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Sample records for jurassic theropod dinosaur

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

    Milner, Andrew 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.

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

    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.

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

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

    2009-01-01

    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. 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. 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.

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

    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.

  5. Multivariate and Cladistic Analyses of Isolated Teeth Reveal Sympatry of Theropod Dinosaurs in the Late Jurassic of Northern Germany.

    Gerke, Oliver; Wings, Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Remains of theropod dinosaurs are very rare in Northern Germany because the area was repeatedly submerged by a shallow epicontinental sea during the Mesozoic. Here, 80 Late Jurassic theropod teeth are described of which the majority were collected over decades from marine carbonates in nowadays abandoned and backfilled quarries of the 19th century. Eighteen different morphotypes (A-R) could be distinguished and 3D models based on micro-CT scans of the best examples of all morphotypes are included as supplements. The teeth were identified with the assistance of discriminant function analysis and cladistic analysis based on updated datamatrices. The results show that a large variety of theropod groups were present in the Late Jurassic of northern Germany. Identified specimens comprise basal Tyrannosauroidea, as well as Allosauroidea, Megalosauroidea cf. Marshosaurus, Megalosauridae cf. Torvosaurus and probably Ceratosauria. The formerly reported presence of Dromaeosauridae in the Late Jurassic of northern Germany could not be confirmed. Some teeth of this study resemble specimens described as pertaining to Carcharodontosauria (morphotype A) and Abelisauridae (morphotype K). This interpretation is however, not supported by discriminant function analysis and cladistic analysis. Two smaller morphotypes (N and Q) differ only in some probably size-related characteristics from larger morphotypes (B and C) and could well represent juveniles of adult specimens. The similarity of the northern German theropods with groups from contemporaneous localities suggests faunal exchange via land-connections in the Late Jurassic between Germany, Portugal and North America.

  6. Multivariate and Cladistic Analyses of Isolated Teeth Reveal Sympatry of Theropod Dinosaurs in the Late Jurassic of Northern Germany.

    Oliver Gerke

    Full Text Available Remains of theropod dinosaurs are very rare in Northern Germany because the area was repeatedly submerged by a shallow epicontinental sea during the Mesozoic. Here, 80 Late Jurassic theropod teeth are described of which the majority were collected over decades from marine carbonates in nowadays abandoned and backfilled quarries of the 19th century. Eighteen different morphotypes (A-R could be distinguished and 3D models based on micro-CT scans of the best examples of all morphotypes are included as supplements. The teeth were identified with the assistance of discriminant function analysis and cladistic analysis based on updated datamatrices. The results show that a large variety of theropod groups were present in the Late Jurassic of northern Germany. Identified specimens comprise basal Tyrannosauroidea, as well as Allosauroidea, Megalosauroidea cf. Marshosaurus, Megalosauridae cf. Torvosaurus and probably Ceratosauria. The formerly reported presence of Dromaeosauridae in the Late Jurassic of northern Germany could not be confirmed. Some teeth of this study resemble specimens described as pertaining to Carcharodontosauria (morphotype A and Abelisauridae (morphotype K. This interpretation is however, not supported by discriminant function analysis and cladistic analysis. Two smaller morphotypes (N and Q differ only in some probably size-related characteristics from larger morphotypes (B and C and could well represent juveniles of adult specimens. The similarity of the northern German theropods with groups from contemporaneous localities suggests faunal exchange via land-connections in the Late Jurassic between Germany, Portugal and North America.

  7. Telling Apart Ornithopod and Theropod Trackways : A Closer Look at a Large, Late Jurassic Tridactyl Dinosaur Trackway at Serwah, Republic of Yemen

    Schulp, Anne S.; Al-Wosabi, Mohammed

    2012-01-01

    A large bipedal tridactyl dinosaur trackway from the Late Jurassic of Serwah, near Madar, Arhab district, Republic of Yemen, has been attributed to an ornithopod trackmaker. As the distinction between theropod and ornithopod dinosaurs can pose a challenge, we present additional data to support and

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

    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.

  9. Megalosauripus transjuranicus ichnosp. nov. A new Late Jurassic theropod ichnotaxon from NW Switzerland and implications for tridactyl dinosaur ichnology and ichnotaxomy.

    Razzolini, Novella L; Belvedere, Matteo; Marty, Daniel; Paratte, Géraldine; Lovis, Christel; Cattin, Marielle; Meyer, Christian A

    2017-01-01

    A new ichnospecies of a large theropod dinosaur, Megalosauripus transjuranicus, is described from the Reuchenette Formation (Early-Late Kimmeridgian, Late Jurassic) of NW Switzerland. It is based on very well-preserved and morphologically-distinct tracks (impressions) and several trackways, including different preservational types from different tracksites and horizons. All trackways were excavated along federal Highway A16 near Courtedoux (Canton Jura) and systematically documented in the field including orthophotos and laserscans. The best-preserved tracks were recovered and additional tracks were casted. Megalosauripus transjuranicus is characterized by tridactyl tracks with clear claw and digital pad impressions, and notably an exceptionally large and round first phalangeal pad on the fourth digit (PIV1) that is connected to digit IV and forms the round heel area. Due to this combination of features, M. transjuranicus clearly is of theropod (and not ornithopod) origin. M. transjuranicus is compared to other Megalosauripus tracks and similar ichnotaxa and other unassigned tracks from the Early Jurassic to Early Cretaceous. It is clearly different from other ichnogenera assigned to large theropods such as Eubrontes-Grallator from the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic or Megalosauripus-Megalosauropus-Bueckeburgichnus and Therangospodus tracks from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. A second tridactyl morphotype (called Morphotype II) is different from Megalosauripus transjuranicus in being subsymmetric, longer than wide (sometimes almost as wide as long), with blunt toe impressions and no evidence for discrete phalangeal pad and claw marks. Some Morphotype II tracks are found in trackways that are assigned to M. transjuranicus, to M.? transjuranicus or M. cf. transjuranicus indicating that some Morphotype II tracks are intra-trackway preservational variants of a morphological continuum of Megalosauripus transjuranicus. On the other hand, several up to 40 steps

  10. Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Dimensions

    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…

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

    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.

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

    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. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  13. New theropod, thyreophoran, and small sauropod tracks from the Middle Jurassic Bagå Formation, Bornholm, Denmark

    Milàn, Jesper

    2011-01-01

    Three new dinosaur tracks are described from the Middle Jurassic Bagå Formation of Bornholm, Denmark. The tracks are all preserved as natural casts on the underside of fluvial sandstone blocks originating from the old Hasle Klinkefabrik’s clay pit, now called Pyritsøen. The new tracks are from...... a medium-sized theropod, a thyreophoran, and a small sauropod. Together with a hyreophoran track and large sauropod tracks described in 2005, the Middle Jurassic dinosaur fauna of Bornholm now comprises theropods, two sizes of sauropods and at least one type of thyreophoran dinosaur. This is important...

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

    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…

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

    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…

  16. Estimating cranial musculoskeletal constraints in theropod dinosaurs.

    Lautenschlager, Stephan

    2015-11-01

    Many inferences on the biology, behaviour and ecology of extinct vertebrates are based on the reconstruction of the musculature and rely considerably on its accuracy. Although the advent of digital reconstruction techniques has facilitated the creation and testing of musculoskeletal hypotheses in recent years, muscle strain capabilities have rarely been considered. Here, a digital modelling approach using the freely available visualization and animation software Blender is applied to estimate cranial muscle length changes and optimal and maximal possible gape in different theropod dinosaurs. Models of living archosaur taxa (Alligator mississippiensis, Buteo buteo) were used in an extant phylogenetically bracketed framework to validate the method. Results of this study demonstrate that Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus fragilis and Erlikosaurus andrewsi show distinct differences in the recruitment of the jaw adductor musculature and resulting gape, confirming previous dietary and ecological assumptions. While the carnivorous taxa T. rex and Allo. fragilis were capable of a wide gape and sustained muscle force, the herbivorous therizinosaurian E. andrewsi was constrained to small gape angles.

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

    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

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

    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. Didactyl tracks of paravian theropods (Maniraptora from the ?Middle Jurassic of Africa.

    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.

  20. Review of the Dinosaur Remains from the Middle Jurassic of Scotland, UK

    Neil D. L. Clark

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Dinosaurs are rare from the Middle Jurassic worldwide. The Isle of Skye, is the only place in Scotland thus far to have produced dinosaur remains. These remains consist mainly of footprints, but also several bones and teeth. These Bajocian and Bathonian remains represent an important collection of a basal eusauropod, early examples of non-neosauropod and possible basal titanosauriform eusauropods, and theropod remains that may belong to an early coelurosaur and a possible megalosaurid, basal tyrannosauroid, or dromaeosaurid. The footprints from here also suggest a rich and diverse dinosaur fauna for which further better diagnosable remains are likely to be found.

  1. Body Size as a Driver of Scavenging in Theropod Dinosaurs.

    Kane, Adam; Healy, Kevin; Ruxton, Graeme D; Jackson, Andrew L

    2016-06-01

    Theropod dinosaurs dominated Earth's terrestrial ecosystem as a diverse group of predators for more than 160 million years, yet little is known about their foraging ecology. Maintaining a balanced energy budget presented a major challenge for therapods, which ranged from the chicken-sized Microraptor up to the whale-sized Giganotosaurus, in the face of intense competition and the demands of ontogenetic growth. Facultative scavenging, a behavior present in almost all modern predators, may have been important in supplementing energetically expensive lifestyles. By using agent-based models based on the allometric relationship between size and foraging behaviors, we show that theropods between 27 and 1,044 kg would have gained a significant energetic advantage over individuals at both the small and large extremes of theropod body mass through their scavenging efficiency. These results were robust to rate of competition, primary productivity, and detection distance. Our models demonstrate the potential importance of facultative scavenging in theropods and the role of body size in defining its prevalence in Mesozoic terrestrial systems.

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

    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.

  3. A theropod dinosaur embryo and the affinities of the flaming cliffs dinosaur eggs.

    Norell, M A; Clark, J M; Demberelyin, D; Rhinchen, B; Chiappe, L M; Davidson, A R; McKenna, M C; Altangerel, P; Novacek, M J

    1994-11-04

    An embryonic skeleton of a nonavian theropod dinosaur was found preserved in an egg from Upper Cretaceous rocks in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Cranial features identify the embryo as a member of Oviraptoridae. Two embryo-sized skulls of dromaeosaurids, similar to that of Velociraptor, were also recovered in the nest. The eggshell microstructure is similar to that of ratite birds and is of a type common in the Djadokhta Formation at the Flaming Cliffs (Bayn Dzak). Discovery of a nest of such eggs at the Flaming Cliffs in 1923, beneath the Oviraptor philoceratops holotype, suggests that this dinosaur may have been a brooding adult.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  7. Dinosaur ichnofauna of the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous of the Paraná Basin (Brazil and Uruguay)

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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...

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

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

    2010-01-01

    The extremes of dinosaur body size have long fascinated scientists. The smallest (dinosaurs are carnivorous saurischian theropods, and similarly diminutive herbivorous or omnivorous ornithischians (the other major group of dinosaurs) are unknown. We report a new ornithischian dinosaur, Fruitadens haagarorum, from the Late Jurassic of western North America that rivals the smallest theropods in size. The largest specimens of Fruitadens represent young adults in their fifth year of development and are estimated at just 65–75 cm in total body length and 0.5–0.75 kg body mass. They are thus the smallest known ornithischians. Fruitadens is a late-surviving 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. PMID:19846460

  11. The evolution of the manus of early theropod dinosaurs is characterized by high inter- and intraspecific variation.

    Barta, Daniel E; Nesbitt, Sterling J; Norell, Mark A

    2018-01-01

    The origin of the avian hand, with its reduced and fused carpals and digits, from the five-fingered hands and complex wrists of early dinosaurs represents one of the major transformations of manus morphology among tetrapods. Much attention has been directed to the later part of this transition, from four- to three-fingered taxa. However, earlier anatomical changes may have influenced these later modifications, possibly paving the way for a later frameshift in digit identities. We investigate the five- to four-fingered transition among early dinosaurs, along with changes in carpus morphology. New three-dimensional reconstructions from computed tomography data of the manus of the Triassic and Early Jurassic theropod dinosaurs Coelophysis bauri and Megapnosaurus rhodesiensis are described and compared intra- and interspecifically. Several novel findings emerge from these reconstructions and comparisons, including the first evidence of an ossified centrale and a free intermedium in some C. bauri specimens, as well as confirmation of the presence of a vestigial fifth metacarpal in this taxon. Additionally, a specimen of C. bauri and an unnamed coelophysoid from the Upper Triassic Hayden Quarry, New Mexico, are to our knowledge the only theropods (other than alvarezsaurs and birds) in which all of the distal carpals are completely fused together into a single unit. Several differences between the manus of C. bauri and M. rhodesiensis are also identified. We review the evolution of the archosauromorph manus more broadly in light of these new data, and caution against incorporating carpal characters in phylogenetic analyses of fine-scale relationships of Archosauromorpha, in light of the high degree of observed polymorphism in taxa for which large sample sizes are available, such as the theropod Coelophysis and the sauropodomorph Plateosaurus. We also find that the reduction of the carpus and ultimate loss of the fourth and fifth digits among early dinosaurs did not

  12. Walking like dinosaurs: chickens with artificial tails provide clues about non-avian theropod locomotion.

    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.

