to fit the current understanding of Dinosauria as a node-based taxon solely composed of mutually exclusive Saurischia and Ornithischia was given as "all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of birds and Triceratops". Recent cladistic analyses of early dinosaurs agree that Pisanosaurus mertii is a basal ornithischian; that Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis and Staurikosaurus pricei belong in a monophyletic Herrerasauridae; that herrerasaurids, Eoraptor lunensis, and Guaibasaurus candelariensis are saurischians; that Saurischia includes two main groups, Sauropodomorpha and Theropoda; and that Saturnalia tupiniquim is a basal member of the sauropodomorph lineage. On the contrary, several aspects of basal dinosaur phylogeny remain controversial, including the position of herrerasaurids, E. lunensis, and G. candelariensis as basal theropods or basal saurischians, and the affinity and/or validity of more fragmentary taxa such as Agnosphitys cromhallensis, Alwalkeria maleriensis, Chindesaurus bryansmalli, Saltopus elginensis, and

  7. A palaeoequatorial ornithischian and new constraints on early dinosaur diversification.

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    Barrett, Paul M; Butler, Richard J; Mundil, Roland; Scheyer, Torsten M; Irmis, Randall B; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2014-09-22

    Current characterizations of early dinosaur evolution are incomplete: existing palaeobiological and phylogenetic scenarios are based on a fossil record dominated by saurischians and the implications of the early ornithischian record are often overlooked. Moreover, the timings of deep phylogenetic divergences within Dinosauria are poorly constrained owing to the absence of a rigorous chronostratigraphical framework for key Late Triassic-Early Jurassic localities. A new dinosaur from the earliest Jurassic of the Venezuelan Andes is the first basal ornithischian recovered from terrestrial deposits directly associated with a precise radioisotopic date and the first-named dinosaur from northern South America. It expands the early palaeogeographical range of Ornithischia to palaeoequatorial regions, an area sometimes thought to be devoid of early dinosaur taxa, and offers insights into early dinosaur growth rates, the evolution of sociality and the rapid tempo of the global dinosaur radiation following the end-Triassic mass extinction, helping to underscore the importance of the ornithischian record in broad-scale discussions of early dinosaur history.

  8. Early Jurassic sauropod tracks from the Yimen Forma tion of Panxi region, Southwest China:Ichnotaxonomy and potential trackmaker%中国西南攀西地区下侏罗统益门组蜥脚类足迹:分类学与潜在的造迹者

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邢立达; Lockley Martin G; 尤海鲁; 彭光照; 唐翔; 冉浩; 王涛; 胡健; PersonsⅣW Scott

    2016-01-01

    恐龙足迹和骨骼的记录往往出现在不同的地区。然而,一些地层显示了关系紧密的骨骼和足迹,它们都指向同一个来源。报道了来自四川省攀西地区会理县通安镇通保村下侏罗统益门组中上部的蜥脚类足迹(雷龙足迹Brontopodus),其地理和地层归属均与真蜥脚类的何氏通安龙极为接近。通保足迹与造迹者的关联是可能的,但目前还需要更多的证据。通保的雷龙足迹是攀西地区首次发现侏罗纪的蜥脚类足迹,这也表明,在早侏罗世,原始蜥脚类和基干蜥脚型类共存于中国西南地区。%Dinosaur track and bone records often occur at different locations. However, a few formations show a close correspon⁃dence between bones and tracks that correspond to likely trackmakers. In this paper, the authors report sauropod tracks ( Brontopodus) in very close geographic and stratigraphic proximity to the type locality of the eusauropod Tonganosaurus hei in the middle-upper parts of the Lower Jurassic Yimen Formation in Tongbao Village, Huili County, Panxi region of Sichuan Province. This Huili track-trackmaker correlation is possibly existent, but still needs more evidence to confirm. As the first Jurassic sauropod tracks found in the Panxi region, the Tongbao Brontopodus tracks have provided evidence indicating coexistence of primitive sauropod and basal sau⁃ropodomorphs in Southwest China during Early Jurassic.

  9. An Early Cretaceous heterodontosaurid dinosaur with filamentous integumentary structures.

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    Zheng, Xiao-Ting; You, Hai-Lu; Xu, Xing; Dong, Zhi-Ming

    2009-03-19

    Ornithischia is one of the two major groups of dinosaurs, with heterodontosauridae as one of its major clades. Heterodontosauridae is characterized by small, gracile bodies and a problematic phylogenetic position. Recent phylogenetic work indicates that it represents the most basal group of all well-known ornithischians. Previous heterodontosaurid records are mainly from the Early Jurassic period (205-190 million years ago) of Africa. Here we report a new heterodontosaurid, Tianyulong confuciusi gen. et sp. nov., from the Early Cretaceous period (144-99 million years ago) of western Liaoning Province, China. Tianyulong extends the geographical distribution of heterodontosaurids to Asia and confirms the clade's previously questionable temporal range extension into the Early Cretaceous period. More surprisingly, Tianyulong bears long, singular and unbranched filamentous integumentary (outer skin) structures. This represents the first confirmed report, to our knowledge, of filamentous integumentary structures in an ornithischian dinosaur.

  10. Dental histology of Coelophysis bauri and the evolution of tooth attachment tissues in early dinosaurs.

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    Fong, Raymond K M; LeBlanc, Aaron R H; Berman, David S; Reisz, Robert R

    2016-07-01

    Studies of dinosaur teeth have focused primarily on external crown morphology and thus, use shed or in situ tooth crowns, and are limited to the enamel and dentine dental tissues. As a result, the full suites of periodontal tissues that attach teeth to the jaws remain poorly documented, particularly in early dinosaurs. These tissues are an integral part of the tooth and thus essential to a more complete understanding of dental anatomy, development, and evolution in dinosaurs. To identify the tooth attachment tissues in early dinosaurs, histological thin sections were prepared from the maxilla and dentary of a partial skull of the early theropod Coelophysis bauri from the Upper Triassic (Rhaetian- 209-201 Ma) Whitaker Quarry, New Mexico, USA. As one of the phylogenetically and geologically oldest dinosaurs, it is an ideal candidate for examining dental tissues near the base of the dinosaurian clade. The teeth of C. bauri exhibited a fibrous tooth attachment in which the teeth possessed five tissues: enamel, dentine, cementum, periodontal ligament (PDL), and alveolar bone. Our findings, coupled with those of more recent studies of ornithischian teeth, indicate that a tripartite periodontium, similar to that of crocodilians and mammals, is the plesiomorphic condition for dinosaurs. The occurrence of a tripartite periodontium in dinosaurs adds to the growing consensus that the presence of these tissues is the plesiomorphic condition for the major amniote clades. Furthermore, this study establishes the relative timing of tissue development and growth directions of periodontal tissues and provides the first comparative framework for future studies of dinosaur periodontal development, tooth replacement, and histology. J. Morphol. 277:916-924, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Embryology of Early Jurassic dinosaur from China with evidence of preserved organic remains.

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    Reisz, Robert R; Huang, Timothy D; Roberts, Eric M; Peng, ShinRung; Sullivan, Corwin; Stein, Koen; LeBlanc, Aaron R H; Shieh, DarBin; Chang, RongSeng; Chiang, ChengCheng; Yang, Chuanwei; Zhong, Shiming

    2013-04-11

    Fossil dinosaur embryos are surprisingly rare, being almost entirely restricted to Upper Cretaceous strata that record the late stages of non-avian dinosaur evolution. Notable exceptions are the oldest known embryos from the Early Jurassic South African sauropodomorph Massospondylus and Late Jurassic embryos of a theropod from Portugal. The fact that dinosaur embryos are rare and typically enclosed in eggshells limits their availability for tissue and cellular level investigations of development. Consequently, little is known about growth patterns in dinosaur embryos, even though post-hatching ontogeny has been studied in several taxa. Here we report the discovery of an embryonic dinosaur bone bed from the Lower Jurassic of China, the oldest such occurrence in the fossil record. The embryos are similar in geological age to those of Massospondylus and are also assignable to a sauropodomorph dinosaur, probably Lufengosaurus. The preservation of numerous disarticulated skeletal elements and eggshells in this monotaxic bone bed, representing different stages of incubation and therefore derived from different nests, provides opportunities for new investigations of dinosaur embryology in a clade noted for gigantism. For example, comparisons among embryonic femora of different sizes and developmental stages reveal a consistently rapid rate of growth throughout development, possibly indicating that short incubation times were characteristic of sauropodomorphs. In addition, asymmetric radial growth of the femoral shaft and rapid expansion of the fourth trochanter suggest that embryonic muscle activation played an important role in the pre-hatching ontogeny of these dinosaurs. This discovery also provides the oldest evidence of in situ preservation of complex organic remains in a terrestrial vertebrate.

  12. Manus track preservation bias as a key factor for assessing trackmaker identity and quadrupedalism in basal ornithopods.

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    Diego Castanera

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The Las Cerradicas site (Tithonian-Berriasian, Teruel, Spain, preserves at least seventeen dinosaur trackways, some of them formerly attributed to quadrupedal ornithopods, sauropods and theropods. The exposure of new track evidence allows a more detailed interpretation of the controversial tridactyl trackways as well as the modes of locomotion and taxonomic affinities of the trackmakers. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Detailed stratigraphic analysis reveals four different levels where footprints have been preserved in different modes. Within the tridactyl trackways, manus tracks are mainly present in a specific horizon relative to surface tracks. The presence of manus tracks is interpreted as evidence of an ornithopod trackmaker. Cross-sections produced from photogrammetric digital models show different depths of the pes and manus, suggesting covariance in loading between the forelimbs and the hindlimbs. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Several features (digital pads, length/width ratio, claw marks of some ornithopod pes tracks from Las Cerradicas are reminiscent of theropod pedal morphology. This morphological convergence, combined with the shallow nature of the manus tracks, which reduces preservation potential, opens a new window into the interpretation of these tridactyl tracks. Thus, trackmaker assignations during the Jurassic-Cretaceous interval of purported theropod trackways may potentially represent ornithopods. Moreover, the Las Cerradicas trackways are further evidence for quadrupedalism among some basal small- to medium-sized ornithopods from this time interval.

  13. Embryos of an early Jurassic prosauropod dinosaur and their evolutionary significance.

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    Reisz, Robert R; Scott, Diane; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Evans, David C; Raath, Michael A

    2005-07-29

    Articulated embryos from the Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa are referable to the prosauropod Massospondylus carinatus and, together with other material, provide substantial insights into the ontogenetic development in this early dinosaur. The large forelimbs and head and the horizontally held neck indicate that the hatchlings were obligate quadrupeds. In contrast, adult Massospondylus were at least facultatively bipedal. This suggests that the quadrupedal gait of giant sauropods may have evolved by retardation of postnatal negative allometry of the forelimbs. Embryonic body proportions and an absence of well-developed teeth suggest that hatchlings of this dinosaur may have required parental care.

  14. Dinosaur tectonics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Graversen, Ole; Milàn, Jesper; B. Loope, David

    2007-01-01

    to crustal scale tectonics associated with plate tectonics and foreland fold-thrust belts. A structural analysis of the dinosaur tracks shows the timing and direction of the forces exercised on the substrate by the animal's foot during the stride. Based on the structural analysis, we establish a scenario...... of the undertrack. The total length of the tectonic disturbance created by the dinosaur is up to three times that of the original footprint. Early, near-surface cementation gave the substrate the rheological properties necessary for development of the observed structures....

  15. Hints of the early Jehol Biota: important dinosaur footprint assemblages from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary Tuchengzi Formation in Beijing, China.

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    Xing, Lida; Zhang, Jianping; Lockley, Martin G; McCrea, Richard T; Klein, Hendrik; Alcalá, Luis; Buckley, Lisa G; Burns, Michael E; Kümmell, Susanna B; He, Qing

    2015-01-01

    New reports of dinosaur tracksites in the Tuchengzi Formation in the newly established Yanqing Global Geopark, Beijing, China, support previous inferences that the track assemblages from this formation are saurischian-dominated. More specifically, the assemblages appear theropod-dominated, with the majority of well-preserved tracks conforming to the Grallator type (sensus lato), thus representing relatively small trackmakers. Such ichnofaunas supplement the skeletal record from this unit that lacks theropods thus far, proving a larger diversity of dinosaur faunas in that region. Sauropods are represented by medium to large sized and narrow and wide-gauge groups, respectively. The latter correspond with earlier discoveries of titanosauriform skeletons in the same unit. Previous records of ornithischian tracks cannot be positively confirmed. Purported occurrences are re-evaluated here, the trackways and imprints, except of a single possible specimen, re-assigned to theropods. Palecologically the Tuchengzi ichnofauna is characteristic of semi-arid fluvio-lacustrine inland basins with Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous deposits in northern China that all show assemblages with abundant theropod and sauropod tracks and minor components of ornithopod, pterosaur and bird tracks.

  16. Hints of the early Jehol Biota: important dinosaur footprint assemblages from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary Tuchengzi Formation in Beijing, China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lida Xing

    Full Text Available New reports of dinosaur tracksites in the Tuchengzi Formation in the newly established Yanqing Global Geopark, Beijing, China, support previous inferences that the track assemblages from this formation are saurischian-dominated. More specifically, the assemblages appear theropod-dominated, with the majority of well-preserved tracks conforming to the Grallator type (sensus lato, thus representing relatively small trackmakers. Such ichnofaunas supplement the skeletal record from this unit that lacks theropods thus far, proving a larger diversity of dinosaur faunas in that region. Sauropods are represented by medium to large sized and narrow and wide-gauge groups, respectively. The latter correspond with earlier discoveries of titanosauriform skeletons in the same unit. Previous records of ornithischian tracks cannot be positively confirmed. Purported occurrences are re-evaluated here, the trackways and imprints, except of a single possible specimen, re-assigned to theropods. Palecologically the Tuchengzi ichnofauna is characteristic of semi-arid fluvio-lacustrine inland basins with Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous deposits in northern China that all show assemblages with abundant theropod and sauropod tracks and minor components of ornithopod, pterosaur and bird tracks.

  17. Early crocodylomorph increases top tier predator diversity during rise of dinosaurs.

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    Zanno, Lindsay E; Drymala, Susan; Nesbitt, Sterling J; Schneider, Vincent P

    2015-03-19

    Triassic predatory guild evolution reflects a period of ecological flux spurred by the catastrophic end-Permian mass extinction and terminating with the global ecological dominance of dinosaurs in the early Jurassic. In responding to this dynamic ecospace, terrestrial predator diversity attained new levels, prompting unique trophic webs with a seeming overabundance of carnivorous taxa and the evolution of entirely new predatory clades. Key among these was Crocodylomorpha, the largest living reptiles and only one of two archosaurian lineages that survive to the present day. In contrast to their existing role as top, semi-aquatic predators, the earliest crocodylomorphs were generally small-bodied, terrestrial faunivores, occupying subsidiary (meso) predator roles. Here we describe Carnufex carolinensis a new, unexpectedly large-bodied taxon with a slender and ornamented skull from the Carnian Pekin Formation (~231 Ma), representing one of the oldest and earliest diverging crocodylomorphs described to date. Carnufex bridges a problematic gap in the early evolution of pseudosuchians by spanning key transitions in bauplan evolution and body mass near the origin of Crocodylomorpha. With a skull length of >50 cm, the new taxon documents a rare instance of crocodylomorphs ascending to top-tier predator guilds in the equatorial regions of Pangea prior to the dominance of dinosaurs.

  18. A Middle Jurassic abelisaurid from Patagonia and the early diversification of theropod dinosaurs.

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    Pol, Diego; Rauhut, Oliver W M

    2012-08-22

    Abelisaurids are a clade of large, bizarre predatory dinosaurs, most notable for their high, short skulls and extremely reduced forelimbs. They were common in Gondwana during the Cretaceous, but exceedingly rare in the Northern Hemisphere. The oldest definitive abelisaurids so far come from the late Early Cretaceous of South America and Africa, and the early evolutionary history of the clade is still poorly known. Here, we report a new abelisaurid from the Middle Jurassic of Patagonia, Eoabelisaurus mefi gen. et sp. nov., which predates the so far oldest known secure member of this lineage by more than 40 Myr. The almost complete skeleton reveals the earliest evolutionary stages of the distinctive features of abelisaurids, such as the modification of the forelimb, which started with a reduction of the distal elements. The find underlines the explosive radiation of theropod dinosaurs in the Middle Jurassic and indicates an unexpected diversity of ceratosaurs at that time. The apparent endemism of abelisauroids to southern Gondwana during Pangean times might be due to the presence of a large, central Gondwanan desert. This indicates that, apart from continent-scale geography, aspects such as regional geography and climate are important to reconstruct the biogeographical history of Mesozoic vertebrates.

  19. Intra-trackway morphological variations due to substrate consistency: the El Frontal dinosaur tracksite (Lower Cretaceous, Spain.

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    Novella L Razzolini

    Full Text Available An ichnological and sedimentological study of the El Frontal dinosaur tracksite (Early Cretaceous, Cameros basin, Soria, Spain highlights the pronounced intra-trackway variation found in track morphologies of four theropod trackways. Photogrammetric 3D digital models revealed various and distinct intra-trackway morphotypes, which reflect changes in footprint parameters such as the pace length, the track length, depth, and height of displacement rims. Sedimentological analyses suggest that the original substrate was non-homogenous due to lateral changes in adjoining microfacies. Multidata analyses indicate that morphological differences in these deep and shallow tracks represent a part of a continuum of track morphologies and geometries produced by a gradient of substrate consistencies across the site. This implies that the large range of track morphologies at this site resulted from similar trackmakers crossing variable facies. The trackways at the El Frontal site present an exemplary case of how track morphology, and consequently potential ichnotaxa, can vary, even when produced by a single trackmaker.

  20. First Dinosaur Tracks from the Arabian Peninsula

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    Schulp, Anne S.; Al-Wosabi, Mohammed; Stevens, Nancy J.

    2008-01-01

    Background The evolutionary history of Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrates from the Arabian Peninsula is virtually unknown. Despite vast exposures of rocky outcrops, only a handful of fossils have yet been described from the region. Here we report a multi-taxon dinosaur track assemblage near Madar village, 47 km north of Sana'a, Republic of Yemen. This represents the first dinosaur tracksite from the Arabian Peninsula, and the only multi-taxon dinosaur ichnosite in the Middle East. Methodology/Findings Measurements were taken directly from trackway impressions, following standard ichnological conventions. The presence of bipedal trackmakers is evidenced by a long series of pes imprints preserving smoothly rounded posterior margins, no evidence of a hallux, bluntly rounded digit tips and digital divarication angles characteristic of ornithopod dinosaurs. Nearby, eleven parallel quadrupedal trackways document a sauropod herd that included large and small individuals traveling together. Based on the morphology of manus impressions along with a narrow-gauged stance, the quadrupedal trackways were made by non-titanosauriform neosauropods. Additional isolated tracks and trackways of sauropod and ornithopod dinosaurs are preserved nearby. Conclusions/Significance Taken together, these discoveries present the most evocative window to date into the evolutionary history of dinosaurs of the Arabian Peninsula. Given the limited Mesozoic terrestrial record from the region, this discovery is of both temporal and geographic significance, and massive exposures of similarly-aged outcrops nearby offer great promise for future discoveries. PMID:18493306

  1. Dinosaur Day!

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    Nakamura, Sandra; Baptiste, H. Prentice

    2006-01-01

    In this article, the authors describe how they capitalized on their first-grade students' love of dinosaurs by hosting a fun-filled Dinosaur Day in their classroom. On Dinosaur Day, students rotated through four dinosaur-related learning stations that integrated science content with art, language arts, math, and history in a fun and time-efficient…

  2. Dinosaur Footprints of Early Cretaceous in Site 1, Yanguoxia, Yongjing Country, Gansu Province

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    @@After the report of dinosaur footprints in the Early Cretaceous in 2000 (Li et al., 2000), we followed to unearth, investigate and research the footprints with the support of National Natural Science Fundation and Stadholder Fund of Gansu Province. At present, there are ten track sites about 286 footprints within 2 km2 area in Yanguoxia, three of which are being unearthed. Among all the sites, the footprints are best preserved in Site 1, where 187 footprints are found and they are arranged into 17 trackways within about 600 m2 (Fig.1). In the site 2, 51 footprints in 17 trackways are found within the 80 m2. And 4 footprints in 2 trackways are preserved within 50 m2 of site 3. In other footprint sites, the number of footprints is different, ranging from 1 to 12.

  3. Paleobiology of Herbivorous Dinosaurs

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    Barrett, Paul M.

    2014-05-01

    Herbivorous dinosaurs were abundant, species-rich components of Late Triassic-Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems. Obligate high-fiber herbivory evolved independently on several occasions within Dinosauria, through the intermediary step of omnivory. Anatomical character complexes associated with this diet exhibit high levels of convergence and morphological disparity, and may have evolved by correlated progression. Dinosaur faunas changed markedly during the Mesozoic, from early faunas dominated by taxa with simple, uniform feeding mechanics to Cretaceous biomes including diverse sophisticated sympatric herbivores; the environmental and biological drivers causing these changes remain unclear. Isotopic, taphonomic, and anatomical evidence implies that niche partitioning reduced competition between sympatric herbivores, via morphological differentiation, dietary preferences, and habitat selection. Large body size in dinosaur herbivores is associated with low plant productivity, and gave these animals prominent roles as ecosystem engineers. Although dinosaur herbivores lived through several major events in floral evolution, there is currently no evidence for plant-dinosaur coevolutionary interactions.

  4. Bird-like anatomy, posture, and behavior revealed by an early jurassic theropod dinosaur resting trace

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    Milner, A.R.C.; Harris, J.D.; Lockley, M.G.; Kirkland, J.I.; Matthews, N.A.

    2009-01-01

    Background: Fossil tracks made by non-avian theropod dinosaurs commonly reflect the habitual bipedal stance retained in living birds. Only rarely-captured behaviors, such as crouching, might create impressions made by the hands. Such tracks provide valuable information concerning the often poorly understood functional morphology of the early theropod forelimb. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we describe a well-preserved theropod trackway in a Lower Jurassic (???198 millionyear- old) lacustrine beach sandstone in the Whitmore Point Member of the Moenave Formation in southwestern Utah. The trackway consists of prints of typical morphology, intermittent tail drags and, unusually, traces made by the animal resting on the substrate in a posture very similar to modern birds. The resting trace includes symmetrical pes impressions and well-defined impressions made by both hands, the tail, and the ischial callosity. Conclusions/Significance: The manus impressions corroborate that early theropods, like later birds, held their palms facing medially, in contrast to manus prints previously attributed to theropods that have forward-pointing digits. Both the symmetrical resting posture and the medially-facing palms therefore evolved by the Early Jurassic, much earlier in the theropod lineage than previously recognized, and may characterize all theropods.

  5. Bird-Like Anatomy, Posture, and Behavior Revealed by an Early Jurassic Theropod Dinosaur Resting Trace

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milner, Andrew R. C.; Harris, Jerald D.; Lockley, Martin G.; Kirkland, James I.; Matthews, Neffra A.

    2009-01-01

    Background Fossil tracks made by non-avian theropod dinosaurs commonly reflect the habitual bipedal stance retained in living birds. Only rarely-captured behaviors, such as crouching, might create impressions made by the hands. Such tracks provide valuable information concerning the often poorly understood functional morphology of the early theropod forelimb. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we describe a well-preserved theropod trackway in a Lower Jurassic (∼198 million-year-old) lacustrine beach sandstone in the Whitmore Point Member of the Moenave Formation in southwestern Utah. The trackway consists of prints of typical morphology, intermittent tail drags and, unusually, traces made by the animal resting on the substrate in a posture very similar to modern birds. The resting trace includes symmetrical pes impressions and well-defined impressions made by both hands, the tail, and the ischial callosity. Conclusions/Significance The manus impressions corroborate that early theropods, like later birds, held their palms facing medially, in contrast to manus prints previously attributed to theropods that have forward-pointing digits. Both the symmetrical resting posture and the medially-facing palms therefore evolved by the Early Jurassic, much earlier in the theropod lineage than previously recognized, and may characterize all theropods. PMID:19259260

  6. Bird-like anatomy, posture, and behavior revealed by an early jurassic theropod dinosaur resting trace.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew R C Milner

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Fossil tracks made by non-avian theropod dinosaurs commonly reflect the habitual bipedal stance retained in living birds. Only rarely-captured behaviors, such as crouching, might create impressions made by the hands. Such tracks provide valuable information concerning the often poorly understood functional morphology of the early theropod forelimb. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we describe a well-preserved theropod trackway in a Lower Jurassic ( approximately 198 million-year-old lacustrine beach sandstone in the Whitmore Point Member of the Moenave Formation in southwestern Utah. The trackway consists of prints of typical morphology, intermittent tail drags and, unusually, traces made by the animal resting on the substrate in a posture very similar to modern birds. The resting trace includes symmetrical pes impressions and well-defined impressions made by both hands, the tail, and the ischial callosity. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The manus impressions corroborate that early theropods, like later birds, held their palms facing medially, in contrast to manus prints previously attributed to theropods that have forward-pointing digits. Both the symmetrical resting posture and the medially-facing palms therefore evolved by the Early Jurassic, much earlier in the theropod lineage than previously recognized, and may characterize all theropods.

  7. The dinosaurs of Thailand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buffetaut, Eric; Suteethorn, Varavudh

    After more than ten years of Thai-French research, the Thai dinosaur record, from the continental rocks of the Khorat Plateau, is, to date, the best in Southeast Asia. The oldest evidence consists of footprints of small dinosaurs from the Middle to Late Jurassic Phra Wihan Formation. The most varied dinosaur assemblage hitherto found in Thailand comes from the Late Jurassic Sao Khua Formation; it is dominated by sauropods, but also includes various theropods. Large theropod footprints are known from the Early Cretaceous Phu Phan Formation. Theropods and the primitive ceratopsian Psittacosaurus occur in the Aptian-Albian Khok Kruat Formation.

  8. A Jurassic avialan dinosaur from China resolves the early phylogenetic history of birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godefroit, Pascal; Cau, Andrea; Dong-Yu, Hu; Escuillié, François; Wenhao, Wu; Dyke, Gareth

    2013-06-20

    The recent discovery of small paravian theropod dinosaurs with well-preserved feathers in the Middle-Late Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning Province (northeastern China) has challenged the pivotal position of Archaeopteryx, regarded from its discovery to be the most basal bird. Removing Archaeopteryx from the base of Avialae to nest within Deinonychosauria implies that typical bird flight, powered by the forelimbs only, either evolved at least twice, or was subsequently lost or modified in some deinonychosaurians. Here we describe the complete skeleton of a new paravian from the Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning Province, China. Including this new taxon in a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis for basal Paraves does the following: (1) it recovers it as the basal-most avialan; (2) it confirms the avialan status of Archaeopteryx; (3) it places Troodontidae as the sister-group to Avialae; (4) it supports a single origin of powered flight within Paraves; and (5) it implies that the early diversification of Paraves and Avialae took place in the Middle-Late Jurassic period.

  9. The precise temporal calibration of dinosaur origins

    OpenAIRE

    Marsicano, Claudia A.; Irmis, Randall B.; Mancuso, Adriana C.; Mundil, Roland; Chemale, Farid

    2015-01-01

    Many hypotheses have been put forth to explain the origin and early radiation of dinosaurs, but poor age constraints for constituent fossil assemblages make these scenarios difficult to test. Using precise radioisotopic ages, we demonstrate that the temporal gap between assemblages containing only dinosaur precursors and those with the first dinosaurs was 5–10 million years shorter than previously thought. Thus, these data suggest that the origin of dinosaurs was a relatively rapid evolutiona...

  10. Tunasniyoj, a dinosaur tracksite from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary of Bolivia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apesteguía, Sebastián; Gallina, Pablo A

    2011-03-01

    Here we report a superbly preserved and profusely represented five-ichnotaxa dinosaur track assemblage near Icla village, 100 km southeast of Sucre, Bolivia. As preserved in reddish Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary aeolian sandstones, this rich and uncommon assemblage is, additionally, the oldest dinosaur tracksite for Bolivia. Four trackmakers were identified in the area: three quadrupedal and one bipedal, all of them with tracks of around 35 cm in lenght. One of the quadrupedals is represented by no less than five adult individuals (ichnotaxon A), and four purported juveniles (ichnotaxon B) walking in association. The other two quadrupedals (ichnotaxa C and D) involve four trackways, and the last, the bipedal trackmaker (ichnotaxon E), is represented by one trackway. The five ichnotaxa represented in the "Palmar de Tunasniyoj" could be tentatively assigned to the following trackmakers: Ichnotaxa A and B are assigned to basal stegosaurians; ichnotaxon C to a basal tyreophoran, perhaps related to the ankylosaur lineage; ichnotaxon D to the Ankylosauria, and ichnotaxon E to Theropoda. The Tunasniyoj assemblage, the oldest dinosaur tracksite for Bolivia, includes the oldest known evidence assigned to ankylosaurs and stegosaurs for South America.

  11. Environment and ecology of East Asian dinosaurs during the Early Cretaceous inferred from stable oxygen and carbon isotopes in apatite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amiot, Romain; Wang, Xu; Zhou, Zhonghe; Wang, Xiaolin; Lécuyer, Christophe; Buffetaut, Eric; Fluteau, Frédéric; Ding, Zhongli; Kusuhashi, Nao; Mo, Jinyou; Philippe, Marc; Suteethorn, Varavudh; Wang, Yuanqing; Xu, Xing

    2015-02-01

    During the cold Late Barremian-Early Albian interval, terrestrial environments in East Asia were populated by rich and diverse vertebrate faunas characterized by a strong provincialism. The latitudinal gradient of temperature and the existence of geographic barriers likely accounted for some aspects of this heterogeneous distribution of faunas. Other factors, however, such as local environmental conditions and interactions within vertebrate communities, which could have influenced their distribution, have not yet been fully identified and understood. Therefore, new and published oxygen and carbon isotope compositions of apatite from Chinese and Thai reptiles (dinosaurs, crocodilians and turtles) have been analyzed and interpreted in terms of ecology, local air temperature and precipitation amounts. Differences in carbon and oxygen isotope compositions between various groups of sympatric plant-eating dinosaurs (sauropods, ornithopods and ceratopsians) indicate food resources partitioning among them most likely to avoid competition. Mid-latitude environments, where the Jehol Biota flourished, were submitted to cool temperate climatic conditions with Mean Air Temperature (MAT) of 10 ± 4 °C and Mean Annual Precipitations (MAP) of about 600 mm/yr compatible with the existence of forest environments. By contrast, sub-tropical regions, characterized by MAT of about 20-25 °C were either submitted to high amounts of seasonal precipitations (of about 1200 mm/yr in Thailand) or to significant aridity (MAP of about 400 mm/yr in South China). This difference in precipitation regime between Thailand and South China may be attributed to the occurrence of the Coastal Cordillera extending along the East margin of the South China block. These mountain ranges likely prevented humid air masses from the Pacific to penetrate some parts of South China, thus generating a "rain shadow effect". Mosaic environments characterizing East Asia during the Late Early Cretaceous may have acted

  12. Dinosaur lactation?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Else, Paul L

    2013-02-01

    Lactation is a process associated with mammals, yet a number of birds feed their newly hatched young on secretions analogous to the milk of mammals. These secretions are produced from various sections (crop organ, oesophageal lining and proventriculus) of the upper digestive tract and possess similar levels of fat and protein, as well as added carotenoids, antibodies and, in the case of pigeons and doves, epidermal growth factor. Parental care in avian species has been proposed to originate from dinosaurs. This study examines the possibility that some dinosaurs used secretory feeding to increase the rate of growth of their young, estimated to be similar to that of present day birds and mammals. Dinosaur 'lactation' could also have facilitated immune responses as well as extending parental protection as a result of feeding newly hatched young in nest environments. While the arguments for dinosaur lactation are somewhat generic, a case study for lactation in herbivorous site-nesting dinosaurs is presented. It is proposes that secretory feeding could have been used to bridge the gap between hatching and establishment of the normal diet in some dinosaurs.

  13. A New Basal Sauropod Dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Niger and the Early Evolution of Sauropoda

    Science.gov (United States)

    Remes, Kristian; Ortega, Francisco; Fierro, Ignacio; Joger, Ulrich; Kosma, Ralf; Marín Ferrer, José Manuel; Ide, Oumarou Amadou; Maga, Abdoulaye

    2009-01-01

    Background The early evolution of sauropod dinosaurs is poorly understood because of a highly incomplete fossil record. New discoveries of Early and Middle Jurassic sauropods have a great potential to lead to a better understanding of early sauropod evolution and to reevaluate the patterns of sauropod diversification. Principal Findings A new sauropod from the Middle Jurassic of Niger, Spinophorosaurus nigerensis n. gen. et sp., is the most complete basal sauropod currently known. The taxon shares many anatomical characters with Middle Jurassic East Asian sauropods, while it is strongly dissimilar to Lower and Middle Jurassic South American and Indian forms. A possible explanation for this pattern is a separation of Laurasian and South Gondwanan Middle Jurassic sauropod faunas by geographic barriers. Integration of phylogenetic analyses and paleogeographic data reveals congruence between early sauropod evolution and hypotheses about Jurassic paleoclimate and phytogeography. Conclusions Spinophorosaurus demonstrates that many putatively derived characters of Middle Jurassic East Asian sauropods are plesiomorphic for eusauropods, while South Gondwanan eusauropods may represent a specialized line. The anatomy of Spinophorosaurus indicates that key innovations in Jurassic sauropod evolution might have taken place in North Africa, an area close to the equator with summer-wet climate at that time. Jurassic climatic zones and phytogeography possibly controlled early sauropod diversification. PMID:19756139

  14. A new basal sauropod dinosaur from the middle Jurassic of Niger and the early evolution of sauropoda.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristian Remes

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The early evolution of sauropod dinosaurs is poorly understood because of a highly incomplete fossil record. New discoveries of Early and Middle Jurassic sauropods have a great potential to lead to a better understanding of early sauropod evolution and to reevaluate the patterns of sauropod diversification. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A new sauropod from the Middle Jurassic of Niger, Spinophorosaurus nigerensis n. gen. et sp., is the most complete basal sauropod currently known. The taxon shares many anatomical characters with Middle Jurassic East Asian sauropods, while it is strongly dissimilar to Lower and Middle Jurassic South American and Indian forms. A possible explanation for this pattern is a separation of Laurasian and South Gondwanan Middle Jurassic sauropod faunas by geographic barriers. Integration of phylogenetic analyses and paleogeographic data reveals congruence between early sauropod evolution and hypotheses about Jurassic paleoclimate and phytogeography. CONCLUSIONS: Spinophorosaurus demonstrates that many putatively derived characters of Middle Jurassic East Asian sauropods are plesiomorphic for eusauropods, while South Gondwanan eusauropods may represent a specialized line. The anatomy of Spinophorosaurus indicates that key innovations in Jurassic sauropod evolution might have taken place in North Africa, an area close to the equator with summer-wet climate at that time. Jurassic climatic zones and phytogeography possibly controlled early sauropod diversification.

  15. Footprints of large theropod dinosaurs and implications on the age of Triassic biotas from Southern Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    da Silva, Rafael Costa; Barboni, Ronaldo; Dutra, Tânia; Godoy, Michel Marques; Binotto, Raquel Barros

    2012-11-01

    Dinosaur footprints found in an outcrop of the Caturrita Formation (Rio Grande do Sul State, Southern Brazil), associated with a diverse and well preserved record of fauna and flora, reopen the debate about its exclusive Triassic age. The studied footprints were identified as Eubrontes isp. and are interpreted as having been produced by large theropod dinosaurs. The morphological characteristics and dimensions of the footprints are more derived than those commonly found in the Carnian-Norian, and are more consistent with those found during the Rhaetian-Jurassic. The trackmaker does not correspond to any type of dinosaur yet known from Triassic rocks of Brazil. Recent studies with the paleofloristic content of this unit also support a more advanced Rhaetian or even Jurassic age for this unit.

  16. Dinosaur biomechanics

    OpenAIRE

    Alexander, R. McNeill

    2006-01-01

    Biomechanics has made large contributions to dinosaur biology. It has enabled us to estimate both the speeds at which dinosaurs generally moved and the maximum speeds of which they may have been capable. It has told us about the range of postures they could have adopted, for locomotion and for feeding, and about the problems of blood circulation in sauropods with very long necks. It has made it possible to calculate the bite forces of predators such as Tyrannosaurus, and the stresses they imp...

  17. A primitive ornithischian dinosaur from the Late Triassic of South Africa, and the early evolution and diversification of Ornithischia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, Richard J; Smith, Roger M H; Norman, David B

    2007-08-22

    Although the group played an important role in the evolution of Late Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems, the early evolutionary history of the ornithischian dinosaurs remains poorly understood. Here, we report on a new primitive ornithischian, Eocursor parvus gen. et sp. nov. from the Late Triassic (?Norian) Lower Elliot Formation of South Africa. Eocursor is known from a single specimen comprising substantial cranial and postcranial material and represents the most complete Triassic member of Ornithischia, providing the earliest evidence for the acquisition of many key ornithischian postcranial characters, including an opisthopubic pelvis. A new phylogenetic analysis positions this taxon near the base of Ornithischia, as the sister taxon to the important and diverse clade Genasauria. The problematic clade Heterodontosauridae is also positioned basal to Genasauria, suggesting that an enlarged grasping manus may represent a plesiomorphic ornithischian condition. This analysis provides additional phylogenetic support for limited ornithischian diversity during the Late Triassic, and suggests that several major ornithischian clades may have originated later than generally believed. There are few morphological differences between Late Triassic and Early Jurassic ornithischians, supporting previous suggestions that the Early Jurassic ornithischian radiation may simply represent the filling of vacant ecological space following Late Triassic terrestrial extinctions.

  18. Dinosaur Dioramas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheinkman, Nancy

    2001-01-01

    Describes an art project for second-grade students where in over five class periods, they create fired clay dinosaur sculptures with dioramas as the background. States that this project, the culminating activity for a sculpture unit, teaches students many art terms and uses of different media. (CMK)

  19. The precise temporal calibration of dinosaur origins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marsicano, Claudia A.; Irmis, Randall B.; Mancuso, Adriana C.; Mundil, Roland; Chemale, Farid

    2016-01-01

    Dinosaurs have been major components of ecosystems for over 200 million years. Although different macroevolutionary scenarios exist to explain the Triassic origin and subsequent rise to dominance of dinosaurs and their closest relatives (dinosauromorphs), all lack critical support from a precise biostratigraphically independent temporal framework. The absence of robust geochronologic age control for comparing alternative scenarios makes it impossible to determine if observed faunal differences vary across time, space, or a combination of both. To better constrain the origin of dinosaurs, we produced radioisotopic ages for the Argentinian Chañares Formation, which preserves a quintessential assemblage of dinosaurian precursors (early dinosauromorphs) just before the first dinosaurs. Our new high-precision chemical abrasion thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-TIMS) U-Pb zircon ages reveal that the assemblage is early Carnian (early Late Triassic), 5- to 10-Ma younger than previously thought. Combined with other geochronologic data from the same basin, we constrain the rate of dinosaur origins, demonstrating their relatively rapid origin in a less than 5-Ma interval, thus halving the temporal gap between assemblages containing only dinosaur precursors and those with early dinosaurs. After their origin, dinosaurs only gradually dominated mid- to high-latitude terrestrial ecosystems millions of years later, closer to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

  20. The precise temporal calibration of dinosaur origins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marsicano, Claudia A; Irmis, Randall B; Mancuso, Adriana C; Mundil, Roland; Chemale, Farid

    2016-01-19

    Dinosaurs have been major components of ecosystems for over 200 million years. Although different macroevolutionary scenarios exist to explain the Triassic origin and subsequent rise to dominance of dinosaurs and their closest relatives (dinosauromorphs), all lack critical support from a precise biostratigraphically independent temporal framework. The absence of robust geochronologic age control for comparing alternative scenarios makes it impossible to determine if observed faunal differences vary across time, space, or a combination of both. To better constrain the origin of dinosaurs, we produced radioisotopic ages for the Argentinian Chañares Formation, which preserves a quintessential assemblage of dinosaurian precursors (early dinosauromorphs) just before the first dinosaurs. Our new high-precision chemical abrasion thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-TIMS) U-Pb zircon ages reveal that the assemblage is early Carnian (early Late Triassic), 5- to 10-Ma younger than previously thought. Combined with other geochronologic data from the same basin, we constrain the rate of dinosaur origins, demonstrating their relatively rapid origin in a less than 5-Ma interval, thus halving the temporal gap between assemblages containing only dinosaur precursors and those with early dinosaurs. After their origin, dinosaurs only gradually dominated mid- to high-latitude terrestrial ecosystems millions of years later, closer to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

  1. Cranial ontogenetic variation in early saurischians and the role of heterochrony in the diversification of predatory dinosaurs

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    Christian Foth

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Non-avian saurischian skulls underwent at least 165 million years of evolution and shapes varied from elongated skulls, such as in the theropod Coelophysis, to short and box-shaped skulls, such as in the sauropod Camarasaurus. A number of factors have long been considered to drive skull shape, including phylogeny, dietary preferences and functional constraints. However, heterochrony is increasingly being recognized as an important factor in dinosaur evolution. In order to quantitatively analyse the impact of heterochrony on saurischian skull shape, we analysed five ontogenetic trajectories using two-dimensional geometric morphometrics in a phylogenetic framework. This allowed for the comparative investigation of main ontogenetic shape changes and the evaluation of how heterochrony affected skull shape through both ontogenetic and phylogenetic trajectories. Using principal component analyses and multivariate regressions, it was possible to quantify different ontogenetic trajectories and evaluate them for evidence of heterochronic events allowing testing of previous hypotheses on cranial heterochrony in saurischians. We found that the skull shape of the hypothetical ancestor of Saurischia likely led to basal Sauropodomorpha through paedomorphosis, and to basal Theropoda mainly through peramorphosis. Paedomorphosis then led from Orionides to Avetheropoda, indicating that the paedomorphic trend found by previous authors in advanced coelurosaurs may extend back into the early evolution of Avetheropoda. Not only are changes in saurischian skull shape complex due to the large number of factors that affected it, but heterochrony itself is complex, with a number of possible reversals throughout non-avian saurischian evolution. In general, the sampling of complete ontogenetic trajectories including early juveniles is considerably lower than the sampling of single adult or subadult individuals, which is a major impediment to the study of heterochrony on

  2. Evidence of preserved collagen in an Early Jurassic sauropodomorph dinosaur revealed by synchrotron FTIR microspectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Yao-Chang; Chiang, Cheng-Cheng; Huang, Pei-Yu; Chung, Chao-Yu; Huang, Timothy D.; Wang, Chun-Chieh; Chen, Ching-Iue; Chang, Rong-Seng; Liao, Cheng-Hao; Reisz, Robert R.

    2017-01-01

    Fossilized organic remains are important sources of information because they provide a unique form of biological and evolutionary information, and have the long-term potential for genomic explorations. Here we report evidence of protein preservation in a terrestrial vertebrate found inside the vascular canals of a rib of a 195-million-year-old sauropodomorph dinosaur, where blood vessels and nerves would normally have been present in the living organism. The in situ synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) spectra exhibit the characteristic infrared absorption bands for amide A and B, amide I, II and III of collagen. Aggregated haematite particles (α-Fe2O3) about 6∼8 μm in diameter are also identified inside the vascular canals using confocal Raman microscopy, where the organic remains were preserved. We propose that these particles likely had a crucial role in the preservation of the proteins, and may be remnants partially contributed from haemoglobin and other iron-rich proteins from the original blood. PMID:28140389

  3. Dinosaur biomechanics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, R McNeill

    2006-08-07

    Biomechanics has made large contributions to dinosaur biology. It has enabled us to estimate both the speeds at which dinosaurs generally moved and the maximum speeds of which they may have been capable. It has told us about the range of postures they could have adopted, for locomotion and for feeding, and about the problems of blood circulation in sauropods with very long necks. It has made it possible to calculate the bite forces of predators such as Tyrannosaurus, and the stresses they imposed on its skull; and to work out the remarkable chewing mechanism of hadrosaurs. It has shown us how some dinosaurs may have produced sounds. It has enabled us to estimate the effectiveness of weapons such as the tail spines of Stegosaurus. In recent years, techniques such as computational tomography and finite element analysis, and advances in computer modelling, have brought new opportunities. Biomechanists should, however, be especially cautious in their work on animals known only as fossils. The lack of living specimens and even soft tissues oblige us to make many assumptions. It is important to be aware of the often wide ranges of uncertainty that result.

  4. REVIEW OF THE DINOSAUR RECORD FROM IRAN WITH THE DESCRIPTION OF NEW MATERIAL

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    ALEXANDER W. A. KELLNER

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available The dinosaur record from Iran includes footprints from the Liassic Ab-e-Haji Formation of Neizar Valley (Kerman Province, central-eastern Iran, a single footprint from the Javaherdeh Formation near Zerab (Alborz Mounts, NE Iran, and skeletal remains from the Late Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous Ravar Formation of the Ab Bid Syncline (Kerman Province. Contrary to previous identifications, no footprints from the Neizar Valley belong to ornithopods; they can all be referred to theropod trackmakers. The Zerab footprint, on which the ichnospecies Iranosauripus zerabensis is based, is an undiagnostic theropod footprint and probably was lost. The skeletal remains are represented by bone fragments and a tooth of a mid-sized theropod, which represent the first dinosaur osteological record in this part of the Middle East. The Ab Bid Syncline has a high potential for further future discoveries. 

  5. A new sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of Patagonia and the origin and evolution of the sauropod-type sacrum.

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    Diego Pol

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The origin of sauropod dinosaurs is one of the major landmarks of dinosaur evolution but is still poorly understood. This drastic transformation involved major skeletal modifications, including a shift from the small and gracile condition of primitive sauropodomorphs to the gigantic and quadrupedal condition of sauropods. Recent findings in the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic of Gondwana provide critical evidence to understand the origin and early evolution of sauropods. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A new sauropodomorph dinosaur, Leonerasaurus taquetrensis gen. et sp. nov., is described from the Las Leoneras Formation of Central Patagonia (Argentina. The new taxon is diagnosed by the presence of anterior unserrated teeth with a low spoon-shaped crown, amphicoelous and acamerate vertebral centra, four sacral vertebrae, and humeral deltopectoral crest low and medially deflected along its distal half. The phylogenetic analysis depicts Leonerasaurus as one of the closest outgroups of Sauropoda, being the sister taxon of a clade of large bodied taxa composed of Melanorosaurus and Sauropoda. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The dental and postcranial anatomy of Leonerasaurus supports its close affinities with basal sauropods. Despite the small size and plesiomorphic skeletal anatomy of Leonerasaurus, the four vertebrae that compose its sacrum resemble that of the large-bodied primitive sauropods. This shows that the appearance of the sauropod-type of sacrum predated the marked increase in body size that characterizes the origins of sauropods, rejecting a causal explanation and evolutionary linkage between this sacral configuration and body size. Alternative phylogenetic placements of Leonerasaurus as a basal anchisaurian imply a convergent acquisition of the sauropod-type sacrum in the new small-bodied taxon, also rejecting an evolutionary dependence of sacral configuration and body size in sauropodomorphs. This and other recent discoveries are

  6. The geographic and phylogenetic position of sauropod dinosaurs from the Kota formation (Early Jurassic) of India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gillette, David D.

    2003-03-01

    The earliest sauropods are the Late Triassic Isanosaurus from Thailand, the Early Jurassic Barapasaurus and Kotasaurus from the Kota Formation of the Pranhita-Godavari Basin of India and Vulcanodon from Zimbabwe, and a variety of Middle Jurassic genera from many localities in Gondwana and Laurasia except North America. These early sauropod genera are related, but their phylogenetic positions remain unresolved. Sauropods originated in Laurasia (Thailand and vicinity) or Pangea (broadly, Thailand, China, India), with at least three additional steps involving expansion and diversification through the Middle Jurassic.

  7. Oxygen isotopes of East Asian dinosaurs reveal exceptionally cold Early Cretaceous climates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amiot, Romain; Wang, Xu; Zhou, Zhonghe; Wang, Xiaolin; Buffetaut, Eric; Lécuyer, Christophe; Ding, Zhongli; Fluteau, Frédéric; Hibino, Tsuyoshi; Kusuhashi, Nao; Mo, Jinyou; Suteethorn, Varavudh; Wang, Yuanqing; Xu, Xing; Zhang, Fusong

    2011-03-29

    Early Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages from East Asia and particularly the Jehol Biota of northeastern China flourished during a period of highly debated climatic history. While the unique characters of these continental faunas have been the subject of various speculations about their biogeographic history, little attention has been paid to their possible climatic causes. Here we address this question using the oxygen isotope composition of apatite phosphate (δ ) from various reptile remains recovered from China, Thailand, and Japan. δ values indicate that cold terrestrial climates prevailed at least in this part of Asia during the Barremian-early Albian interval. Estimated mean air temperatures of about 10 ± 4 °C at midlatitudes (∼ 42 °N) correspond to present day cool temperate climatic conditions. Such low temperatures are in agreement with previous reports of cold marine temperatures during this part of the Early Cretaceous, as well as with the widespread occurrence of the temperate fossil wood genus Xenoxylon and the absence of thermophilic reptiles such as crocodilians in northeastern China. The unique character of the Jehol Biota is thus not only the result of its evolutionary and biogeographical history but is also due to rather cold local climatic conditions linked to the paleolatitudinal position of northeastern China and global icehouse climates that prevailed during this part of the Early Cretaceous.

  8. Brushing up on Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weisburd, Stefi

    1986-01-01

    Describes new methods of reconstruction of dinosaurs using skeletons, mummified skin, and muscle scars, along with clay and paint. Examines some inaccuracies in dinosaur's physical characteristics and behaviors suggested by recent findings. (TW)

  9. Insight on the anatomy, systematic relationships, and age of the Early Cretaceous ankylopollexian dinosaur Dakotadon lakotaensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyd, Clint A; Pagnac, Darrin C

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge regarding the early evolution within the dinosaurian clade Ankylopollexia drastically increased over the past two decades, in part because of an increase in described taxa from the Early Cretaceous of North America. These advances motivated the recent completion of extensive preparation and conservation work on the holotype and only known specimen of Dakotadon lakotaensis, a basal ankylopollexian from the Lakota Formation of South Dakota. That specimen (SDSM 8656) preserves a partial skull, lower jaws, a single dorsal vertebra, and two caudal vertebrae. That new preparation work exposed several bones not included in the original description and revealed that other bones were previously misidentified. The presence of extensive deformation in areas of the skull is also noted that influenced inaccuracies in prior descriptions and reconstructions of this taxon. In addition to providing an extensive re-description of D. lakotaensis, this study reviews previously proposed diagnoses for this taxon, identifies two autapomorphies, and provides an extensive differential diagnosis. Dakotadon lakotaensis is distinct from the only other ankylopollexian taxon known from the Lakota Formation, Osmakasaurus depressus, in the presence of two prominent, anteroposteriorly oriented ridges on the ventral surfaces of the caudal vertebrae, the only overlapping material preserved between these taxa. The systematic relationships of D. lakotaensis are evaluated using both the parsimony and posterior probability optimality criteria, with both sets of analyses recovering D. lakotaensis as a non-hadrosauriform ankylopollexian that is more closely related to taxa from the Early Cretaceous (e.g., Iguanacolossus, Hippodraco, and Theiophytalia) than to more basally situated taxa from the Jurassic (e.g., Camptosaurus, Uteodon). This taxonomic work is supplemented by field work that relocated the type locality, confirming its provenance from unit L2 (lower Fuson Member equivalent) of the

  10. Insight on the anatomy, systematic relationships, and age of the Early Cretaceous ankylopollexian dinosaur Dakotadon lakotaensis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clint A. Boyd

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Knowledge regarding the early evolution within the dinosaurian clade Ankylopollexia drastically increased over the past two decades, in part because of an increase in described taxa from the Early Cretaceous of North America. These advances motivated the recent completion of extensive preparation and conservation work on the holotype and only known specimen of Dakotadon lakotaensis, a basal ankylopollexian from the Lakota Formation of South Dakota. That specimen (SDSM 8656 preserves a partial skull, lower jaws, a single dorsal vertebra, and two caudal vertebrae. That new preparation work exposed several bones not included in the original description and revealed that other bones were previously misidentified. The presence of extensive deformation in areas of the skull is also noted that influenced inaccuracies in prior descriptions and reconstructions of this taxon. In addition to providing an extensive re-description of D. lakotaensis, this study reviews previously proposed diagnoses for this taxon, identifies two autapomorphies, and provides an extensive differential diagnosis. Dakotadon lakotaensis is distinct from the only other ankylopollexian taxon known from the Lakota Formation, Osmakasaurus depressus, in the presence of two prominent, anteroposteriorly oriented ridges on the ventral surfaces of the caudal vertebrae, the only overlapping material preserved between these taxa. The systematic relationships of D. lakotaensis are evaluated using both the parsimony and posterior probability optimality criteria, with both sets of analyses recovering D. lakotaensis as a non-hadrosauriform ankylopollexian that is more closely related to taxa from the Early Cretaceous (e.g., Iguanacolossus, Hippodraco, and Theiophytalia than to more basally situated taxa from the Jurassic (e.g., Camptosaurus, Uteodon. This taxonomic work is supplemented by field work that relocated the type locality, confirming its provenance from unit L2 (lower Fuson Member

  11. Dinosaur evolution. A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godefroit, Pascal; Sinitsa, Sofia M; Dhouailly, Danielle; Bolotsky, Yuri L; Sizov, Alexander V; McNamara, Maria E; Benton, Michael J; Spagna, Paul

    2014-07-25

    Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous deposits from northeastern China have yielded varied theropod dinosaurs bearing feathers. Filamentous integumentary structures have also been described in ornithischian dinosaurs, but whether these filaments can be regarded as part of the evolutionary lineage toward feathers remains controversial. Here we describe a new basal neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of Siberia with small scales around the distal hindlimb, larger imbricated scales around the tail, monofilaments around the head and the thorax, and more complex featherlike structures around the humerus, the femur, and the tibia. The discovery of these branched integumentary structures outside theropods suggests that featherlike structures coexisted with scales and were potentially widespread among the entire dinosaur clade; feathers may thus have been present in the earliest dinosaurs.

  12. The oldest dinosaur? A Middle Triassic dinosauriform from Tanzania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nesbitt, Sterling J; Barrett, Paul M; Werning, Sarah; Sidor, Christian A; Charig, Alan J

    2013-02-23

    The rise of dinosaurs was a major event in vertebrate history, but the timing of the origin and early diversification of the group remain poorly constrained. Here, we describe Nyasasaurus parringtoni gen. et sp. nov., which is identified as either the earliest known member of, or the sister-taxon to, Dinosauria. Nyasasaurus possesses a unique combination of dinosaur character states and an elevated growth rate similar to that of definitive early dinosaurs. It demonstrates that the initial dinosaur radiation occurred over a longer timescale than previously thought (possibly 15 Myr earlier), and that dinosaurs and their immediate relatives are better understood as part of a larger Middle Triassic archosauriform radiation. The African provenance of Nyasasaurus supports a southern Pangaean origin for Dinosauria.

  13. Discriminating between medium-sized Tridactyl Trackmakers: tracking Ornithopod tracks in the base of the Cretaceous (Berriasian, Spain.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diego Castanera

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Recent work on the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition of the Iberian Range (Spain has opened a new window onto the interpretation of the trackmakers of some medium-sized tridactyl tracks. The ichnotaxon Therangospodus oncalensis has been described in the Huérteles Formation (Berriasian and is one of the classical tracks from the area assigned to medium-sized theropods. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A review of the type locality of Therangospodus oncalensis (Fuentesalvo tracksite and other tracksites from the Huérteles Formation (Berriasian has yielded new information on the morphology, gait and trackmaker identity of the aforementioned ichnospecies. The new data suggest that the trackmaker is an ornithopod rather than a theropod on the basis of the length/width ratio, the anterior triangle length-width ratio, the short steps, the round to quadrangular heel pad impression and the probable manus impressions. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: T. oncalensis shows similarities with various tracks from the Berriasian of Europe assigned to Iguanodontipus. The ichnotaxonomical status of this ichnospecies is here considered as Iguanodontipus? oncalensis due to the current state of knowledge of the ichnotaxonomy of medium-sized ornithopod tracks. This reassessment of I? oncalensis also has two significant implications for the palaeoecology of the faunas during the deposition of the Huérteles Formation: 1- the high number and percentage of theropod tracks would be lower than previous papers have suggested. 2- the gregarious behaviour described in the type locality (Fuentesalvo would be among ornithopods instead of theropods.

  14. Piscivory in the feathered dinosaur Microraptor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xing, Lida; Persons, W Scott; Bell, Phil R; Xu, Xing; Zhang, Jianping; Miyashita, Tetsuto; Wang, Fengping; Currie, Philip J

    2013-08-01

    The largest specimen of the four-winged dromaeosaurid dinosaur Microraptor gui includes preserved gut contents. Previous reports of gut contents and considerations of functional morphology have indicated that Microraptor hunted in an arboreal environment. The new specimen demonstrates that this was not strictly the case, and offers unique insights into the ecology of nonavian dinosaurs early in the evolution of flight. The preserved gut contents are composed of teleost fish remains. Several morphological adaptations of Microraptor are identified as consistent with a partially piscivorous diet, including dentition with reduced serrations and forward projecting teeth on the anterior of the dentary. The feeding habits of Microraptor can now be understood better than that of any other carnivorous nonavian dinosaur, and Microraptor appears to have been an opportunistic and generalist feeder, able to exploit the most common prey in both the arboreal and aquatic microhabitats of the Early Cretaceous Jehol ecosystem.

  15. Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodward, Holly N; Rich, Thomas H; Chinsamy, Anusuya; Vickers-Rich, Patricia

    2011-01-01

    Analysis of bone microstructure in ornithopod and theropod dinosaurs from Victoria, Australia, documents ontogenetic changes, providing insight into the dinosaurs' successful habitation of Cretaceous Antarctic environments. Woven-fibered bone tissue in the smallest specimens indicates rapid growth rates during early ontogeny. Later ontogeny is marked by parallel-fibered tissue, suggesting reduced growth rates approaching skeletal maturity. Bone microstructure similarities between the ornithopods and theropods, including the presence of LAGs in each group, suggest there is no osteohistologic evidence supporting the hypothesis that polar theropods hibernated seasonally. Results instead suggest high-latitude dinosaurs had growth trajectories similar to their lower-latitude relatives and thus, rapid early ontogenetic growth and the cyclical suspensions of growth inherent in the theropod and ornithopod lineages enabled them to successfully exploit polar regions.

  16. Dinosaur physiology. Evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grady, John M; Enquist, Brian J; Dettweiler-Robinson, Eva; Wright, Natalie A; Smith, Felisa A

    2014-06-13

    Were dinosaurs ectotherms or fast-metabolizing endotherms whose activities were unconstrained by temperature? To date, some of the strongest evidence for endothermy comes from the rapid growth rates derived from the analysis of fossil bones. However, these studies are constrained by a lack of comparative data and an appropriate energetic framework. Here we compile data on ontogenetic growth for extant and fossil vertebrates, including all major dinosaur clades. Using a metabolic scaling approach, we find that growth and metabolic rates follow theoretical predictions across clades, although some groups deviate. Moreover, when the effects of size and temperature are considered, dinosaur metabolic rates were intermediate to those of endotherms and ectotherms and closest to those of extant mesotherms. Our results suggest that the modern dichotomy of endothermic versus ectothermic is overly simplistic.

  17. On Dinosaur Growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Gregory M.

    2014-05-01

    Despite nearly two centuries of investigation, a comprehensive understanding of dinosaur biology has proven intractable. The recent development of means to study tissue-level growth, age these animals, and make growth curves has revolutionized our knowledge of dinosaur lives. From such data it is now understood that dinosaurs grew both disruptively and determinately; that they rarely if ever exceeded a century in age; that they became giants through accelerated growth and dwarfed through truncated development; that they were likely endothermic, sexually matured like crocodiles, and showed survivorship like populations of large mammals; and that basal birds retained dinosaurian physiology.

  18. Dinosaurs of a Feather

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    David Hone

    2010-01-01

    @@ From the earliest days of paleontological research,the origin of birds was an area of special interest.Largely thanks to the work of Thomas Huxley and the discovery of Archaeopteryx,theropod dinosaurs(the large group of bipeds that contain all the carnivorous species)rapidly became the most likely candidate for the ancestor of birds.However,controversy over this idea raged for many decades,and while the evidence supporting the dinosaur theory grew,there remained one outstanding problem.Apart from Archaeopteryx,there were simply no fossils of dinosaurs with feathers.

  19. The first 50Myr of dinosaur evolution: macroevolutionary pattern and morphological disparity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Benton, Michael J; Ruta, Marcello; Lloyd, Graeme T

    2008-12-23

    The evolutionary radiation of dinosaurs in the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic was a pivotal event in the Earth's history but is poorly understood, as previous studies have focused on vague driving mechanisms and have not untangled different macroevolutionary components (origination, diversity, abundance and disparity). We calculate the morphological disparity (morphospace occupation) of dinosaurs throughout the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic and present new measures of taxonomic diversity. Crurotarsan archosaurs, the primary dinosaur 'competitors', were significantly more disparate than dinosaurs throughout the Triassic, but underwent a devastating extinction at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. However, dinosaur disparity showed only a slight non-significant increase after this event, arguing against the hypothesis of ecological release-driven morphospace expansion in the Early Jurassic. Instead, the main jump in dinosaur disparity occurred between the Carnian and Norian stages of the Triassic. Conversely, dinosaur diversity shows a steady increase over this time, and measures of diversification and faunal abundance indicate that the Early Jurassic was a key episode in dinosaur evolution. Thus, different aspects of the dinosaur radiation (diversity, disparity and abundance) were decoupled, and the overall macroevolutionary pattern of the first 50Myr of dinosaur evolution is more complex than often considered.

  20. Warm and Cool Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mannlein, Sally

    2001-01-01

    Presents an art activity in which first grade students draw dinosaurs in order to learn about the concept of warm and cool colors. Explains how the activity also helped the students learn about the concept of distance when drawing. (CMK)

  1. Dinosaur Reproduction and Parenting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horner, John R.

    Non-avian dinosaur reproductive and parenting behaviors were mostly similar to those of extant archosaurs. Non-avian dinosaurs were probably sexually dimorphic and some may have engaged in hierarchical rituals. Non-avian coelurosaurs (e.g. Troodontidae, Oviraptorosauria) had two active oviducts, each of which produced single eggs on a daily or greater time scale. The eggs of non-coelurosaurian dinosaurs (e.g. Ornithischia, Sauropoda) were incubated in soils, whereas the eggs of non-avian coelurosaurs (e.g. Troodon, Oviraptor) were incubated with a combination of soil and direct parental contact. Parental attention to the young was variable, ranging from protection from predators to possible parental feeding of nest-bound hatchlings. Semi-altricial hadrosaur hatchlings exited their respective nests near the time of their first linear doubling. Some reproductive behaviors, once thought exclusive to Aves, arose first in non-avian dinosaurs. The success of the Dinosauria may be related to reproductive strategies.

  2. Dinosaur Eggs and Babies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carpenter, Kenneth; Hirsch, Karl F.; Horner, John R.

    1996-01-01

    In the last couple of decades the study of dinosaur eggs and babies has proved to be one of the most exciting and profitable areas of dinosaur research. This is the first book solely devoted to this topic and reviews, in scientific detail, our present state of knowledge about this exciting area of palaeontology. Chapters in the book discuss all aspects of the science including the occurrence of eggs, nests and baby skeletons, descriptive osteology of juvenile skeletons, comparative histology of juvenile bone, analyses of eggs and egg shells, palaeoenvironments of nesting sites, nesting behaviour and developmental growth of baby dinosaurs. The volume will be an invaluable addition to the book collections of vertebrate palaeontologists and their graduate students.

  3. A basal dinosaur from the dawn of the dinosaur era in southwestern Pangaea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinez, Ricardo N; Sereno, Paul C; Alcober, Oscar A; Colombi, Carina E; Renne, Paul R; Montañez, Isabel P; Currie, Brian S

    2011-01-14

    Upper Triassic rocks in northwestern Argentina preserve the most complete record of dinosaurs before their rise to dominance in the Early Jurassic. Here, we describe a previously unidentified basal theropod, reassess its contemporary Eoraptor as a basal sauropodomorph, divide the faunal record of the Ischigualasto Formation with biozones, and bracket the formation with (40)Ar/(39)Ar ages. Some 230 million years ago in the Late Triassic (mid Carnian), the earliest dinosaurs were the dominant terrestrial carnivores and small herbivores in southwestern Pangaea. The extinction of nondinosaurian herbivores is sequential and is not linked to an increase in dinosaurian diversity, which weakens the predominant scenario for dinosaurian ascendancy as opportunistic replacement.

  4. Archaeopteryx: Dinosaur or Bird?

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    SONG Jianlan

    2011-01-01

    @@ An Archaeopteryx-like theropod dinosaur newly found from western Liaoning Province in northeastern China would make an unusual, if not unwelcome, gift for the 150th birthday of Archaeopteryx, the oldest bird as long-believed by paleontologists: Named as Xiaotingia zhengiis, the new species carries some critical traits suggesting that Archaeopteryx might have actually been a dinosaur.Naturally this breaking news stirred intense controversies.Was "The Oldest Bird" a bird? If not, what makes a bird? With these questions in mind, the author joined an exploration in search of "the real first bird" along with the paleontologists at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) under CAS.

  5. A Child Centered Approach to Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strader, William H.; Rinker, Catherine A.

    1989-01-01

    Describes a curriculum for teaching young children about dinosaurs. Activity topics included Diplodocus eggs, sorting dinosaurs, creating terrariums, and extinction. Describes the incorporation of dinosaur activities into other subject areas and resource materials. (RJC)

  6. Dinosaur tracks from the Jurassic Shemshak Group in the Central Alborz Mountains (Northern Iran)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbassi, Nasrollah; Madanipour, Saeed

    2014-04-01

    The Shemshak Group includes alternating layers of coal-bearing shale and siliciclastic sediments in the Baladeh area in the central Alborz Mountains of northern Iran. A diverse and abundant Jurassic dinosaur footprint assemblage is now recognized in the group, which is Toarcian to Bajocian in age in the northern Baladeh. This is the first report of a diverse dinosaur ichnoassemblage from Iran that includes the footprints of sauropods. These tracks can be assigned to three groups of trackmakers: theropods, ornithopods and sauropods. Those of theropods are typically tridactyl in shape, their trackways reflecting bipedal movement. Theropod footprints are very abundant in both northern and western Baladeh. The studied theropod tracks themselves are divided into three major dimensional groups. The medium sized footprints (footprint length, 11-15 cm) are abundant and have a stride length, digit and pace angles like the coelurosaurs footprints and trackway. Theropod footprints were identified as similar to Schizograllator otariensis, Talmontopus tersi and Wildeichnus isp. Ornithopod footprints are tridactyl with rounded and thick toes and belong to bipeds. Some didactyl imprints were also observed. Skin imprints were well preserved in these footprints. The ornithopod tracks resemble Jiayinosorupus johnsoni, as well as Velociraptorichnus sichuanensis for didactyl footprints. Sauropod footprints found in the western part of Baladeh are assigned here to Eosauropus isp., which are pentadactyl pes imprints of a quadruped. The assemblage from Iran resembles similar associations from eastern Asia.

  7. Late Albian dinosaur tracks from the cratonic (eastern) margin of the Western Interior Seaway, Nebraska, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joeckel, R.M.; Cunningham, J.M.; Corner, R.G.; Brown, G.W.; Phillips, P.L.; Ludvigson, Greg A.

    2004-01-01

    At least 22 tridactyl dinosaur tracks, poorly preserved in various degrees of expression, have recently been found at an exposure in the Dakota Formation (Lower Cretaceous, Albian) in Jefferson County, Nebraska. These tracks generally have broad, blunt digits and a broad posterior margin. The largest of the tracks measures 57 cm in length and 58 cm in width. All of the tracks lie within a stratigraphic horizon of 40 cm or less, but they do not form a single trackway. We interpret the trackmakers to have been ornithopods. The Jefferson County tracks are in a well-cemented sandstone with oscillation ripples, at a stratigraphic level between two well-established sequence boundaries. Channel forms and lateral accretion units are common in the stratigraphic interval enclosing the tracks, and the site is interpreted as a bar or sand flat in a tidally influenced river. The Jefferson County tracks are only the second known occurrence of large Mesozoic tetrapod tracks east of the Rocky Mountain Front-High Plains Margin, including the Black Hills of South Dakota, west of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and north of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Further, this paper is the first documentation of in situ dinosaur fossils from the Nebraska-Iowa area. ?? Taylor and Francis Inc.

  8. Giant Dinosaur Find

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    Fossil site could provide answers to mystery of extinction Chinese scientists claim to have discovered the world’s largest dinosaur fossil site in eastern Shandong Province, which is expected to shed light on the animal’s mysterious extinction toward the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 millionyears ago.

  9. Dinosaurs' True Colors

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    TANG YUANKAI

    2010-01-01

    @@ On March 10,the Beijing Museum of Natural History(BMNH)announced scientists from China and abroad had decoded the full-body color patterns of a dinosaur,a small theropod named as anchiomis huxleyi,for the first time.

  10. Kindergartners Love Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stollon, Marcy

    2005-01-01

    In this article, the author relates how she uses an art lesson that integrates art, language arts, and science in an enjoyable, creative project about dinosaurs in her kindergarten class. She relates how the children enjoy being illustrators and becoming familiar with well-known children's illustrators. She also relates that she starts her classes…

  11. On the probability of dinosaur fleas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dittmar, Katharina; Zhu, Qiyun; Hastriter, Michael W; Whiting, Michael F

    2016-01-11

    Recently, a set of publications described flea fossils from Jurassic and Early Cretaceous geological strata in northeastern China, which were suggested to have parasitized feathered dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and early birds or mammals. In support of these fossils being fleas, a recent publication in BMC Evolutionary Biology described the extended abdomen of a female fossil specimen as due to blood feeding.We here comment on these findings, and conclude that the current interpretation of the evolutionary trajectory and ecology of these putative dinosaur fleas is based on appeal to probability, rather than evidence. Hence, their taxonomic positioning as fleas, or stem fleas, as well as their ecological classification as ectoparasites and blood feeders is not supported by currently available data.

  12. Models for the rise of the dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benton, Michael J; Forth, Jonathan; Langer, Max C

    2014-01-20

    Dinosaurs arose in the early Triassic in the aftermath of the greatest mass extinction ever and became hugely successful in the Mesozoic. Their initial diversification is a classic example of a large-scale macroevolutionary change. Diversifications at such deep-time scales can now be dissected, modelled and tested. New fossils suggest that dinosaurs originated early in the Middle Triassic, during the recovery of life from the devastating Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Improvements in stratigraphic dating and a new suite of morphometric and comparative evolutionary numerical methods now allow a forensic dissection of one of the greatest turnovers in the history of life. Such studies mark a move from the narrative to the analytical in macroevolutionary research, and they allow us to begin to answer the proposal of George Gaylord Simpson, to explore adaptive radiations using numerical methods.