  13. Walking like dinosaurs: chickens with artificial tails provide clues about non-avian theropod locomotion.

    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. New dinosaur (Theropoda, stem-Averostra) from the earliest Jurassic of the La Quinta formation, Venezuelan Andes.

    Langer, Max C; Rincón, Ascanio D; Ramezani, Jahandar; Solórzano, Andrés; Rauhut, Oliver W M

    2014-10-01

    Dinosaur skeletal remains are almost unknown from northern South America. One of the few exceptions comes from a small outcrop in the northernmost extension of the Andes, along the western border of Venezuela, where strata of the La Quinta Formation have yielded the ornithischian Laquintasaura venezuelae and other dinosaur remains. Here, we report isolated bones (ischium and tibia) of a small new theropod, Tachiraptor admirabilis gen. et sp. nov., which differs from all previously known members of the group by an unique suite of features of its tibial articulations. Comparative/phylogenetic studies place the new form as the sister taxon to Averostra, a theropod group that is known primarily from the Middle Jurassic onwards. A new U-Pb zircon date (isotope dilution thermal-ionization mass spectrometry; ID-TIMS method) from the bone bed matrix suggests an earliest Jurassic maximum age for the La Quinta Formation. A dispersal-vicariance analysis suggests that such a stratigraphic gap is more likely to be filled by new records from north and central Pangaea than from southern areas. Indeed, our data show that the sampled summer-wet equatorial belt, which yielded the new taxon, played a pivotal role in theropod evolution across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

  15. Multiple taxon multiple locality approach to providing oxygen isotope evidence for warm-blooded theropod dinosaurs

    Fricke, Henry C.; Rogers, Raymond R.

    2000-09-01

    Oxygen isotope ratios of fossil remains of coexisting taxa from several different localities can be used to help investigate dinosaur thermoregulation. Focusing on the Late Cretaceous, oxygen isotope ratios of crocodile tooth enamel from four separate localities exhibit less of a decrease with latitude than do ratios of tooth enamel from coexisting theropod dinosaurs. A shallower latitudinal gradient for crocodiles is consistent with how oxygen isotope ratios should vary for heterothermic animals having body temperatures coupled with their environments (“cold blooded”), while a steeper gradient for theropods is consistent with how these ratios should vary for homeothermic animals having constant body temperatures independent of their environments (“warm blooded”). This inferred homoethermy in theropods is likely due to higher rates of metabolic heat production relative to crocodiles and is not an artifact of body size.

  16. Bony cranial ornamentation linked to rapid evolution of gigantic theropod dinosaurs

    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. Re-evaluation of the Haarlem Archaeopteryx and the radiation of maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs.

    Foth, Christian; Rauhut, Oliver W M

    2017-12-02

    Archaeopteryx is an iconic fossil that has long been pivotal for our understanding of the origin of birds. Remains of this important taxon have only been found in the Late Jurassic lithographic limestones of Bavaria, Germany. Twelve skeletal specimens are reported so far. Archaeopteryx was long the only pre-Cretaceous paravian theropod known, but recent discoveries from the Tiaojishan Formation, China, yielded a remarkable diversity of this clade, including the possibly oldest and most basal known clade of avialan, here named Anchiornithidae. However, Archaeopteryx remains the only Jurassic paravian theropod based on diagnostic material reported outside China. Re-examination of the incomplete Haarlem Archaeopteryx specimen did not find any diagnostic features of this genus. In contrast, the specimen markedly differs in proportions from other Archaeopteryx specimens and shares two distinct characters with anchiornithids. Phylogenetic analysis confirms it as the first anchiornithid recorded outside the Tiaojushan Formation of China, for which the new generic name Ostromia is proposed here. In combination with a biogeographic analysis of coelurosaurian theropods and palaeogeographic and stratigraphic data, our results indicate an explosive radiation of maniraptoran coelurosaurs probably in isolation in eastern Asia in the late Middle Jurassic and a rapid, at least Laurasian dispersal of the different subclades in the Late Jurassic. Small body size and, possibly, a multiple origin of flight capabilities enhanced dispersal capabilities of paravian theropods and might thus have been crucial for their evolutionary success.

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

    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.

  19. Developmental and evolutionary novelty in the serrated teeth of theropod dinosaurs.

    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.

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

    Noto, Christopher R; Grossman, Ari

    2010-09-03

    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. 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. 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 least one case of ecosystem convergence. The proportion of different ecomorphs, which

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

    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.

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

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

    2017-01-01

    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. PMID:28973883

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

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

    2017-10-10

    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 .

  4. Multivariate analyses of small theropod dinosaur teeth and implications for paleoecological turnover through time.

    Derek W Larson

    Full Text Available 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

  5. Multivariate Analyses of Small Theropod Dinosaur Teeth and Implications for Paleoecological Turnover through Time

    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

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

    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.

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

    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

  8. Herbivorous ecomorphology and specialization patterns in theropod dinosaur evolution.

    Zanno, Lindsay E; Makovicky, Peter J

    2011-01-04

    Interpreting key ecological parameters, such as diet, of extinct organisms without the benefit of direct observation or explicit fossil evidence poses a formidable challenge for paleobiological studies. To date, dietary categorizations of extinct taxa are largely generated by means of modern analogs; however, for many species the method is subject to considerable ambiguity. Here we present a refined approach for assessing trophic habits in fossil taxa and apply the method to coelurosaurian dinosaurs--a clade for which diet is particularly controversial. Our findings detect 21 morphological features that exhibit statistically significant correlations with extrinsic fossil evidence of coelurosaurian herbivory, such as stomach contents and a gastric mill. These traits represent quantitative, extrinsically founded proxies for identifying herbivorous ecomorphology in fossils and are robust despite uncertainty in phylogenetic relationships among major coelurosaurian subclades. The distribution of these features suggests that herbivory was widespread among coelurosaurians, with six major subclades displaying morphological evidence of the diet, and that contrary to previous thought, hypercarnivory was relatively rare and potentially secondarily derived. Given the potential for repeated, independent evolution of herbivory in Coelurosauria, we also test for repetitive patterns in the appearance of herbivorous traits within sublineages using rank concordance analysis. We find evidence for a common succession of increasing specialization to herbivory in the subclades Ornithomimosauria and Oviraptorosauria, perhaps underlain by intrinsic functional and/or developmental constraints, as well as evidence indicating that the early evolution of a beak in coelurosaurians correlates with an herbivorous diet.

  9. LIDAR-based characterization and conservation of the first theropod dinosaur trackways from Arkansas, USA.

    Brian F Platt

    Full Text Available LIDAR-based analyses of the first theropod dinosaur trackways known from the state of Arkansas, USA are reported. The trackways were found on a limestone bedding plane in the Albian De Queen Formation in an active gypsum quarry. Because limited access precluded thorough field study, fieldwork focused on preserving the entire site digitally with ground-based LIDAR, and detailed measurements were later taken digitally from point cloud data. The site contains eight tridactyl trackways associated with sauropod trackways and numerous isolated tracks. Although there appear to be two different tridactyl morphotypes, we show that the tracks are all likely from a single species of trackmaker. We apply a simple method of estimating substrate consistency by comparing the differences between true track dimensions and apparent track dimensions. The tridactyl tracks at the southern end of the site are preserved with significantly greater differences in true vs. apparent dimensions and are shallower than the rest of the tridactyl tracks at the site, which we interpret as the result of outward expansion of the soft tissues of the foot upon contact with a firm substrate. We interpret the firm substrate as having high bulk density and high shear strength, which also explain associated manus-only sauropod tracks. We show that the tridactyl tracks are likely from theropod trackmakers and that footprint lengths, trackway paces, stride lengths, and pace angulations of the De Queen trackways are statistically indistinguishable from equivalent measurements of theropod trackways in the Glen Rose Formation. The Glen Rose tracks are attributed to the large-bodied theropod, Acrocanthosaurus and we likewise attribute the De Queen tracks to Acrocanthosaurus, which is known from skeletal remains in temporally equivalent units and from the mine itself.

  10. LIDAR-based characterization and conservation of the first theropod dinosaur trackways from Arkansas, USA.

    Platt, Brian F; Suarez, Celina A; Boss, Stephen K; Williamson, Malcolm; Cothren, Jackson; Kvamme, Jo Ann C

    2018-01-01

    LIDAR-based analyses of the first theropod dinosaur trackways known from the state of Arkansas, USA are reported. The trackways were found on a limestone bedding plane in the Albian De Queen Formation in an active gypsum quarry. Because limited access precluded thorough field study, fieldwork focused on preserving the entire site digitally with ground-based LIDAR, and detailed measurements were later taken digitally from point cloud data. The site contains eight tridactyl trackways associated with sauropod trackways and numerous isolated tracks. Although there appear to be two different tridactyl morphotypes, we show that the tracks are all likely from a single species of trackmaker. We apply a simple method of estimating substrate consistency by comparing the differences between true track dimensions and apparent track dimensions. The tridactyl tracks at the southern end of the site are preserved with significantly greater differences in true vs. apparent dimensions and are shallower than the rest of the tridactyl tracks at the site, which we interpret as the result of outward expansion of the soft tissues of the foot upon contact with a firm substrate. We interpret the firm substrate as having high bulk density and high shear strength, which also explain associated manus-only sauropod tracks. We show that the tridactyl tracks are likely from theropod trackmakers and that footprint lengths, trackway paces, stride lengths, and pace angulations of the De Queen trackways are statistically indistinguishable from equivalent measurements of theropod trackways in the Glen Rose Formation. The Glen Rose tracks are attributed to the large-bodied theropod, Acrocanthosaurus and we likewise attribute the De Queen tracks to Acrocanthosaurus, which is known from skeletal remains in temporally equivalent units and from the mine itself.

  11. Hints of the Early Jehol Biota: Important Dinosaur Footprint Assemblages from the Jurassic-Cretaceous Boundary Tuchengzi Formation in Beijing, China

    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. PMID:25901363

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

    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.

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

    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.

  14. Spectroscopic Analysis of a Theropod Dinosaur (Reptilia, Archosauria from the Ipubi Formation, Araripe Basin, Northeastern Brazil

    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.

  15. Using step width to compare locomotor biomechanics between extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs and modern obligate bipeds.

    Bishop, P J; Clemente, C J; Weems, R E; Graham, D F; Lamas, L P; Hutchinson, J R; Rubenson, J; Wilson, R S; Hocknull, S A; Barrett, R S; Lloyd, D G

    2017-07-01

    How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs locomoted is a subject of considerable interest, as is the manner in which it evolved on the line leading to birds. Fossil footprints provide the most direct evidence for answering these questions. In this study, step width-the mediolateral (transverse) distance between successive footfalls-was investigated with respect to speed (stride length) in non-avian theropod trackways of Late Triassic age. Comparable kinematic data were also collected for humans and 11 species of ground-dwelling birds. Permutation tests of the slope on a plot of step width against stride length showed that step width decreased continuously with increasing speed in the extinct theropods ( p < 0.001), as well as the five tallest bird species studied ( p < 0.01). Humans, by contrast, showed an abrupt decrease in step width at the walk-run transition. In the modern bipeds, these patterns reflect the use of either a discontinuous locomotor repertoire, characterized by distinct gaits (humans), or a continuous locomotor repertoire, where walking smoothly transitions into running (birds). The non-avian theropods are consequently inferred to have had a continuous locomotor repertoire, possibly including grounded running. Thus, features that characterize avian terrestrial locomotion had begun to evolve early in theropod history. © 2017 The Author(s).

  16. Small theropod teeth from the Late Cretaceous of the San Juan Basin, northwestern New Mexico and their implications for understanding latest Cretaceous dinosaur evolution.

    Williamson, Thomas E; Brusatte, Stephen L

    2014-01-01

    Studying the evolution and biogeographic distribution of dinosaurs during the latest Cretaceous is critical for better understanding the end-Cretaceous extinction event that killed off all non-avian dinosaurs. Western North America contains among the best records of Late Cretaceous terrestrial vertebrates in the world, but is biased against small-bodied dinosaurs. Isolated teeth are the primary evidence for understanding the diversity and evolution of small-bodied theropod dinosaurs during the Late Cretaceous, but few such specimens have been well documented from outside of the northern Rockies, making it difficult to assess Late Cretaceous dinosaur diversity and biogeographic patterns. We describe small theropod teeth from the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. These specimens were collected from strata spanning Santonian - Maastrichtian. We grouped isolated theropod teeth into several morphotypes, which we assigned to higher-level theropod clades based on possession of phylogenetic synapomorphies. We then used principal components analysis and discriminant function analyses to gauge whether the San Juan Basin teeth overlap with, or are quantitatively distinct from, similar tooth morphotypes from other geographic areas. The San Juan Basin contains a diverse record of small theropods. Late Campanian assemblages differ from approximately coeval assemblages of the northern Rockies in being less diverse with only rare representatives of troodontids and a Dromaeosaurus-like taxon. We also provide evidence that erect and recurved morphs of a Richardoestesia-like taxon represent a single heterodont species. A late Maastrichtian assemblage is dominated by a distinct troodontid. The differences between northern and southern faunas based on isolated theropod teeth provide evidence for provinciality in the late Campanian and the late Maastrichtian of North America. However, there is no indication that major components of small-bodied theropod diversity were lost

  17. Perennial Lakes as an Environmental Control on Theropod Movement in the Jurassic of the Hartford Basin

    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.

  18. No evidence for directional evolution of body mass in herbivorous theropod dinosaurs

    Zanno, Lindsay E.; Makovicky, Peter J.

    2013-01-01

    The correlation between large body size and digestive efficiency has been hypothesized to have driven trends of increasing mass in herbivorous clades by means of directional selection. Yet, to date, few studies have investigated this relationship from a phylogenetic perspective, and none, to our knowledge, with regard to trophic shifts. Here, we reconstruct body mass in the three major subclades of non-avian theropod dinosaurs whose ecomorphology is correlated with extrinsic evidence of at least facultative herbivory in the fossil record—all of which also achieve relative gigantism (more than 3000 kg). Ordinary least-squares regressions on natural log-transformed mean mass recover significant correlations between increasing mass and geological time. However, tests for directional evolution in body mass find no support for a phylogenetic trend, instead favouring passive models of trait evolution. Cross-correlation of sympatric taxa from five localities in Asia reveals that environmental influences such as differential habitat sampling and/or taphonomic filtering affect the preserved record of dinosaurian body mass in the Cretaceous. Our results are congruent with studies documenting that behavioural and/or ecological factors may mitigate the benefit of increasing mass in extant taxa, and suggest that the hypothesis can be extrapolated to herbivorous lineages across geological time scales. PMID:23193135

  19. Record-Breaking Pain: The Largest Number and Variety of Forelimb Bone Maladies in a Theropod Dinosaur.

    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.

  20. Record-Breaking Pain: The Largest Number and Variety of Forelimb Bone Maladies in a Theropod Dinosaur.

    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.

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

    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.

  2. The influence of speed and size on avian terrestrial locomotor biomechanics: Predicting locomotion in extinct theropod dinosaurs.

    P J Bishop

    Full Text Available How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs moved is a subject of considerable interest and controversy. A better understanding of non-avian theropod locomotion can be achieved by better understanding terrestrial locomotor biomechanics in their modern descendants, birds. Despite much research on the subject, avian terrestrial locomotion remains little explored in regards to how kinematic and kinetic factors vary together with speed and body size. Here, terrestrial locomotion was investigated in twelve species of ground-dwelling bird, spanning a 1,780-fold range in body mass, across almost their entire speed range. Particular attention was devoted to the ground reaction force (GRF, the force that the feet exert upon the ground. Comparable data for the only other extant obligate, striding biped, humans, were also collected and studied. In birds, all kinematic and kinetic parameters examined changed continuously with increasing speed, while in humans all but one of those same parameters changed abruptly at the walk-run transition. This result supports previous studies that show birds to have a highly continuous locomotor repertoire compared to humans, where discrete 'walking' and 'running' gaits are not easily distinguished based on kinematic patterns alone. The influences of speed and body size on kinematic and kinetic factors in birds are developed into a set of predictive relationships that may be applied to extinct, non-avian theropods. The resulting predictive model is able to explain 79-93% of the observed variation in kinematics and 69-83% of the observed variation in GRFs, and also performs well in extrapolation tests. However, this study also found that the location of the whole-body centre of mass may exert an important influence on the nature of the GRF, and hence some caution is warranted, in lieu of further investigation.

  3. The influence of speed and size on avian terrestrial locomotor biomechanics: Predicting locomotion in extinct theropod dinosaurs

    Graham, D. F.; Lamas, L. P.; Hutchinson, J. R.; Rubenson, J.; Hancock, J. A.; Wilson, R. S.; Hocknull, S. A.; Barrett, R. S.; Lloyd, D. G.; Clemente, C. J.

    2018-01-01

    How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs moved is a subject of considerable interest and controversy. A better understanding of non-avian theropod locomotion can be achieved by better understanding terrestrial locomotor biomechanics in their modern descendants, birds. Despite much research on the subject, avian terrestrial locomotion remains little explored in regards to how kinematic and kinetic factors vary together with speed and body size. Here, terrestrial locomotion was investigated in twelve species of ground-dwelling bird, spanning a 1,780-fold range in body mass, across almost their entire speed range. Particular attention was devoted to the ground reaction force (GRF), the force that the feet exert upon the ground. Comparable data for the only other extant obligate, striding biped, humans, were also collected and studied. In birds, all kinematic and kinetic parameters examined changed continuously with increasing speed, while in humans all but one of those same parameters changed abruptly at the walk-run transition. This result supports previous studies that show birds to have a highly continuous locomotor repertoire compared to humans, where discrete ‘walking’ and ‘running’ gaits are not easily distinguished based on kinematic patterns alone. The influences of speed and body size on kinematic and kinetic factors in birds are developed into a set of predictive relationships that may be applied to extinct, non-avian theropods. The resulting predictive model is able to explain 79–93% of the observed variation in kinematics and 69–83% of the observed variation in GRFs, and also performs well in extrapolation tests. However, this study also found that the location of the whole-body centre of mass may exert an important influence on the nature of the GRF, and hence some caution is warranted, in lieu of further investigation. PMID:29466362

  4. The influence of speed and size on avian terrestrial locomotor biomechanics: Predicting locomotion in extinct theropod dinosaurs.

    Bishop, P J; Graham, D F; Lamas, L P; Hutchinson, J R; Rubenson, J; Hancock, J A; Wilson, R S; Hocknull, S A; Barrett, R S; Lloyd, D G; Clemente, C J

    2018-01-01

    How extinct, non-avian theropod dinosaurs moved is a subject of considerable interest and controversy. A better understanding of non-avian theropod locomotion can be achieved by better understanding terrestrial locomotor biomechanics in their modern descendants, birds. Despite much research on the subject, avian terrestrial locomotion remains little explored in regards to how kinematic and kinetic factors vary together with speed and body size. Here, terrestrial locomotion was investigated in twelve species of ground-dwelling bird, spanning a 1,780-fold range in body mass, across almost their entire speed range. Particular attention was devoted to the ground reaction force (GRF), the force that the feet exert upon the ground. Comparable data for the only other extant obligate, striding biped, humans, were also collected and studied. In birds, all kinematic and kinetic parameters examined changed continuously with increasing speed, while in humans all but one of those same parameters changed abruptly at the walk-run transition. This result supports previous studies that show birds to have a highly continuous locomotor repertoire compared to humans, where discrete 'walking' and 'running' gaits are not easily distinguished based on kinematic patterns alone. The influences of speed and body size on kinematic and kinetic factors in birds are developed into a set of predictive relationships that may be applied to extinct, non-avian theropods. The resulting predictive model is able to explain 79-93% of the observed variation in kinematics and 69-83% of the observed variation in GRFs, and also performs well in extrapolation tests. However, this study also found that the location of the whole-body centre of mass may exert an important influence on the nature of the GRF, and hence some caution is warranted, in lieu of further investigation.

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

    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.

  6. A new theropod dinosaur from India with remarks on the Gondwana-Laurasia connection in the Late Triassic

    Chatterjee, S.

    Walkeria maleriensis (n. g., n. sp.) from the Late Triassic Maleri Formation of the Godavari Valley of India is the earliest known dinosaur from Asia. It is a small podokesaurid theropod, very similar to Procompsognathus of Germany, Coelophysis of North America, and Syntarsus from Zimbabwe and North America. The podokesaurs are of particular interest to students of organic evolution because they are the earliest known theropods from which Archaeopteryx, the oldest known fossil bird, was probably evolved. Traditionally, India has been regarded as a part of Gondwana. It is generally believed that Gondwana remained an integral geographic unit throughout the Triassic. If this is so, a strong faunal correlation between India and other Gondwana continents should be expected in Late Triassic time. Contrary to this, the Maleri fauna is overwhelmingly "northern". Walkeria occurs in association with metoposaurs, parasuchids, protorosaurs, aetosaurs, rhynchosaurs, and traversodonts. Most of these taxa have been identified in the Dockum fauna of North America, indicating a close paleontologic link between India and Laurasia. Possibly the route of faunal migration between India and North America during the Late Triassic was via northern Africa.

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

  8. Jaw biomechanics and the evolution of biting performance in theropod dinosaurs

    Sakamoto, Manabu

    2010-01-01

    Despite the great diversity in theropod craniomandibular morphology, the presence and distribution of biting function types across Theropoda has rarely been assessed. A novel method of biomechanical profiling using mechanical advantage computed for each biting position along the entirety of the tooth row was applied to 41 extinct theropod taxa. Multivariate ordination on the polynomial coefficients of the profiles reveals the distribution of theropod biting performance in function space. In particular, coelophysoids are found to occupy a unique region of function space, while tetanurans have a wide but continuous function space distribution. Further, the underlying phylogenetic structure and evolution of biting performance were investigated using phylogenetic comparative methods. There is a strong phylogenetic signal in theropod biomechanical profiles, indicating that evolution of biting performance does not depart from Brownian motion evolution. Reconstructions of ancestral function space occupation conform to this pattern, but phylogenetically unexpected major shifts in function space occupation can be observed at the origins of some clades. However, uncertainties surround ancestor estimates in some of these internal nodes, so inferences on the nature of these evolutionary changes must be viewed with caution. PMID:20534620

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  12. InGen Inconsistencies: The "Dinosaurs" Of Jurassic Park May Not Be What The Corporation Claims

    Haupt, R. J.; Traer, M. M.

    2017-12-01

    InGen has made and continues to make dubious claims about proprietary technology developed to clone non-avian dinosaurs for exhibition within their "Jurassic Park." Notably, there are several inconsistencies between their claims for how their technology works and what has been observed within the park. Here we investigate several of these inconsistencies in the hopes that it will push for increased transparency between corporations and academia. First, we highlight a disconnect between supposedly Jurassic amber used for dinosaur DNA extraction and the overwhelming presence of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs within the park. Further, InGen's mining operations only publicly operate in Jurassic-aged formations of the Dominican Republic, which clashes with the presence of Velociraptor and Gallimimus, known only from Mongolia. Second, the park contains seemingly full-grown adult specimens despite InGen's claims that they first successfully cloned a prehistoric animal in 1984, though there is no publicly available information as to what animal this was. That the park was nearly ready to open by 1993 precludes the presence of fully mature dinosaurs and suggests that InGen might be misrepresenting their technologies. Third, we must point out that fossil DNA denatures to the point of uselessness within thousands, not millions, of years. Additionally, the use of anuran DNA to fill in gaps from fossil dinosaurian DNA is a dubious choice given that more closely related organisms are available. Either there is an unexplained reason for this choice, or little attention has been paid to dinosaurian phylogeny by InGen geneticists. Finally, rumors of a secret InGen project to produce a dinosaur not currently known to paleontologists suggests one of two things: they were able to find DNA from a dinosaur previously unknown in the fossil record, which is highly plausible if their techniques are valid, or that InGen is able to artificially manipulate DNA to a degree far beyond what other

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

    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. New data towards the development of a comprehensive taphonomic framework for the Late Jurassic Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, Central Utah

    Joseph E. Peterson

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry (CLDQ is the densest deposit of Jurassic theropod dinosaurs discovered to date. Unlike typical Jurassic bone deposits, it is dominated by the presence of Allosaurus fragilis. Since excavation began in the 1920s, numerous hypotheses have been put forward to explain the taphonomy of CLDQ, including a predator trap, a drought assemblage, and a poison spring. In an effort to reconcile the various interpretations of the quarry and reach a consensus on the depositional history of CLDQ, new data is required to develop a robust taphonomic framework congruent with all available data. Here we present two new data sets that aid in the development of such a robust taphonomic framework for CLDQ. First, x-ray fluorescence of CLDQ sediments indicate elevated barite and sulfide minerals relative to other sediments from the Morrison Formation in the region, suggesting an ephemeral environment dominated by periods of hypereutrophic conditions during bone accumulation. Second, the degree of abrasion and hydraulic equivalency of small bone fragments dispersed throughout the matrix were analyzed from CLDQ. Results of these analyses suggest that bone fragments are autochthonous or parautochthonous and are derived from bones deposited in the assemblage rather than transported. The variability in abrasion exhibited by the fragments is most parsimoniously explained by local periodic re-working and re-deposition during seasonal fluctuations throughout the duration of the quarry assemblage. Collectively, these data support previous interpretations that the CLDQ represents an attritional assemblage in a poorly-drained overbank deposit where vertebrate remains were introduced post-mortem to an ephemeral pond during flood conditions. Furthermore, while the elevated heavy metals detected at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry are not likely the primary driver for the accumulation of carcasses, they are likely the result of multiple sources

  15. Isolated theropod teeth from the Middle Jurassic of Niger and the early dental evolution of Spinosauridae

    Alejandro Serrano-Martínez

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Four isolated theropod teeth from the ?Bathonian “Argiles de l’Irhazer” in Niger are described. The teeth were found in association with the holotype of the basal sauropod Spinophorosaurus nigerensis. These specimens have been assigned to two different taxa by independent analyses, such as direct comparison with teeth previously described in the literature, discriminant and morphometric analyses from metric characters, and cladistic and cluster analyses from discrete characters. The results suggest that three teeth share affinities with those of Megalosauridae and Allosauridae, belonging most likely to the former. The fourth tooth might be from a member of the stem group Spinosauridae. If so, this would be the oldest representative of this clade. This tooth shows a combination of characters that are unusual in typical spinosaurid teeth (crown moderately compressed labiolingually and curved distally with minute denticles on the carina and a deeply veined enamel surface texture without apicobasal ridges. This could shed light on the morphological transition from the plesiomorphic ziphodont dental pattern to that of Spinosauridae. This tooth would also allow a better understanding of the origin of the spinosaurids, supporting a Gondwanan origin for the group.