  13. Evolution of dinosaur epidermal structures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrett, Paul M; Evans, David C; Campione, Nicolás E

    2015-06-01

    Spectacularly preserved non-avian dinosaurs with integumentary filaments/feathers have revolutionized dinosaur studies and fostered the suggestion that the dinosaur common ancestor possessed complex integumentary structures homologous to feathers. This hypothesis has major implications for interpreting dinosaur biology, but has not been tested rigorously. Using a comprehensive database of dinosaur skin traces, we apply maximum-likelihood methods to reconstruct the phylogenetic distribution of epidermal structures and interpret their evolutionary history. Most of these analyses find no compelling evidence for the appearance of protofeathers in the dinosaur common ancestor and scales are usually recovered as the plesiomorphic state, but results are sensitive to the outgroup condition in pterosaurs. Rare occurrences of ornithischian filamentous integument might represent independent acquisitions of novel epidermal structures that are not homologous with theropod feathers. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  14. Mesozoic dinosaurs from Brazil and their biogeographic implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bittencourt, Jonathas S; Langer, Max C

    2011-03-01

    The record of dinosaur body-fossils in the Brazilian Mesozoic is restricted to the Triassic of Rio Grande do Sul and Cretaceous of various parts of the country. This includes 21 named species, two of which were regarded as nomina dubia, and 19 consensually assigned to Dinosauria. Additional eight supraspecific taxa have been identified based on fragmentary specimens and numerous dinosaur footprints known in Brazil. In fact, most Brazilian specimens related to dinosaurs are composed of isolated teeth and vertebrae. Despite the increase of fieldwork during the last decade, there are still no dinosaur body-fossils of Jurassic age and the evidence of ornithischians in Brazil is very limited. Dinosaur faunas from this country are generally correlated with those from other parts of Gondwana throughout the Mesozoic. During the Late Triassic, there is a close correspondence to Argentina and other south-Pangaea areas. Mid-Cretaceous faunas of northeastern Brazil resemble those of coeval deposits of North Africa and Argentina. Southern hemisphere spinosaurids are restricted to Africa and Brazil, whereas abelisaurids are still unknown in the Early Cretaceous of the latter. Late Cretaceous dinosaur assemblages of south-central Brazil are endemic only to genus or, more conspicuously, to species level, sharing closely related taxa with Argentina, Madagascar, Indo-Pakistan and, to a lesser degree, continental Africa.

  15. The first Brazilian Dinosaur Symposium

    Science.gov (United States)

    dos Anjos Candeiro, Carlos Roberto; da Silva Marinho, Thiago

    2015-08-01

    The 1st Brazilian Dinosaur Symposium gathered paleontologists, geologists, and paleoartists in the city of Ituiutaba, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, from April 21st to 24th, 2013. The Dinosaur Symposium in the Pontal Campus of the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Minas Gerais State, Brazil provided an opportunity to share many new results of dinosaur research being conducted around the world. The symposium coincided with a new dawn of scientific advances in dinosaur paleontology further expanding its importance, interest and credibility worldwide.

  16. Dinosaur fossils predict body temperatures.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James F Gillooly

    2006-07-01

    Full Text Available Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding dinosaurs concerns whether they were endotherms, ectotherms, or some unique intermediate form. Here we present a model that yields estimates of dinosaur body temperature based on ontogenetic growth trajectories obtained from fossil bones. The model predicts that dinosaur body temperatures increased with body mass from approximately 25 degrees C at 12 kg to approximately 41 degrees C at 13,000 kg. The model also successfully predicts observed increases in body temperature with body mass for extant crocodiles. These results provide direct evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles that exhibited inertial homeothermy.

  17. A new transitional sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of South Africa and the evolution of sauropod feeding and quadrupedalism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yates, Adam M; Bonnan, Matthew F; Neveling, Johann; Chinsamy, Anusuya; Blackbeard, Marc G

    2010-03-01

    Aardonyx celestae gen. et sp. nov. is described from the upper Elliot Formation (Early Jurassic) of South Africa. It can be diagnosed by autapomorphies of the skull, particularly the jaws, cervical column, forearm and pes. It is found to be the sister group of a clade of obligatory quadrupedal sauropodomorphs (Melanorosaurus + Sauropoda) and thus lies at the heart of the basal sauropodomorph-sauropod transition. The narrow jaws of A. celestae retain a pointed symphysis but appear to have lacked fleshy cheeks. Broad, U-shaped jaws were previously thought to have evolved prior to the loss of gape-restricting cheeks. However, the narrow jaws of A. celestae retain a pointed symphysis but appear to have lacked fleshy cheeks, demonstrating unappreciated homoplasy in the evolution of the sauropod bulk-browsing apparatus. The limbs of A. celestae indicate that it retained a habitual bipedal gait although incipient characters associated with the pronation of the manus and the adoption of a quadrupedal gait are evident through geometric morphometric analysis (using thin-plate splines) of the ulna and femur. Cursorial ability appears to have been reduced and the weight bearing axis of the pes shifted to a medial, entaxonic position, falsifying the hypothesis that entaxony evolved in sauropods only after an obligate quadrupedal gait had been adopted.

  18. Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Fucheng; Kearns, Stuart L; Orr, Patrick J; Benton, Michael J; Zhou, Zhonghe; Johnson, Diane; Xu, Xing; Wang, Xiaolin

    2010-02-25

    Spectacular fossils from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Group of northeastern China have greatly expanded our knowledge of the diversity and palaeobiology of dinosaurs and early birds, and contributed to our understanding of the origin of birds, of flight, and of feathers. Pennaceous (vaned) feathers and integumentary filaments are preserved in birds and non-avian theropod dinosaurs, but little is known of their microstructure. Here we report that melanosomes (colour-bearing organelles) are not only preserved in the pennaceous feathers of early birds, but also in an identical manner in integumentary filaments of non-avian dinosaurs, thus refuting recent claims that the filaments are partially decayed dermal collagen fibres. Examples of both eumelanosomes and phaeomelanosomes have been identified, and they are often preserved in life position within the structure of partially degraded feathers and filaments. Furthermore, the data here provide empirical evidence for reconstructing the colours and colour patterning of these extinct birds and theropod dinosaurs: for example, the dark-coloured stripes on the tail of the theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx can reasonably be inferred to have exhibited chestnut to reddish-brown tones.

  19. Sedimentology and ichnology of the Mafube dinosaur track site (Lower Jurassic, eastern Free State, South Africa): a report on footprint preservation and palaeoenvironment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sciscio, Lara; Bordy, Emese M; Reid, Mhairi; Abrahams, Miengah

    2016-01-01

    Footprint morphology (e.g., outline shape, depth of impression) is one of the key diagnostic features used in the interpretation of ancient vertebrate tracks. Over 80 tridactyl tracks, confined to the same bedding surface in the Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation at Mafube (eastern Free State, South Africa), show large shape variability over the length of the study site. These morphological differences are considered here to be mainly due to variations in the substrate rheology as opposed to differences in the trackmaker's foot anatomy, foot kinematics or recent weathering of the bedding surface. The sedimentary structures (e.g., desiccation cracks, ripple marks) preserved in association with and within some of the Mafube tracks suggest that the imprints were produced essentially contemporaneous and are true dinosaur tracks rather than undertracks or erosional remnants. They are therefore valuable not only for the interpretation of the ancient environment (i.e., seasonally dry river channels) but also for taxonomic assessments as some of them closely resemble the original anatomy of the trackmaker's foot. The tracks are grouped, based on size, into two morphotypes that can be identified as Eubrontes-like and Grallator-like ichnogenera. The Mafube morphotypes are tentatively attributable to large and small tridactyl theropod trackmakers, possibly to Dracovenator and Coelophysis based on the following criteria: (a) lack of manus impressions indicative of obligate bipeds; (b) long, slender-digits that are asymmetrical and taper; (c) often end in a claw impression or point; and (d) the tracks that are longer than broad. To enable high-resolution preservation, curation and subsequent remote studying of the morphological variations of and the secondary features in the tracks, low viscosity silicone rubber was used to generate casts of the Mafube tracks.

  20. Making Sense of Dinosaur Tracks

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacKenzie, Ann Haley; McDowell, Brian

    2012-01-01

    What do paleontologists, dinosaur tracks, and the nature of science have in common? They're combined here in an inquiry activity where students use methods of observation and inference to devise evidence-based explanations for the data they collect about dinosaur tracks, much like the methods used by paleontologists. Students then debate the…

  1. A dark day for dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Pete

    2015-11-01

    On average, 91 people are killed by asteroids each year. In her book Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, theoretical physicist Lisa Randall focuses on a novel question: how did a dinosaur-killing asteroid end up on its collision course with Earth in the first place?

  2. If You Were a Dinosaur...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ashbrook, Peggy

    2010-01-01

    Dinosaurs are one of those science topics that draw children in and teach them about concepts like measuring and using descriptive language. Learning about dinosaurs, although not hands-on like observing and recording caterpillar growth, develops critical thinking and introduces animal diversity and the relations between body form and function.…

  3. Tunasniyoj, a dinosaur tracksite from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary of Bolivia

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    Sebastián Apesteguía

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Here we report a superbly preserved and profusely represented five-ichnotaxa dinosaur track assemblage near Icla village, 100 km southeast of Sucre, Bolivia. As preserved in reddish Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary aeolian sandstones, this rich and uncommon assemblage is, additionally, the oldest dinosaur tracksite for Bolivia. Four trackmakers were identified in the area: three quadrupedal and one bipedal, all of them with tracks of around 35 cm in lenght. One of the quadrupedals is represented by no less than five adult individuals (ichnotaxon A, and four purported juveniles (ichnotaxon B walking in association. The other two quadrupedals (ichnotaxa C and D involve four trackways, and the last, the bipedal trackmaker (ichnotaxon E, is represented by one trackway. The five ichnotaxa represented in the "Palmar de Tunasniyoj" could be tentatively assigned to the following trackmakers: Ichnotaxa A and B are assigned to basal stegosaurians; ichnotaxon C to a basal tyreophoran, perhaps related to the ankylosaur lineage; ichnotaxon D to the Ankylosauria, and ichnotaxon E to Theropoda. The Tunasniyoj assemblage, the oldest dinosaur tracksite for Bolivia, includes the oldest known evidence assigned to ankylosaurs and stegosaurs for South America.Neste estudo é relatado um conjunto magnificamente preservado de pistas de dinossauros representados por cinco táxons distintos, situado próximo à Vila de Icla, 100 quilômetros a sudeste do Sucre, Bolívia. Preservados em arenitos eólicos avermelhados do limite Jurássico-Cretáceo. Quatro formas geradoras foram identificadas na área, sendo três quadrúpedes e um bípede, todos com as pegadas com cerca de 35 cm de comprimento. Um dos quadrúpedes (trilhas tipos A e B é representado por pelo menos seis indivíduos em dois grupos de três, com adultos e juvenis juntos. Os outros dois quadrúpedes (trilhas tipos C e D são geradores de quatro trilhas, e um gerador bípede (trilha E, é representado por uma

  4. Bird embryos uncover homology and evolution of the dinosaur ankle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ossa-Fuentes, Luis; Mpodozis, Jorge; Vargas, Alexander O

    2015-11-13

    The anklebone (astragalus) of dinosaurs presents a characteristic upward projection, the 'ascending process' (ASC). The ASC is present in modern birds, but develops a separate ossification centre, and projects from the calcaneum in most species. These differences have been argued to make it non-comparable to dinosaurs. We studied ASC development in six different orders of birds using traditional techniques and spin-disc microscopy for whole-mount immunofluorescence. Unexpectedly, we found the ASC derives from the embryonic intermedium, an ancient element of the tetrapod ankle. In some birds it comes in contact with the astragalus, and, in others, with the calcaneum. The fact that the intermedium fails to fuse early with the tibiale and develops an ossification centre is unlike any other amniotes, yet resembles basal, amphibian-grade tetrapods. The ASC originated in early dinosaurs along changes to upright posture and locomotion, revealing an intriguing combination of functional innovation and reversion in its evolution.

  5. Bird embryos uncover homology and evolution of the dinosaur ankle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ossa-Fuentes, Luis; Mpodozis, Jorge; Vargas, Alexander O

    2015-01-01

    The anklebone (astragalus) of dinosaurs presents a characteristic upward projection, the ‘ascending process' (ASC). The ASC is present in modern birds, but develops a separate ossification centre, and projects from the calcaneum in most species. These differences have been argued to make it non-comparable to dinosaurs. We studied ASC development in six different orders of birds using traditional techniques and spin–disc microscopy for whole-mount immunofluorescence. Unexpectedly, we found the ASC derives from the embryonic intermedium, an ancient element of the tetrapod ankle. In some birds it comes in contact with the astragalus, and, in others, with the calcaneum. The fact that the intermedium fails to fuse early with the tibiale and develops an ossification centre is unlike any other amniotes, yet resembles basal, amphibian-grade tetrapods. The ASC originated in early dinosaurs along changes to upright posture and locomotion, revealing an intriguing combination of functional innovation and reversion in its evolution. PMID:26563435

  6. Misty – museets nye dinosaur

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lindow, Bent Erik Kramer

    2014-01-01

    I november 2013 fi k Statens Naturhistoriske Museum en 16 meter lang julegave – det meget velbevarede skelet af en langhalset dinosaur med kælenavnet ’Misty’. Købet af det enorme skelet var muligt takket være en meget generøs gave fra Det Obelske Familiefond. Denne artikel ser nærmere på Misty......, hvad man ved om langhalsede dinosaurer, og hendes fremtidige betydning for museets forskning og formidling....

  7. The extinction of the dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Butler, Richard J; Barrett, Paul M; Carrano, Matthew T; Evans, David C; Lloyd, Graeme T; Mannion, Philip D; Norell, Mark A; Peppe, Daniel J; Upchurch, Paul; Williamson, Thomas E

    2015-05-01

    Non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago, geologically coincident with the impact of a large bolide (comet or asteroid) during an interval of massive volcanic eruptions and changes in temperature and sea level. There has long been fervent debate about how these events affected dinosaurs. We review a wealth of new data accumulated over the past two decades, provide updated and novel analyses of long-term dinosaur diversity trends during the latest Cretaceous, and discuss an emerging consensus on the extinction's tempo and causes. Little support exists for a global, long-term decline across non-avian dinosaur diversity prior to their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. However, restructuring of latest Cretaceous dinosaur faunas in North America led to reduced diversity of large-bodied herbivores, perhaps making communities more susceptible to cascading extinctions. The abruptness of the dinosaur extinction suggests a key role for the bolide impact, although the coarseness of the fossil record makes testing the effects of Deccan volcanism difficult.

  8. Tetradactyl Footprints of an Unknown Affinity Theropod Dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Morocco

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nouri, Jaouad; Díaz-Martínez, Ignacio; Pérez-Lorente, Félix

    2011-01-01

    Background New tetradactyl theropod footprints from Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian) have been found in the Iouaridène syncline (Morocco). The tracksites are at several layers in the intermediate lacustrine unit of Iouaridène Formation. The footprints were named informally in previous works “Eutynichnium atlasipodus”. We consider as nomen nudum. Methodology/Principal Findings Boutakioutichnium atlasicus ichnogen. et ichnosp. nov. is mainly characterized by the hallux impression. It is long, strong, directed medially or forward, with two digital pads and with the proximal part of the first pad in lateral position. More than 100 footprints in 15 trackways have been studied with these features. The footprints are large, 38–48 cm in length, and 26–31 cm in width. Conclusions/Significance Boutakioutichnium mainly differs from other ichnotaxa with hallux impression in lacking metatarsal marks and in not being a very deep footprint. The distinct morphology of the hallux of the Boutakioutichnium trackmaker –i.e. size and hallux position- are unique in the dinosaur autopodial record to date. PMID:22180775

  9. Tetradactyl footprints of an unknown affinity theropod dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Morocco.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jaouad Nouri

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: New tetradactyl theropod footprints from Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian have been found in the Iouaridène syncline (Morocco. The tracksites are at several layers in the intermediate lacustrine unit of Iouaridène Formation. The footprints were named informally in previous works "Eutynichnium atlasipodus". We consider as nomen nudum. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Boutakioutichnium atlasicus ichnogen. et ichnosp. nov. is mainly characterized by the hallux impression. It is long, strong, directed medially or forward, with two digital pads and with the proximal part of the first pad in lateral position. More than 100 footprints in 15 trackways have been studied with these features. The footprints are large, 38-48 cm in length, and 26-31 cm in width. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Boutakioutichnium mainly differs from other ichnotaxa with hallux impression in lacking metatarsal marks and in not being a very deep footprint. The distinct morphology of the hallux of the Boutakioutichnium trackmaker -i.e. size and hallux position- are unique in the dinosaur autopodial record to date.

  10. The Development of a Virtual Dinosaur Museum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tarng, Wernhuar; Liou, Hsin-Hun

    2007-01-01

    The objective of this article is to study the network and virtual reality technologies for developing a virtual dinosaur museum, which provides a Web-learning environment for students of all ages and the general public to know more about dinosaurs. We first investigate the method for building the 3D dynamic models of dinosaurs, and then describe…

  11. Comment on "Evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myhrvold, Nathan P

    2015-05-29

    Grady et al. (Reports, 13 June 2014, p. 1268) studied dinosaur metabolism by comparison of maximum somatic growth rate allometry with groups of known metabolism. They concluded that dinosaurs exhibited mesothermy, a metabolic rate intermediate between endothermy and ectothermy. Multiple statistical and methodological issues call into question the evidence for dinosaur mesothermy.

  12. First dinosaurs from Saudi Arabia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin P Kear

    Full Text Available Dinosaur remains from the Arabian subcontinent are exceedingly rare, and those that have been documented manifest indeterminate affinities. Consequently the discovery of a small, but diagnostic, accumulation of elements from Campanian-Maastrichtian (~ 75 Ma deposits in northwestern Saudi Arabia is significant because it constitutes the first taxonomically identifiable dinosaur material described from the Arabian Peninsula. The fossils include a series of possible lithostrotian titanosaur caudal vertebrae, and some isolated theropod marginal teeth that share unique character states and metric parameters (analyzed using multivariate statistical methods with derived abelisaurids - this is the first justifiable example of a non-avian carnivorous dinosaur clade from Arabia. The recognition of titanosaurians and abelisaurids from Saudi Arabia extends the palaeogeographical range of these groups along the entire northern Gondwanan margin during the latest Cretaceous. Moreover, given the extreme paucity of coeval occurrences elsewhere, the Saudi Arabian fossils provide a tantalizing glimpse into dinosaurian assemblage diversity within the region.

  13. Allometry in dinosaurs and mammals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-03-01

    The proportions of the leg bones change as the size of an animal becomes larger since the mass of the animal increases at a faster rate than the cross-sectional area of its leg bones. For the case of elastic similarity (in which the longitudinal stress in the legs remains constant in animals of all sizes), the diameter d and length L of the femur should be related as d = A L3/2. For geometric similarity (in which all dimensions are scaled by the same factor), d = A L. For animals with femora longer than 20 cm, we find the power law relationship to be d = A Lb with b = 1.13 +/- 0.06 for extant mammals (the largest mammal being Loxodonta africana with a 1.00-m-long femur) and b = 1.18 +/- 0.02 for dinosaurs (the largest dinosaur being Brachiosaurus brancai with a 2.03-m-long femur). These data show that extinct dinosaurs and extant animals scale in the same basic manner. The large sauropods (with femora twice as long as found in elephants) scale in a manner consistent with extrapolation of the scaling shown by extant mammals. These results argue that extinct dinosaurs moved in a manner very similar to extant mammals.

  14. Gondwanan dinosaur evolution and biogeographic analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forster, Catherine A.

    Gondwanan dinosaurs, though less well-known than their Laurasian counterparts,are being discovered and described at an ever accelerating pace. Dinosaurs are known from every major Gondwanan landmass, including South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, India, Madagascar and New Zealand. Much of the Gondwanan dinosaur literature includes speculation on vicariant and dispersal events relating to the fragmentation of Gondwana during the Jurassic and Cretaceous. These prolific biogeographic hypotheses are often inconclusive, speculative in nature, and untestable with the data at hand. To formulate well-supported biogeographic hypotheses, resolved dinosaur phylogenies and sound hypotheses of Earth history are necessary. Other factors, such as taphonomy, depositional setting, and missing taxonomic, temporal and geographic data, also contribute to understanding dinosaur faunal compositions. Additional phylogenetic information, a continuation of the current exploration and discovery, and knowledge of recent advances in tectonic plate reconstructions are paramount to developing a well-supported view of Gondwanan dinosaur biogeography.

  15. The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fastovsky, David E.; Weishampel, David B.

    2005-02-01

    Written for non-specialists, this detailed survey of dinosaur origins, diversity, and extinction is designed as a series of successive essays covering important and timely topics in dinosaur paleobiology, such as "warm-bloodedness," birds as living dinosaurs, the new, non-flying feathered dinosaurs, dinosaur functional morphology, and cladistic methods in systematics. Its explicitly phylogenetic approach to the group is that taken by dinosaur specialists. The book is not an edited compilation of the works of many individuals, but a unique, cohesive perspective on Dinosauria. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of new, specially commissioned illustrations by John Sibbick, world-famous illustrator of dinosaurs, the volume includes multi-page drawings as well as sketches and diagrams. First edition Hb (1996): 0-521-44496-9 David E. Fastovsky is Professor of Geosciences at the University of Rhode Island. Fastovsky, the author of numerous scientific publications dealing with Mesozoic vertebrate faunas and their ancient environments, is also scientific co-Editor of Geology. He has undertaken extensive fieldwork studying dinosaurs and their environments in Montana, North Dakota, Arizona, Mexico, and Mongolia. David B. Weishampel is a professor at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. Weishampel is best known for discovering, researching, and naming several rare European dinosaur species. During the 1980s Weishampel gained fame for his work with American paleontologist Jack Horner and later named the famous plant-eating, egg-laying Orodromeus, Horner. Now, a decade after his pioneering studies with Horner, Weishampel is most widely known for his current work on the Romanian dinosaur fauna. He is the author and co-author of many titles, including The Dinosaur Papers, 1676-1906 (Norton, 2003); The Dinosauria, (University of California, 1990); and Dinosaurs of the East Coast, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).

  16. A gigantic feathered dinosaur from the lower cretaceous of China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xing; Wang, Kebai; Zhang, Ke; Ma, Qingyu; Xing, Lida; Sullivan, Corwin; Hu, Dongyu; Cheng, Shuqing; Wang, Shuo

    2012-04-04

    Numerous feathered dinosaur specimens have recently been recovered from the Middle-Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous deposits of northeastern China, but most of them represent small animals. Here we report the discovery of a gigantic new basal tyrannosauroid, Yutyrannus huali gen. et sp. nov., based on three nearly complete skeletons representing two distinct ontogenetic stages from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province, China. Y. huali shares some features, particularly of the cranium, with derived tyrannosauroids, but is similar to other basal tyrannosauroids in possessing a three-fingered manus and a typical theropod pes. Morphometric analysis suggests that Y. huali differed from tyrannosaurids in its growth strategy. Most significantly, Y. huali bears long filamentous feathers, thus providing direct evidence for the presence of extensively feathered gigantic dinosaurs and offering new insights into early feather evolution.

  17. Dinosaur dynamics in the Jurassic Era

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott

    2010-04-01

    Dinosaurs were fascinating animals and elicit much excitement in the classroom. Analysis of fossilized dinosaur trackways permits one to estimate the locomotion speeds and accelerations of these extinct beasts. Such analysis allows one to apply Newton's laws of motion to examples from the Jurassic Era.

  18. Body size distribution of the dinosaurs.

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    Eoin J O'Gorman

    Full Text Available The distribution of species body size is critically important for determining resource use within a group or clade. It is widely known that non-avian dinosaurs were the largest creatures to roam the Earth. There is, however, little understanding of how maximum species body size was distributed among the dinosaurs. Do they share a similar distribution to modern day vertebrate groups in spite of their large size, or did they exhibit fundamentally different distributions due to unique evolutionary pressures and adaptations? Here, we address this question by comparing the distribution of maximum species body size for dinosaurs to an extensive set of extant and extinct vertebrate groups. We also examine the body size distribution of dinosaurs by various sub-groups, time periods and formations. We find that dinosaurs exhibit a strong skew towards larger species, in direct contrast to modern day vertebrates. This pattern is not solely an artefact of bias in the fossil record, as demonstrated by contrasting distributions in two major extinct groups and supports the hypothesis that dinosaurs exhibited a fundamentally different life history strategy to other terrestrial vertebrates. A disparity in the size distribution of the herbivorous Ornithischia and Sauropodomorpha and the largely carnivorous Theropoda suggests that this pattern may have been a product of a divergence in evolutionary strategies: herbivorous dinosaurs rapidly evolved large size to escape predation by carnivores and maximise digestive efficiency; carnivores had sufficient resources among juvenile dinosaurs and non-dinosaurian prey to achieve optimal success at smaller body size.

  19. Comment on "Evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs".

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Emic, M D

    2015-05-29

    Grady et al. (Reports, 13 June 2014, p. 1268) suggested that nonavian dinosaur metabolism was neither endothermic nor ectothermic but an intermediate physiology termed "mesothermic." However, rates were improperly scaled and phylogenetic, physiological, and temporal categories of animals were conflated during analyses. Accounting for these issues suggests that nonavian dinosaurs were on average as endothermic as extant placental mammals.

  20. Body size distribution of the dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Gorman, Eoin J; Hone, David W E

    2012-01-01

    The distribution of species body size is critically important for determining resource use within a group or clade. It is widely known that non-avian dinosaurs were the largest creatures to roam the Earth. There is, however, little understanding of how maximum species body size was distributed among the dinosaurs. Do they share a similar distribution to modern day vertebrate groups in spite of their large size, or did they exhibit fundamentally different distributions due to unique evolutionary pressures and adaptations? Here, we address this question by comparing the distribution of maximum species body size for dinosaurs to an extensive set of extant and extinct vertebrate groups. We also examine the body size distribution of dinosaurs by various sub-groups, time periods and formations. We find that dinosaurs exhibit a strong skew towards larger species, in direct contrast to modern day vertebrates. This pattern is not solely an artefact of bias in the fossil record, as demonstrated by contrasting distributions in two major extinct groups and supports the hypothesis that dinosaurs exhibited a fundamentally different life history strategy to other terrestrial vertebrates. A disparity in the size distribution of the herbivorous Ornithischia and Sauropodomorpha and the largely carnivorous Theropoda suggests that this pattern may have been a product of a divergence in evolutionary strategies: herbivorous dinosaurs rapidly evolved large size to escape predation by carnivores and maximise digestive efficiency; carnivores had sufficient resources among juvenile dinosaurs and non-dinosaurian prey to achieve optimal success at smaller body size.

  1. Testing co-evolutionary hypotheses over geological timescales: interactions between Mesozoic non-avian dinosaurs and cycads.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, Richard J; Barrett, Paul M; Kenrick, Paul; Penn, Malcolm G

    2009-02-01

    The significance of co-evolution over ecological timescales is well established, yet it remains unclear to what extent co-evolutionary processes contribute to driving large-scale evolutionary and ecological changes over geological timescales. Some of the most intriguing and pervasive long-term co-evolutionary hypotheses relate to proposed interactions between herbivorous non-avian dinosaurs and Mesozoic plants, including cycads. Dinosaurs have been proposed as key dispersers of cycad seeds during the Mesozoic, and temporal variation in cycad diversity and abundance has been linked to dinosaur faunal changes. Here we assess the evidence for proposed hypotheses of trophic and evolutionary interactions between these two groups using diversity analyses, a new database of Cretaceous dinosaur and plant co-occurrence data, and a geographical information system (GIS) as a visualisation tool. Phylogenetic evidence suggests that the origins of several key biological properties of cycads (e.g. toxins, bright-coloured seeds) likely predated the origin of dinosaurs. Direct evidence of dinosaur-cycad interactions is lacking, but evidence from extant ecosystems suggests that dinosaurs may plausibly have acted as seed dispersers for cycads, although it is likely that other vertebrate groups (e.g. birds, early mammals) also played a role. Although the Late Triassic radiations of dinosaurs and cycads appear to have been approximately contemporaneous, few significant changes in dinosaur faunas coincide with the late Early Cretaceous cycad decline. No significant spatiotemporal associations between particular dinosaur groups and cycads can be identified - GIS visualisation reveals disparities between the spatiotemporal distributions of some dinosaur groups (e.g. sauropodomorphs) and cycads that are inconsistent with co-evolutionary hypotheses. The available data provide no unequivocal support for any of the proposed co-evolutionary interactions between cycads and herbivorous dinosaurs

  2. The last polar dinosaurs: high diversity of latest Cretaceous arctic dinosaurs in Russia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godefroit, Pascal; Golovneva, Lina; Shchepetov, Sergei; Garcia, Géraldine; Alekseev, Pavel

    2009-04-01

    A latest Cretaceous (68 to 65 million years ago) vertebrate microfossil assemblage discovered at Kakanaut in northeastern Russia reveals that dinosaurs were still highly diversified in Arctic regions just before the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event. Dinosaur eggshell fragments, belonging to hadrosaurids and non-avian theropods, indicate that at least several latest Cretaceous dinosaur taxa could reproduce in polar region and were probably year-round residents of high latitudes. Palaeobotanical data suggest that these polar dinosaurs lived in a temperate climate (mean annual temperature about 10 degrees C), but the climate was apparently too cold for amphibians and ectothermic reptiles. The high diversity of Late Maastrichtian dinosaurs in high latitudes, where ectotherms are absent, strongly questions hypotheses according to which dinosaur extinction was a result of temperature decline, caused or not by the Chicxulub impact.

  3. Global aspects of dinosaur distribution and evolution

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sues, H.

    1988-02-01

    Late Jurassic dinosaurian assemblages show close taxonomic correspondence over wide geographical ranges. Presently available if meager evidence suggests that this is also the case for Early Cretaceous communities. Cretaceous dinosaurian assemblages of Campanian and Maastrichtian age show considerable geographical differentiation but also some wide-ranging genera. Northern Hemisphere terrestrial ecosystems were dominated by hadrosaurs and ceratopsians, both herbivores with advanced capabilities for oral food-processing, whereas Southern Hemisphere biota were characterized by the abundance of titanosaurid sauropods, which relied on gut processing. Very close taxonomic similarities exist between the Campanian and early Maastrichtian dinosaurian assemblages of Mongolia and western North America, which, in part, is matched by similarities among other tetrapods such as mammals. Endemic dinosaurs in the Southern Hemisphere appear to reflect major changes in continental configuration. Some evidence exists for interchange of fuanal elements between North and South America. In absence of late Maastrichtian dinosaurian assemblages from most regions, scenarios concerning the terminal Cretaceous extinction of the Dinosauria should be regarded with caution because they are exclusively based on the conditions in western North America.

  4. A New Gigantic Sauropod Dinosaur with the Deepest Known Body Cavity from the Cretaceous of Asia

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    L(U) Junchang; XU Li; ZHANG Xingliao; HU Weiyong; WU Yanhua; JIA Songhai; JI Qiang

    2007-01-01

    A new species of sauropod dinosaur Huanghetitan ruyangensis is erected based on the following characters: deepest body cavity with a dorsal rib reaching at least 2.93 m long, anterior caudal vertebrae with mushroom-shaped neural spines. Based on this new specimen of Huanghetitan found in the early Late Cretaceous Mangchuan Formation of Ruyang, Henan Province, the family Huanghetitanidae fam. nov. is proposed as a new rank to include only the genus Huanghetitan You et al.2006. At present, Huanghetitan includes two species: H. liujiaxiaensis You et al., 2006 and H.ruyangensis sp. nov. The systematic relationships of Huanghetitan among sauropod dinosaurs are briefly discussed.

  5. A new sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of the United Kingdom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manning, Phillip L; Egerton, Victoria M; Romano, Mike

    2015-01-01

    A new record of a sauropodomorph dinosaur is here described from the Middle Jurassic (Aalenian) Saltwick Formation of Whitby (Yorkshire), UK. A single caudal vertebra represents an early sauropodomorph and signifies the earliest recognised eusauropod dinosaur from the United Kingdom. The absence of pleurocoels and a narrow, dorsoventrally deep, but craniocaudally short centrum, suggests a primitive sauropodomorph. Distinct spinopostzygopophyseal laminae rise from the lateral margins of the postzygapophyses and pass caudally along what remains of the neural spine, a character unique to a subgroup of sauropods that includes Barapasaurus, Omeisaurus and other neosauropods and eusauropods. The lack of phylogenetically robust characters in sauropod caudal vertebrae usually makes it difficult to establish affinities, but the absence of mild procoely excludes this specimen from both Diplodocoidea and Lithostrotia. The vertebra cannot be further distinguished from those of a wide range of basal sauropods, cetiosaurids and basal macronarians. However, this plesiomorphic vertebra still signifies the earliest stratigraphic occurrence for a British sauropod dinosaur.

  6. A New Theropod Dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Lufeng, Yunnan, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WU Xiao-chun; Philip J.CURRIE; DONG Zhiming; PAN Shigang; WANG Tao

    2009-01-01

    A new theropod dinosaur,Shidaisaurusjinae gen.et sp.nov.,has been described on the basis of an incomplete skeleton.The specimen was found near the base of the Upper Lufeng Formation(early Middle Jurassic)in Yunnan,China.It is the first theropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Yunnan.Shidaisaurus jinae is distinguishable from other Jurassic theropods by certain features from the braincase,axis,and pelvic girdle.The absence of any pleurocoels in the axis or in any anterior dorsal vertebrae suggests that the new Lufeng theropod is relatively primitive and more plesiomorphic than most of the Middle to Late Jurassic theropods from China.Most Chinese taxa of Jurassic theropod dinosaurs have not been well described;a further detailed study will be necessary for us to determine their phylogenetic relationships with Shidaisaurus jinae.

  7. A new sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of the United Kingdom.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phillip L Manning

    Full Text Available A new record of a sauropodomorph dinosaur is here described from the Middle Jurassic (Aalenian Saltwick Formation of Whitby (Yorkshire, UK. A single caudal vertebra represents an early sauropodomorph and signifies the earliest recognised eusauropod dinosaur from the United Kingdom. The absence of pleurocoels and a narrow, dorsoventrally deep, but craniocaudally short centrum, suggests a primitive sauropodomorph. Distinct spinopostzygopophyseal laminae rise from the lateral margins of the postzygapophyses and pass caudally along what remains of the neural spine, a character unique to a subgroup of sauropods that includes Barapasaurus, Omeisaurus and other neosauropods and eusauropods. The lack of phylogenetically robust characters in sauropod caudal vertebrae usually makes it difficult to establish affinities, but the absence of mild procoely excludes this specimen from both Diplodocoidea and Lithostrotia. The vertebra cannot be further distinguished from those of a wide range of basal sauropods, cetiosaurids and basal macronarians. However, this plesiomorphic vertebra still signifies the earliest stratigraphic occurrence for a British sauropod dinosaur.

  8. Bristle-like integumentary structures at the tail of the horned dinosaur Psittacosaurus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayr, Gerald; Peters, Stefan; Plodowski, Gerhard; Vogel, Olaf

    2002-07-01

    A specimen of the horned dinosaur Psittacosaurus from the early Cretaceous of China is described in which the integument is extraordinarily well-preserved. Most unusual is the presence of long bristle-like structures on the proximal part of tail. We interpret these structures as cylindrical and possibly tubular epidermal structures that were anchored deeply in the skin. They might have been used in display behavior and especially if one assumes that they were colored, they may have had a signal function. At present, there is no convincing evidence which shows these structures to be homologous to the structurally different integumentary filaments of theropod dinosaurs. Independent of their homology, however, the discovery of bristle-like structures in Psittacosaurus is of great evolutionary significance since it shows that the integumentary covering of at least some dinosaurs was much more complex than has ever been previously imagined.

  9. Recent Progress in the Study of Dinosaur Eggs in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WANG Qiang; WANG Xiaolin; ZHAO Zikui

    2010-01-01

    @@ Dinosaur eggs are a special type of vertebrate fossils.Despite their varied shapes,all dinosaur eggs are composed of eggshells,though the thickness of the shell may also vary.Dinosaur eggshells consist primarily of the mineral calcite(calcium carbonate).By studying dinosaur eggs,we can infer the reproductive system and behavior of dinosaurs and even the palaeoenvironment,palaeoclimate,palaeoecology in which they lived.Moreover,dinosaur eggs are useful for stratigraphic division and correlation as well as paleobiogeographic interpretations.

  10. Lower Cretaceous Dinosaur Tracks from Puebla, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rubén A. Rodríguez-de la Rosa

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Dinosaur tracks have been identified near San Martín Atexcal, southern Puebla, Mexico, within the sedimentary sequence of the San Juan Raya Formation of Lower Cretaceous (Albian age. The tracksite, located in the bed of the Magdalena River, reveals six different ichnofossiliferous levels identified within a 9 m thick sedimentary sequence. The inferred environment is that of a tidal (marginal marine mudflat (Level I. Level I preserves three theropods trackways (?Allosauroidea, additionally, isolated tracks belonging to iguanodontids (Ornithopoda. Level II preserves faint iguanodontid tracks. Levels III to V preserve sauropod tracks. Younger level VI preserves, although morphologically different, a track belonging to Ornithopoda. The dinosaur tracks from San Martín Atexcal support the existence of continental facies within the San Juan Raya Formation; they represent the second record of dinosaur tracks from the Lower Cretaceous of Mexico and are part of an important but little documented record of Lower Cretaceous dinosaurs in Mexico.

  11. Deccan volcanism, the KT mass extinction and dinosaurs

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    G Keller; A Sahni; S Bajpai

    2009-11-01

    Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies indicate three volcanic phases with the phase-1 at 67.5 Ma followed by a 2 m.y. period of quiescence. Phase-2 marks the main Deccan volcanic eruptions in Chron 29r near the end of the Maastrichtian and accounts for ∼80% of the entire 3500 m thick Deccan lava pile. At least four of the world’s longest lava flows spanning 1000 km across India and out into the Gulf of Bengal mark phase-2. The final phase-3 was smaller, coincided with the early Danian Chron 29n and also witnessed several of the longest lava flows. The KT boundary and mass extinction was first discovered based on planktic foraminifera from shallow marine intertrappean sediments exposed in Rajahmundry quarries between the longest lava flows of the main volcanic phase-2 and smaller phase-3. At this locality early Danian (zone P1a) planktic foraminiferal assemblages directly overlie the top of phase-2 eruptions and indicate that the masse extinction coincided with the end of this volcanic phase. Planktic foraminiferal assemblages also mark the KT boundary in intertrappean sediments at Jhilmili, Chhindwara, where freshwater to estuarine conditions prevailed during the early Danian and indicate the presence of a marine seaway across India at KT time. Dinosaur bones, nesting sites with complete eggs and abundant eggshells are known from central India surrounding the hypothesized seaway through the Narmada-Tapti rift zone. A Maastrichtian age is generally assigned to these dinosaur remains. Age control may now be improved based on marine microfossils from sequences deposited in the seaway and correlating these strata to nearby terrestrial sequences with dinosaur remains.

  12. Deccan volcanism, the KT mass extinction and dinosaurs

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    G Keller; A Sahni; S Bajpai

    2010-03-01

    Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies indicate three volcanic phases with the phase-1 at 67.5 Ma followed by a 2 m.y. period of quiescence. Phase-2 marks the main Deccan volcanic eruptions in Chron 29r near the end of the Maastrichtian and accounts for ∼80% of the entire 3500 m thick Deccan lava pile. At least four of the world’s longest lava flows spanning 1000 km across India and out into the Gulf of Bengal mark phase-2. The final phase-3 was smaller, coincided with the early Danian Chron 29n and also witnessed several of the longest lava flows. The KT boundary and mass extinction was first discovered based on planktic foraminifera from shallow marine intertrappean sediments exposed in Rajahmundry quarries between the longest lava flows of the main volcanic phase-2 and smaller phase-3. At this locality early Danian (zone P1a) planktic foraminiferal assemblages directly overlie the top of phase-2 eruptions and indicate that the masse extinction coincided with the end of this volcanic phase. Planktic foraminiferal assemblages also mark the KT boundary in intertrappean sediments at Jhilmili, Chhindwara, where freshwater to estuarine conditions prevailed during the early Danian and indicate the presence of a marine seaway across India at KT time. Dinosaur bones, nesting sites with complete eggs and abundant eggshells are known from central India surrounding the hypothesized seaway through the Narmada-Tapti rift zone. A Maastrichtian age is generally assigned to these dinosaur remains. Age control may now be improved based on marine microfossils from sequences deposited in the seaway and correlating these strata to nearby terrestrial sequences with dinosaur remains.

  13. Dinosaurs in the year of Darwin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dodson, Peter

    2009-09-01

    This special issue of The Anatomical Record explores the recent advances in the functional morphology and paleobiology of dinosaurs. Although Darwin did not study dinosaurs because paleontology was in its infancy a century and half ago, he considered both paleontology and anatomy as essential subjects for establishing the validity of evolution. The study of dinosaurs constitutes a vigorous subdiscipline within vertebrate paleontology, and anatomists and evolutionary functional morphologists constitute an especially creative subgroup within dinosaur paleontology. The collection of 17 papers presented in this issue encompass cranial anatomy, postcranial anatomy, and paleobiology of dinosaurs and other archosaurs. Soft tissue subjects include studies of brain structure, jaw adductor muscles, and keratinous appendages of the skull. Taxonomically, it includes four papers with a focus on theropods, including Tyrannosaurus, five papers dealing with ceratopsians, three papers on hadrosaurs, and one on ankylosaurs. Modern anatomical techniques such as CT scanning, finite element analysis, and high resolution histology are emphasized. The visual presentation of results of these studies is spectacular. Results include the first-ever life history table of a plant-eating dinosaur; a determination of the head orientation of Tyrannosaurus and its relatives based on interpretation of the semicircular canals. The claws of Velociraptor appear to best adapted for tree climbing, but not for horrific predatory activities. Pachyrhinosaurus evidently used its massive head for head butting. The tail club of the armored dinosaur Euoplocephalus had the structural integrity to be used as a weapon. The pages abound with insights such as these. Dinosaurs once dead for millions of years live again!

  14. Lower limits of ornithischian dinosaur body size inferred from a new Upper Jurassic heterodontosaurid from North America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, Richard J; Galton, Peter M; Porro, Laura B; Chiappe, Luis M; Henderson, Donald M; Erickson, Gregory M

    2010-02-07

    The extremes of dinosaur body size have long fascinated scientists. The smallest (member of the basal dinosaur clade Heterodontosauridae, and is the first member of this clade to be described from North America. The craniodental anatomy and diminutive body size of Fruitadens suggest that this taxon was an ecological generalist with an omnivorous diet, thus providing new insights into morphological and palaeoecological diversity within Dinosauria. Late-surviving (Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous) heterodontosaurids are smaller and less ecologically specialized than Early (Late Triassic and Early Jurassic) heterodontosaurids, and this ecological generalization may account in part for the remarkable 100-million-year-long longevity of the clade.

  15. Avian-like breathing mechanics in maniraptoran dinosaurs

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Jonathan R Codd; Phillip L Manning; Mark A Norell; Steven F Perry

    2008-01-01

    .... Their presence in these dinosaurs represents another morphological character linking them to Aves, and further supports the presence of an avian-like air-sac respiratory system in theropod dinosaurs...

  16. Continental Ecosystem Instability During the Late Triassic Rise of Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteside, J. H.; Dunlavey, M.; Lindström, S.; Irmis, R. B.; Kasprak, A. H.; Glasspool, I.; Nesbitt, S.; Smith, N.; Turner, A.

    2012-12-01

    Our assessment of the Earth system response to future global climate change requires the characterization of feedbacks that occur at temperatures significantly warmer than modern. Patterns derived from hothouse intervals in Earth's past can inform process-based models to better understand and predict such feedbacks. pCO2 values exceeded 1000 ppm during the Late Triassic (~235 million to 201.5 million years ago), one of the warmest - and one of the most climatically dynamic - intervals in Earth history. This long period of warmth saw rare and species-poor assemblages of early dinosaurs and their relatives at low-paleolatitudes. Here we present new records of palynology, charcoal, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) biomarkers of regional wildfires, and the bulk carbon isotopic composition of organic matter (δ13Corg) from fluvial and overbank sediments of the Chinle Formation of the Chama Basin in north-central New Mexico from low paleolatitude Pangea. These data illuminate the climatic and ecological drivers of low dinosaur diversity. Our data suggest that strongly fluctuating but generally very hot and periodically arid environmental conditions prevailed at low paleolatitudes in the Late Triassic. Strong variations in δ13Corg and xerophytic palynomorph abundance are highly correlated, suggesting these proxies responded to fluctuating arid conditions with intermittent wildfires, some burning at temperatures reaching at least 680°C. The abundant, reliable food source required by an extensive, diverse community of large-bodied, herbivorous, fast-growing tachymetabolic dinosaurs did not develop until climatic changes in the Early Jurassic. Despite this, the basic structure of this pseudosuchian archosaur-dominated community remained stable over ~10-15 million years.

  17. Photogrammetric survey of dinosaur skeletons

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Wiedemann

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available To derive physiological data of dinosaurs, it is necessary to determine the volume and the surface area of this animals. For this purpose, a detailed survey of reconstructed skeletons is required. The skeletons of three dinosaurs in the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin and two skeletons in the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris have been surveyed using stereo photogrammetry. Two of the Berlin skeletons were also surveyed with the close range laser scanners of the Institut für Navigation of the Universität Stuttgart. Both data acquisition techniques require a geodetic control network as a geometric reference system. The surveying methods used, together with results of mathematical approaches for the determination of the volume and surface of the animals are presented in this paper. Zur Herleitung physiologischer Daten der Dinosaurier ist es erforderlich, zunächst Volumen und Oberfläche ihres Körpers zu bestimmen. Dazu wurde eine detaillierte Vermessung rekonstruierter Skelette durchgeführt. Die Skelette dreier Saurier im Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin und zweier im Museum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris wurden stereophotogrammetrisch vermessen. Bei zwei der Berliner Skelette wurden zusätzlich die Laserscanner des Instituts für Navigation der Universität Stuttgart eingesetzt. Beide Datenerfassungstechniken benötigen ein Paßpunktfeld als geometrisches Referenzsystem. Die verwendeten Vermessungsmethoden, die mathematischen Ansätze für die Berechnung von Volumina und Oberflächen und die Ergebnisse werden in diesem Aufsatz vorgestellt. doi:10.1002/mmng.1999.4860020108

  18. Rates of dinosaur body mass evolution indicate 170 million years of sustained ecological innovation on the avian stem lineage.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roger B J Benson

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Large-scale adaptive radiations might explain the runaway success of a minority of extant vertebrate clades. This hypothesis predicts, among other things, rapid rates of morphological evolution during the early history of major groups, as lineages invade disparate ecological niches. However, few studies of adaptive radiation have included deep time data, so the links between extant diversity and major extinct radiations are unclear. The intensively studied Mesozoic dinosaur record provides a model system for such investigation, representing an ecologically diverse group that dominated terrestrial ecosystems for 170 million years. Furthermore, with 10,000 species, extant dinosaurs (birds are the most speciose living tetrapod clade. We assembled composite trees of 614-622 Mesozoic dinosaurs/birds, and a comprehensive body mass dataset using the scaling relationship of limb bone robustness. Maximum-likelihood modelling and the node height test reveal rapid evolutionary rates and a predominance of rapid shifts among size classes in early (Triassic dinosaurs. This indicates an early burst niche-filling pattern and contrasts with previous studies that favoured gradualistic rates. Subsequently, rates declined in most lineages, which rarely exploited new ecological niches. However, feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs (including Mesozoic birds sustained rapid evolution from at least the Middle Jurassic, suggesting that these taxa evaded the effects of niche saturation. This indicates that a long evolutionary history of continuing ecological innovation paved the way for a second great radiation of dinosaurs, in birds. We therefore demonstrate links between the predominantly extinct deep time adaptive radiation of non-avian dinosaurs and the phenomenal diversification of birds, via continuing rapid rates of evolution along the phylogenetic stem lineage. This raises the possibility that the uneven distribution of biodiversity results not just from large

  19. Rates of dinosaur body mass evolution indicate 170 million years of sustained ecological innovation on the avian stem lineage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B J; Campione, Nicolás E; Carrano, Matthew T; Mannion, Philip D; Sullivan, Corwin; Upchurch, Paul; Evans, David C

    2014-05-01

    Large-scale adaptive radiations might explain the runaway success of a minority of extant vertebrate clades. This hypothesis predicts, among other things, rapid rates of morphological evolution during the early history of major groups, as lineages invade disparate ecological niches. However, few studies of adaptive radiation have included deep time data, so the links between extant diversity and major extinct radiations are unclear. The intensively studied Mesozoic dinosaur record provides a model system for such investigation, representing an ecologically diverse group that dominated terrestrial ecosystems for 170 million years. Furthermore, with 10,000 species, extant dinosaurs (birds) are the most speciose living tetrapod clade. We assembled composite trees of 614-622 Mesozoic dinosaurs/birds, and a comprehensive body mass dataset using the scaling relationship of limb bone robustness. Maximum-likelihood modelling and the node height test reveal rapid evolutionary rates and a predominance of rapid shifts among size classes in early (Triassic) dinosaurs. This indicates an early burst niche-filling pattern and contrasts with previous studies that favoured gradualistic rates. Subsequently, rates declined in most lineages, which rarely exploited new ecological niches. However, feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs (including Mesozoic birds) sustained rapid evolution from at least the Middle Jurassic, suggesting that these taxa evaded the effects of niche saturation. This indicates that a long evolutionary history of continuing ecological innovation paved the way for a second great radiation of dinosaurs, in birds. We therefore demonstrate links between the predominantly extinct deep time adaptive radiation of non-avian dinosaurs and the phenomenal diversification of birds, via continuing rapid rates of evolution along the phylogenetic stem lineage. This raises the possibility that the uneven distribution of biodiversity results not just from large-scale extrapolation of

  20. New developmental evidence clarifies the evolution of wrist bones in the dinosaur-bird transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Botelho, João Francisco; Ossa-Fuentes, Luis; Soto-Acuña, Sergio; Smith-Paredes, Daniel; Nuñez-León, Daniel; Salinas-Saavedra, Miguel; Ruiz-Flores, Macarena; Vargas, Alexander O

    2014-09-01

    From early dinosaurs with as many as nine wrist bones, modern birds evolved to develop only four ossifications. Their identity is uncertain, with different labels used in palaeontology and developmental biology. We examined embryos of several species and studied chicken embryos in detail through a new technique allowing whole-mount immunofluorescence of the embryonic cartilaginous skeleton. Beyond previous controversy, we establish that the proximal-anterior ossification develops from a composite radiale+intermedium cartilage, consistent with fusion of radiale and intermedium observed in some theropod dinosaurs. Despite previous claims that the development of the distal-anterior ossification does not support the dinosaur-bird link, we found its embryonic precursor shows two distinct regions of both collagen type II and collagen type IX expression, resembling the composite semilunate bone of bird-like dinosaurs (distal carpal 1+distal carpal 2). The distal-posterior ossification develops from a cartilage referred to as "element x," but its position corresponds to distal carpal 3. The proximal-posterior ossification is perhaps most controversial: It is labelled as the ulnare in palaeontology, but we confirm the embryonic ulnare is lost during development. Re-examination of the fossil evidence reveals the ulnare was actually absent in bird-like dinosaurs. We confirm the proximal-posterior bone is a pisiform in terms of embryonic position and its development as a sesamoid associated to a tendon. However, the pisiform is absent in bird-like dinosaurs, which are known from several articulated specimens. The combined data provide compelling evidence of a remarkable evolutionary reversal: A large, ossified pisiform re-evolved in the lineage leading to birds, after a period in which it was either absent, nonossified, or very small, consistently escaping fossil preservation. The bird wrist provides a modern example of how developmental and paleontological data illuminate

  1. New developmental evidence clarifies the evolution of wrist bones in the dinosaur-bird transition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    João Francisco Botelho

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available From early dinosaurs with as many as nine wrist bones, modern birds evolved to develop only four ossifications. Their identity is uncertain, with different labels used in palaeontology and developmental biology. We examined embryos of several species and studied chicken embryos in detail through a new technique allowing whole-mount immunofluorescence of the embryonic cartilaginous skeleton. Beyond previous controversy, we establish that the proximal-anterior ossification develops from a composite radiale+intermedium cartilage, consistent with fusion of radiale and intermedium observed in some theropod dinosaurs. Despite previous claims that the development of the distal-anterior ossification does not support the dinosaur-bird link, we found its embryonic precursor shows two distinct regions of both collagen type II and collagen type IX expression, resembling the composite semilunate bone of bird-like dinosaurs (distal carpal 1+distal carpal 2. The distal-posterior ossification develops from a cartilage referred to as "element x," but its position corresponds to distal carpal 3. The proximal-posterior ossification is perhaps most controversial: It is labelled as the ulnare in palaeontology, but we confirm the embryonic ulnare is lost during development. Re-examination of the fossil evidence reveals the ulnare was actually absent in bird-like dinosaurs. We confirm the proximal-posterior bone is a pisiform in terms of embryonic position and its development as a sesamoid associated to a tendon. However, the pisiform is absent in bird-like dinosaurs, which are known from several articulated specimens. The combined data provide compelling evidence of a remarkable evolutionary reversal: A large, ossified pisiform re-evolved in the lineage leading to birds, after a period in which it was either absent, nonossified, or very small, consistently escaping fossil preservation. The bird wrist provides a modern example of how developmental and paleontological

  2. All about Dinosaurs. Animal Life for Children. [Videotape].

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000

    Dinosaurs were the rulers of the land 65 million years ago. In this videotape, children learn more about the different kinds of dinosaurs by viewing vivid illustrations and fossil discoveries. Students compare the dinosaurs to their modern kin--snakes, lizards, and crocodiles. Students also listen to different theories to try to answer the big…

  3. The Great Dinosaur Feud: Science against All Odds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James; Carpinelli, Amy

    2008-01-01

    In the 19th century, the race to uncover dinosaur fossils and name new dinosaur species inspired two rival scientists, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, to behave in ways that were the antithesis of scientific methods. Subterfuge, theft, and espionage were the ingredients of the Great Dinosaur Feud. Because students often enjoy…

  4. Forearm posture and mobility in quadrupedal dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Collin S VanBuren

    Full Text Available Quadrupedality evolved four independent times in dinosaurs; however, the constraints associated with these transitions in limb anatomy and function remain poorly understood, in particular the evolution of forearm posture and rotational ability (i.e., active pronation and supination. Results of previous qualitative studies are inconsistent, likely due to an inability to quantitatively assess the likelihood of their conclusions. We attempt to quantify antebrachial posture and mobility using the radius bone because its morphology is distinct between extant sprawled taxa with a limited active pronation ability and parasagittal taxa that have an enhanced ability to actively pronate the manus. We used a sliding semi-landmark, outline-based geometric morphometric approach of the proximal radial head and a measurement of the angle of curvature of the radius in a sample of 189 mammals, 49 dinosaurs, 35 squamates, 16 birds, and 5 crocodilians. Our results of radial head morphology showed that quadrupedal ceratopsians, bipedal non-hadrosaurid ornithopods, and theropods had limited pronation/supination ability, and sauropodomorphs have unique radial head morphology that likely allowed limited rotational ability. However, the curvature of the radius showed that no dinosaurian clade had the ability to cross the radius about the ulna, suggesting parallel antebrachial elements for all quadrupedal dinosaurs. We conclude that the bipedal origins of all quadrupedal dinosaur clades could have allowed for greater disparity in forelimb posture than previously appreciated, and future studies on dinosaur posture should not limit their classifications to the overly simplistic extant dichotomy.

  5. The evolution of dinosaur tooth enamel microstructure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hwang, Sunny H

    2011-02-01

    The evolution of tooth enamel microstructure in both extinct and extant mammalian groups has been extensively documented, but is poorly known in reptiles, including dinosaurs. Previous intensive sampling of dinosaur tooth enamel microstructure revealed that: (1) the three-dimensional arrangement of enamel types and features within a tooth-the schmelzmuster-is most useful in diagnosing dinosaur clades at or around the family level; (2) enamel microstructure complexity is correlated with tooth morphology complexity and not necessarily with phylogenetic position; and (3) there is a large amount of homoplasy within Theropoda but much less within Ornithischia. In this study, the examination of the enamel microstructure of 28 additional dinosaur taxa fills in taxonomic gaps of previous studies and reinforces the aforementioned conclusions. Additionally, these new specimens reveal that within clades such as Sauropodomorpha, Neotheropoda, and Euornithopoda, the more basal taxa have simpler enamel that is a precursor to the more complex enamel of more derived taxa and that schmelzmusters evolve in a stepwise fashion. In the particularly well-sampled clade of Euornithopoda, correlations between the evolution of dental and enamel characters could be drawn. The ancestral schmelzmuster for Genasauria remains ambiguous due to the dearth of basal ornithischian teeth available for study. These new specimens provide new insights into the evolution of tooth enamel microstructure in dinosaurs, emphasizing the importance of thorough sampling within broadly inclusive clades, especially among their more basal members.

  6. Forearm posture and mobility in quadrupedal dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    VanBuren, Collin S; Bonnan, Matthew

    2013-01-01

    Quadrupedality evolved four independent times in dinosaurs; however, the constraints associated with these transitions in limb anatomy and function remain poorly understood, in particular the evolution of forearm posture and rotational ability (i.e., active pronation and supination). Results of previous qualitative studies are inconsistent, likely due to an inability to quantitatively assess the likelihood of their conclusions. We attempt to quantify antebrachial posture and mobility using the radius bone because its morphology is distinct between extant sprawled taxa with a limited active pronation ability and parasagittal taxa that have an enhanced ability to actively pronate the manus. We used a sliding semi-landmark, outline-based geometric morphometric approach of the proximal radial head and a measurement of the angle of curvature of the radius in a sample of 189 mammals, 49 dinosaurs, 35 squamates, 16 birds, and 5 crocodilians. Our results of radial head morphology showed that quadrupedal ceratopsians, bipedal non-hadrosaurid ornithopods, and theropods had limited pronation/supination ability, and sauropodomorphs have unique radial head morphology that likely allowed limited rotational ability. However, the curvature of the radius showed that no dinosaurian clade had the ability to cross the radius about the ulna, suggesting parallel antebrachial elements for all quadrupedal dinosaurs. We conclude that the bipedal origins of all quadrupedal dinosaur clades could have allowed for greater disparity in forelimb posture than previously appreciated, and future studies on dinosaur posture should not limit their classifications to the overly simplistic extant dichotomy.

  7. Mesozoic dinosaurs from Brazil and their biogeographic implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathas S. Bittencourt

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available The record of dinosaur body-fossils in the Brazilian Mesozoic is restricted to the Triassic of Rio Grande do Sul and Cretaceous of various parts of the country. This includes 21 named species, two of which were regarded as nomina dubia, and 19 consensually assigned to Dinosauria. Additional eight supraspecific taxa have been identified based on fragmentary specimens and numerous dinosaur footprints known in Brazil. In fact, most Brazilian specimens related to dinosaurs are composed of isolated teeth and vertebrae. Despite the increase of fieldwork during the last decade, there are still no dinosaur body-fossils of Jurassic age and the evidence of ornithischians in Brazil is very limited. Dinosaur faunas from this country are generally correlated with those from other parts of Gondwana throughout the Mesozoic. During the Late Triassic, there is a close correspondence to Argentina and other south-Pangaea areas. Mid-Cretaceous faunas of northeastern Brazil resemble those of coeval deposits of North Africa and Argentina. Southern hemisphere spinosaurids are restricted to Africa and Brazil, whereas abelisaurids are still unknown in the Early Cretaceous of the latter. Late Cretaceous dinosaur assemblages of south-central Brazil are endemic only to genus or, more conspicuously, to species level, sharing closely related taxa with Argentina, Madagascar, Indo-Pakistan and, to a lesser degree, continental Africa.O registro osteológico de dinossauros no Mesozóico brasileiro está restrito a rochas triássicas do Rio Grande do Sul e estratos cretáceos de várias partes do país. Isto inclui 21 espécies nominais, sendo duas referidas como nomina dubia, e 19 consensualmente classificadas como dinossauros. Oito táxons supraespecíficos adicionais baseados em material fragmentado e diversas pegadas são conhecidos no Brasil. De fato, a maior parte dos espécimes é composta de dentes isolados e vértebras. Apesar do aumento em trabalhos de campo na última

  8. Plumage color patterns of an extinct dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Quanguo; Gao, Ke-Qin; Vinther, Jakob; Shawkey, Matthew D; Clarke, Julia A; D'Alba, Liliana; Meng, Qingjin; Briggs, Derek E G; Prum, Richard O

    2010-03-12

    For as long as dinosaurs have been known to exist, there has been speculation about their appearance. Fossil feathers can preserve the morphology of color-imparting melanosomes, which allow color patterns in feathered dinosaurs to be reconstructed. Here, we have mapped feather color patterns in a Late Jurassic basal paravian theropod dinosaur. Quantitative comparisons with melanosome shape and density in extant feathers indicate that the body was gray and dark and the face had rufous speckles. The crown was rufous, and the long limb feathers were white with distal black spangles. The evolution of melanin-based within-feather pigmentation patterns may coincide with that of elongate pennaceous feathers in the common ancestor of Maniraptora, before active powered flight. Feathers may thus have played a role in sexual selection or other communication.

  9. Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean, Dennis R.

    1999-01-01

    Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs is a scholarly yet accessible biography--the first in a generation--of a pioneering dinosaur hunter and scholar. Gideon Mantell discovered the Iguanodon (a famous tale set right in this book) and several other dinosaur species, spent over twenty-five years restoring Iguanodon fossils, and helped establish the idea of an Age of Reptiles that ended with their extinction at the conclusion of the Mesozoic Era. He had significant interaction with such well-known figures as James Parkinson, Georges Cuvier, Charles Lyell, Roderick Murchison, Charles Darwin, and Richard Owen. Dennis Dean, a well-known scholar of geology and the Victorian era, here places Mantell's career in its cultural context, employing original research in archives throughout the world, including the previously unexamined Mantell family papers in New Zealand.

  10. Metabolism of dinosaurs as determined from their growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott A.

    2015-09-01

    A model based on cellular properties is used to analyze the mass growth curves of 20 dinosaurs. This analysis yields the first measurement of the average cellular metabolism of dinosaurs. The organismal metabolism is also determined. The cellular metabolism of dinosaurs is found to decrease with mass at a slower rate than is observed in extant animals. The organismal metabolism increases with the mass of the dinosaur. These results come from both the Saurischia and Ornithischia branches of Dinosauria, suggesting that the observed metabolic features were common to all dinosaurs. The results from dinosaurs are compared to data from extant placental and marsupial mammals, a monotreme, and altricial and precocial birds, reptiles, and fish. Dinosaurs had cellular and organismal metabolisms in the range observed in extant mesotherms.

  11. Dinosaurs nesting on a red beach?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sander, P. Martin; Peitz, Christian; Gallemi, Jaume; Cousin, Rémi

    1998-07-01

    The Upper Cretaceous Basturs locality (Tremp Basin, northern Spain) preserves numerous dinosaur eggs ( Megaloolithus cf. M. mammilare Vianey-Liaud, 1994). The locality was recently studied by Sanz et al. (1995) as well as by us. However, we have to disagree with several conclusions by Sanz et al. and suggest alternative interpretations incorporating data from other localities (Coll de Nargó). The dinosaurs at Basturs did not nest at the beach, nor is there evidence for colonial nesting and territorial behaviour. However, the locality superbly documents nesting site fidelity with an estimated occupation time of over 10 000 years.

  12. Dinosaur Footprint Fossils Discovered in Xinjiang

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    @@ Recently,a Chinese-German science fieldwork investigation team,composed of staff from the SinoGerman Paleontology and Geography Joint Lab and the Xinjiang Geological Work Station,announced that they discovered a batch of dinosaur footprint fossils in the dessert 20 kilometers to the east of Shanshan County in the Turpan Basin,Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.These fossils spread around an area of 100 square meters and scientists believed that these footprints were left behind by carnivore dinosaurs.This major discovery has been published in Global Geology,an English journal published by the NorthEast Asia Geology Center.

  13. Geochemical and mineralogical studies of dinosaur bone from the Morrison Formation at Dinosaur Ridge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Modreski, P.J.

    2001-01-01

    The dinosaur bones first discovered in 1877 in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation at Morrison, Colorado were the first major find of dinosaur skeletons in the western U.S. and led to the recognition of four new dinosaur genera (Apatosaurus, Allosaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus). Eight articles dealing with these bones which appeared as research reports in the annual reports of the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge from 1990-1999 are condensed and summarized with some additional comments. Two of the articles are about the mineralogy and preservation of the bones; two are about the physical description of the bone occurrence; two are about the history of the site, and two are about use of novel instrumental methods (ground-penetrating radar and a directional scintillometer) to search for new bones.

  14. Structural extremes in a cretaceous dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sereno, Paul C; Wilson, Jeffrey A; Witmer, Lawrence M; Whitlock, John A; Maga, Abdoulaye; Ide, Oumarou; Rowe, Timothy A

    2007-11-21

    Fossils of the Early Cretaceous dinosaur, Nigersaurus taqueti, document for the first time the cranial anatomy of a rebbachisaurid sauropod. Its extreme adaptations for herbivory at ground-level challenge current hypotheses regarding feeding function and feeding strategy among diplodocoids, the larger clade of sauropods that includes Nigersaurus. We used high resolution computed tomography, stereolithography, and standard molding and casting techniques to reassemble the extremely fragile skull. Computed tomography also allowed us to render the first endocast for a sauropod preserving portions of the olfactory bulbs, cerebrum and inner ear, the latter permitting us to establish habitual head posture. To elucidate evidence of tooth wear and tooth replacement rate, we used photographic-casting techniques and crown thin sections, respectively. To reconstruct its 9-meter postcranial skeleton, we combined and size-adjusted multiple partial skeletons. Finally, we used maximum parsimony algorithms on character data to obtain the best estimate of phylogenetic relationships among diplodocoid sauropods. Nigersaurus taqueti shows extreme adaptations for a dinosaurian herbivore including a skull of extremely light construction, tooth batteries located at the distal end of the jaws, tooth replacement as fast as one per month, an expanded muzzle that faces directly toward the ground, and hollow presacral vertebral centra with more air sac space than bone by volume. A cranial endocast provides the first reasonably complete view of a sauropod brain including its small olfactory bulbs and cerebrum. Skeletal and dental evidence suggests that Nigersaurus was a ground-level herbivore that gathered and sliced relatively soft vegetation, the culmination of a low-browsing feeding strategy first established among diplodocoids during the Jurassic.

  15. Structural extremes in a cretaceous dinosaur.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul C Sereno

    Full Text Available Fossils of the Early Cretaceous dinosaur, Nigersaurus taqueti, document for the first time the cranial anatomy of a rebbachisaurid sauropod. Its extreme adaptations for herbivory at ground-level challenge current hypotheses regarding feeding function and feeding strategy among diplodocoids, the larger clade of sauropods that includes Nigersaurus. We used high resolution computed tomography, stereolithography, and standard molding and casting techniques to reassemble the extremely fragile skull. Computed tomography also allowed us to render the first endocast for a sauropod preserving portions of the olfactory bulbs, cerebrum and inner ear, the latter permitting us to establish habitual head posture. To elucidate evidence of tooth wear and tooth replacement rate, we used photographic-casting techniques and crown thin sections, respectively. To reconstruct its 9-meter postcranial skeleton, we combined and size-adjusted multiple partial skeletons. Finally, we used maximum parsimony algorithms on character data to obtain the best estimate of phylogenetic relationships among diplodocoid sauropods. Nigersaurus taqueti shows extreme adaptations for a dinosaurian herbivore including a skull of extremely light construction, tooth batteries located at the distal end of the jaws, tooth replacement as fast as one per month, an expanded muzzle that faces directly toward the ground, and hollow presacral vertebral centra with more air sac space than bone by volume. A cranial endocast provides the first reasonably complete view of a sauropod brain including its small olfactory bulbs and cerebrum. Skeletal and dental evidence suggests that Nigersaurus was a ground-level herbivore that gathered and sliced relatively soft vegetation, the culmination of a low-browsing feeding strategy first established among diplodocoids during the Jurassic.

  16. The first well-preserved coelophysoid theropod dinosaur from Asia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    You, Hai-Lu; Azuma, Yoichi; Wang, Tao; Wang, Ya-Ming; Dong, Zhi-Ming

    2014-10-16

    Coelophysoid dinosaurs represent the earliest major radiation of neotheropods. These small-to-medium-sized agile bipeds lived throughout much of Pangaea during the Late Triassic-arly Jurassic. Previously reported coelophysoid material from Asia (excluding the Gondwanan territory of India) is limited to two specimens that comprise only limb fragments. This paper describes a new genus and species of coelophysoid, Panguraptor lufengensis, from the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation of Yunnan Province, China. The new taxon is represented by a well-preserved skeleton, including the skull and lower jaw, the presacral vertebral column and partial ribs, the right scapula, a partial forelimb, part of the pelvic girdle, and an almost complete hind limb. It is distinguished from other coelophysoid theropods by the unique combination of the following three character states: 1) diagonal (rostrodorsal-caudoventral) ridge on lateral surface of maxilla, within antorbital fossa, 2) elliptical, laterally facing fenestra caudodorsal to aforementioned diagonal ridge, and 3) hooked craniomedial corner of distal tarsal IV. Cladistic analysis recovers Panguraptor lufengensis deeply nested within Coelophysoidea as a member of Coelophysidae, and it is more closely related to Coelophysis than to "Syntarsus". Panguraptor represents the first well-preserved coelophysoid theropod dinosaur from Asia, and provides fresh evidence supporting the hypothesis that terrestrial tetrapods tended to be distributed pan-continentally during the Early Jurassic.

  17. Ichnological evidence of Megalosaurid Dinosaurs Crossing Middle Jurassic Tidal Flats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Razzolini, Novella L; Oms, Oriol; Castanera, Diego; Vila, Bernat; Santos, Vanda Faria Dos; Galobart, Àngel

    2016-08-19

    A new dinosaur tracksite in the Vale de Meios quarry (Serra de Aire Formation, Bathonian, Portugal)preserves more than 700 theropod tracks. They are organized in at least 80 unidirectional trackways arranged in a bimodal orientation pattern (W/NW and E/SE). Quantitative and qualitative comparisons reveal that the large tridactyl, elongated and asymmetric tracks resemble the typical Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Megalosauripus ichnogenus in all morphometric parameters. Few of the numerous tracks are preserved as elite tracks while the rest are preserved as different gradients of modified true tracks according to water content, erosive factors, radial fractures and internal overtrack formations. Taphonomical determinations are consistent with paleoenvironmental observations that indicate an inter-tidal flat located at the margin of a coastal barrier. The Megalosauripus tracks represent the oldest occurrence of this ichnotaxon and are attributed to large megalosaurid dinosaurs. Their occurrence in Vale de Meios tidal flat represents the unique paleoethological evidence of megalosaurids moving towards the lagoon, most likley during the low tide periods with feeding purposes.

  18. Ichnological evidence of Megalosaurid Dinosaurs Crossing Middle Jurassic Tidal Flats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Razzolini, Novella L.; Oms, Oriol; Castanera, Diego; Vila, Bernat; Santos, Vanda Faria Dos; Galobart, Àngel

    2016-08-01

    A new dinosaur tracksite in the Vale de Meios quarry (Serra de Aire Formation, Bathonian, Portugal)preserves more than 700 theropod tracks. They are organized in at least 80 unidirectional trackways arranged in a bimodal orientation pattern (W/NW and E/SE). Quantitative and qualitative comparisons reveal that the large tridactyl, elongated and asymmetric tracks resemble the typical Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Megalosauripus ichnogenus in all morphometric parameters. Few of the numerous tracks are preserved as elite tracks while the rest are preserved as different gradients of modified true tracks according to water content, erosive factors, radial fractures and internal overtrack formations. Taphonomical determinations are consistent with paleoenvironmental observations that indicate an inter-tidal flat located at the margin of a coastal barrier. The Megalosauripus tracks represent the oldest occurrence of this ichnotaxon and are attributed to large megalosaurid dinosaurs. Their occurrence in Vale de Meios tidal flat represents the unique paleoethological evidence of megalosaurids moving towards the lagoon, most likley during the low tide periods with feeding purposes.

  19. New horned dinosaurs from Utah provide evidence for intracontinental dinosaur endemism.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Scott D Sampson

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: During much of the Late Cretaceous, a shallow, epeiric sea divided North America into eastern and western landmasses. The western landmass, known as Laramidia, although diminutive in size, witnessed a major evolutionary radiation of dinosaurs. Other than hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs, the most common dinosaurs were ceratopsids (large-bodied horned dinosaurs, currently known only from Laramidia and Asia. Remarkably, previous studies have postulated the occurrence of latitudinally arrayed dinosaur "provinces," or "biomes," on Laramidia. Yet this hypothesis has been challenged on multiple fronts and has remained poorly tested. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we describe two new, co-occurring ceratopsids from the Upper Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation of Utah that provide the strongest support to date for the dinosaur provincialism hypothesis. Both pertain to the clade of ceratopsids known as Chasmosaurinae, dramatically increasing representation of this group from the southern portion of the Western Interior Basin of North America. Utahceratops gettyi gen. et sp. nov.-characterized by short, rounded, laterally projecting supraorbital horncores and an elongate frill with a deep median embayment-is recovered as the sister taxon to Pentaceratops sternbergii from the late Campanian of New Mexico. Kosmoceratops richardsoni gen. et sp. nov.-characterized by elongate, laterally projecting supraorbital horncores and a short, broad frill adorned with ten well developed hooks-has the most ornate skull of any known dinosaur and is closely allied to Chasmosaurus irvinensis from the late Campanian of Alberta. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Considered in unison, the phylogenetic, stratigraphic, and biogeographic evidence documents distinct, co-occurring chasmosaurine taxa north and south on the diminutive landmass of Laramidia. The famous Triceratops and all other, more nested chasmosaurines are postulated as descendants of forms previously

  20. [Characterization of dinosaur fossils and their surrounding rocks by atomic emission spectrometry and X-ray powder diffractometry].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Qun; Wang, Yi-lin; Li, Chao-zhen; Yuan, Bo

    2005-02-01

    More dinosaur fossils have been found in the Laochangqing valley, Lufeng county than anywhere else in the world, and the dinosaur fossils found here cover the longest time span (including the early and middle Jurassic ages). This excavation offers an ideal experimental base for prehistoric biology studies. This paper presents an elementary analysis of the components and structure of the dinosaur fossils in three different geologic-layers and their surrounding rocks in the above mentioned area. Atomic emission spectrum shows that the fossils are rich in the contents of calcium (>5%) and phosphor, but low in the content of silicon (3%-8%), while the surrounding rocks are high in the content of silicon (>10%). Furthermore, XRD results show that the major compound of the fossils is CaCO3 (66%), followed by SiO2 (17%); while that of the surrounding rocks is SiO2 (>80%), followed by CaCO3 (dinosaur fossils from other rocks. This paper provides valuable data for further zoological studies on the living conditions and evolution of the dinosaurs in the Laochangqing valley, Lufeng county.

  1. Age constraints on the dispersal of dinosaurs in the Late Triassic from magnetochronology of the Los Colorados Formation (Argentina).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kent, Dennis V; Santi Malnis, Paula; Colombi, Carina E; Alcober, Oscar A; Martínez, Ricardo N

    2014-06-03

    A measured magnetozone sequence defined by 24 sampling sites with normal polarity and 28 sites with reverse polarity characteristic magnetizations was established for the heretofore poorly age-constrained Los Colorados Formation and its dinosaur-bearing vertebrate fauna in the Ischigualasto-Villa Union continental rift basin of Argentina. The polarity pattern in this ∼600-m-thick red-bed section can be correlated to Chrons E7r to E15n of the Newark astrochronological polarity time scale. This represents a time interval from 227 to 213 Ma, indicating that the Los Colorados Formation is predominantly Norian in age, ending more than 11 My before the onset of the Jurassic. The magnetochronology confirms that the underlying Ischigualasto Formation and its vertebrate assemblages including some of the earliest known dinosaurs are of Carnian age. The oldest dated occurrences of vertebrate assemblages with dinosaurs in North America (Chinle Formation) are younger (Norian), and thus the rise of dinosaurs was diachronous across the Americas. Paleogeography of the Ischigualasto and Los Colorados Formations indicates prolonged residence in the austral temperate humid belt where a provincial vertebrate fauna with early dinosaurs may have incubated. Faunal dispersal across the Pangean supercontinent in the development of more cosmopolitan vertebrate assemblages later in the Norian may have been in response to reduced contrasts between climate zones and lowered barriers resulting from decreasing atmospheric pCO2 levels.

  2. Fossil Dinosaur Slept Like a Bird

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Michael Hopkin; 王伟

    2004-01-01

    @@ The angst①-ridden Prince Hamlet described death as an eternal② sleep,fearfully wondering what dreams may come during the everlasting slumber③. So perhaps he would have empathized④ with a dinosaur newly unearthed in China: it seems to have been preserved in the act of sleeping.

  3. Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Dimensions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott A.

    2014-01-01

    Finding topics that inspire students is an important aspect of any physics course. Virtually everyone is fascinated by "Tyrannosaurus rex," and the excitement of the class is palpable when we explore scaling effects in "T. rex" and other bipedal theropod dinosaurs as part of our discussion of mechanics and elasticity. In this…

  4. Theropod fauna from southern Australia indicates high polar diversity and climate-driven dinosaur provinciality.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roger B J Benson

    Full Text Available The Early Cretaceous fauna of Victoria, Australia, provides unique data on the composition of high latitude southern hemisphere dinosaurs. We describe and review theropod dinosaur postcranial remains from the Aptian-Albian Otway and Strzelecki groups, based on at least 37 isolated bones, and more than 90 teeth from the Flat Rocks locality. Several specimens of medium- and large-bodied individuals (estimated up to ~8.5 metres long represent allosauroids. Tyrannosauroids are represented by elements indicating medium body sizes (~3 metres long, likely including the holotype femur of Timimus hermani, and a single cervical vertebra represents a juvenile spinosaurid. Single specimens representing medium- and small-bodied theropods may be referrable to Ceratosauria, Ornithomimosauria, a basal coelurosaur, and at least three taxa within Maniraptora. Thus, nine theropod taxa may have been present. Alternatively, four distinct dorsal vertebrae indicate a minimum of four taxa. However, because most taxa are known from single bones, it is likely that small-bodied theropod diversity remains underestimated. The high abundance of allosauroids and basal coelurosaurs (including tyrannosauroids and possibly ornithomimosaurs, and the relative rarity of ceratosaurs, is strikingly dissimilar to penecontemporaneous dinosaur faunas of Africa and South America, which represent an arid, lower-latitude biome. Similarities between dinosaur faunas of Victoria and the northern continents concern the proportional representatation of higher clades, and may result from the prevailing temperate-polar climate of Australia, especially at high latitudes in Victoria, which is similar to the predominant warm-temperate climate of Laurasia, but distinct from the arid climate zone that covered extensive areas of Gondwana. Most dinosaur groups probably attained a near-cosmopolitan distribution in the Jurassic, prior to fragmentation of the Pangaean supercontinent, and some aspects of

  5. Theropod fauna from southern Australia indicates high polar diversity and climate-driven dinosaur provinciality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B J; Rich, Thomas H; Vickers-Rich, Patricia; Hall, Mike

    2012-01-01

    The Early Cretaceous fauna of Victoria, Australia, provides unique data on the composition of high latitude southern hemisphere dinosaurs. We describe and review theropod dinosaur postcranial remains from the Aptian-Albian Otway and Strzelecki groups, based on at least 37 isolated bones, and more than 90 teeth from the Flat Rocks locality. Several specimens of medium- and large-bodied individuals (estimated up to ~8.5 metres long) represent allosauroids. Tyrannosauroids are represented by elements indicating medium body sizes (~3 metres long), likely including the holotype femur of Timimus hermani, and a single cervical vertebra represents a juvenile spinosaurid. Single specimens representing medium- and small-bodied theropods may be referrable to Ceratosauria, Ornithomimosauria, a basal coelurosaur, and at least three taxa within Maniraptora. Thus, nine theropod taxa may have been present. Alternatively, four distinct dorsal vertebrae indicate a minimum of four taxa. However, because most taxa are known from single bones, it is likely that small-bodied theropod diversity remains underestimated. The high abundance of allosauroids and basal coelurosaurs (including tyrannosauroids and possibly ornithomimosaurs), and the relative rarity of ceratosaurs, is strikingly dissimilar to penecontemporaneous dinosaur faunas of Africa and South America, which represent an arid, lower-latitude biome. Similarities between dinosaur faunas of Victoria and the northern continents concern the proportional representatation of higher clades, and may result from the prevailing temperate-polar climate of Australia, especially at high latitudes in Victoria, which is similar to the predominant warm-temperate climate of Laurasia, but distinct from the arid climate zone that covered extensive areas of Gondwana. Most dinosaur groups probably attained a near-cosmopolitan distribution in the Jurassic, prior to fragmentation of the Pangaean supercontinent, and some aspects of the hallmark

  6. Theropod Fauna from Southern Australia Indicates High Polar Diversity and Climate-Driven Dinosaur Provinciality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B. J.; Rich, Thomas H.; Vickers-Rich, Patricia; Hall, Mike

    2012-01-01

    The Early Cretaceous fauna of Victoria, Australia, provides unique data on the composition of high latitude southern hemisphere dinosaurs. We describe and review theropod dinosaur postcranial remains from the Aptian–Albian Otway and Strzelecki groups, based on at least 37 isolated bones, and more than 90 teeth from the Flat Rocks locality. Several specimens of medium- and large-bodied individuals (estimated up to ∼8.5 metres long) represent allosauroids. Tyrannosauroids are represented by elements indicating medium body sizes (∼3 metres long), likely including the holotype femur of Timimus hermani, and a single cervical vertebra represents a juvenile spinosaurid. Single specimens representing medium- and small-bodied theropods may be referrable to Ceratosauria, Ornithomimosauria, a basal coelurosaur, and at least three taxa within Maniraptora. Thus, nine theropod taxa may have been present. Alternatively, four distinct dorsal vertebrae indicate a minimum of four taxa. However, because most taxa are known from single bones, it is likely that small-bodied theropod diversity remains underestimated. The high abundance of allosauroids and basal coelurosaurs (including tyrannosauroids and possibly ornithomimosaurs), and the relative rarity of ceratosaurs, is strikingly dissimilar to penecontemporaneous dinosaur faunas of Africa and South America, which represent an arid, lower-latitude biome. Similarities between dinosaur faunas of Victoria and the northern continents concern the proportional representatation of higher clades, and may result from the prevailing temperate–polar climate of Australia, especially at high latitudes in Victoria, which is similar to the predominant warm–temperate climate of Laurasia, but distinct from the arid climate zone that covered extensive areas of Gondwana. Most dinosaur groups probably attained a near-cosmopolitan distribution in the Jurassic, prior to fragmentation of the Pangaean supercontinent, and some aspects of the

  7. A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, Gang; Chiappe, Luis M; Ji, Shu-An; Habib, Michael; Turner, Alan H; Chinsamy, Anusuya; Liu, Xueling; Han, Lizhuo

    2014-07-15

    Microraptorines are a group of predatory dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaurs with aerodynamic capacity. These close relatives of birds are essential for testing hypotheses explaining the origin and early evolution of avian flight. Here we describe a new 'four-winged' microraptorine, Changyuraptor yangi, from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China. With tail feathers that are nearly 30 cm long, roughly 30% the length of the skeleton, the new fossil possesses the longest known feathers for any non-avian dinosaur. Furthermore, it is the largest theropod with long, pennaceous feathers attached to the lower hind limbs (that is, 'hindwings'). The lengthy feathered tail of the new fossil provides insight into the flight performance of microraptorines and how they may have maintained aerial competency at larger body sizes. We demonstrate how the low-aspect-ratio tail of the new fossil would have acted as a pitch control structure reducing descent speed and thus playing a key role in landing.

  8. [Raman spectra of fossil dinosaurs from different regions].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Qun; Wang, Yi-lin

    2007-12-01

    Raman microscopic spectra in the higher wave number region were obtained from 7 fossil dinosaurs specimens from different regions. The specimens of fossil dinosaurs are different parts of bone. The Raman spectra of fossil dinosaurs indicate the high similarity among peak positions of different fossil dinosaurs; but important differences exist in the spectral peak figures. In the wave number region of 1000-1800 cm(-1) the Raman spectra of the same bone part fossils from different regions are very similar, example similarities between spectra of Lufeing backbone head and Yua nmou backbone head; Lufeng limb bone and Wuding limb bone. There are relations between the same bone part spectra of different fossil dinosaurs. The characteristic does not relate to regions. Raman spectra of fossil dinosaurs cannot be used to distinguish fossil source, although the part of bone can be used as an indicator to narrow the range of possible geographical origins.

  9. Comment on "A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten

    2014-10-24

    Godefroit et al. (Reports, 25 July 2014, p. 451) reported scales and feathers, including "basal plates," in an ornithischian dinosaur. Their arguments against the filaments being collagen fibers are not supported because of a fundamental misinterpretation of such structures and underestimation of their size. The parsimonious explanation is that the filaments are support fibers in association with badly degraded scales and that they do not represent early feather stages.

  10. Anomalously high variation in postnatal development is ancestral for dinosaurs but lost in birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffin, Christopher T.; Nesbitt, Sterling J.

    2016-12-01

    Compared with all other living reptiles, birds grow extremely fast and possess unusually low levels of intraspecific variation during postnatal development. It is now clear that birds inherited their high rates of growth from their dinosaurian ancestors, but the origin of the avian condition of low variation during development is poorly constrained. The most well-understood growth trajectories of later Mesozoic theropods (e.g., Tyrannosaurus, Allosaurus) show similarly low variation to birds, contrasting with higher variation in extant crocodylians. Here, we show that deep within Dinosauria, among the earliest-diverging dinosaurs, anomalously high intraspecific variation is widespread but then is lost in more derived theropods. This style of development is ancestral for dinosaurs and their closest relatives, and, surprisingly, this level of variation is far higher than in living crocodylians. Among early dinosaurs, this variation is widespread across Pangaea in the Triassic and Early Jurassic, and among early-diverging theropods (ceratosaurs), this variation is maintained for 165 million years to the end of the Cretaceous. Because the Late Triassic environment across Pangaea was volatile and heterogeneous, this variation may have contributed to the rise of dinosaurian dominance through the end of the Triassic Period.

  11. Anomalously high variation in postnatal development is ancestral for dinosaurs but lost in birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffin, Christopher T; Nesbitt, Sterling J

    2016-12-20

    Compared with all other living reptiles, birds grow extremely fast and possess unusually low levels of intraspecific variation during postnatal development. It is now clear that birds inherited their high rates of growth from their dinosaurian ancestors, but the origin of the avian condition of low variation during development is poorly constrained. The most well-understood growth trajectories of later Mesozoic theropods (e.g., Tyrannosaurus, Allosaurus) show similarly low variation to birds, contrasting with higher variation in extant crocodylians. Here, we show that deep within Dinosauria, among the earliest-diverging dinosaurs, anomalously high intraspecific variation is widespread but then is lost in more derived theropods. This style of development is ancestral for dinosaurs and their closest relatives, and, surprisingly, this level of variation is far higher than in living crocodylians. Among early dinosaurs, this variation is widespread across Pangaea in the Triassic and Early Jurassic, and among early-diverging theropods (ceratosaurs), this variation is maintained for 165 million years to the end of the Cretaceous. Because the Late Triassic environment across Pangaea was volatile and heterogeneous, this variation may have contributed to the rise of dinosaurian dominance through the end of the Triassic Period.

  12. A basal tyrannosauroid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xing; Clark, James M; Forster, Catherine A; Norell, Mark A; Erickson, Gregory M; Eberth, David A; Jia, Chengkai; Zhao, Qi

    2006-02-01

    The tyrannosauroid fossil record is mainly restricted to Cretaceous sediments of Laurasia, although some very fragmentary Jurassic specimens have been referred to this group. Here we report a new basal tyrannosauroid, Guanlong wucaii gen. et sp. nov., from the lower Upper Jurassic of the Junggar Basin, northwestern China. G. wucaii is the oldest known tyrannosauroid and shows several unexpectedly primitive pelvic features. Nevertheless, the limbs of G. wucaii share several features with derived coelurosaurs, and it possesses features shared by other coelurosaurian clades. This unusual combination of character states provides an insight into the poorly known early radiation of the Coelurosauria. Notably, the presumed predatory Guanlong has a large, fragile and highly pneumatic cranial crest that is among the most elaborate known in any non-avian dinosaur and could be comparable to some classical exaggerated ornamental traits among vertebrates.

  13. The second Jurassic dinosaur rush and the dawn of dinomania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brinkman, Paul D

    2010-09-01

    During the second Jurassic dinosaur rush museum paleontologists raced to display the world's first mounted sauropod dinosaur. The American Museum of Natural History triumphed in 1905 when its Brontosaurus debuted before an admiring crowd of wealthy New Yorkers. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago and other institutions were quick to follow with their own sauropod displays. Thereafter, dinomania spread far and wide, and big, showpiece dinosaurs became a museum staple. This brief but intensely competitive period of acquisitiveness fostered important Jurassic dinosaur revisions and crucial innovations in paleontological field and lab techniques.

  14. A New "Missing Link" in Dinosaur's Evolution Found

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Song J.; Zhao B.

    2002-01-01

    @@ A group of paleontologists from China, the United States and Canada have made new progress in tracking down the process of the evolution of smallsized dinosaurs and the origin of birds through intensive analysis of the fossils of a newly found dinosaur,Sinovenator, a close relative of birds. In a letter published in the Feb.14 issue of Nature, dinosaur expert Dr. Xu Xing at CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) and his coworkers reveal some interesting phenomena in the process of the evolution of dinosaurs towards birds.

  15. Superiority, competition, and opportunism in the evolutionary radiation of dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Benton, Michael J; Ruta, Marcello; Lloyd, Graeme T

    2008-09-12

    The rise and diversification of the dinosaurs in the Late Triassic, from 230 to 200 million years ago, is a classic example of an evolutionary radiation with supposed competitive replacement. A comparison of evolutionary rates and morphological disparity of basal dinosaurs and their chief "competitors," the crurotarsan archosaurs, shows that dinosaurs exhibited lower disparity and an indistinguishable rate of character evolution. The radiation of Triassic archosaurs as a whole is characterized by declining evolutionary rates and increasing disparity, suggesting a decoupling of character evolution from body plan variety. The results strongly suggest that historical contingency, rather than prolonged competition or general "superiority," was the primary factor in the rise of dinosaurs.

  16. Skull ecomorphology of megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the dinosaur park formation (upper campanian) of Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallon, Jordan C; Anderson, Jason S

    2013-01-01

    Megaherbivorous dinosaur coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has long puzzled researchers, owing to the mystery of how so many large herbivores (6-8 sympatric species, in many instances) could coexist on such a small (4-7 million km(2)) landmass. Various explanations have been put forth, one of which-dietary niche partitioning-forms the focus of this study. Here, we apply traditional morphometric methods to the skulls of megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta to infer the ecomorphology of these animals and to test the niche partitioning hypothesis. We find evidence for niche partitioning not only among contemporaneous ankylosaurs, ceratopsids, and hadrosaurids, but also within these clades at the family and subfamily levels. Consubfamilial ceratopsids and hadrosaurids differ insignificantly in their inferred ecomorphologies, which may explain why they rarely overlap stratigraphically: interspecific competition prevented their coexistence.

  17. Skull ecomorphology of megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the dinosaur park formation (upper campanian of Alberta, Canada.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jordan C Mallon

    Full Text Available Megaherbivorous dinosaur coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has long puzzled researchers, owing to the mystery of how so many large herbivores (6-8 sympatric species, in many instances could coexist on such a small (4-7 million km(2 landmass. Various explanations have been put forth, one of which-dietary niche partitioning-forms the focus of this study. Here, we apply traditional morphometric methods to the skulls of megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian of Alberta to infer the ecomorphology of these animals and to test the niche partitioning hypothesis. We find evidence for niche partitioning not only among contemporaneous ankylosaurs, ceratopsids, and hadrosaurids, but also within these clades at the family and subfamily levels. Consubfamilial ceratopsids and hadrosaurids differ insignificantly in their inferred ecomorphologies, which may explain why they rarely overlap stratigraphically: interspecific competition prevented their coexistence.

  18. Lower Cretaceous Dinosaur Tracks from Puebla, Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    Dinosaur tracks have been identified near San Martín Atexcal, southern Puebla, Mexico, within the sedimentary sequence of the San Juan Raya Formation of Lower Cretaceous (Albian) age. The tracksite, located in the bed of the Magdalena River, reveals six different ichnofossiliferous levels identified within a 9 m thick sedimentary sequence. The inferred environment is that of a tidal (marginal marine) mudflat (Level I). Level I preserves three theropods trackways (?Allosauroidea), additionally...

  19. Geotourism Aspects of the Lufeng Dinosaur National Geopark in Yunnan Province, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daněk Tomáš

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The Lufeng Dinosaur National Geopark in Yunnan province, China, is important part of geoheritage with a great scientific and aesthetic value. The area has been under scientific research since 1938 when the first dinosaur fossils were discovered here by geologist Bian Meinian and technician Wang Cunyi. Professor Yang announced the discovery of new early Jurassic herbivore prosauropod by Lufeng in 1941, which he gave the name Lufengosaurus huenei. In 2004, the area was listed as the China`s National Geopark. It was opened for visitors in 2008. Besides the high scientific value, the geopark is also an important resource for science based and educational tourism. This paper briefly introduces the history of scientific research, the basic geology of the site and the most important fossils discovered here. The main characteristics, geodiversity, and geotourism of fossil geoheritage in the area are discussed here.

  20. Dinosaur tracks from the Cedar Mountain Formation (Lower Cretaceous), Arches National Park, Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockley, M.G.; White, D.; Kirkland, J.; Santucci, V.

    2004-01-01

    The seventh and largest known dinosaur tracksite from the Cedar Mountain Formation is reported from two important stratigraphic levels in the Ruby Ranch Member within the boundaries of Arches National Park. Previous reports of sites with a few isolated tracks are of limited utility in indicating the fauna represented by track makers. The Arches site reveals evidence of several theropod morphotypes, including a possible match for the coelurosaur Nedcolbertia and an apparently didactyl Utahraptor-like dromeosaurid. Sauropod tracks indicate a wide-gauge morphotype (cf. Brontopodus). Ornithischian tracks suggest the presence of an iguandontid-like ornithopod and a large ankylosaur. Dinosaur track diversity is high in comparison with other early Cretaceous vertebrate ichnofaunas, and it correlates well with faunal lists derived from skeletal remains, thus providing a convincing census of the known fauna. ?? Taylor and Francis Inc.

  1. Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    San Antonio, James D.; Schweitzer, Mary H.; Jensen, Shane T.; Kalluri, Raghu; Buckley, Michael; Orgel, Joseph P.R.O. (Harvard-Med); (IIT); (NCSU); (UPENN); (Manchester); (Orthovita)

    2011-09-16

    Eleven collagen peptide sequences recovered from chemical extracts of dinosaur bones were mapped onto molecular models of the vertebrate collagen fibril derived from extant taxa. The dinosaur peptides localized to fibril regions protected by the close packing of collagen molecules, and contained few acidic amino acids. Four peptides mapped to collagen regions crucial for cell-collagen interactions and tissue development. Dinosaur peptides were not represented in more exposed parts of the collagen fibril or regions mediating intermolecular cross-linking. Thus functionally significant regions of collagen fibrils that are physically shielded within the fibril may be preferentially preserved in fossils. These results show empirically that structure-function relationships at the molecular level could contribute to selective preservation in fossilized vertebrate remains across geological time, suggest a 'preservation motif', and bolster current concepts linking collagen structure to biological function. This non-random distribution supports the hypothesis that the peptides are produced by the extinct organisms and suggests a chemical mechanism for survival.

  2. Cockroaches probably cleaned up after dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vršanský, Peter; van de Kamp, Thomas; Azar, Dany; Prokin, Alexander; Vidlička, L'ubomír; Vagovič, Patrik

    2013-01-01

    Dinosaurs undoubtedly produced huge quantities of excrements. But who cleaned up after them? Dung beetles and flies with rapid development were rare during most of the Mesozoic. Candidates for these duties are extinct cockroaches (Blattulidae), whose temporal range is associated with herbivorous dinosaurs. An opportunity to test this hypothesis arises from coprolites to some extent extruded from an immature cockroach preserved in the amber of Lebanon, studied using synchrotron X-ray microtomography. 1.06% of their volume is filled by particles of wood with smooth edges, in which size distribution directly supports their external pre-digestion. Because fungal pre-processing can be excluded based on the presence of large particles (combined with small total amount of wood) and absence of damages on wood, the likely source of wood are herbivore feces. Smaller particles were broken down biochemically in the cockroach hind gut, which indicates that the recent lignin-decomposing termite and cockroach endosymbionts might have been transferred to the cockroach gut upon feeding on dinosaur feces.

  3. Reanalysis of Wupus agilis (Early Cretaceous of Chongqing, China as a Large Avian Trace: Differentiating between Large Bird and Small Non-Avian Theropod Tracks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lida Xing

    Full Text Available Trace fossils provide the only records of Early Cretaceous birds from many parts of the world. The identification of traces from large avian track-makers is made difficult given their overall similarity in size and tridactyly in comparison with traces of small non-avian theropods. Reanalysis of Wupus agilis from the Early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian Jiaguan Formation, one of a small but growing number of known avian-pterosaur track assemblages, of southeast China determines that these are the traces of a large avian track-maker, analogous to extant herons. Wupus, originally identified as the trace of a small non-avian theropod track-maker, is therefore similar in both footprint and trackway characteristics to the Early Cretaceous (Albian large avian trace Limiavipes curriei from western Canada, and Wupus is reassigned to the ichnofamily Limiavipedidae. The reanalysis of Wupus reveals that it and Limiavipes are distinct from similar traces of small to medium-sized non-avian theropods (Irenichnites, Columbosauripus, Magnoavipes based on their relatively large footprint length to pace length ratio and higher mean footprint splay, and that Wupus shares enough characters with Limiavipes to be reassigned to the ichnofamily Limiavipedidae. The ability to discern traces of large avians from those of small non-avian theropods provides more data on the diversity of Early Cretaceous birds. This analysis reveals that, despite the current lack of body fossils, large wading birds were globally distributed in both Laurasia and Gondwana during the Early Cretaceous.

  4. "Teachosaurus" and "Learnoceratops": Dinosaurs as a Motivating Cross-Curricular Theme

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duggan, Denis

    2011-01-01

    The author takes a look into the benefits that dinosaurs may bring to the classroom. He discusses how he used dinosaurs as a cross-curricular theme to improve children's understanding and knowledge of science concepts. To investigate what a child might learn from dinosaurs, he started by comparing the many non-fiction dinosaur books using the…

  5. Dinosaur energetics: setting the bounds on feasible physiologies and ecologies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, Andrew

    2013-09-01

    The metabolic status of dinosaurs has long been debated but remains unresolved as no consistent picture has emerged from a range of anatomical and isotopic evidence. Quantitative analysis of dinosaur energetics, based on general principles applicable to all vertebrates, shows that many features of dinosaur lifestyle are compatible with a physiology similar to that of extant lizards, scaled up to dinosaur body masses and temperatures. The analysis suggests that sufficient metabolic scope would have been available to support observed dinosaur growth rates and allow considerable locomotor activity, perhaps even migration. Since at least one dinosaur lineage evolved true endothermy, this study emphasizes there was no single dinosaur physiology. Many small theropods were insulated with feathers and appear to have been partial or full endotherms. Uninsulated small taxa, and all juveniles, presumably would have been ectothermic, with consequent diurnal and seasonal variations in body temperature. In larger taxa, inertial homeothermy would have resulted in warm and stable body temperatures but with a basal metabolism significantly below that of extant mammals or birds of the same size. It would appear that dinosaurs exhibited a range of metabolic levels to match the broad spectrum of ecological niches they occupied.

  6. "Dinosaurs." Kindergarten. Anchorage School District Elementary Science Program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herminghaus, Trisha, Ed.

    This unit contains 15 lessons on dinosaurs for kindergarten children. It provides a materials list, supplementary materials list, use of process skill terminology, unit objectives, vocabulary, six major dinosaurs, and background information. Lessons are: (1) "Webbing"; (2) "Introduction to the Big Six"; (3) "Paleontology and Fossils"; (4) "How Big…

  7. "Dinosaurs." Kindergarten. Anchorage School District Elementary Science Program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herminghaus, Trisha, Ed.

    This unit contains 15 lessons on dinosaurs for kindergarten children. It provides a materials list, supplementary materials list, use of process skill terminology, unit objectives, vocabulary, six major dinosaurs, and background information. Lessons are: (1) "Webbing"; (2) "Introduction to the Big Six"; (3) "Paleontology…

  8. 36 CFR 7.63 - Dinosaur National Monument.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Dinosaur National Monument. 7.63 Section 7.63 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR SPECIAL REGULATIONS, AREAS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM § 7.63 Dinosaur National Monument. (a)...

  9. Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Strength and Locomotion II

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-01-01

    In the second paper of this series, the effect of transverse femoral stresses due to locomotion in theropod dinosaurs of different sizes was examined for the case of an unchanging leg geometry. Students are invariably thrilled to learn about theropod dinosaurs, and this activity applies the concepts of torque and stress to the issue of theropod…

  10. Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Strength and Locomotion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-01-01

    In our first article on scaling in theropod dinosaurs, the longitudinal stress in the leg bones due to supporting the weight of the animal was studied and found not to control the dimensions of the femur. As a continuation of our study of elasticity in dinosaur bones, we now examine the transverse stress in the femur due to locomotion and find…

  11. Temporal and phylogenetic evolution of the sauropod dinosaur body plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bates, Karl T.; Mannion, Philip D.; Falkingham, Peter L.; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Hutchinson, John R.; Otero, Alejandro; Sellers, William I.; Sullivan, Corwin; Stevens, Kent A.; Allen, Vivian

    2016-01-01

    The colossal size and body plan of sauropod dinosaurs are unparalleled in terrestrial vertebrates. However, to date, there have been only limited attempts to examine temporal and phylogenetic patterns in the sauropod bauplan. Here, we combine three-dimensional computational models with phylogenetic reconstructions to quantify the evolution of whole-body shape and body segment properties across the sauropod radiation. Limitations associated with the absence of soft tissue preservation in fossils result in large error bars about mean absolute body shape predictions. However, applying any consistent skeleton : body volume ratio to all taxa does yield changes in body shape that appear concurrent with major macroevolutionary events in sauropod history. A caudad shift in centre-of-mass (CoM) in Middle Triassic Saurischia, associated with the evolution of bipedalism in various dinosaur lineages, was reversed in Late Triassic sauropodomorphs. A craniad CoM shift coincided with the evolution of quadrupedalism in the Late Triassic, followed by a more striking craniad shift in Late Jurassic–Cretaceous titanosauriforms, which included the largest sauropods. These craniad CoM shifts are strongly correlated with neck enlargement, a key innovation in sauropod evolution and pivotal to their gigantism. By creating a much larger feeding envelope, neck elongation is thought to have increased feeding efficiency and opened up trophic niches that were inaccessible to other herbivores. However, we find that relative neck size and CoM position are not strongly correlated with inferred feeding habits. Instead the craniad CoM positions of titanosauriforms appear closely linked with locomotion and environmental distributions, potentially contributing to the continued success of this group until the end-Cretaceous, with all other sauropods having gone extinct by the early Late Cretaceous. PMID:27069652

  12. Temporal and phylogenetic evolution of the sauropod dinosaur body plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bates, Karl T.; Mannion, Philip D.; Falkingham, Peter L.; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Hutchinson, John R.; Otero, Alejandro; Sellers, William I.; Sullivan, Corwin; Stevens, Kent A.; Allen, Vivian

    2016-03-01

    The colossal size and body plan of sauropod dinosaurs are unparalleled in terrestrial vertebrates. However, to date, there have been only limited attempts to examine temporal and phylogenetic patterns in the sauropod bauplan. Here, we combine three-dimensional computational models with phylogenetic reconstructions to quantify the evolution of whole-body shape and body segment properties across the sauropod radiation. Limitations associated with the absence of soft tissue preservation in fossils result in large error bars about mean absolute body shape predictions. However, applying any consistent skeleton : body volume ratio to all taxa does yield changes in body shape that appear concurrent with major macroevolutionary events in sauropod history. A caudad shift in centre-of-mass (CoM) in Middle Triassic Saurischia, associated with the evolution of bipedalism in various dinosaur lineages, was reversed in Late Triassic sauropodomorphs. A craniad CoM shift coincided with the evolution of quadrupedalism in the Late Triassic, followed by a more striking craniad shift in Late Jurassic-Cretaceous titanosauriforms, which included the largest sauropods. These craniad CoM shifts are strongly correlated with neck enlargement, a key innovation in sauropod evolution and pivotal to their gigantism. By creating a much larger feeding envelope, neck elongation is thought to have increased feeding efficiency and opened up trophic niches that were inaccessible to other herbivores. However, we find that relative neck size and CoM position are not strongly correlated with inferred feeding habits. Instead the craniad CoM positions of titanosauriforms appear closely linked with locomotion and environmental distributions, potentially contributing to the continued success of this group until the end-Cretaceous, with all other sauropods having gone extinct by the early Late Cretaceous.

  13. Evolution of high tooth replacement rates in sauropod dinosaurs.

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    Michael D D'Emic

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Tooth replacement rate can be calculated in extinct animals by counting incremental lines of deposition in tooth dentin. Calculating this rate in several taxa allows for the study of the evolution of tooth replacement rate. Sauropod dinosaurs, the largest terrestrial animals that ever evolved, exhibited a diversity of tooth sizes and shapes, but little is known about their tooth replacement rates. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We present tooth replacement rate, formation time, crown volume, total dentition volume, and enamel thickness for two coexisting but distantly related and morphologically disparate sauropod dinosaurs Camarasaurus and Diplodocus. Individual tooth formation time was determined by counting daily incremental lines in dentin. Tooth replacement rate is calculated as the difference between the number of days recorded in successive replacement teeth. Each tooth family in Camarasaurus has a maximum of three replacement teeth, whereas each Diplodocus tooth family has up to five. Tooth formation times are about 1.7 times longer in Camarasaurus than in Diplodocus (315 vs. 185 days. Average tooth replacement rate in Camarasaurus is about one tooth every 62 days versus about one tooth every 35 days in Diplodocus. Despite slower tooth replacement rates in Camarasaurus, the volumetric rate of Camarasaurus tooth replacement is 10 times faster than in Diplodocus because of its substantially greater tooth volumes. A novel method to estimate replacement rate was developed and applied to several other sauropodomorphs that we were not able to thin section. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Differences in tooth replacement rate among sauropodomorphs likely reflect disparate feeding strategies and/or food choices, which would have facilitated the coexistence of these gigantic herbivores in one ecosystem. Early neosauropods are characterized by high tooth replacement rates (despite their large tooth size, and derived titanosaurs and

  14. 76 FR 7232 - Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Dinosaur...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-09

    ... Service, Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur, CO AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur... culturally affiliated with the human remains may contact Dinosaur National Monument. Disposition of the...

  15. Sedimentology and ichnology of the Mafube dinosaur track site (Lower Jurassic, eastern Free State, South Africa): a report on footprint preservation and palaeoenvironment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bordy, Emese M.; Reid, Mhairi; Abrahams, Miengah

    2016-01-01

    Footprint morphology (e.g., outline shape, depth of impression) is one of the key diagnostic features used in the interpretation of ancient vertebrate tracks. Over 80 tridactyl tracks, confined to the same bedding surface in the Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation at Mafube (eastern Free State, South Africa), show large shape variability over the length of the study site. These morphological differences are considered here to be mainly due to variations in the substrate rheology as opposed to differences in the trackmaker’s foot anatomy, foot kinematics or recent weathering of the bedding surface. The sedimentary structures (e.g., desiccation cracks, ripple marks) preserved in association with and within some of the Mafube tracks suggest that the imprints were produced essentially contemporaneous and are true dinosaur tracks rather than undertracks or erosional remnants. They are therefore valuable not only for the interpretation of the ancient environment (i.e., seasonally dry river channels) but also for taxonomic assessments as some of them closely resemble the original anatomy of the trackmaker’s foot. The tracks are grouped, based on size, into two morphotypes that can be identified as Eubrontes-like and Grallator-like ichnogenera. The Mafube morphotypes are tentatively attributable to large and small tridactyl theropod trackmakers, possibly to Dracovenator and Coelophysis based on the following criteria: (a) lack of manus impressions indicative of obligate bipeds; (b) long, slender-digits that are asymmetrical and taper; (c) often end in a claw impression or point; and (d) the tracks that are longer than broad. To enable high-resolution preservation, curation and subsequent remote studying of the morphological variations of and the secondary features in the tracks, low viscosity silicone rubber was used to generate casts of the Mafube tracks. PMID:27635310

  16. Sedimentology and ichnology of the Mafube dinosaur track site (Lower Jurassic, eastern Free State, South Africa: a report on footprint preservation and palaeoenvironment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lara Sciscio

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Footprint morphology (e.g., outline shape, depth of impression is one of the key diagnostic features used in the interpretation of ancient vertebrate tracks. Over 80 tridactyl tracks, confined to the same bedding surface in the Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation at Mafube (eastern Free State, South Africa, show large shape variability over the length of the study site. These morphological differences are considered here to be mainly due to variations in the substrate rheology as opposed to differences in the trackmaker’s foot anatomy, foot kinematics or recent weathering of the bedding surface. The sedimentary structures (e.g., desiccation cracks, ripple marks preserved in association with and within some of the Mafube tracks suggest that the imprints were produced essentially contemporaneous and are true dinosaur tracks rather than undertracks or erosional remnants. They are therefore valuable not only for the interpretation of the ancient environment (i.e., seasonally dry river channels but also for taxonomic assessments as some of them closely resemble the original anatomy of the trackmaker’s foot. The tracks are grouped, based on size, into two morphotypes that can be identified as Eubrontes-like and Grallator-like ichnogenera. The Mafube morphotypes are tentatively attributable to large and small tridactyl theropod trackmakers, possibly to Dracovenator and Coelophysis based on the following criteria: (a lack of manus impressions indicative of obligate bipeds; (b long, slender-digits that are asymmetrical and taper; (c often end in a claw impression or point; and (d the tracks that are longer than broad. To enable high-resolution preservation, curation and subsequent remote studying of the morphological variations of and the secondary features in the tracks, low viscosity silicone rubber was used to generate casts of the Mafube tracks.

  17. Predatory behaviour of carnivorous dinosaurs: Ecological interpretations based on tooth marked dinosaur bones and wear patterns of theropod teeth

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland

    Predation marks on bones are a source on information on the feeding behaviour of the carnivores involved. Although predator damaged bone is common in the fossil record, published reports of such marks on dinosaur bones are rare. Patterns of bone modification by mammalian carnivores overlap patterns...... left by theropod dinosaurs.Differences in tooth morphology can also be correlated with characteristics of the marks left by the teeth. In a study of tooth marks on dinosaur bones from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada, it was possible to identify the feeding theropods to family, generic...... different taxa and different skeletal elements produced some interesting results. The frequency of tooth marked dinosaur bones is higher than expected. Up to 14 % of the observed hadrosaur bones were predator damaged. The lower incidence of damage in ceratopsian bones can be explained by the fact...

  18. Exceptionally preserved juvenile megalosauroid theropod dinosaur with filamentous integument from the Late Jurassic of Germany.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rauhut, Oliver W M; Foth, Christian; Tischlinger, Helmut; Norell, Mark A

    2012-07-17

    Recent discoveries in Asia have greatly increased our understanding of the evolution of dinosaurs' integumentary structures, revealing a previously unexpected diversity of "protofeathers" and feathers. However, all theropod dinosaurs with preserved feathers reported so far are coelurosaurs. Evidence for filaments or feathers in noncoelurosaurian theropods is circumstantial and debated. Here we report an exceptionally preserved skeleton of a juvenile megalosauroid, Sciurumimus albersdoerferi n. gen., n. sp., from the Late Jurassic of Germany, which preserves a filamentous plumage at the tail base and on parts of the body. These structures are identical to the type 1 feathers that have been reported in some ornithischians, the basal tyrannosaur Dilong, the basal therizinosauroid Beipiaosaurus, and, probably, in the basal coelurosaur Sinosauropteryx. Sciurumimus albersdoerferi represents the phylogenetically most basal theropod that preserves direct evidence for feathers and helps close the gap between feathers reported in coelurosaurian theropods and filaments in ornithischian dinosaurs, further supporting the homology of these structures. The specimen of Sciurumimus is the most complete megalosauroid yet discovered and helps clarify significant anatomical details of this important basal theropod clade, such as the complete absence of the fourth digit of the manus. The dentition of this probably early-posthatchling individual is markedly similar to that of basal coelurosaurian theropods, indicating that coelurosaur occurrences based on isolated teeth should be used with caution.

  19. The Oldest Jurassic Dinosaur: A Basal Neotheropod from the Hettangian of Great Britain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martill, David M; Vidovic, Steven U; Howells, Cindy; Nudds, John R

    2016-01-01

    Approximately 40% of a skeleton including cranial and postcranial remains representing a new genus and species of basal neotheropod dinosaur is described. It was collected from fallen blocks from a sea cliff that exposes Late Triassic and Early Jurassic marine and quasi marine strata on the south Wales coast near the city of Cardiff. Matrix comparisons indicate that the specimen is from the lithological Jurassic part of the sequence, below the first occurrence of the index ammonite Psiloceras planorbis and above the last occurrence of the Rhaetian conodont Chirodella verecunda. Associated fauna of echinoderms and bivalves indicate that the specimen had drifted out to sea, presumably from the nearby Welsh Massif and associated islands (St David's Archipelago). Its occurrence close to the base of the Blue Lias Formation (Lower Jurassic, Hettangian) makes it the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur and it represents the first dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic of Wales. A cladistic analysis indicates basal neotheropodan affinities, but the specimen retains plesiomorphic characters which it shares with Tawa and Daemonosaurus.

  20. The Oldest Jurassic Dinosaur: A Basal Neotheropod from the Hettangian of Great Britain.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David M Martill

    Full Text Available Approximately 40% of a skeleton including cranial and postcranial remains representing a new genus and species of basal neotheropod dinosaur is described. It was collected from fallen blocks from a sea cliff that exposes Late Triassic and Early Jurassic marine and quasi marine strata on the south Wales coast near the city of Cardiff. Matrix comparisons indicate that the specimen is from the lithological Jurassic part of the sequence, below the first occurrence of the index ammonite Psiloceras planorbis and above the last occurrence of the Rhaetian conodont Chirodella verecunda. Associated fauna of echinoderms and bivalves indicate that the specimen had drifted out to sea, presumably from the nearby Welsh Massif and associated islands (St David's Archipelago. Its occurrence close to the base of the Blue Lias Formation (Lower Jurassic, Hettangian makes it the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur and it represents the first dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic of Wales. A cladistic analysis indicates basal neotheropodan affinities, but the specimen retains plesiomorphic characters which it shares with Tawa and Daemonosaurus.

  1. Fungal Ferromanganese Mineralisation in Cretaceous Dinosaur Bones from the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Owocki, Krzysztof; Kremer, Barbara; Wrzosek, Beata; Królikowska, Agata; Kaźmierczak, Józef

    2016-01-01

    Well-preserved mycelia of fungal- or saprolegnia-like biota mineralised by ferromanganese oxides were found for the first time in long bones of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs from the Gobi Desert (Nemegt Valley, Mongolia). The mycelia formed a biofilm on the wall of the bone marrow cavity and penetrated the osteon channels of the nearby bone tissue. Optical microscopy, Raman, SEM/EDS, SEM/BSE, electron microprobe and cathodoluminescence analyses revealed that the mineralisation of the mycelia proceeded in two stages. The first stage was early post-mortem mineralisation of the hyphae by Fe/Mn-oxide coatings and microconcretions. Probably this proceeded in a mildly acidic to circumneutral environment, predominantly due to heterotrophic bacteria degrading the mycelial necromass and liberating Fe and Mn sorbed by the mycelia during its lifetime. The second stage of mineralisation, which proceeded much later following the final burial of the bones in an alkaline environment, resulted from the massive precipitation of calcite and occasionally barite on the iron/manganese-oxide-coated mycelia. The mineral phases produced by fungal biofilms colonising the interiors of decaying dinosaur bones not only enhance the preservation (fossilisation) of fungal remains but can also be used as indicators of the geochemistry of the dinosaur burial sites.

  2. Fungal Ferromanganese Mineralisation in Cretaceous Dinosaur Bones from the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Krzysztof Owocki

    Full Text Available Well-preserved mycelia of fungal- or saprolegnia-like biota mineralised by ferromanganese oxides were found for the first time in long bones of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs from the Gobi Desert (Nemegt Valley, Mongolia. The mycelia formed a biofilm on the wall of the bone marrow cavity and penetrated the osteon channels of the nearby bone tissue. Optical microscopy, Raman, SEM/EDS, SEM/BSE, electron microprobe and cathodoluminescence analyses revealed that the mineralisation of the mycelia proceeded in two stages. The first stage was early post-mortem mineralisation of the hyphae by Fe/Mn-oxide coatings and microconcretions. Probably this proceeded in a mildly acidic to circumneutral environment, predominantly due to heterotrophic bacteria degrading the mycelial necromass and liberating Fe and Mn sorbed by the mycelia during its lifetime. The second stage of mineralisation, which proceeded much later following the final burial of the bones in an alkaline environment, resulted from the massive precipitation of calcite and occasionally barite on the iron/manganese-oxide-coated mycelia. The mineral phases produced by fungal biofilms colonising the interiors of decaying dinosaur bones not only enhance the preservation (fossilisation of fungal remains but can also be used as indicators of the geochemistry of the dinosaur burial sites.

  3. The behavioral implications of a multi-individual bonebed of a small theropod dinosaur.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucio M Ibiricu

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Central Patagonia, Argentina, preserves an abundant and rich fossil record. Among vertebrate fossils from the Upper Cretaceous Bajo Barreal Formation of Patagonia, five individuals of the small, non-avian theropod dinosaur Aniksosaurus darwini were recovered. Group behavior is an important aspect of dinosaur paleoecology, but it is not well-documented and is poorly understood among non-avian Theropoda. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The taphonomic association of individuals from the Bajo Barreal Formation and aspects of their bone histology suggest gregarious behavior for Aniksosaurus, during at least a portion of the life history of this species. Histology indicates that the specimens were juvenile to sub-adult individuals. In addition, morphological differences between individuals, particularly proportions of the appendicular bones, are probably related to body-size dimorphism rather than ontogenetic stage. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Gregarious behaviour may have conferred a selective advantage on Aniksosaurus individuals, contributing to their successful exploitation of the Cretaceous paleoenvironment preserved in the Bajo Barreal Formation. The monospecific assemblage of Aniksosaurus specimens constitutes only the second body fossil association of small, coelurosaurian theropods in South America and adds valuable information about the paleoecologies of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, particularly in the early Late Cretaceous of Patagonia.

  4. A new chasmosaurine from northern Laramidia expands frill disparity in ceratopsid dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryan, Michael J; Evans, David C; Currie, Philip J; Loewen, Mark A

    2014-06-01

    A new taxon of chasmosaurine ceratopsid demonstrates unexpected disparity in parietosquamosal frill shape among ceratopsid dinosaurs early in their evolutionary radiation. The new taxon is described based on two apomorphic squamosals collected from approximately time equivalent (approximately 77 million years old) sections of the upper Judith River Formation, Montana, and the lower Dinosaur Park Formation of Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta. It is referred to Chasmosaurinae based on the inferred elongate morphology. The typical chasmosaurine squamosal forms an obtuse triangle in dorsal view that tapers towards the posterolateral corner of the frill. In the dorsal view of the new taxon, the lateral margin of the squamosal is hatchet-shaped with the posterior portion modified into a constricted narrow bar that would have supported the lateral margin of a robust parietal. The new taxon represents the oldest chasmosaurine from Canada, and the first pre-Maastrichtian ceratopsid to have been collected on both sides of the Canada-US border, with a minimum north-south range of 380 km. This squamosal morphology would have given the frill of the new taxon a unique dorsal profile that represents evolutionary experimentation in frill signalling near the origin of chasmosaurine ceratopsids and reinforces biogeographic differences between northern and southern faunal provinces in the Campanian of North America.

  5. Cartilaginous epiphyses in extant archosaurs and their implications for reconstructing limb function in dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Casey M Holliday

    Full Text Available Extinct archosaurs, including many non-avian dinosaurs, exhibit relatively simply shaped condylar regions in their appendicular bones, suggesting potentially large amounts of unpreserved epiphyseal (articular cartilage. This "lost anatomy" is often underappreciated such that the ends of bones are typically considered to be the joint surfaces, potentially having a major impact on functional interpretation. Extant alligators and birds were used to establish an objective basis for inferences about cartilaginous articular structures in such extinct archosaur clades as non-avian dinosaurs. Limb elements of alligators, ostriches, and other birds were dissected, disarticulated, and defleshed. Lengths and condylar shapes of elements with intact epiphyses were measured. Limbs were subsequently completely skeletonized and the measurements repeated. Removal of cartilaginous condylar regions resulted in statistically significant changes in element length and condylar breadth. Moreover, there was marked loss of those cartilaginous structures responsible for joint architecture and congruence. Compared to alligators, birds showed less dramatic, but still significant changes. Condylar morphologies of dinosaur limb bones suggest that most non-coelurosaurian clades possessed large cartilaginous epiphyses that relied on the maintenance of vascular channels that are otherwise eliminated early in ontogeny in smaller-bodied tetrapods. A sensitivity analysis using cartilage correction factors (CCFs obtained from extant taxa indicates that whereas the presence of cartilaginous epiphyses only moderately increases estimates of dinosaur height and speed, it has important implications for our ability to infer joint morphology, posture, and the complicated functional movements in the limbs of many extinct archosaurs. Evidence suggests that the sizes of sauropod epiphyseal cartilages surpassed those of alligators, which account for at least 10% of hindlimb length. These data

  6. 论敦达古鲁-巴哈里亚地区的陆相夹层及非洲其他地层中早白垩世恐龙化石的时代%BETWEEN TENDAGURU AND BAHARIYA: ON THE AGE OF THE EARLY CRETACEOUS DINOSAUR SITES FROM THE CONTINENTAL INTERCALAIRE AND OTHER AFRICAN FORMATIONS

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Jean LE LOEUFF; Emilie LANG; Lionel CAVIN; Eric BUFFETAUT

    2012-01-01

    characterized by the association of dinosaurs (Spinosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus), sharks (Onchopristis numidus) and crocodiles (libycosuchids, stomatosuchids). It is suggested that some supposedly Early Cretaceous formations from central Africa (Galula Formation of Tanzania, dinosaur beds of Malawi) are Late Cretaceous in age. Fossil vertebrates seem to be essential to correlate those continental formations.

  7. Nonplantigrade Foot Posture: A Constraint on Dinosaur Body Size.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tai Kubo

    Full Text Available Dinosaurs had functionally digitigrade or sub-unguligrade foot postures. With their immediate ancestors, dinosaurs were the only terrestrial nonplantigrades during the Mesozoic. Extant terrestrial mammals have different optimal body sizes according to their foot posture (plantigrade, digitigrade, and unguligrade, yet the relationship of nonplantigrade foot posture with dinosaur body size has never been investigated, even though the body size of dinosaurs has been studied intensively. According to a large dataset presented in this study, the body sizes of all nonplantigrades (including nonvolant dinosaurs, nonvolant terrestrial birds, extant mammals, and extinct Nearctic mammals are above 500 g, except for macroscelid mammals (i.e., elephant shrew, a few alvarezsauroid dinosaurs, and nondinosaur ornithodirans (i.e., the immediate ancestors of dinosaurs. When nonplantigrade tetrapods evolved from plantigrade ancestors, lineages with nonplantigrade foot posture exhibited a steady increase in body size following Cope's rule. In contrast, contemporaneous plantigrade lineages exhibited no trend in body size evolution and were largely constrained to small body sizes. This evolutionary pattern of body size specific to foot posture occurred repeatedly during both the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic eras. Although disturbed by the end-Cretaceous extinction, species of mid to large body size have predominantly been nonplantigrade animals from the Jurassic until the present; conversely, species with small body size have been exclusively composed of plantigrades in the nonvolant terrestrial tetrapod fauna.

  8. Nonplantigrade Foot Posture: A Constraint on Dinosaur Body Size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kubo, Tai; Kubo, Mugino O

    2016-01-01

    Dinosaurs had functionally digitigrade or sub-unguligrade foot postures. With their immediate ancestors, dinosaurs were the only terrestrial nonplantigrades during the Mesozoic. Extant terrestrial mammals have different optimal body sizes according to their foot posture (plantigrade, digitigrade, and unguligrade), yet the relationship of nonplantigrade foot posture with dinosaur body size has never been investigated, even though the body size of dinosaurs has been studied intensively. According to a large dataset presented in this study, the body sizes of all nonplantigrades (including nonvolant dinosaurs, nonvolant terrestrial birds, extant mammals, and extinct Nearctic mammals) are above 500 g, except for macroscelid mammals (i.e., elephant shrew), a few alvarezsauroid dinosaurs, and nondinosaur ornithodirans (i.e., the immediate ancestors of dinosaurs). When nonplantigrade tetrapods evolved from plantigrade ancestors, lineages with nonplantigrade foot posture exhibited a steady increase in body size following Cope's rule. In contrast, contemporaneous plantigrade lineages exhibited no trend in body size evolution and were largely constrained to small body sizes. This evolutionary pattern of body size specific to foot posture occurred repeatedly during both the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic eras. Although disturbed by the end-Cretaceous extinction, species of mid to large body size have predominantly been nonplantigrade animals from the Jurassic until the present; conversely, species with small body size have been exclusively composed of plantigrades in the nonvolant terrestrial tetrapod fauna.

  9. Avian-like breathing mechanics in maniraptoran dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Codd, Jonathan R; Manning, Phillip L; Norell, Mark A; Perry, Steven F

    2008-01-22

    In 1868 Thomas Huxley first proposed that dinosaurs were the direct ancestors of birds and subsequent analyses have identified a suite of 'avian' characteristics in theropod dinosaurs. Ossified uncinate processes are found in most species of extant birds and also occur in extinct non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs. Their presence in these dinosaurs represents another morphological character linking them to Aves, and further supports the presence of an avian-like air-sac respiratory system in theropod dinosaurs, prior to the evolution of flight. Here we report a phylogenetic analysis of the presence of uncinate processes in Aves and non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs indicating that these were homologous structures. Furthermore, recent work on Canada geese has demonstrated that uncinate processes are integral to the mechanics of avian ventilation, facilitating both inspiration and expiration. In extant birds, uncinate processes function to increase the mechanical advantage for movements of the ribs and sternum during respiration. Our study presents a mechanism whereby uncinate processes, in conjunction with lateral and ventral movements of the sternum and gastral basket, affected avian-like breathing mechanics in extinct non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs.

  10. The Temptations of the Dinosaur Theory

    OpenAIRE

    Ola Larsmo

    2008-01-01

    Does the book have a future? Ola Larsmo firmly discards the common theory that a new medium makes its predecessor obsolete, terming it ‘the temptations of the dinosaur theory’. This has never happened, he argues. The radio did not replace the newspaper, the television did not replace the radio and the cinema, and so on. There always remains a form of coexistence when the new medium can do something in addition to the previous medium; he terms this ‘x plus 1’. Ola Larsmo concludes that the boo...

  11. Were sauropod dinosaurs responsible for the warm Mesozoic climate?

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    A.J.(Tom); van; Loon

    2012-01-01

    It was recently postulated that methane production by the giant Mesozoic sauropod dinosaurs was larger than the present-day release of this greenhouse gas by nature and man-induced activities jointly, thus contributing to the warm Mesozoic climate. This conclusion was reached by correct calculations, but these calculations were based on unrealistic assumptions:the researchers who postulated this dinosaur-induced warm climate did take into account neither the biomass production required for the sauropods’ food, nor the constraints for the habitats in which the dinosaurs lived, thus neglecting the palaeogeographic conditions. This underlines the importance of palaeogeography for a good understanding of the Earth’s geological history.

  12. Dinosaur or Phoenix: Nuclear Bombers in the 21st Century

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-12

    REPORT DATE 02-04-10 2. REPORT TYPE Master’s Thesis 3. DATES COVERED 31-07-09 to 16-06-10 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Dinosaur or Phoenix: Nuclear...WARFIGHTING SCHOOL DINOSAUR OR PHOENIX: NUCLEAR BOMBERS IN THE 21ST CENTURY by John W. Morehead Colonel, United States Air Force A paper...can argue Secretary Gates’ decision to halt development of a follow-on bomber indicates the DOD views nuclear bombers as dinosaurs no longer needed as

  13. Reanalysis of "Raptorex kriegsteini": a juvenile tyrannosaurid dinosaur from Mongolia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fowler, Denver W; Woodward, Holly N; Freedman, Elizabeth A; Larson, Peter L; Horner, John R

    2011-01-01

    The carnivorous Tyrannosauridae are among the most iconic dinosaurs: typified by large body size, tiny forelimbs, and massive robust skulls with laterally thickened teeth. The recently described small-bodied tyrannosaurid Raptorex kreigsteini is exceptional as its discovery proposes that many of the distinctive anatomical traits of derived tyrannosaurids were acquired in the Early Cretaceous, before the evolution of large body size. This inference depends on two core interpretations: that the holotype (LH PV18) derives from the Lower Cretaceous of China, and that despite its small size, it is a subadult or young adult. Here we show that the published data is equivocal regarding stratigraphic position and that ontogenetic reanalysis shows there is no reason to conclude that LH PV18 has reached this level of maturity. The probable juvenile status of LH PV18 makes its use as a holotype unreliable, since diagnostic features of Raptorex may be symptomatic of its immature status, rather than its actual phylogenetic position. These findings are consistent with the original sale description of LH PV18 as a juvenile Tarbosaurus from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia. Consequently, we suggest that there is currently no evidence to support the conclusion that tyrannosaurid skeletal design first evolved in the Early Cretaceous at small body size.

  14. Fossilized excreta associated to dinosaurs in Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Souto, P. R. F.; Fernandes, M. A.

    2015-01-01

    This work provides an updated register of the main occurrences of fossilized excreta (coprolites and urolites) associated with dinosaurs found in the Brazil. The goal is to provide a relevant guide to the interpretation of the environment in the context of Gondwana. In four geographic areas, the excreta are recovered from Cretaceous sedimentary deposits in outcrops of the Bauru and São Luis basins and the Upper Jurassic aeolian deposits of the Parana Basin in the state of São Paulo. The coprolites were analyzed by X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence methods. The results of these analyses reveal compositions that differ from the surrounding matrix, indicating a partial substitution of the organic material due to the feeding habits of the producers. Additionally, we describe the urolite excavations in epirelief and hyporelief, the result of gravitational flow the impact from urine jets on sand. These are associated with ornithopod and theropod dinosaur footprints preserved in the aeolian flagstones of the Botucatu Formation, Parana Basin.

  15. Dispersal and diversity in the earliest North American sauropodomorph dinosaurs, with a description of a new taxon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowe, Timothy B; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Reisz, Robert R

    2011-04-07

    Sauropodomorph dinosaurs originated in the Southern Hemisphere in the Middle or Late Triassic and are commonly portrayed as spreading rapidly to all corners of Pangaea as part of a uniform Late Triassic to Early Jurassic cosmopolitan dinosaur fauna. Under this model, dispersal allegedly inhibited dinosaurian diversification, while vicariance and local extinction enhanced it. However, apomorphy-based analyses of the known fossil record indicate that sauropodomorphs were absent in North America until the Early Jurassic, reframing the temporal context of their arrival. We describe a new taxon from the Kayenta Formation of Arizona that comprises the third diagnosable sauropodomorph from the Early Jurassic of North America. We analysed its relationships to test whether sauropodomorphs reached North America in a single sweepstakes event or in separate dispersals. Our finding of separate arrivals by all three taxa suggests dispersal as a chief factor in dinosaurian diversification during at least the early Mesozoic. It questions whether a 'cosmopolitan' dinosaur fauna ever existed, and corroborates that vicariance, extinction and dispersal did not operate uniformly in time or under uniform conditions during the Mesozoic. Their relative importance is best measured in narrow time slices and circumscribed geographical regions.

  16. A new carnivorous dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen archipelago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Göhlich, Ursula B; Chiappe, Luis M

    2006-03-16

    Small Late Jurassic theropod dinosaurs are rare worldwide. In Europe these carnivorous dinosaurs are represented primarily by only two skeletons of Compsognathus, neither of which is well preserved. Here we describe a small new theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period of Schamhaupten in southern Germany. Being exquisitely preserved and complete from the snout to the distal third of the tail, the new fossil is the best-preserved predatory, non-avian dinosaur in Europe. It possesses a suite of characters that support its identification as a basal coelurosaur. A cladistic analysis indicates that the new taxon is closer to maniraptorans than to tyrannosauroids, grouping it with taxa often considered to be compsognathids. Large portions of integument are preserved along its tail. The absence of feathers or feather-like structures in a fossil phylogenetically nested within feathered theropods indicates that the evolution of these integumentary structures might be more complex than previously thought.

  17. Spatial Vegetation Data for Dinosaur National Monument Vegetation Mapping Project

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Park Service, Department of the Interior — This polygon feature class represents vegetation communities mapped at Dinosaur National Monument. The polygons were delineated following guidelines set by the...

  18. Large Mesozoic Mammals Found to Feed on Young Dinosaurs

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2005-01-01

    @@ Mammals in the Mesozoic era (280 million to 65 million years ago)are commonly pictured as tiny shrew-like creatures that were mainly insectivorous, probably nocturnal and lived in the shadow of the dinosaurs.

  19. Brief review of dinosaur studies and perspectives in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ALEXANDER W. A. KELLNER

    2000-12-01

    Full Text Available Dinosaur research is developing at very high rates around the world resulting in several new discoveries that are improving our understanding of this terrestrial reptilian clade. Except for the last couple years, the studies of Brazilian dinosaurs have not followed this expansive trend, despite the high potential of several dinosaur localities. So far there are only eight described taxa, four in the last year, representing theropod, sauropod, and one possible prosauropod taxa. Except for footprints, there are no records of ornithischian dinosaurs in the country what is at least partially explainable by the lack of continuous vertebrate fossil collecting program in the country. More funding is necessary to improve the research activities in this field.

  20. Incubation times of dinosaur eggs via embryonic metabolism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott A.

    2016-08-01

    The incubation times for the eggs of 21 dinosaurs are determined from an estimate of their embyronic metabolic rate and the mass of the hatchlings via a mass growth model based on conservation of energy. Embryos in extant birds and crocodiles are studied in order to determine the best model for embryonic metabolism and growth. These results are used to develop a theoretical model that predicts the incubation times of an egg. This model is applied to dinosaur eggs and provides a unique window into dinosaur reproduction. The dinosaurs studied come from both Saurischia and Ornithischia. The incubation times vary from about 28 days for Archaeopteryx lithographica to about 76 days for Alamosaurus sanjuanensis.

  1. Response to Comments on "Evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grady, John M; Enquist, Brian J; Dettweiler-Robinson, Eva; Wright, Natalie A; Smith, Felisa A

    2015-05-29

    D'Emic and Myhrvold raise a number of statistical and methodological issues with our recent analysis of dinosaur growth and energetics. However, their critiques and suggested improvements lack biological and statistical justification.

  2. The distribution of integumentary structures in a feathered dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ji, Q; Norell, M A; Gao, K Q; Ji, S A; Ren, D

    2001-04-26

    Non-avian theropod dinosaurs with preserved integumentary coverings are becoming more common; but apart from the multiple specimens of Caudipteryx, which have true feathers, animals that are reasonably complete and entirely articulated that show these structures in relation to the body have not been reported. Here we report on an enigmatic small theropod dinosaur that is covered with filamentous feather-like structures over its entire body.

  3. Dinosaur: A Refined Open-Source Peptide MS Feature Detector.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teleman, Johan; Chawade, Aakash; Sandin, Marianne; Levander, Fredrik; Malmström, Johan

    2016-07-01

    In bottom-up mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics, peptide isotopic and chromatographic traces (features) are frequently used for label-free quantification in data-dependent acquisition MS but can also be used for the improved identification of chimeric spectra or sample complexity characterization. Feature detection is difficult because of the high complexity of MS proteomics data from biological samples, which frequently causes features to intermingle. In addition, existing feature detection algorithms commonly suffer from compatibility issues, long computation times, or poor performance on high-resolution data. Because of these limitations, we developed a new tool, Dinosaur, with increased speed and versatility. Dinosaur has the functionality to sample algorithm computations through quality-control plots, which we call a plot trail. From the evaluation of this plot trail, we introduce several algorithmic improvements to further improve the robustness and performance of Dinosaur, with the detection of features for 98% of MS/MS identifications in a benchmark data set, and no other algorithm tested in this study passed 96% feature detection. We finally used Dinosaur to reimplement a published workflow for peptide identification in chimeric spectra, increasing chimeric identification from 26% to 32% over the standard workflow. Dinosaur is operating-system-independent and is freely available as open source on https://github.com/fickludd/dinosaur .

  4. Melanosome evolution indicates a key physiological shift within feathered dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Quanguo; Clarke, Julia A; Gao, Ke-Qin; Zhou, Chang-Fu; Meng, Qingjin; Li, Daliang; D'Alba, Liliana; Shawkey, Matthew D

    2014-03-20

    Inference of colour patterning in extinct dinosaurs has been based on the relationship between the morphology of melanin-containing organelles (melanosomes) and colour in extant bird feathers. When this relationship evolved relative to the origin of feathers and other novel integumentary structures, such as hair and filamentous body covering in extinct archosaurs, has not been evaluated. Here we sample melanosomes from the integument of 181 extant amniote taxa and 13 lizard, turtle, dinosaur and pterosaur fossils from the Upper-Jurassic and Lower-Cretaceous of China. We find that in the lineage leading to birds, the observed increase in the diversity of melanosome morphologies appears abruptly, near the origin of pinnate feathers in maniraptoran dinosaurs. Similarly, mammals show an increased diversity of melanosome form compared to all ectothermic amniotes. In these two clades, mammals and maniraptoran dinosaurs including birds, melanosome form and colour are linked and colour reconstruction may be possible. By contrast, melanosomes in lizard, turtle and crocodilian skin, as well as the archosaurian filamentous body coverings (dinosaur 'protofeathers' and pterosaur 'pycnofibres'), show a limited diversity of form that is uncorrelated with colour in extant taxa. These patterns may be explained by convergent changes in the key melanocortin system of mammals and birds, which is known to affect pleiotropically both melanin-based colouration and energetic processes such as metabolic rate in vertebrates, and may therefore support a significant physiological shift in maniraptoran dinosaurs.

  5. Histomorphogenèse du squelette d'embryons de dinosaures Théropodes du Jurassique supérieur de Lourinhã (Portugal)

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Ricqlès, Armand; Mateus, Octávio; Antunes, Miguel Telles; Taquet, Philippe

    2001-05-01

    Remains of dinosaurian embryos, hatchlings and early juveniles are currently the subject of increasing interest, as new discoveries and techniques now allow to analyse palaeobiological subjects such as growth and life history strategies of dinosaurs. So far, available 'embryonic' material mainly involved Ornithopods and some Theropods of Upper Cretaceous age. We describe here the histology of several bones (vertebrae, limb bones) from the tiny but exceptionally well preserved in ovo remains of Upper Jurassic Theropod dinosaurs from the Paimogo locality near Lourinhã (Portugal). This Jurassic material allows to extend in time and to considerably supplement in great details our knowledge of early phases of growth in diameter and in length of endoskeletal bones of various shape, as well as shape modelling among carnivorous dinosaurs. Endochondral ossification in both short and long bones involves extensive pads of calcified cartilages permeated by marrow buds. We discuss the likely occurrence of genuine cartilage canals in dinosaurs and of an avian-like 'medullary cartilaginous cone' in Theropods. Patterns of periosteal ossification suggest high initial growth rates (20 μ m·day -1 or more), at once modulated by precise and locally specific changes in rates of new bone deposition. The resulting very precise shape modelling appears to start early and to involve at once some biomechanical components.

  6. Scientists Drill for Clues to Dinosaur Extinction

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张一

    2001-01-01

    @@ [选注者言:20世纪70年代,墨西哥的Yucatan半岛的石油勘探发现了著名的Chicxulub大坑.直到20世纪90年代,科学家才认定,此大坑是由6千5百万年的一颗小行星撞击地球而形成,这次撞击导致地球上的恐龙灭绝.现在,科学家拟再次对此大坑作一番发掘研究,旨在:to determine once andfor all(一劳永逸的;彻底地)whatled to the global extinction(消灭)of the dinosaurs(恐龙)millions of years ago.

  7. Semiaquatic adaptations in a giant predatory dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibrahim, Nizar; Sereno, Paul C; Dal Sasso, Cristiano; Maganuco, Simone; Fabbri, Matteo; Martill, David M; Zouhri, Samir; Myhrvold, Nathan; Iurino, Dawid A

    2014-09-26

    We describe adaptations for a semiaquatic lifestyle in the dinosaur Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. These adaptations include retraction of the fleshy nostrils to a position near the mid-region of the skull and an elongate neck and trunk that shift the center of body mass anterior to the knee joint. Unlike terrestrial theropods, the pelvic girdle is downsized, the hindlimbs are short, and all of the limb bones are solid without an open medullary cavity, for buoyancy control in water. The short, robust femur with hypertrophied flexor attachment and the low, flat-bottomed pedal claws are consistent with aquatic foot-propelled locomotion. Surface striations and bone microstructure suggest that the dorsal "sail" may have been enveloped in skin that functioned primarily for display on land and in water.

  8. The Temptations of the Dinosaur Theory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ola Larsmo

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available Does the book have a future? Ola Larsmo firmly discards the common theory that a new medium makes its predecessor obsolete, terming it ‘the temptations of the dinosaur theory’. This has never happened, he argues. The radio did not replace the newspaper, the television did not replace the radio and the cinema, and so on. There always remains a form of coexistence when the new medium can do something in addition to the previous medium; he terms this ‘x plus 1’. Ola Larsmo concludes that the book in its present form will be with us for many years to come, despite of, and as well as, the tremendous growth of digital information.