  16. The asymmetry of the carpal joint and the evolution of wing folding in maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs

    Sullivan, Corwin; Hone, David W. E.; Xu, Xing; Zhang, Fucheng

    2010-01-01

    In extant birds, the hand is permanently abducted towards the ulna, and the wrist joint can bend extensively in this direction to fold the wing when not in use. Anatomically, this asymmetric mobility of the wrist results from the wedge-like shape of one carpal bone, the radiale, and from the well-developed convexity of the trochlea at the proximal end of the carpometacarpus. Among the theropod precursors of birds, a strongly convex trochlea is characteristic of Coelurosauria, a clade including the highly derived Maniraptora in addition to tyrannosaurs and compsognathids. The shape of the radiale can be quantified using a ‘radiale angle’ between the proximal and distal articular surfaces. Measurement of the radiale angle and reconstruction of ancestral states using squared-change parsimony shows that the angle was small (15°) in primitive coelurosaurs but considerably larger (25°) in primitive maniraptorans, indicating that the radiale was more wedge-shaped and the carpal joint more asymmetric. The radiale angle progressively increased still further within Maniraptora, with concurrent elongation of the forelimb feathers and the forelimb itself. Carpal asymmetry would have permitted avian-like folding of the forelimb in order to protect the plumage, an early advantage of the flexible, asymmetric wrist inherited by birds. PMID:20200032

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

    Kristian Remes

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available 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.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.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.

  18. The taphonomy of dinosaurs from the Upper Jurassic of Tendaguru (Tanzania based on field sketches of the German tendaguru expedition (1909–1913

    W.-D. Heinrich

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available Tendaguru is one of the most important dinosaur localities in Africa. The Tendaguru Beds have produced a diverse Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian to Tithonian dinosaur assemblage, including sauropods (Brachiosaurus, Barosaurus, Dicraeosaurus, Janenschia, theropods (e.g., Elaphrosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Allosaurus, and ornithischians (Kentrosaurus, Dryosaurus. Contrary to the well studied skeletal anatomy of the Tendaguru dinosaurs, the available taphonomic information is rather limited, and a generally accepted taphonomic model has not yet been established. Assessment of unpublished excavation sketches by the German Tendaguru expedition (1909–1913 document bone assemblages of sauropod and ornithischian dinosaurs from the Middle Saurian Bed, Upper Saurian Bed, and the Transitional Sands above the Trigonia smeei Bed, and shed some light on the taphonomy of the Tendaguru dinosaurs. Stages of disarticulation range from incomplete skeletons to solitary bones, and strongly argue for carcass decay and post-mortem transport prior to burial. The sauropod bone accumulations are dominated by adult individuals, and juveniles are rare or missing. The occurrence of bones in different superimposed dinosaur-bearing horizons indicates that skeletal remains were accumulated over a long time span during the Late Jurassic, and the majority of the bone accumulations are probably attritional. These accumulations are likely to have resulted from long-term bone imput due to normal mortality events caused by starvation, seasonal drought, disease, old age and weakness. The depositional environment of the Middle and Upper Saurian Bed was mainly limnic to brackish in origin, while the palaeoenvironment of the Transitional Sands was marginal marine. Tendaguru zählt zu den bedeutendsten Dinosaurier-Lagerstätten Afrikas. Aus den Tendaguru-Schichten sind zahlreiche Skelettreste von Sauropoden (Brachiosaurus, Barosaurus, Dicraeosaurus, Janenschia, Theropoden (z.B. Elaphrosaurus

  19. Lowland-upland migration of sauropod dinosaurs during the Late Jurassic epoch.

    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.

  20. Tooth-marked small theropod bone: an extremely rare trace

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland

    2001-01-01

    Tooth-marked dinosaur bones provide insight into feeding behaviours and biting strategies of theropod dinosaurs. The majority of theropod tooth marks reported to date have been found on herbivorous dinosaur bones, although some tyrannosaurid bones with tooth marks have also been reported. In 1988...

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  4. Mesozoic plants and dinosaur herbivory

    Sander, P M; Gee, C T; Hummel, J; Clauss, Marcus

    2010-01-01

    For most of their existence, herbivorous dinosaurs fed on a gymnospermdominated flora. Starting from a simple reptilian herbivory, ornithischian dinosaurs evolved complex chewing dentitions and mechanisms, while sauropodomorph dinosaurs retained the primitive condition of not chewing. Some advanced theropod dinosaurs evolved a bird-type herbivory with a toothless beak and a gastric mill. Dinosaur digestive tract remains, coprolites, and other trace fossils offer little evidence for dinosaur f...

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

    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.

  6. Anatomy and Cranial Functional Morphology of the Small-Bodied Dinosaur Fruitadens haagarorum from the Upper Jurassic of the USA

    Butler, Richard J.; Porro, Laura B.; Galton, Peter M.; Chiappe, Luis M.

    2012-01-01

    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 (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 suggest that Fruitadens was an ecological generalist, consuming select plant material and possibly insects or other invertebrates. PMID:22509242

  7. Geometric morphometric analysis of intratrackway variability: a case study on theropod and ornithopod dinosaur trackways from Münchehagen (Lower Cretaceous, Germany

    Jens N. Lallensack

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available 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

  8. Geometric morphometric analysis of intratrackway variability: a case study on theropod and ornithopod dinosaur trackways from Münchehagen (Lower Cretaceous, Germany).

    Lallensack, Jens N; 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

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

    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.

  10. A new basal sauropodiform dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic of Yunnan Province, China

    Wang, Ya-Ming; You, Hai-Lu; Wang, Tao

    2017-02-01

    The Lufeng Formation in Lufeng Basin of Yunnan Province, southwestern China preserves one of the richest terrestrial Lower Jurassic vertebrate faunas globally, especially for its basal sauropodomorphs, such as Lufengosaurus and Yunnanosaurus. Here we report a new taxon, Xingxiulong chengi gen. et sp. nov. represented by three partial skeletons with overlapping elements. Xingxiulong possesses a number of autapomorphies, such as transversely expanded plate-like summit on top of the neural spine of posterior dorsal vertebrae, four sacral vertebrae, robust scapula, and elongated pubic plate approximately 40% of the total length of the pubis. Phylogenetic analysis resolves Xingxiulong as a basal member of Sauropodiformes, and together with another two Lufeng basal sauropodiforms Jingshanosaurus and Yunnanosaurus, they represent the basalmost lineages of this clade, indicating its Asian origin. Although being relatively primitive, Xingxiulong displays some derived features normally occurred in advanced sauropodiforms including sauropods, such as a four sacral-sacrum, a robust scapula, and a pubis with elongated pubic plate. The discovery of Xingxiulong increases the diversity of basal sauropodomorphs from the Lufeng Formation and indicates a more complicated scenario in the early evolution of sauropodiforms.

  11. Morphological and functional diversity in therizinosaur claws and the implications for theropod claw evolution.

    Lautenschlager, Stephan

    2014-06-22

    Therizinosaurs are a group of herbivorous theropod dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of North America and Asia, best known for their iconically large and elongate manual claws. However, among Therizinosauria, ungual morphology is highly variable, reflecting a general trend found in derived theropod dinosaurs (Maniraptoriformes). A combined approach of shape analysis to characterize changes in manual ungual morphology across theropods and finite-element analysis to assess the biomechanical properties of different ungual shapes in therizinosaurs reveals a functional diversity related to ungual morphology. While some therizinosaur taxa used their claws in a generalist fashion, other taxa were functionally adapted to use the claws as grasping hooks during foraging. Results further indicate that maniraptoriform dinosaurs deviated from the plesiomorphic theropod ungual morphology resulting in increased functional diversity. This trend parallels modifications of the cranial skeleton in derived theropods in response to dietary adaptation, suggesting that dietary diversification was a major driver for morphological and functional disparity in theropod evolution.

  12. Dinosaur tectonics

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

    2007-01-01

    A dinosaur trackway in the Middle Jurassic eolian Entrada Sandstone of southern Utah, USA, exposes three undertracks that we have modeled as isolated tectonic regimes showing the development of fold-thrust ramp systems induced by the dinosaur's feet. The faulted and folded sequence is comparable...... 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...... the back. As the body accelerated, the foot was forced backward. The rotated disc was forced backward along a detachment fault that was bounded by lateral ramps. The interramp segment matches the width of the dinosaur's foot which created an imbricate fan thrust system that extended to the far end...

  13. Middle-Upper Triassic and Middle Jurassic tetrapod track assemblages of southern Tunisia, Sahara Platform

    Niedźwiedzki, Grzegorz; Soussi, Mohamed; Boukhalfa, Kamel; Gierliński, Gerard D.

    2017-05-01

    Three tetrapod track assemblages from the early-middle Mesozoic of southern Tunisia are reported. The strata exposed at the Tejra 2 clay-pit near the Medenine and Rehach site, located in the vicinity of Kirchaou, contain the first tetrapod tracks found in the Triassic of Tunisia. The Middle Jurassic (early Aalenian) dinosaur tracks are reported from the Mestaoua plain near Tataouine. In the Middle Triassic outcrop of the Tejra 2 clay-pit, tridactyl tracks of small and medium-sized dinosauromorphs, were discovered. These tracks represent the oldest evidence of dinosaur-lineage elements in the Triassic deposits of Tunisia. Similar tracks have been described from the Middle Triassic of Argentina, France and Morocco. An isolated set of the manus and pes of a quadrupedal tetrapod discovered in Late Triassic Rehach tracksite is referred to a therapsid tracemaker. The Middle Jurassic deposits of the Mestaoua plain reveal small and large tridactyl theropod dinosaur tracks (Theropoda track indet. A-C). Based on comparison with the abundant record of Triassic tetrapod ichnofossils from Europe and North America, the ichnofauna described here indicates the presence of a therapsid-dinosauromorph ichnoassociation (without typical Chirotheriidae tracks) in the Middle and Late Triassic, which sheds light on the dispersal of the Middle-Upper Triassic tetrapod ichnofaunas in this part of Gondwana. The reported Middle Jurassic ichnofauna show close similarities to dinosaur track assemblages from the Lower and Middle Jurassic of northwestern Africa, North America, Europe and also southeastern Asia. Sedimentological and lithostratigraphic data of each new tracksite have been defined on published data and new observations. Taken together, these discoveries present a tantalizing window into the evolutionary history of tetrapods from the Triassic and Jurassic of southern Tunisia. Given the limited early Mesozoic tetrapod record from the region, these discoveries are of both temporal and

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

    Diego Pol

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available 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.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.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 showing that the characteristic sauropod body plan evolved gradually

  15. Evidence for Sexual Dimorphism in the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus mjosi (Ornithischia, Stegosauria) from the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Western USA.

    Saitta, Evan Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Conclusive evidence for sexual dimorphism in non-avian dinosaurs has been elusive. Here it is shown that dimorphism in the shape of the dermal plates of Stegosaurus mjosi (Upper Jurassic, western USA) does not result from non-sex-related individual, interspecific, or ontogenetic variation and is most likely a sexually dimorphic feature. One morph possessed wide, oval plates 45% larger in surface area than the tall, narrow plates of the other morph. Intermediate morphologies are lacking as principal component analysis supports marked size- and shape-based dimorphism. In contrast, many non-sex-related individual variations are expected to show intermediate morphologies. Taphonomy of a new quarry in Montana (JRDI 5ES Quarry) shows that at least five individuals were buried in a single horizon and were not brought together by water or scavenger transportation. This new site demonstrates co-existence, and possibly suggests sociality, between two morphs that only show dimorphism in their plates. Without evidence for niche partitioning, it is unlikely that the two morphs represent different species. Histology of the new specimens in combination with studies on previous specimens indicates that both morphs occur in fully-grown individuals. Therefore, the dimorphism is not a result of ontogenetic change. Furthermore, the two morphs of plates do not simply come from different positions on the back of a single individual. Plates from all positions on the body can be classified as one of the two morphs, and previously discovered, isolated specimens possess only one morph of plates. Based on the seemingly display-oriented morphology of plates, female mate choice was likely the driving evolutionary mechanism rather than male-male competition. Dinosaur ornamentation possibly served similar functions to the ornamentation of modern species. Comparisons to ornamentation involved in sexual selection of extant species, such as the horns of bovids, may be appropriate in predicting the

  16. 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

    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.