  9. Scientists Drill for Clues to Dinosaur Extinction

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张一

    2001-01-01

    20世纪70年代,墨西哥的Yucatan半岛的石油勘探发现了著名的Chicxulub大坑。直到20世纪90年代,科学家才认定,此大坑是由6千5百万年的一颗小行星撞击地球而形成,这次撞击导致地球上的恐龙灭绝。现在,科学家拟再次对此大坑作一番发掘研究,旨在:to determine once andfor all(一劳永逸的;彻底地)what led to the global extinction(消灭)of the dinosaurs(恐龙)millions of years ago。 本文为读者描绘了当年地球遭受此灭顶之灾时的可怕情景: Millions of years before humans even existed,a huge meteorite(陨星)measuring about 6 miles across and weighing perhaps billions of tons crashed intothe planet in a ball of fire,shrouding the Earth in a dense cloud of dust that blocked out sunlight and sent temperatures plummeting(垂直落下). 文中有一句话颇能引起读者的共鸣: It’s a 100 million-year event—they don’t occur that often,thank God. 文中的一个成语的使用却值得商榷: …hoping to determine once and for all(一劳永逸的;彻底地)what led to theglobal extinction(消灭)of the dinosaurs(恐龙)millions of years ago.在科学探索的道路上,once and for all也许只是一种良好

  10. Common avian infection plagued the tyrant dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ewan D S Wolff

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaurid fossils often display multiple, smooth-edged full-thickness erosive lesions on the mandible, either unilaterally or bilaterally. The cause of these lesions in the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen FMNH PR2081 (known informally by the name 'Sue' has previously been attributed to actinomycosis, a bacterial bone infection, or bite wounds from other tyrannosaurids. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted an extensive survey of tyrannosaurid specimens and identified ten individuals with full-thickness erosive lesions. These lesions were described, measured and photographed for comparison with one another. We also conducted an extensive survey of related archosaurs for similar lesions. We show here that these lesions are consistent with those caused by an avian parasitic infection called trichomonosis, which causes similar abnormalities on the mandible of modern birds, in particular raptors. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This finding represents the first evidence for the ancient evolutionary origin of an avian transmissible disease in non-avian theropod dinosaurs. It also provides a valuable insight into the palaeobiology of these now extinct animals. Based on the frequency with which these lesions occur, we hypothesize that tyrannosaurids were commonly infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan. For tyrannosaurid populations, the only non-avian dinosaur group that show trichomonosis-type lesions, it is likely that the disease became endemic and spread as a result of antagonistic intraspecific behavior, consumption of prey infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan and possibly even cannibalism. The severity of trichomonosis-related lesions in specimens such as Tyrannosaurus rex FMNH PR2081 and Tyrannosaurus rex MOR 980, strongly suggests that these animals died as a direct result of this disease, mostly likely through starvation.

  11. DinoViz: Exploring the History and Nature of Science through the Progression of Dinosaur Visualization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2011-01-01

    Dinosaurs in the middle school classroom can be exciting. These extinct reptiles are both an exotic subject and familiar to our students. Because students are inherently interested, dinosaurs can serve as an effective portal for the integration of biology, geology, ecology, and the history and nature of science. The field of dinosaur study is…

  12. A new Basal sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Navajo sandstone of Southern Utah.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph J W Sertich

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Basal sauropodomorphs, or 'prosauropods,' are a globally widespread paraphyletic assemblage of terrestrial herbivorous dinosaurs from the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic. In contrast to several other landmasses, the North American record of sauropodomorphs during this time interval remains sparse, limited to Early Jurassic occurrences of a single well-known taxon from eastern North America and several fragmentary specimens from western North America. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: On the basis of a partial skeleton, we describe here a new basal sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southern Utah, Seitaad ruessi gen. et sp. nov. The partially articulated skeleton of Seitaad was likely buried post-mortem in the base of a collapsed dune foreset. The new taxon is characterized by a plate-like medial process of the scapula, a prominent proximal expansion of the deltopectoral crest of the humerus, a strongly inclined distal articular surface of the radius, and a proximally and laterally hypertrophied proximal metacarpal I. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Phylogenetic analysis recovers Seitaad as a derived basal sauropodomorph closely related to plateosaurid or massospondylid 'prosauropods' and its presence in western North America is not unexpected for a member of this highly cosmopolitan clade. This occurrence represents one of the most complete vertebrate body fossil specimens yet recovered from the Navajo Sandstone and one of the few basal sauropodomorph taxa currently known from North America.

  13. From dinosaurs to modern bird diversity: extending the time scale of adaptive radiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moen, Daniel; Morlon, Hélène

    2014-05-01

    What explains why some groups of organisms, like birds, are so species rich? And what explains their extraordinary ecological diversity, ranging from large, flightless birds to small migratory species that fly thousand of kilometers every year? These and similar questions have spurred great interest in adaptive radiation, the diversification of ecological traits in a rapidly speciating group of organisms. Although the initial formulation of modern concepts of adaptive radiation arose from consideration of the fossil record, rigorous attempts to identify adaptive radiation in the fossil record are still uncommon. Moreover, most studies of adaptive radiation concern groups that are less than 50 million years old. Thus, it is unclear how important adaptive radiation is over temporal scales that span much larger portions of the history of life. In this issue, Benson et al. test the idea of a "deep-time" adaptive radiation in dinosaurs, compiling and using one of the most comprehensive phylogenetic and body-size datasets for fossils. Using recent phylogenetic statistical methods, they find that in most clades of dinosaurs there is a strong signal of an "early burst" in body-size evolution, a predicted pattern of adaptive radiation in which rapid trait evolution happens early in a group's history and then slows down. They also find that body-size evolution did not slow down in the lineage leading to birds, hinting at why birds survived to the present day and diversified. This paper represents one of the most convincing attempts at understanding deep-time adaptive radiations.

  14. From Dinosaurs to Birds:Puzzles Unraveled while Evidence Building up

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHEN Pingfu; SONG Jianlan

    2010-01-01

    @@ Rejuvenation of dinosaurian origin of birds and its theoretical difficulties In 1986,Prof.Jacques Gauthier from Yale University first applied cladistic systimatics to the analysis of the relationships between birds and other species in archosauria,a basal reptilian group that includes dinosaurs,pterosaurs,crocodilias and some other extinct reptilians.His analysis further confirmed that birds might have originated from a branch of small theropods close to Deinonychosauria.Encouraged by this work,the paleontological community cast intense attention to birds' dinosaurian origin theory,which was first presented by Thomas Henry Huxley over one century ago.Later on the discovery of feathered theropods in the Jehol Biota in 1996 offered much more robust evidence for this theory,and our understandings have since been significantly improved concerning how birds evolved from dinosaurs.Meanwhile,these exceptionally well-preserved specimens found in the Early Cretaceous strata of west Liaoning Province,China and its vicinity have also provided important information about the origins and early evolution of feathers and flight.

  15. Late Triassic tropical climate of Pangea: Carbon isotopic and other insights into the rise of dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteside, J. H.; Lindström, S.; Irmis, R. B.; Glasspool, I.; Schaller, M. F.; Dunlavey, M.; Nesbitt, S. J.; Smith, N. D.; Turner, A. H.

    2015-12-01

    The rarity and species-poor nature of early dinosaurs and their relatives at low paleolatitudes persisted for 30 million years after their origin and 10-15 million years after they became abundant and speciose at higher latitudes. New environmental reconstructions from stable carbon isotope ratios of preserved organic matter (δ13Corg), atmospheric pCO2 data based on the δ13C of soil carbonate, palynological, and wildfire data from charcoal from early dinosaur-bearing strata at low paleolatitudes in western North America show that variations in δ13Corg and palynomorph ecotypes are tightly correlated, displaying large and high-frequency excursions. These variations occurred within an environment characterized by elevated and increasing atmospheric pCO2, pervasive wildfires, and rapidly fluctuating extreme climatic conditions. Whereas pseudosuchian archosaur-dominated communities were able to persist in these same regions until the end-Triassic, the large-bodied, fast-growing tachymetabolic dinosaurian herbivores were not. We hypothesize that the greater resources required by the herbivores made it difficult from them to adapt to the unstable conditions at low paleolatitudes in the Late Triassic.

  16. Mountain building triggered late cretaceous North American megaherbivore dinosaur radiation.

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    Terry A Gates

    Full Text Available Prior studies of Mesozoic biodiversity document a diversity peak for dinosaur species in the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, yet have failed to provide explicit causal mechanisms. We provide evidence that a marked increase in North American dinosaur biodiversity can be attributed to dynamic orogenic episodes within the Western Interior Basin (WIB. Detailed fossil occurrences document an association between the shift from Sevier-style, latitudinally arrayed basins to smaller Laramide-style, longitudinally arrayed basins and a well substantiated decreased geographic range/increased taxonomic diversity of megaherbivorous dinosaur species. Dispersal-vicariance analysis demonstrates that the nearly identical biogeographic histories of the megaherbivorous dinosaur clades Ceratopsidae and Hadrosauridae are attributable to rapid diversification events within restricted basins and that isolation events are contemporaneous with known tectonic activity in the region. SymmeTREE analysis indicates that megaherbivorous dinosaur clades exhibited significant variation in diversification rates throughout the Late Cretaceous. Phylogenetic divergence estimates of fossil clades offer a new lower boundary on Laramide surficial deformation that precedes estimates based on sedimentological data alone.

  17. Diachronism between extinction time of terrestrial and marine dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansen, H. J.

    1988-01-01

    The dinosaur eggs of southern France occur in continental, fine-grained red-beds, rich in carbonate. The last eggs in the region occur in the magnetic polarity interval 30 normal. Estimates of the accumulation rate of these sediments on the basis of the magneto-stratigraphy leads to placement of the time of disappearance of the dinosaurs in this region of 200,000 to 400,000 years earlier than the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. In the Red Deer Valley, Canada, estimates of average accumulation rate lead to a time of disappearance of the dinosaurs of 135,000 to 157,000 years earlier than the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. In the central part of Poland, in the Nasilow Quarry, the paleomagnetic pattern shows 7 m of chalk of reversed polarity containing in its upper part the marine Cretaceous-Tertiary biostratigraphic boundary. A greensand deposit contains numerous re-deposited Maastrichtian fossils. The fossils show no signs of wear and are of very different sizes including 1 mm thick juvenile belemnites. The deposit was described as a lag-sediment. Among the various fossils are teeth of mosasaurs. Thus there is coincidence in time between the extinction of mosasaurs and other Cretaceous organisms. This leads to the conclusion, that extinction of terrestrial dinosaurs took place earlier than extinction of marine dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary.

  18. The first Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian dinosaur footprints from Transylvania (Romania

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    Matei Vremir

    2002-09-01

    Full Text Available An Uppermost Cretaceous (Maastrichtian site exposing dinosaur footprints is reported from the Sebes̡ area (Transylvanian Depression. This is the first dinoturbated layer discovered in our country, containing also numerous bones belonging to various dinosaurs. The track-site is located near Lancrăm village and provides only two quite well preserved footprints (one track. The medium sized (FL = 23,3 cm; FW = 17,8 cm; pace = 103 cm; ST = 200 cm plantigrad-tridactyle footprints belong to Ornithopedoidei, according to their morphology. An assignment to the Iguanodontichnus CASAMIQUELA & FASOLA, 1968 group seems to be appropriate (tentatively, associated to the “Rhabdodon” iguanodontian dinosaur. The importance of this discovery lies in the stratigraphical significance, confirming the Uppermost Cretaceous age of these dinosaur-bearing continental deposits exposed between Sebes̡ and Alba-Iulia (as well as the autochthon/ paraautochon status of some vertebrate assemblages identified there, which previously were considered Oligocene or even Miocene. Additional data regarding size, speed and locomotion of the Transylvanian Iguanodontian ”Rhabdodon” dinosaurs are added.

  19. Dynamic similarity in titanosaur sauropods: ichnological evidence from the Fumanya dinosaur tracksite (southern Pyrenees.

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    Bernat Vila

    Full Text Available The study of a small sauropod trackway from the Late Cretaceous Fumanya tracksite (southern Pyrenees, Catalonia and further comparisons with larger trackways from the same locality suggest a causative relationship between gait, gauge, and body proportions of the respective titanosaur trackmakers. This analysis, conducted in the context of scaling predictions and using geometric similarity and dynamic similarity hypotheses, reveals similar Froude numbers and relative stride lengths for both small and large trackmakers from Fumanya. Evidence for geometric similarity in these trackways suggests that titanosaurs of different sizes moved in a dynamically similar way, probably using an amble gait. The wide gauge condition reported in trackways of small and large titanosaurs implies that they possessed similar body (trunk and limbs proportions despite large differences in body size. These results strengthen the hypothesis that titanosaurs possessed a distinctive suite of anatomical characteristics that are well reflected in their tracks and trackways.

  20. Dynamic Similarity in Titanosaur Sauropods: Ichnological Evidence from the Fumanya Dinosaur Tracksite (Southern Pyrenees)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vila, Bernat; Oms, Oriol; Galobart, Àngel; Bates, Karl T.; Egerton, Victoria M.; Manning, Phillip L.

    2013-01-01

    The study of a small sauropod trackway from the Late Cretaceous Fumanya tracksite (southern Pyrenees, Catalonia) and further comparisons with larger trackways from the same locality suggest a causative relationship between gait, gauge, and body proportions of the respective titanosaur trackmakers. This analysis, conducted in the context of scaling predictions and using geometric similarity and dynamic similarity hypotheses, reveals similar Froude numbers and relative stride lengths for both small and large trackmakers from Fumanya. Evidence for geometric similarity in these trackways suggests that titanosaurs of different sizes moved in a dynamically similar way, probably using an amble gait. The wide gauge condition reported in trackways of small and large titanosaurs implies that they possessed similar body (trunk and limbs) proportions despite large differences in body size. These results strengthen the hypothesis that titanosaurs possessed a distinctive suite of anatomical characteristics that are well reflected in their tracks and trackways. PMID:23451221

  1. The first dinosaur from Washington State and a review of Pacific coast dinosaurs from North America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peecook, Brandon R; Sidor, Christian A

    2015-01-01

    We describe the first diagnostic dinosaur fossil from Washington State. The specimen, which consists of a proximal left femur, was recovered from the shallow marine rocks of the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Cedar District Formation (Nanaimo Group) and is interpreted as pertaining to a large theropod on the basis of its hollow medullary cavity and proximally placed fourth trochanter. The Washington theropod represents one of the northernmost occurrences of a Mesozoic dinosaur on the west coast of the United States and one of only a handful from the Pacific coast of Laramidia during the Cretaceous. Its isolated nature and preservation in marine rocks suggest that the element was washed in from a nearby fluvial system. If the femur pertains to a tyrannosauroid, which seems likely given its size and the widespread occurrence of the group across Laramidia during Late Cretaceous times, then it would represent an earlier occurrence of large body size than previously recognized (complete femur length estimated at 1.2 meters). Uncertainty surrounding the latitude of deposition of the Nanaimo Group (i.e., the Baja-British Columbia hypothesis) precludes assigning the Washington theropod to either of the putative northern or southern biogeographic provinces of Laramidia.

  2. Biomechanics (Communication arising): prey attack by a large theropod dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frazzetta, T H; Kardong, Kenneth V

    2002-03-28

    Prey-capture strategies in carnivorous dinosaurs have been inferred from the biomechanical features of their tooth structure, the estimated bite force produced, and their diet. Rayfield et al. have used finite-element analysis (FEA) to investigate such structure-function relationships in Allosaurus fragilis, and have found that the skull was designed to bear more stress than could be generated by simple biting. They conclude that this large theropod dinosaur delivered a chop-and-slash 'hatchet' blow to its prey, which it approached with its mouth wide open before driving its upper tooth row downwards. We argue that this mode of predation is unlikely, and that the FEA results, which relate to an 'overengineered' skull, are better explained by the biomechanical demands of prey capture. Understanding the mechanics of predation is important to our knowledge of the feeding habits of carnivorous dinosaurs and for accurate reconstruction their lifestyles.

  3. Epidermal and dermal integumentary structures of ankylosaurian dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arbour, Victoria M; Burns, Michael E; Bell, Phil R; Currie, Philip J

    2014-01-01

    Ankylosaurian dinosaurs are most notable for their abundant and morphologically diverse osteoderms, which would have given them a spiky appearance in life. Isolated osteoderms are relatively common and provide important information about the structure of the ankylosaur dermis, but fossilized impressions of the soft-tissue epidermis of ankylosaurs are rare. Nevertheless, well-preserved integument exists on several ankylosaur fossils that shows osteoderms were covered by a single epidermal scale, but one or many millimeter-sized ossicles may be present under polygonal, basement epidermal scales. Evidence for the taxonomic utility of ankylosaurid epidermal scale architecture is presented for the first time. This study builds on previous osteological work that argues for a greater diversity of ankylosaurids in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta than has been traditionally recognized and adds to the hypothesis that epidermal skin impressions are taxonomically relevant across diverse dinosaur clades. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. Dynamics of dental evolution in ornithopod dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strickson, Edward; Prieto-Márquez, Albert; Benton, Michael J.; Stubbs, Thomas L.

    2016-01-01

    Ornithopods were key herbivorous dinosaurs in Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems, with a variety of tooth morphologies. Several clades, especially the ‘duck-billed’ hadrosaurids, became hugely diverse and abundant almost worldwide. Yet their evolutionary dynamics have been disputed, particularly whether they diversified in response to events in plant evolution. Here we focus on their remarkable dietary adaptations, using tooth and jaw characters to examine changes in dental disparity and evolutionary rate. Ornithopods explored different areas of dental morphospace throughout their evolution, showing a long-term expansion. There were four major evolutionary rate increases, the first among basal iguanodontians in the Middle-Late Jurassic, and the three others among the Hadrosauridae, above and below the split of their two major clades, in the middle of the Late Cretaceous. These evolutionary bursts do not correspond to times of plant diversification, including the radiation of the flowering plants, and suggest that dental innovation rather than coevolution with major plant clades was a major driver in ornithopod evolution. PMID:27412496

  5. Dynamics of dental evolution in ornithopod dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strickson, Edward; Prieto-Márquez, Albert; Benton, Michael J.; Stubbs, Thomas L.

    2016-07-01

    Ornithopods were key herbivorous dinosaurs in Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems, with a variety of tooth morphologies. Several clades, especially the ‘duck-billed’ hadrosaurids, became hugely diverse and abundant almost worldwide. Yet their evolutionary dynamics have been disputed, particularly whether they diversified in response to events in plant evolution. Here we focus on their remarkable dietary adaptations, using tooth and jaw characters to examine changes in dental disparity and evolutionary rate. Ornithopods explored different areas of dental morphospace throughout their evolution, showing a long-term expansion. There were four major evolutionary rate increases, the first among basal iguanodontians in the Middle-Late Jurassic, and the three others among the Hadrosauridae, above and below the split of their two major clades, in the middle of the Late Cretaceous. These evolutionary bursts do not correspond to times of plant diversification, including the radiation of the flowering plants, and suggest that dental innovation rather than coevolution with major plant clades was a major driver in ornithopod evolution.

  6. Biomechanics of running indicates endothermy in bipedal dinosaurs.

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    Herman Pontzer

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: One of the great unresolved controversies in paleobiology is whether extinct dinosaurs were endothermic, ectothermic, or some combination thereof, and when endothermy first evolved in the lineage leading to birds. Although it is well established that high, sustained growth rates and, presumably, high activity levels are ancestral for dinosaurs and pterosaurs (clade Ornithodira, other independent lines of evidence for high metabolic rates, locomotor costs, or endothermy are needed. For example, some studies have suggested that, because large dinosaurs may have been homeothermic due to their size alone and could have had heat loss problems, ectothermy would be a more plausible metabolic strategy for such animals. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we describe two new biomechanical approaches for reconstructing the metabolic rate of 14 extinct bipedal dinosauriforms during walking and running. These methods, well validated for extant animals, indicate that during walking and slow running the metabolic rate of at least the larger extinct dinosaurs exceeded the maximum aerobic capabilities of modern ectotherms, falling instead within the range of modern birds and mammals. Estimated metabolic rates for smaller dinosaurs are more ambiguous, but generally approach or exceed the ectotherm boundary. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results support the hypothesis that endothermy was widespread in at least larger non-avian dinosaurs. It was plausibly ancestral for all dinosauriforms (perhaps Ornithodira, but this is perhaps more strongly indicated by high growth rates than by locomotor costs. The polarity of the evolution of endothermy indicates that rapid growth, insulation, erect postures, and perhaps aerobic power predated advanced "avian" lung structure and high locomotor costs.

  7. Sauropod dinosaurs evolved moderately sized genomes unrelated to body size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Organ, Chris L; Brusatte, Stephen L; Stein, Koen

    2009-12-22

    Sauropodomorph dinosaurs include the largest land animals to have ever lived, some reaching up to 10 times the mass of an African elephant. Despite their status defining the upper range for body size in land animals, it remains unknown whether sauropodomorphs evolved larger-sized genomes than non-avian theropods, their sister taxon, or whether a relationship exists between genome size and body size in dinosaurs, two questions critical for understanding broad patterns of genome evolution in dinosaurs. Here we report inferences of genome size for 10 sauropodomorph taxa. The estimates are derived from a Bayesian phylogenetic generalized least squares approach that generates posterior distributions of regression models relating genome size to osteocyte lacunae volume in extant tetrapods. We estimate that the average genome size of sauropodomorphs was 2.02 pg (range of species means: 1.77-2.21 pg), a value in the upper range of extant birds (mean = 1.42 pg, range: 0.97-2.16 pg) and near the average for extant non-avian reptiles (mean = 2.24 pg, range: 1.05-5.44 pg). The results suggest that the variation in size and architecture of genomes in extinct dinosaurs was lower than the variation found in mammals. A substantial difference in genome size separates the two major clades within dinosaurs, Ornithischia (large genomes) and Saurischia (moderate to small genomes). We find no relationship between body size and estimated genome size in extinct dinosaurs, which suggests that neutral forces did not dominate the evolution of genome size in this group.

  8. Broad-scale patterns of late jurassic dinosaur paleoecology.

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    Christopher R Noto

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: There have been numerous studies on dinosaur biogeographic distribution patterns. However, these distribution data have not yet been applied to ecological questions. Ecological studies of dinosaurs have tended to focus on reconstructing individual taxa, usually through comparisons to modern analogs. Fewer studies have sought to determine if the ecological structure of fossil assemblages is preserved and, if so, how dinosaur communities varied. Climate is a major component driving differences between communities. If the ecological structure of a fossil locality is preserved, we expect that dinosaur assemblages from similar environments will share a similar ecological structure. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study applies Ecological Structure Analysis (ESA to a dataset of 100+ dinosaur taxa arranged into twelve composite fossil assemblages from around the world. Each assemblage was assigned a climate zone (biome based on its location. Dinosaur taxa were placed into ecomorphological categories. The proportion of each category creates an ecological profile for the assemblage, which were compared using cluster and principal components analyses. Assemblages grouped according to biome, with most coming from arid or semi-arid/seasonal climates. Differences between assemblages are tied to the proportion of large high-browsing vs. small ground-foraging herbivores, which separates arid from semi-arid and moister environments, respectively. However, the effects of historical, taphonomic, and other environmental factors are still evident. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study is the first to show that the general ecological structure of Late Jurassic dinosaur assemblages is preserved at large scales and can be assessed quantitatively. Despite a broad similarity of climatic conditions, a degree of ecological variation is observed between assemblages, from arid to moist. Taxonomic differences between Asia and the other regions demonstrate at

  9. An unusual basal Therizinosaur dinosaur with an ornithischian dental arrangement from northeastern China.

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    Hanyong Pu

    Full Text Available Therizinosauria are an unusual group of theropod dinosaurs, found mostly in the Cretaceous deposits in Mongolia, China and western USA. The basal forms of this group are represented by incomplete or disarticulated material. Here, we report a nearly complete, articulated skeleton of a new basal therizinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Jianchang County, western part of Liaoning Province, which sheds light on our understanding of anatomy of basal therizinosaurs. This new dinosaur shows some typical therizinosaur features, such as neural spines of the anterior caudal vertebrae that possess anterior and posterior alae, a rectangular buttress on the ventrolateral side of the proximal end of metacarpal I, and appressed metatarsal shafts. Our phylogenetic analysis suggests that it is a basal therizinosaur (sister taxon to Therizinosauroidea because it bears many basal therizinosaur characters in the dentition, pelvis and hind limbs. The new therizinosaur described here has unique tooth and jaw characters such as the offsetting of the tooth row by a shelf and dentary teeth with labially concave and lingually convex dentary teeth, similar to ornithopods and ceratopsians.

  10. The Latest Succession of Dinosaur Tracksites in Europe: Hadrosaur Ichnology, Track Production and Palaeoenvironments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vila, Bernat; Oms, Oriol; Fondevilla, Víctor; Gaete, Rodrigo; Galobart, Àngel; Riera, Violeta; Canudo, José Ignacio

    2013-01-01

    A comprehensive review and study of the rich dinosaur track record of the Tremp Formation in the southern Pyrenees of Spain (Southwestern Europe) shows a unique succession of footprint localities prior to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event. A description of some 30 new tracksites and data on sedimentary environments, track occurrence and preservation, ichnology and chronostratigraphy are provided. These new track localities represent various facies types within a diverse set of fluvial environments. The footprint discoveries mostly represent hadrosaurian and, less abundantly, to sauropod dinosaurs. The hadrosaur tracks are significantly smaller in size than, but morphologically similar to, those of North America and Asia and are attributable to the ichnogenus Hadrosauropodus. The track succession, with more than 40 distinct track levels, indicates that hadrosaur footprints in the Ibero-Armorican region occur predominantly in the late Maaastrichtian (at least above the early Maastrichtian–late Maastrichtian boundary). The highest abundance is found noticeably found in the late Maastrichtian, with tracks occurring in the C29r magnetochron, within about the latest 300,000 years of the Cretaceous. PMID:24019873

  11. Sedimentology, stratigraphy, and depositional environment of the Crystal Geyser Dinosaur Quarry, east-central Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suarez, M.B.; Suarez, C.A.; Kirkland, J.I.; Gonzalez, Luis A.; Grandstaff, D.E.; Terry, D.O.

    2007-01-01

    The Crystal Geyser Dinosaur Quarry, near Green River, Utah, is located at the base of the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) Yellow Cat Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation. The quarry preserves a nearly monospecific accumulation of a new basal therizinosauroid, Falcarius utahensis. We used field descriptions and petrographic analysis to determine the depositional environment and development of the quarry strata. Results of these analyses suggest that the quarry represents multiple episodes of bone accumulation buried by spring and overbank flood deposits. Evidence for these previously undescribed spring deposits includes calcite macroscopic structures within the quarry strata - such as pisolites and travertine fragments - and calcite micromorphologies - including radial-fibrous, feather, and scandulitic dendrite morphologies and tufa clasts. At least two episodes of bone incorporation are preserved in the quarry based on their stratigraphic position and lithologic associations. The unique depositional setting in and around the Crystal Geyser Dinosaur Quarry appears to have been favorable for the preservation of vertebrate fossils and provides insight into early Cretaceous environments in North America. Copyright ?? 2007, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

  12. Evidence of reworked Cretaceous fossils and their bearing on the existence of Tertiary dinosaurs

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    Eaton, J.G. (Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff (USA)); Kirkland, J.I. (Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln (USA)); Doi, K. (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder (USA))

    1989-06-01

    The Paleocene Shotgun fauna of Wyoming includes marine sharks as well as mammals. It has been suggested that the sharks were introduced from the Cannonball Sea. It is more likely that these sharks were reworked from a Cretaceous rock sequence that included both marine and terrestrial deposits as there is a mixture of marine and freshwater taxa. These taxa have not been recorded elsewhere after the Cretaceous and are not known from the Cannonball Formation. Early Eocene localities at Raven Ridge, Utah, similarly contain teeth of Cretaceous marine and freshwater fish, dinosaurs, and Eocene mammals. The Cretaceous teeth are well preserved, variably abraded, and serve to cast doubts on criteria recently used to claim that dinosaur teeth recovered from the Paleocene of Montana are not reworked. Another Eocene locality in the San Juan Basin has produced an Eocene mammalian fauna with diverse Cretaceous marine sharks. Neither the nature of preservation nor the degree of abrasion could be used to distinguish reworked from contemporaneous material. The mixed environments represented by the fish taxa and recognition of the extensive pre-Tertiary extinction of both marine and freshwater fish were employed to recognize reworked specimens.

  13. A Middle Jurassic heterodontosaurid dinosaur from Patagonia and the evolution of heterodontosaurids

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pol, Diego; Rauhut, Oliver W. M.; Becerra, Marcos

    2011-05-01

    Heterodontosauridae is a morphologically divergent group of dinosaurs that has recently been interpreted as one of the most basal clades of Ornithischia. Heterodontosaurid remains were previously known from the Early Jurassic of southern Africa, but recent discoveries and studies have significantly increased the geographical and temporal range for this clade. Here, we report a new ornithischian dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic Cañadón Asfalto Formation in central Patagonia, Argentina. This new taxon, Manidens condorensis gen. et sp. nov., includes well-preserved craniomandibular and postcranial remains and represents the only diagnostic ornithischian specimen yet discovered in the Jurassic of South America so far. Derived features of its anatomy indicate that Manidens belongs to Heterodontosauridae, as the sister taxon of Heterodontosaurus and other South African heterodontosaurids. The presence of posterior dentary teeth with high crowns but lacking extensive wear facets in Manidens suggests that this form represents an intermediate stage in the development of the remarkable adaptations to herbivory described for Heterodontosaurus. The dentition of Manidens condorensis also has autapomorphies, such as asymmetrically arranged denticles in posterior teeth and a mesially projected denticle in the posteriormost teeth. At an estimated total length of 60-75 cm, Manidens furthermore confirms the small size of basal heterodontosaurids.

  14. Edentulism, beaks, and biomechanical innovations in the evolution of theropod dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lautenschlager, Stephan; Witmer, Lawrence M; Altangerel, Perle; Rayfield, Emily J

    2013-12-17

    Maniraptoriformes, the speciose group of derived theropod dinosaurs that ultimately gave rise to modern birds, display a diverse and remarkable suite of skeletal adaptations. Apart from the evolution of flight, a large-scale change in dietary behavior appears to have been one of the main triggers for specializations in the bauplan of these derived theropods. Among the different skeletal specializations, partial or even complete edentulism and the development of keratinous beaks form a recurring and persistent trend in from the evolution of derived nonavian dinosaurs. Therizinosauria is an enigmatic maniraptoriform clade, whose members display these and other osteological characters thought to be correlated with the shift from carnivory to herbivory. This makes therizinosaurians prime candidates to assess the functional significance of these morphological characters. Based on a highly detailed biomechanical model of Erlikosaurus andrewsi, a therizinosaurid from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia, different morphological configurations incorporating soft-tissue structures, such as a keratinous rhamphotheca, are evaluated for their biomechanical performance. Our results indicate that the development of beaks and the presence of a keratinous rhamphotheca would have helped to dissipate stress and strain, making the rostral part of the skull less susceptible to bending and displacement, and this benefit may extend to other vertebrate clades that possess rhamphothecae. Keratinous beaks, paralleled by edentulism, thus represent an evolutionary innovation developed early in derived theropods to enhance cranial stability, distinct to postulated mass-saving benefits associated with the origin of flight.

  15. A new North American therizinosaurid and the role of herbivory in 'predatory' dinosaur evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zanno, Lindsay E; Gillette, David D; Albright, L Barry; Titus, Alan L

    2009-10-07

    Historically, ecomorphological inferences regarding theropod (i.e. 'predatory') dinosaurs were guided by an assumption that they were singularly hypercarnivorous. A recent plethora of maniraptoran discoveries has produced evidence challenging this notion. Here, we report on a new species of maniraptoran theropod, Nothronychus graffami sp. nov. Relative completeness of this specimen permits a phylogenetic reassessment of Therizinosauria-the theropod clade exhibiting the most substantial anatomical evidence of herbivory. In the most comprehensive phylogenetic study of the clade conducted to date, we recover Therizinosauria as the basalmost maniraptoran lineage. Using concentrated changes tests, we present evidence for correlated character evolution among herbivorous and hypercarnivorous taxa and propose ecomorphological indicators for future interpretations of diet among maniraptoran clades. Maximum parsimony optimizations of character evolution within our study indicate an ancestral origin for dietary plasticity and facultative herbivory (omnivory) within the clade. These findings suggest that hypercarnivory in paravian dinosaurs is a secondarily derived dietary specialization and provide a potential mechanism for the invasion of novel morpho- and ecospace early in coelurosaurian evolution-the loss of obligate carnivory and origin of dietary opportunism.

  16. Exceptionally preserved juvenile megalosauroid theropod dinosaur with filamentous integument from the Late Jurassic of Germany

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rauhut, Oliver W. M.; Foth, Christian; Tischlinger, Helmut; Norell, Mark A.

    2012-01-01

    Recent discoveries in Asia have greatly increased our understanding of the evolution of dinosaurs’ integumentary structures, revealing a previously unexpected diversity of “protofeathers” and feathers. However, all theropod dinosaurs with preserved feathers reported so far are coelurosaurs. Evidence for filaments or feathers in noncoelurosaurian theropods is circumstantial and debated. Here we report an exceptionally preserved skeleton of a juvenile megalosauroid, Sciurumimus albersdoerferi n. gen., n. sp., from the Late Jurassic of Germany, which preserves a filamentous plumage at the tail base and on parts of the body. These structures are identical to the type 1 feathers that have been reported in some ornithischians, the basal tyrannosaur Dilong, the basal therizinosauroid Beipiaosaurus, and, probably, in the basal coelurosaur Sinosauropteryx. Sciurumimus albersdoerferi represents the phylogenetically most basal theropod that preserves direct evidence for feathers and helps close the gap between feathers reported in coelurosaurian theropods and filaments in ornithischian dinosaurs, further supporting the homology of these structures. The specimen of Sciurumimus is the most complete megalosauroid yet discovered and helps clarify significant anatomical details of this important basal theropod clade, such as the complete absence of the fourth digit of the manus. The dentition of this probably early-posthatchling individual is markedly similar to that of basal coelurosaurian theropods, indicating that coelurosaur occurrences based on isolated teeth should be used with caution. PMID:22753486

  17. Fossils and Dinosaurs--A Fully Integrated Instructional Unit.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuehl, Matt; And Others

    This lesson plan for the second and third grades uses information on dinosaurs, their adaptations and survival, to provide science education for limited-English-proficient (LEP) students in San Diego, California. The primary text is "Los Dinosaurios Gigantes," a core literature book used in the school district. Lessons are based on the whole…

  18. Metric-Asaurus: Conceptualizing Scale Using Dinosaur Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gloyna, Lisa; West, Sandra; Martin, Patti; Browning, Sandra

    2010-01-01

    For middle school students who have seen only pictures of dinosaurs in books, in the movies, or on the internet, trying to comprehend the size of these gargantuan animals can be difficult. This lesson provides a way for students to visualize changing scale through studying extinct organisms and to gain a deeper understanding of the history of the…

  19. Metric-Asaurus: Conceptualizing Scale Using Dinosaur Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gloyna, Lisa; West, Sandra; Martin, Patti; Browning, Sandra

    2010-01-01

    For middle school students who have seen only pictures of dinosaurs in books, in the movies, or on the internet, trying to comprehend the size of these gargantuan animals can be difficult. This lesson provides a way for students to visualize changing scale through studying extinct organisms and to gain a deeper understanding of the history of the…

  20. TeV scale gravity, mirror universe, and ... dinosaurs

    CERN Document Server

    Silagadze, Z K

    2001-01-01

    This is somewhat extended version of the talk given at the Gran Sasso SummerInstitute: Massive Neutrinos in Physics and Astrophysics. It describes generalideas about mirror world, extra spatial dimensions and dinosaur extinction.Some suggestions are made how these seemingly different things can be relatedto each other.

  1. Dinosaur demise in light of their alleged perennial polar residency

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewy, Zeev

    2016-12-01

    The end-Cretaceous biological crisis is represented by the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs. However, most crucial biologically was the elimination of the photosynthesizing marine phyto- and zooplankton forming the base of the marine food chain. Their abrupt demise attests to sunlight screening darkening the atmosphere for a few years. Alvarez et al. (Science 208:1095-1108, 1980. doi: 10.1126/science.208.44) noticed in deep marine end-Cretaceous sediments an anomalous rise in the chemical element iridium (Ir), which is rare on planet Earth and thus suggests an extraterrestrial origin through an impact of a large asteroid. This impact would have ejected enormous quantities of particles and aerosols, shading the solar illumination as attested to by the elimination of the marine photosynthesizing plankton. Such a dark period must have affected life on land. The apparent cold-blooded non-avian dinosaurs, which were used to living in open terrains to absorb the solar illumination, became inactive during the dark period and were incapable of withstanding predators. This was in contrast to cold-blooded crocodilians, turtles and lizards that could hide in refuge sites on land and in the water. Dinosaur relics discovered in Cretaceous Polar Regions were attributed to perennial residents, surviving the nearly half-year-long dark winter despite their ability to leave. The polar concentrations of disarticulated dinosaur bones were suggested as having resulted from a catastrophic burial of a population by floods. However, this should have fossilized complete skeletons. Alternatively, herds of dinosaurs living in high latitudes might have been sexually driven to spend the half year of continuously illuminated polar summer for mating rather than for nourishment, in which the lower latitudes provided as well. The aggressive mating competitions would have left victims among the rivals and of young ones incidentally trampled over, all being consumed and their skeletons

  2. If Dung Beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae Arose in Association with Dinosaurs, Did They Also Suffer a Mass Co-Extinction at the K-Pg Boundary?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicole L Gunter

    Full Text Available The evolutionary success of beetles and numerous other terrestrial insects is generally attributed to co-radiation with flowering plants but most studies have focused on herbivorous or pollinating insects. Non-herbivores represent a significant proportion of beetle diversity yet potential factors that influence their diversification have been largely unexamined. In the present study, we examine the factors driving diversification within the Scarabaeidae, a speciose beetle family with a range of both herbivorous and non-herbivorous ecologies. In particular, it has been long debated whether the key event in the evolution of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae was an adaptation to feeding on dinosaur or mammalian dung. Here we present molecular evidence to show that the origin of dung beetles occurred in the middle of the Cretaceous, likely in association with dinosaur dung, but more surprisingly the timing is consistent with the rise of the angiosperms. We hypothesize that the switch in dinosaur diet to incorporate more nutritious and less fibrous angiosperm foliage provided a palatable dung source that ultimately created a new niche for diversification. Given the well-accepted mass extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, we examine a potential co-extinction of dung beetles due to the loss of an important evolutionary resource, i.e., dinosaur dung. The biogeography of dung beetles is also examined to explore the previously proposed "out of Africa" hypothesis. Given the inferred age of Scarabaeinae as originating in the Lower Cretaceous, the major radiation of dung feeders prior to the Cenomanian, and the early divergence of both African and Gondwanan lineages, we hypothesise that that faunal exchange between Africa and Gondwanaland occurred during the earliest evolution of the Scarabaeinae. Therefore we propose that both Gondwanan vicariance and dispersal of African lineages is responsible for present day

  3. If Dung Beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) Arose in Association with Dinosaurs, Did They Also Suffer a Mass Co-Extinction at the K-Pg Boundary?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gunter, Nicole L.; Weir, Tom A.; Cameron, Stephen L.

    2016-01-01

    The evolutionary success of beetles and numerous other terrestrial insects is generally attributed to co-radiation with flowering plants but most studies have focused on herbivorous or pollinating insects. Non-herbivores represent a significant proportion of beetle diversity yet potential factors that influence their diversification have been largely unexamined. In the present study, we examine the factors driving diversification within the Scarabaeidae, a speciose beetle family with a range of both herbivorous and non-herbivorous ecologies. In particular, it has been long debated whether the key event in the evolution of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) was an adaptation to feeding on dinosaur or mammalian dung. Here we present molecular evidence to show that the origin of dung beetles occurred in the middle of the Cretaceous, likely in association with dinosaur dung, but more surprisingly the timing is consistent with the rise of the angiosperms. We hypothesize that the switch in dinosaur diet to incorporate more nutritious and less fibrous angiosperm foliage provided a palatable dung source that ultimately created a new niche for diversification. Given the well-accepted mass extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, we examine a potential co-extinction of dung beetles due to the loss of an important evolutionary resource, i.e., dinosaur dung. The biogeography of dung beetles is also examined to explore the previously proposed “out of Africa” hypothesis. Given the inferred age of Scarabaeinae as originating in the Lower Cretaceous, the major radiation of dung feeders prior to the Cenomanian, and the early divergence of both African and Gondwanan lineages, we hypothesise that that faunal exchange between Africa and Gondwanaland occurred during the earliest evolution of the Scarabaeinae. Therefore we propose that both Gondwanan vicariance and dispersal of African lineages is responsible for present day distribution of

  4. Diverse dinosaur-dominated ichnofaunas from the potomac group (Lower Cretaceous) Maryland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanford, R.; Lockley, M.; Weems, R.

    2007-01-01

    Until recently fossil footprints were virtually unknown from the Cretaceous of the eastern United States. The discovery of about 300 footprints in iron-rich siliciclastic facies of the Patuxent Formation (Potomac Group) of Aptian age is undoubtedly one of the most significant Early Cretaceous track discoveries since the Paluxy track discoveries in Texas in the 1930s. The Patuxent tracks include theropod, sauropod, ankylosaur and ornithopod dinosaur footprints, pterosaur tracks, and miscellaneous mammal and other vertebrate ichnites that collectively suggest a diversity of about 14 morphotypes. This is about twice the previous maximum estimate for any known Early Cretaceous vertebrate ichnofauna. Among the more distinctive forms are excellent examples of hypsilophodontid tracks and a surprisingly large mammal footprint. A remarkable feature of the Patuxent track assemblage is the high proportion of small tracks indicative of hatchlings, independently verified by the discovery of a hatchling-sized dinosaur. Such evidence suggests the proximity of nest sites. The preservation of such small tracks is very rare in the Cretaceous track record, and indeed throughout most of the Mesozoic. This unusual preservation not only provides us with a window into a diverse Early Cretaceous ecosystem, but it also suggests the potential of such facies to provide ichnological bonanzas. A remarkable feature of the assemblage is that it consists largely of reworked nodules and clasts that may have previously been reworked within the Patuxent Formation. Such unusual contexts of preservation should provide intriguing research opportunities for sedimentologists interested in the diagenesis and taphonomy of a unique track-bearing facies.

  5. Pathologic bone tissues in a Turkey vulture and a nonavian dinosaur: implications for interpreting endosteal bone and radial fibrolamellar bone in fossil dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chinsamy, Anusuya; Tumarkin-Deratzian, Allison

    2009-09-01

    We report on similar pathological bone microstructure in an extant turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and a nonavian dinosaur from Transylvania. Both these individuals exhibit distinctive periosteal reactive bone deposition accompanied by endosteal bone deposits in the medullary cavity. Our findings have direct implications on the two novel bone tissues recently described among nonavian dinosaurs, radial fibrolamellar bone tissue and medullary bone tissue. On the basis of the observed morphology of the periosteal reactive bone in the turkey vulture and the Transylvanian dinosaur, we propose that the radial fibrolamellar bone tissues observed in mature dinosaurs may have had a pathological origin. Our analysis also shows that on the basis of origin, location, and morphology, pathologically derived endosteal bone tissue can be similar to medullary bone tissues described in nonavian dinosaurs. As such, we caution the interpretation of all endosteally derived bone tissue as homologous to avian medullary bone.

  6. Growth patterns in brooding dinosaurs reveals the timing of sexual maturity in non-avian dinosaurs and genesis of the avian condition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Gregory M; Curry Rogers, Kristina; Varricchio, David J; Norell, Mark A; Xu, Xing

    2007-10-22

    The timing of sexual maturation in non-avian dinosaurs is not known. In extant squamates and crocodilians it occurs in conjunction with the initial slowing of growth rates as adult size is approached. In birds (living dinosaurs) on the other hand, reproductive activity begins well after somatic maturity. Here we used growth line counts and spacing in all of the known brooding non-avian dinosaurs to determine the stages of development when they perished. It was revealed that sexual maturation occurred well before full adult size was reached-the primitive reptilian condition. In this sense, the life history and physiology of non-avian dinosaurs was not like that of modern birds. Palaeobiological ramifications of these findings include the potential to deduce reproductive lifespan, fecundity and reproductive population sizes in non-avian dinosaurs, as well as aid in the identification of secondary sexual characteristics.

  7. Presence of the dinosaur Scelidosaurus indicates Jurassic age for the Kayenta Formation (Glen Canyon Group, northern Arizona)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Padian, Kevin

    1989-05-01

    The Glen Canyon Group (Moenave, Wingate, Kayenta and Navajo Formations) of northern Arizona represents an extensive outcrop of early Mesozoic age terrestrial sediments. The age of these formations has long been disputed because independent stratigraphic data from marine tie-ins, paleobotanical and palynological evidence, and radiometric calibrations have been scanty or absent. The fauna of the Kayenta Formation in particular has been problematic because it has appeared to contain both typical Late Triassic and Early Jurassic taxa Here I report that the principal evidence for Late Triassic taxa, dermal scutes previously assigned to an aetosaur, in fact belongs to the thyreophoran ornithischian dinosaur Scelidosaurus, previously known only as a washed-in form found in marine sediments in the Early Jurassic of England. The presence of this dinosaur represents the first vertebrate biostratigraphic tie-in of the Glen Canyon Group horizons with reliably dated marine deposits in Europe. Together with revised systematic assessments of other vertebrates and independent evidence from fossil pollen, it supports an Early Jurassic age for the Kayenta Formation and most or all of the Glen Canyon Group.

  8. Occurrence of sauropod dinosaur tracks in the Upper Jurassic of Chile (redescription of Iguanodonichnus frenki)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno, Karen; Benton, Michael J.

    2005-12-01

    New observations from the only studied Upper Jurassic dinosaur unit in South America, the Baños del Flaco Formation, Chile, are presented herein. The original description of the ichnospecies Iguanodonichnus frenki contains several mistakes and information that needs updating. Therefore, we provide a redescription, including new data collected in the field, that supports I. frenki as a sauropod in origin on the basis of the following features: step angles average less than 110°; pes prints intersect the trackway midline; pes prints are longer than wide, with the long axis rotated outward; the claw impression of digit I is prominent and directed forward; and claws on digits II, III, and IV are strongly reduced. These morphological characteristics might give clues about the pes morphology of the South American Jurassic sauropods, whose foot bone remains are scarce. The presence of this sauropod ichnospecies in the Late Jurassic agrees with Early-Middle Jurassic faunal associations in South America.

  9. Filling the gaps of dinosaur eggshell phylogeny: Late Jurassic Theropod clutch with embryos from Portugal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Araújo, Ricardo; Castanhinha, Rui; Martins, Rui M S; Mateus, Octávio; Hendrickx, Christophe; Beckmann, F; Schell, N; Alves, L C

    2013-01-01

    The non-avian saurischians that have associated eggshells and embryos are represented only by the sauropodomorph Massospondylus and Coelurosauria (derived theropods), thus missing the basal theropod representatives. We report a dinosaur clutch containing several crushed eggs and embryonic material ascribed to the megalosaurid theropod Torvosaurus. It represents the first associated eggshells and embryos of megalosauroids, thus filling an important phylogenetic gap between two distantly related groups of saurischians. These fossils represent the only unequivocal basal theropod embryos found to date. The assemblage was found in early Tithonian fluvial overbank deposits of the Lourinhã Formation in West Portugal. The morphological, microstructural and chemical characterization results of the eggshell fragments indicate very mild diagenesis. Furthermore, these fossils allow unambiguous association of basal theropod osteology with a specific and unique new eggshell morphology.

  10. A new dinosaur ichnotaxon from the Lower Cretaceous Patuxent Formation of Maryland and Virginia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanford, R.; Weems, R.E.; Lockley, M.G.

    2004-01-01

    In recent years, numerous dinosaur footprints have been discovered on bedding surfaces within the Lower Cretaceous Patuxent Formation of Maryland and Virginia. Among these, distinctive small tracks that display a combination of small manus with five digit impressions and a relatively much larger pes with four toe impressions evidently were made by animals belonging to the ornithischian family Hypsilophodontidae. These tracks differ from any ornithischian ichnotaxon previously described. We here name them Hypsiloichnus marylandicus and provide a description of their diagnostic characteristics. Although hypsilophodontid skeletal remains have not been found in the Patuxent, their skeletal remains are known from Lower Cretaceous strata of similar age in both western North America and Europe. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that an Early Cretaceous representative of this family also existed in eastern North America. ?? Taylor and Francis Ltd.

  11. Ankylosaurid dinosaur tail clubs evolved through stepwise acquisition of key features.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arbour, Victoria M; Currie, Philip J

    2015-10-01

    Ankylosaurid ankylosaurs were quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaurs with abundant dermal ossifications. They are best known for their distinctive tail club composed of stiff, interlocking vertebrae (the handle) and large, bulbous osteoderms (the knob), which may have been used as a weapon. However, tail clubs appear relatively late in the evolution of ankylosaurids, and seemed to have been present only in a derived clade of ankylosaurids during the last 20 million years of the Mesozoic Era. New evidence from mid Cretaceous fossils from China suggests that the evolution of the tail club occurred at least 40 million years earlier, and in a stepwise manner, with early ankylosaurids evolving handle-like vertebrae before the distal osteoderms enlarged and coossified to form a knob.

  12. Dinosaurs on the North Slope, Alaska: High latitude, latest cretaceous environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brouwers, E.M.; Clemens, W.A.; Spicer, R.A.; Ager, T.A.; Carter, L.D.; Sliter, W.V.

    1987-01-01

    Abundant skeletal remains demonstrate that lambeosaurine hadrosaurid, tyrannosaurid, and troodontid dinosaurs lived on the Alaskan North Slope during late Campanian-early Maestrichtian time (about 66 to 76 million years ago) in a deltaic environment dominated by herbaceous vegetation. The high ground terrestrial plant community was a mild- to cold-temperate forest composed of coniferous and broad leaf trees. The high paleolatitude (about 70?? to 85?? North) implies extreme seasonal variation in solar insolation, temperature, and herbivore food supply. Great distances of migration to contemporaneous evergreen floras and the presence of both juvenile and adult hadrosaurs suggest that they remained at high latitudes year-round. This challenges the hypothesis that short-term periods of darkness and temperature decrease resulting from a bolide impact caused dinosaurian extinction.

  13. Paleobiological implications of dinosaur egg-bearing deposits in the Cretaceous Gyeongsang Supergroup of Korea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paik, In Sung; Kim, Hyun Joo; Huh, Min

    2010-05-01

    Dinosaur egg-bearing deposits in the Cretaceous Gyeongsang Basin in Korea is described in taphonomic aspect, their paleoenvironments are interpreted, and geobiological implications of dinosaur egg-bearing deposits in the world and Korea are analyzed in geographic occurrences, geological ages, paleoenvironments, and lithology. Dinosaur eggs with spheroolithids, faveoloolithid, and elongatoolithid structural types occur in several stratigraphic formations of the Cretaceous Gyeongsang Basin in South Korea, and most of the egg-bearing formations are the Late Cretaceous. The dinosaur eggs usually occur as clutches in purple sandy mudstone of floodplain deposits preserved as calcic paleosol with association of vertic paleosol features in places. Most of the eggs are top-broken and filled with surrounding sediments. The general depositional environment of dinosaur egg deposits in the Gyeongsang Supergroup are interpreted as a dried floodplain where volcanic activity occurred intermittently in the vicinity of the nesting sites. Their depositional settings on which floodplains developed are diverse from fluvial plain with meandering rivers to alluvial plain with episodic sheet flooding. The nesting areas in the Gyeongsang Basin are deemed to have been under semi-arid climate, which resulted in formation of calcic soils facilitating preservation of the dinosaur eggs. The geochronologic occurrences of dinosaur egg-bearing deposits are mostly restricted to the Late Cretaceous in the world as well as in Korea. If it has not been resulted from biased discoveries and reports of dinosaur eggs, biological rather than physical and chemical conditions for preservation of dinosaur eggs might be related with the restricted occurrences in the Late Cretaceous. Two hypotheses are suggested for probable biological causes to the geochronologically restricted occurrences of dinosaur egg-bearing deposits. One is related with the appearance of angiosperms in the Late Jurassic and the spreading

  14. A phylogenetic study of the section moduli of the humerus in bipedal theropod dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott; Richards, Zachary

    The section modulus of a bone is a measure of its ability to resist bending torques. Carnivorous dinosaurs including Tyrannosauroidea and Allosauroidea had strong humeri, presumably to hold struggling prey during hunting. The herbivorous dinosaurs of Ornithomimosauria had weak arm bones. This is believed to reflect the fact that their arms were never subjected to large bending torques. The unusual dinosaurs of Therizinosauria had arms as strong as found in the carnivorous dinosaurs. This is consistent with the hypothesis that their manus suggests a digging lifestyle. Other groups including Oviraptorosauria, Troodontidae, Dromaeosauridae and Compsognathidae are also examined.

  15. From dinosaurs to modern bird diversity: extending the time scale of adaptive radiation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Moen

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available What explains why some groups of organisms, like birds, are so species rich? And what explains their extraordinary ecological diversity, ranging from large, flightless birds to small migratory species that fly thousand of kilometers every year? These and similar questions have spurred great interest in adaptive radiation, the diversification of ecological traits in a rapidly speciating group of organisms. Although the initial formulation of modern concepts of adaptive radiation arose from consideration of the fossil record, rigorous attempts to identify adaptive radiation in the fossil record are still uncommon. Moreover, most studies of adaptive radiation concern groups that are less than 50 million years old. Thus, it is unclear how important adaptive radiation is over temporal scales that span much larger portions of the history of life. In this issue, Benson et al. test the idea of a "deep-time" adaptive radiation in dinosaurs, compiling and using one of the most comprehensive phylogenetic and body-size datasets for fossils. Using recent phylogenetic statistical methods, they find that in most clades of dinosaurs there is a strong signal of an "early burst" in body-size evolution, a predicted pattern of adaptive radiation in which rapid trait evolution happens early in a group's history and then slows down. They also find that body-size evolution did not slow down in the lineage leading to birds, hinting at why birds survived to the present day and diversified. This paper represents one of the most convincing attempts at understanding deep-time adaptive radiations.

  16. Environmental Fluctuations during the Rise of Dinosaurs in Western North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunlavey, M.; Whiteside, J. H.; Lindström, S.; Irmis, R. B.

    2010-12-01

    The Late Triassic Period witnessed the origin of modern terrestrial ecosystems, including the diversification and dispersal of early dinosaurs, a diachronous evolutionary event whose temporal and environmental context is poorly understood. In particular, Late Triassic terrestrial paleoclimate, a likely determinant of biotic patterns, is only documented at the coarsest of scales, and existing global climate models are inconsistent with local proxy records. Here we present a high-resolution paleoenvironmental proxy record from the Upper Triassic (Norian-Rhaetian) Chinle Formation of the Chama Basin in north-central New Mexico, a sequence that has yielded diverse fossil vertebrate assemblages including early records of North American dinosaurs. Specifically, we investigated the record of bulk organic carbon isotopes through the Chinle Formation in this region. Throughout this interval, organic carbon isotopic ratios are highly variable over both fine and coarse stratigraphic scales, revealing pervasive ecosystem instability over a period of up to 10-15 million years. This variability is independent of depositional and preservational conditions as recorded by lithologic data, total organic carbon content (TOC), and organic carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) of sediments. Instead, it appears to reflect fluctuating aridity levels and corresponding plant community changes, as evidenced by comparison with palynomorph assemblages from select sediment samples throughout the section. These palynoflora are dominated by xerophytic elements, though their proportion with hygrophytic flora fluctuates through time, with a slight increase in fern abundance near the top of the section. Together these data indicate that Chinle deposition likely occurred at low rates under semi-arid to arid conditions, in a landscape subject to frequent ecological perturbations of varying magnitude.

  17. Predation upon hatchling dinosaurs by a new snake from the late Cretaceous of India.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey A Wilson

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Derived large-mouthed snakes (macrostomatans possess numerous specializations in their skull and lower jaws that allow them to consume large vertebrate prey. In contrast, basal snakes lack these adaptations and feed primarily on small prey items. The sequence of osteological and behavioral modifications involved in the evolution of the macrostomatan condition has remained an open question because of disagreement about the origin and interrelationships of snakes, the paucity of well-preserved early snake fossils on many continental landmasses, and the lack of information about the feeding ecology of early snakes. We report on a partial skeleton of a new 3.5-m-long snake, Sanajeh indicus gen. et sp. nov., recovered from Upper Cretaceous rocks of western India. S. indicus was fossilized in association with a sauropod dinosaur egg clutch, coiled around an egg and adjacent to the remains of a ca. 0.5-m-long hatchling. Multiple snake-egg associations at the site strongly suggest that S. indicus frequented nesting grounds and preyed on hatchling sauropods. We interpret this pattern as "ethofossil" preservation of feeding behavior. S. indicus lacks specializations of modern egg-eaters and of macrostomatans, and skull and vertebral synapomorphies place it in an intermediate position in snake phylogeny. Sanajeh and its large-bodied madtsoiid sister taxa Yurlunggur camfieldensis and Wonambi naracoortensis from the Neogene of Australia show specializations for intraoral prey transport but lack the adaptations for wide gape that characterize living macrostomatan snakes. The Dholi Dungri fossils are the second definitive association between sauropod eggs and embryonic or hatchling remains. New fossils from western India provide direct evidence of feeding ecology in a Mesozoic snake and demonstrate predation risks for hatchling sauropod dinosaurs. Our results suggest that large body size and jaw mobility afforded some non-macrostomatan snakes a greater

  18. Complete forelimb myology of the basal theropod dinosaur Tawa hallae based on a novel robust muscle reconstruction method.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burch, Sara H

    2014-09-01

    The forelimbs of nonavian theropod dinosaurs have been the subject of considerable study and speculation due to their varied morphology and role in the evolution of flight. Although many studies on the functional morphology of a limb require an understanding of its musculature, comparatively little is known about the forelimb myology of theropods and other bipedal dinosaurs. Previous phylogenetically based myological reconstructions have been limited to the shoulder, restricting their utility in analyses of whole-limb function. The antebrachial and manual musculature in particular have remained largely unstudied due to uncertain muscular homologies in archosaurs. Through analysis of the musculature of extant taxa in a robust statistical framework, this study presents new hypotheses of homology for the distal limb musculature of archosaurs and provides the first complete reconstruction of dinosaurian forelimb musculature, including the antebrachial and intrinsic manual muscles. Data on the forelimb myology of a broad sample of extant birds, crocodylians, lizards, and turtles were analyzed using maximum likelihood ancestral state reconstruction and examined together with the osteology of the early theropod Tawa hallae from the Late Triassic of New Mexico to formulate a complete plesiomorphic myology for the theropod forelimb. Comparisons with previous reconstructions show that the shoulder musculature of basal theropods is more similar to that of basal ornithischians and sauropodomorphs than to that of dromaeosaurids. Greater development of the supracoracoideus and deltoideus musculature in theropods over other bipedal dinosaurs correlates with stronger movements of the forelimb at the shoulder and an emphasis on apprehension of relatively large prey. This emphasis is further supported by the morphology of the antebrachium and the intrinsic manual musculature, which exhibit a high degree of excursion and a robust morphology well-suited for powerful digital flexion

  19. New geochronologic and stratigraphic evidence confirms the paleocene age of the dinosaur-bearing ojo alamo sandstone and animas formation in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fassett, J.E.

    2009-01-01

    Dinosaur fossils are present in the Paleocene Ojo Alamo Sandstone and Animas Formation in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico, and Colorado. Evidence for the Paleo-cene age of the Ojo Alamo Sandstone includes palynologic and paleomagnetic data. Palynologic data indicate that the entire Ojo Alamo Sandstone, including the lower dinosaur-bearing part, is Paleocene in age. All of the palynomorph-productive rock samples collected from the Ojo Alamo Sandstone at multiple localities lacked Creta-ceous index palynomorphs (except for rare, reworked specimens) and produced Paleocene index palynomorphs. Paleocene palynomorphs have been identified strati-graphically below dinosaur fossils at two separate localities in the Ojo Alamo Sand-stone in the central and southern parts of the basin. The Animas Formation in the Colorado part of the basin also contains dinosaur fossils, and its Paleocene age has been established based on fossil leaves and palynology. Magnetostratigraphy provides independent evidence for the Paleocene age of the Ojo Alamo Sandstone and its dinosaur-bearing beds. Normal-polarity magnetochron C29n (early Paleocene) has been identified in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone at six localities in the southern part of the San Juan Basin. An assemblage of 34 skeletal elements from a single hadrosaur, found in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone in the southern San Juan Basin, provided conclusive evidence that this assemblage could not have been reworked from underlying Cretaceous strata. In addition, geochemical studies of 15 vertebrate bones from the Paleocene Ojo Alamo Sandstone and 15 bone samples from the underlying Kirtland Formation of Late Creta-ceous (Campanian) age show that each sample suite contained distinctly different abundances of uranium and rare-earth elements, indicating that the bones were miner-alized in place soon after burial, and that none of the Paleocene dinosaur bones ana-lyzed had been reworked. ?? U.S. Geological Survey, Public Domain April 2009.

  20. An abelisauroid theropod dinosaur from the Turonian of Madagascar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farke, Andrew A; Sertich, Joseph J W

    2013-01-01

    Geophysical evidence strongly supports the complete isolation of India and Madagascar (Indo-Madagascar) by ∼100 million years ago, though sparse terrestrial fossil records from these regions prior to ∼70 million years ago have limited insights into their biogeographic history during the Cretaceous. A new theropod dinosaur, Dahalokely tokana, from Turonian-aged (∼90 million years old) strata of northernmost Madagascar is represented by a partial axial column. Autapomorphies include a prominently convex prezygoepipophyseal lamina on cervical vertebrae and a divided infraprezygapophyseal fossa through the mid-dorsal region, among others. Phylogenetic analysis definitively recovers the species as an abelisauroid theropod and weakly as a noasaurid. Dahalokely is the only known dinosaur from the interval during which Indo-Madagascar likely existed as a distinct landmass, but more complete material is needed to evaluate whether or not it is more closely related to later abelisauroids of Indo-Madagascar or those known elsewhere in Gondwana.

  1. An abelisauroid theropod dinosaur from the Turonian of Madagascar.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew A Farke

    Full Text Available Geophysical evidence strongly supports the complete isolation of India and Madagascar (Indo-Madagascar by ∼100 million years ago, though sparse terrestrial fossil records from these regions prior to ∼70 million years ago have limited insights into their biogeographic history during the Cretaceous. A new theropod dinosaur, Dahalokely tokana, from Turonian-aged (∼90 million years old strata of northernmost Madagascar is represented by a partial axial column. Autapomorphies include a prominently convex prezygoepipophyseal lamina on cervical vertebrae and a divided infraprezygapophyseal fossa through the mid-dorsal region, among others. Phylogenetic analysis definitively recovers the species as an abelisauroid theropod and weakly as a noasaurid. Dahalokely is the only known dinosaur from the interval during which Indo-Madagascar likely existed as a distinct landmass, but more complete material is needed to evaluate whether or not it is more closely related to later abelisauroids of Indo-Madagascar or those known elsewhere in Gondwana.

  2. The comparison of species longevity and size evolution in fossilized dinosaurs vs. fossilized mammals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baeza, E.; Srinath, A.; Hernandez, A.; Heim, N.; Payne, J.

    2016-12-01

    For over 200 million years, two animal groups have been competing for dominance over Earth: the reptiles, (in this case, dinosaurs), and the mammals. At the beginning of the Triassic, mammals were small, rat-like creatures that were dwarfed by the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs progressively continued to grow larger throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, thus outweighing and outliving the current mammals. But at the end of the Cretaceous, the K-T mass extinction occurred, and that wiped out the dinosaurs from the face of the Earth. After the disappearance of dinosaurs, mammals started to grow larger to fill the niches that the dinosaurs left open. With this evolution in mammals, would they be able to match or even beat the dinosaur's previous records? To judge that, we need to utilize two significant factors to help judge our answer. The two factors that set them apart were body mass and longevity. Documenting the body mass shows us how much the animal weighed compared to other species. The heaviest animal in our data set weighed 77 tons. The other factor is longevity, which indicates how long a certain species has existed on a geologic time scale. The longest living animal species in our data set lived for over 20 million years. With all the data we have analyzed, we have conducted research on this subject to find out how terrestrial mammals contrasted dinosaurs in the terms of body mass and species longevity. Our research brought us to the conclusion that mammals could not overtake the body mass and longevity of dinosaurs. Although mammals came pretty close to overlapping the dinosaurs' body masses, they were just below them marginally. We had a similar pattern in longevity, where we found out that heavier animals tended to have longer longevity, therefore the dinosaurs came out on top. Additionally, we did another contrast between Mesozoic and Cenozoic mammals, where Cenozoic mammals were larger, but both had similar longevities.

  3. A Ceratopsian Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Western North America, and the Biogeography of Neoceratopsia.

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    Andrew A Farke

    Full Text Available The fossil record for neoceratopsian (horned dinosaurs in the Lower Cretaceous of North America primarily comprises isolated teeth and postcrania of limited taxonomic resolution, hampering previous efforts to reconstruct the early evolution of this group in North America. An associated cranium and lower jaw from the Cloverly Formation (?middle-late Albian, between 104 and 109 million years old of southern Montana is designated as the holotype for Aquilops americanus gen. et sp. nov. Aquilops americanus is distinguished by several autapomorphies, including a strongly hooked rostral bone with a midline boss and an elongate and sharply pointed antorbital fossa. The skull in the only known specimen is comparatively small, measuring 84 mm between the tips of the rostral and jugal. The taxon is interpreted as a basal neoceratopsian closely related to Early Cretaceous Asian taxa, such as Liaoceratops and Auroraceratops. Biogeographically, A. americanus probably originated via a dispersal from Asia into North America; the exact route of this dispersal is ambiguous, although a Beringian rather than European route seems more likely in light of the absence of ceratopsians in the Early Cretaceous of Europe. Other amniote clades show similar biogeographic patterns, supporting an intercontinental migratory event between Asia and North America during the late Early Cretaceous. The temporal and geographic distribution of Upper Cretaceous neoceratopsians (leptoceratopsids and ceratopsoids suggests at least intermittent connections between North America and Asia through the early Late Cretaceous, likely followed by an interval of isolation and finally reconnection during the latest Cretaceous.

  4. Preserving the Dinosaurs or At Least Their Knowledge!

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-01

    extensive practice to stay on the team. So what did I do? I switched to the Wharton School of Business , which had a less time-consuming curriculum...technical leaders was very much like what we hear about today in Coaching and Mentoring. However, this ED mentor- ing process goes well beyond what we...Key Components of this Leadership Development program are Active Learning, Mentoring and Coaching . Dinosaurs like me will provide experiences in the

  5. Bone Cancer Rates in Dinosaurs Compared with Modern Vertebrates

    CERN Document Server

    Natarajan, L C; Rothschild, B M; Martin, L D

    2007-01-01

    Data on the prevalence of bone cancer in dinosaurs is available from past radiological examination of preserved bones. We statistically test this data for consistency with rates extrapolated from information on bone cancer in modern vertebrates, and find that there is no evidence of a different rate. Thus, this test provides no support for a possible role of ionizing radiation in the K-T extinction event.

  6. Body temperatures in dinosaurs: what can growth curves tell us?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griebeler, Eva Maria

    2013-01-01

    To estimate the body temperature (BT) of seven dinosaurs Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006) used an equation that predicts BT from the body mass and maximum growth rate (MGR) with the latter preserved in ontogenetic growth trajectories (BT-equation). The results of these authors evidence inertial homeothermy in Dinosauria and suggest that, due to overheating, the maximum body size in Dinosauria was ultimately limited by BT. In this paper, I revisit this hypothesis of Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006). I first studied whether BTs derived from the BT-equation of today's crocodiles, birds and mammals are consistent with core temperatures of animals. Second, I applied the BT-equation to a larger number of dinosaurs than Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006) did. In particular, I estimated BT of Archaeopteryx (from two MGRs), ornithischians (two), theropods (three), prosauropods (three), and sauropods (nine). For extant species, the BT value estimated from the BT-equation was a poor estimate of an animal's core temperature. For birds, BT was always strongly overestimated and for crocodiles underestimated; for mammals the accuracy of BT was moderate. I argue that taxon-specific differences in the scaling of MGR (intercept and exponent of the regression line, log-log-transformed) and in the parameterization of the Arrhenius model both used in the BT-equation as well as ecological and evolutionary adaptations of species cause these inaccuracies. Irrespective of the found inaccuracy of BTs estimated from the BT-equation and contrary to the results of Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006) I found no increase in BT with increasing body mass across all dinosaurs (Sauropodomorpha, Sauropoda) studied. This observation questions that, due to overheating, the maximum size in Dinosauria was ultimately limited by BT. However, the general high inaccuracy of dinosaurian BTs derived from the BT-equation makes a reliable test of whether body size in dinosaurs was ultimately limited

  7. Body temperatures in dinosaurs: what can growth curves tell us?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eva Maria Griebeler

    Full Text Available To estimate the body temperature (BT of seven dinosaurs Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006 used an equation that predicts BT from the body mass and maximum growth rate (MGR with the latter preserved in ontogenetic growth trajectories (BT-equation. The results of these authors evidence inertial homeothermy in Dinosauria and suggest that, due to overheating, the maximum body size in Dinosauria was ultimately limited by BT. In this paper, I revisit this hypothesis of Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006. I first studied whether BTs derived from the BT-equation of today's crocodiles, birds and mammals are consistent with core temperatures of animals. Second, I applied the BT-equation to a larger number of dinosaurs than Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006 did. In particular, I estimated BT of Archaeopteryx (from two MGRs, ornithischians (two, theropods (three, prosauropods (three, and sauropods (nine. For extant species, the BT value estimated from the BT-equation was a poor estimate of an animal's core temperature. For birds, BT was always strongly overestimated and for crocodiles underestimated; for mammals the accuracy of BT was moderate. I argue that taxon-specific differences in the scaling of MGR (intercept and exponent of the regression line, log-log-transformed and in the parameterization of the Arrhenius model both used in the BT-equation as well as ecological and evolutionary adaptations of species cause these inaccuracies. Irrespective of the found inaccuracy of BTs estimated from the BT-equation and contrary to the results of Gillooly, Alleen, and Charnov (2006 I found no increase in BT with increasing body mass across all dinosaurs (Sauropodomorpha, Sauropoda studied. This observation questions that, due to overheating, the maximum size in Dinosauria was ultimately limited by BT. However, the general high inaccuracy of dinosaurian BTs derived from the BT-equation makes a reliable test of whether body size in dinosaurs was ultimately

  8. An overview of the dinosaur fossil record from Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubilar-Rogers, David; Otero, Rodrigo A.; Yury-Yáñez, Roberto E.; Vargas, Alexander O.; Gutstein, Carolina S.

    2012-08-01

    In Chile, the record of dinosaurs in Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments is often restricted to footprints, with few skeletal remains. Tetanuran theropods are known in the Upper Jurassic, and bones of titanosaur sauropods in the Late Cretaceous, including partial skeletons (e.g. Atacamatitan chilensis Kellner et al.). Also from the late Cretaceous, an ornithopod vertebra, a pair of theropod teeth and one tarsometatarsus of a gaviiform bird (Neogaeornis wetzeli Lambrecht) have been reported. The Cenozoic fossil record comprises abundant and well-preserved marine birds from Eocene and Miocene units, with a specially abundant record of Sphenisciformes and less frequently, Procellariiformes. There is an excellent Miocene-Pliocene record of other birds such as Odontopterygiformes, including the most complete skeleton ever found of a pelagornithid, Pelagornis chilensis Mayr and Rubilar-Rogers. Fossil birds are also known from Pliocene and Pleistocene strata. A remarkable collection of birds was discovered in lacustrine sediments of late Pleistocene age associated to human activity. The perspectives in the study of dinosaurs in Chile are promising because plenty of material stored in institutional collections is not described yet. The record of Chilean dinosaurs is relevant for understanding the dynamics and evolution of this group of terrestrial animals in the western edge of Gondwana, while Cenozoic birds from the Region may contribute to the understanding of current biogeography for instance, the effect of the emergence and establishment of the Humboldt Current.

  9. Retrodeformation and muscular reconstruction of ornithomimosaurian dinosaur crania

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    Andrew R. Cuff

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Ornithomimosaur dinosaurs evolved lightweight, edentulous skulls that possessed keratinous rhamphothecae. Understanding the anatomy of these taxa allows for a greater understanding of “ostrich-mimic” dinosaurs and character change during theropod dinosaur evolution. However, taphonomic processes during fossilisation often distort fossil remains. Retrodeformation offers a means by which to recover a hypothesis of the original anatomy of the specimen, and 3D scanning technologies present a way to constrain and document the retrodeformation process. Using computed tomography (CT scan data, specimen specific retrodeformations were performed on three-dimensionally preserved but taphonomically distorted skulls of the deinocheirid Garudimimus brevipes Barsbold, 1981 and the ornithomimids Struthiomimus altus Lambe, 1902 and Ornithomimus edmontonicus Sternberg, 1933. This allowed for a reconstruction of the adductor musculature, which was then mapped onto the crania, from which muscle mechanical advantage and bite forces were calculated pre- and post-retrodeformation. The extent of the rhamphotheca was varied in each taxon to represent morphologies found within modern Aves. Well constrained retrodeformation allows for increased confidence in anatomical and functional analysis of fossil specimens and offers an opportunity to more fully understand the soft tissue anatomy of extinct taxa.

  10. A second look at the colors of the dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Derek D

    2016-02-01

    In earlier work, I predicted that we would probably not be able to determine the colors of the dinosaurs. I lost this epistemic bet against science in dramatic fashion when scientists discovered that it is possible to draw inferences about dinosaur coloration based on the microstructure of fossil feathers (Vinther et al., 2008). This paper is an exercise in philosophical error analysis. I examine this episode with two questions in mind. First, does this case lend any support to epistemic optimism about historical science? Second, under what conditions is it rational to make predictions about what questions scientists will or will not be able answer? In reply to the first question, I argue that the recent work on the colors of the dinosaurs matters less to the debate about the epistemology of historical science than it might seem. In reply to the second question, I argue that it is difficult to specify a policy that would rule out the failed bet without also being too conservative.

  11. A temnospondyl trackway from the early Mesozoic of western Gondwana and its implications for basal tetrapod locomotion.

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    Claudia A Marsicano

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Temnospondyls are one of the earliest radiations of limbed vertebrates. Skeletal remains of more than 190 genera have been identified from late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic rocks. Paleozoic temnospondyls comprise mainly small to medium sized forms of diverse habits ranging from fully aquatic to fully terrestrial. Accordingly, their ichnological record includes tracks described from many Laurasian localities. Mesozoic temnospondyls, in contrast, include mostly medium to large aquatic or semi-aquatic forms. Exceedingly few fossil tracks or trackways have been attributed to Mesozoic temnospondyls, and as a consequence very little is known of their locomotor capabilities on land. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We report a ca. 200 Ma trackway, Episcopopus ventrosus, from Lesotho, southern Africa that was made by a 3.5 m-long animal. This relatively long trackway records the trackmaker dragging its body along a wet substrate using only the tips of its digits, which in the manus left characteristic drag marks. Based on detailed mapping, casting, and laser scanning of the best-preserved part of the trackway, we identified synapomorphies (e.g., tetradactyl manus, pentadactyl pes and symplesiomorphies (e.g., absence of claws in the Episcopopus trackway that indicate a temnospondyl trackmaker. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our analysis shows that the Episcopopus trackmaker progressed with a sprawling posture, using a lateral-sequence walk. Its forelimbs were the major propulsive elements and there was little lateral bending of the trunk. We suggest this locomotor style, which differs dramatically from the hindlimb-driven locomotion of salamanders and other extant terrestrial tetrapods can be explained by the forwardly shifted center of mass resulting from the relatively large heads and heavily pectoral girdles of temnospondyls.

  12. A new clade of archaic large-bodied predatory dinosaurs (Theropoda: Allosauroidea) that survived to the latest Mesozoic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B. J.; Carrano, Matthew T.; Brusatte, Stephen L.

    2010-01-01

    Non-avian theropod dinosaurs attained large body sizes, monopolising terrestrial apex predator niches in the Jurassic-Cretaceous. From the Middle Jurassic onwards, Allosauroidea and Megalosauroidea comprised almost all large-bodied predators for 85 million years. Despite their enormous success, however, they are usually considered absent from terminal Cretaceous ecosystems, replaced by tyrannosaurids and abelisaurids. We demonstrate that the problematic allosauroids Aerosteon, Australovenator, Fukuiraptor and Neovenator form a previously unrecognised but ecologically diverse and globally distributed clade (Neovenatoridae, new clade) with the hitherto enigmatic theropods Chilantaisaurus, Megaraptor and the Maastrichtian Orkoraptor. This refutes the notion that allosauroid extinction pre-dated the end of the Mesozoic. Neovenatoridae includes a derived group (Megaraptora, new clade) that developed long, raptorial forelimbs, cursorial hind limbs, appendicular pneumaticity and small size, features acquired convergently in bird-line theropods. Neovenatorids thus occupied a 14-fold adult size range from 175 kg ( Fukuiraptor) to approximately 2,500 kg ( Chilantaisaurus). Recognition of this major allosauroid radiation has implications for Gondwanan paleobiogeography: The distribution of early Cretaceous allosauroids does not strongly support the vicariant hypothesis of southern dinosaur evolution or any particular continental breakup sequence or dispersal scenario. Instead, clades were nearly cosmopolitan in their early history, and later distributions are explained by sampling failure or local extinction.

  13. First complete sauropod dinosaur skull from the Cretaceous of the Americas and the evolution of sauropod dentition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chure, Daniel; Britt, Brooks B.; Whitlock, John A.; Wilson, Jeffrey A.

    2010-04-01

    Sauropod dinosaur bones are common in Mesozoic terrestrial sediments, but sauropod skulls are exceedingly rare—cranial materials are known for less than one third of sauropod genera and even fewer are known from complete skulls. Here we describe the first complete sauropod skull from the Cretaceous of the Americas, Abydosaurus mcintoshi, n. gen., n. sp., known from 104.46 ± 0.95 Ma (megannum) sediments from Dinosaur National Monument, USA. Abydosaurus shares close ancestry with Brachiosaurus, which appeared in the fossil record ca. 45 million years earlier and had substantially broader teeth. A survey of tooth shape in sauropodomorphs demonstrates that sauropods evolved broad crowns during the Early Jurassic but did not evolve narrow crowns until the Late Jurassic, when they occupied their greatest range of crown breadths. During the Cretaceous, brachiosaurids and other lineages independently underwent a marked diminution in tooth breadth, and before the latest Cretaceous broad-crowned sauropods were extinct on all continental landmasses. Differential survival and diversification of narrow-crowned sauropods in the Late Cretaceous appears to be a directed trend that was not correlated with changes in plant diversity or abundance, but may signal a shift towards elevated tooth replacement rates and high-wear dentition. Sauropods lacked many of the complex herbivorous adaptations present within contemporaneous ornithischian herbivores, such as beaks, cheeks, kinesis, and heterodonty. The spartan design of sauropod skulls may be related to their remarkably small size—sauropod skulls account for only 1/200th of total body volume compared to 1/30th body volume in ornithopod dinosaurs.

  14. New basal iguanodonts from the Cedar Mountain formation of Utah and the evolution of thumb-spiked dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew T McDonald

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Basal iguanodontian dinosaurs were extremely successful animals, found in great abundance and diversity almost worldwide during the Early Cretaceous. In contrast to Europe and Asia, the North American record of Early Cretaceous basal iguanodonts has until recently been limited largely to skulls and skeletons of Tenontosaurus tilletti. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Herein we describe two new basal iguanodonts from the Yellow Cat Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation of eastern Utah, each known from a partial skull and skeleton. Iguanacolossus fortis gen. et sp. nov. and Hippodraco scutodens gen. et sp. nov. are each diagnosed by a single autapomorphy and a unique combination of characters. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Iguanacolossus and Hippodraco add greatly to our knowledge of North American basal iguanodonts and prompt a new comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of basal iguanodont relationships. This analysis indicates that North American Early Cretaceous basal iguanodonts are more basal than their contemporaries in Europe and Asia.

  15. New Findings in the Study of Feathered Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs%长羽毛恐龙及翼龙研究新发现

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吕君昌

    2016-01-01

    在江西赣州地区晚白垩世地层中发现的窃蛋龙类化石——赣州华南龙,属于进步窃蛋龙类,其独特的头部特征为研究窃蛋龙类恐龙的颅面演化、古地理分布及古生态环境提供重要信息;在辽西早白垩世义县组地层中发现的大型、前肢短的驰龙类恐龙——孙氏振元龙,为大型、短前肢类型的驰龙类提供羽毛形态学方面的重要信息,为研究驰龙类的多样性、鸟类羽毛以及飞行起源提供了重要依据;在辽西发现的喙嘴龙类翼龙——朝阳东方颌翼龙,是该地区晚侏罗世地层中发现的第一件翼龙标本,不仅填补了时代上的空白,同时对于印证晚侏罗世喙嘴龙类的辐射演化具有重要作用。这些重要发现对于研究窃蛋龙类的演化、驰龙类羽毛演化及鸟类羽毛起源等热点与难点问题提供了重要的参考依据,尤其在发现华南龙的基础上,命名了赣州恐龙动物群。%An oviraptorid dinosaurHuanansaurus ganzhouensis, belonging to the derived oviraptorid dinosaur, was discovered from the Late Cretaceous deposits in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province. Its unique skull characteristics provide a new insight into the craniofacial evolution of oviraptorosaurid dinosaurs, paleogeographical distribution and paleoecological environments.Zhenyuanlong suni from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of western part of Liaoning Province is a large, short-armed, winged dromaeosaurid dinosaur. It provides the evidence of feather morphologies and distribution in a short-armed dromaeosaurid dinosaur. The discovery ofZhenyuanlong also provides important evidence for the study of the diversity, the origin of feathers and the flight of Liaoning dromaeosaurid dinosaurs. Orientognathus chaoyngensis is the first Late Jurassic pterosaur discovered in western Liaoning and it is the largest rhamphorhynchinae pterosaur. The discovery ofOrientognathus not only fills the temporal gap between

  16. New Mid-Cretaceous (latest Albian dinosaurs fromWinton, Queensland, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Scott A Hocknull

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Australia's dinosaurian fossil record is exceptionally poor compared to that of other similar-sized continents. Most taxa are known from fragmentary isolated remains with uncertain taxonomic and phylogenetic placement. A better understanding of the Australian dinosaurian record is crucial to understanding the global palaeobiogeography of dinosaurian groups, including groups previously considered to have had Gondwanan origins, such as the titanosaurs and carcharodontosaurids. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe three new dinosaurs from the late Early Cretaceous (latest Albian Winton Formation of eastern Australia, including; Wintonotitan wattsi gen. et sp. nov., a basal titanosauriform; Diamantinasaurus matildae gen. et sp. nov., a derived lithostrotian titanosaur; and Australovenator wintonensis gen. et sp. nov., an allosauroid. We compare an isolated astragalus from the Early Cretaceous of southern Australia; formerly identified as Allosaurus sp., and conclude that it most-likely represents Australovenator sp. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: The occurrence of Australovenator from the Aptian to latest Albian confirms the presence in Australia of allosauroids basal to the Carcharodontosauridae. These new taxa, along with the fragmentary remains of other taxa, indicate a diverse Early Cretaceous sauropod and theropod fauna in Australia, including plesiomorphic forms (e.g. Wintonotitan and Australovenator and more derived forms (e.g. Diamantinasaurus.

  17. New Mid-Cretaceous (Latest Albian) Dinosaurs from Winton, Queensland, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hocknull, Scott A.; White, Matt A.; Tischler, Travis R.; Cook, Alex G.; Calleja, Naomi D.; Sloan, Trish; Elliott, David A.

    2009-01-01

    Background Australia's dinosaurian fossil record is exceptionally poor compared to that of other similar-sized continents. Most taxa are known from fragmentary isolated remains with uncertain taxonomic and phylogenetic placement. A better understanding of the Australian dinosaurian record is crucial to understanding the global palaeobiogeography of dinosaurian groups, including groups previously considered to have had Gondwanan origins, such as the titanosaurs and carcharodontosaurids. Methodology/Principal Findings We describe three new dinosaurs from the late Early Cretaceous (latest Albian) Winton Formation of eastern Australia, including; Wintonotitan wattsi gen. et sp. nov., a basal titanosauriform; Diamantinasaurus matildae gen. et sp. nov., a derived lithostrotian titanosaur; and Australovenator wintonensis gen. et sp. nov., an allosauroid. We compare an isolated astragalus from the Early Cretaceous of southern Australia; formerly identified as Allosaurus sp., and conclude that it most-likely represents Australovenator sp. Conclusion/Significance The occurrence of Australovenator from the Aptian to latest Albian confirms the presence in Australia of allosauroids basal to the Carcharodontosauridae. These new taxa, along with the fragmentary remains of other taxa, indicate a diverse Early Cretaceous sauropod and theropod fauna in Australia, including plesiomorphic forms (e.g. Wintonotitan and Australovenator) and more derived forms (e.g. Diamantinasaurus). PMID:19584929

  18. Adaptive radiation of multituberculate mammals before the extinction of dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Gregory P; Evans, Alistair R; Corfe, Ian J; Smits, Peter D; Fortelius, Mikael; Jernvall, Jukka

    2012-03-14

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction approximately 66 million years ago is conventionally thought to have been a turning point in mammalian evolution. Prior to that event and for the first two-thirds of their evolutionary history, mammals were mostly confined to roles as generalized, small-bodied, nocturnal insectivores, presumably under selection pressures from dinosaurs. Release from these pressures, by extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, triggered ecological diversification of mammals. Although recent individual fossil discoveries have shown that some mammalian lineages diversified ecologically during the Mesozoic era, comprehensive ecological analyses of mammalian groups crossing the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary are lacking. Such analyses are needed because diversification analyses of living taxa allow only indirect inferences of past ecosystems. Here we show that in arguably the most evolutionarily successful clade of Mesozoic mammals, the Multituberculata, an adaptive radiation began at least 20 million years before the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs and continued across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Disparity in dental complexity, which relates to the range of diets, rose sharply in step with generic richness and disparity in body size. Moreover, maximum dental complexity and body size demonstrate an adaptive shift towards increased herbivory. This dietary expansion tracked the ecological rise of angiosperms and suggests that the resources that were available to multituberculates were relatively unaffected by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Taken together, our results indicate that mammals were able to take advantage of new ecological opportunities in the Mesozoic and that at least some of these opportunities persisted through the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Similar broad-scale ecomorphological inventories of other radiations may help to constrain the possible causes of mass extinctions.

  19. Rise of dinosaurs reveals major body-size transitions are driven by passive processes of trait evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sookias, Roland B; Butler, Richard J; Benson, Roger B J

    2012-06-01

    A major macroevolutionary question concerns how long-term patterns of body-size evolution are underpinned by smaller scale processes along lineages. One outstanding long-term transition is the replacement of basal therapsids (stem-group mammals) by archosauromorphs, including dinosaurs, as the dominant large-bodied terrestrial fauna during the Triassic (approx. 252-201 million years ago). This landmark event preceded more than 150 million years of archosauromorph dominance. We analyse a new body-size dataset of more than 400 therapsid and archosauromorph species spanning the Late Permian-Middle Jurassic. Maximum-likelihood analyses indicate that Cope's rule (an active within-lineage trend of body-size increase) is extremely rare, despite conspicuous patterns of body-size turnover, and contrary to proposals that Cope's rule is central to vertebrate evolution. Instead, passive processes predominate in taxonomically and ecomorphologically more inclusive clades, with stasis common in less inclusive clades. Body-size limits are clade-dependent, suggesting intrinsic, biological factors are more important than the external environment. This clade-dependence is exemplified by maximum size of Middle-early Late Triassic archosauromorph predators exceeding that of contemporary herbivores, breaking a widely-accepted 'rule' that herbivore maximum size greatly exceeds carnivore maximum size. Archosauromorph and dinosaur dominance occurred via opportunistic replacement of therapsids following extinction, but were facilitated by higher archosauromorph growth rates.

  20. Dinosaurs ''re-write'' the geodynamics of the eastern Mediterranean and the paleogeography of the Apulia Platform

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bosellini, A.

    2002-11-01

    Evidence of a sizeable population of large dinosaurs on the Apulia carbonate platform calls for a revision of the current paleotectonic and paleogeographic scenario of the eastern Mediterranean area. A review of geophysical and geological data of the Ionian Sea and surrounding areas leads to envisage the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Ionian Sea region as a "cul-de-sac"-type basin enclosed by shallow-water carbonate banks, connecting the Apulia carbonate platform to Peloponnesus, northern Cyrenaica, Cyrene Seamount and Medina Ridge. These banks were repeatedly and periodically exposed to subaerial conditions, and offered vast land areas for migration of dinosaurs. As regards the nature of the Mesozoic Ionian basin, interpretations are quite controversial. The "continental" vs. "oceanic" crust debate will likely be solved only when the Ionian basin crust will be reached by drilling. The conclusion of the present review leads to consider Adria as a true African Promontory and the Apulia Platform as a sort of Florida Peninsula, attached to North Africa (Cyrenaica spur), subdividing the oceanic(?) "Mesozoic Mediterranean" into a western Ionian basin and an eastern Levantine basin.

  1. Magnetochronology of the LOS Colorados Formation (argentina): Late Triassic Terrestrial Biogeography and the Delayed Dispersal of Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kent, D. V.; Santi Malnis, P.; Colombi, C.; Alcober, O.; Martinez, R.

    2013-12-01

    A measured magnetozone sequence defined by 24 sampling sites with normal polarity and 28 sites with reverse polarity characteristic magnetizations was established for the heretofore poorly age-constrained Los Colorados Formation and its enigmatic vertebrate fauna in the Ischigualasto-Villa Union continental rift basin of Argentina. The polarity pattern in this ~600 m-thick redbed section can be correlated to Chrons E7r to E15n of the Newark astronomical polarity time scale. This represents a time interval from 227 to 213 Ma, indicating that the Los Colorados Formation is entirely Norian in age with no Rhaetian strata and ending more than 11 Myr before the onset of the Jurassic. The magnetochronology also implies that the underlying Ischigualasto Formation and its vertebrate assemblages including the earliest known dinosaurs are confined to the Carnian, consistent with recently published radioisotopic dates. A paleogeographic reconstruction and simplified zonal climate model indicate that the Ischigualasto and Los Colorados Formations were deposited in the austral temperate humid belt that apparently allowed the incubation of a unique vertebrate fauna with early dinosaurs that only dispersed across the tropics to the Northern Hemisphere in the later Norian. The faunal dispersal across the Pangean supercontinent may have been in response to sufficiently reduced contrasts between climate zones in non-polar regions resulting from decreasing atmospheric pCO2 levels.

  2. Theropod courtship: large scale physical evidence of display arenas and avian-like scrape ceremony behaviour by Cretaceous dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockley, Martin G; McCrea, Richard T; Buckley, Lisa G; Lim, Jong Deock; Matthews, Neffra A; Breithaupt, Brent H; Houck, Karen J; Gierliński, Gerard D; Surmik, Dawid; Kim, Kyung Soo; Xing, Lida; Kong, Dal Yong; Cart, Ken; Martin, Jason; Hadden, Glade

    2016-01-07

    Relationships between non-avian theropod dinosaurs and extant and fossil birds are a major focus of current paleobiological research. Despite extensive phylogenetic and morphological support, behavioural evidence is mostly ambiguous and does not usually fossilize. Thus, inferences that dinosaurs, especially theropods displayed behaviour analogous to modern birds are intriguing but speculative. Here we present extensive and geographically widespread physical evidence of substrate scraping behavior by large theropods considered as compelling evidence of "display arenas" or leks, and consistent with "nest scrape display" behaviour among many extant ground-nesting birds. Large scrapes, up to 2 m in diameter, occur abundantly at several Cretaceous sites in Colorado. They constitute a previously unknown category of large dinosaurian trace fossil, inferred to fill gaps in our understanding of early phases in the breeding cycle of theropods. The trace makers were probably lekking species that were seasonally active at large display arena sites. Such scrapes indicate stereotypical avian behaviour hitherto unknown among Cretaceous theropods, and most likely associated with terrirorial activity in the breeding season. The scrapes most probably occur near nesting colonies, as yet unknown or no longer preserved in the immediate study areas. Thus, they provide clues to paleoenvironments where such nesting sites occurred.

  3. Gradual assembly of avian body plan culminated in rapid rates of evolution across the dinosaur-bird transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Lloyd, Graeme T; Wang, Steve C; Norell, Mark A

    2014-10-20

    The evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs was one of the great evolutionary transitions in the history of life. The macroevolutionary tempo and mode of this transition is poorly studied, which is surprising because it may offer key insight into major questions in evolutionary biology, particularly whether the origins of evolutionary novelties or new ecological opportunities are associated with unusually elevated "bursts" of evolution. We present a comprehensive phylogeny placing birds within the context of theropod evolution and quantify rates of morphological evolution and changes in overall morphological disparity across the dinosaur-bird transition. Birds evolved significantly faster than other theropods, but they are indistinguishable from their closest relatives in morphospace. Our results demonstrate that the rise of birds was a complex process: birds are a continuum of millions of years of theropod evolution, and there was no great jump between nonbirds and birds in morphospace, but once the avian body plan was gradually assembled, birds experienced an early burst of rapid anatomical evolution. This suggests that high rates of morphological evolution after the development of a novel body plan may be a common feature of macroevolution, as first hypothesized by G.G. Simpson more than 60 years ago.

  4. Bone histology sheds light on the nature of the "dermal armor" of the enigmatic sauropod dinosaur Agustinia ligabuei Bonaparte, 1999

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellardini, Flavio; Cerda, Ignacio A.

    2017-02-01

    Agustinia ligabuei is an Early Cretaceous sauropod dinosaur from the northwest of Patagonia that is currently the topic of debate with respect to its phylogenetic position and atypical dermal armor. The presence of four morphotypes of laminar and transversely elongated putative osteoderms was used to consider Agustinia as an armored sauropod. Regarding the different hypotheses about the identity of the bony structures of Agustinia (e.g., osteoderms, cervical or dorsal ribs, hypertrophied elements), a comparative histological analysis has been carried out. Histological evidence is presented herein and reveals that none of the morphotypes of Agustinia shows a primary bone tissue formed by structural fiber bundles as in other sauropod dinosaur osteoderms. Furthermore, on the basis of their gross morphology and microstructure, the bony structures originally classified as types 1 + 4 and 3 are more comparable respectively with dorsal and cervical ribs than any other kind of dermal or bony element. Due to poor preservation, the nature of the type 2 cannot be assessed but is here tentatively assigned to a pelvic girdle element. Although a phylogenetic reassessment of Agustinia is not the purpose of this paper, our paleohistological analyses have broader implications: by not supporting the dermal armor hypothesis for Agustinia, its inclusion in Lithostrotia is not justified in the absence of other diagnostic features.

  5. Theropod courtship: large scale physical evidence of display arenas and avian-like scrape ceremony behaviour by Cretaceous dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockley, Martin G.; McCrea, Richard T.; Buckley, Lisa G.; Deock Lim, Jong; Matthews, Neffra A.; Breithaupt, Brent H.; Houck, Karen J.; Gierliński, Gerard D.; Surmik, Dawid; Soo Kim, Kyung; Xing, Lida; Yong Kong, Dal; Cart, Ken; Martin, Jason; Hadden, Glade

    2016-01-01

    Relationships between non-avian theropod dinosaurs and extant and fossil birds are a major focus of current paleobiological research. Despite extensive phylogenetic and morphological support, behavioural evidence is mostly ambiguous and does not usually fossilize. Thus, inferences that dinosaurs, especially theropods displayed behaviour analogous to modern birds are intriguing but speculative. Here we present extensive and geographically widespread physical evidence of substrate scraping behavior by large theropods considered as compelling evidence of “display arenas” or leks, and consistent with “nest scrape display” behaviour among many extant ground-nesting birds. Large scrapes, up to 2 m in diameter, occur abundantly at several Cretaceous sites in Colorado. They constitute a previously unknown category of large dinosaurian trace fossil, inferred to fill gaps in our understanding of early phases in the breeding cycle of theropods. The trace makers were probably lekking species that were seasonally active at large display arena sites. Such scrapes indicate stereotypical avian behaviour hitherto unknown among Cretaceous theropods, and most likely associated with terrirorial activity in the breeding season. The scrapes most probably occur near nesting colonies, as yet unknown or no longer preserved in the immediate study areas. Thus, they provide clues to paleoenvironments where such nesting sites occurred.

  6. Dinosaur egg deposits in the Cretaceous Gyeongsang Supergroup, Korea: Diversity and paleobiological implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paik, In Sung; Kim, Hyun Joo; Huh, Min

    2012-08-01

    The taphonomy and depositional environments of dinosaur-egg-bearing deposits in the Cretaceous Gyeongsang Basin, Korea, are described and their paleobiological implications are discussed in the context of global geographic occurrences, geological ages, paleoenvironments, and lithology. The general depositional environment of dinosaur egg deposits in the Gyeongsang Supergroup is interpreted as dry floodplains with a semi-arid climate and intermittent volcanic activity. The diverse floodplain paleoenvironments include fluvial plains with meandering rivers to alluvial plains with episodic sheet-flooding. Both global and Korean dinosaur-egg-bearing deposits are generally restricted to the Late Cretaceous, a phenomenon for which two possible explanations are proposed. The first possible explanation for the temporal limitation of dinosaur egg preservation involves the appearance of angiosperms in the Late Jurassic, the Late Cretaceous ecological dispersion of angiosperm trees into swamps and floodplains, and the attendant change in herbivorous dinosaurs' diets. The second possible reason is related to nesting behavior in the Cretaceous. By contrast to the temporally limited occurrence of dinosaur eggs, paleoenvironments of nesting areas are diverse, ranging from inland areas to coastal areas. These hypotheses may provide new directions for the study and understanding of dinosaur egg distribution in the context of geologic time.

  7. Endolithic fungi: A possible killer for the mass extinction of Cretaceous dinosaurs

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    Mycelium-like structures found under ESEM within radial sections of fragmental dinosaur eggshells would be the endolithic fungi coexistent with dinosaur eggs in the upper part of the Late Cretaceous Hugang Formation from the Wenjiaping section of Wenxian, Danjiangkou, northwestern Hubei, Central China. The endolithic fungi selectively occurred in the bad biomineral zone within the columnar layer of the eggshells, where the crowded endolithic fungi penetrated the columnar layer at near-vertical or near-horizontal angles. The endolithic fungi are needle-like, ribbon-like and silk-like, and 5-18 μm long, 0.3-0.5 μm wide at their base, with pointed tip, and are unbranched. The hyphae are mainly composed of oxygen, carbon and calcium, and are with minor sodium, potassium, chlorine and sulfur. The en-dolithic fungi and host have the same characters in lithification, fracture and main chemical composi-tion. We suggested that the episode endolithic fungi invading dinosaur eggs may have taken place in the interval between after formation of dinosaur eggshells and before their petrifaction and that dino-saur eggs invaded by endolithic fungi would not be normally incubated or would only be incubated into venerable and pathologic baby dinosaurs to be easily to aborted and contributed to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of Cretaceous.

  8. The history of dinosaur footprint discoveries in Wyoming with emphasis on the Bighorn basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kvale, E.P.; Mickelson, D.L.; Hasiotis, S.T.; Johnson, G.D.

    2003-01-01

    Dinosaur traces are well known from the western United States in the Colorado Plateau region (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona). Utah contains the greatest abundance of known and documented dinosaur footprints and trackways. Far less well known, however, is the occurrence and distribution of dinosaur footprint-bearing horizons in Wyoming. Scientific studies over the past 10 years have shown that three of the four Middle and Upper Jurassic formations in northern Wyoming contain dinosaur footprints. Two of the footprint-bearing horizons are located in geologic intervals that were once thought to have been deposited in offshore to nearshore marine settings and represent rare North American examples of Middle Jurassic (Bajocian and Bathonian) dinosaur remains. Some of these new Wyoming sites can be correlated to known dinosaur footprint-bearing horizons or intervals in Utah. Wyoming has a great potential for additional discoveries of new dinosaur footprint-bearing horizons, and further prospecting and study is warranted and will ultimately lead to a much better understanding of the geographic distribution and behavior of the potential footprint-makers. ?? Taylor and Francis Inc.

  9. Why freshwater organisms survived the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schultz, Colin

    2013-08-01

    Roughly 65.5 million years ago, a massive asteroid smashed into present-day Chicxulub, Mexico. The impact set fire to Earth's surface. Dust and ash darkened the sky, sending the planet into an "impact winter" that lasted months to years and caused the extinction of nonavian dinosaurs and half of ocean-dwelling species. However, life in inland freshwater ecosystems largely escaped this fate. To try to understand why freshwater organisms held on while ocean life failed, Robertson et al. surveyed relevant research to understand how the mechanisms of extinction would have operated differently in the two environments.

  10. Texture analyses of Sauropod dinosaur bones from Tendaguru

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pyzalla, A.R. [TU Wien, Institute of Material Science and Technology, Karlsplatz 13-308, A-1040 Vienna (Austria) and MPI fuer Eisenforschung GmbH, Max-Planck-Str. 1, D-40237 Duesseldorf (Germany)]. E-mail: pyzalla@mpie.de; Sander, P.M. [University of Bonn, Institute of Palaeontology, Nusseallee, D-53115 Bonn (Germany); Hansen, A. [TU Clausthal, Institute of Materials Science and Engineering. A, Structural Materials: Properties, Microstructure and Processingnd GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht GmbH, Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str.1, D-21502 Geesthacht (Germany); Ferreyro, R. [TU Wien, Institute of Material Science and Technology, Karlsplatz 13-308, A-1040 Vienna (Austria); Yi, S.-B. [TU Clausthal, Institute of Materials Science and Engineering. A, Structural Materials: Properties, Microstructure and Processingnd GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht GmbH, Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str.1, D-21502 Geesthacht (Germany); MPI fuer Eisenforschung GmbH, Max-Planck-Str. 1, D-40237 Duesseldorf (Germany); Stempniewicz, M. [TU Wien, Institute of Material Science and Technology, Karlsplatz 13-308, A-1040 Vienna (Austria); Brokmeier, H.-G. [TU Clausthal, Institute of Materials Science and Engineering. A, Structural Materials: Properties, Microstructure and Processingnd GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht GmbH, Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str.1, D-21502 Geesthacht (Germany)

    2006-11-10

    The apatite texture of fossil Brachiosaurus brancai and Barosaurus africanus sauropod bones from the excavation site at Tendaguru, Tanzania, was characterized by neutron diffraction pole figures. The results obtained reveal predominantly <0 0 0 1>-fibre textures of the apatite; the fibre direction coincides with the longitudinal direction of the long bones of the skeletons. Neutron pole figures further indicate that other texture types may also be present. Texture strength is similar to dinosaur tendons and contemporary turkey tendon studied by others. Variations of texture strength across the bone wall cross-sections are not significantly large.

  11. Eggshell Porosity Provides Insight on Evolution of Nesting in Dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kohei Tanaka

    Full Text Available Knowledge about the types of nests built by dinosaurs can provide insight into the evolution of nesting and reproductive behaviors among archosaurs. However, the low preservation potential of their nesting materials and nesting structures means that most information can only be gleaned indirectly through comparison with extant archosaurs. Two general nest types are recognized among living archosaurs: 1 covered nests, in which eggs are incubated while fully covered by nesting material (as in crocodylians and megapodes, and 2 open nests, in which eggs are exposed in the nest and brooded (as in most birds. Previously, dinosaur nest types had been inferred by estimating the water vapor conductance (i.e., diffusive capacity of their eggs, based on the premise that high conductance corresponds to covered nests and low conductance to open nests. However, a lack of statistical rigor and inconsistencies in this method render its application problematic and its validity questionable. As an alternative we propose a statistically rigorous approach to infer nest type based on large datasets of eggshell porosity and egg mass compiled for over 120 extant archosaur species and 29 archosaur extinct taxa/ootaxa. The presence of a strong correlation between eggshell porosity and nest type among extant archosaurs indicates that eggshell porosity can be used as a proxy for nest type, and thus discriminant analyses can help predict nest type in extinct taxa. Our results suggest that: 1 covered nests are likely the primitive condition for dinosaurs (and probably archosaurs, and 2 open nests first evolved among non-avian theropods more derived than Lourinhanosaurus and were likely widespread in non-avian maniraptorans, well before the appearance of birds. Although taphonomic evidence suggests that basal open nesters (i.e., oviraptorosaurs and troodontids were potentially the first dinosaurs to brood their clutches, they still partially buried their eggs in sediment

  12. Eggshell Porosity Provides Insight on Evolution of Nesting in Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, Kohei; Zelenitsky, Darla K; Therrien, François

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge about the types of nests built by dinosaurs can provide insight into the evolution of nesting and reproductive behaviors among archosaurs. However, the low preservation potential of their nesting materials and nesting structures means that most information can only be gleaned indirectly through comparison with extant archosaurs. Two general nest types are recognized among living archosaurs: 1) covered nests, in which eggs are incubated while fully covered by nesting material (as in crocodylians and megapodes), and 2) open nests, in which eggs are exposed in the nest and brooded (as in most birds). Previously, dinosaur nest types had been inferred by estimating the water vapor conductance (i.e., diffusive capacity) of their eggs, based on the premise that high conductance corresponds to covered nests and low conductance to open nests. However, a lack of statistical rigor and inconsistencies in this method render its application problematic and its validity questionable. As an alternative we propose a statistically rigorous approach to infer nest type based on large datasets of eggshell porosity and egg mass compiled for over 120 extant archosaur species and 29 archosaur extinct taxa/ootaxa. The presence of a strong correlation between eggshell porosity and nest type among extant archosaurs indicates that eggshell porosity can be used as a proxy for nest type, and thus discriminant analyses can help predict nest type in extinct taxa. Our results suggest that: 1) covered nests are likely the primitive condition for dinosaurs (and probably archosaurs), and 2) open nests first evolved among non-avian theropods more derived than Lourinhanosaurus and were likely widespread in non-avian maniraptorans, well before the appearance of birds. Although taphonomic evidence suggests that basal open nesters (i.e., oviraptorosaurs and troodontids) were potentially the first dinosaurs to brood their clutches, they still partially buried their eggs in sediment. Open nests

  13. Air-filled postcranial bones in theropod dinosaurs: physiological implications and the 'reptile'-bird transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B J; Butler, Richard J; Carrano, Matthew T; O'Connor, Patrick M

    2012-02-01

    Pneumatic (air-filled) postcranial bones are unique to birds among extant tetrapods. Unambiguous skeletal correlates of postcranial pneumaticity first appeared in the Late Triassic (approximately 210 million years ago), when they evolved independently in several groups of bird-line archosaurs (ornithodirans). These include the theropod dinosaurs (of which birds are extant representatives), the pterosaurs, and sauropodomorph dinosaurs. Postulated functions of skeletal pneumatisation include weight reduction in large-bodied or flying taxa, and density reduction resulting in energetic savings during foraging and locomotion. However, the influence of these hypotheses on the early evolution of pneumaticity has not been studied in detail previously. We review recent work on the significance of pneumaticity for understanding the biology of extinct ornithodirans, and present detailed new data on the proportion of the skeleton that was pneumatised in 131 non-avian theropods and Archaeopteryx. This includes all taxa known from significant postcranial remains. Pneumaticity of the cervical and anterior dorsal vertebrae occurred early in theropod evolution. This 'common pattern' was conserved on the line leading to birds, and is likely present in Archaeopteryx. Increases in skeletal pneumaticity occurred independently in as many as 12 lineages, highlighting a remarkably high number of parallel acquisitions of a bird-like feature among non-avian theropods. Using a quantitative comparative framework, we show that evolutionary increases in skeletal pneumaticity are significantly concentrated in lineages with large body size, suggesting that mass reduction in response to gravitational constraints at large body sizes influenced the early evolution of pneumaticity. However, the body size threshold for extensive pneumatisation is lower in theropod lineages more closely related to birds (maniraptorans). Thus, relaxation of the relationship between body size and pneumatisation preceded

  14. Ecological interactions in dinosaur communities: influences of small offspring and complex ontogenetic life histories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Codron, Daryl; Carbone, Chris; Clauss, Marcus

    2013-01-01

    Because egg-laying meant that even the largest dinosaurs gave birth to very small offspring, they had to pass through multiple ontogenetic life stages to adulthood. Dinosaurs' successors as the dominant terrestrial vertebrate life form, the mammals, give birth to live young, and have much larger offspring and less complex ontogenetic histories. The larger number of juveniles in dinosaur as compared to mammal ecosystems represents both a greater diversity of food available to predators, and competitors for similar-sized individuals of sympatric species. Models of population abundances across different-sized species of dinosaurs and mammals, based on simulated ecological life tables, are employed to investigate how differences in predation and competition pressure influenced dinosaur communities. Higher small- to medium-sized prey availability leads to a normal body mass-species richness (M-S) distribution of carnivorous dinosaurs (as found in the theropod fossil record), in contrast to the right-skewed M-S distribution of carnivorous mammals (as found living members of the order Carnivora). Higher levels of interspecific competition leads to a left-skewed M-S distribution in herbivorous dinosaurs (as found in sauropods and ornithopods), in contrast to the normal M-S distribution of large herbivorous mammals. Thus, our models suggest that differences in reproductive strategy, and consequently ontogeny, explain observed differences in community structure between dinosaur and mammal faunas. Models also show that the largest dinosaurian predators could have subsisted on similar-sized prey by including younger life stages of the largest herbivore species, but that large predators likely avoided prey much smaller than themselves because, despite predicted higher abundances of smaller than larger-bodied prey, contributions of small prey to biomass intake would be insufficient to satisfy meat requirements. A lack of large carnivores feeding on small prey exists in mammals

  15. Ecological interactions in dinosaur communities: influences of small offspring and complex ontogenetic life histories.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daryl Codron

    Full Text Available Because egg-laying meant that even the largest dinosaurs gave birth to very small offspring, they had to pass through multiple ontogenetic life stages to adulthood. Dinosaurs' successors as the dominant terrestrial vertebrate life form, the mammals, give birth to live young, and have much larger offspring and less complex ontogenetic histories. The larger number of juveniles in dinosaur as compared to mammal ecosystems represents both a greater diversity of food available to predators, and competitors for similar-sized individuals of sympatric species. Models of population abundances across different-sized species of dinosaurs and mammals, based on simulated ecological life tables, are employed to investigate how differences in predation and competition pressure influenced dinosaur communities. Higher small- to medium-sized prey availability leads to a normal body mass-species richness (M-S distribution of carnivorous dinosaurs (as found in the theropod fossil record, in contrast to the right-skewed M-S distribution of carnivorous mammals (as found living members of the order Carnivora. Higher levels of interspecific competition leads to a left-skewed M-S distribution in herbivorous dinosaurs (as found in sauropods and ornithopods, in contrast to the normal M-S distribution of large herbivorous mammals. Thus, our models suggest that differences in reproductive strategy, and consequently ontogeny, explain observed differences in community structure between dinosaur and mammal faunas. Models also show that the largest dinosaurian predators could have subsisted on similar-sized prey by including younger life stages of the largest herbivore species, but that large predators likely avoided prey much smaller than themselves because, despite predicted higher abundances of smaller than larger-bodied prey, contributions of small prey to biomass intake would be insufficient to satisfy meat requirements. A lack of large carnivores feeding on small prey

  16. Feeding strategies as revealed by the section moduli of the humerus bones in bipedal theropod dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott; Richards, Zachary

    2015-03-01

    The section modulus of a bone is a measure of its ability to resist bending torques. Carnivorous dinosaurs presumably had strong arm bones to hold struggling prey during hunting. Some theropods are believed to have become herbivorous and such animals would not have needed such strong arms. In this work, the section moduli of the humerus bones of bipedal theropod dinosaurs (from Microvenator celer to Tyrannosaurus rex) are studied to determine the maximum bending loads their arms could withstand. The results show that bending strength is not of uniform importance to these magnificent animals. The predatory theropods had strong arms for use in hunting. In contrast, the herbivorous dinosaurs had weaker arms.

  17. 2004 assessment of habitat improvements in Dinosaur Reservoir

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Blackman, B.G.; Cowie, D.M.

    2005-01-15

    Formed in 1979 after the completion of the Peace Canyon Dam, Dinosaur Reservoir is 21 km long and backs water up to the tailrace of W.A.C. Bennett Dam. BC Hydro has funded studies to evaluate fish stocking programs and assess habitat limitations and potential enhancements as part of a water licence agreement. The Peace/Williston Fish and Wildlife Compensation Programs (PWFWCP) have undertaken a number of projects to address fish habitat limitations, entrainment and stocking assessments as a result of recommendations stemming from these studies. It was determined that existing baseline fish data was needed in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these activities. A preliminary boat electro-fishing program which was started in October 2001, noted that a propensity for rainbow trout to concentrate near woody debris. In response, a program was started in 2002 to add woody debris to embayment areas throughout the reservoir. These enhanced woody debris structures are located in small sheltered bays and consist of a series of large trees cabled together and anchored to the shore. The area between the cabled trees and the shoreline is filled with woody debris and root wads collected from along the shoreline. The 2004 assessment of habitat improvements in Dinosaur Reservoir presents the findings from a study that compares the number of fish captured using trap nets, angling, and minnow traps, at the woody debris structures to sites with similar physical characteristics where woody debris had not been added. 17 refs., 5 tabs., 4 figs.

  18. Histological evidence for a supraspinous ligament in sauropod dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerda, Ignacio A.; Casal, Gabriel A.; Martinez, Rubén D.; Ibiricu, Lucio M.

    2015-01-01

    Supraspinous ossified rods have been reported in the sacra of some derived sauropod dinosaurs. Although different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origin of this structure, histological evidence has never been provided to support or reject any of them. In order to establish its origin, we analyse and characterize the microstructure of the supraspinous rod of two sauropod dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina. The supraspinous ossified rod is almost entirely formed by dense Haversian bone. Remains of primary bone consist entirely of an avascular tissue composed of two types of fibre-like structures, which are coarse and longitudinally (parallel to the main axis of the element) oriented. These structures are differentiated on the basis of their optical properties under polarized light. Very thin fibrous strands are also observed in some regions. These small fibres are all oriented parallel to one another but perpendicular to the element main axis. Histological features of the primary bone tissue indicate that the sacral supraspinous rod corresponds to an ossified supraspinous ligament. The formation of this structure appears to have been a non-pathological metaplastic ossification, possibly induced by the continuous tensile forces applied to the element. PMID:26587248

  19. Secondary cartilage revealed in a non-avian dinosaur embryo.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alida M Bailleul

    Full Text Available The skull and jaws of extant birds possess secondary cartilage, a tissue that arises after bone formation during embryonic development at articulations, ligamentous and muscular insertions. Using histological analysis, we discovered secondary cartilage in a non-avian dinosaur embryo, Hypacrosaurus stebingeri (Ornithischia, Lambeosaurinae. This finding extends our previous report of secondary cartilage in post-hatching specimens of the same dinosaur species. It provides the first information on the ontogeny of avian and dinosaurian secondary cartilages, and further stresses their developmental similarities. Secondary cartilage was found in an embryonic dentary within a tooth socket where it is hypothesized to have arisen due to mechanical stresses generated during tooth formation. Two patterns were discerned: secondary cartilage is more restricted in location in this Hypacrosaurus embryo, than it is in Hypacrosaurus post-hatchlings; secondary cartilage occurs at far more sites in bird embryos and nestlings than in Hypacrosaurus. This suggests an increase in the number of sites of secondary cartilage during the evolution of birds. We hypothesize that secondary cartilage provided advantages in the fine manipulation of food and was selected over other types of tissues/articulations during the evolution of the highly specialized avian beak from the jaws of their dinosaurian ancestors.

  20. Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sander, P Martin; Christian, Andreas; Clauss, Marcus; Fechner, Regina; Gee, Carole T; Griebeler, Eva-Maria; Gunga, Hanns-Christian; Hummel, Jürgen; Mallison, Heinrich; Perry, Steven F; Preuschoft, Holger; Rauhut, Oliver W M; Remes, Kristian; Tütken, Thomas; Wings, Oliver; Witzel, Ulrich

    2011-02-01

    The herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were the largest terrestrial animals ever, surpassing the largest herbivorous mammals by an order of magnitude in body mass. Several evolutionary lineages among Sauropoda produced giants with body masses in excess of 50 metric tonnes by conservative estimates. With body mass increase driven by the selective advantages of large body size, animal lineages will increase in body size until they reach the limit determined by the interplay of bauplan, biology, and resource availability. There is no evidence, however, that resource availability and global physicochemical parameters were different enough in the Mesozoic to have led to sauropod gigantism. We review the biology of sauropod dinosaurs in detail and posit that sauropod gigantism was made possible by a specific combination of plesiomorphic characters (phylogenetic heritage) and evolutionary innovations at different levels which triggered a remarkable evolutionary cascade. Of these key innovations, the most important probably was the very long neck, the most conspicuous feature of the sauropod bauplan. Compared to other herbivores, the long neck allowed more efficient food uptake than in other large herbivores by covering a much larger feeding envelope and making food accessible that was out of the reach of other herbivores. Sauropods thus must have been able to take up more energy from their environment than other herbivores. The long neck, in turn, could only evolve because of the small head and the extensive pneumatization of the sauropod axial skeleton, lightening the neck. The small head was possible because food was ingested without mastication. Both mastication and a gastric mill would have limited food uptake rate. Scaling relationships between gastrointestinal tract size and basal metabolic rate (BMR) suggest that sauropods compensated for the lack of particle reduction with long retention times, even at high uptake rates. The

  1. Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sander, P Martin; Christian, Andreas; Clauss, Marcus; Fechner, Regina; Gee, Carole T; Griebeler, Eva-Maria; Gunga, Hanns-Christian; Hummel, Jürgen; Mallison, Heinrich; Perry, Steven F; Preuschoft, Holger; Rauhut, Oliver W M; Remes, Kristian; Tütken, Thomas; Wings, Oliver; Witzel, Ulrich

    2011-01-01

    The herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were the largest terrestrial animals ever, surpassing the largest herbivorous mammals by an order of magnitude in body mass. Several evolutionary lineages among Sauropoda produced giants with body masses in excess of 50 metric tonnes by conservative estimates. With body mass increase driven by the selective advantages of large body size, animal lineages will increase in body size until they reach the limit determined by the interplay of bauplan, biology, and resource availability. There is no evidence, however, that resource availability and global physicochemical parameters were different enough in the Mesozoic to have led to sauropod gigantism. We review the biology of sauropod dinosaurs in detail and posit that sauropod gigantism was made possible by a specific combination of plesiomorphic characters (phylogenetic heritage) and evolutionary innovations at different levels which triggered a remarkable evolutionary cascade. Of these key innovations, the most important probably was the very long neck, the most conspicuous feature of the sauropod bauplan. Compared to other herbivores, the long neck allowed more efficient food uptake than in other large herbivores by covering a much larger feeding envelope and making food accessible that was out of the reach of other herbivores. Sauropods thus must have been able to take up more energy from their environment than other herbivores. The long neck, in turn, could only evolve because of the small head and the extensive pneumatization of the sauropod axial skeleton, lightening the neck. The small head was possible because food was ingested without mastication. Both mastication and a gastric mill would have limited food uptake rate. Scaling relationships between gastrointestinal tract size and basal metabolic rate (BMR) suggest that sauropods compensated for the lack of particle reduction with long retention times, even at high uptake rates. The

  2. Prospecting for dinosaurs on the mining frontier: The value of information in America's Gilded Age.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rieppel, Lukas

    2015-04-01

    How much is a dinosaur worth? This essay offers an account of the way vertebrate fossils were priced in late 19th-century America to explore the process by which monetary values are established in science. Examining a long and drawn-out negotiation over the sale of an unusually rich dinosaur quarry in Wyoming, I argue that, on their own, abstract market principles did not suffice to mediate between supply and demand. Rather, people haggling over the price of dinosaur bones looked to social norms from the mineral industry for cues on how to value these rare and unusual objects, adopting a set of negotiation tactics that exploited asymmetries in the distribution of scarce information to secure the better end of the deal. On the mining frontier in America's Gilded Age, dinosaurs were thus valued in much the same way as any other scarce natural resource one could dig out of the ground, including gold, silver, and coal.

  3. Implications of ecological energetics and biophysical and developmental constraints for life history variation in dinosaurs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dunham, A.E.; Overall, K.L.; Forster, C.A.; Porter, W.P.

    1988-01-01

    There has been much recent speculation concerning the nature of life history variation in dinosaurs (Case, 1978; Bakker, 1986; Horner, 1982, 1984a). The purpose of this paper is to review the data on dinosaur life histories and to examine the nature and magnitude of the demographic and physiological factors that must have constrained life history variation in this group. 145 refs., 8 figs., 3 tabs.

  4. Wear biomechanics in the slicing dentition of the giant horned dinosaur Triceratops

    OpenAIRE

    Erickson, Gregory M.; Sidebottom, Mark A.; Kay, David I.; Turner, Kevin T.; Ip, Nathan; Norell, Mark A.; Sawyer, W. Gregory; Krick, Brandon A.

    2015-01-01

    Herbivorous reptiles rarely evolve occluding dentitions that allow for the mastication (chewing) of plant matter. Conversely, most herbivorous mammals have occluding teeth with complex tissue architectures that self-wear to complex morphologies for orally processing plants. Dinosaurs stand out among reptiles in that several lineages acquired the capacity to masticate. In particular, the horned ceratopsian dinosaurs, among the most successful Late Cretaceous dinosaurian lineages, evolved slici...

  5. Cretaceous anuran and dinosaur footprints from the Patuxent Formation of Virginia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weems, R.E.; Bachman, J.M.

    1997-01-01

    Footprints of an anuran (gen. et sp. indet.), a theropod dinosaur (Megalosauropus sp.), and an ornithopod dinosaur (Amblydactylus sp.) have been recovered from the Lower Cretaceous Patuxent Formation in Stafford County, Virginia. These footprints are the first record of terrestrial vertebrates from Cretaceous strata in Virginia, and their discovery suggests that the scarcity of bones and teeth in the Patuxent probably is an artifact of preservation. The anuran trackway provides the oldest known direct evidence for hopping locomotion among these amphibians.

  6. Dinosaur footprints in the Upper Turonian-Coniacian limestone in the Krnica Bay (NE Istria, Croatia

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    Alenka Mauko

    2003-06-01

    Full Text Available Three isolated footprints and one trackway that can be attributed to bipedal dinosaur, from a limestone bed in vicinity of Požara promontory, Krnica Bay, are described. According to the stratigraphic position the footprints are late Turonian to Coniacian in age.This is the first record of dinosaur remains in the Turonian-Coniacian and the youngest footprint site on the Adriatic-Dinaric Carbonate Platform described thus far.

  7. The furculae of the dromaeosaurid dinosaur Dakotaraptor steini are trionychid turtle entoplastra

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    Victoria M. Arbour

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Dakotaraptor steini is a recently described dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota. Included within the D. steini hypodigm are three elements originally identified as furculae, one of which was made part of the holotype specimen. We show that the elements described as D. steini ‘furculae’ are not theropod dinosaur furculae, but are rather trionychid turtle entoplastra referable to cf. Axestemys splendida. The hypodigm of D. steini should be adjusted accordingly.

  8. Early Cretaceous stratigraphy, paleontology, and sedimentary tectonics in Paris overthrust foredeep (western Wyoming and southeastern Idaho) compared with Quaternary features of indo-gangetic plain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dorr, J.A. Jr.

    1983-08-01

    Fluviatile clastics of the nonmarine, early Cretaceous Gannett and Wayan groups were deposited on wet alluvial megafans and on intervening interfan piedmont slopes which declined eastward into more poorly drained lowlands from a western highland source area uplifted episodically by movements of the Paris overthrust. Lacustrine episodes of deposition intercalated Peterson and Draney limestones with Gannett fluvial clastics. Westward marine transgressions (Skull Creek, Mowry) intercalated mixed lacustrine and brackish facies (Smiths and Cokedale formations) into Wayan fluviatile clastics. Newly discovered fossil vertebrate and invertebrate materials (all fragmentary but identifiable) include: Gannett Group - large reptiles including turtles; Thomas Fork Formation - freshwater gastropods and unionid pelecypods, gastroliths, two types of turtles, large reptilian fragments (dinosaur), and abundant dinosaur eggshell fragments; Wayan Formation - perennially aquatic snails, turtles, unidentifiable large reptiles, two types of crocodilians, an iguanodontid dinosaur (Tenontosaurus), an ankylosaurian dinosaur, a large ornithopod dinosaur, gastroliths, abundant and ubiquitous dinosaur eggshell fragments (numerous types and sizes), and miscellaneous unidentifiable small vertebrate bone fragments. A census of analogous modern reptile reproductive behaviors supports the conclusion that the Wayan, and probably also the Gannett, alluvial fan environments were used as upland breeding grounds by dinosaurs and perhaps other reptiles. Comparison of these Early Cretaceous data with observations on the tectonic setting, sedimentology, and biology of the Quaternary indo-gangetic plain suggests many close analogies between the two sedimentary tectonic settings.

  9. Mapping Metal Elements of Shuangbai Dinosaur Fossil by Synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence Microprobe

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wang, Y.; Qun, Y; Ablett, J

    2008-01-01

    The metal elements mapping of Shuangbai dinosaur fossil, was obtained by synchrotron x-ray fluorescence (SXRF). Eight elements, Ca, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Y and Sr were determined. Elements As and Y were detected for the first time in the dinosaur fossil. The data indicated that metal elements are asymmetrical on fossil section. This is different from common minerals. Mapping metals showed that metal element As is few. The dinosaur most likely belongs to natural death. This is different from Zigong dinosaurs which were found dead from poisoning. This method has been used to find that metals Fe and Mn are accrete, and the same is true for Sr and Y. This study indicated that colloid granule Fe and Mn, as well as Sr and Y had opposite electric charges in lithification process of fossils. By this analysis, compound forms can be ascertained. Synchrotron light source x-ray fluorescence is a complementary method that shows mapping of metal elements at the dinosaur fossil, and is rapid, exact and intuitionist. This study shows that dinosaur fossil mineral imaging has a potential in reconstructing the paleoenvironment and ancient geology.

  10. Early

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kamel Abd Elaziz Mohamed

    2014-04-01

    Conclusion: Early PDT is recommended for patients who require prolonged tracheal intubation in the ICU as outcomes like the duration of mechanical ventilation length of ICU stay and hospital stay were significantly shorter in early tracheostomy.

  11. Dental Disparity and Ecological Stability in Bird-like Dinosaurs prior to the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Larson, Derek W; Brown, Caleb M; Evans, David C

    2016-01-01

    ...]. Extinction patterns in small, feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs (including birds) are important for understanding extant biodiversity and present an enigma considering the survival of crown group birds (Neornithes...

  12. Middle Cretaceous dinosaur assemblages from northern Brazil and northern Africa and their implications for northern Gondwanan composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Candeiro, Carlos Roberto A.

    2015-08-01

    Dinosaurs are one of the most dominant groups in Cretaceous reptilian faunas. A summary of their record in northern Brazil and northern Africa during the middle of the Cretaceous Period (Aptian-Cenomanian) is presented here. Dinosaurs are represented by 32 species (three ornithischians, six sauropods and 23 theropods) from Brazil, Egypt, Lybia, Morocco, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia. These dinosaur assemblages provide fundamental data about distribution and composition of sauropods and theropods in northern Gondwana during the middle of the Cretaceous Period and confirm these assemblages to be among the most important dinosaur faunas in the north Gondwana areas.

  13. Ontogeny in the tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus (Hadrosauridae and heterochrony in hadrosaurids

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    Andrew A. Farke

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available The tube-crested hadrosaurid dinosaur Parasaurolophus is remarkable for its unusual cranial ornamentation, but little is known about its growth and development, particularly relative to well-documented ontogenetic series for lambeosaurin hadrosaurids (such as Corythosaurus, Lambeosaurus, and Hypacrosaurus. The skull and skeleton of a juvenile Parasaurolophus from the late Campanian-aged (∼75.5 Ma Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, USA, represents the smallest and most complete specimen yet described for this taxon. The individual was approximately 2.5 m in body length (∼25% maximum adult body length at death, with a skull measuring 246 mm long and a femur 329 mm long. A histological section of the tibia shows well-vascularized, woven and parallel-fibered primary cortical bone typical of juvenile ornithopods. The histological section revealed no lines of arrested growth or annuli, suggesting the animal may have still been in its first year at the time of death. Impressions of the upper rhamphotheca are preserved in association with the skull, showing that the soft tissue component for the beak extended for some distance beyond the limits of the oral margin of the premaxilla. In marked contrast with the lengthy tube-like crest in adult Parasaurolophus, the crest of the juvenile specimen is low and hemicircular in profile, with an open premaxilla-nasal fontanelle. Unlike juvenile lambeosaurins, the nasal passages occupy nearly the entirety of the crest in juvenile Parasaurolophus. Furthermore, Parasaurolophus initiated development of the crest at less than 25% maximum skull size, contrasting with 50% of maximum skull size in hadrosaurs such as Corythosaurus. This early development may correspond with the larger and more derived form of the crest in Parasaurolophus, as well as the close relationship between the crest and the respiratory system. In general, ornithischian dinosaurs formed bony cranial ornamentation at a relatively younger age

  14. Vertebral pathology in an ornithopod dinosaur: a hemivertebra in Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki from the Jurassic of Tanzania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Witzmann, Florian; Asbach, Patrick; Remes, Kristian; Hampe, Oliver; Hilger, André; Paulke, Andreas

    2008-09-01

    A vertebral fragment of the Late Jurassic ornithopod dinosaur Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki from Tanzania is described. It consists of a hemivertebra that is co-ossified with a complete vertebral centrum. The hemivertebra causes a hyperkyphotic posture of the vertebral column with an angle of approximately 35 degrees between the end plates of the vertebra, that is, a dorsal bending of the vertebral column. Associated with this is a 15 degrees lateral bending, which suggests a scoliosis. Micro-CT scans reveal thickening of the cortical bone in the hemivertebra and the complete vertebral centrum as compared to a "normal" vertebra. This can be interpreted as a reaction of the bone to the abnormal direction of forces arising from the defective configuration of the vertebral column. No signs of vertebral fracture are present. The arrangement of the Foramina venosa and the trapezoidal outline of the complete centrum that is co-ossified with the hemivertebra indicate that the hemivertebra in Dysalotosaurus developed early in embryogenesis probably by "hemimetameric segmental shift", that is, a defect of the fusion of the paired vertebral anlagen. This finding illustrates that hemivertebrae represent a fundamental defect of the vertebrate ontogenetic program.

  15. Rates of dinosaur limb evolution provide evidence for exceptional radiation in Mesozoic birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B J; Choiniere, Jonah N

    2013-10-07

    Birds are the most diverse living tetrapod group and are a model of large-scale adaptive radiation. Neontological studies suggest a radiation within the avian crown group, long after the origin of flight. However, deep time patterns of bird evolution remain obscure because only limited fossil data have been considered. We analyse cladogenesis and limb evolution on the entire tree of Mesozoic theropods, documenting the dinosaur-bird transition and immediate origins of powered flight. Mesozoic birds inherited constraints on forelimb evolution from non-flying ancestors, and species diversification rates did not accelerate in the earliest flying taxa. However, Early Cretaceous short-tailed birds exhibit both phenotypic release of the hindlimb and increased diversification rates, unparalleled in magnitude at any other time in the first 155 Myr of theropod evolution. Thus, a Cretaceous adaptive radiation of stem-group birds was enabled by restructuring of the terrestrial locomotor module, which represents a key innovation. Our results suggest two phases of radiation in Avialae: with the Cretaceous diversification overwritten by extinctions of stem-group birds at the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary, and subsequent diversification of the crown group. Our findings illustrate the importance of fossil data for understanding the macroevolutionary processes generating modern biodiversity.

  16. A dromaeosaur from the Maastrichtian of James Ross Island and the Late Cretaceous Antarctic dinosaur fauna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Case, Judd A.; Martin, James E.; Reguero, Marcelo

    2007-01-01

    The recovery of material of a small theropod from the Early Maastrichtian, Cape Lamb Member of the Snow Hill Island Formation is an unusual occurrence from primarily marine sediments. The pedal morphology of the specimen that includes a Metatarsal II with a lateral expansion caudal to Metatarsal III, a third metatarsal that is proximally narrow and distally wide, a Metatarsal III with a distal end that is incipiently ginglymoidal and a second pedal digit with sickle-like ungual are all diagnostic of a theropod that belongs to the family of predatory dinosaurs, the Dromaeosauridae. Yet this Antarctic dromaeosaur retains plesiomorphic features in its ankle and foot morphology. As new dromaeosaur species are being recovered from the mid-Cretaceous of South America and the retention of primitive characters in the Antarctic dromaeosaur, a new biogeographic hypothesis on dromaeosaur distribution has been generated. Gondwanan dromaeosaurs are not North America immigrants into South America and Antarctica; rather they are the relicts of a cosmopolitan dromaeosaur distribution, which has been separated by the vicariant break up of Pangea and created an endemic clade of dromaeosaurs in Gondwana.

  17. A new troodontid theropod dinosaur from the lower Cretaceous of Utah.

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    Phil Senter

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The theropod dinosaur family Troodontidae is known from the Upper Jurassic, Lower Cretaceous, and Upper Cretaceous of Asia and from the Upper Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous of North America. Before now no undisputed troodontids from North America have been reported from the Early Cretaceous. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Herein we describe a theropod maxilla from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah and perform a phylogenetic analysis to determine its phylogenetic position. The specimen is distinctive enough to assign to a new genus and species, Geminiraptor suarezarum. Phylogenetic analysis places G. suarezarum within Troodontidae in an unresolved polytomy with Mei, Byronosaurus, Sinornithoides, Sinusonasus, and Troodon+(Saurornithoides+Zanabazar. Geminiraptor suarezarum uniquely exhibits extreme pneumatic inflation of the maxilla internal to the antorbital fossa such that the anterior maxilla has a triangular cross-section. Unlike troodontids more closely related to Troodon, G. suarezarum exhibits bony septa between the dental alveoli and a promaxillary foramen that is visible in lateral view. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first report of a North American troodontid from the Lower Cretaceous. It therefore contributes to a fuller understanding of troodontid biogeography through time. It also adds to the known dinosaurian fauna of the Cedar Mountain Formation.

  18. Femoral bone strength in large theropod dinosaurs: A study by genus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-03-01

    The locomotion of bipedal theropod dinosaurs is controlled by the strength of the femur to resist bending torques (caused by the foot striking the ground and the action of muscles on the femur). The section modulus at the narrowest part measures the ability of the femur to resist such torques. We present the results of our study of the femoral section moduli for six genus of large theropods: Tyrannosaurus, Nanotyrannus, Gorgosaurus, and Albertosaurus of the Late Cretaceous, Acrocanthosaurus of the Early Cretaceous, and Allosaurus of the Late Jurassic. These animals had femora of lengths between 65 and 134 cm. The corresponding section moduli varied between 23 and 570 cm3. Some species of Tyrannosaurus, Gorgosaurus, Allosaurus, and Albertosaurus had femora with lengths in the same 75 to 90 cm range. The section moduli of these animals are all in the same range, showing that the animals had the same abilities of locomotion. That is, Allosaurus of the Late Jurassic could locomote just as well as the Late Cretaceous Tyrannosaurus, Gorgosaurus, and Albertosaurus. There is no evidence that these later theropods had evolved to be any faster than similarly-sized theropods living about 80 million years earlier.

  19. Heterochronic truncation of odontogenesis in theropod dinosaurs provides insight into the macroevolution of avian beaks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shuo; Stiegler, Josef; Wu, Ping; Chuong, Cheng-Ming; Hu, Dongyu; Balanoff, Amy; Zhou, Yachun; Xu, Xing

    2017-09-25

    Beaks are innovative structures characterizing numerous tetrapod lineages, including birds, but little is known about how developmental processes influenced the macroevolution of these important structures. Here we provide evidence of ontogenetic vestigialization of alveoli in two lineages of theropod dinosaurs and show that these are transitional phenotypes in the evolution of beaks. One of the smallest known caenagnathid oviraptorosaurs and a small specimen of the Early Cretaceous bird Sapeornis both possess shallow, empty vestiges of dentary alveoli. In both individuals, the system of vestiges connects via foramina with a dorsally closed canal homologous to alveoli. Similar morphologies are present in Limusaurus, a beaked theropod that becomes edentulous during ontogeny; and an analysis of neontological and paleontological evidence shows that ontogenetic reduction of the dentition is a relatively common phenomenon in vertebrate evolution. Based on these lines of evidence, we propose that progressively earlier postnatal and embryonic truncation of odontogenesis corresponds with expansion of rostral keratin associated with the caruncle, and these progenesis and peramorphosis heterochronies combine to drive the evolution of edentulous beaks in nonavian theropods and birds. Following initial apomorphic expansion of rostral keratinized epithelia in perinatal toothed theropods, beaks appear to inhibit odontogenesis as they grow postnatally, resulting in a sequence of common morphologies. This sequence is shifted earlier in development through phylogeny until dentition is absent at hatching, and odontogenesis is inhibited by beak formation in ovo.

  20. Anatomy and cranial functional morphology of the small-bodied dinosaur Fruitadens haagarorum from the Upper Jurassic of the USA.

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    Richard J Butler

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Heterodontosaurids are an important but enigmatic and poorly understood early radiation of ornithischian dinosaurs. The late-surviving heterodontosaurid Fruitadens haagarorum from the Late Jurassic (early Tithonian Morrison Formation of the western USA is represented by remains of several small (<1 metre total body length, <1 kg body mass individuals that include well-preserved but incomplete cranial and postcranial material. Fruitadens is hypothesized to represent one of the smallest known ornithischian dinosaurs. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe the cranial and postcranial anatomy of Fruitadens in detail, providing comparisons to all other known heterodontosaurid taxa. High resolution micro-CT data provides new insights into tooth replacement and the internal anatomy of the tooth-bearing bones. Moreover, we provide a preliminary functional analysis of the skull of late-surviving heterodontosaurids, discuss the implications of Fruitadens for current understanding of heterodontosaurid monophyly, and briefly review the evolution and biogeography of heterodontosaurids. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The validity of Fruitadens is supported by multiple unique characters of the dentition and hindlimb as well as a distinct character combination. Fruitadens shares highly distinctive appendicular characters with other heterodontosaurids, strengthening monophyly of the clade on the basis of the postcranium. Mandibular morphology and muscle moment arms suggest that the jaws of late-surviving heterodontosaurids, including Fruitadens, were adapted for rapid biting at large gape angles, contrasting with the jaws of the stratigraphically older Heterodontosaurus, which were better suited for strong jaw adduction at small gapes. The lack of wear facets and plesiomorphic dentition suggest that Fruitadens used orthal jaw movements and employed simple puncture-crushing to process food. In combination with its small body size, these results

  1. Human male infertility, the Y chromosome, and dinosaur extinction

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sherman J. Silber

    2011-06-01

    Our studies of the Y chromosome and male infertility suggest that the default mechanism for determining the sex of offspring is the temperature of egg incubation, and that genetic sex determination (based on sex chromosomes like X and Y has evolved many times over and over again in different ways, in different genera, as a more foolproof method than temperature variation of assuring a balanced sex ratio in offspring. The absence of such a genetic sex determining mechanism in dinosaurs may have led to a skewed sex ratio when global temperature dramatically changed 65,000,000 years ago, resulting in a preponderance of males, and consequentially a rapid decline in population.

  2. Nocturnality in dinosaurs inferred from scleral ring and orbit morphology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmitz, Lars; Motani, Ryosuke

    2011-05-06

    Variation in daily activity patterns facilitates temporal partitioning of habitat and resources among species. Knowledge of temporal niche partitioning in paleobiological systems has been limited by the difficulty of obtaining reliable information about activity patterns from fossils. On the basis of an analysis of scleral ring and orbit morphology in 33 archosaurs, including dinosaurs and pterosaurs, we show that the eyes of Mesozoic archosaurs were adapted to all major types of diel activity (that is, nocturnal, diurnal, and cathemeral) and provide concrete evidence of temporal niche partitioning in the Mesozoic. Similar to extant amniotes, flyers were predominantly diurnal; terrestrial predators, at least partially, nocturnal; and large herbivores, cathemeral. These similarities suggest that ecology drives the evolution of diel activity patterns.

  3. Geochemical environmental changes and dinosaur extinction during the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/T) transition in the Nanxiong Basin, South China: Evidence from dinosaur eggshells

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHAO ZiKui; MAO XueYing; CHAI ZhiFang; YANG GaoChuang; ZHANG FuCheng; YAN Zheng

    2009-01-01

    The complex patterns of trace elements including Ir and isotope distributions in the three K/T sections of the Nanxiong Basin prove the existence of two environmental events in the latest Cretaceous and earliest Paleocene. The first geochemical environmental event occurred at about 2 Ma prior to the K/T boundary interval, where the dinosaur diversity was hardly reduced, except that a number of patho-logical eggshells appeared. The second one was larger and occurred just at and near the Creta-ceous-Paleogene (K/T) boundary. The extinction of the dinosaurs spread out within 250 ka with major extinction beginning at the boundary interval. This is even later than their extinction in Montana, North America and in India. The cause of the dinosaur extinction may be the result of a complex multiple events brought about by the coincidence of global environment change marked by multiple Ir and δ18O anomalies, and environmental poisoning characterized by other trace elements derived from the local source. Successive short-and long-term conditions of geochemically induced environmental stress negatively affected the reproductive process and thus contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

  4. Phylogeny, histology and inferred body size evolution in a new rhabdodontid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ősi, Attila; Prondvai, Edina; Butler, Richard; Weishampel, David B

    2012-01-01

    Rhabdodontid ornithopod dinosaurs are characteristic elements of Late Cretaceous European vertebrate faunas and were previously collected from lower Campanian to Maastrichtian continental deposits. Phylogenetic analyses have placed rhabdodontids among basal ornithopods as the sister taxon to the clade consisting of Tenontosaurus, Dryosaurus, Camptosaurus, and Iguanodon. Recent studies considered Zalmoxes, the best known representative of the clade, to be significantly smaller than closely related ornithopods such as Tenontosaurus, Camptosaurus, or Rhabdodon, and concluded that it was probably an island dwarf that inhabited the Maastrichtian Haţeg Island. Rhabdodontid remains from the Santonian of western Hungary provide evidence for a new, small-bodied form, which we assign to Mochlodon vorosi n. sp. The new species is most similar to the early Campanian M. suessi from Austria, and the close affinities of the two species is further supported by the results of a global phylogenetic analysis of ornithischian dinosaurs. Bone histological studies of representatives of all rhabdodontids indicate a similar adult body length of 1.6-1.8 m in the Hungarian and Austrian species, 2.4-2.5 m in the subadults of both Zalmoxes robustus and Z. shqiperorum and a much larger, 5-6 m adult body length in Rhabdodon. Phylogenetic mapping of femoral lengths onto the results of the phylogenetic analysis suggests a femoral length of around 340 mm as the ancestral state for Rhabdodontidae, close to the adult femoral lengths known for Zalmoxes (320-333 mm). Our analysis of body size evolution does not support the hypothesis of autapomorhic nanism for Zalmoxes. However, Rhabdodon is reconstructed as having undergone autapomorphic giantism and the reconstructed small femoral length (245 mm) of Mochlodon is consistent with a reduction in size relative to the ancestral rhabdodontid condition. Our results imply a pre-Santonian divergence between western and eastern rhabdodontid lineages within

  5. Phylogeny, histology and inferred body size evolution in a new rhabdodontid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Attila Ősi

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Rhabdodontid ornithopod dinosaurs are characteristic elements of Late Cretaceous European vertebrate faunas and were previously collected from lower Campanian to Maastrichtian continental deposits. Phylogenetic analyses have placed rhabdodontids among basal ornithopods as the sister taxon to the clade consisting of Tenontosaurus, Dryosaurus, Camptosaurus, and Iguanodon. Recent studies considered Zalmoxes, the best known representative of the clade, to be significantly smaller than closely related ornithopods such as Tenontosaurus, Camptosaurus, or Rhabdodon, and concluded that it was probably an island dwarf that inhabited the Maastrichtian Haţeg Island. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Rhabdodontid remains from the Santonian of western Hungary provide evidence for a new, small-bodied form, which we assign to Mochlodon vorosi n. sp. The new species is most similar to the early Campanian M. suessi from Austria, and the close affinities of the two species is further supported by the results of a global phylogenetic analysis of ornithischian dinosaurs. Bone histological studies of representatives of all rhabdodontids indicate a similar adult body length of 1.6-1.8 m in the Hungarian and Austrian species, 2.4-2.5 m in the subadults of both Zalmoxes robustus and Z. shqiperorum and a much larger, 5-6 m adult body length in Rhabdodon. Phylogenetic mapping of femoral lengths onto the results of the phylogenetic analysis suggests a femoral length of around 340 mm as the ancestral state for Rhabdodontidae, close to the adult femoral lengths known for Zalmoxes (320-333 mm. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our analysis of body size evolution does not support the hypothesis of autapomorhic nanism for Zalmoxes. However, Rhabdodon is reconstructed as having undergone autapomorphic giantism and the reconstructed small femoral length (245 mm of Mochlodon is consistent with a reduction in size relative to the ancestral rhabdodontid condition. Our results

  6. Do brooding and polygamy behaviors exist on Cretaceous oviraptoroid dinosaurs of China: a paleobiological perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, T.-R.; Cheng, Y.-N.; Yang, K.-M.