  17. The theropod furcula.

    Nesbitt, Sterling J; Turner, Alan H; Spaulding, Michelle; Conrad, Jack L; Norell, Mark A

    2009-07-01

    The furcula is a structure formed by the midline fusion of the clavicles. This is the element which is unique to theropods and is important for understanding the link between birds and other theropods. New specimens from basal theropods suggest that the furcula appeared very early in theropod history. We review furcula development, function, and morphology, as well as the anatomical terminology applied to it. Furcular morphology is highly variable in crown-group avians but is rather conserved among nonavian theropods. Here we review, or describe for the first time, the furculae in many nonavian theropods. Furculae occur in nearly all major clades of theropods, as shown by new theropod specimens from the Early Cretaceous of China and a close inspection of previously collected specimens. Informative phylogenetic characters pertaining to the furcula occur throughout Theropoda, though care should betake to consider taphonomic effects when describing furcular morphology. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  18. Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs.

    Holly N Woodward

    Full Text Available 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.

  19. Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs.

    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.

  20. A Late Cretaceous theropod caudal vertebra from the Sultanate of Oman

    Schulp, Anne S.; Hanna, Samir S.; Hartman, Axel Frans; Jagt, John W M

    2000-01-01

    A caudal vertebra collected from conglomerates of the Al-Khod Formation (Late Cretaceous) in the Al-Khod area, Sultanate of Oman, is assigned to a medium-sized theropod dinosaur. The Al-Khod discovery represents one of the very few dinosaur records from the Middle East.

  1. Evolution of dinosaur epidermal structures.

    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.

  2. The origin and early evolution of dinosaurs.

    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

  3. A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution.

    Baron, Matthew G; Norman, David B; Barrett, Paul M

    2017-03-22

    For 130 years, dinosaurs have been divided into two distinct clades-Ornithischia and Saurischia. Here we present a hypothesis for the phylogenetic relationships of the major dinosaurian groups that challenges the current consensus concerning early dinosaur evolution and highlights problematic aspects of current cladistic definitions. Our study has found a sister-group relationship between Ornithischia and Theropoda (united in the new clade Ornithoscelida), with Sauropodomorpha and Herrerasauridae (as the redefined Saurischia) forming its monophyletic outgroup. This new tree topology requires redefinition and rediagnosis of Dinosauria and the subsidiary dinosaurian clades. In addition, it forces re-evaluations of early dinosaur cladogenesis and character evolution, suggests that hypercarnivory was acquired independently in herrerasaurids and theropods, and offers an explanation for many of the anatomical features previously regarded as notable convergences between theropods and early ornithischians.

  4. How many dinosaur species were there? Fossil bias and true richness estimated using a Poisson sampling model.

    Starrfelt, Jostein; Liow, Lee Hsiang

    2016-04-05

    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. © 2016 The Authors.

  5. 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

    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.

  6. Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the largest terrestrial predator from Europe, and a proposed terminology of the maxilla anatomy in nonavian theropods.

    Christophe Hendrickx

    Full Text Available The Lourinhã Formation (Kimmeridgian-Tithonian of Central West Portugal is well known for its diversified dinosaur fauna similar to that of the Morrison Formation of North America; both areas share dinosaur taxa including the top predator Torvosaurus, reported in Portugal. The material assigned to the Portuguese T. tanneri, consisting of a right maxilla and an incomplete caudal centrum, was briefly described in the literature and a thorough description of these bones is here given for the first time. A comparison with material referred to Torvosaurus tanneri allows us to highlight some important differences justifying the creation of a distinct Eastern species. Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp. displays two autapomorphies among Megalosauroidea, a maxilla possessing fewer than eleven teeth and an interdental wall nearly coincidental with the lateral wall of the maxillary body. In addition, it differs from T. tanneri by a reduced number of maxillary teeth, the absence of interdental plates terminating ventrally by broad V-shaped points and falling short relative to the lateral maxillary wall, and the absence of a protuberant ridge on the anterior part of the medial shelf, posterior to the anteromedial process. T. gurneyi is the largest theropod from the Lourinhã Formation of Portugal and the largest land predator discovered in Europe hitherto. This taxon supports the mechanism of vicariance that occurred in the Iberian Meseta during the Late Jurassic when the proto-Atlantic was already well formed. A fragment of maxilla from the Lourinhã Formation referred to Torvosaurus sp. is ascribed to this new species, and several other bones, including a femur, a tibia and embryonic material all from the Kimmeridgian-Tithonian of Portugal, are tentatively assigned to T. gurneyi. A standard terminology and notation of the theropod maxilla is also proposed and a record of the Torvosaurus material from Portugal is given.

  7. First dinosaurs from Saudi Arabia.

    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.

  8. Dinosaur Day!

    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…

  9. 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.

    Susannah Catherine Rose Maidment

    Full Text Available 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 preserved because it was buried rapidly in a pond or body of standing water immediately after death. The quarry is probably located in the middle part of the Morrison Formation, which is believed to be Tithonian in age in this area. The specimen is referable to Stegosaurus stenops based on the possession of an edentulous anterior portion of the dentary and elevated postzygapophyses on the cervical vertebrae. New information provided by the specimen concerns the morphology of the vertebrae, the iliosacral block and dermal armor. Several aspects of its morphology indicate the individual was not fully skeletally mature at the time of death, corroborating a previous histological study.

  10. 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.

    Maidment, Susannah Catherine Rose; Brassey, Charlotte; Barrett, Paul Michael

    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 preserved because it was buried rapidly in a pond or body of standing water immediately after death. The quarry is probably located in the middle part of the Morrison Formation, which is believed to be Tithonian in age in this area. The specimen is referable to Stegosaurus stenops based on the possession of an edentulous anterior portion of the dentary and elevated postzygapophyses on the cervical vertebrae. New information provided by the specimen concerns the morphology of the vertebrae, the iliosacral block and dermal armor. Several aspects of its morphology indicate the individual was not fully skeletally mature at the time of death, corroborating a previous histological study.

  11. An Unusual New Theropod with a Didactyl Manus from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina

    Apesteguía, Sebastián; Smith, Nathan D.; Juárez Valieri, Rubén; Makovicky, Peter J.

    2016-01-01

    Background Late Cretaceous terrestrial strata of the Neuquén Basin, northern Patagonia, Argentina have yielded a rich fauna of dinosaurs and other vertebrates. The diversity of saurischian dinosaurs is particularly high, especially in the late Cenomanian-early Turonian Huincul Formation, which has yielded specimens of rebacchisaurid and titanosaurian sauropods, and abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods. Continued sampling is adding to the known vertebrate diversity of this unit. Methodology/ Principal Findings A new, partially articulated mid-sized theropod was found in rocks from the Huincul Formation. It exhibits a unique combination of traits that distinguish it from other known theropods justifying erection of a new taxon, Gualicho shinyae gen. et sp. nov. Gualicho possesses a didactyl manus with the third digit reduced to a metacarpal splint reminiscent of tyrannosaurids, but both phylogenetic and multivariate analyses indicate that didactyly is convergent in these groups. Derived characters of the scapula, femur, and fibula supports the new theropod as the sister taxon of the nearly coeval African theropod Deltadromeus and as a neovenatorid carcharodontosaurian. A number of these features are independently present in ceratosaurs, and Gualicho exhibits an unusual mosaic of ceratosaurian and tetanuran synapomorphies distributed throughout the skeleton. Conclusions/ Significance Gualicho shinyae gen. et sp. nov. increases the known theropod diversity of the Huincul Formation and also represents the first likely neovenatorid from this unit. It is the most basal tetatanuran to exhibit common patterns of digit III reduction that evolved independently in a number of other tetanuran lineages. A close relationship with Deltadromaeus from the Kem Kem beds of Niger adds to the already considerable biogeographic similarity between the Huincul Formation and coeval rock units in North Africa. PMID:27410683

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

    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.

  13. Avian-like breathing mechanics in maniraptoran dinosaurs

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

    2007-01-01

    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. PMID:17986432

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

    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.

  15. A dinosaur missing-link? Chilesaurus and the early evolution of ornithischian dinosaurs.

    Baron, Matthew G; Barrett, Paul M

    2017-08-01

    The enigmatic dinosaur taxon Chilesaurus diegosuarezi was originally described as a tetanuran theropod, but this species possesses a highly unusual combination of features that could provide evidence of alternative phylogenetic positions within the clade. In order to test the relationships of Chilesaurus , we added it to a new dataset of early dinosaurs and other dinosauromorphs. Our analyses recover Chilesaurus in a novel position, as the earliest diverging member of Ornithischia, rather than a tetanuran theropod. The basal position of Chilesaurus within the clade and its suite of anatomical characters suggest that it might represent a 'transitional' taxon, bridging the morphological gap between Theropoda and Ornithischia, thereby offering potential insights into the earliest stages of ornithischian evolution, which were previously obscure. For example, our results suggest that pubic retroversion occurred prior to some of the craniodental and postcranial modifications that previously diagnosed the clade (e.g. the presence of a predentary bone and ossified tendons). © 2017 The Author(s).

  16. The precise temporal calibration of dinosaur origins.

    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.

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

    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.

  18. Dinosaurs in the year of Darwin.

    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! (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  19. Brief review of dinosaur studies and perspectives in Brazil

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

    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.

  1. Forearm posture and mobility in quadrupedal dinosaurs.

    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.

  2. Forearm posture and mobility in quadrupedal dinosaurs.

    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.

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

    Brandon R Peecook

    Full Text Available 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.

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

    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.

  5. Dinosaur lactation?

    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.

  6. On a dinosaur axis from one of the oldest dinosaur-bearing sites worldwide

    Rodrigo T. Müller

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available The axial skeleton is proportionally underrepresented in the fossil record of early dinosaurs, when compared to other skeletal parts (e.g., pelvic girdle and hindlimb. For instance, the axis is poorly known in early dinosaurs, which precludes a better understanding of this important anatomical structure. Therefore, the present contribution fills an important gap with a description of the axis of a new early dinosaur (CAPPA/UFSM 0179. The specimen was collected at the Buriol outcrop, a Triassic fossiliferous locality from southern Brazil (Candelária Sequence, Santa Maria Supersequence biostratigraphically correlated to Carnian units, placing this specimen among the oldest dinosaurs worldwide. Notable features include the combination of a neural spine that bears an almost straight dorsal margin along its length and presence of an epipophysis. This axis arrangement is unique among Carnian dinosaurs, representing a new morphotype, though a similar morphology is observed in some early theropods. Indeed, a phylogenetic analysis nested the specimen within Theropoda. However, this outcome is probably biased by the large amount of missing data in CAPPA/UFSM 0179 and also due to the limited sampling of the axis in early dinosaurs, particularly among sauropodomorphs. As the specimen comes from the site that includes Buriolestes schultzi (an early sauropodomorph, it is quite plausible that CAPPA/UFSM 0179 might be referable to that taxon. If so, the specimen improves the anatomical knowledge of Buriolestes schultzi, given its axis is yet unknown. An alternative possibility to be considered is that the specimen would belong to a dinosaur not yet known in the Candelária Sequence, which would increase its dinosaur diversity for the outcrop, improving the Triassic dinosaurian record from Southern Brazil.

  7. Dinosaur Impressions

    Taquet, Philippe

    1998-09-01

    Perhaps you are a paleontologist or have always wondered what it is like to be one. Or you are fascinated by fossils and like to read about the origins and natural history of dinosaurs. Or maybe you are an avid traveler and reader of travelogues. If you are any of these things, then this book is for you. Originally published in 1994 in French, Dinosaur Impressions is the engaging account of thirty years of travel and paleontological exploration by Philippe Taquet, one of the world's most noted paleontologists. Dr. Taquet takes the reader on a surprisingly far-flung tour ranging from the Provence countryside to the Niger desert, from the Brazilian bush to the Mongolian Steppes, and from the Laos jungle to the Moroccan mountains in search of dinosaur bones and what they have to tell us about a vanished world. With wry humor and lively anecdotes, Dr. Taquet retraces the history of paleontological research, along the way discussing the latest theories of dinosaur existence and extinction. Elegantly translated by Kevin Padian, Dinosaur Impressions provides a unique, thoughtful perspective not often encountered in American- and English-language works. This insightful, first-hand account of an exceptional career is also a travelogue par excellence that will enthrall enthusiasts and general readers alike. Philippe Taquet is the Director of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and is a member of the French Academy of Sciences. Kevin Padian is a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Curator of the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the editor of The Beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs (Cambridge, 1986) and The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs (1997).