    2012-04-01

    Brooding, parental care, and polygamy represent three different stages in bird's reproduction. The oringin of these behaviors is still in debate. Several samples excavated from China strengthen the phylogenetic relationship between birds and dinosaurs, for example, feathered dinosaurs, paired-eggs in pelvic region of an oviraptorid dinosaur, and small theropod fossils. Previous studies in past two decades, including an oviraptor sitting on a clutch and comparison of the ratio of clutch-volume to adult-body-size between Aves and Mesozoic dinosaurs, proposed that these behaviors had appeared on some Cretaceous theropods (e.g., oviraptor and troodon). These researches also indicate the possibility of endothermy and male care first. In conclusion, this reproduction strategy might support females having more remnant energy to build a larger clutch contributed eggs from multiple females, and brooded by males only. From our cluster analysis through paleoecological perspectives, the eggs in Cretaceous oviraptor's nest should not be corporately laid by multiple females. In morphological observation, the fossilized clutches from Ganzhou, Jiangxi, Mainland China, are 2-layered interbeded with matrix of reddish-brown siltstone or clays. The inner-layer eggs are hampered from directly contacting with adult dinosaurs body. Furthermore, the blunt ends of the eggs point to the center, and incline away forming a mound-shape nest, which is completely different from those of precocial and male-caring megapode. The ornamentation of eggshell surface and microstructures from thin sections of eggs from oviraptors and ostrich (Struthioniformes) are totally different. Comparison of thickness in different part of oviraptor's egg also reveal possible physiological structure in the egg and ecological behaviors. The detailed comparison implies that the Mesozoic oviraptoroid dinosaurs hold absolutely different incubation and caring behaviors from extant birds. We propose an alternative

  7. Dental microwear reveals mammal-like chewing in the neoceratopsian dinosaur Leptoceratops gracilis

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    Frank J. Varriale

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Extensive oral processing of food through dental occlusion and orbital mandibular movement is often cited as a uniquely mammalian trait that contributed to their evolutionary success. Save for mandibular translation, these adaptations are not seen in extant archosaurs or lepidosaurs. In contrast, some ornithischian dinosaurs show evidence of precise dental occlusion, habitual intraoral trituration and complex jaw motion. To date, however, a robust understanding of the diversity of jaw mechanics within non-avian dinosaurs, and its comparison with other vertebrates, remains unrealized. Large dental batteries, well-developed dental wear facets, and robust jaws suggests that neoceratopsian (horned dinosaurs were capable chewers. But, biomechanical analyses have assumed a relatively simple, scissor-like (orthal jaw mechanism for these animals. New analyses of dental microwear, presented here, show curvilinear striations on the teeth of Leptoceratops. These features indicate a rostral to caudal orbital motion of the mandible during chewing. A rostrocaudal mandibular orbit is seen in multituberculates, haramiyid allotherians, and some rodents, and its identification in Leptoceratops gracilis is the first evidence of complex, mammal-like chewing in a ceratopsian dinosaur. The term circumpalinal is here proposed to distinguish this new style of chewing from other models of ceratopsian mastication that also involve a palinal component. This previously unrecognized complexity in dinosaurian jaw mechanics indicates that some neoceratopsian dinosaurs achieved a mammalian level of masticatory efficiency through novel adaptive solutions.

  8. Dental microwear reveals mammal-like chewing in the neoceratopsian dinosaur Leptoceratops gracilis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varriale, Frank J

    2016-01-01

    Extensive oral processing of food through dental occlusion and orbital mandibular movement is often cited as a uniquely mammalian trait that contributed to their evolutionary success. Save for mandibular translation, these adaptations are not seen in extant archosaurs or lepidosaurs. In contrast, some ornithischian dinosaurs show evidence of precise dental occlusion, habitual intraoral trituration and complex jaw motion. To date, however, a robust understanding of the diversity of jaw mechanics within non-avian dinosaurs, and its comparison with other vertebrates, remains unrealized. Large dental batteries, well-developed dental wear facets, and robust jaws suggests that neoceratopsian (horned) dinosaurs were capable chewers. But, biomechanical analyses have assumed a relatively simple, scissor-like (orthal) jaw mechanism for these animals. New analyses of dental microwear, presented here, show curvilinear striations on the teeth of Leptoceratops. These features indicate a rostral to caudal orbital motion of the mandible during chewing. A rostrocaudal mandibular orbit is seen in multituberculates, haramiyid allotherians, and some rodents, and its identification in Leptoceratops gracilis is the first evidence of complex, mammal-like chewing in a ceratopsian dinosaur. The term circumpalinal is here proposed to distinguish this new style of chewing from other models of ceratopsian mastication that also involve a palinal component. This previously unrecognized complexity in dinosaurian jaw mechanics indicates that some neoceratopsian dinosaurs achieved a mammalian level of masticatory efficiency through novel adaptive solutions.

  9. Bringing dinosaurs back to life: exhibiting prehistory at the American Museum of Natural History.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rieppel, Lukas

    2012-09-01

    This essay examines the exhibition of dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Dinosaurs provide an especially illuminating lens through which to view the history of museum display practices for two reasons: they made for remarkably spectacular exhibits; and they rested on contested theories about the anatomy, life history, and behavior of long-extinct animals to which curators had no direct observational access. The American Museum sought to capitalize on the popularity of dinosaurs while mitigating the risks of mounting an overtly speculative display by fashioning them into a kind of mixed-media installation made of several elements, including fossilized bone, shellac, iron, and plaster. The resulting sculptures provided visitors with a vivid and lifelike imaginative experience. At the same time, curators, who were anxious to downplay the speculative nature of mounted dinosaurs, drew systematic attention to the material connection that tied individual pieces of fossilized bone to the actual past. Freestanding dinosaurs can therefore be read to have functioned as iconic sculptures that self-consciously advertised their indexical content.

  10. Dinosaur evolution. Sustained miniaturization and anatomical innovation in the dinosaurian ancestors of birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Michael S Y; Cau, Andrea; Naish, Darren; Dyke, Gareth J

    2014-08-01

    Recent discoveries have highlighted the dramatic evolutionary transformation of massive, ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs into light, volant birds. Here, we apply Bayesian approaches (originally developed for inferring geographic spread and rates of molecular evolution in viruses) in a different context: to infer size changes and rates of anatomical innovation (across up to 1549 skeletal characters) in fossils. These approaches identify two drivers underlying the dinosaur-bird transition. The theropod lineage directly ancestral to birds undergoes sustained miniaturization across 50 million years and at least 12 consecutive branches (internodes) and evolves skeletal adaptations four times faster than other dinosaurs. The distinct, prolonged phase of miniaturization along the bird stem would have facilitated the evolution of many novelties associated with small body size, such as reorientation of body mass, increased aerial ability, and paedomorphic skulls with reduced snouts but enlarged eyes and brains.

  11. A Decade of 21st-Century Dinosaur Research at IVPP

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Corwin Sullivan

    2010-01-01

    @@ In the first decade of the 21st century,a larger number of important new dinosaur specimens have come from China than from any other country.The Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology(IVPP)has been at the forefront of the scientific effort to document and analyze these fossils,in collaboration with a wide range of other institutions in China and around the world.Recently discovered Chinese specimens,described by IVPP researchers and their collaborators,have shed considerable new light on the evolution of several important dinosaur groups and on various aspects of dinosaur biology.Some of the findings of these studies would have seemed even twenty or thirty years ago to be closer to the realm of science fiction than paleontological reality.

  12. A new primitive Neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of Patagonia with gut contents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salgado, Leonardo; Canudo, José I.; Garrido, Alberto C.; Moreno-Azanza, Miguel; Martínez, Leandro C. A.; Coria, Rodolfo A.; Gasca, José M.

    2017-02-01

    We describe a new species of an ornithischian dinosaur, Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. The specimen, consisting in an almost complete skull and incomplete postcranium was collected from the marine-deltaic deposits of the Los Molles Formation (Toarcian-Bajocian), being the first reported dinosaur for this unit, one of the oldest from Neuquén Basin, and the first neornithischian dinosaur known from the Jurassic of South America. Despite showing a general stegosaurian appearance, the extensive phylogenetic analysis carried out depicts Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. as a basal ornithopod, suggesting that both Thyreophora and neornithischians could have achieved significant convergent features. The specimen was preserved articulated and with some of its gut content place in the middle-posterior part of the thoracic cavity. Such stomach content was identified as seeds, most of them belonging to the Cycadales group. This finding reveals a possible and unexpected role of this ornithischian species as seed-dispersal agent.

  13. The oldest North American pachycephalosaurid and the hidden diversity of small-bodied ornithischian dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, David C; Schott, Ryan K; Larson, Derek W; Brown, Caleb M; Ryan, Michael J

    2013-01-01

    Taphonomic biases dictate how organisms are represented in the fossil record, but their effect on studies of vertebrate diversity dynamics is poorly studied. In contrast to the high diversity and abundance of small-bodied animals in extant ecosystems, small-bodied dinosaurs are less common than their large-bodied counterparts, but it is unclear whether this reflects unique properties of dinosaurian ecosystems or relates to taphonomic biases. A new, fully domed pachycephalosaurid dinosaur, Acrotholus audeti, from the Santonian of Alberta predates incompletely domed taxa, and provides important new information on pachycephalosaur evolution and the completeness of the ornithischian fossil record. Here we provide the first empirical evidence that the diversity of small-bodied ornithischian dinosaurs is strongly underestimated based on ghost lineages and the high proportion of robust and diagnostic frontoparietal domes compared with other pachycephalosaur fossils. This suggests preservational biases have a confounding role in attempts to decipher vertebrate palaeoecology and diversity dynamics through the Mesozoic.

  14. A new long-necked 'sauropod-mimic' stegosaur and the evolution of the plated dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mateus, Octávio; Maidment, Susannah C R; Christiansen, Nicolai A

    2009-05-22

    Stegosaurian dinosaurs have a quadrupedal stance, short forelimbs, short necks, and are generally considered to be low browsers. A new stegosaur, Miragaia longicollum gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Jurassic of Portugal, has a neck comprising at least 17 cervical vertebrae. This is eight additional cervical vertebrae when compared with the ancestral condition seen in basal ornithischians such as Scutellosaurus. Miragaia has a higher cervical count than most of the iconically long-necked sauropod dinosaurs. Long neck length has been achieved by 'cervicalization' of anterior dorsal vertebrae and probable lengthening of centra. All these anatomical features are evolutionarily convergent with those exhibited in the necks of sauropod dinosaurs. Miragaia longicollum is based upon a partial articulated skeleton, and includes the only known cranial remains from any European stegosaur. A well-resolved phylogeny supports a new clade that unites Miragaia and Dacentrurus as the sister group to Stegosaurus; this new topology challenges the common view of Dacentrurus as a basal stegosaur.

  15. First record of dinosaur trackways in Beijing, China%中国北京恐龙足迹的首次记录

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    张建平; 邢立达; GIERLI(N)SKI Gerard D; 武法东; 田明中; CURRIE Philip

    2012-01-01

    北京市延庆县在筹报世界地质公园的地质遗迹野外调查中,在延庆硅化木国家地质公园核心区晚侏罗世-早白垩世土城子组地层发现的大批恐龙足迹,初步研究表明这批标本可归属于覆盾甲龙类(cf.Deltapodus isp.)、兽脚类、鸟脚类及疑似蜥脚类恐龙足迹.其中大量的覆盾甲龙类足迹表明,早在晚侏罗世,冀北-辽西地区就活动着覆盾甲龙类,它们承接了辽宁朝阳下白垩统义县组发现的甲龙类化石.而罕见的,极高速奔跑的兽脚类恐龙足迹揭示了独特的古行为学.延庆发现的恐龙足迹群不但是北京地区首次发现恐龙存活过的证据,而且极大丰富了土城子组的恐龙类群,为承接其后的热河动物群提供了绝好的演化样本.%We describe a number of newly discovered dinosaur tracks from the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Tuchengzi Formation, located in the core zone of Yanqing Silicified Wood National Geopark, during field work for the preparation of global geopark application in Yanqing County, Beijing. The preliminary research indicates that these may comprise thyreophoran (cf. Deltapodus isp.), theropod, ornithopod and probably sauropod tracks. The thyreophoran tracks indicate the presence of this family during the Late Jurassic in the Jibei-Liaoxi area. This may be related to the presence of ankylosaurids from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, in Chaoyang, Liaoning. As they are rare, high-speed theropod tracks reveal aspects of their paleoethology. The dinosaur tracks from Yanqing constitute the first evidence of dinosaurs in Beijing. These also enrich the knowledge on the diversity of dinosaur species in the Tuchengzi Formation, which provides an excellent evolutionary sample to compare with that of the later Jehol Fauna.

  16. A Monstrous Moscow. The Dinosaur in Moscow Postmodern Production

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    Giulia Imbriaco

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available The article offers an interpretation of the dinosaur in the Moscow imagery of the late 20th century as an allegory of the state in which the Marxist-Leninist ideology found itself in those years: more and more inflated with rhetoric, while more and more devoid of contents. In V. Aksyonov's The Burn (1975-76, in the paintings of the duo Komar and Melamid (Ancestral Portraits, Bolsheviks Returning Home After a Demonstration, 1978-82, in D. Prigov's drawing Horror (1990s and verses “For the Little George”, in V. Erofeyev's Russian Beauty (1990, and in V. Sorokin's Ice (2002, the prehistoric monster in its different inflections is the embodiment of a black humour, characterized by an ambiguity typical of both the postmodern parody described by L. Hutcheon and the grotesque realism analyzed by M. Bachtin. The artist's effort in becoming another to himself, simultaneously engaging his own culture and disengaging himself from it by way of a sharp irony, is portrayed in Prigov's Bestiary (1977-2004, where his colleagues are the more 'monstrous' the more they are 'geniuses'. The monster creates a tragicomic and destabilizing clash on different levels, thus prompting reflection about a tormented historical period and about Art's willy-nilly complicity in the rhetorical construction of the official discourses.

  17. First diagnosis of septic arthritis in a dinosaur

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anné, Jennifer; Hedrick, Brandon P.; Schein, Jason P.

    2016-08-01

    Identification and interpretation of pathologies in the fossil record allows for unique insights into the life histories of extinct organisms. However, the rarity of such finds limits not only the sample size for palaeopathologic studies, but also the types of analyses that may be performed. In this study, we present the first occurrence of a palaeopathology in a vertebrate from the Mesozoic of the East Coast of North America (Appalachia), a pathologic ulna and radius of an indeterminate hadrosaur from the Navesink Formation (New Jersey). X-ray microtomography allowed for both detailed and more accurate diagnosis of the pathologic condition as well as virtual conservation of the specimen. Based on extant archosaurian comparisons, the hadrosaur was diagnosed with severe septic arthritis affecting the proximal ulna and radius. Diagnosis was based on erosion of the joint and highly reactive periosteal bone growth and fusion of the elements. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first recorded account of septic arthritis in dinosaurs. The severity of the pathology suggests the animal suffered with this condition for some time before death. Unfortunately, only the ulna and radius were found. Thus, the extent to which the condition spread to other parts of the body is unknown.

  18. Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lautenschlager, Stephan; Brassey, Charlotte A.; Button, David J.; Barrett, Paul M.

    2016-05-01

    Convergent evolution, the acquisition of morphologically similar traits in unrelated taxa due to similar functional demands or environmental factors, is a common phenomenon in the animal kingdom. Consequently, the occurrence of similar form is used routinely to address fundamental questions in morphofunctional research and to infer function in fossils. However, such qualitative assessments can be misleading and it is essential to test form/function relationships quantitatively. The parallel occurrence of a suite of morphologically convergent craniodental characteristics in three herbivorous, phylogenetically disparate dinosaur clades (Sauropodomorpha, Ornithischia, Theropoda) provides an ideal test case. A combination of computational biomechanical models (Finite Element Analysis, Multibody Dynamics Analysis) demonstrate that despite a high degree of morphological similarity between representative taxa (Plateosaurus engelhardti, Stegosaurus stenops, Erlikosaurus andrewsi) from these clades, their biomechanical behaviours are notably different and difficult to predict on the basis of form alone. These functional differences likely reflect dietary specialisations, demonstrating the value of quantitative biomechanical approaches when evaluating form/function relationships in extinct taxa.

  19. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, John P.; Woodruff, D. Cary; Gardner, Jacob D.; Flora, Holley M.; Horner, John R.; Organ, Chris L.

    2016-01-01

    Rugose projections on the anterior and posterior aspects of vertebral neural spines appear throughout Amniota and result from the mineralization of the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments via metaplasia, the process of permanent tissue-type transformation. In mammals, this metaplasia is generally pathological or stress induced, but is a normal part of development in some clades of birds. Such structures, though phylogenetically sporadic, appear throughout the fossil record of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, yet their physiological and adaptive significance has remained unexamined. Here we show novel histologic and phylogenetic evidence that neural spine projections were a physiological response to biomechanical stress in large-bodied theropod species. Metaplastic projections also appear to vary between immature and mature individuals of the same species, with immature animals either lacking them or exhibiting smaller projections, supporting the hypothesis that these structures develop through ontogeny as a result of increasing bending stress subjected to the spinal column. Metaplastic mineralization of spinal ligaments would likely affect the flexibility of the spinal column, increasing passive support for body weight. A stiff spinal column would also provide biomechanical support for the primary hip flexors and, therefore, may have played a role in locomotor efficiency and mobility in large-bodied species. This new association of interspinal ligament metaplasia in Theropoda with large body size contributes additional insight to our understanding of the diverse biomechanical coping mechanisms developed throughout Dinosauria, and stresses the significance of phylogenetic methods when testing for biological trends, evolutionary or not. PMID:27442509

  20. The phylogeny and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, Stephen L.; Carr, Thomas D.

    2016-02-01

    Tyrannosauroids—the group of carnivores including Tyrannosaurs rex—are some of the most familiar dinosaurs of all. A surge of recent discoveries has helped clarify some aspects of their evolution, but competing phylogenetic hypotheses raise questions about their relationships, biogeography, and fossil record quality. We present a new phylogenetic dataset, which merges published datasets and incorporates recently discovered taxa. We analyze it with parsimony and, for the first time for a tyrannosauroid dataset, Bayesian techniques. The parsimony and Bayesian results are highly congruent, and provide a framework for interpreting the biogeography and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroids. Our phylogenies illustrate that the body plan of the colossal species evolved piecemeal, imply no clear division between northern and southern species in western North America as had been argued, and suggest that T. rex may have been an Asian migrant to North America. Over-reliance on cranial shape characters may explain why published parsimony studies have diverged and filling three major gaps in the fossil record holds the most promise for future work.

  1. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John P Wilson

    Full Text Available Rugose projections on the anterior and posterior aspects of vertebral neural spines appear throughout Amniota and result from the mineralization of the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments via metaplasia, the process of permanent tissue-type transformation. In mammals, this metaplasia is generally pathological or stress induced, but is a normal part of development in some clades of birds. Such structures, though phylogenetically sporadic, appear throughout the fossil record of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, yet their physiological and adaptive significance has remained unexamined. Here we show novel histologic and phylogenetic evidence that neural spine projections were a physiological response to biomechanical stress in large-bodied theropod species. Metaplastic projections also appear to vary between immature and mature individuals of the same species, with immature animals either lacking them or exhibiting smaller projections, supporting the hypothesis that these structures develop through ontogeny as a result of increasing bending stress subjected to the spinal column. Metaplastic mineralization of spinal ligaments would likely affect the flexibility of the spinal column, increasing passive support for body weight. A stiff spinal column would also provide biomechanical support for the primary hip flexors and, therefore, may have played a role in locomotor efficiency and mobility in large-bodied species. This new association of interspinal ligament metaplasia in Theropoda with large body size contributes additional insight to our understanding of the diverse biomechanical coping mechanisms developed throughout Dinosauria, and stresses the significance of phylogenetic methods when testing for biological trends, evolutionary or not.

  2. Estimating impact forces of tail club strikes by ankylosaurid dinosaurs.

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    Victoria Megan Arbour

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: It has been assumed that the unusual tail club of ankylosaurid dinosaurs was used actively as a weapon, but the biological feasibility of this behaviour has not been examined in detail. Ankylosaurid tail clubs are composed of interlocking vertebrae, which form the handle, and large terminal osteoderms, which form the knob. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Computed tomographic (CT scans of several ankylosaurid tail clubs referred to Dyoplosaurus and Euoplocephalus, combined with measurements of free caudal vertebrae, provide information used to estimate the impact force of tail clubs of various sizes. Ankylosaurid tails are modeled as a series of segments for which mass, muscle cross-sectional area, torque, and angular acceleration are calculated. Free caudal vertebrae segments had limited vertical flexibility, but the tail could have swung through approximately 100 degrees laterally. Muscle scars on the pelvis record the presence of a large M. longissimus caudae, and ossified tendons alongside the handle represent M. spinalis. CT scans showed that knob osteoderms were predominantly cancellous, which would have lowered the rotational inertia of the tail club and made it easier to wield as a weapon. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Large knobs could generate sufficient force to break bone during impacts, but average and small knobs could not. Tail swinging behaviour is feasible in ankylosaurids, but it remains unknown whether the tail was used for interspecific defense, intraspecific combat, or both.

  3. Evolutionary Trends in the Jaw Adductor Mechanics of Ornithischian Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nabavizadeh, Ali

    2016-03-01

    Jaw mechanics in ornithischian dinosaurs have been widely studied for well over a century. Most of these studies, however, use only one or few taxa within a given ornithischian clade as a model for feeding mechanics across the entire clade. In this study, mandibular mechanical advantages among 52 ornithischian genera spanning all subclades are calculated using 2D lever arm methods. These lever arm calculations estimate the effect of jaw shape and difference in adductor muscle line of action on relative bite forces along the jaw. Results show major instances of overlap between taxa in tooth positions at which there was highest mechanical advantage. A relatively low bite force is seen across the tooth row among thyreophorans (e.g., stegosaurs and ankylosaurs), with variation among taxa. A convergent transition occurs from a more evenly distributed bite force along the jaw in basal ornithopods and basal marginocephalians to a strong distal bite force in hadrosaurids and ceratopsids, respectively. Accordingly, adductor muscle vector angles show repeated trends from a mid-range caudodorsal orientation in basal ornithischians to a decrease in vector angles indicating more caudally oriented jaw movements in derived taxa (e.g., derived thyreophorans, basal ornithopods, lambeosaurines, pachycephalosaurs, and derived ceratopsids). Analyses of hypothetical jaw morphologies were also performed, indicating that both the coronoid process and lowered jaw joint increase moment arm length therefore increasing mechanical advantage of the jaw apparatus. Adaptive trends in craniomandibular anatomy show that ornithischians evolved more complex feeding apparatuses within different clades as well as morphological convergences between clades.

  4. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, John P; Woodruff, D Cary; Gardner, Jacob D; Flora, Holley M; Horner, John R; Organ, Chris L

    2016-01-01

    Rugose projections on the anterior and posterior aspects of vertebral neural spines appear throughout Amniota and result from the mineralization of the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments via metaplasia, the process of permanent tissue-type transformation. In mammals, this metaplasia is generally pathological or stress induced, but is a normal part of development in some clades of birds. Such structures, though phylogenetically sporadic, appear throughout the fossil record of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, yet their physiological and adaptive significance has remained unexamined. Here we show novel histologic and phylogenetic evidence that neural spine projections were a physiological response to biomechanical stress in large-bodied theropod species. Metaplastic projections also appear to vary between immature and mature individuals of the same species, with immature animals either lacking them or exhibiting smaller projections, supporting the hypothesis that these structures develop through ontogeny as a result of increasing bending stress subjected to the spinal column. Metaplastic mineralization of spinal ligaments would likely affect the flexibility of the spinal column, increasing passive support for body weight. A stiff spinal column would also provide biomechanical support for the primary hip flexors and, therefore, may have played a role in locomotor efficiency and mobility in large-bodied species. This new association of interspinal ligament metaplasia in Theropoda with large body size contributes additional insight to our understanding of the diverse biomechanical coping mechanisms developed throughout Dinosauria, and stresses the significance of phylogenetic methods when testing for biological trends, evolutionary or not.

  5. Maximal aerobic and anaerobic power generation in large crocodiles versus mammals: implications for dinosaur gigantothermy.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roger S Seymour

    Full Text Available Inertial homeothermy, the maintenance of a relatively constant body temperature that occurs simply because of large size, is often applied to large dinosaurs. Moreover, biophysical modelling and actual measurements show that large crocodiles can behaviourally achieve body temperatures above 30°C. Therefore it is possible that some dinosaurs could achieve high and stable body temperatures without the high energy cost of typical endotherms. However it is not known whether an ectothermic dinosaur could produce the equivalent amount of muscular power as an endothermic one. To address this question, this study analyses maximal power output from measured aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in burst exercising estuarine crocodiles, Crocodylusporosus, weighing up to 200 kg. These results are compared with similar data from endothermic mammals. A 1 kg crocodile at 30°C produces about 16 watts from aerobic and anaerobic energy sources during the first 10% of exhaustive activity, which is 57% of that expected for a similarly sized mammal. A 200 kg crocodile produces about 400 watts, or only 14% of that for a mammal. Phosphocreatine is a minor energy source, used only in the first seconds of exercise and of similar concentrations in reptiles and mammals. Ectothermic crocodiles lack not only the absolute power for exercise, but also the endurance, that are evident in endothermic mammals. Despite the ability to achieve high and fairly constant body temperatures, therefore, large, ectothermic, crocodile-like dinosaurs would have been competitively inferior to endothermic, mammal-like dinosaurs with high aerobic power. Endothermy in dinosaurs is likely to explain their dominance over mammals in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Mesozoic.

  6. Maximal aerobic and anaerobic power generation in large crocodiles versus mammals: implications for dinosaur gigantothermy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seymour, Roger S

    2013-01-01

    Inertial homeothermy, the maintenance of a relatively constant body temperature that occurs simply because of large size, is often applied to large dinosaurs. Moreover, biophysical modelling and actual measurements show that large crocodiles can behaviourally achieve body temperatures above 30°C. Therefore it is possible that some dinosaurs could achieve high and stable body temperatures without the high energy cost of typical endotherms. However it is not known whether an ectothermic dinosaur could produce the equivalent amount of muscular power as an endothermic one. To address this question, this study analyses maximal power output from measured aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in burst exercising estuarine crocodiles, Crocodylusporosus, weighing up to 200 kg. These results are compared with similar data from endothermic mammals. A 1 kg crocodile at 30°C produces about 16 watts from aerobic and anaerobic energy sources during the first 10% of exhaustive activity, which is 57% of that expected for a similarly sized mammal. A 200 kg crocodile produces about 400 watts, or only 14% of that for a mammal. Phosphocreatine is a minor energy source, used only in the first seconds of exercise and of similar concentrations in reptiles and mammals. Ectothermic crocodiles lack not only the absolute power for exercise, but also the endurance, that are evident in endothermic mammals. Despite the ability to achieve high and fairly constant body temperatures, therefore, large, ectothermic, crocodile-like dinosaurs would have been competitively inferior to endothermic, mammal-like dinosaurs with high aerobic power. Endothermy in dinosaurs is likely to explain their dominance over mammals in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Mesozoic.

  7. High-precision U-Pb geochronology of the Jurassic Yanliao Biota from Jianchang (western Liaoning Province, China): Age constraints on the rise of feathered dinosaurs and eutherian mammals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, Zhuyin; He, Huaiyu; Ramezani, Jahandar; Bowring, Samuel A.; Hu, Dongyu; Zhang, Lijun; Zheng, Shaolin; Wang, Xiaolin; Zhou, Zhonghe; Deng, Chenglong; Guo, Jinghui

    2016-10-01

    The Yanliao Biota of northeastern China comprises the oldest feathered dinosaurs, transitional pterosaurs, as well as the earliest eutherian mammals, multituberculate mammals, and new euharamiyidan species that are key elements of the Mesozoic biotic record. Recent discovery of the Yanliao Biota in the Daxishan section near the town of Linglongta, Jianchang County in western Liaoning Province have greatly enhanced our knowledge of the transition from dinosaurs to birds, primitive to derived pterosaurs, and the early evolution of mammals. Nevertheless, fundamental questions regarding the correlation of fossil-bearing strata, rates of dinosaur and mammalian evolution, and their relationship to environmental change in deep time remain unresolved due to the paucity of precise and accurate temporal constraints. These limitations underscore the importance of placing the rich fossil record of Jianchang within a high-resolution chronostratigraphic framework that has thus far been hampered by the relatively low precision of in situ radioisotopic dating techniques. Here we present high-precision U-Pb zircon geochronology by the chemical abrasion isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) from three interstratified ash beds previously dated by secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) technique. The results constrain the key fossil horizons of the Daxishan section to an interval spanning 160.89 to 160.25 Ma with 2σ analytical uncertainties that range from ±46 to ±69 kyr. These data place the Yanliao Biota from Jianchang in the Oxfordian Stage of the Late Jurassic, and mark the Daxishan section as the site of Earth's oldest precisely dated feathered dinosaurs and eutherian mammals.

  8. Palynoflora of Wulaga dinosaur site in Jiayin (Zeya-Bureya Basin, China)

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    V.S. Markevich; E.V. Bugdaeva; SUN Ge

    2009-01-01

    The palynological assemblage from Wulaga dinosaur site in Jiayin from southeastern Zeya-Bureya Basin was studied. The high content of pteridophytes spores is characteristic for this assemblage. The further characters are in decrease of abundance-tricolpate pollen, Ginkgocycadophytus, pollen of Taxodiaceae, Cupressaceae and Taxaceae (TCT), bisaccate pollen of Pinaceae, and triporate pollen. The bone-bearing burials of Wulaga dinosaur site formed under conditions of vast swampy river valley covered by ferns and taxodialeans. Tricolpate pollen, produced by plants, close to those of Platanaceae, Fagaceae, Betulaceae, and Juglandaceae, counts in favor of valley river open canopy forests.

  9. The formation conditions of the burial site of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs and plants in the Kakanaut River basin (Koryak Highlands, Northeastern Asia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shczepetov, S. V.; Herman, A. B.

    2017-07-01

    The stratigraphic position of layers containing plant and animal remains in the Koryak Highlands (Northeast Asia) is under discussion. Their age is defined as late Campanian-early Maastrichtian. Plant-bearing and bone-bearing rocks represent cemented basaltic tephra. The former contain a small amount of xenogenic material and slightly rounded volcaniclastic material, which indicates its insignificant transportation. Ash particles in bone-bearing rocks are even less rounded. Among them, there are no rock fragments of other composition. Large bones and their fragments, as xenoliths, are chaotically distributed in the rock matrix as if floating in mass of ash material. This burial site was probably formed in a continental environment as a result of the gravitational and eolian transportation of the terrigenous material. The burial of small dinosaur bones and teeth occurred during the deposition of a small stream of a semiliquid water-ash mixture. This work presents a possible mechanism of the formation of burial sites, taking into consideration proposed conditions of the life and reproduction of dinosaurs in the Late Mesozoic Arctic.

  10. The functional and palaeoecological implications of tooth morphology and wear for the megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallon, Jordan C; Anderson, Jason S

    2014-01-01

    Megaherbivorous dinosaurs were exceptionally diverse on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia, and a growing body of evidence suggests that this diversity was facilitated by dietary niche partitioning. We test this hypothesis using the fossil megaherbivore assemblage from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta as a model. Comparative tooth morphology and wear, including the first use of quantitative dental microwear analysis in the context of Cretaceous palaeosynecology, are used to infer the mechanical properties of the foods these dinosaurs consumed. The phylliform teeth of ankylosaurs were poorly adapted for habitually processing high-fibre plant matter. Nevertheless, ankylosaur diets were likely more varied than traditionally assumed: the relatively large, bladed teeth of nodosaurids would have been better adapted to processing a tougher, more fibrous diet than the smaller, cusp-like teeth of ankylosaurids. Ankylosaur microwear is characterized by a preponderance of pits and scratches, akin to modern mixed feeders, but offers no support for interspecific dietary differences. The shearing tooth batteries of ceratopsids are much better adapted to high-fibre herbivory, attested by their scratch-dominated microwear signature. There is tentative microwear evidence to suggest differences in the feeding habits of centrosaurines and chasmosaurines, but statistical support is not significant. The tooth batteries of hadrosaurids were capable of both shearing and crushing functions, suggestive of a broad dietary range. Their microwear signal overlaps broadly with that of ankylosaurs, and suggests possible dietary differences between hadrosaurines and lambeosaurines. Tooth wear evidence further indicates that all forms considered here exhibited some degree of masticatory propaliny. Our findings reveal that tooth morphology and wear exhibit different, but complimentary, dietary signals that combine to support the hypothesis of dietary niche

  11. Paleoneuroanatomy of the European lambeosaurine dinosaur Arenysaurus ardevoli

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P Cruzado-Caballero

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available The neuroanatomy of hadrosaurid dinosaurs is well known from North America and Asia. In Europe only a few cranial remains have been recovered that include the braincase. Arenysaurus is the first European endocast for which the paleoneuroanatomy has been studied. The resulting data have enabled us to draw ontogenetic, phylogenetic and functional inferences. Arenysaurus preserves the endocast and the inner ear. This cranial material was CT scanned, and a 3D-model was generated. The endocast morphology supports a general pattern for hadrosaurids with some characters that distinguish it to a subfamily level, such as a brain cavity that is anteroposteriorly shorter or the angle of the major axis of the cerebral hemisphere to the horizontal in lambeosaurines. Both these characters are present in the endocast of Arenysaurus. Osteological features indicate an adult ontogenetic stage, while some paleoneuroanatomical features are indicative of a subadult ontogenetic stage. It is hypothesized that the presence of puzzling mixture of characters that suggest different ontogenetic stages for this specimen may reflect some degree of dwarfism in Arenysaurus. Regarding the inner ear, its structure shows differences from the ornithopod clade with respect to the height of the semicircular canals. These differences could lead to a decrease in the compensatory movements of eyes and head, with important implications for the paleobiology and behavior of hadrosaurid taxa such as Edmontosaurus, Parasaurolophus and Arenysaurus. The endocranial morphology of European hadrosaurids sheds new light on the evolution of this group and may reflect the conditions in the archipelago where these animals lived during the Late Cretaceous.

  12. Tail-assisted pitch control in lizards, robots and dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Libby, Thomas; Moore, Talia Y; Chang-Siu, Evan; Li, Deborah; Cohen, Daniel J; Jusufi, Ardian; Full, Robert J

    2012-01-04

    In 1969, a palaeontologist proposed that theropod dinosaurs used their tails as dynamic stabilizers during rapid or irregular movements, contributing to their depiction as active and agile predators. Since then the inertia of swinging appendages has been implicated in stabilizing human walking, aiding acrobatic manoeuvres by primates and rodents, and enabling cats to balance on branches. Recent studies on geckos suggest that active tail stabilization occurs during climbing, righting and gliding. By contrast, studies on the effect of lizard tail loss show evidence of a decrease, an increase or no change in performance. Application of a control-theoretic framework could advance our general understanding of inertial appendage use in locomotion. Here we report that lizards control the swing of their tails in a measured manner to redirect angular momentum from their bodies to their tails, stabilizing body attitude in the sagittal plane. We video-recorded Red-Headed Agama lizards (Agama agama) leaping towards a vertical surface by first vaulting onto an obstacle with variable traction to induce a range of perturbations in body angular momentum. To examine a known controlled tail response, we built a lizard-sized robot with an active tail that used sensory feedback to stabilize pitch as it drove off a ramp. Our dynamics model revealed that a body swinging its tail experienced less rotation than a body with a rigid tail, a passively compliant tail or no tail. To compare a range of tails, we calculated tail effectiveness as the amount of tailless body rotation a tail could stabilize. A model Velociraptor mongoliensis supported the initial tail stabilization hypothesis, showing as it did a greater tail effectiveness than the Agama lizards. Leaping lizards show that inertial control of body attitude can advance our understanding of appendage evolution and provide biological inspiration for the next generation of manoeuvrable search-and-rescue robots.

  13. Response to Comment on "A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godefroit, Pascal; Sinitsa, Sofia M; Dhouailly, Danielle; Bolotsky, Yuri L; Sizov, Alexander V; McNamara, Maria E; Benton, Michael J; Spagna, Paul

    2014-10-24

    Lingham-Soliar questions our interpretation of integumentary structures in the Middle-Late Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur Kulindadromeus as feather-like appendages and alternatively proposes that the compound structures observed around the humerus and femur of Kulindadromeus are support fibers associated with badly degraded scales. We consider this hypothesis highly unlikely because of the taphonomy and morphology of the preserved structures.

  14. Language and Social Development in a Multilingual Classroom: A Dinosaur Project Enriched with Block Play

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pate, Monique

    2009-01-01

    With the implementation of the natural approach, the dinosaur study and facilitated block play gave dual language learners many opportunities to acquire a new language, develop social skills, and improve communication abilities. Once teachers identified the barriers to children playing and talking together, they created a classroom environment…

  15. A mummified duck-billed dinosaur with a soft-tissue cock's comb.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, Phil R; Fanti, Federico; Currie, Philip J; Arbour, Victoria M

    2014-01-01

    Among living vertebrates, soft tissues are responsible for labile appendages (combs, wattles, proboscides) that are critical for activities ranging from locomotion to sexual display [1]. However, soft tissues rarely fossilize, and such soft-tissue appendages are unknown for many extinct taxa, including dinosaurs. Here we report a remarkable "mummified" specimen of the hadrosaurid dinosaur Edmontosaurus regalis from the latest Cretaceous Wapiti Formation, Alberta, Canada, that preserves a three-dimensional cranial crest (or "comb") composed entirely of soft tissue. Previously, crest function has centered on the hypertrophied nasal passages of lambeosaurine hadrosaurids, which acted as resonance chambers during vocalization [2-4]. The fleshy comb in Edmontosaurus necessitates an alternative explanation most likely related to either social signaling or sexual selection [5-7]. This discovery provides the first view of bizarre, soft-tissue signaling structures in a dinosaur and provides additional evidence for social behavior. Crest evolution within Hadrosaurinae apparently culminated in the secondary loss of the bony crest at the terminal Cretaceous; however, the new specimen indicates that cranial ornamentation was in fact not lost but substituted in Edmontosaurus by a fleshy display structure. It also implies that visual display played a key role in the evolution of hadrosaurine crests and raises the possibility of similar soft-tissue structures among other dinosaurs.

  16. A new feathered maniraptoran dinosaur fossil that fills a morphological gap in avian origin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XU Xing; ZHAO Qi; NORELL Mark; SULLIVAN Corwin; HONE David; ERICKSON Gregory; WANG XiaoLin; HAN FengLu; GUO Yu

    2009-01-01

    Recent fossil discoveries have substantially reduced the morphological gap between non-avian and avian dinosaurs, yet avians including Archaeopteryx differ from non-avian theropods in their limb proportions. In particular, avians have proportionally longer and more robust forelimbs that are capable of supporting a large aerodynamic surface. Here we report on a new maniraptoran dinosaur, Anchiornis huxleyi gen. et sp. nov., based on a specimen collected from Iacustrine deposits of uncertain age in western Liaoning, China. With an estimated mass of 110 grams, Anchiornis is the smallest known non-avian theropod dinosaur. It exhibits some wrist features indicative of high mobility, presaging the wing-folding mechanisms seen in more derived birds and suggesting rapid evolution of the carpus. Otherwise, Anchiornis is intermediate in general morphology between non-avian and avian dinosaurs, particularly with regard to relative forelimb length and thickness, and represents a transitional step toward the avian condition. In contrast with some recent comprehensive phylogenetic analyses, our phylogenetic analysis incorporates subtle morphological variations and recovers a conventional result supporting the monophyly of Avialae.

  17. Origin attachments of the caudofemoralis longus muscle in the Jurassic dinosaur Allosaurus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Cau

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The caudofemoralis longus muscle (CFL is the primary limb retractor among non-avian sauropsids, and underwent a dramatic reduction along the dinosaur lineage leading to birds. The osteological correlates of the CFL among fossil reptiles have been controversial, because, contrary to traditional interpretations, the extent of the muscle is not necessarily related to the distribution of the caudal ribs. In some Cretaceous dinosaurs, the extent of the CFL has been inferred based on the preserved bony septa between the CFL and other tail muscles. Here, we describe a series of tail vertebrae of the Jurassic dinosaur Allosaurus, each showing a previously-unreported feature: a sulcus, formed by a regular pattern of tightly packed horizontal slits, that runs vertically along the lateral surfaces of the centra and neural arches. These sulci are interpreted as the origin attachment sites of the CFL, allowing for direct determination of the muscle extent along the tail of this dinosaur. Anteriorly to the 18th caudal vertebra, the sulcus runs along most of the centrum and neural arch, then it progressively reduces its vertical extent, and disappears between caudals 24 and 32, a pattern consistent with previous CFL reconstructions in other theropods.

  18. New Evidence from Alashan Area of West Nei Monggol to Reveal Enigma of Dinosaur Extinction

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    Dinosaur extinction of the late Cretaceous is an enigma. A scorched earth layer was discovered at the end of the Cretaceous system from drilling cores in west of Nei Monggol in China. And there was a creature interruption for 6-8 million years after that period through fossil analysis of the area and the adjacent area. Just in the same system of scorched earth layer, the Polish scientists found the abnormal geo-chemical phenomena and high-dense universal substances generally contained in meteorite. The authors think, at the end of Cretaceous, many celestial bodies ran into the earth. The collision caused fires all over the world and slowed down the speed of the earth rotation suddenly. The oxygen density decreased sharply. And because of the sudden increase of day length, the biological clock of dinosaur was in the state of chaos. That’s the reason why dinosaurs got extinct. It took a very long time both for the oxygen to return normal for most creatures to live and for the new species fit for new rotation speed of the earth to come into being. That’s why there was the creature interruption after the extinction of the dinosaur.

  19. Did Humans Live with Dinosaurs? Excavating "Man Tracks" along the Paluxy River

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Randy

    2014-01-01

    The alleged "man tracks" beside dinosaur tracks near Glen Rose, Texas, are among the most enduring pieces of evidence used by young-Earth creationists to reject evolution. Despite the tracks' fame, their most persistent advocate--that is, Carl Baugh of the Creation Evidence Museum--has published neither (1) peer-reviewed papers in…

  20. Dinosaurs in decline tens of millions of years before their final extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sakamoto, Manabu; Benton, Michael J.

    2016-05-01

    Whether dinosaurs were in a long-term decline or whether they were reigning strong right up to their final disappearance at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event 66 Mya has been debated for decades with no clear resolution. The dispute has continued unresolved because of a lack of statistical rigor and appropriate evolutionary framework. Here, for the first time to our knowledge, we apply a Bayesian phylogenetic approach to model the evolutionary dynamics of speciation and extinction through time in Mesozoic dinosaurs, properly taking account of previously ignored statistical violations. We find overwhelming support for a long-term decline across all dinosaurs and within all three dinosaurian subclades (Ornithischia, Sauropodomorpha, and Theropoda), where speciation rate slowed down through time and was ultimately exceeded by extinction rate tens of millions of years before the K-Pg boundary. The only exceptions to this general pattern are the morphologically specialized herbivores, the Hadrosauriformes and Ceratopsidae, which show rapid species proliferations throughout the Late Cretaceous instead. Our results highlight that, despite some heterogeneity in speciation dynamics, dinosaurs showed a marked reduction in their ability to replace extinct species with new ones, making them vulnerable to extinction and unable to respond quickly to and recover from the final catastrophic event.

  1. Children's Interpretations of Computer-Animated Dinosaurs in Live Theatre: "Dinosaurus".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Jeanne M.

    To explore media theories of perceived reality regarding factuality, social, and physical realism, and "videocy" (or theatrical spectacle), 32 children in first, third, and fifth grades were individually interviewed after attending a production of "Dinosaurus" which included computer-animated dinosaurs. Contrary to beliefs that…

  2. Did Humans Live with Dinosaurs? Excavating "Man Tracks" along the Paluxy River

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Randy

    2014-01-01

    The alleged "man tracks" beside dinosaur tracks near Glen Rose, Texas, are among the most enduring pieces of evidence used by young-Earth creationists to reject evolution. Despite the tracks' fame, their most persistent advocate--that is, Carl Baugh of the Creation Evidence Museum--has published neither (1) peer-reviewed papers in…

  3. Ontogenetic niche shifts in dinosaurs influenced size, diversity and extinction in terrestrial vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Codron, Daryl; Carbone, Chris; Müller, Dennis W H; Clauss, Marcus

    2012-08-23

    Given the physiological limits to egg size, large-bodied non-avian dinosaurs experienced some of the most extreme shifts in size during postnatal ontogeny found in terrestrial vertebrate systems. In contrast, mammals--the other dominant vertebrate group since the Mesozoic--have less complex ontogenies. Here, we develop a model that quantifies the impact of size-specific interspecies competition on abundances of differently sized dinosaurs and mammals, taking into account the extended niche breadth realized during ontogeny among large oviparous species. Our model predicts low diversity at intermediate size classes (between approx. 1 and 1000 kg), consistent with observed diversity distributions of dinosaurs, and of Mesozoic land vertebrates in general. It also provides a mechanism--based on an understanding of different ecological and evolutionary constraints across vertebrate groups--that explains how mammals and birds, but not dinosaurs, were able to persist beyond the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, and how post-K-T mammals were able to diversify into larger size categories.

  4. An evolutionary cascade model for sauropod dinosaur gigantism--overview, update and tests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sander, P Martin

    2013-01-01

    Sauropod dinosaurs are a group of herbivorous dinosaurs which exceeded all other terrestrial vertebrates in mean and maximal body size. Sauropod dinosaurs were also the most successful and long-lived herbivorous tetrapod clade, but no abiological factors such as global environmental parameters conducive to their gigantism can be identified. These facts justify major efforts by evolutionary biologists and paleontologists to understand sauropods as living animals and to explain their evolutionary success and uniquely gigantic body size. Contributions to this research program have come from many fields and can be synthesized into a biological evolutionary cascade model of sauropod dinosaur gigantism (sauropod gigantism ECM). This review focuses on the sauropod gigantism ECM, providing an updated version based on the contributions to the PLoS ONE sauropod gigantism collection and on other very recent published evidence. The model consist of five separate evolutionary cascades ("Reproduction", "Feeding", "Head and neck", "Avian-style lung", and "Metabolism"). Each cascade starts with observed or inferred basal traits that either may be plesiomorphic or derived at the level of Sauropoda. Each trait confers hypothetical selective advantages which permit the evolution of the next trait. Feedback loops in the ECM consist of selective advantages originating from traits higher in the cascades but affecting lower traits. All cascades end in the trait "Very high body mass". Each cascade is linked to at least one other cascade. Important plesiomorphic traits of sauropod dinosaurs that entered the model were ovipary as well as no mastication of food. Important evolutionary innovations (derived traits) were an avian-style respiratory system and an elevated basal metabolic rate. Comparison with other tetrapod lineages identifies factors limiting body size.

  5. An evolutionary cascade model for sauropod dinosaur gigantism--overview, update and tests.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P Martin Sander

    Full Text Available Sauropod dinosaurs are a group of herbivorous dinosaurs which exceeded all other terrestrial vertebrates in mean and maximal body size. Sauropod dinosaurs were also the most successful and long-lived herbivorous tetrapod clade, but no abiological factors such as global environmental parameters conducive to their gigantism can be identified. These facts justify major efforts by evolutionary biologists and paleontologists to understand sauropods as living animals and to explain their evolutionary success and uniquely gigantic body size. Contributions to this research program have come from many fields and can be synthesized into a biological evolutionary cascade model of sauropod dinosaur gigantism (sauropod gigantism ECM. This review focuses on the sauropod gigantism ECM, providing an updated version based on the contributions to the PLoS ONE sauropod gigantism collection and on other very recent published evidence. The model consist of five separate evolutionary cascades ("Reproduction", "Feeding", "Head and neck", "Avian-style lung", and "Metabolism". Each cascade starts with observed or inferred basal traits that either may be plesiomorphic or derived at the level of Sauropoda. Each trait confers hypothetical selective advantages which permit the evolution of the next trait. Feedback loops in the ECM consist of selective advantages originating from traits higher in the cascades but affecting lower traits. All cascades end in the trait "Very high body mass". Each cascade is linked to at least one other cascade. Important plesiomorphic traits of sauropod dinosaurs that entered the model were ovipary as well as no mastication of food. Important evolutionary innovations (derived traits were an avian-style respiratory system and an elevated basal metabolic rate. Comparison with other tetrapod lineages identifies factors limiting body size.

  6. Dinosaur tracks in Lower Jurassic coastal plain sediments (Sose Bugt Member, Rønne Formation) on Bornholm, Denmark

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Clemmensen, Lars B; Milàn, Jesper; Pedersen, Gunver K

    2014-01-01

    Fluvial palaeochannels of coastal plain sediments of the Lower Jurassic Sose Bugt Member of the Rønne Formation exposed in the coastal cliffs at Sose Bugt, Bornholm, contain abundant dinosaur or other large vertebrate tracks in the form of deformation structures exposed in vertical section...... track. Contemporary Upper Triassic – Lower Jurassic strata from southern Sweden and Poland contain a diverse track fauna, supporting our interpretation. This is the earliest evidence of dinosaur activity in Denmark....

  7. What Lies Beneath: Sub-Articular Long Bone Shape Scaling in Eutherian Mammals and Saurischian Dinosaurs Suggests Different Locomotor Adaptations for Gigantism

    OpenAIRE

    2013-01-01

    Eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs both evolved lineages of huge terrestrial herbivores. Although significantly more saurischian dinosaurs were giants than eutherians, the long bones of both taxa scale similarly and suggest that locomotion was dynamically similar. However, articular cartilage is thin in eutherian mammals but thick in saurischian dinosaurs, differences that could have contributed to, or limited, how frequently gigantism evolved. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis tha...

  8. The braincase of the basal sauropod dinosaur Spinophorosaurus and 3D reconstructions of the cranial endocast and inner ear.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fabien Knoll

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to walk on land, and, as a result, the evolution of their remarkable adaptations has been of great interest. The braincase is of particular interest because it houses the brain and inner ear. However, only a few studies of these structures in sauropods are available to date. Because of the phylogenetic position of Spinophorosaurus nigerensis as a basal eusauropod, the braincase has the potential to provide key evidence on the evolutionary transition relative to other dinosaurs. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The only known braincase of Spinophorosaurus ('Argiles de l'Irhazer', Irhazer Group; Agadez region, Niger differs significantly from those of the Jurassic sauropods examined, except potentially for Atlasaurus imelakei (Tilougguit Formation, Morocco. The basisphenoids of Spinophorosaurus and Atlasaurus bear basipterygoid processes that are comparable in being directed strongly caudally. The Spinophorosaurus specimen was CT scanned, and 3D renderings of the cranial endocast and inner-ear system were generated. The endocast resembles that of most other sauropods in having well-marked pontine and cerebral flexures, a large and oblong pituitary fossa, and in having the brain structure obscured by the former existence of relatively thick meninges and dural venous sinuses. The labyrinth is characterized by long and proportionally slender semicircular canals. This condition recalls, in particular, that of the basal non-sauropod sauropodomorph Massospondylus and the basal titanosauriform Giraffatitan. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Spinophorosaurus has a moderately derived paleoneuroanatomical pattern. In contrast to what might be expected early within a lineage leading to plant-eating graviportal quadrupeds, Spinophorosaurus and other (but not all sauropodomorphs show no reduction of the vestibular apparatus of the inner ear. This character-state is possibly a primitive retention in

  9. The Braincase of the Basal Sauropod Dinosaur Spinophorosaurus and 3D Reconstructions of the Cranial Endocast and Inner Ear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knoll, Fabien; Witmer, Lawrence M.; Ortega, Francisco; Ridgely, Ryan C.; Schwarz-Wings, Daniela

    2012-01-01

    Background Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to walk on land, and, as a result, the evolution of their remarkable adaptations has been of great interest. The braincase is of particular interest because it houses the brain and inner ear. However, only a few studies of these structures in sauropods are available to date. Because of the phylogenetic position of Spinophorosaurus nigerensis as a basal eusauropod, the braincase has the potential to provide key evidence on the evolutionary transition relative to other dinosaurs. Methodology/Principal Findings The only known braincase of Spinophorosaurus (‘Argiles de l'Irhazer’, Irhazer Group; Agadez region, Niger) differs significantly from those of the Jurassic sauropods examined, except potentially for Atlasaurus imelakei (Tilougguit Formation, Morocco). The basisphenoids of Spinophorosaurus and Atlasaurus bear basipterygoid processes that are comparable in being directed strongly caudally. The Spinophorosaurus specimen was CT scanned, and 3D renderings of the cranial endocast and inner-ear system were generated. The endocast resembles that of most other sauropods in having well-marked pontine and cerebral flexures, a large and oblong pituitary fossa, and in having the brain structure obscured by the former existence of relatively thick meninges and dural venous sinuses. The labyrinth is characterized by long and proportionally slender semicircular canals. This condition recalls, in particular, that of the basal non-sauropod sauropodomorph Massospondylus and the basal titanosauriform Giraffatitan. Conclusions/Significance Spinophorosaurus has a moderately derived paleoneuroanatomical pattern. In contrast to what might be expected early within a lineage leading to plant-eating graviportal quadrupeds, Spinophorosaurus and other (but not all) sauropodomorphs show no reduction of the vestibular apparatus of the inner ear. This character-state is possibly a primitive retention in Spinophorosaurus, but due

  10. The extent of the preserved feathers on the four-winged dinosaur Microraptor gui under ultraviolet light.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David W E Hone

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The holotype of the theropod non-avian dinosaur Microraptor gui from the Early Cretaceous of China shows extensive preservation of feathers in a halo around the body and with flight feathers associated with both the fore and hindlimbs. It has been questioned as to whether or not the feathers did extend into the halo to reach the body, or had disassociated and moved before preservation. This taxon has important implications for the origin of flight in birds and the possibility of a four-winged gliding phase. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Examination of the specimen under ultraviolet light reveals that these feathers actually reach the body of the animal and were not disassociated from the bones. Instead they may have been chemically altered by the body tissues of the animal meaning that they did not carbonise close into the animal or more likely were covered by other decaying tissue, though evidence of their presence remains. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These UV images show that the feathers preserved on the slab are genuinely associated with the skeleton and that their arrangement and orientation is likely correct. The methods used here to reveal hidden features of the specimen may be applicable to other specimens from the fossil beds of Liaoning that produced Microraptor.

  11. Perennial Lakes as an Environmental Control on Theropod Movement in the Jurassic of the Hartford Basin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrick R. Getty

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Eubrontes giganteus is a common ichnospecies of large dinosaur track in the Early Jurassic rocks of the Hartford and Deerfield basins in Connecticut and Massachusetts, USA. It has been proposed that the trackmaker was gregarious based on parallel trackways at a site in Massachusetts known as Dinosaur Footprint Reservation (DFR. The gregariousness hypothesis is not without its problems, however, since parallelism can be caused by barriers that direct animal travel. We tested the gregariousness hypothesis by examining the orientations of trackways at five sites representing permanent and ephemeral lacustrine environments. Parallelism is only prominent in permanent lacustrine rocks at DFR, where trackways show a bimodal orientation distribution that approximates the paleoshoreline. By contrast, parallel trackways are uncommon in ephemeral lacustrine facies, even at sites with large numbers of trackways, and those that do occur exhibit differences in morphology, suggesting that they were made at different times. Overall, the evidence presented herein suggests that parallelism seen in Hartford Basin Eubrontes giganteus is better explained as a response to the lake acting as a physical barrier rather than to gregariousness. Consequently, these parallel trackways should not be used as evidence to support the hypothesis that the trackmaker was a basal sauropodomorph unless other evidence can substantiate the gregariousness hypothesis.

  12. Evidence for prosauropod dinosaur gastroliths in the Bull Run Formation (Upper Triassic, Norian) of Virginia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weems, R.E.; Culp, M.J.; Wings, O.

    2007-01-01

    Definitive criteria for distinguishing gastroliths from sedimentary clasts are lacking for many depositional settings, and many reported occurrences of gastroliths either cannot be verified or have been refuted. We discuss four occurrences of gastrolith-like stones (category 6 exoliths) not found within skeletal remains from the Upper Triassic Bull Run Formation of northern Virginia, USA. Despite their lack of obvious skeletal association, the most parsimonious explanation for several characteristics of these stones is their prolonged residence in the gastric mills of large animals. These characteristics include 1) typical gastrolith microscopic surface texture, 2) evidence of pervasive surface wear on many of these stones that has secondarily removed variable amounts of thick weathering rinds typically found on these stones, and 3) a width/length-ratio modal peak for these stones that is more strongly developed than in any population of fluvial or fanglomerate stones of any age found in this region. When taken together, these properties of the stones can be explained most parsimoniously by animal ingestion and gastric-mill abrasion. The size of these stones indicates the animals that swallowed them were large, and the best candidate is a prosauropod dinosaur, possibly an ancestor of the Early Jurassic gastrolith-producing prosauropod Massospondylus or Ammosaurus. Skeletal evidence for Upper Triassic prosauropods is lacking in the Newark Supergroup basins; footprints (Agrestipus hottoni and Eubrontes isp.) from the Bull Run Formation in the Culpeper basin previously ascribed to prosauropods are now known to be underprints (Brachychirotherium parvum) of an aetosaur and underprints (Kayentapus minor) of a ceratosaur. The absence of prosauropod skeletal remains or footprints in all but the uppermost (upper Rhaetian) Triassic rocks of the Newark Supergroup is puzzling because prosauropod remains are abundant elsewhere in the world in Upper Triassic (Carnian, Norian

  13. Ascent of dinosaurs linked to an iridium anomaly at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, P E; Kent, D V; Sues, H-D; Koeberl, C; Huber, H; Montanari, A; Rainforth, E C; Fowell, S J; Szajna, M J; Hartline, B W

    2002-05-17

    Analysis of tetrapod footprints and skeletal material from more than 70 localities in eastern North America shows that large theropod dinosaurs appeared less than 10,000 years after the Triassic-Jurassic boundary and less than 30,000 years after the last Triassic taxa, synchronous with a terrestrial mass extinction. This extraordinary turnover is associated with an iridium anomaly (up to 285 parts per trillion, with an average maximum of 141 parts per trillion) and a fern spore spike, suggesting that a bolide impact was the cause. Eastern North American dinosaurian diversity reached a stable maximum less than 100,000 years after the boundary, marking the establishment of dinosaur-dominated communities that prevailed for the next 135 million years.

  14. A New Mamenchisaurid Dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Yuanmou, Yunnan Province, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    L(U) Junchang; LI Tianguang; ZHONG Shimin; JI Qiang; LI Shaoxue

    2008-01-01

    A new mamenchisaurid dinosaur, Eomamenchisaurus yuanmouensis gen et sp. nov. Is erected based on an incomplete skeleton from the Zhanghe Formation, the Middle Jurassic of Yuanmou, Yunnan Province. The new taxon is characterized by absence of pleurocoels in dorsal vertebrae and the dorsal verterbrae with slightly convex anterior articular surfaces, moderately concave posterior articular surfaces; the fourth trochanter is developed posteromedially on the femur; length ratio of the tibia to the femur is approximately 0.64; and the shaft of the ischium is rod-like. Two fused centra of the posterior dorsal vertebrae (the presumed 9th and the 10th dorsal vertebrae) are similar to those in other mamenchisaurid dinosaurs, including Mamenchisaurus hochuanesis, M. youngi and Chuanjiesaurus anaensis. Therefore, fusion of centra of the ninth and the tenth dorsal vertebrae can be recognized as a synapomorphic character of the Mamenchisauridae.

  15. What do giant titanosaur dinosaurs and modern Australasian megapodes have in common?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Fiorelli, Lucas E.

    2015-01-01

    Titanosauria is a globally distributed clade of sometimes extremely large Mesozoic herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs. On the basis of current evidence these giant dinosaurs seem to have reproduced in specific and localized nesting sites. However, no investigations have been performed to understand the possible ecological and geological biases that acted for the selection of these nesting sites worldwide. In this study, observations were performed on the best-known Cretaceous nesting sites around the world. Our observations strongly suggest their eggs were incubated with environmental sources of heat, in burial conditions. Taking into account the clutch composition and geometry, the nature and properties of the sediments, the eggshells’ structures and conductance, it would appear that titanosaurs adopted nesting behaviors comparable to the modern Australasian megapodes, using burrow-nesting in diverse media and mound-building strategies. PMID:26623184

  16. Bony cranial ornamentation linked to rapid evolution of gigantic theropod dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gates, Terry A.; Organ, Chris; Zanno, Lindsay E.

    2016-09-01

    Exaggerated cranial structures such as crests and horns, hereafter referred to collectively as ornaments, are pervasive across animal species. These structures perform vital roles in visual communication and physical interactions within and between species. Yet the origin and influence of ornamentation on speciation and ecology across macroevolutionary time scales remains poorly understood for virtually all animals. Here, we explore correlative evolution of osseous cranial ornaments with large body size in theropod dinosaurs using a phylogenetic comparative framework. We find that body size evolved directionally toward phyletic giantism an order of magnitude faster in theropod species possessing ornaments compared with unadorned lineages. In addition, we find a body mass threshold below which bony cranial ornaments do not originate. Maniraptoriform dinosaurs generally lack osseous cranial ornaments despite repeatedly crossing this body size threshold. Our study provides novel, quantitative support for a shift in selective pressures on socio-sexual display mechanisms in theropods coincident with the evolution of pennaceous feathers.

  17. What do giant titanosaur dinosaurs and modern Australasian megapodes have in common?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Martín Hechenleitner

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Titanosauria is a globally distributed clade of sometimes extremely large Mesozoic herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs. On the basis of current evidence these giant dinosaurs seem to have reproduced in specific and localized nesting sites. However, no investigations have been performed to understand the possible ecological and geological biases that acted for the selection of these nesting sites worldwide. In this study, observations were performed on the best-known Cretaceous nesting sites around the world. Our observations strongly suggest their eggs were incubated with environmental sources of heat, in burial conditions. Taking into account the clutch composition and geometry, the nature and properties of the sediments, the eggshells’ structures and conductance, it would appear that titanosaurs adopted nesting behaviors comparable to the modern Australasian megapodes, using burrow-nesting in diverse media and mound-building strategies.

  18. Feathered non-avian dinosaurs from North America provide insight into wing origins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zelenitsky, Darla K; Therrien, François; Erickson, Gregory M; DeBuhr, Christopher L; Kobayashi, Yoshitsugu; Eberth, David A; Hadfield, Frank

    2012-10-26

    Previously described feathered dinosaurs reveal a fascinating record of feather evolution, although substantial phylogenetic gaps remain. Here we report the occurrence of feathers in ornithomimosaurs, a clade of non-maniraptoran theropods for which fossilized feathers were previously unknown. The Ornithomimus specimens, recovered from Upper Cretaceous deposits of Alberta, Canada, provide new insights into dinosaur plumage and the origin of the avian wing. Individuals from different growth stages reveal the presence of a filamentous feather covering throughout life and winglike structures on the forelimbs of adults. The appearance of winglike structures in older animals indicates that they may have evolved in association with reproductive behaviors. These specimens show that primordial wings originated earlier than previously thought, among non-maniraptoran theropods.

  19. Isotopic ordering in eggshells reflects body temperatures and suggests differing thermophysiology in two Cretaceous dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eagle, Robert A.; Enriquez, Marcus; Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Pérez-Huerta, Alberto; Hu, David; Tütken, Thomas; Montanari, Shaena; Loyd, Sean J.; Ramirez, Pedro; Tripati, Aradhna K.; Kohn, Matthew J.; Cerling, Thure E.; Chiappe, Luis M.; Eiler, John M.

    2015-10-01

    Our understanding of the evolutionary transitions leading to the modern endothermic state of birds and mammals is incomplete, partly because tools available to study the thermophysiology of extinct vertebrates are limited. Here we show that clumped isotope analysis of eggshells can be used to determine body temperatures of females during periods of ovulation. Late Cretaceous titanosaurid eggshells yield temperatures similar to large modern endotherms. In contrast, oviraptorid eggshells yield temperatures lower than most modern endotherms but ~6 °C higher than co-occurring abiogenic carbonates, implying that this taxon did not have thermoregulation comparable to modern birds, but was able to elevate its body temperature above environmental temperatures. Therefore, we observe no strong evidence for end-member ectothermy or endothermy in the species examined. Body temperatures for these two species indicate that variable thermoregulation likely existed among the non-avian dinosaurs and that not all dinosaurs had body temperatures in the range of that seen in modern birds.

  20. Ontogeny reveals function and evolution of the hadrosaurid dinosaur dental battery

    OpenAIRE

    Aaron R H LeBlanc; Robert R Reisz; Evans, David C; Bailleul, Alida M.

    2016-01-01

    Background Hadrosaurid dinosaurs, dominant Late Cretaceous herbivores, possessed complex dental batteries with up to 300 teeth in each jaw ramus. Despite extensive interest in the adaptive significance of the dental battery, surprisingly little is known about how the battery evolved from the ancestral dinosaurian dentition, or how it functioned in the living organism. We undertook the first comprehensive, tissue-level study of dental ontogeny in hadrosaurids using several intact maxillary and...

  1. Aspects of the history, anatomy, taxonomy and palaeobiology of sauropod dinosaurs

    OpenAIRE

    Taylor, Michael P.

    2013-01-01

    Although the sauropod dinosaurs have been recognised for more than a hundred and sixty years, much remains to be discovered and understood about their functional anatomy and palaeobiology. Older taxa require revision and new taxa await description. The characteristic long necks of sauropods are mechanically perplexing and their evolution is obscure. All these issues are addressed herein. The genus Brachiosaurus is represented by the American type species B. altithorax and the better known Afr...

  2. The Death of the Dinosaurs: 27 Years Later (LBNL Summer Lecture Series)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Muller, Rich

    2006-06-30

    Summer Lecture Series 2006: Rich Muller, a Berkeley Lab physicist, discusses Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez and colleagues' 1979 discovery that an asteroid impact killed the dinosaurs. He also discusses what scientists have learned in the subsequent 27 years. Alvarez's team detected unusual amounts of iridium in sedimentary layers. They attributed the excess iridium to an impact from a large asteroid. His talk was presented June 30, 2006.

  3. A new North American therizinosaurid and the role of herbivory in ‘predatory’ dinosaur evolution

    OpenAIRE

    Lindsay E Zanno; Gillette, David D.; Albright, L. Barry; Alan L Titus

    2009-01-01

    Historically, ecomorphological inferences regarding theropod (i.e. ‘predatory’) dinosaurs were guided by an assumption that they were singularly hypercarnivorous. A recent plethora of maniraptoran discoveries has produced evidence challenging this notion. Here, we report on a new species of maniraptoran theropod, Nothronychus graffami sp. nov. Relative completeness of this specimen permits a phylogenetic reassessment of Therizinosauria—the theropod clade exhibiting the most substantial anatom...

  4. New Nodosaurid Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Lishui, Zhejiang Province, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    L(U) Junchang; JIN Xingsheng; SHENG Yiming; LI Yihong; WANG Guoping; Yoichi AZUMA

    2007-01-01

    A new genus and species of nodosaurid dinosaur: Zhejiangosaurus lishuiensis gen. et sp. nov.is erected herein. It is characterized by the sacrum consisting of at least three true sacral vertebrae, 5 caudal dorsal vertebrae fused to form the presacral rod, wide divergence of long slender preacetabular process of the ilium from the middle line of the body, and the fourth trochanter located at the femoral mid-length.

  5. A New Sauropod Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Gaogou Formation of Nanyang, Henan Province

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG Xingliao; L(U) Junchang; XU Li; LI Jinhua; YANG Li; HU Weiyong; JIA Songhai; JI Qiang; ZHANG Chengjun

    2009-01-01

    A new sauropod dinosaur Baotianmansaurus henanensis gen. et sp. nov. from the Cretaceous Gaogou Formation of Neixiang, Henan Province is erected. It is characterized by somphospondylous presacral vertebrae; a highly-developed lamina system on the dorsal vertebrae; transverse process supported by four laminae; and the dorsal portion of the anterior centroparapophyseai lamina is bifurcated, with a small branch extending to the ventral surface of the prezygapophysis. It represents a new titanosauriform sauropod.

  6. Some charophytes from the middle dinosaur member of the Tendaguru formation (Upper Jurassic of Tanzania

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. E. Schudack

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available Biostratigraphy and paleoecology of the famous dinosaur beds of Tendaguru Formation, Tanzania, East Africa are still under discussion. Calcareous microfossils have not yet contributed to this question. Four samples from the Middle Dinosaur Member have now yielded charophyte gyrogonites of the species Aclistochara cf. bransonii, Aclistochara cf. minor, Mesochara canellata, and Mesochara harrisi. Considering ammonite datations in under- and overlying members, even their long stratigrapical ranges point to a Kimmeridgian age for the Middle Dinosaur Member of Tendaguru Formation. Salinity tolerances of the species (if autochthonous suggest a variable environment with partly brackish, partly freshwater influences. Biostratigraphie und Paläoökologie der berühmten Dinosaurier-Fundschichten am Tendaguru Hill in Tansania (Ostafrika sind bis heute umstritten. Kalkige Mikrofossilien hatten zu dieser Diskussion bisher nicht beigetragen. In vier Proben aus dem Mittleren Dinosauriermergel fanden sich nun Charophyten-Gyrogonite der Arten Aclistochara cf. bransonii, Aclistochara cf. minor, Mesochara canellata und Mesochara harrisi. Trotz generell langer stratigraphischer Reichweiten dieser Arten macht ihr Vorkommen im Zusammenhang mit Ammonitenfunden in unter- und überlagernden Schichten ein Kimmeridgium-Alter des Mittleren Dinosauriermergels wahrscheinlich, während ihre Salinitätstoleranzen (autochthones Vorkommen vorausgesetzt auf ein wechselhaftes Milieu mit teils schwach brackischen, teils Süßwassereinflüssen hindeuten. doi:10.1002/mmng.1999.4860020115

  7. A new primitive Neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of Patagonia with gut contents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salgado, Leonardo; Canudo, José I.; Garrido, Alberto C.; Moreno-Azanza, Miguel; Martínez, Leandro C. A.; Coria, Rodolfo A.; Gasca, José M.

    2017-01-01

    We describe a new species of an ornithischian dinosaur, Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. The specimen, consisting in an almost complete skull and incomplete postcranium was collected from the marine-deltaic deposits of the Los Molles Formation (Toarcian-Bajocian), being the first reported dinosaur for this unit, one of the oldest from Neuquén Basin, and the first neornithischian dinosaur known from the Jurassic of South America. Despite showing a general stegosaurian appearance, the extensive phylogenetic analysis carried out depicts Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. as a basal ornithopod, suggesting that both Thyreophora and neornithischians could have achieved significant convergent features. The specimen was preserved articulated and with some of its gut content place in the middle-posterior part of the thoracic cavity. Such stomach content was identified as seeds, most of them belonging to the Cycadales group. This finding reveals a possible and unexpected role of this ornithischian species as seed-dispersal agent. PMID:28202910

  8. Stable isotopic studies of dinosaur eggshells from the Nanxiong Basin,South China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    Stable carbon and oxygen isotopes have been observed in dinosaur eggshell samples,identified as Macroolithus yaotunensis,collected in two sections of the Nanxiong Basin,Guangdong Province,South China.Multiple positiveδ18O perturbations that occurred during the K/T transition of about 150 ka suggest that there may have been at least three periods of the extreme dry climate with a mean annual air temperature over 27℃.δ13C ranges from -8.37‰ to -11.60‰ of the dinosaur eggshells,added to the metabolic enrichment of 16‰,may indicate that the dinosaurs represented by this type of eggshells probably consumed the plant species of C3 type with the δ13C values of -24.3‰- -27.6‰.Moreover,the trend toward more negative δ13C values of the eggshells during the K/T transition could be an indirect consequence of a lasting increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

  9. Wachholz, a new exquisite dinosaur-bearing fossiliferous site from the Upper Triassic of southern Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Müller, Rodrigo Temp; da Rosa, Átila Augusto Stock; Roberto da Silva, Lúcio; Aires, Alex Sandro Schiller; Pacheco, Cristian Pereira; Pavanatto, Ane Elise Branco; Dias-da-Silva, Sérgio

    2015-08-01

    The present contribution reports a new fossiliferous site from the Caturrita Formation (Upper Triassic of Paraná Basin, Southern Brazil), which yields articulate, complete, associated, and exceptionally well-preserved dinosaur specimens, together with the sole occurrence of an isolated tooth ascribed to a carnivore indetermined archosauriform. These specimens increase the sauropodomorph record from this geological unit. A preliminary evaluation of such specimens suggests that sauropodomorph dinosaurs could have been more abundant in Norian Faunas from southern Brazil, considering the increased sampling here reported. So far, about six specimens are previously recognized (disregarding Guaibasaurus) from the Caturrita Formation, and here we add four specimens, or even five if consider an additional autopodium. Also, the morphology of the isolated carnivorous-type tooth differs from other described carnivorous archosauriform teeth from the Caturrita Formation. Hence, it might represent a still undescribed taxon. Further studies of these specimens will certainly provide new data regarding biostratigraphy, phylogeny, paleoecology, and taphonomy, as this new fossiliferous locality preserves one of the most representative dinosaur records from the Norian worldwide.

  10. Pathological phalanges in a camarasaurid sauropod dinosaur and implications on behaviour

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emanuel Tschopp

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Several types of pathological bony overgrowth are known from various dinosaur taxa but, except for stress fractures, are rarely reported from appendicular elements. Herein we describe pathological manual and pedal phalanges of a camarasaurid sauropod (SMA 0002, which show features rarely recognised in non-avian dinosaurs. They include lateral osteophytes and smoothing of phalangeal articular surfaces, a deep pit, proximal enthesophytes in pedal unguals, distal overgrowth associated with a fracture, and a knob-like overgrowth lateral to the distal condyles of a pedal phalanx. Their causes were assessed by means of visual examination, CT scans, and bone histology, where possible. The lateral osteophytes are interpreted as symptoms of osteoarthritis. The ossified tendon insertions in the unguals are most probably the result of prolonged, heavy use of the pedal claws, possibly for scratchdigging. The distal overgrowth is interpreted to have developed due to changed stress regimes, and to be the cause for the fracture. The deep pit represents most likely a case of osteochondrosis, whereas the knob-like overgrowth likely represents a post-traumatic phenomenon not previously reported in dinosaurs. The study confirms that a rigorous assessment of pathologies can yield information about behaviour in long-extinct animals.

  11. Dark matter and the dinosaurs the astounding interconnectedness of the universe

    CERN Document Server

    Randall, Lisa

    2015-01-01

    In this brilliant exploration of our cosmic environment, the renowned particle physicist and New York Times bestselling author of Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven’s Door uses her research into dark matter to illuminate the startling connections between the furthest reaches of space and life here on Earth. Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a devastating cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Lisa Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter embedded in the Milky Way. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs. Working through the background and consequences of this proposal, Randall shares with us the latest findings—established and speculative—regarding the nature and role of dark matter and the origin ...

  12. Wear biomechanics in the slicing dentition of the giant horned dinosaur Triceratops.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Gregory M; Sidebottom, Mark A; Kay, David I; Turner, Kevin T; Ip, Nathan; Norell, Mark A; Sawyer, W Gregory; Krick, Brandon A

    2015-06-01

    Herbivorous reptiles rarely evolve occluding dentitions that allow for the mastication (chewing) of plant matter. Conversely, most herbivorous mammals have occluding teeth with complex tissue architectures that self-wear to complex morphologies for orally processing plants. Dinosaurs stand out among reptiles in that several lineages acquired the capacity to masticate. In particular, the horned ceratopsian dinosaurs, among the most successful Late Cretaceous dinosaurian lineages, evolved slicing dentitions for the exploitation of tough, bulky plant matter. We show how Triceratops, a 9-m-long ceratopsian, and its relatives evolved teeth that wore during feeding to create fullers (recessed central regions on cutting blades) on the chewing surfaces. This unique morphology served to reduce friction during feeding. It was achieved through the evolution of a complex suite of osseous dental tissues rivaling the complexity of mammalian dentitions. Tribological (wear) properties of the tissues are preserved in ~66-million-year-old teeth, allowing the creation of a sophisticated three-dimensional biomechanical wear model that reveals how the complexes synergistically wore to create these implements. These findings, along with similar discoveries in hadrosaurids (duck-billed dinosaurs), suggest that tissue-mediated changes in dental morphology may have played a major role in the remarkable ecological diversification of these clades and perhaps other dinosaurian clades capable of mastication.

  13. Dinosaur Footprints in Lower Cretaceous Beds in San Juan Raya, Southern Mexico and the Paleoenvironmental Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aceves, D.

    2008-12-01

    Dinosaur footprints were traced at San Juan Raya, an important site in Mexico, a world fossil site. This site is found at South-west of the State of Puebla, within the Biosphere Reserve of Tehuacan-Cuitcatlán, to the southwest of the Tehuacan valley. These footprints were recorded by tracing them on transparent paper at Barranca Agua Nueva, at point 18°18.56´N 97°37´W. Using Jacob´s staff a stratigraphic register was generated from 50 m ascending and descending in stratigraphically direction from the bed where footprints were founded. Bivalbes, nerineas, shell fragments, and trigonias were founded in this sequence as well as cross bedding of clays and fine grain sand, some which display ripples. Fifty two footprints were recorded and five different tracks identified, observing two different sizes. The tracks of dinosaur footprints present the common Teropode ichnites. The succession where dinosaur footprints have been found, are interpreted as a peritidal environment. This investigation contributes to an eco-tourism project of San Juan Raya.

  14. Dinosaur origin of egg color: oviraptors laid blue-green eggs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jasmina Wiemann

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Protoporphyrin (PP and biliverdin (BV give rise to the enormous diversity in avian egg coloration. Egg color serves several ecological purposes, including post-mating signaling and camouflage. Egg camouflage represents a major character of open-nesting birds which accomplish protection of their unhatched offspring against visually oriented predators by cryptic egg coloration. Cryptic coloration evolved to match the predominant shades of color found in the nesting environment. Such a selection pressure for the evolution of colored or cryptic eggs should be present in all open nesting birds and relatives. Many birds are open-nesting, but protect their eggs by continuous brooding, and thus exhibit no or minimal eggshell pigmentation. Their closest extant relatives, crocodiles, protect their eggs by burial and have unpigmented eggs. This phylogenetic pattern led to the assumption that colored eggs evolved within crown birds. The mosaic evolution of supposedly avian traits in non-avian theropod dinosaurs, however, such as the supposed evolution of partially open nesting behavior in oviraptorids, argues against this long-established theory. Using a double-checking liquid chromatography ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry routine, we traced the origin of colored eggs to their non-avian dinosaur ancestors by providing the first record of the avian eggshell pigments protoporphyrin and biliverdin in the eggshells of Late Cretaceous oviraptorid dinosaurs. The eggshell parataxon Macroolithus yaotunensis can be assigned to the oviraptor Heyuannia huangi based on exceptionally preserved, late developmental stage embryo remains. The analyzed eggshells are from three Late Cretaceous fluvial deposits ranging from eastern to southernmost China. Reevaluation of these taphonomic settings, and a consideration of patterns in the porosity of completely preserved eggs support an at least partially open nesting behavior for oviraptorosaurs. Such a nest arrangement corresponds

  15. Dinosaur ichnofauna of the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous of the Paraná Basin (Brazil and Uruguay)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Francischini, H.; Dentzien–Dias, P. C.; Fernandes, M. A.; Schultz, C. L.

    2015-11-01

    Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous sedimentary layers are represented in the Brazilian Paraná Basin by the fluvio-aeolian Guará Formation and the Botucatu Formation palaeoerg, respectively, overlapped by the volcanic Serra Geral Formation. In Uruguay, the corresponding sedimentary units are named Batoví and Rivera Members (both from the Tacuarembó Formation), and the lava flows constitute the Arapey Formation (also in Paraná Basin). Despite the lack of body fossils in the mentioned Brazilian formations, Guará/Batoví dinosaur fauna is composed of theropod, ornithopod and wide-gauge sauropod tracks and isolated footprints, as well as theropod teeth. In turn, the Botucatu/Rivera dinosaur fauna is represented by theropod and ornithopod ichnofossils smaller than those from the underlying units. The analysis of these dinosaur ichnological records and comparisons with other global Mesozoic ichnofauna indicates that there is a size reduction in dinosaur fauna in the more arid Botucatu/Rivera environment, which is dominated by aeolian dunes. The absence of sauropod trackways in the Botucatu Sandstone fits with the increasingly arid conditions because it is difficult for heavy animals to walk on sandy dunes, as well as to obtain the required amount of food resources. This comparison between the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous dinosaur fauna in south Brazil and Uruguay demonstrates the influence of aridization on the size of animals occupying each habitat.

  16. New insights into non-avian dinosaur reproduction and their evolutionary and ecological implications: linking fossil evidence to allometries of extant close relatives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werner, Jan; Griebeler, Eva Maria

    2013-01-01

    It has been hypothesized that a high reproductive output contributes to the unique gigantism in large dinosaur taxa. In order to infer more information on dinosaur reproduction, we established allometries between body mass and different reproductive traits (egg mass, clutch mass, annual clutch mass) for extant phylogenetic brackets (birds, crocodiles and tortoises) of extinct non-avian dinosaurs. Allometries were applied to nine non-avian dinosaur taxa (theropods, hadrosaurs, and sauropodomorphs) for which fossil estimates on relevant traits are currently available. We found that the reproductive traits of most dinosaurs conformed to similar-sized or scaled-up extant reptiles or birds. The reproductive traits of theropods, which are considered more bird-like, were indeed consistent with birds, while the traits of sauropodomorphs conformed better to reptiles. Reproductive traits of hadrosaurs corresponded to both reptiles and birds. Excluding Massospondyluscarinatus, all dinosaurs studied had an intermediary egg to body mass relationship to reptiles and birds. In contrast, dinosaur clutch masses fitted with either the masses predicted from allometries of birds (theropods) or to the masses of reptiles (all other taxa). Theropods studied had probably one clutch per year. For sauropodomorphs and hadrosaurs, more than one clutch per year was predicted. Contrary to current hypotheses, large dinosaurs did not have exceptionally high annual egg numbers (AEN). Independent of the extant model, the estimated dinosaur AEN did not exceed 850 eggs (75,000 kg sauropod) for any of the taxa studied. This estimated maximum is probably an overestimation due to unrealistic assumptions. According to most AEN estimations, the dinosaurs studied laid less than 200 eggs per year. Only some AEN estimates obtained for medium to large sized sauropods were higher (200-400 eggs). Our results provide new (testable) hypotheses, especially for reproductive traits that are insufficiently documented

  17. New insights into non-avian dinosaur reproduction and their evolutionary and ecological implications: linking fossil evidence to allometries of extant close relatives.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Werner

    Full Text Available It has been hypothesized that a high reproductive output contributes to the unique gigantism in large dinosaur taxa. In order to infer more information on dinosaur reproduction, we established allometries between body mass and different reproductive traits (egg mass, clutch mass, annual clutch mass for extant phylogenetic brackets (birds, crocodiles and tortoises of extinct non-avian dinosaurs. Allometries were applied to nine non-avian dinosaur taxa (theropods, hadrosaurs, and sauropodomorphs for which fossil estimates on relevant traits are currently available. We found that the reproductive traits of most dinosaurs conformed to similar-sized or scaled-up extant reptiles or birds. The reproductive traits of theropods, which are considered more bird-like, were indeed consistent with birds, while the traits of sauropodomorphs conformed better to reptiles. Reproductive traits of hadrosaurs corresponded to both reptiles and birds. Excluding Massospondyluscarinatus, all dinosaurs studied had an intermediary egg to body mass relationship to reptiles and birds. In contrast, dinosaur clutch masses fitted with either the masses predicted from allometries of birds (theropods or to the masses of reptiles (all other taxa. Theropods studied had probably one clutch per year. For sauropodomorphs and hadrosaurs, more than one clutch per year was predicted. Contrary to current hypotheses, large dinosaurs did not have exceptionally high annual egg numbers (AEN. Independent of the extant model, the estimated dinosaur AEN did not exceed 850 eggs (75,000 kg sauropod for any of the taxa studied. This estimated maximum is probably an overestimation due to unrealistic assumptions. According to most AEN estimations, the dinosaurs studied laid less than 200 eggs per year. Only some AEN estimates obtained for medium to large sized sauropods were higher (200-400 eggs. Our results provide new (testable hypotheses, especially for reproductive traits that are insufficiently

  18. Direct U-Pb dating of Cretaceous and Paleocene dinosaur bones, San Juan Basin, New Mexico: COMMENT

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koenig, Alan E.; Lucas, Spencer G.; Neymark, Leonid A.; Heckert, Andrew B.; Sullivan, Robert M.; Jasinski, Steven E.; Fowler, Denver W.

    2012-01-01

    Based on U-Pb dating of two dinosaur bones from the San Juan Basin of New Mexico (United States), Fassett et al. (2011) claim to provide the first successful direct dating of fossil bones and to establish the presence of Paleocene dinosaurs. Fassett et al. ignore previously published work that directly questions their stratigraphic interpretations (Lucas et al., 2009), and fail to provide sufficient descriptions of instrumental, geochronological, and statistical treatments of the data to allow evaluation of the potentially complex diagenetic and recrystallization history of bone. These shortcomings lead us to question the validity of the U-Pb dates published by Fassett et al. and their conclusions regarding the existence of Paleocene dinosaurs.

  19. The first dinosaur tracksite from Xinjiang, NW China (Middle Jurassic Sanjianfang Formation, Turpan Basin)——a preliminary report

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Oliver WINGS; Rico SCHELLHORN; Heinrich MALLISON; Ben THUY; Wenhao WU; Ge SUN

    2007-01-01

    A new dinosaur tracksite was discovered in a steeply inclined sandstone layer of the Middle Jurassic Sanjianfang Formation in the Shanshan area of the Turpan Basin. The site is the first record of dinosaur footprints from Xinjiang Province in northwestern China. More than 150 tridactyl theropod dinosaur footprints are preserved as positive hyporeliefs on the lower bedding plane of a fine-grained sandstone body. Most of the footprints are isolated and appear to be randomly distributed. Some show well defined phalangeal pads, heels and rarely indistinct impressions of the distal part of the metatarsus. Two distinct morphotypes are present: a larger type with relatively broad pads shows similarities to Changpeipus and Megalosauripus, and a slightly smaller, slender and gracile type which is similar to Grallator, Eubrontes and Anchisauripus. In both morphotypes, digit III is the longest with a length between 11.4 and 33.6 cm. A single imprint shows prominent scratches, probably formed during slipping of the track maker.

  20. Oldest known dinosaurian nesting site and reproductive biology of the Early Jurassic sauropodomorph Massospondylus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reisz, Robert R; Evans, David C; Roberts, Eric M; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Yates, Adam M

    2012-02-14

    The extensive Early Jurassic continental strata of southern Africa have yielded an exceptional record of dinosaurs that includes scores of partial to complete skeletons of the sauropodomorph Massospondylus, ranging from embryos to large adults. In 1976 an incomplete egg clutch including in ovo embryos of this dinosaur, the oldest known example in the fossil record, was collected from a road-cut talus, but its exact provenance was uncertain. An excavation program at the site started in 2006 has yielded multiple in situ egg clutches, documenting the oldest known dinosaurian nesting site, predating other similar sites by more than 100 million years. The presence of numerous clutches of eggs, some of which contain embryonic remains, in at least four distinct horizons within a small area, provides the earliest known evidence of complex reproductive behavior including site fidelity and colonial nesting in a terrestrial vertebrate. Thus, fossil and sedimentological evidence from this nesting site provides empirical data on reproductive strategies in early dinosaurs. A temporally calibrated optimization of dinosaurian reproductive biology not only demonstrates the primary significance of the Massospondylus nesting site, but also provides additional insights into the initial stages of the evolutionary history of dinosaurs, including evidence that deposition of eggs in a tightly organized single layer in a nest evolved independently from brooding.

  1. Largest bird from the Early Cretaceous and its implications for the earliest avian ecological diversification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Zhonghe; Zhang, Fucheng

    2002-01-01

    With only one known exception, early Cretaceous birds were smaller than their closest theropod dinosaur relatives. Here we report on a new bird from the Early Cretaceous feathered-dinosaur-bearing continental deposits of Liaoning, northeast China, which is not only larger than Archaeopteryx but is nearly twice as large as the basal dromaeosaur Microraptor. The new taxon, Sapeornis chaoyangensis gen. et sp. nov. , has a more basal phylogenetic position than all other birds except for Archaeopteryx. Its exceptionally long forelimbs, well-developed deltoid crest of the humerus, proximally fused metacarpals, relatively short hindlimbs and short pygostyle indicate powerful soaring capability and further suggest that by the Early Cretaceous ecological diversification of early birds was greater than previously assumed. Electronic supplementary material to this paper can be obtained by using the Springer LINK server located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00114-001-0276-9.

  2. Torosaurus is not Triceratops: ontogeny in chasmosaurine ceratopsids as a case study in dinosaur taxonomy.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Longrich

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: In horned dinosaurs, taxonomy is complicated by the fact that the cranial ornament that distinguishes species changes with age. Based on this observation, it has been proposed that the genera Triceratops and Torosaurus are in fact synonymous, with specimens identified as Torosaurus representing the adult form of Triceratops. The hypothesis of synonymy makes three testable predictions: 1 the species in question should have similar geographic and stratigraphic distributions, 2 specimens assigned to Torosaurus should be more mature than those assigned to Triceratops, and 3 intermediates should exist that combine features of Triceratops and Torosaurus. The first condition appears to be met, but it remains unclear whether the other predictions are borne out by the fossil evidence. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We assessed the relative maturity of Torosaurus and Triceratops specimens by coding skulls for characters that vary with maturity, and then using a clustering analysis to arrange them into a growth series. We found that a well-defined sequence of changes exists in horned dinosaurs: development of cranial ornament occurs in juveniles, followed by fusion of the skull roof in subadults, and finally, the epoccipitals, epijugals, and rostral fuse to the skull in adults. Using this scheme, we identified mature and immature individuals of both Torosaurus and Triceratops. Furthermore, we describe the ventral depressions on the frill of Triceratops, and show that they differ in shape and position from the parietal fenestrae of Torosaurus. Thus, we conclude that these structures are not intermediates between the solid frill of Triceratops and the fenestrated frill of Torosaurus. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Torosaurus is a distinct genus of horned dinosaur, not the adult of Triceratops. Our method provides a framework for assessing the hypothesis of synonymy through ontogeny in the fossil record.

  3. New dinosaur fossils from ANA locality, Arcillas de Morella Formation (Aptian, Lower Cretaceous, Cinctorres, Spain)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santos-Cubedo, A.; de Santisteban, C.; Suñer, M.; Galobart, A.

    2009-04-01

    Ana is one of the several dinosaur bone sites located in the Arcillas de Morella Formation (Aptian, Lower Cretaceous; eastern Iberian Chain, Spain). This site was discovered in 1998, but it remained unexcavated until 2002, when a palaeontologist team formed by members of the Institut Paleontología Miquel Crusafont from Sabadell and the Grup Guix from Vila-real unearthed the first fossil from the locality. Nowadays there are five hundred fossils collected, including vertebrate and invertebrate species. Dinosaur bones (Theropoda and Ornithopoda) are abundant in this assemblage and in the last field season bones determined as Sauropoda were found. Taxonomically, Ana is dominated by disarticulated remains of Ornithopoda, which are usually fragmentary and abraded. Many of the elements may have been reworked (spatial averaging and/or time averaging), and the fossil concentration constitutes an autochthonous to parautochthonous association, in a spatial sense. The remains found in the Ana fossils site are placed in sandstones and limes containing marine autochthonous fauna. These deposits were formed during the transgressive infilling of an incised valley. Sedimentological features indicate that fossils were finally deposited in starved shallow estuarine environment. Mineralogically, the sediment including the fossils contains grains of quartz, illite/mica, kaolinite/clorite, K-feldspar and plagioclase, distributed in two mainly grain populations, a silty-clay and a coarse sand size grain, indicating that the sediments were bedded in a low-medium energy depositional environment. Nowadays we identified in Ana, teeth of Theropoda indet. and Baryonychinae indet., and bones of Iguanodon sp. Herein, we report new fossil findings from Ana site. These materials have been determined as Iguanodontia, Titanosauriformes and Theropoda. These new findings will help to understand the dinosaur fauna present in the Lower Cretaceous of Els Ports (Castellón, Spain). Acknowledgments This

  4. A New Hadrosauroid Dinosaur from the Mid-Cretaceous of Liaoning,China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YOU Hailu; JI Qiang; LI Jinglu; LI Yinxian

    2003-01-01

    A new hadrosauroid dinosaur, Shuangmiaosaurus gilmorei gen. et sp. nov., is described based on acomplete left maxilla with articulated premaxilla and lacrimal fragments, and a complete left dentary from the mid-Cretaceous Sunjiawan Formation of Beipiao, Liaoning, northeastern China. Cladistic analysis shows thatShuangmiaosaurus is a basal hadrosauroid, and comprises the sister taxon to Hadrosauridae. In both Shuangmiaosaurusand Hadrosauridae, the maxilla-jugal suture is butt-jointed, rather than finger-in-recess articulation as in other basalhadrosauroids. However, Shuangmiaosaurus does not possess such hadrosaurid synapomorphies as the diamond-shapedmaxillary crowns with reduced primary ridges and reduced marginal denticles.

  5. Tithonian age of dinosaur fossils in central Patagonian, Chile: U-Pb SHRIMP geochronology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suárez, Manuel; De La Cruz, Rita; Fanning, Mark; Novas, Fernando; Salgado, Leonardo

    2015-12-01

    Three Tithonian concordant U-Pb SHRIMP zircon ages of 148.7 ± 1.4, 147.9 ± 1.5 and 147.0 ± 1.0 from tuffs intercalated in a clastic sedimentary succession with exceptional dinosaur bones including the new taxon Chilesaurus diegosuarezi gen. et sp. nov. exposed in central Chilean Patagonia (ca. 46°30'S) are reported herein. The fossiliferous beds accumulated in a synvolcanic fan delta reaching a shallow marine basin as indicated by glauconite present in some of the beds, and coeval with the beginning of the transgression of the Aysén Basin.

  6. Middle Jurassic (Bajocian and Bathonian) dinosaur megatracksites, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kvale, E.P.; Johnson, G.D.; Mickelson, D.L.; Keller, K.; Furer, L.; Archer, A.

    2001-01-01

    Two previously unknown rare Middle Jurassic dinosaur megatracksites are reported from the Bighorn Basin of northern Wyoming in the Western Interior of the United States. These trace fossils occur in carbonate units once thought to be totally marine in origin, and constitute the two most extensive Middle Jurassic dinosaur tracksites currently known in North America. The youngest of these occurs primarily along a single horizon at or near the top of the "basal member" of the "lower" Sundance Formation, is mid-Bathonian in age, and dates to ??? 167 ma. This discovery necessitates a major change in the paleogeographic reconstructions for Wyoming for this period. The older tracksites occur at multiple horizons within a 1 m interval in the middle part of the Gypsum Spring Formation. This interval is uppermost Bajocian in age and dates to ??? 170 ma. Terrestrial tracks found, to date, have been all bipedal tridactyl dinosaur prints. At least some of these prints can be attributed to the theropods. Possible swim tracks of bipedal dinosaurs are also present in the Gypsum Spring Formation. Digitigrade prints dominate the Sundance trackways, with both plantigrade and digitigrade prints being preserved in the Gypsum Spring trackways. The Sundance track-bearing surface locally covers 7.5 square kilometers in the vicinity of Shell, Wyoming. Other tracks occur apparently on the same horizon approximately 25 kilometers to the west, north of the town of Greybull. The Gypsum Spring megatracksite is locally preserved across the same 25 kilometer east-west expanse, with the Gypsum Spring megatracksite more extensive in a north-south direction with tracks occurring locally across a 100 kilometer extent. Conservative estimates for the trackway density based on regional mapping in the Sundance tracksite discovery area near Shell suggests that over 150, 000 in situ tracks may be preserved per square kilometer in the Sundance Formation in this area. Comparable estimates have not been made

  7. Evolution of parental incubation behaviour in dinosaurs cannot be inferred from clutch mass in birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Birchard, Geoffrey F; Ruta, Marcello; Deeming, D Charles

    2013-08-23

    A recent study proposed that incubation behaviour (i.e. type of parental care) in theropod dinosaurs can be inferred from an allometric analysis of clutch volume in extant birds. However, the study in question failed to account for factors known to affect egg and clutch size in living bird species. A new scaling analysis of avian clutch mass demonstrates that type of parental care cannot be distinguished by conventional allometry because of the confounding effects of phylogeny and hatchling maturity. Precociality of young but not paternal care in the theropod ancestors of birds is consistent with the available data.

  8. Tithonian age of dinosaur fossils in central Patagonian, Chile: U-Pb SHRIMP geochronology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suárez, Manuel; De La Cruz, Rita; Fanning, Mark; Novas, Fernando; Salgado, Leonardo

    2016-11-01

    Three Tithonian concordant U-Pb SHRIMP zircon ages of 148.7 ± 1.4, 147.9 ± 1.5 and 147.0 ± 1.0 from tuffs intercalated in a clastic sedimentary succession with exceptional dinosaur bones including the new taxon Chilesaurus diegosuarezi gen. et sp. nov. exposed in central Chilean Patagonia (ca. 46°30'S) are reported herein. The fossiliferous beds accumulated in a synvolcanic fan delta reaching a shallow marine basin as indicated by glauconite present in some of the beds, and coeval with the beginning of the transgression of the Aysén Basin.

  9. The systematic relationships and biogeographic history of ornithischian dinosaurs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clint A. Boyd

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available The systematic relationships of taxa traditionally referred to as ‘basal ornithopods’ or ‘hypsilophodontids’ remain poorly resolved since it was discovered that these taxa are not a monophyletic group, but rather a paraphyletic set of neornithischian taxa. Thus, even as the known diversity of these taxa has dramatically increased over the past two decades, our knowledge of their placement relative to each other and the major ornithischian subclades remained incomplete. This study employs the largest phylogenetic dataset yet compiled to assess basal ornithischian relationships (255 characters for 65 species level terminal taxa. The resulting strict consensus tree is the most well-resolved, stratigraphically consistent hypothesis of basal ornithischian relationships yet hypothesized. The only non-iguanodontian ornithopod (=basal ornithopod recovered in this analysis is Hypsilophodon foxii. The majority of former ‘hypsilophodontid’ taxa are recovered within a single clade (Parksosauridae that is situated as the sister-taxon to Cerapoda. The Parksosauridae is divided between two subclades, the Orodrominae and the Thescelosaurinae. This study does not recover a clade consisting of the Asian taxa Changchunsaurus, Haya, and Jeholosaurus (=Jeholosauridae. Rather, the former two taxa are recovered as basal members of Thescelosaurinae, while the latter taxon is recovered in a clade with Yueosaurus near the base of Neornithischia.The endemic South American clade Elasmaria is recovered within the Thescelosaurinae as the sister taxon to Thescelosaurus. This study supports the origination of Dinosauria and the early diversification of Ornithischia within Gondwana. Neornithischia first arose in Africa by the Early Jurassic before dispersing to Asia before the late Middle Jurassic, where much of the diversification among non-cerapodan neornithischians occurred. Under the simplest scenario the Parksosauridae originated in North America, with at least

  10. How many dinosaur species were there? Fossil bias and true richness estimated using a Poisson sampling model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Starrfelt, Jostein; Liow, Lee Hsiang

    2016-04-01

    The fossil record is a rich source of information about biological diversity in the past. However, the fossil record is not only incomplete but has also inherent biases due to geological, physical, chemical and biological factors. Our knowledge of past life is also biased because of differences in academic and amateur interests and sampling efforts. As a result, not all individuals or species that lived in the past are equally likely to be discovered at any point in time or space. To reconstruct temporal dynamics of diversity using the fossil record, biased sampling must be explicitly taken into account. Here, we introduce an approach that uses the variation in the number of times each species is observed in the fossil record to estimate both sampling bias and true richness. We term our technique TRiPS (True Richness estimated using a Poisson Sampling model) and explore its robustness to violation of its assumptions via simulations. We then venture to estimate sampling bias and absolute species richness of dinosaurs in the geological stages of the Mesozoic. Using TRiPS, we estimate that 1936 (1543-2468) species of dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Mesozoic. We also present improved estimates of species richness trajectories of the three major dinosaur clades: the sauropodomorphs, ornithischians and theropods, casting doubt on the Jurassic-Cretaceous extinction event and demonstrating that all dinosaur groups are subject to considerable sampling bias throughout the Mesozoic.

  11. Fluvial transport potential of shed and root-bearing dinosaur teeth from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph E. Peterson

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Shed dinosaur teeth are commonly collected microvertebrate remains that have been used for interpretations of dinosaur feeding behaviors, paleoecology, and population studies. However, such interpretations may be biased by taphonomic processes such as fluvial sorting influenced by tooth shape: shed teeth, removed from the skull during life, and teeth possessing roots, removed from the skull after death. As such, teeth may behave differently in fluvial systems due to their differences in shape. In order to determine the influence of fluvial processes on the preservation and distribution of shed and root-bearing dinosaur teeth, the hydrodynamic behaviors of high-density urethane resin casts of shed and root-bearing Allosaurus and Camarasaurus teeth were experimentally tested for relative transport distances at increasing flow velocities in an artificial fluviatile environment. Results show that tooth cast specimens exhibited comparable patterns of transport at lower velocities, though the shed Camarasaurus teeth transported considerably farther in medium to higher flow velocities. Two-Way ANOVA tests indicate significant differences in the mean transport distances of tooth casts oriented perpendicular to flow (p < 0.05 with varying tooth morphologies and flow velocities. The differences exhibited in the transportability of shed and root-bearing teeth has important implications for taphonomic reconstructions, as well as future studies on dinosaur population dynamics, paleoecology, and feeding behaviors.

  12. Fluvial transport potential of shed and root-bearing dinosaur teeth from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, Joseph E; Coenen, Jason J; Noto, Christopher R

    2014-01-01

    Shed dinosaur teeth are commonly collected microvertebrate remains that have been used for interpretations of dinosaur feeding behaviors, paleoecology, and population studies. However, such interpretations may be biased by taphonomic processes such as fluvial sorting influenced by tooth shape: shed teeth, removed from the skull during life, and teeth possessing roots, removed from the skull after death. As such, teeth may behave differently in fluvial systems due to their differences in shape. In order to determine the influence of fluvial processes on the preservation and distribution of shed and root-bearing dinosaur teeth, the hydrodynamic behaviors of high-density urethane resin casts of shed and root-bearing Allosaurus and Camarasaurus teeth were experimentally tested for relative transport distances at increasing flow velocities in an artificial fluviatile environment. Results show that tooth cast specimens exhibited comparable patterns of transport at lower velocities, though the shed Camarasaurus teeth transported considerably farther in medium to higher flow velocities. Two-Way ANOVA tests indicate significant differences in the mean transport distances of tooth casts oriented perpendicular to flow (p dinosaur population dynamics, paleoecology, and feeding behaviors.

  13. A New Oviraptorid Dinosaur (Dinosauria: Oviraptorosauria) from the Late Cretaceous of Southern China and Its Paleobiogeographical Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lü, Junchang; Pu, Hanyong; Kobayashi, Yoshitsugu; Xu, Li; Chang, Huali; Shang, Yuhua; Liu, Di; Lee, Yuong-Nam; Kundrát, Martin; Shen, Caizhi

    2015-07-01

    The Ganzhou area of Jiangxi Province, southern China is becoming one of the most productive oviraptorosaurian localities in the world. A new oviraptorid dinosaur was unearthed from the uppermost Upper Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Ganzhou area. It is characterized by an anterodorsally sloping occiput and quadrate (a feature shared with Citipati), a circular supratemporal fenestra that is much smaller than the lower temporal fenestra, and a dentary in which the dorsal margin above the external mandibular fenestra is strongly concave ventrally. The position of the anteroventral corner of the external naris in relation to the posterodorsal corner of the antorbital fenestra provides new insight into the craniofacial evolution of oviraptorosaurid dinosaurs. A phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as closely related to the Mongolian Citipati. Six oviraptorid dinosaurs from the Nanxiong Formation (Ganzhou and Nanxiong) are distributed within three clades of the family. Each of the three clades from the Nanxiong Formation has close relatives in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, and in both places each clade may have had a specific diet or occupied a different ecological niche. Oviraptorid dinosaurs were geographically widespread across Asia in the latest Cretaceous and were an important component of terrestrial ecosystems during this time.

  14. Findings from an Independent Evaluation of the AMNH's Online Seminars on Science Course: "The Link between Dinosaurs and Birds"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Inverness Research, 2008

    2008-01-01

    Inverness Research studied the American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) Seminars on Science program for eight years, from its inception in 1998 to 2006. This paper presents teacher survey ratings for "The Link between Dinosaurs and Birds", along with profiles of three teachers who took the course. Course takers report on the annual…

  15. The Evolution of an Undergraduate Service Course--How To Cope with Success of an Age of Dinosaurs Class.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montgomery, Homer

    2003-01-01

    Discusses how to address the issue of a course becoming too popular. Uses as an example the Age of Dinosaurs course at the University of Texas at Dallas. Describes some issues that can arise such as classroom overflow, overwhelmed labs, cheating, testing methods, and asynchronous instruction. Recommends looking to web-based course management…

  16. A Late Cretaceous diversification of Asian oviraptorid dinosaurs: evidence from a new species preserved in an unusual posture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lü, Junchang; Chen, Rongjun; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Zhu, Yangxiao; Shen, Caizhi

    2016-11-01

    Oviraptorosaurs are a bizarre group of bird-like theropod dinosaurs, the derived forms of which have shortened, toothless skulls, and which diverged from close relatives by developing peculiar feeding adaptations. Although once among the most mysterious of dinosaurs, oviraptorosaurs are becoming better understood with the discovery of many new fossils in Asia and North America. The Ganzhou area of southern China is emerging as a hotspot of oviraptorosaur discoveries, as over the past half decade five new monotypic genera have been found in the latest Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) deposits of this region. We here report a sixth diagnostic oviraptorosaur from Ganzhou, Tongtianlong limosus gen. et sp. nov., represented by a remarkably well-preserved specimen in an unusual splayed-limb and raised-head posture. Tongtianlong is a derived oviraptorid oviraptorosaur, differentiated from other species by its unique dome-like skull roof, highly convex premaxilla, and other features of the skull. The large number of oviraptorosaurs from Ganzhou, which often differ in cranial morphologies related to feeding, document an evolutionary radiation of these dinosaurs during the very latest Cretaceous of Asia, which helped establish one of the last diverse dinosaur faunas before the end-Cretaceous extinction.

  17. A late-surviving basal theropod dinosaur from the latest Triassic of North America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sues, Hans-Dieter; Nesbitt, Sterling J; Berman, David S; Henrici, Amy C

    2011-11-22

    The oldest theropod dinosaurs are known from the Carnian of Argentina and Brazil. However, the evolutionary diversification of this group after its initial radiation but prior to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary is still poorly understood because of a sparse fossil record near that boundary. Here, we report on a new basal theropod, Daemonosaurus chauliodus gen. et sp. nov., from the latest Triassic 'siltstone member' of the Chinle Formation of the Coelophysis Quarry at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. Based on a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis, Daemonosaurus is more closely related to coeval neotheropods (e.g. Coelophysis bauri) than to Herrerasauridae and Eoraptor. The skeletal structure of Daemonosaurus and the recently discovered Tawa bridge a morphological gap between Eoraptor and Herrerasauridae on one hand and neotheropods on the other, providing additional support for the theropod affinities of both Eoraptor and Herrerasauridae and demonstrating that lineages from the initial radiation of Dinosauria persisted until the end of the Triassic. Various features of the skull of Daemonosaurus, including the procumbent dentary and premaxillary teeth and greatly enlarged premaxillary and anterior maxillary teeth, clearly set this taxon apart from coeval neotheropods and demonstrate unexpected disparity in cranial shape among theropod dinosaurs just prior to the end of the Triassic.

  18. Bone histology indicates insular dwarfism in a new Late Jurassic sauropod dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sander, P Martin; Mateus, Octávio; Laven, Thomas; Knötschke, Nils

    2006-06-01

    Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to inhabit the land, with truly gigantic forms in at least three lineages. Small species with an adult body mass less than five tonnes are very rare, and small sauropod bones generally represent juveniles. Here we describe a new diminutive species of basal macronarian sauropod, Europasaurus holgeri gen. et sp. nov., and on the basis of bone histology we show it to have been a dwarf species. The fossils, including excellent skull material, come from Kimmeridgian marine beds of northern Germany, and record more than 11 individuals of sauropods 1.7 to 6.2 m in total body length. Morphological overlap between partial skeletons and isolated bones links all material to the same new taxon. Cortical histology of femora and tibiae indicates that size differences within the specimens are due to different ontogenetic stages, from juveniles to fully grown individuals. The little dinosaurs must have lived on one of the large islands around the Lower Saxony basin. Comparison with the long-bone histology of large-bodied sauropods suggests that the island dwarf species evolved through a decrease in growth rate from its larger ancestor.

  19. Discovery of a short-necked sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period of Patagonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rauhut, Oliver W M; Remes, Kristian; Fechner, Regina; Cladera, Gerardo; Puerta, Pablo

    2005-06-01

    Sauropod dinosaurs are one of the most conspicuous groups of Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrates. They show general trends towards an overall increase in size and elongation of the neck, by means of considerable elongation of the length of individual vertebrae and a cervical vertebra count that, in some cases, increases to 19 (ref. 1). The long neck is a particular hallmark of sauropod dinosaurs and is usually regarded as a key feeding adaptation. Here we describe a new dicraeosaurid sauropod, from the latest Jurassic period of Patagonia, that has a particularly short neck. With a neck that is about 40% shorter than in other known dicraeosaurs, this taxon demonstrates a trend opposite to that seen in most sauropods and indicates that the ecology of dicraeosaurids might have differed considerably from that of other sauropods. The new taxon indicates that there was a rapid radiation and dispersal of dicraeosaurids in the Late Jurassic of the Southern Hemisphere, after the separation of Gondwana from the northern continents by the late Middle Jurassic.

  20. Hadrosauroid Dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric Buffetaut

    Full Text Available Fragmentary post-cranial remains (femora, tibia, vertebrae of ornithischian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman are described and referred to hadrosauroids. The specimens come from the Al-Khod Conglomerate, of latest Campanian to Maastrichtian age, in the north-eastern part of the country. Although the fragmentary condition of the fossils precludes a precise identification, various characters, including the shape of the fourth trochanter of the femur and the morphology of its distal end, support an attribution to hadrosauroids. With the possible exception of a possible phalanx from Angola, this group of ornithopod dinosaurs, which apparently originated in Laurasia, was hitherto unreported from the Afro-Arabian plate. From a paleobiogeographical point of view, the presence of hadrosauroids in Oman in all likelihood is a result of trans-Tethys dispersal from Asia or Europe, probably by way of islands in the Tethys shown on all recent paleogeographical maps of that area. Whether hadrosauroids were widespread on the Afro-Arabian landmass in the latest Cretaceous, or where restricted to the « Oman island » shown on some paleogeographical maps, remains to be determined.

  1. Environmental versus genetic sex determination: a possible factor in dinosaur extinction?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, David; Summers, Jonathan; Silber, Sherman

    2004-04-01

    This study examined the possibility that genetically based sex-determination mechanisms have evolved to ensure a balanced male/female ratio and that this temperature-independent checkpoint might have been unavailable to long-extinct reptiles, notably the dinosaurs. A review of the literature on molecular and phylogenetic relationships between modes of reproduction and sex determination in extant animals was conducted. Mammals, birds, all snakes and most lizards, amphibians, and some gonochoristic fish use specific sex-determining chromosomes or genes (genetic sex determination, GSD). Some reptiles, however, including all crocodilians studied to date, many turtle and tortoise species, and some lizards, use environmental or temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). We show that various modes of GSD have evolved many times, independently in different orders. Animals using TSD would be at risk of rapid reproductive failure due to a skewed sex ratio favoring males in response to sustained environmental temperature change and favoring the selection of sex-determining genes. The disadvantage to the evolving male sex-determining chromosome, however, is its decay due to nonrecombination and the subsequent loss of spermatogenesis genes. Global temperature change can skew the sex ratio of TSD animals and might have played a significant role in the demise of long-extinct species, notably the dinosaurs, particularly if the temperature change resulted in a preponderance of males. Current global warming also represents a risk for extant TSD species.

  2. Dinosaur footprints and other ichnofauna from the cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibrahim, Nizar; Varricchio, David J; Sereno, Paul C; Wilson, Jeffery A; Wilson, Jeff A; Dutheil, Didier B; Martill, David M; Baidder, Lahssen; Zouhri, Samir

    2014-01-01

    We describe an extensive ichnofossil assemblage from the likely Cenomanian-age 'lower' and 'upper' units of the 'Kem Kem beds' in southeastern Morocco. In the lower unit, trace fossils include narrow vertical burrows in cross-bedded sandstones and borings in dinosaur bone, with the latter identified as the insect ichnotaxon Cubiculum ornatus. In the upper unit, several horizons preserve abundant footprints from theropod dinosaurs. Sauropod and ornithischian footprints are much rarer, similar to the record for fossil bone and teeth in the Kem Kem assemblage. The upper unit also preserves a variety of invertebrate traces including Conichnus (the resting trace of a sea-anemone), Scolicia (a gastropod trace), Beaconites (a probable annelid burrow), and subvertical burrows likely created by crabs for residence and detrital feeding on a tidal flat. The ichnofossil assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem beds contributes evidence for a transition from predominantly terrestrial to marine deposition. Body fossil and ichnofossil records together provide a detailed view of faunal diversity and local conditions within a fluvial and deltaic depositional setting on the northwestern coast of Africa toward the end of the Cretaceous.

  3. A New Family of Sauropod Dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Tianzhen, Shanxi Province, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2000-01-01

    A new gigantic sauropod, Huabeisaurus allocotus gen. et sp. nov., about 20 m in length and 5 m in height, was discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Huiquanpu Formation, Tianzhen County,Shanxi Province. It is notably different from Diplodocidae, Titanosauridae and Nemegtosauridae in the following aspects: the teeth are strong, peg-like with a length ratio of the tooth crown to tooth root at about 3 to 1; the cervical vertebrae are long with forked spines; the spines in dorsal vertebrae are relatively high, unbifurcated; the caudal vertebrae are amphicoelous, with anterior neural spines and unbifurcated spines and chevrons; the femur is straight and long, narrow and flat and the tibia and fibula are long and flat. These characters show that the described genus should represent a new family, Huabeisauridae fam. nov. The discovery enriches the sauropod dinosaur record in China, and is quite significant to the study of the taxonomy, evolution, migration, extinction and palaeobiogeographic provincialism of the Late Cretaceous sauropod dinosaurs.

  4. Dinosaur footprints and other ichnofauna from the cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nizar Ibrahim

    Full Text Available We describe an extensive ichnofossil assemblage from the likely Cenomanian-age 'lower' and 'upper' units of the 'Kem Kem beds' in southeastern Morocco. In the lower unit, trace fossils include narrow vertical burrows in cross-bedded sandstones and borings in dinosaur bone, with the latter identified as the insect ichnotaxon Cubiculum ornatus. In the upper unit, several horizons preserve abundant footprints from theropod dinosaurs. Sauropod and ornithischian footprints are much rarer, similar to the record for fossil bone and teeth in the Kem Kem assemblage. The upper unit also preserves a variety of invertebrate traces including Conichnus (the resting trace of a sea-anemone, Scolicia (a gastropod trace, Beaconites (a probable annelid burrow, and subvertical burrows likely created by crabs for residence and detrital feeding on a tidal flat. The ichnofossil assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem beds contributes evidence for a transition from predominantly terrestrial to marine deposition. Body fossil and ichnofossil records together provide a detailed view of faunal diversity and local conditions within a fluvial and deltaic depositional setting on the northwestern coast of Africa toward the end of the Cretaceous.

  5. Unexpected Convergent Evolution of Nasal Domes between Pleistocene Bovids and Cretaceous Hadrosaur Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Brien, Haley D; Faith, J Tyler; Jenkins, Kirsten E; Peppe, Daniel J; Plummer, Thomas W; Jacobs, Zenobia L; Li, Bo; Joannes-Boyau, Renaud; Price, Gilbert; Feng, Yue-Xing; Tryon, Christian A

    2016-02-22

    The fossil record provides tangible, historical evidence for the mode and operation of evolution across deep time. Striking patterns of convergence are some of the strongest examples of these operations, whereby, over time, similar environmental and/or behavioral pressures precipitate similarity in form and function between disparately related taxa. Here we present fossil evidence for an unexpected convergence between gregarious plant-eating mammals and dinosaurs. Recent excavations of Late Pleistocene deposits on Rusinga Island, Kenya, have uncovered a catastrophic assemblage of the wildebeest-like bovid Rusingoryx atopocranion. Previously known from fragmentary material, these new specimens reveal large, hollow, osseous nasal crests: a craniofacial novelty for mammals that is remarkably comparable to the nasal crests of lambeosaurine hadrosaur dinosaurs. Using adult and juvenile material from this assemblage, as well as computed tomographic imaging, we investigate this convergence from morphological, developmental, functional, and paleoenvironmental perspectives. Our detailed analyses reveal broad parallels between R. atopocranion and basal Lambeosaurinae, suggesting that osseous nasal crests may require a highly specific combination of ontogeny, evolution, and environmental pressures in order to develop. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. First Reported Cases of Biomechanically Adaptive Bone Modeling in Non-Avian Dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge Cubo

    Full Text Available Predator confrontation or predator evasion frequently produces bone fractures in potential prey in the wild. Although there are reports of healed bone injuries and pathologies in non-avian dinosaurs, no previously published instances of biomechanically adaptive bone modeling exist. Two tibiae from an ontogenetic sample of fifty specimens of the herbivorous dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum (Ornithopoda: Hadrosaurinae exhibit exostoses. We show that these outgrowths are cases of biomechanically adaptive periosteal bone modeling resulting from overstrain on the tibia after a fibula fracture. Histological and biomechanical results are congruent with predictions derived from this hypothesis. Histologically, the outgrowths are constituted by radial fibrolamellar periosteal bone tissue formed at very high growth rates, as expected in a process of rapid strain equilibration response. These outgrowths show greater compactness at the periphery, where tensile and compressive biomechanical constraints are higher. Moreover, these outgrowths increase the maximum bending strength in the direction of the stresses derived from locomotion. They are located on the antero-lateral side of the tibia, as expected in a presumably bipedal one year old individual, and in the posterior position of the tibia, as expected in a presumably quadrupedal individual at least four years of age. These results reinforce myological evidence suggesting that Maiasaura underwent an ontogenetic shift from the primitive ornithischian bipedal condition when young to a derived quadrupedal posture when older.

  7. A gigantic new dinosaur from Argentina and the evolution of the sauropod hind foot

    Science.gov (United States)

    González Riga, Bernardo J.; Lamanna, Matthew C.; Ortiz David, Leonardo D.; Calvo, Jorge O.; Coria, Juan P.

    2016-01-01

    Titanosauria is an exceptionally diverse, globally-distributed clade of sauropod dinosaurs that includes the largest known land animals. Knowledge of titanosaurian pedal structure is critical to understanding the stance and locomotion of these enormous herbivores and, by extension, gigantic terrestrial vertebrates as a whole. However, completely preserved pedes are extremely rare among Titanosauria, especially as regards the truly giant members of the group. Here we describe Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous of Mendoza Province, Argentina. With a powerfully-constructed humerus 1.76 m in length, Notocolossus is one of the largest known dinosaurs. Furthermore, the complete pes of the new taxon exhibits a strikingly compact, homogeneous metatarsus—seemingly adapted for bearing extraordinary weight—and truncated unguals, morphologies that are otherwise unknown in Sauropoda. The pes underwent a near-progressive reduction in the number of phalanges along the line to derived titanosaurs, eventually resulting in the reduced hind foot of these sauropods.

  8. Lowland-upland migration of sauropod dinosaurs during the Late Jurassic epoch.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fricke, Henry C; Hencecroth, Justin; Hoerner, Marie E

    2011-10-26

    Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest vertebrates ever to walk the Earth, and as mega-herbivores they were important parts of terrestrial ecosystems. In the Late Jurassic-aged Morrison depositional basin of western North America, these animals occupied lowland river-floodplain settings characterized by a seasonally dry climate. Massive herbivores with high nutritional and water needs could periodically experience nutritional and water stress under these conditions, and thus the common occurrence of sauropods in this basin has remained a paradox. Energetic arguments and mammalian analogues have been used to suggest that migration allowed sauropods access to food and water resources over a wide region or during times of drought or both, but there has been no direct support for these hypotheses. Here we compare oxygen isotope ratios (δ(18)O) of tooth-enamel carbonate from the sauropod Camarasaurus with those of ancient soil, lake and wetland (that is, 'authigenic') carbonates that formed in lowland settings. We demonstrate that certain populations of these animals did in fact undertake seasonal migrations of several hundred kilometres from lowland to upland environments. This ability to describe patterns of sauropod movement will help to elucidate the role that migration played in the ecology and evolution of gigantism of these and associated dinosaurs.

  9. Does morphological convergence imply functional similarity? A test using the evolution of quadrupedalism in ornithischian dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maidment, Susannah C R; Barrett, Paul M

    2012-09-22

    Convergent morphologies are thought to indicate functional similarity, arising because of a limited number of evolutionary or developmental pathways. Extant taxa displaying convergent morphologies are used as analogues to assess function in extinct taxa with similar characteristics. However, functional studies of extant taxa have shown that functional similarity can arise from differing morphologies, calling into question the paradigm that form and function are closely related. We test the hypothesis that convergent skeletal morphology indicates functional similarity in the fossil record using ornithischian dinosaurs. The rare transition from bipedality to quadrupedality occurred at least three times independently in this clade, resulting in a suite of convergent osteological characteristics. We use homology rather than analogy to provide an independent line of evidence about function, reconstructing soft tissues using the extant phylogenetic bracket and applying biomechanical concepts to produce qualitative assessments of muscle leverage. We also optimize character changes to investigate the sequence of character acquisition. Different lineages of quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaur stood and walked differently from each other, falsifying the hypothesis that osteological convergence indicates functional similarity. The acquisition of features correlated with quadrupedalism generally occurs in the same order in each clade, suggesting underlying developmental mechanisms that act as evolutionary constraints.

  10. First Reported Cases of Biomechanically Adaptive Bone Modeling in Non-Avian Dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cubo, Jorge; Woodward, Holly; Wolff, Ewan; Horner, John R

    2015-01-01

    Predator confrontation or predator evasion frequently produces bone fractures in potential prey in the wild. Although there are reports of healed bone injuries and pathologies in non-avian dinosaurs, no previously published instances of biomechanically adaptive bone modeling exist. Two tibiae from an ontogenetic sample of fifty specimens of the herbivorous dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum (Ornithopoda: Hadrosaurinae) exhibit exostoses. We show that these outgrowths are cases of biomechanically adaptive periosteal bone modeling resulting from overstrain on the tibia after a fibula fracture. Histological and biomechanical results are congruent with predictions derived from this hypothesis. Histologically, the outgrowths are constituted by radial fibrolamellar periosteal bone tissue formed at very high growth rates, as expected in a process of rapid strain equilibration response. These outgrowths show greater compactness at the periphery, where tensile and compressive biomechanical constraints are higher. Moreover, these outgrowths increase the maximum bending strength in the direction of the stresses derived from locomotion. They are located on the antero-lateral side of the tibia, as expected in a presumably bipedal one year old individual, and in the posterior position of the tibia, as expected in a presumably quadrupedal individual at least four years of age. These results reinforce myological evidence suggesting that Maiasaura underwent an ontogenetic shift from the primitive ornithischian bipedal condition when young to a derived quadrupedal posture when older.

  11. Turning semicircular canal function on its head: dinosaurs and a novel vestibular analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgi, Justin A; Sipla, Justin S; Forster, Catherine A

    2013-01-01

    Previous investigations have correlated vestibular function to locomotion in vertebrates by scaling semicircular duct radius of curvature to body mass. However, this method fails to discriminate bipedal from quadrupedal non-avian dinosaurs. Because they exhibit a broad range of relative head sizes, we use dinosaurs to test the hypothesis that semicircular ducts scale more closely with head size. Comparing the area enclosed by each semicircular canal to estimated body mass and to two different measures of head size, skull length and estimated head mass, reveals significant patterns that corroborate a connection between physical parameters of the head and semicircular canal morphology. Head mass more strongly correlates with anterior semicircular canal size than does body mass and statistically separates bipedal from quadrupedal taxa, with bipeds exhibiting relatively larger canals. This morphologic dichotomy likely reflects adaptations of the vestibular system to stability demands associated with terrestrial locomotion on two, versus four, feet. This new method has implications for reinterpreting previous studies and informing future studies on the connection between locomotion type and vestibular function.

  12. Turning semicircular canal function on its head: dinosaurs and a novel vestibular analysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin A Georgi

    Full Text Available Previous investigations have correlated vestibular function to locomotion in vertebrates by scaling semicircular duct radius of curvature to body mass. However, this method fails to discriminate bipedal from quadrupedal non-avian dinosaurs. Because they exhibit a broad range of relative head sizes, we use dinosaurs to test the hypothesis that semicircular ducts scale more closely with head size. Comparing the area enclosed by each semicircular canal to estimated body mass and to two different measures of head size, skull length and estimated head mass, reveals significant patterns that corroborate a connection between physical parameters of the head and semicircular canal morphology. Head mass more strongly correlates with anterior semicircular canal size than does body mass and statistically separates bipedal from quadrupedal taxa, with bipeds exhibiting relatively larger canals. This morphologic dichotomy likely reflects adaptations of the vestibular system to stability demands associated with terrestrial locomotion on two, versus four, feet. This new method has implications for reinterpreting previous studies and informing future studies on the connection between locomotion type and vestibular function.

  13. Walking like dinosaurs: chickens with artificial tails provide clues about non-avian theropod locomotion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno Grossi

    Full Text Available Birds still share many traits with their dinosaur ancestors, making them the best living group to reconstruct certain aspects of non-avian theropod biology. Bipedal, digitigrade locomotion and parasagittal hindlimb movement are some of those inherited traits. Living birds, however, maintain an unusually crouched hindlimb posture and locomotion powered by knee flexion, in contrast to the inferred primitive condition of non-avian theropods: more upright posture and limb movement powered by femur retraction. Such functional differences, which are associated with a gradual, anterior shift of the centre of mass in theropods along the bird line, make the use of extant birds to study non-avian theropod locomotion problematic. Here we show that, by experimentally manipulating the location of the centre of mass in living birds, it is possible to recreate limb posture and kinematics inferred for extinct bipedal dinosaurs. Chickens raised wearing artificial tails, and consequently with more posteriorly located centre of mass, showed a more vertical orientation of the femur during standing and increased femoral displacement during locomotion. Our results support the hypothesis that gradual changes in the location of the centre of mass resulted in more crouched hindlimb postures and a shift from hip-driven to knee-driven limb movements through theropod evolution. This study suggests that, through careful experimental manipulations during the growth phase of ontogeny, extant birds can potentially be used to gain important insights into previously unexplored aspects of bipedal non-avian theropod locomotion.

  14. Hadrosauroid Dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buffetaut, Eric; Hartman, Axel-Frans; Al-Kindi, Mohammed; Schulp, Anne S

    2015-01-01

    Fragmentary post-cranial remains (femora, tibia, vertebrae) of ornithischian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman are described and referred to hadrosauroids. The specimens come from the Al-Khod Conglomerate, of latest Campanian to Maastrichtian age, in the north-eastern part of the country. Although the fragmentary condition of the fossils precludes a precise identification, various characters, including the shape of the fourth trochanter of the femur and the morphology of its distal end, support an attribution to hadrosauroids. With the possible exception of a possible phalanx from Angola, this group of ornithopod dinosaurs, which apparently originated in Laurasia, was hitherto unreported from the Afro-Arabian plate. From a paleobiogeographical point of view, the presence of hadrosauroids in Oman in all likelihood is a result of trans-Tethys dispersal from Asia or Europe, probably by way of islands in the Tethys shown on all recent paleogeographical maps of that area. Whether hadrosauroids were widespread on the Afro-Arabian landmass in the latest Cretaceous, or where restricted to the « Oman island » shown on some paleogeographical maps, remains to be determined.

  15. Walking like dinosaurs: chickens with artificial tails provide clues about non-avian theropod locomotion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grossi, Bruno; Iriarte-Díaz, José; Larach, Omar; Canals, Mauricio; Vásquez, Rodrigo A

    2014-01-01

    Birds still share many traits with their dinosaur ancestors, making them the best living group to reconstruct certain aspects of non-avian theropod biology. Bipedal, digitigrade locomotion and parasagittal hindlimb movement are some of those inherited traits. Living birds, however, maintain an unusually crouched hindlimb posture and locomotion powered by knee flexion, in contrast to the inferred primitive condition of non-avian theropods: more upright posture and limb movement powered by femur retraction. Such functional differences, which are associated with a gradual, anterior shift of the centre of mass in theropods along the bird line, make the use of extant birds to study non-avian theropod locomotion problematic. Here we show that, by experimentally manipulating the location of the centre of mass in living birds, it is possible to recreate limb posture and kinematics inferred for extinct bipedal dinosaurs. Chickens raised wearing artificial tails, and consequently with more posteriorly located centre of mass, showed a more vertical orientation of the femur during standing and increased femoral displacement during locomotion. Our results support the hypothesis that gradual changes in the location of the centre of mass resulted in more crouched hindlimb postures and a shift from hip-driven to knee-driven limb movements through theropod evolution. This study suggests that, through careful experimental manipulations during the growth phase of ontogeny, extant birds can potentially be used to gain important insights into previously unexplored aspects of bipedal non-avian theropod locomotion.

  16. First Reported Cases of Biomechanically Adaptive Bone Modeling in Non-Avian Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cubo, Jorge; Woodward, Holly; Wolff, Ewan; Horner, John R.

    2015-01-01

    Predator confrontation or predator evasion frequently produces bone fractures in potential prey in the wild. Although there are reports of healed bone injuries and pathologies in non-avian dinosaurs, no previously published instances of biomechanically adaptive bone modeling exist. Two tibiae from an ontogenetic sample of fifty specimens of the herbivorous dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum (Ornithopoda: Hadrosaurinae) exhibit exostoses. We show that these outgrowths are cases of biomechanically adaptive periosteal bone modeling resulting from overstrain on the tibia after a fibula fracture. Histological and biomechanical results are congruent with predictions derived from this hypothesis. Histologically, the outgrowths are constituted by radial fibrolamellar periosteal bone tissue formed at very high growth rates, as expected in a process of rapid strain equilibration response. These outgrowths show greater compactness at the periphery, where tensile and compressive biomechanical constraints are higher. Moreover, these outgrowths increase the maximum bending strength in the direction of the stresses derived from locomotion. They are located on the antero-lateral side of the tibia, as expected in a presumably bipedal one year old individual, and in the posterior position of the tibia, as expected in a presumably quadrupedal individual at least four years of age. These results reinforce myological evidence suggesting that Maiasaura underwent an ontogenetic shift from the primitive ornithischian bipedal condition when young to a derived quadrupedal posture when older. PMID:26153689

  17. Convergent evolution of jaws between spinosaurid dinosaurs and pike conger eels

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Romain Vullo

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Spinosaurs represent a group of peculiar theropod dinosaurs that have often been described as “crocodile-mimic”, predominantly fish-eating predators, and recently claimed to have been semi-aquatic animals. Here we report a suite of craniodental characters unexpectedly shared by spinosaurs and pike conger eels. Pike conger eels are predatory, mainly piscivorous bottom-dwelling anguilliform fishes that inhabit marine and brackish environments. These two groups of dinosaurs and fishes show a mediolaterally compressed, elongated rostrum, a terminal “rosette” bearing enlarged teeth in both upper and lower jaws, and a notch posterior to the premaxillary “rosette” characterized by the presence of reduced teeth. The morphological convergence observed in the jaws of these two distantly related groups of vertebrates may result from similar feeding behaviours. This typical jaw morphology likely represents an effective biomechanical adaptation for biting and grabbing elusive prey items in low-light aquatic environments. Associated with this specialized snout morphology, numerous integumentary mechanoreceptors involved in prey detection are present in both spinosaurs and pike congers. Our new observations provide an additional convincing argument regarding the decades-long and widely debated lifestyle of spinosaurs.

  18. A new large-bodied oviraptorosaurian theropod dinosaur from the latest Cretaceous of western North America.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew C Lamanna

    Full Text Available The oviraptorosaurian theropod dinosaur clade Caenagnathidae has long been enigmatic due to the incomplete nature of nearly all described fossils. Here we describe Anzu wyliei gen. et sp. nov., a new taxon of large-bodied caenagnathid based primarily on three well-preserved partial skeletons. The specimens were recovered from the uppermost Cretaceous (upper Maastrichtian Hell Creek Formation of North and South Dakota, and are therefore among the stratigraphically youngest known oviraptorosaurian remains. Collectively, the fossils include elements from most regions of the skeleton, providing a wealth of information on the osteology and evolutionary relationships of Caenagnathidae. Phylogenetic analysis reaffirms caenagnathid monophyly, and indicates that Anzu is most closely related to Caenagnathus collinsi, a taxon that is definitively known only from a mandible from the Campanian Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta. The problematic oviraptorosaurs Microvenator and Gigantoraptor are recovered as basal caenagnathids, as has previously been suggested. Anzu and other caenagnathids may have favored well-watered floodplain settings over channel margins, and were probably ecological generalists that fed upon vegetation, small animals, and perhaps eggs.

  19. The physiology of dinosaurs: circulatory and respiratory function in the largest animals ever to walk the earth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pierson, David J

    2009-07-01

    The cardiopulmonary physiology of dinosaurs-and especially of the long-necked sauropods, which grew much larger than any land animals before or since-should be inherently fascinating to anyone involved in respiratory care. What would the blood pressure be in an animal 12 m (40 ft) tall? How could airway resistance and dead space be overcome while breathing through a trachea 9 m (30 ft) long? The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in evidence bearing on these questions. Insight has come not only from new fossil discoveries but also from comparative studies of living species, clarification of evolutionary relationships, new evaluation techniques, computer modeling, and discoveries about the earth's ancient atmosphere. Pumping a vertical column of blood 8 m (26 ft) above the heart would probably require an arterial blood pressure > 600 mm Hg, and the implications of this for cardiac size and function have led to the proposal of several alternative cardiopulmonary designs. Diverse lines of evidence suggest that the giant sauropods were probably warm-blooded and metabolically active when young, but slowed their metabolism as they approached adult size, which diminished the load on the circulatory system. Circulatory considerations leave little doubt that the dinosaurs had 4-chambered hearts. Birds evolved from dinosaurs, and the avian-type air-sac respiratory system, which is more efficient than its mammalian counterpart, may hold the answer to the breathing problems posed by the sauropods' very long necks. Geochemical and other data indicate that, at the time the dinosaurs first appeared, the atmospheric oxygen concentration was only about half of what it is today, and development of the avian-type respiratory system may have been key in the dinosaurs' evolutionary success, enabling them to out-compete the mammals and dominate the land for 150 million years.

  20. The incredible years therapeutic dinosaur programme to build social and emotional competence in welsh primary schools: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

    OpenAIRE

    Evans Ceri; Whitaker Christopher; Hutchings Judy; Bywater Tracey; Parry Laura

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Background School interventions such as the Incredible Years Classroom Dinosaur Programme targets pupil behaviour across whole classrooms, yet for some children a more intense approach is needed. The Incredible Years Therapeutic Dinosaur Programme is effective for clinically referred children by enhancing social, problem-solving skills, and peer relationship-building skills when delivered in a clinical setting in small groups. The aim of this trial is to evaluate the effectiveness of...

  1. The Postcranial Skeleton of an Exceptionally Complete Individual of the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus stenops (Dinosauria: Thyreophora) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming, U.S.A.

    OpenAIRE

    Susannah Catherine Rose Maidment; Charlotte Brassey; Paul Michael Barrett

    2015-01-01

    Although Stegosaurus is one of the most iconic dinosaurs, well-preserved fossils are rare and as a consequence there is still much that remains unknown about the taxon. A new, exceptionally complete individual affords the opportunity to describe the anatomy of Stegosaurus in detail for the first time in over a century, and enables additional comparisons with other stegosaurian dinosaurs. The new specimen is from the Red Canyon Ranch Quarry, near Shell Wyoming, and appears to have been so well...

  2. Oology and the evolution of thermophysiology in saurischian dinosaurs: homeotherm and endotherm deinonychosaurians?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gerald Grellet-Tinner

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The origin of avian endothermy is a long-held question the answer of which cannot be provided by first level observations. Oological and reproductive characters have collectively provided a new source of data useful for phylogenetic analyses and paleobiological inferences. In addition, the observations of reproductive and oological evolutionary trends in saurischian dinosaurs lead to the interpretation that not only, the thermophysiology of these dinosaurs progressively became more avian-like but after re-examination allows to infer that deinonychosaurians represented here by three troodontids and one dromaeosaurid might already have developed an avian-like endothermy, thus predating the rise of avians. These results based on reproductive traits are independently corroborated by the discoveries of troodontid dinosaurs 1 in high latitudes, 2 covered with feathers in Chinese Lagerstätten, and recently 3 fossilized in a death pose identical to an avian sleeping posture.A origem da endotermia nas aves é uma questão há muito discutida e sua resposta não pode ser encontrada através de observações superficiais. Caracteres oológicos e reprodutivos surgiram como uma nova fonte de dados relevantes tanto para análises filogenéticas quanto para inferências paleobiológicas dos dinossauros Saurischia. Além disso, as observações das tendências evolutivas reprodutivas e oológicas nos dinossauros Saurischia nos levam a inferir que não apenas, como anteriormente a termofisiologia deste grupo de dinossauros tornou-se progressivamente ornítica, mas um posterior reexame nos permitiu concluir que os deinonicossauros, representados aqui por dois troodontídeos e um dromeossaurídeo, provavelmente já haviam desenvolvido uma endotermia semelhante a das aves, anterior, portanto, ao seu surgimento. Estes resultados baseados em características reprodutivas são independentemente corroborados pela descoberta dos dinossauros troodontídeos 1 em altas

  3. The integument of Psittacosaurus from Liaoning Province, China: taphonomy, epidermal patterns and color of a ceratopsian dinosaur

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten; Plodowski, Gerhard

    2010-05-01

    Preserved skin of small dinosaurs is rare. Here, a specimen of the ceratopsian dinosaur, Psittacosaurus, presents some of the best preserved epidermal scales observed to date in a relatively small dinosaur, over wide areas extending from the head to the tail. We study the preserved epidermis of SMF R 4970, the different types of scales, color, and patterns, and their respective locations in the body. We use modern application of high-power digital imaging for close-up analysis of the tubercles and fragments of preserved color. Three types of scales are preserved, large plate-like scales, smaller polygonal scales or tubercles, and round pebble-like scales. The sizes of the plate-like scales vary in different parts of the body and vanish altogether posteriorly. Light and dark cryptic patterns are created by the associations of the tubercle and plate-like scales, and there is also evidence of countershading in the proximal caudal region, the body darker dorsally and lighter ventrally. Perhaps most impressive are the distinctive pigmented impressions of scales over most of the skeletal elements. The pigmentation follows the curvature of the bones implying that when it was deposited, the skin was still pliable and able to wrap around the visible parts of the elements. The present record of color is the first in a non-theropod dinosaur and only the second record in a non-avian dinosaur. Because of its resistance to degradation and ability to produce various color tones from yellows to blacks, we suggest that melanin was the dominant chemical involved in the coloration of Psittacosaurus. The data here enable us to reconstruct the colors of Psittacosaurus as predominantly black and amber/brown, in cryptic patterns, somewhat dull, but useful to a prey animal. Indeed, skin pigment within a partially degraded bone indicates that Psittacosaurus was scavenged shortly after death. The theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx has recently been reported to have naturally pigmented

  4. The Tendaguru Formation (Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, southern Tanzania: definition, palaeoenvironments, and sequence stratigraphy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Bussert

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available The well-known Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous Tendaguru Beds of southern Tanzania have yielded fossil plant remains, invertebrates and vertebrates, notably dinosaurs, of exceptional scientific importance. Based on data of the German-Tanzanian Tendaguru Expedition 2000 and previous studies, and in accordance with the international stratigraphic guide, we raise the Tendaguru Beds to formational rank and recognise six members (from bottom to top: Lower Dinosaur Member, Nerinella Member, Middle Dinosaur Member, Indotrigonia africana Member, Upper Dinosaur Member, and Rutitrigonia bornhardti-schwarzi Member. We characterise and discuss each member in detail in terms of derivation of name, definition of a type section, distribution, thickness, lithofacies, boundaries, palaeontology, and age. The age of the whole formation apparently ranges at least from the middle Oxfordian to the Valanginian through Hauterivian or possibly Aptian. The Tendaguru Formation constitutes a cyclic sedimentary succession, consisting of three marginal marine, sandstone-dominated depositional units and three predominantly coastal to tidal plain, fine-grained depositional units with dinosaur remains. It represents four third-order sequences, which are composed of transgressive and highstand systems tracts. Sequence boundaries are represented by transgressive ravinement surfaces and maximum flooding surfaces. In a more simple way, the depositional sequences can be subdivided into transgressive and regressive sequences/systems tracts. Whereas the transgressive systems tracts are mainly represented by shallow marine shoreface, tidal channel and sand bar sandstones, the regressive systems tracts predominantly consist of shallow tidal channel, tidal flat, and marginal lagoonal to supratidal deposits. doi:10.1002/mmng.200900004

  5. A hyper-robust sauropodomorph dinosaur ilium from the Upper Triassic-Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa: Implications for the functional diversity of basal Sauropodomorpha

    Science.gov (United States)

    McPhee, Blair W.; Choiniere, Jonah N.