  8. Respiratory and reproductive paleophysiology of dinosaurs and early birds.

    Ruben, John A; Jones, Terry D; Geist, Nicholas R

    2003-01-01

    In terms of their diversity and longevity, dinosaurs and birds were/are surely among the most successful of terrestrial vertebrates. Unfortunately, interpreting many aspects of the biology of dinosaurs and the earliest of the birds presents formidable challenges because they are known only from fossils. Nevertheless, a variety of attributes of these taxa can be inferred by identification of shared anatomical structures whose presence is causally linked to specialized functions in living reptiles, birds, and mammals. Studies such as these demonstrate that although dinosaurs and early birds were likely to have been homeothermic, the absence of nasal respiratory turbinates in these animals indicates that they were likely to have maintained reptile-like (ectothermic) metabolic rates during periods of rest or routine activity. Nevertheless, given the metabolic capacities of some extant reptiles during periods of elevated activity, early birds were probably capable of powered flight. Similarly, had, for example, theropod dinosaurs possessed aerobic metabolic capacities and habits equivalent to those of some large, modern tropical latitude lizards (e.g., Varanus), they may well have maintained significant home ranges and actively pursued and killed large prey. Additionally, this scenario of active, although ectothermic, theropod dinosaurs seems reinforced by the likely utilization of crocodilian-like, diaphragm breathing in this group. Finally, persistent in vivo burial of their nests and apparent lack of egg turning suggests that clutch incubation by dinosaurs was more reptile- than birdlike. Contrary to previous suggestions, there is little if any reliable evidence that some dinosaur young may have been helpless and nestbound (altricial) at hatching.

  9. New Insights into Non-Avian Dinosaur Reproduction and Their Evolutionary and Ecological Implications: Linking Fossil Evidence to Allometries of Extant Close Relatives

    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 Massospondylus carinatus , 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

  10. New insights into non-avian dinosaur reproduction and their evolutionary and ecological implications: linking fossil evidence to allometries of extant close relatives.

    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

  11. New insights into non-avian dinosaur reproduction and their evolutionary and ecological implications: linking fossil evidence to allometries of extant close relatives.

    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

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

    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.

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

    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. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  14. Healed or non-healed? computed tomography (CT) visualisation of morphology of bite trace ichnotaxa on a dinosaur bone

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland; Lauridsen, Henrik; Fiirgaard, Bente

    2015-01-01

    . Ichnotaxa defined by theropod bite traces can provide useful information for understanding feeding behaviour. However, objective interpretation of possible bite traces can be difficult using traditional visual inspection. In this study, the bite traces on a fossilised dinosaur bone were comprehensively...

  15. Embryonic metabolism of the ornithischian dinosaurs Protoceratops andrewsi and Hypacrosaurus stebingeri and implications for calculations of dinosaur egg incubation times

    Lee, Scott A.

    2017-04-01

    The embryonic metabolisms of the ornithischian dinosaurs Protoceratops andrewsi and Hypacrosaurus stebingeri have been determined and are in the range observed in extant reptiles. The average value of the measured embryonic metabolic rates for P. andrewsi and H. stebingeri are then used to calculate the incubation times for 21 dinosaurs from both Sauischia and Ornithischia using a mass growth model based on conservation of energy. The calculated incubation times vary from about 70 days for Archaeopteryx lithographica to about 180 days for Alamosaurus sanjuanensis. Such long incubation times seem unlikely, particularly for the sauropods and large theropods. Incubation times are also predicted with the assumption that the saurischian dinosaurs had embryonic metabolisms in the range observed in extant birds.

  16. A large Cretaceous theropod from Patagonia, Argentina, and the evolution of carcharodontosaurids

    Novas, Fernando E.; Valais, Silvina; Vickers-Rich, Pat; Rich, Tom

    2005-05-01

    The Cretaceous Carcharodontosauridae is the latest clade of carnosaurs, including the largest predatory dinosaurs yet recorded. Albeit spectacular for their size, the skeletal anatomy of these theropods remains poorly-known, and their diversity was until recently restricted to two Cenomanian species: the highly derived Giganotosaurus carolinii, from southern South America, and the incompletely known Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, from northern Africa. Here we describe an older and basal member of the group, Tyrannotitan chubutensis gen. et sp. nov., from Aptian strata of Patagonia, Argentina. The new taxon gives new insights into the systematics and evolution of carcharodontosaurids and offers a better understanding of the evolution of Southern theropod faunas. We suggest that carcharodontosaurids radiated in Gondwana sharing with spinosaurids the role of top-predators until their extinction in Cenomanian Turonian times. During this interval, the diplodocoid sauropods and giant titanosaurians went extinct (probably as part of a global-scale crisis), and the smaller abelisaurid theropods took dominance, reigning until the end of the Cretaceous. Electronic Supplementary Material is available.

  17. Evolution of parental incubation behaviour in dinosaurs cannot be inferred from clutch mass in birds.

    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.

  18. The evolutionary continuum of limb function from early theropods to birds.

    Hutchinson, John R; Allen, Vivian

    2009-04-01

    The bipedal stance and gait of theropod dinosaurs evolved gradually along the lineage leading to birds and at some point(s), flight evolved. How and when did these changes occur? We review the evidence from neontology and paleontology, including pectoral and pelvic limb functional morphology, fossil footprints/trackways and biomechanical models and simulations. We emphasise that many false dichotomies or categories have been applied to theropod form and function, and sometimes, these impede research progress. For example, dichotomisation of locomotor function into 'non-avian' and 'avian' modes is only a conceptual crutch; the evidence supports a continuous transition. Simplification of pelvic limb function into cursorial/non-cursorial morphologies or flexed/columnar poses has outlived its utility. For the pectoral limbs, even the classic predatory strike vs. flight wing-stroke distinction and separation of theropods into non-flying and flying--or terrestrial and arboreal--categories may be missing important subtleties. Distinguishing locomotor function between taxa, even with quantitative approaches, will always be fraught with ambiguity, making it difficult to find real differences if that ambiguity is properly acknowledged. There must be an 'interpretive asymptote' for reconstructing dinosaur limb function that available methods and evidence cannot overcome. We may be close to that limit, but how far can it be stretched with improved methods and evidence, if at all? The way forward is a combination of techniques that emphasises integration of neontological and paleontological evidence and quantitative assessment of limb function cautiously applied with validated techniques and sensitivity analysis of unknown variables.

  19. Dinosaur biomechanics

    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 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. PMID:16822743

  20. An enigmatic, diminutive theropod footprint in the shallow marine Pliensbachian Hasle Formation, Bornholm, Denmark

    Milàn, Jesper; Surlyk, Finn

    2015-01-01

    A well-preserved three-toed footprint, measuring 34 mm in length from a very small predatory dinosaur with an estimated hip height of 153 mm and a total body length around 50 cm including tail, is reported from the type section of the marine Lower Jurassic (Pliensbachian), Hasle Formation...... on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. The morphology of the footprint is similar to the ichnogenus Stenonyx Lull 1904 from the contemporaneous Pliensbachian Szydlowek site in Poland. Apart from the Polish material, footprints from diminutive dinosaurs are rare and reported from few other...... localities around the world. The occurrence of a diminutive dinosaur footprint in a shallow marine sandstone is enigmatic. The well-defined morphology of the footprint, together with the very small size of the trackmaker, excludes the possibility that the track was emplaced by a swimming or wading animal...

  1. Testing the effect of the rock record on diversity: a multidisciplinary approach to elucidating the generic richness of sauropodomorph dinosaurs through time.

    Mannion, Philip D; Upchurch, Paul; Carrano, Matthew T; Barrett, Paul M

    2011-02-01

    The accurate reconstruction of palaeobiodiversity patterns is central to a detailed understanding of the macroevolutionary history of a group of organisms. However, there is increasing evidence that diversity patterns observed directly from the fossil record are strongly influenced by fluctuations in the quality of our sampling of the rock record; thus, any patterns we see may reflect sampling biases, rather than genuine biological signals. Previous dinosaur diversity studies have suggested that fluctuations in sauropodomorph palaeobiodiversity reflect genuine biological signals, in comparison to theropods and ornithischians whose diversity seems to be largely controlled by the rock record. Most previous diversity analyses that have attempted to take into account the effects of sampling biases have used only a single method or proxy: here we use a number of techniques in order to elucidate diversity. A global database of all known sauropodomorph body fossil occurrences (2024) was constructed. A taxic diversity curve for all valid sauropodomorph genera was extracted from this database and compared statistically with several sampling proxies (rock outcrop area and dinosaur-bearing formations and collections), each of which captures a different aspect of fossil record sampling. Phylogenetic diversity estimates, residuals and sample-based rarefaction (including the first attempt to capture 'cryptic' diversity in dinosaurs) were implemented to investigate further the effects of sampling. After 'removal' of biases, sauropodomorph diversity appears to be genuinely high in the Norian, Pliensbachian-Toarcian, Bathonian-Callovian and Kimmeridgian-Tithonian (with a small peak in the Aptian), whereas low diversity levels are recorded for the Oxfordian and Berriasian-Barremian, with the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary seemingly representing a real diversity trough. Observed diversity in the remaining Triassic-Jurassic stages appears to be largely driven by sampling effort. Late

  2. Calcium isotopes offer clues on resource partitioning among Cretaceous predatory dinosaurs.

    Hassler, A; Martin, J E; Amiot, R; Tacail, T; Godet, F Arnaud; Allain, R; Balter, V

    2018-04-11

    Large predators are overabundant in mid-Cretaceous continental dinosaur assemblages of North Africa. Such unbalanced ecosystem structure involves, among predatory dinosaurs, typical abelisaurid or carcharodontosaurid theropods co-occurring with long-snouted spinosaurids of debated ecology. Here, we report calcium (Ca) isotope values from tooth enamel (expressed as δ 44/42 Ca) to investigate resource partitioning in mid-Cretaceous assemblages from Niger (Gadoufaoua) and Morocco (Kem Kem Beds). In both assemblages, spinosaurids display a distinct isotopic signature, the most negative in our dataset. This distinct taxonomic clustering in Ca isotope values observed between spinosaurids and other predators provides unambiguous evidence for niche partitioning at the top of the trophic chains: spinosaurids foraged on aquatic environments while abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods relied almost exclusively on terrestrial resources. © 2018 The Author(s).

  3. Evolution of parental incubation behaviour in dinosaurs cannot be inferred from clutch mass in birds

    Birchard, Geoffrey F.; Ruta, Marcello; Deeming, D. Charles

    2013-01-01

    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 m...

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

    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.

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

    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.

  6. Biotic and environmental dynamics through the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous transition: evidence for protracted faunal and ecological turnover.

    Tennant, Jonathan P; Mannion, Philip D; Upchurch, Paul; Sutton, Mark D; Price, Gregory D

    2017-05-01

    The Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous interval represents a time of environmental upheaval and cataclysmic events, combined with disruptions to terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Historically, the Jurassic/Cretaceous (J/K) boundary was classified as one of eight mass extinctions. However, more recent research has largely overturned this view, revealing a much more complex pattern of biotic and abiotic dynamics than has previously been appreciated. Here, we present a synthesis of our current knowledge of Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous events, focusing particularly on events closest to the J/K boundary. We find evidence for a combination of short-term catastrophic events, large-scale tectonic processes and environmental perturbations, and major clade interactions that led to a seemingly dramatic faunal and ecological turnover in both the marine and terrestrial realms. This is coupled with a great reduction in global biodiversity which might in part be explained by poor sampling. Very few groups appear to have been entirely resilient to this J/K boundary 'event', which hints at a 'cascade model' of ecosystem changes driving faunal dynamics. Within terrestrial ecosystems, larger, more-specialised organisms, such as saurischian dinosaurs, appear to have suffered the most. Medium-sized tetanuran theropods declined, and were replaced by larger-bodied groups, and basal eusauropods were replaced by neosauropod faunas. The ascent of paravian theropods is emphasised by escalated competition with contemporary pterosaur groups, culminating in the explosive radiation of birds, although the timing of this is obfuscated by biases in sampling. Smaller, more ecologically diverse terrestrial non-archosaurs, such as lissamphibians and mammaliaforms, were comparatively resilient to extinctions, instead documenting the origination of many extant groups around the J/K boundary. In the marine realm, extinctions were focused on low-latitude, shallow marine shelf-dwelling faunas

  7. A THEROPOD DOMINATED ICHNOCOENOSIS FROM LATE HAUTERIVIAN-EARLYBARREMIAN OF BORGO CELANO (GARGANO PROMONTORY, APULIA, SOUTHERN ITALY

    FABIO MASSIMO PETTI

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available Several dinosaur footprints were discovered on three different levels cropping out in the CO.L.MAR quarry, south of the village of Borgo Celano in the Gargano Promontory (Apulia, southern Italy. The track-bearing levels belong to a carbonate inner platform succession referred to the Lower Cretaceous (upper Hauterivian-lower Barremian. This paper describes only the lowest dinoturbated bed, where footprints are preserved as natural cast. Forty footprints, mostly tridactyl, have been attributed to medium-sized theropods. Tridactyl tracks are similar to Kayentapus Welles, 1971 regarding ichnotaxonomy. Round shaped footprints, previously not described from this site, are found in association with tridactyl footprints and are related to ornitischian dinosaurs

  8. Early cretaceous dinosaurs from the sahara.

    Sereno, P C; Wilson, J A; Larsson, H C; Dutheil, D B; Sues, H D

    1994-10-14

    A major question in Mesozoic biogeography is how the land-based dinosaurian radiation responded to fragmentation of Pangaea. A rich fossil record has been uncovered on northern continents that spans the Cretaceous, when continental isolation reached its peak. In contrast, dinosaur remains on southern continents are scarce. The discovery of dinosaurian skeletons from Lower Cretaceous beds in the southern Sahara shows that several lineages of tetanuran theropods and broad-toothed sauropods had a cosmopolitan distribution across Pangaea before the onset of continental fragmentation. The distinct dinosaurian faunas of Africa, South America, and Asiamerica arose during the Cretaceous by differential survival of once widespread lineages on land masses that were becoming increasingly isolated from one another.

  9. The last dinosaurs of Brazil: The Bauru Group and its implications for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    STEPHEN L. BRUSATTE

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT The non-avian dinosaurs died out at the end of the Cretaceous, ~66 million years ago, after an asteroid impact. The prevailing hypothesis is that the effects of the impact suddenly killed the dinosaurs, but the poor fossil record of latest Cretaceous (Campanian-Maastrichtian dinosaurs from outside Laurasia (and even more particularly, North America makes it difficult to test specific extinction scenarios. Over the past few decades, a wealth of new discoveries from the Bauru Group of Brazil has revealed a unique window into the evolution of terminal Cretaceous dinosaurs from the southern continents. We review this record and demonstrate that there was a diversity of dinosaurs, of varying body sizes, diets, and ecological roles, that survived to the very end of the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian: 72-66 million years ago in Brazil, including a core fauna of titanosaurian sauropods and abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods, along with a variety of small-to-mid-sized theropods. We argue that this pattern best fits the hypothesis that southern dinosaurs, like their northern counterparts, were still diversifying and occupying prominent roles in their ecosystems before the asteroid suddenly caused their extinction. However, this hypothesis remains to be tested with more refined paleontological and geochronological data, and we give suggestions for future work.

  10. The last dinosaurs of Brazil: The Bauru Group and its implications for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Candeiro, Carlos R A; Simbras, Felipe M

    2017-01-01

    The non-avian dinosaurs died out at the end of the Cretaceous, ~66 million years ago, after an asteroid impact. The prevailing hypothesis is that the effects of the impact suddenly killed the dinosaurs, but the poor fossil record of latest Cretaceous (Campanian-Maastrichtian) dinosaurs from outside Laurasia (and even more particularly, North America) makes it difficult to test specific extinction scenarios. Over the past few decades, a wealth of new discoveries from the Bauru Group of Brazil has revealed a unique window into the evolution of terminal Cretaceous dinosaurs from the southern continents. We review this record and demonstrate that there was a diversity of dinosaurs, of varying body sizes, diets, and ecological roles, that survived to the very end of the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian: 72-66 million years ago) in Brazil, including a core fauna of titanosaurian sauropods and abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods, along with a variety of small-to-mid-sized theropods. We argue that this pattern best fits the hypothesis that southern dinosaurs, like their northern counterparts, were still diversifying and occupying prominent roles in their ecosystems before the asteroid suddenly caused their extinction. However, this hypothesis remains to be tested with more refined paleontological and geochronological data, and we give suggestions for future work.

  11. Brushing up on Dinosaurs.

    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)

  12. What's New, Dinosaur?

    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)

  13. Feeding mechanics in spinosaurid theropods and extant crocodilians.

    Andrew R Cuff

    Full Text Available A number of extant and extinct archosaurs evolved an elongate, narrow rostrum. This longirostrine condition has been associated with a diet comprising a higher proportion of fish and smaller prey items compared to taxa with broader, more robust snouts. The evolution of longirostrine morphology and a bulbous anterior rosette of premaxillary teeth also occurs in the spinosaurid theropod dinosaurs, leading to suggestions that at least some members of this clade also had a diet comprising a notable proportion of fish or other small vertebrates. Here we compare the rostral biomechanics of the spinosaurs Baryonyx walkeri and Spinosaurus c.f. S. aegyptiacus to three extant crocodilians: two longistrine taxa, the African slender-snouted crocodile Mecistops cataphractus and the Indian gharial Gavialis gangeticus; and the American alligator Alligator mississippiensis. Using computed tomography (CT data, the second moments of area and moments of inertia at successive transverse slices along the rostrum were calculated for each of the species. Size-independent results tested the biomechanical benefits of material distribution within the rostra. The two spinosaur rostra were both digitally reconstructed from CT data and compared against all three crocodilians. Results show that African slender-snouted crocodile skulls are more resistant to bending than an equivalent sized gharial. The alligator has the highest resistances to bending and torsion of the crocodiles for its size and greater than that of the spinosaurs. The spinosaur rostra possess similar resistance to bending and torsion despite their different morphologies. When size is accounted for, B. walkeri performs mechanically differently from the gharial, contradicting previous studies whereas Spinosaurus does not. Biomechanical data support known feeding ecology for both African slender-snouted crocodile and alligator, and suggest that the spinosaurs were not obligate piscivores with diet being

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

    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.

  15. Mesozoic dinosaurs from Brazil and their biogeographic implications.

    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.

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

    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.

  17. The history of dinosaur footprint discoveries in Wyoming with emphasis on the Bighorn Basin

    Kvale, Erik P.; Mickelson, Debra L.; Hasiotis, Stephen T; Johnson, Gary 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.

  18. Diversity patterns amongst herbivorous dinosaurs and plants during the Cretaceous: implications for hypotheses of dinosaur/angiosperm co-evolution.

    Butler, R J; Barrett, P M; Kenrick, P; Penn, M G

    2009-03-01

    Palaeobiologists frequently attempt to identify examples of co-evolutionary interactions over extended geological timescales. These hypotheses are often intuitively appealing, as co-evolution is so prevalent in extant ecosystems, and are easy to formulate; however, they are much more difficult to test than their modern analogues. Among the more intriguing deep time co-evolutionary scenarios are those that relate changes in Cretaceous dinosaur faunas to the primary radiation of flowering plants. Demonstration of temporal congruence between the diversifications of co-evolving groups is necessary to establish whether co-evolution could have occurred in such cases, but is insufficient to prove whether it actually did take place. Diversity patterns do, however, provide a means for falsifying such hypotheses. We have compiled a new database of Cretaceous dinosaur and plant distributions from information in the primary literature. This is used as the basis for plotting taxonomic diversity and occurrence curves for herbivorous dinosaurs (Sauropodomorpha, Stegosauria, Ankylosauria, Ornithopoda, Ceratopsia, Pachycephalosauria and herbivorous theropods) and major groups of plants (angiosperms, Bennettitales, cycads, cycadophytes, conifers, Filicales and Ginkgoales) that co-occur in dinosaur-bearing formations. Pairwise statistical comparisons were made between various floral and faunal groups to test for any significant similarities in the shapes of their diversity curves through time. We show that, with one possible exception, diversity patterns for major groups of herbivorous dinosaurs are not positively correlated with angiosperm diversity. In other words, at the level of major clades, there is no support for any diffuse co-evolutionary relationship between herbivorous dinosaurs and flowering plants. The diversification of Late Cretaceous pachycephalosaurs (excluding the problematic taxon Stenopelix) shows a positive correlation, but this might be spuriously related to

  19. A new troodontid theropod, Talos sampsoni gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Cretaceous Western Interior Basin of North America.

    Lindsay E Zanno

    Full Text Available Troodontids are a predominantly small-bodied group of feathered theropod dinosaurs notable for their close evolutionary relationship with Avialae. Despite a diverse Asian representation with remarkable growth in recent years, the North American record of the clade remains poor, with only one controversial species--Troodon formosus--presently known from substantial skeletal remains.Here we report a gracile new troodontid theropod--Talos sampsoni gen. et sp. nov.--from the Upper Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation, Utah, USA, representing one of the most complete troodontid skeletons described from North America to date. Histological assessment of the holotype specimen indicates that the adult body size of Talos was notably smaller than that of the contemporary genus Troodon. Phylogenetic analysis recovers Talos as a member of a derived, latest Cretaceous subclade, minimally containing Troodon, Saurornithoides, and Zanabazar. MicroCT scans reveal extreme pathological remodeling on pedal phalanx II-1 of the holotype specimen likely resulting from physical trauma and subsequent infectious processes.Talos sampsoni adds to the singularity of the Kaiparowits Formation dinosaur fauna, which is represented by at least 10 previously unrecognized species including the recently named ceratopsids Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops, the hadrosaurine Gryposaurus monumentensis, the tyrannosaurid Teratophoneus, and the oviraptorosaurian Hagryphus. The presence of a distinct troodontid taxon in the Kaiparowits Formation supports the hypothesis that late Campanian dinosaurs of the Western Interior Basin exhibited restricted geographic ranges and suggests that the taxonomic diversity of Late Cretaceous troodontids from North America is currently underestimated. An apparent traumatic injury to the foot of Talos with evidence of subsequent healing sheds new light on the paleobiology of deinonychosaurians by bolstering functional interpretations of prey grappling and

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

    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

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

    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

  2. Oxygen isotopes from biogenic apatites suggest widespread endothermy in Cretaceous dinosaurs

    Amiot, Romain; Lécuyer, Christophe; Buffetaut, Eric; Escarguel, Gilles; Fluteau, Frédéric; Martineau, François

    2006-06-01

    The much debated question of dinosaur thermophysiology has not yet been conclusively solved despite numerous attempts. We used the temperature-dependent oxygen isotope fractionation between vertebrate body water (δ 18O body water) and phosphatic tissues (δ 18O p) to compare the thermophysiology of dinosaurs with that of non-dinosaurian ectothermic reptiles. Present-day δ 18O p values of vertebrate apatites show that ectotherms have higher δ 18O p values than endotherms at high latitudes due to their lower body temperature, and conversely lower δ 18O p values than endotherms at low latitudes. Using a data set of 80 new and 49 published δ 18O p values, we observed similar and systematic differences in δ 18O p values (Δ 18O) between four groups of Cretaceous dinosaurs (theropods, sauropods, ornithopods and ceratopsians) and associated fresh water crocodiles and turtles. Expressed in terms of body temperatures ( Tb), these Δ 18O values indicate that dinosaurs maintained rather constant Tb in the range of endotherms whatever ambient temperatures were. This implies that high metabolic rates were widespread among Cretaceous dinosaurs belonging to widely different taxonomic groups and suggest that endothermy may be a synapomorphy of dinosaurs, or may have been acquired convergently in the studied taxa.

  3. Limb bone allometry during postnatal ontogeny in non-avian dinosaurs

    Kilbourne, Brandon M; Makovicky, Peter J

    2010-01-01

    Although the interspecific scaling of tetrapods is well understood, remarkably little work has been done on the ontogenetic scaling within tetrapod species, whether fossil or recent. Here the ontogenetic allometry of the femur, humerus, and tibia was determined for 23 species of non-avian dinosaur by regressing log-transformed length against log-transformed circumference for each bone using reduced major axis bivariate regression. The femora of large theropod species became more robust during ontogeny, whereas growth in the femora of sauropodomorphs and most ornithischians was not significantly different from isometry. Hadrosaur hindlimb elements became significantly more gracile during ontogeny. Scaling constants were higher in all theropods than in any non-theropod taxa. Such clear taxonomically correlated divisions were not evident in the ontogenetic allometry of the tibia and hindlimb bones did not scale uniformly within larger taxonomic groups. For taxa in which the ontogenetic allometry of the humerus was studied, only Riojasaurus incertus exhibited a significant departure from isometry. Using independent contrasts, the regression of femoral allometry against the log of adult body mass was found to have a significant negative correlation but such a relationship could not be established for other limb elements or growth parameters, mainly due to the small sample size. The intraspecific scaling patterns observed in dinosaurs and other amniotes do not support earlier hypotheses that intraspecific scaling differs between endothermic and ectothermic taxa. PMID:20557400

  4. Femoral strength and posture in terrestrial birds and non-avian theropods.

    Farke, Andrew A; Alicea, Justy

    2009-09-01

    Osteological and experimental evidence suggest a change in femoral posture between non-avian dinosaurs (in which the femur presumably was carried in a subvertical position) and birds (in which the femur is held nearly horizontal during most phases of terrestrial locomotion). In this study, we used a broad comparative sample to test the hypothesis that cross-sectional properties of the femur records evidence of this presumed change in posture. I(max) and I(min) (second moment of area, related to resistance to bending) and cross-sectional area (indicating resistance to compression) were measured from computed tomography scans of the femora of 30 species of flightless or primarily terrestrial birds, one probable non-dinosaur dinosauromorph, and at least four species of non-avian theropods. It was predicted that birds should have more eccentrically shaped femoral midshafts as measured by I(max)/II(min) (reflecting greater bending) and comparatively smaller cross-sectional areas than non-avians. Results show that no significant differences occur between non-avian dinosaurs and birds for any parameter, and the samples overlapped broadly in many cases. Thus, cross-sectional properties cannot be used to infer differences in femoral posture between the two groups. This surprising finding might be explained by the fact that femoral postures were not drastically different or that a gradation of postures occurred in each sample. It is also possible that bone loading during life was not closely correlated with cross-sectional morphology. We conclude that cross-sectional properties should be used with caution in determining the posture and behaviors of extinct animals, and only in conjunction with other morphological information. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  5. Dinosaur Extinction, Early Childhood Style

    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…

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

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

    2010-01-01

    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...