    2016-11-01

    It has generally been held that the locomotory habits of sauropodomorph dinosaurs moved in a relatively linear evolutionary progression from bipedal through "semi-bipedal" to the fully quadrupedal gait of Sauropoda. However, there is now a growing appreciation of the range of locomotory strategies practiced amongst contemporaneous taxa of the latest Triassic and earliest Jurassic. Here we present on the anatomy of a hyper-robust basal sauropodomorph ilium from the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa. This element, in addition to highlighting the unexpected range of bauplan diversity throughout basal Sauropodomorpha, also has implications for our understanding of the relevance of "robusticity" to sauropodomorph evolution beyond generalized limb scaling relationships. Possibly representing a unique form of hindlimb stabilization during phases of bipedal locomotion, the autapomorphic morphology of this newly rediscovered ilium provides additional insight into the myriad ways in which basal Sauropodomorpha managed the inherited behavioural and biomechanical challenges of increasing body-size, hyper-herbivory, and a forelimb primarily adapted for use in a bipedal context.

  6. The chronostratigraphic framework of the South-Pyrenean Maastrichtian succession reappraised: Implications for basin development and end-Cretaceous dinosaur faunal turnover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fondevilla, Víctor; Dinarès-Turell, Jaume; Oms, Oriol

    2016-05-01

    The evolution of the end-Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems and faunas outside of North America is largely restricted to the European Archipelago. The information scattered in this last area can only be integrated in a chronostratigraphic framework on the basis of robust age constraints and stratigraphy. Therefore, we have revisited the puzzling age calibration of the sedimentary infilling from the Isona sector in the Tremp syncline (South-Central Pyrenees), an area renowned for its rich Maastrichtian dinosaur fossil record. Aiming to shed light to existing controversial age determinations, we carried out a new magnetostratigraphic study along the ~ 420 m long Orcau and Nerets sections of that area. Our results reveal that most of the succession correlates to the early Maastrichtian (mostly chron C31r) in accordance to ages proposed by recent planktonic foraminifera biostratigraphy. The resulting chronostratigraphic framework of the entire Maastrichtian basin recorded in the Tremp syncline shows that a significant sedimentary hiatus of about 3 My characterizes most of the late Maastrichtian in the study area. This hiatus, related to an abrupt migration of the basin depocenter, is temporally close to similar hiatuses, decreases in sedimentary rates and facies shifts recorded in other southwestern European areas. The present chronologic framework sets the basis for a thorough assessment of end-Cretaceous terrestrial faunal turnover and extinction patterns, and the establishment of a more rigorous Pyrenean basin evolution analysis.

  7. Charonosaurus jiayinensis n.g., n.sp.,a lambeosaurine dinosaur from the Late Maastrichtian of northeastern ChinaCharonosaurus jiayinensis n.g., n.sp., un dinosaure lambéosauriné du Maastrichtien supérieur du Nord-Est de la Chine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godefroit, Pascal; Zan, Shuqin; Jin, Liyong

    2000-06-01

    Large bonebeds have been excavated in the Late Maastrichian Yuliangze Formation near Jiayin (Heilongjang Province, northeastern China). The greatest part of the discovered fossils belong to a new lambeosaurine dinosaur, Charonosaurus jiayinensis n.g., n.sp. Phylogenetic analysis, based on 33 cranial, dental and postcranial characters, indicates that this new taxon may be closer to Parasaurolophus than any other known Lambeosaurinae. The Late Maastrichtian dinosaur faunas currently known in northeastern Asia are dominated by Lambeosaurinae, although these dinosaurs are not represented any more in synchronous North American and European localities.

  8. A gigantic, exceptionally complete titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from southern Patagonia, Argentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacovara, Kenneth J; Lamanna, Matthew C; Ibiricu, Lucio M; Poole, Jason C; Schroeter, Elena R; Ullmann, Paul V; Voegele, Kristyn K; Boles, Zachary M; Carter, Aja M; Fowler, Emma K; Egerton, Victoria M; Moyer, Alison E; Coughenour, Christopher L; Schein, Jason P; Harris, Jerald D; Martínez, Rubén D; Novas, Fernando E

    2014-09-04

    Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs were the most diverse and abundant large-bodied herbivores in the southern continents during the final 30 million years of the Mesozoic Era. Several titanosaur species are regarded as the most massive land-living animals yet discovered; nevertheless, nearly all of these giant titanosaurs are known only from very incomplete fossils, hindering a detailed understanding of their anatomy. Here we describe a new and gigantic titanosaur, Dreadnoughtus schrani, from Upper Cretaceous sediments in southern Patagonia, Argentina. Represented by approximately 70% of the postcranial skeleton, plus craniodental remains, Dreadnoughtus is the most complete giant titanosaur yet discovered, and provides new insight into the morphology and evolutionary history of these colossal animals. Furthermore, despite its estimated mass of about 59.3 metric tons, the bone histology of the Dreadnoughtus type specimen reveals that this individual was still growing at the time of death.

  9. Fibres and cellular structures preserved in 75-million-year-old dinosaur specimens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bertazzo, Sergio; Maidment, Susannah C R; Kallepitis, Charalambos; Fearn, Sarah; Stevens, Molly M; Xie, Hai-nan

    2015-06-09

    Exceptionally preserved organic remains are known throughout the vertebrate fossil record, and recently, evidence has emerged that such soft tissue might contain original components. We examined samples from eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones using nano-analytical techniques; the bones are not exceptionally preserved and show no external indication of soft tissue. In one sample, we observe structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains displaying ∼ 67 nm banding, indicating the possible preservation of the original quaternary structure. Using ToF-SIMS, we identify amino-acid fragments typical of collagen fibrils. Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood. Using advanced material characterization approaches, we find that these putative biological structures can be well preserved over geological timescales, and their preservation is more common than previously thought. The preservation of protein over geological timescales offers the opportunity to investigate relationships, physiology and behaviour of long extinct animals.

  10. New evidence of shared dinosaur across Upper Jurassic Proto-North Atlantic: Stegosaurus from Portugal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escaso, Fernando; Ortega, Francisco; Dantas, Pedro; Malafaia, Elisabete; Pimentel, Nuno L.; Pereda-Suberbiola, Xabier; Sanz, José Luis; Kullberg, José Carlos; Kullberg, María Carla; Barriga, Fernando

    2007-05-01

    More than one century after its original description by Marsh in 1877, we report in this paper the first uncontroversial evidence of a member of the genus Stegosaurus out of North America. The specimen consists of a partial skeleton from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal, herein considered as Stegosaurus cf. ungulatus. The presence of this plated dinosaur in the upper Kimmeridgian-lower Tithonian Portuguese record and synchronic levels of the Morrison Formation of North America reinforces previous hypothesis of a close relationship between these two areas during the Late Jurassic. This relationship is also supported by geotectonic evidences indicating high probability of an episodic corridor between the Newfoundland and Iberian landmasses. Together, Portuguese Stegosaurus discovery and geotectonic inferences could provide a scenario with episodical faunal contact among North Atlantic landmasses during the uppermost Kimmeridgian-lowermost Tithonian (ca. 148-153 Ma ago).

  11. Diets of giants: the nutritional value of herbivorous dinosaur diet during the Mesozoic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gill, Fiona; Hummel, Juergen; Sharifi, Reza; Lee, Alexandra; Lomax, Barry

    2017-04-01

    A major uncertainty in estimating energy budgets and population densities of extinct animals is the carrying capacity of their ecosystems, constrained by net primary productivity (NPP) and digestible energy content of that NPP. The hypothesis that increases in NPP of land plants due to elevated atmospheric CO2 contributed to the unparalleled size of the sauropods, the largest ever land animals, has recently been rejected, based on modern studies on herbivorous insects. However, the nutritional value of plants grown under elevated CO2 levels might be very different for vertebrate megaherbivores with more complex digestive systems and different protein:energy requirements than insects. Here we show that the metabolisable energy (ME) value of five species of potential dinosaur food plants does not decline consistently with increasing CO2 growth concentrations, with maxima observed at 1200 ppm CO2. Our data potentially rebut the hypothesis of constraints on herbivore diet quality in the Mesozoic due to CO2 levels.

  12. Two astroblems in Ukraine - witnesses of the last days of dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidmachenko, A. P.

    2017-05-01

    Moor then 65 million years ago an asteroid with a few kilometers in size with mass of 1 trillion tons created a crater Chicxulub with a diameter of 170 km on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Then the dinosaurs died out. The largest of Ukrainian astroblems is Manevichska, located in Volyn region. It has a diameter of 45 km and occurred about 65 million years ago too. In the central part of Ukraine on the border of Kirovograd and Cherkassy regions, there is Boltyshka astrobleme. The crater has diameter 25 km and depth of more than 1 km. Boltyshka crater also appeared more than 65 million years ago. These dating of the occurrence of astroblems indicates the close age of these two craters with formation of Chicxulub. If almost coinciding formation time of two or more impact structures, it is significantly increases the effect of impact on the environment and living beings.

  13. Tyrant dinosaur evolution tracks the rise and fall of Late Cretaceous oceans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loewen, Mark A; Irmis, Randall B; Sertich, Joseph J W; Currie, Philip J; Sampson, Scott D

    2013-01-01

    The Late Cretaceous (∼95-66 million years ago) western North American landmass of Laramidia displayed heightened non-marine vertebrate diversity and intracontinental regionalism relative to other latest Cretaceous Laurasian ecosystems. Processes generating these patterns during this interval remain poorly understood despite their presumed role in the diversification of many clades. Tyrannosauridae, a clade of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs restricted to the Late Cretaceous of Laramidia and Asia, represents an ideal group for investigating Laramidian patterns of evolution. We use new tyrannosaurid discoveries from Utah--including a new taxon which represents the geologically oldest member of the clade--to investigate the evolution and biogeography of Tyrannosauridae. These data suggest a Laramidian origin for Tyrannosauridae, and implicate sea-level related controls in the isolation, diversification, and dispersal of this and many other Late Cretaceous vertebrate clades.

  14. Developmental and evolutionary novelty in the serrated teeth of theropod dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brink, K S; Reisz, R R; LeBlanc, A R H; Chang, R S; Lee, Y C; Chiang, C C; Huang, T; Evans, D C

    2015-07-28

    Tooth morphology and development can provide valuable insights into the feeding behaviour and evolution of extinct organisms. The teeth of Theropoda, the only clade of predominantly predatory dinosaurs, are characterized by ziphodonty, the presence of serrations (denticles) on their cutting edges. Known today only in varanid lizards, ziphodonty is much more pervasive in the fossil record. Here we present the first model for the development of ziphodont teeth in theropods through histological, SEM, and SR-FTIR analyses, revealing that structures previously hypothesized to prevent tooth breakage instead first evolved to shape and maintain the characteristic denticles through the life of the tooth. We show that this novel complex of dental morphology and tissues characterizes Theropoda, with the exception of species with modified feeding behaviours, suggesting that these characters are important for facilitating the hypercarnivorous diet of most theropods. This adaptation may have played an important role in the initial radiation and subsequent success of theropods as terrestrial apex predators.

  15. Tyrant dinosaur evolution tracks the rise and fall of Late Cretaceous oceans.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark A Loewen

    Full Text Available The Late Cretaceous (∼95-66 million years ago western North American landmass of Laramidia displayed heightened non-marine vertebrate diversity and intracontinental regionalism relative to other latest Cretaceous Laurasian ecosystems. Processes generating these patterns during this interval remain poorly understood despite their presumed role in the diversification of many clades. Tyrannosauridae, a clade of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs restricted to the Late Cretaceous of Laramidia and Asia, represents an ideal group for investigating Laramidian patterns of evolution. We use new tyrannosaurid discoveries from Utah--including a new taxon which represents the geologically oldest member of the clade--to investigate the evolution and biogeography of Tyrannosauridae. These data suggest a Laramidian origin for Tyrannosauridae, and implicate sea-level related controls in the isolation, diversification, and dispersal of this and many other Late Cretaceous vertebrate clades.

  16. Spectroscopic Analysis of a Theropod Dinosaur (Reptilia, Archosauria from the Ipubi Formation, Araripe Basin, Northeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    João Hermínio da Silva

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The Araripe Sedimentary Basin is known by the excellence of its fossils, regarding the preservation, diversity, and quantity. Here, we present a spectroscopic analysis using several experimental techniques (X-ray energy dispersion spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy as well as X-ray diffraction and thermogravimetric analysis applied in small fragments of bones from the posterior members of a theropod dinosaur. The results agree regarding the different composition of the stone matrix and the fossilized bone, indicating a partial substitution of the material by elements present in the depositional environment. However, differently from what is believed to occur, there is evidence that pyritization is not the only mechanism of fossilization for a specimen of Ipubi formation, but calcification, additionally, plays an important role in the fossil production of this Formation.

  17. Seasonal bone growth and physiology in endotherms shed light on dinosaur physiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Köhler, Meike; Marín-Moratalla, Nekane; Jordana, Xavier; Aanes, Ronny

    2012-07-19

    Cyclical growth leaves marks in bone tissue that are in the forefront of discussions about physiologies of extinct vertebrates. Ectotherms show pronounced annual cycles of growth arrest that correlate with a decrease in body temperature and metabolic rate; endotherms are assumed to grow continuously until they attain maturity because of their constant high body temperature and sustained metabolic rate. This apparent dichotomy has driven the argument that zonal bone denotes ectotherm-like physiologies, thus fuelling the controversy on dinosaur thermophysiology and the evolution of endothermy in birds and mammal-like reptiles. Here we show, from a comprehensive global study of wild ruminants from tropical to polar environments, that cyclical growth is a universal trait of homoeothermic endotherms. Growth is arrested during the unfavourable season concurrently with decreases in body temperature, metabolic rate and bone-growth-mediating plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, forming part of a plesiomorphic thermometabolic strategy for energy conservation. Conversely, bouts of intense tissue growth coincide with peak metabolic rates and correlated hormonal changes at the beginning of the favourable season, indicating an increased efficiency in acquiring and using seasonal resources. Our study supplies the strongest evidence so far that homeothermic endotherms arrest growth seasonally, which precludes the use of lines of arrested growth as an argument in support of ectothermy. However, high growth rates are a distinctive trait of mammals, suggesting the capacity for endogenous heat generation. The ruminant annual cycle provides an extant model on which to base inferences regarding the thermophysiology of dinosaurs and other extinct taxa.

  18. Dinosaur bone beds and mass mortality: Implications for the K-T extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carpenter, Kenneth

    1988-01-01

    Mass accumulations of fossilized large terrestrial vertebrate skeletons (bone beds: BB) provide a test for K-T catastrophic extinction hypotheses. The two major factors contributing to BB formation are mode of death and sedimentation rate. Catastrophic mass mortality (CMM) is the sudden death of numerous individuals where species, age, health, gender, or social ranking offer no survivorship advantage. Noncatastrophic mass mortality (NCMM) occurs over time and is strongly influenced by species, age, or gender. In addition to cause of death, sedimentation rate is also important in BB formation. Models of BBs can be made. The CMM drops all individuals in their tracks, therefore, the BB should reflect the living population with respect to species, age, or gender. The NCMM results in monospecific BBs skewed in the direction of the less fit, usually the very young or very old, or towards a specific gender. The NCMM and AM BBs may become more similar the more spread out over time NCMM deaths occur because carcasses are widely scattered requiring hydraulic accumulation, and the greater time allows for more disarticulation and weathering. The CMM and NCMM BB appear to be dominated by social animals. Applying this and the characteristics of mortality patterns to the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation indicates that only NCMM and AM BB occur. Furthermore, NCMM BB are rare in the upper third of the Hell Creek. Near the K-T boundary, only AM BB are known. The absence of CMM and NCMM BB appears to be real reflecting a decrease in population levels of some dinosaurs prior to the K-T event. The absence of CMM suggests that the K-T event did not lead to an instantaneous extinction of dinosaurs. Nor was there a protracted die-off due to an asteroid impact winter, because no NCMM BB are known at or near the K-T boundary.

  19. Multivariate Analyses of Small Theropod Dinosaur Teeth and Implications for Paleoecological Turnover through Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Derek W.; Currie, Philip J.

    2013-01-01

    Isolated small theropod teeth are abundant in vertebrate microfossil assemblages, and are frequently used in studies of species diversity in ancient ecosystems. However, determining the taxonomic affinities of these teeth is problematic due to an absence of associated diagnostic skeletal material. Species such as Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Richardoestesia gilmorei, and Saurornitholestes langstoni are known from skeletal remains that have been recovered exclusively from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Campanian). It is therefore likely that teeth from different formations widely disparate in age or geographic position are not referable to these species. Tooth taxa without any associated skeletal material, such as Paronychodon lacustris and Richardoestesia isosceles, have also been identified from multiple localities of disparate ages throughout the Late Cretaceous. To address this problem, a dataset of measurements of 1183 small theropod teeth (the most specimen-rich theropod tooth dataset ever constructed) from North America ranging in age from Santonian through Maastrichtian were analyzed using multivariate statistical methods: canonical variate analysis, pairwise discriminant function analysis, and multivariate analysis of variance. The results indicate that teeth referred to the same taxon from different formations are often quantitatively distinct. In contrast, isolated teeth found in time equivalent formations are not quantitatively distinguishable from each other. These results support the hypothesis that small theropod taxa, like other dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous, tend to be exclusive to discrete host formations. The methods outlined have great potential for future studies of isolated teeth worldwide, and may be the most useful non-destructive technique known of extracting the most data possible from isolated and fragmentary specimens. The ability to accurately assess species diversity and turnover through time based on isolated teeth will help illuminate

  20. A new Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystem from Gondwana with the description of a new sauropod dinosaur

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge O. Calvo

    2007-09-01

    Full Text Available A unique site at the northern area of Patagonia (Neuquén, Argentina reveals a terrestrial ecosystem preserved in a detail never reported before in a Late Cretaceous deposit. An extraordinary diversity and abundance of fossils was found concentrated in a 0.5 m horizon in the same quarry, including a new titanosaur sauropod, Futalognkosaurus dukei n.gen., n.sp, which is the most complete giant dinosaur known so far. Several plant leaves, showing a predominance of angiosperms over gymnosperms that likely constituted the diet of F. dukei were found too. Other dinosaurs (sauropods, theropods, ornithopods, crocodylomorphs, pterosaurs, and fishes were also discovered, allowing a partial reconstruction of this Gondwanan continental ecosystem.Um depósito fóssil na região norte da Patagônia (Neuquén, Argentina revela um ecossistema nunca antes registrado a este nível de detalhes em depósitos do Cretáceo Superior. Uma diversidade e abundância extraordinária de fósseis encontra-se concentrada em uma camada de 0,5 m no mesmo sítio, incluindo um novo saurópodo titanossaurídeo, Futalognkosaurus dukei n. gen, n. sp., que é o mais completo dinossauro gigante encontrado até a presente data. Foram descobertas váriasfolhas de plantas indicando a predominância de angiospermas sobre gimnospermas que possivelmente formavam a base da dieta de F. dukei. Outros dinossauros (saurópodes, terópodes, ornitópodes, crocodilomorfos, pterossauros e peixes foram também encontrados possibilitando a reconstrução parcialdeste ecossistema continental do Gondwana.

  1. Clavicles, interclavicles, gastralia, and sternal ribs in sauropod dinosaurs: new reports from diplodocidae and their morphological, functional and evolutionary implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tschopp, Emanuel; Mateus, Octávio

    2013-03-01

    Ossified gastralia, clavicles and sternal ribs are known in a variety of reptilians, including dinosaurs. In sauropods, however, the identity of these bones is controversial. The peculiar shapes of these bones complicate their identification, which led to various differing interpretations in the past. Here we describe different elements from the chest region of diplodocids, found near Shell, Wyoming, USA. Five morphotypes are easily distinguishable: (A) elongated, relatively stout, curved elements with a spatulate and a bifurcate end resemble much the previously reported sauropod clavicles, but might actually represent interclavicles; (B) short, L-shaped elements, mostly preserved as a symmetrical pair, probably are the real clavicles, as indicated by new findings in diplodocids; (C) slender, rod-like bones with rugose ends are highly similar to elements identified as sauropod sternal ribs; (D) curved bones with wide, probably medial ends constitute the fourth morphotype, herein interpreted as gastralia; and (E) irregularly shaped elements, often with extended rugosities, are included into the fifth morphotype, tentatively identified as sternal ribs and/or intercostal elements. To our knowledge, the bones previously interpreted as sauropod clavicles were always found as single bones, which sheds doubt on the validity of their identification. Various lines of evidence presented herein suggest they might actually be interclavicles - which are single elements. This would be the first definitive evidence of interclavicles in dinosauromorphs. Previously supposed interclavicles in the early sauropodomorph Massospondylus or the theropods Oviraptor and Velociraptor were later reinterpreted as clavicles or furculae. Independent from their identification, the existence of the reported bones has both phylogenetic and functional significance. Their presence in non-neosauropod Eusauropoda and Flagellicaudata and probable absence in rebbachisaurs and Titanosauriformes shows a

  2. Découverte de pistes de dinosaures théropodes dans le Lias inférieur des environs de Figeac (Lot)First record of theropod dinosaur trackways from the Lower Jurassic of Figeac (Lot, France).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange-Badré, Brigitte; Lafon, Jean-Paul

    2000-03-01

    For the first time, dinosaur trackways were recorded from the Lower Jurassic near Figeac (Lot, France). All the footprints were tridactyl and were made clearly by animals walking bipedally, probably theropods. These prints, with a longer length than width, have broad and short digits with phalangeal pads and small claws. They are assigned to the ichnogenus Eubrontes. The footprints exposed on limestone hardground, overlying the Latest Hettangian dolomies, are dated to Lower Sinemurian.

  3. Didactyl tracks of paravian theropods (Maniraptora from the ?Middle Jurassic of Africa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander Mudroch

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: A new dinosaur tracksite from ?Middle Jurassic sediments of the Irhazer Group on the plains of Agadez (Rep. Niger, northwest Africa revealed extraordinarily well preserved didactyl tracks of a digitigrade bipedal trackmaker. The distinct morphology of the pes imprints indicates a theropod trackmaker from a paravian maniraptoran closely related to birds. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The early age and the morphological traits of the tracks allow for description of the new ichnotaxon Paravipus didactyloides. A total of 120 tracks are assigned to 5 individual trackways. The 'medium-sized' tracks with an average footprint length of 27.5 cm and footprint width of 23.1 cm are deeply imprinted into the track bearing sandstone. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: A comparison with other didactyl tracks gives new insights into the foot morphology of advanced maniraptoran theropods and contributes to knowledge of their evolutionary history. The new ichnotaxon takes an important position in the ichnological fossil record of Gondwana and the mid-Jurassic biota worldwide, because it is among the earliest known records of paravian maniraptorans and of didactyl theropod tracks from Africa.

  4. Dinosaur body temperatures determined from isotopic (¹³C-¹⁸O) ordering in fossil biominerals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eagle, Robert A; Tütken, Thomas; Martin, Taylor S; Tripati, Aradhna K; Fricke, Henry C; Connely, Melissa; Cifelli, Richard L; Eiler, John M

    2011-07-22

    The nature of the physiology and thermal regulation of the nonavian dinosaurs is the subject of debate. Previously, arguments have been made for both endothermic and ectothermic metabolisms on the basis of differing methodologies. We used clumped isotope thermometry to determine body temperatures from the fossilized teeth of large Jurassic sauropods. Our data indicate body temperatures of 36° to 38°C, which are similar to those of most modern mammals. This temperature range is 4° to 7°C lower than predicted by a model that showed scaling of dinosaur body temperature with mass, which could indicate that sauropods had mechanisms to prevent excessively high body temperatures being reached because of their gigantic size.

  5. Testing the Hypothesis of Biofilm as a Source for Soft Tissue and Cell-Like Structures Preserved in Dinosaur Bone.

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    Mary Higby Schweitzer

    Full Text Available Recovery of still-soft tissue structures, including blood vessels and osteocytes, from dinosaur bone after demineralization was reported in 2005 and in subsequent publications. Despite multiple lines of evidence supporting an endogenous source, it was proposed that these structures arose from contamination from biofilm-forming organisms. To test the hypothesis that soft tissue structures result from microbial invasion of the fossil bone, we used two different biofilm-forming microorganisms to inoculate modern bone fragments from which organic components had been removed. We show fundamental morphological, chemical and textural differences between the resultant biofilm structures and those derived from dinosaur bone. The data do not support the hypothesis that biofilm-forming microorganisms are the source of these structures.

  6. Testing the Hypothesis of Biofilm as a Source for Soft Tissue and Cell-Like Structures Preserved in Dinosaur Bone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schweitzer, Mary Higby; Moyer, Alison E; Zheng, Wenxia

    2016-01-01

    Recovery of still-soft tissue structures, including blood vessels and osteocytes, from dinosaur bone after demineralization was reported in 2005 and in subsequent publications. Despite multiple lines of evidence supporting an endogenous source, it was proposed that these structures arose from contamination from biofilm-forming organisms. To test the hypothesis that soft tissue structures result from microbial invasion of the fossil bone, we used two different biofilm-forming microorganisms to inoculate modern bone fragments from which organic components had been removed. We show fundamental morphological, chemical and textural differences between the resultant biofilm structures and those derived from dinosaur bone. The data do not support the hypothesis that biofilm-forming microorganisms are the source of these structures.

  7. The U.S. Ground Combat Presence in Korea: In Defense of U.S. Interests or a Strategic Dinosaur

    Science.gov (United States)

    1983-05-09

    yD2 5?/ THE U.S. GROUND COMBAT PRESENCE IN KOREA : IN DEFENSE OF U.S. INTERESTS OR A STRATEGIC DINOSAUR 00 00 cV31 A tbosis presented to the Faculty...and Subttle) S. TYPE OF REPORT & PERIOD COVERED The U.S. Ground Combat Presence in Korea : In Defense of U.S. Interests or a StrategicMatrsTei Dinosaur 6...U IT Y C .A S I ic A TrIO H O T1411 ! AG E flW Io. * b at. Ir ’ THE U.S. GROUND COMBAT PRESENCE IN KOREA : IN DEFENSE OF U.S. INTERESTS OR A STRATEGIC

  8. Palaeoenvironmental drivers of vertebrate community composition in the Belly River Group (Campanian) of Alberta, Canada, with implications for dinosaur biogeography.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cullen, Thomas M; Evans, David C

    2016-11-15

    The Belly River Group of southern Alberta is one of the best-sampled Late Cretaceous terrestrial faunal assemblages in the world. This system provides a high-resolution biostratigraphic record of terrestrial vertebrate diversity and faunal turnover, and it has considerable potential to be a model system for testing hypotheses of dinosaur palaeoecological dynamics, including important aspects of palaeoecommunity structure, trophic interactions, and responses to environmental change. Vertebrate fossil microsites (assemblages of small bones and teeth concentrated together over a relatively short time and thought to be representative of community composition) offer an unparalleled dataset to better test these hypotheses by ameliorating problems of sample size, geography, and chronostratigraphic control that hamper other palaeoecological analyses. Here, we assembled a comprehensive relative abundance dataset of microsites sampled from the entire Belly River Group and performed a series of analyses to test the influence of environmental factors on site and taxon clustering, and assess the stability of faunal assemblages both temporally and spatially. We also test the long-held idea that populations of large dinosaur taxa were particularly sensitive to small-scale environmental gradients, such as the paralic (coastal) to alluvial (inland) regimes present within the time-equivalent depositional basin of the upper Oldman and lower Dinosaur Park Formations. Palaeoenvironment (i.e. reconstructed environmental conditions, related to relative amount of alluvial, fluvial, and coastal influence in associated sedimentary strata) was found to be strongly associated with clustering of sites by relative-abundance faunal assemblages, particularly in relation to changes in faunal assemblage composition and marine-terrestrial environmental transitions. Palaeogeography/palaeolandscape were moderately associated to site relative abundance assemblage clustering, with depositional setting

  9. Dinosaur incubation periods directly determined from growth-line counts in embryonic teeth show reptilian-grade development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Gregory M.; Zelenitsky, Darla K.; Kay, David Ian; Norell, Mark A.

    2017-01-01

    Birds stand out from other egg-laying amniotes by producing relatively small numbers of large eggs with very short incubation periods (average 11–85 d). This aspect promotes high survivorship by limiting exposure to predation and environmental perturbation, allows for larger more fit young, and facilitates rapid attainment of adult size. Birds are living dinosaurs; their rapid development has been considered to reflect the primitive dinosaurian condition. Here, nonavian dinosaurian incubation periods in both small and large ornithischian taxa are empirically determined through growth-line counts in embryonic teeth. Our results show unexpectedly slow incubation (2.8 and 5.8 mo) like those of outgroup reptiles. Developmental and physiological constraints would have rendered tooth formation and incubation inherently slow in other dinosaur lineages and basal birds. The capacity to determine incubation periods in extinct egg-laying amniotes has implications for dinosaurian embryology, life history strategies, and survivorship across the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction event. PMID:28049837

  10. Dongbeititan dongi, the First Sauropod Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group of Western Liaoning Province, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    We herein describe a partial postcranial skeleton of a sauropod dinosaur recovered from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group in the Beipiao area of western Liaoning Province, northeastern China.A suite of features it possesses, including the camellate internal structure of its presacral elements, the existence of pneumatocoels on the proximal ends of the dorsal ribs, and especially the medially deflected proximal portion of the femur, definitively establish the titanosauriform affinities of the specimen. It differs from other titanosauriforms in having a craniocaudally elongate coracoid with a squared cranioventral extreme and a long, smooth, and slightly convex acetabular edge of the pubis. It represents a new taxon, Dongbeititan dongi gen. et sp. nov. Comparative studies suggest that Dongbeititan is a basal titanosauriform, more derived than Euhelopus, Fusuisaurus, and Huanghetitan,but less derived than Gobititan and Jiutaisaurus. Dongbeititan represents the first sauropod dinosaur reported from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group of western Liaoning Province.

  11. Polar and K/Pg nonavian dinosaurs were low-metabolic rate reptiles vulnerable to cold-induced extinction, rather than more survivable tachyenergetic bird relatives: comment on an obsolete hypothesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, Gregory

    2017-06-01

    The great majority of researchers concur that the presence of dinosaurs near the poles of their time are part of a large body of evidence that all Cretaceous dinosaurs had elevated metabolic rates more like their avian subbranch and mammals than low-energy reptiles. Yet a few still propose that nonavian dinosaurs were bradyenergetic ectothermic reptiles, and migrated away from the polar winters. The latter is not biologically possible because land animals cannot and never undertake very long seasonal migrations because the cost of ground locomotion is too high even for long limbed, tachyenergetic mammals to do so, much less low-energy reptiles. Nor was it geographically possible because marine barriers barred some polar dinosaurs from moving towards the winter sun. The presence of external insulation on some dinosaurs both strongly supports their being tachyenergetic endotherms and helps explain their ability to survive polar winters that included extended dark, chilling rains, sharp frosts, and blizzards so antagonistic to reptiles that the latter are absent from some locations that preserve dinosaurs including birds and mammals. The hypothesis that nonavian dinosaurs failed to survive the K/Pg crisis because they had reptilian energetics is illogical not only because they did not have such metabolisms, but because many low-energy reptiles did survive the crisis. The global super chill that apparently plagued K/Pg dinosaurs should have seriously impacted dinosaurs at all latitudes, but does not entirely readily explain their loss because some avian dinosaurs and other land tetrapods did survive. High- as well as low-latitude dinosaurs add to the growing evidence that high-energy endothermy has been a common adaptation in a wide variety of vertebrates and flying insects since the late Paleozoic.

  12. Geometric morphometric analysis of intratrackway variability: a case study on theropod and ornithopod dinosaur trackways from Münchehagen (Lower Cretaceous, Germany)

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Heteren, Anneke H.; Wings, Oliver

    2016-01-01

    A profound understanding of the influence of trackmaker anatomy, foot movements and substrate properties is crucial for any interpretation of fossil tracks. In this case study we analyze variability of footprint shape within one large theropod (T3), one medium-sized theropod (T2) and one ornithopod (I1) trackway from the Lower Cretaceous of Münchehagen (Lower Saxony, Germany) in order to determine the informativeness of individual features and measurements for ichnotaxonomy, trackmaker identification, and the discrimination between left and right footprints. Landmark analysis is employed based on interpretative outline drawings derived from photogrammetric data, allowing for the location of variability within the footprint and the assessment of covariation of separate footprint parts. Objective methods to define the margins of a footprint are tested and shown to be sufficiently accurate to reproduce the most important results. The lateral hypex and the heel are the most variable regions in the two theropod trackways. As indicated by principal component analysis, a posterior shift of the lateral hypex is correlated with an anterior shift of the margin of the heel. This pattern is less pronounced in the ornithopod trackway, indicating that variation patterns can differ in separate trackways. In all trackways, hypices vary independently from each other, suggesting that their relative position a questionable feature for ichnotaxonomic purposes. Most criteria commonly employed to differentiate between left and right footprints assigned to theropods are found to be reasonably reliable. The described ornithopod footprints are asymmetrical, again allowing for a left–right differentiation. Strikingly, 12 out of 19 measured footprints of the T2 trackway are stepped over the trackway midline, rendering the trackway pattern a misleading left–right criterion for this trackway. Traditional measurements were unable to differentiate between the theropod and the ornithopod

  13. A new long-necked ‘sauropod-mimic’ stegosaur and the evolution of the plated dinosaurs

    OpenAIRE

    Mateus, Octávio; Maidment, Susannah C. R.; Christiansen, Nicolai A.

    2009-01-01

    Stegosaurian dinosaurs have a quadrupedal stance, short forelimbs, short necks, and are generally considered to be low browsers. A new stegosaur, Miragaia longicollum gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Jurassic of Portugal, has a neck comprising at least 17 cervical vertebrae. This is eight additional cervical vertebrae when compared with the ancestral condition seen in basal ornithischians such as Scutellosaurus. Miragaia has a higher cervical count than most of the iconically long-necked sauro...

  14. Euoplocephalus tutus and the diversity of ankylosaurid dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada, and Montana, USA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Victoria M Arbour

    Full Text Available Few ankylosaurs are known from more than a single specimen, but the ankylosaurid Euoplocephalus tutus (from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada and Montana, USA is represented by dozens of skulls and partial skeletons, and is therefore an important taxon for understanding intraspecific variation in ankylosaurs. Euoplocephalus is unusual compared to other dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta because it is recognized from the Dinosaur Park, Horseshoe Canyon, and Two Medicine formations. A comprehensive review of material attributed to Euoplocephalus finds support for the resurrection of its purported synonyms Anodontosaurus lambei and Scolosaurus cutleri, and the previously resurrected Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus. Anodontosaurus is found primarily in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta and is characterized by ornamentation posterior to the orbits and on the first cervical half ring, and wide, triangular knob osteoderms. Euoplocephalus is primarily found in Megaherbivore Assemblage Zone 1 in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta and is characterized by the absence of ornamentation posterior to the orbits and on the first cervical half ring, and keeled medial osteoderms on the first cervical half ring. Scolosaurus is found primarily in the Two Medicine Formation of Montana (although the holotype is from Dinosaur Provincial Park, and is characterized by long, back-swept squamosal horns, ornamentation posterior to the orbit, and low medial osteoderms on the first cervical half ring; Oohkotokia horneri is morphologically indistinguishable from Scolosaurus cutleri. Dyoplosaurus was previously differentiated from Euoplocephalus sensu lato by the morphology of the pelvis and pes, and these features also differentiate Dyoplosaurus from Anodontosaurus and Scolosaurus; a narrow tail club knob is probably also characteristic for Dyoplosaurus.

  15. Euoplocephalus tutus and the diversity of ankylosaurid dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada, and Montana, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arbour, Victoria M; Currie, Philip J

    2013-01-01

    Few ankylosaurs are known from more than a single specimen, but the ankylosaurid Euoplocephalus tutus (from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada and Montana, USA) is represented by dozens of skulls and partial skeletons, and is therefore an important taxon for understanding intraspecific variation in ankylosaurs. Euoplocephalus is unusual compared to other dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta because it is recognized from the Dinosaur Park, Horseshoe Canyon, and Two Medicine formations. A comprehensive review of material attributed to Euoplocephalus finds support for the resurrection of its purported synonyms Anodontosaurus lambei and Scolosaurus cutleri, and the previously resurrected Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus. Anodontosaurus is found primarily in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta and is characterized by ornamentation posterior to the orbits and on the first cervical half ring, and wide, triangular knob osteoderms. Euoplocephalus is primarily found in Megaherbivore Assemblage Zone 1 in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta and is characterized by the absence of ornamentation posterior to the orbits and on the first cervical half ring, and keeled medial osteoderms on the first cervical half ring. Scolosaurus is found primarily in the Two Medicine Formation of Montana (although the holotype is from Dinosaur Provincial Park), and is characterized by long, back-swept squamosal horns, ornamentation posterior to the orbit, and low medial osteoderms on the first cervical half ring; Oohkotokia horneri is morphologically indistinguishable from Scolosaurus cutleri. Dyoplosaurus was previously differentiated from Euoplocephalus sensu lato by the morphology of the pelvis and pes, and these features also differentiate Dyoplosaurus from Anodontosaurus and Scolosaurus; a narrow tail club knob is probably also characteristic for Dyoplosaurus.

  16. What lies beneath: sub-articular long bone shape scaling in eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs suggests different locomotor adaptations for gigantism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonnan, Matthew F; Wilhite, D Ray; Masters, Simon L; Yates, Adam M; Gardner, Christine K; Aguiar, Adam

    2013-01-01

    Eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs both evolved lineages of huge terrestrial herbivores. Although significantly more saurischian dinosaurs were giants than eutherians, the long bones of both taxa scale similarly and suggest that locomotion was dynamically similar. However, articular cartilage is thin in eutherian mammals but thick in saurischian dinosaurs, differences that could have contributed to, or limited, how frequently gigantism evolved. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that sub-articular bone, which supports the articular cartilage, changes shape in different ways between terrestrial mammals and dinosaurs with increasing size. Our sample consisted of giant mammal and reptile taxa (i.e., elephants, rhinos, sauropods) plus erect and non-erect outgroups with thin and thick articular cartilage. Our results show that eutherian mammal sub-articular shape becomes narrow with well-defined surface features as size increases. In contrast, this region in saurischian dinosaurs expands and remains gently convex with increasing size. Similar trends were observed in non-erect outgroup taxa (monotremes, alligators), showing that the trends we report are posture-independent. These differences support our hypothesis that sub-articular shape scales differently between eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs. Our results show that articular cartilage thickness and sub-articular shape are correlated. In mammals, joints become ever more congruent and thinner with increasing size, whereas archosaur joints remained both congruent and thick, especially in sauropods. We suggest that gigantism occurs less frequently in mammals, in part, because joints composed of thin articular cartilage can only become so congruent before stress cannot be effectively alleviated. In contrast, frequent gigantism in saurischian dinosaurs may be explained, in part, by joints with thick articular cartilage that can deform across large areas with increasing load.

  17. What lies beneath: sub-articular long bone shape scaling in eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs suggests different locomotor adaptations for gigantism.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew F Bonnan

    Full Text Available Eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs both evolved lineages of huge terrestrial herbivores. Although significantly more saurischian dinosaurs were giants than eutherians, the long bones of both taxa scale similarly and suggest that locomotion was dynamically similar. However, articular cartilage is thin in eutherian mammals but thick in saurischian dinosaurs, differences that could have contributed to, or limited, how frequently gigantism evolved. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that sub-articular bone, which supports the articular cartilage, changes shape in different ways between terrestrial mammals and dinosaurs with increasing size. Our sample consisted of giant mammal and reptile taxa (i.e., elephants, rhinos, sauropods plus erect and non-erect outgroups with thin and thick articular cartilage. Our results show that eutherian mammal sub-articular shape becomes narrow with well-defined surface features as size increases. In contrast, this region in saurischian dinosaurs expands and remains gently convex with increasing size. Similar trends were observed in non-erect outgroup taxa (monotremes, alligators, showing that the trends we report are posture-independent. These differences support our hypothesis that sub-articular shape scales differently between eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs. Our results show that articular cartilage thickness and sub-articular shape are correlated. In mammals, joints become ever more congruent and thinner with increasing size, whereas archosaur joints remained both congruent and thick, especially in sauropods. We suggest that gigantism occurs less frequently in mammals, in part, because joints composed of thin articular cartilage can only become so congruent before stress cannot be effectively alleviated. In contrast, frequent gigantism in saurischian dinosaurs may be explained, in part, by joints with thick articular cartilage that can deform across large areas with increasing load.

  18. Probabilistic divergence time estimation without branch lengths: dating the origins of dinosaurs, avian flight and crown birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    Branch lengths—measured in character changes—are an essential requirement of clock-based divergence estimation, regardless of whether the fossil calibrations used represent nodes or tips. However, a separate set of divergence time approaches are typically used to date palaeontological trees, which may lack such branch lengths. Among these methods, sophisticated probabilistic approaches have recently emerged, in contrast with simpler algorithms relying on minimum node ages. Here, using a novel phylogenetic hypothesis for Mesozoic dinosaurs, we apply two such approaches to estimate divergence times for: (i) Dinosauria, (ii) Avialae (the earliest birds) and (iii) Neornithes (crown birds). We find: (i) the plausibility of a Permian origin for dinosaurs to be dependent on whether Nyasasaurus is the oldest dinosaur, (ii) a Middle to Late Jurassic origin of avian flight regardless of whether Archaeopteryx or Aurornis is considered the first bird and (iii) a Late Cretaceous origin for Neornithes that is broadly congruent with other node- and tip-dating estimates. Demonstrating the feasibility of probabilistic time-scaling further opens up divergence estimation to the rich histories of extinct biodiversity in the fossil record, even in the absence of detailed character data. PMID:28336787

  19. A new long-necked ‘sauropod-mimic’ stegosaur and the evolution of the plated dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mateus, Octávio; Maidment, Susannah C.R.; Christiansen, Nicolai A.

    2009-01-01

    Stegosaurian dinosaurs have a quadrupedal stance, short forelimbs, short necks, and are generally considered to be low browsers. A new stegosaur, Miragaia longicollum gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Jurassic of Portugal, has a neck comprising at least 17 cervical vertebrae. This is eight additional cervical vertebrae when compared with the ancestral condition seen in basal ornithischians such as Scutellosaurus. Miragaia has a higher cervical count than most of the iconically long-necked sauropod dinosaurs. Long neck length has been achieved by ‘cervicalization’ of anterior dorsal vertebrae and probable lengthening of centra. All these anatomical features are evolutionarily convergent with those exhibited in the necks of sauropod dinosaurs. Miragaia longicollum is based upon a partial articulated skeleton, and includes the only known cranial remains from any European stegosaur. A well-resolved phylogeny supports a new clade that unites Miragaia and Dacentrurus as the sister group to Stegosaurus; this new topology challenges the common view of Dacentrurus as a basal stegosaur. PMID:19324778

  20. Record-Breaking Pain: The Largest Number and Variety of Forelimb Bone Maladies in a Theropod Dinosaur.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phil Senter

    Full Text Available Bone abnormalities are common in theropod dinosaur skeletons, but before now no specimen was known with more than four afflicted bones of the pectoral girdle and/or forelimb. Here we describe the pathology of a specimen of the theropod dinosaur Dilophosaurus wetherilli with eight afflicted bones of the pectoral girdle and forelimb. On its left side the animal has a fractured scapula and radius and large fibriscesses in the ulna and the proximal thumb phalanx. On its right side the animal has abnormal torsion of the humeral shaft, bony tumors on the radius, a truncated distal articular surface of metacarpal III, and angular deformities of the first phalanx of the third finger. Healing and remodeling indicates that the animal survived for months and possibly years after its ailments began, but its right third finger was permanently deformed and lacked the capability of flexion. The deformities of the humerus and the right third finger may be due to developmental osteodysplasia, a condition known in extant birds but unreported in non-avian dinosaurs before now.

  1. Record-Breaking Pain: The Largest Number and Variety of Forelimb Bone Maladies in a Theropod Dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Senter, Phil; Juengst, Sara L

    2016-01-01

    Bone abnormalities are common in theropod dinosaur skeletons, but before now no specimen was known with more than four afflicted bones of the pectoral girdle and/or forelimb. Here we describe the pathology of a specimen of the theropod dinosaur Dilophosaurus wetherilli with eight afflicted bones of the pectoral girdle and forelimb. On its left side the animal has a fractured scapula and radius and large fibriscesses in the ulna and the proximal thumb phalanx. On its right side the animal has abnormal torsion of the humeral shaft, bony tumors on the radius, a truncated distal articular surface of metacarpal III, and angular deformities of the first phalanx of the third finger. Healing and remodeling indicates that the animal survived for months and possibly years after its ailments began, but its right third finger was permanently deformed and lacked the capability of flexion. The deformities of the humerus and the right third finger may be due to developmental osteodysplasia, a condition known in extant birds but unreported in non-avian dinosaurs before now.

  2. Evolution and Function of Dinosaur Teeth at Ultramicrostructural Level Revealed Using Synchrotron Transmission X-ray Microscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Chun-Chieh; Song, Yen-Fang; Song, Sheng-Rong; Ji, Qiang; Chiang, Cheng-Cheng; Meng, Qingjin; Li, Haibing; Hsiao, Kiko; Lu, Yi-Chia; Shew, Bor-Yuan; Huang, Timothy; Reisz, Robert R.

    2015-01-01

    The relationship between tooth form and dietary preference is a crucial issue in vertebrate evolution. However, the mechanical properties of a tooth are influenced not only by its shape but also by its internal structure. Here, we use synchrotron transmission X-ray microscopy to examine the internal microstructures of multiple dinosaur teeth within a phylogenetic framework. We found that the internal microstructures of saurischian teeth are very different from advanced ornithischian teeth, reflecting differences in dental developmental strategies. The three-tissue composition (enamel–mantle dentin–bulk dentin) near the dentinoenamel junction (DEJ) in saurischian teeth represents the primitive condition of dinosaur teeth. Mantle dentin, greatly reduced or absent from DEJ in derived ornithischian teeth, is a key difference between Saurischia and Ornithischia. This may be related to the derived herbivorous feeding behavior of ornithischians, but interestingly, it is still retained in the herbivorous saurischian sauropods. The protective functions of mantle dentin with porous microstructures between enamel and bulk dentin inside typical saurischian teeth are also discussed using finite-element analysis method. Evolution of the dental modifications in ornithischian dinosaurs, with the absence of mantle dentin, may be related to changes in enamel characteristics with enamel spindles extending through the DEJ. PMID:26512629

  3. Preliminary analysis of osteocyte lacunar density in long bones of tetrapods: all measures are bigger in sauropod dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stein, Koen W H; Werner, Jan

    2013-01-01

    Osteocytes harbour much potential for paleobiological studies. Synchrotron radiation and spectroscopic analyses are providing fascinating data on osteocyte density, size and orientation in fossil taxa. However, such studies may be costly and time consuming. Here we describe an uncomplicated and inexpensive method to measure osteocyte lacunar densities in bone thin sections. We report on cell lacunar densities in the long bones of various extant and extinct tetrapods, with a focus on sauropodomorph dinosaurs, and how lacunar densities can help us understand bone formation rates in the iconic sauropod dinosaurs. Ordinary least square and phylogenetic generalized least square regressions suggest that sauropodomorphs have lacunar densities higher than scaled up or comparably sized mammals. We also found normal mammalian-like osteocyte densities for the extinct bovid Myotragus, questioning its crocodilian-like physiology. When accounting for body mass effects and phylogeny, growth rates are a main factor determining the density of the lacunocanalicular network. However, functional aspects most likely play an important role as well. Observed differences in cell strategies between mammals and dinosaurs likely illustrate the convergent nature of fast growing bone tissues in these groups.

  4. Preliminary analysis of osteocyte lacunar density in long bones of tetrapods: all measures are bigger in sauropod dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Koen W H Stein

    Full Text Available Osteocytes harbour much potential for paleobiological studies. Synchrotron radiation and spectroscopic analyses are providing fascinating data on osteocyte density, size and orientation in fossil taxa. However, such studies may be costly and time consuming. Here we describe an uncomplicated and inexpensive method to measure osteocyte lacunar densities in bone thin sections. We report on cell lacunar densities in the long bones of various extant and extinct tetrapods, with a focus on sauropodomorph dinosaurs, and how lacunar densities can help us understand bone formation rates in the iconic sauropod dinosaurs. Ordinary least square and phylogenetic generalized least square regressions suggest that sauropodomorphs have lacunar densities higher than scaled up or comparably sized mammals. We also found normal mammalian-like osteocyte densities for the extinct bovid Myotragus, questioning its crocodilian-like physiology. When accounting for body mass effects and phylogeny, growth rates are a main factor determining the density of the lacunocanalicular network. However, functional aspects most likely play an important role as well. Observed differences in cell strategies between mammals and dinosaurs likely illustrate the convergent nature of fast growing bone tissues in these groups.

  5. Evolution and Function of Dinosaur Teeth at Ultramicrostructural Level Revealed Using Synchrotron Transmission X-ray Microscopy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Chun-Chieh; Song, Yen-Fang; Song, Sheng-Rong; Ji, Qiang; Chiang, Cheng-Cheng; Meng, Qingjin; Li, Haibing; Hsiao, Kiko; Lu, Yi-Chia; Shew, Bor-Yuan; Huang, Timothy; Reisz, Robert R

    2015-10-29

    The relationship between tooth form and dietary preference is a crucial issue in vertebrate evolution. However, the mechanical properties of a tooth are influenced not only by its shape but also by its internal structure. Here, we use synchrotron transmission X-ray microscopy to examine the internal microstructures of multiple dinosaur teeth within a phylogenetic framework. We found that the internal microstructures of saurischian teeth are very different from advanced ornithischian teeth, reflecting differences in dental developmental strategies. The three-tissue composition (enamel-mantle dentin-bulk dentin) near the dentinoenamel junction (DEJ) in saurischian teeth represents the primitive condition of dinosaur teeth. Mantle dentin, greatly reduced or absent from DEJ in derived ornithischian teeth, is a key difference between Saurischia and Ornithischia. This may be related to the derived herbivorous feeding behavior of ornithischians, but interestingly, it is still retained in the herbivorous saurischian sauropods. The protective functions of mantle dentin with porous microstructures between enamel and bulk dentin inside typical saurischian teeth are also discussed using finite-element analysis method. Evolution of the dental modifications in ornithischian dinosaurs, with the absence of mantle dentin, may be related to changes in enamel characteristics with enamel spindles extending through the DEJ.

  6. Phylogenetic placement, developmental trajectories and evolutionary implications of a feathered dinosaur tail in Mid-Cretaceous amber.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lambertz, Markus

    2017-03-20

    In a recent report in Current Biology, Xing and colleagues [1] present a small fragment of a vertebrate tail preserved in amber that bears integumentary appendages (DIP-V-15103, Dexu Institute of Paleontology, Chaozhou, China; Figure 1). Following several analyses using cutting-edge technology the authors conclude that: the tail belongs to a non-avian theropod dinosaur (non-avialan according to the authors, but non-avian used synonymously here); the dinosaur most likely was a member of the Coelurosauria, possibly even Maniraptora; and, the integumentary appendages are feathers that support a barbule-first evolutionary pattern for feathers. DIP-V-15103 is indeed an intriguing specimen with potential implications for contributing to understanding the evolution of feathers among dinosaurs, which remains a current and undoubtedly controversial topic [2,3]. However, I would like to raise several concerns about the available evidence for the phylogenetic hypothesis concerning the placement of DIP-V-15103 as concluded by Xing and colleagues [1], and furthermore discuss the developmental trajectories predicted by them in light of their far-reaching evolutionary implications. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Cosmological dinosaurs

    CERN Document Server

    Dubrovich, V K

    2012-01-01

    The hypothesis of existence of primordial black holes with large masses (\\geq 10^6 M\\odot), formed at the earliest stages of the Universe evolution, is considered in the paper. The possibility does not contradict some theories, see e.g. Barkana & Loeb (2001), and may match new observational data. In particular, this scenario of evolution could describe some peculiarities in distant galaxies and quasars. Calculations of evolution of central body mass in protogalaxies for different initial conditions are presented. It is shown that the sufficient rate of BH mass growth is not achieved in the standard scheme without complex additional assumptions. Moreover, the appearance of a primordial black hole in the epoch of primordial nucleosynthesis could significantly change the chemical composition around it. This can lead to different exotic stars with low mass and nonstandart metals enrichment. The proposed scheme is not considered as universal. On the other hand, if only tiny part of existed objects have the con...

  8. Concrete Dinosaurs

    OpenAIRE

    2000-01-01

    Series of printworks using stepladder collages, printed clothes and over printed medical charts. Displayed in the project space at London Print Studio and later at the Cobden Club, London. The works explore the extended use of traditional printmaking processes on new and unconventional surfaces.

  9. 冀西北尚义上侏罗统—下白垩统后城组恐龙足迹新发现及生物古地理意义%New discovery of dinosaur footprints in the Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Houcheng Formation at Shangyi,northwestern Hebei Province and its biogeographical implications

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    柳永清; 旷红伟; 彭楠; 许欢; 陈军; 徐加林; 刘海; 章朋

    2012-01-01

    from the Tuchengzi/Houcheng Formation in northern areas of North China suggest that vertebrate of dinosaur mainly was the survival in the transitional period from the Yanliao Biota to the Jehol Biota in the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous, and greatly enrich the knowledge on the diversity of dinosaur species and biogeography of the Tuchengzi/Houcheng Formation. Study on the palaeogeography, palaeoecology and dinosaurs in the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous is beneficial to reveal the enigma of replacement of terrestrial biotas and environment.

  10. The recovery of the trajectory of India n plate based on dinosaurs.%依据恐龙化石恢复印度板块的运行轨迹

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    方晓思; 常燕生

    2011-01-01

    There exists more and more evidence that the Indian plate has collided with the Eurasian plate twice. The first collision happened two hundred million years ago, by which the Gondwana dinosaur fauna was brought into Asia through the Indian plate. It was then that the Early Jurassic dinosaurs appeared in China for the first time. It can be accurately said that the dinisaurs in China originated from the first collision of the Indian plate. After Jurassic the Indian plate was caused to make clockwise rotation and there occurred a rift in the eastern part of Thailand. The movement eventually led to the formation of Bay of Bengal, which acted as the prologue of the second collision. 55 million years ago the Indian plate moved and collided for the second time with the Eurasian plate in Tibetan area, giving birth to the Himalayas.%越来越多的事实表明,印度板块曾经连续两次撞击了欧亚板块.第一次发生在近200Ma前,通过印度板块将冈瓦纳大陆上的恐龙动物群带到了亚洲,使中国首次出现了早侏罗世恐龙.确切地说,中国恐龙起源于印度板块的第一次撞击.侏罗纪之后,印度板块又被引发起顺时针转动,在其东部出现了与泰国之间的断裂,并最终孕育着孟加拉湾的形成,为第二次撞击拉开了序幕.55Ma前印度板块再次撞向欧亚板块的西藏地区,造就了喜马拉雅山.

  11. The birth of a dinosaur footprint: subsurface 3D motion reconstruction and discrete element simulation reveal track ontogeny.

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    Falkingham, Peter L; Gatesy, Stephen M

    2014-12-23

    Locomotion over deformable substrates is a common occurrence in nature. Footprints represent sedimentary distortions that provide anatomical, functional, and behavioral insights into trackmaker biology. The interpretation of such evidence can be challenging, however, particularly for fossil tracks recovered at bedding planes below the originally exposed surface. Even in living animals, the complex dynamics that give rise to footprint morphology are obscured by both foot and sediment opacity, which conceals animal-substrate and substrate-substrate interactions. We used X-ray reconstruction of moving morphology (XROMM) to image and animate the hind limb skeleton of a chicken-like bird traversing a dry, granular material. Foot movement differed significantly from walking on solid ground; the longest toe penetrated to a depth of ∼5 cm, reaching an angle of 30° below horizontal before slipping backward on withdrawal. The 3D kinematic data were integrated into a validated substrate simulation using the discrete element method (DEM) to create a quantitative model of limb-induced substrate deformation. Simulation revealed that despite sediment collapse yielding poor quality tracks at the air-substrate interface, subsurface displacements maintain a high level of organization owing to grain-grain support. Splitting the substrate volume along "virtual bedding planes" exposed prints that more closely resembled the foot and could easily be mistaken for shallow tracks. DEM data elucidate how highly localized deformations associated with foot entry and exit generate specific features in the final tracks, a temporal sequence that we term "track ontogeny." This combination of methodologies fosters a synthesis between the surface/layer-based perspective prevalent in paleontology and the particle/volume-based perspective essential for a mechanistic understanding of sediment redistribution during track formation.

  12. Evidence for avian intrathoracic air sacs in a new predatory dinosaur from Argentina.

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    Paul C Sereno

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Living birds possess a unique heterogeneous pulmonary system composed of a rigid, dorsally-anchored lung and several compliant air sacs that operate as bellows, driving inspired air through the lung. Evidence from the fossil record for the origin and evolution of this system is extremely limited, because lungs do not fossilize and because the bellow-like air sacs in living birds only rarely penetrate (pneumatize skeletal bone and thus leave a record of their presence. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe a new predatory dinosaur from Upper Cretaceous rocks in Argentina, Aerosteon riocoloradensis gen. et sp. nov., that exhibits extreme pneumatization of skeletal bone, including pneumatic hollowing of the furcula and ilium. In living birds, these two bones are pneumatized by diverticulae of air sacs (clavicular, abdominal that are involved in pulmonary ventilation. We also describe several pneumatized gastralia ("stomach ribs", which suggest that diverticulae of the air sac system were present in surface tissues of the thorax. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We present a four-phase model for the evolution of avian air sacs and costosternal-driven lung ventilation based on the known fossil record of theropod dinosaurs and osteological correlates in extant birds: (1 Phase I-Elaboration of paraxial cervical air sacs in basal theropods no later than the earliest Late Triassic. (2 Phase II-Differentiation of avian ventilatory air sacs, including both cranial (clavicular air sac and caudal (abdominal air sac divisions, in basal tetanurans during the Jurassic. A heterogeneous respiratory tract with compliant air sacs, in turn, suggests the presence of rigid, dorsally attached lungs with flow-through ventilation. (3 Phase III-Evolution of a primitive costosternal pump in maniraptoriform theropods before the close of the Jurassic. (4 Phase IV-Evolution of an advanced costosternal pump in maniraptoran theropods before the close of the Jurassic

  13. Evidence for Avian Intrathoracic Air Sacs in a New Predatory Dinosaur from Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sereno, Paul C.; Martinez, Ricardo N.; Wilson, Jeffrey A.; Varricchio, David J.; Alcober, Oscar A.; Larsson, Hans C. E.

    2008-01-01

    Background Living birds possess a unique heterogeneous pulmonary system composed of a rigid, dorsally-anchored lung and several compliant air sacs that operate as bellows, driving inspired air through the lung. Evidence from the fossil record for the origin and evolution of this system is extremely limited, because lungs do not fossilize and because the bellow-like air sacs in living birds only rarely penetrate (pneumatize) skeletal bone and thus leave a record of their presence. Methodology/Principal Findings We describe a new predatory dinosaur from Upper Cretaceous rocks in Argentina, Aerosteon riocoloradensis gen. et sp. nov., that exhibits extreme pneumatization of skeletal bone, including pneumatic hollowing of the furcula and ilium. In living birds, these two bones are pneumatized by diverticulae of air sacs (clavicular, abdominal) that are involved in pulmonary ventilation. We also describe several pneumatized gastralia (“stomach ribs”), which suggest that diverticulae of the air sac system were present in surface tissues of the thorax. Conclusions/Significance We present a four-phase model for the evolution of avian air sacs and costosternal-driven lung ventilation based on the known fossil record of theropod dinosaurs and osteological correlates in extant birds: (1) Phase I—Elaboration of paraxial cervical air sacs in basal theropods no later than the earliest Late Triassic. (2) Phase II—Differentiation of avian ventilatory air sacs, including both cranial (clavicular air sac) and caudal (abdominal air sac) divisions, in basal tetanurans during the Jurassic. A heterogeneous respiratory tract with compliant air sacs, in turn, suggests the presence of rigid, dorsally attached lungs with flow-through ventilation. (3) Phase III—Evolution of a primitive costosternal pump in maniraptoriform theropods before the close of the Jurassic. (4) Phase IV—Evolution of an advanced costosternal pump in maniraptoran theropods before the close of the

  14. Locomotion in ornithischian dinosaurs: an assessment using three-dimensional computational modelling.

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    Maidment, Susannah C R; Bates, Karl T; Falkingham, Peter L; VanBuren, Collin; Arbour, Victoria; Barrett, Paul M

    2014-08-01

    Ornithischian dinosaurs were primitively bipedal with forelimbs modified for grasping, but quadrupedalism evolved in the clade on at least three occasions independently. Outside of Ornithischia, quadrupedality from bipedal ancestors has only evolved on two other occasions, making this one of the rarest locomotory transitions in tetrapod evolutionary history. The osteological and myological changes associated with these transitions have only recently been documented, and the biomechanical consequences of these changes remain to be examined. Here, we review previous approaches to understanding locomotion in extinct animals, which can be broadly split into form-function approaches using analogy based on extant animals, limb-bone scaling, and computational approaches. We then carry out the first systematic attempt to quantify changes in locomotor muscle function in bipedal and quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaurs. Using three-dimensional computational modelling of the major pelvic locomotor muscle moment arms, we examine similarities and differences among individual taxa, between quadrupedal and bipedal taxa, and among taxa representing the three major ornithischian lineages (Thyreophora, Ornithopoda, Marginocephalia). Our results suggest that the ceratopsid Chasmosaurus and the ornithopod Hypsilophodon have relatively low moment arms for most muscles and most functions, perhaps suggesting poor locomotor performance in these taxa. Quadrupeds have higher abductor moment arms than bipeds, which we suggest is due to the overall wider bodies of the quadrupeds modelled. A peak in extensor moment arms at more extended hip angles and lower medial rotator moment arms in quadrupeds than in bipeds may be due to a more columnar hindlimb and loss of medial rotation as a form of lateral limb support in quadrupeds. We are not able to identify trends in moment arm evolution across Ornithischia as a whole, suggesting that the bipedal ancestry of ornithischians did not constrain the

  15. Sizing the Jurassic theropod dinosaur Allosaurus: assessing growth strategy and evolution of ontogenetic scaling of limbs.

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    Bybee, Paul J; Lee, Andrew H; Lamm, Ellen-Thérèse

    2006-03-01

    Allosaurus is one of the most common Mesozoic theropod dinosaurs. We present a histological analysis to assess its growth strategy and ontogenetic limb bone scaling. Based on an ontogenetic series of humeral, ulnar, femoral, and tibial sections of fibrolamellar bone, we estimate the ages of the largest individuals in the sample to be between 13-19 years. Growth curve reconstruction suggests that maximum growth occurred at 15 years, when body mass increased 148 kg/year. Based on larger bones of Allosaurus, we estimate an upper age limit of between 22-28 years of age, which is similar to preliminary data for other large theropods. Both Model I and Model II regression analyses suggest that relative to the length of the femur, the lengths of the humerus, ulna, and tibia increase in length more slowly than isometry predicts. That pattern of limb scaling in Allosaurus is similar to those in other large theropods such as the tyrannosaurids. Phylogenetic optimization suggests that large theropods independently evolved reduced humeral, ulnar, and tibial lengths by a phyletic reduction in longitudinal growth relative to the femur.

  16. Blood flow to long bones indicates activity metabolism in mammals, reptiles and dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seymour, Roger S; Smith, Sarah L; White, Craig R; Henderson, Donald M; Schwarz-Wings, Daniela

    2012-02-07

    The cross-sectional area of a nutrient foramen of a long bone is related to blood flow requirements of the internal bone cells that are essential for dynamic bone remodelling. Foramen area increases with body size in parallel among living mammals and non-varanid reptiles, but is significantly larger in mammals. An index of blood flow rate through the foramina is about 10 times higher in mammals than in reptiles, and even higher if differences in blood pressure are considered. The scaling of foramen size correlates well with maximum whole-body metabolic rate during exercise in mammals and reptiles, but less well with resting metabolic rate. This relates to the role of blood flow associated with bone remodelling during and following activity. Mammals and varanid lizards have much higher aerobic metabolic rates and exercise-induced bone remodelling than non-varanid reptiles. Foramen areas of 10 species of dinosaur from five taxonomic groups are generally larger than from mammals, indicating a routinely highly active and aerobic lifestyle. The simple measurement holds possibilities offers the possibility of assessing other groups of extinct and living vertebrates in relation to body size, behaviour and habitat.

  17. A New Megaraptoran Dinosaur (Dinosauria, Theropoda, Megaraptoridae from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodolfo A Coria

    Full Text Available A skeleton discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Sierra Barrosa Formation (Turonian-Coniacian of Neuquén Province, Argentina represents a new species of theropod dinosaur related to the long snouted, highly pneumatized Megaraptoridae. The holotype specimen of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen et n.sp. (MCF-PVPH-411 includes much of the skull, axial skeleton, pelvis and tibia. Murusraptor is unique in having several diagnostic features that include anterodorsal process of lacrimal longer than height of preorbital process, and a thick, shelf-like thickening on the lateral surface of surangular ventral to the groove between the anterior surangular foramen and the insert for the uppermost intramandibular process of the dentary. Other characteristic features of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen. et n. sp.include a large mandibular fenestra, distal ends of caudal neural spines laterally thickened into lateral knob-like processes, short ischia distally flattened and slightly expanded dorsoventrally. Murusraptor belongs to a Patagonian radiation of megaraptorids together with Aerosteon, Megaraptor and Orkoraptor. In spite being immature, it is a larger but more gracile animal than existing specimens of Megaraptor, and is comparable in size with Aerosteon and Orkoraptor. The controversial phylogeny of the Megaraptoridae as members of the Allosauroidea or a clade of Coelurosauria is considered analyzing two alternative data sets.

  18. Phylogenetic eigenvectors and nonstationarity in the evolution of theropod dinosaur skulls.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diniz-Filho, J A F; Alves, D M C C; Villalobos, F; Sakamoto, M; Brusatte, S L; Bini, L M

    2015-07-01

    Despite the long-standing interest in nonstationarity of both phenotypic evolution and diversification rates, only recently have methods been developed to study this property. Here, we propose a methodological expansion of the phylogenetic signal-representation (PSR) curve based on phylogenetic eigenvectors to test for nonstationarity. The PSR curve is built by plotting the coefficients of determination R(2) from phylogenetic eigenvector regression (PVR) models increasing the number of phylogenetic eigenvectors against the accumulated eigenvalues. The PSR curve is linear under a stationary model of trait evolution (i.e. the Brownian motion model). Here we describe the distribution of shifts in the models R(2) and used a randomization procedure to compare observed and simulated shifts along the PSR curve, which allowed detecting nonstationarity in trait evolution. As an applied example, we show that the main evolutionary pattern of variation in the theropod dinosaur skull was nonstationary, with a significant shift in evolutionary rates in derived oviraptorosaurs, an aberrant group of mostly toothless, crested, birdlike theropods. This result is also supported by a recently proposed Bayesian-based method (AUTEUR). A significant deviation between Ceratosaurus and Limusaurus terminal branches was also detected. We purport that our new approach is a valuable tool for evolutionary biologists, owing to its simplicity, flexibility and comprehensiveness.

  19. A New Megaraptoran Dinosaur (Dinosauria, Theropoda, Megaraptoridae) from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    A skeleton discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Sierra Barrosa Formation (Turonian-Coniacian) of Neuquén Province, Argentina represents a new species of theropod dinosaur related to the long snouted, highly pneumatized Megaraptoridae. The holotype specimen of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen et n.sp. (MCF-PVPH-411) includes much of the skull, axial skeleton, pelvis and tibia. Murusraptor is unique in having several diagnostic features that include anterodorsal process of lacrimal longer than height of preorbital process, and a thick, shelf-like thickening on the lateral surface of surangular ventral to the groove between the anterior surangular foramen and the insert for the uppermost intramandibular process of the dentary. Other characteristic features of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen. et n. sp.include a large mandibular fenestra, distal ends of caudal neural spines laterally thickened into lateral knob-like processes, short ischia distally flattened and slightly expanded dorsoventrally. Murusraptor belongs to a Patagonian radiation of megaraptorids together with Aerosteon, Megaraptor and Orkoraptor. In spite being immature, it is a larger but more gracile animal than existing specimens of Megaraptor, and is comparable in size with Aerosteon and Orkoraptor. The controversial phylogeny of the Megaraptoridae as members of the Allosauroidea or a clade of Coelurosauria is considered analyzing two alternative data sets. PMID:27439002

  20. Plate motions, Gondwana Dinosaurs, Noah's Arks, Beached Viking Funeral Ships, Ghost Ships, and Landspans

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    Louis L. Jacobs

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Gondwana landmasses have served as large-scale biogeographic Noah's Arks and Beached Viking Funeral Ships, as defined by McKenna. The latitudinal trajectories of selected Gondwana dinosaur localities were traced through time in order to evaluate their movement through climate zones relative to those in which they originally formed. The dispersal of fauna during the breakup of Gondwana may have been facilitated by the presence of offshelf islands forming landspans (sensu Iturralde-Vinent and MacPhee in the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway and elsewhere.As massas de terra do Gondwana serviram como Arcas de Noe biogeograficas de grande escala e Navios Funerarios Vikings encalhados, conforme definido por McKenna. As trajetorias latitudinais de areas selecionadas de dinossauros do Gondwana foram tracadas ao longo do tempo a fim de avaliar seu movimento atraves de zonas climaticas relativas aquelas nas quais elas foram originalmente formadas. A dispersao da fauna durante a quebra do Gondwana pode ter sido facilitada pela presenca de ilhas oceanicas formando extensoes de terra (sensu Iturralde-Vinent e MacPhee na entrada do Atlantico Equatorial e em outros lugares.