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

    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

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

    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.

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

    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. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. Morphological Diversity and Evolution of the Jugal in Dinosaurs.

    Sullivan, Corwin; Xu, Xing

    2017-01-01

    In dinosaurs, as in other reptiles, the homologue of the mammalian zygomatic bone is the jugal. The dinosaurian jugal was primitively triradiate, with posterior, dorsal and anterior processes that respectively contacted the quadratojugal, the postorbital, and the maxilla and lacrimal. However, the jugal evolved along different lines in the three major dinosaurian clades. In theropods this cranial element remained relatively conservative in morphology, apart from being reduced to a rod-like structure in most birds and a few non-avians. In sauropodomorphs the jugal eventually became small, plate-like and nearly restricted to the area below the orbit, even being excluded from the ventral margin of the skull in many derived taxa. Among ornithischians the jugal was highly variable, but in many cases became large and/or adorned with ornamental features such as horns, flanges, and rugosities. The jugal does not appear to have been a site of muscle attachment in most non-avian dinosaurs, but represented an important structural element in the akinetic dinosaurian skull. The conspicuous jugal ornaments seen in many ornithischian dinosaurs, like the less striking ones documented in some saurischians, may have played an important role in the social behavior of the species that possessed them. In many cases they have a weapon-like aspect suggesting use in aggressive displays, if not actual combat, adding to the evidence that agonistic behavior was likely widespread among ornithischians in particular. Anat Rec, 300:30-48, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Retrodeformation and muscular reconstruction of ornithomimosaurian dinosaur crania

    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.

  12. Dinosaur physiology. Evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs.

    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. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  13. AN EARLY JURASSIC SAUROPOD TOOTH FROM PATAGONIA (CAÑADÓN ASFALTO FORMATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR SAUROPOD DIVERSITY

    Carballido, José L

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Eusauropods were a group of herbivorous dinosaurs that evolved during the Early Jurassic and dominated the terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous. A peak of diversity is represented by the Late Jurassic, when most of the lineages of the derived clade, Neosauropoda, are represented. Different lineages of eusauropods differ in several morphological aspects, including a great diversity in gathering strategies, inferred by their dentition morphology and wear facets. Here we describe a new tooth morphotype that can be well differentiated from any other tooth recovered from the Cañadón Asfalto Formation (Lower Jurassic-Middle-Jurassic. Therefore this new tooth morphology increase the evidence of a high diversity of sauropods during that time as well as providing evidence of advanced characters in the dentition of some Early Jurassic sauropods (e.g., subcylindrical and narrow crowns with single apical wear facet.

  14. First American record of the Jurassic ichnogenus Deltapodus and a review of the fossil record of stegosaurian footprints

    Milàn, Jesper; Chiappe, Luis M

    2009-01-01

    We describe the first American stegosaur track of the ichnospecies Deltapodus brodricki, collected in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of San Juan County, southeastern Utah, United States. The track is preserved as a natural cast on the underside of a slab of fluvial sandstone and consists o...... and highlights the similarities between the Late Jurassic dinosaur faunas of North America and those of Western Europe....

  15. Common Avian Infection Plagued the Tyrant Dinosaurs

    Wolff, Ewan D. S.; Salisbury, Steven W.; Horner, John R.; Varricchio, David J.

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19789646

  16. Common avian infection plagued the tyrant dinosaurs.

    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.

  17. Warm and Cool Dinosaurs.

    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)

  18. Dinosaur Reproduction and Parenting

    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.

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

    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

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

    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

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

    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

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

    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

  3. Ontogenetic changes in the craniomandibular skeleton of the abelisaurid dinosaur Majungasaurus crenatissimus from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar

    Nirina O. Ratsimbaholison

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Abelisaurid theropods were one of the most diverse groups of predatory dinosaurs in Gondwana during the Cretaceous. The group is characterized by a tall, wide skull and robust cervical region. This morphology is thought to have facilitated specialized feeding behaviors such as prolonged contact with prey. The Late Cretaceous abelisaurid Majungasaurus crenatissimus typifies this abelisaurid cranial morphotype. Recent fossil discoveries of this species include a partial growth series that allows for the first time an investigation of ontogenetic variation in cranial morphology in a representative abelisaurid. Herein we examine growth trajectories in the shape of individual cranial bones and articulated skulls of Majungasaurus using geometric morphometrics. Several major changes in skull shape were observed through ontogeny, including an increase in the height of the jugal, postorbital, and quadratojugal, an increase in the extent of the contacts between bones, and a decrease in the circumference of the orbit. The skull transitions from relatively short in the smallest individual to tall and robust in large adults, as is seen in other theropods. Such morphological change during ontogeny would likely have resulted in different biomechanical properties and feeding behaviors between small and large individuals. These findings provide a post-hatching developmental framework for understanding the evolution of the distinctive tall skull morphology seen in abelisaurids and other large-sized theropod dinosaurs.

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

    Lockley, Martin G.; White, Diane K.; Kirkland, James I.; Santucci, Vincent L.

    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.

  5. The evolution of dinosaurs.

    Sereno, P C

    1999-06-25

    The ascendancy of dinosaurs on land near the close of the Triassic now appears to have been as accidental and opportunistic as their demise and replacement by therian mammals at the end of the Cretaceous. The dinosaurian radiation, launched by 1-meter-long bipeds, was slower in tempo and more restricted in adaptive scope than that of therian mammals. A notable exception was the evolution of birds from small-bodied predatory dinosaurs, which involved a dramatic decrease in body size. Recurring phylogenetic trends among dinosaurs include, to the contrary, increase in body size. There is no evidence for co-evolution between predators and prey or between herbivores and flowering plants. As the major land masses drifted apart, dinosaurian biogeography was molded more by regional extinction and intercontinental dispersal than by the breakup sequence of Pangaea.

  6. Jurassic Park Insects

    Graff, Robert

    2009-01-01

    This lesson begins with a discussion on prehistoric times and how most life forms have either become extinct or have evolved into something people see in the environment today. Most of the conversation revolves around dinosaurs or animals on the endangered species list, such as the panda or polar bear. The author directed the conversation to…

  7. Cardiovascular Physiology of Dinosaurs.

    Seymour, Roger S

    2016-11-01

    Cardiovascular function in dinosaurs can be inferred from fossil evidence with knowledge of how metabolic rate, blood flow rate, blood pressure, and heart size are related to body size in living animals. Skeletal stature and nutrient foramen size in fossil femora provide direct evidence of a high arterial blood pressure, a large four-chambered heart, a high aerobic metabolic rate, and intense locomotion. But was the heart of a huge, long-necked sauropod dinosaur able to pump blood up 9 m to its head? ©2016 Int. Union Physiol. Sci./Am. Physiol. Soc.

  8. Dinosaur footprint assemblage from the Lower Cretaceous Khok Kruat Formation, Khorat Group, northeastern Thailand

    Shohei Kozu

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available The Khok Kruat Formation is the upper part of the Khorat Group, which consists of upper Lower Cretaceous non-marine sedimentary rocks in northeastern Thailand. Many dinosaur footprints have been known from the upper Lower Cretaceous (Aptian–Albian Khok Kruat Formation at the Huai Dam Chum (Tha Uthen site, northeastern Thailand. Approximately 600 tracks occur in thin mudstone layer of the northern part of the outcrop at the Huai Dam Chum track site. Two types of footprints, small-sized theropod and crocodylomorph are imprinted with mud cracks and ripple marks on the thin mud layer. Most of footprints are referred to cf. Asianopodus, and are imprinted by small-sized theropoda, probably ornithomimosauria. Theropod tracks are mainly separated into two groups, Group A and Group B. From ichnological viewpoints, the small-sized theropod track assemblage indicates the herd behaviour and its idiosyncratic group composition. In particular, the histogram of size-frequency measurements of Group A shows the anomalous bimodal distribution. We consider that there are two hypotheses; the first one is due to the male-female difference, and the second is a result of the different growing stage.

  9. Synchrotron scanning reveals amphibious ecomorphology in a new clade of bird-like dinosaurs

    Cau, Andrea; Beyrand, Vincent; Voeten, Dennis F. A. E.; Fernandez, Vincent; Tafforeau, Paul; Stein, Koen; Barsbold, Rinchen; Tsogtbaatar, Khishigjav; Currie, Philip J.; Godefroit, Pascal

    2017-12-01

    Maniraptora includes birds and their closest relatives among theropod dinosaurs. During the Cretaceous period, several maniraptoran lineages diverged from the ancestral coelurosaurian bauplan and evolved novel ecomorphologies, including active flight, gigantism, cursoriality and herbivory. Propagation X-ray phase-contrast synchrotron microtomography of a well-preserved maniraptoran from Mongolia, still partially embedded in the rock matrix, revealed a mosaic of features, most of them absent among non-avian maniraptorans but shared by reptilian and avian groups with aquatic or semiaquatic ecologies. This new theropod, Halszkaraptor escuilliei gen. et sp. nov., is related to other enigmatic Late Cretaceous maniraptorans from Mongolia in a novel clade at the root of Dromaeosauridae. This lineage adds an amphibious ecomorphology to those evolved by maniraptorans: it acquired a predatory mode that relied mainly on neck hyperelongation for food procurement, it coupled the obligatory bipedalism of theropods with forelimb proportions that may support a swimming function, and it developed postural adaptations convergent with short-tailed birds.

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

    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

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

    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

  12. A Child Centered Approach to Dinosaurs.

    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)

  13. Tracking dinosaurs in Spain

    Neil D.L. Clark

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Book review: Félix Pérez-Lorente 2015. Dinosaur Footprints and Trackways of La Rioja. 376 pp. Indiana University Press. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-0-253-01515-0. Price $85.00/£61.00; e-book $84.99.

  14. Kindergartners Love Dinosaurs

    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…

  15. Resting Orientations of Dinosaur Scapulae and Forelimbs: A Numerical Analysis, with Implications for Reconstructions and Museum Mounts.

    Senter, Phil; Robins, James H

    2015-01-01

    The inclination of the scapular blade and the resting pose of the forelimb in dinosaurs differ among reconstructions and among skeletal mounts. For most dinosaurian taxa, no attempt has previously been made to quantify the correct resting positions of these elements. Here, we used data from skeletons preserved in articulation to quantify the resting orientations of the scapula and forelimb in dinosaurs. Specimens were included in the study only if they were preserved lying on their sides; for each specimen the angle between forelimb bones at a given joint was included in the analysis only if the joint was preserved in articulation. Using correlation analyses of the angles between the long axis of the sacrum, the first dorsal centrum, and the scapular blade in theropods and Eoraptor, we found that vertebral hyperextension does not influence scapular orientation in saurischians. Among examined taxa, the long axis of the scapular blade was found to be most horizontal in bipedal saurischians, most vertical in basal ornithopods, and intermediate in hadrosauroids. We found that in bipedal dinosaurs other than theropods with semilunate carpals, the resting orientation of the elbow is close to a right angle and the resting orientation of the wrist is such that the hand exhibits only slight ulnar deviation from the antebrachium. In theropods with semilunate carpals the elbow and wrist are more flexed at rest, with the elbow at a strongly acute angle and with the wrist approximately at a right angle. The results of our study have important implications for correct orientations of bones in reconstructions and skeletal mounts. Here, we provide recommendations on bone orientations based on our results.

  16. Fossilized skin reveals coevolution with feathers and metabolism in feathered dinosaurs and early birds.

    McNamara, Maria E; Zhang, Fucheng; Kearns, Stuart L; Orr, Patrick J; Toulouse, André; Foley, Tara; Hone, David W E; Rogers, Chris S; Benton, Michael J; Johnson, Diane; Xu, Xing; Zhou, Zhonghe

    2018-05-25

    Feathers are remarkable evolutionary innovations that are associated with complex adaptations of the skin in modern birds. Fossilised feathers in non-avian dinosaurs and basal birds provide insights into feather evolution, but how associated integumentary adaptations evolved is unclear. Here we report the discovery of fossil skin, preserved with remarkable nanoscale fidelity, in three non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs and a basal bird from the Cretaceous Jehol biota (China). The skin comprises patches of desquamating epidermal corneocytes that preserve a cytoskeletal array of helically coiled α-keratin tonofibrils. This structure confirms that basal birds and non-avian dinosaurs shed small epidermal flakes as in modern mammals and birds, but structural differences imply that these Cretaceous taxa had lower body heat production than modern birds. Feathered epidermis acquired many, but not all, anatomically modern attributes close to the base of the Maniraptora by the Middle Jurassic.

  17. How has our knowledge of dinosaur diversity through geologic time changed through research history?

    Tennant, Jonathan P; Chiarenza, Alfio Alessandro; Baron, Matthew

    2018-01-01

    Assessments of dinosaur macroevolution at any given time can be biased by the historical publication record. Recent studies have analysed patterns in dinosaur diversity that are based on secular variations in the numbers of published taxa. Many of these have employed a range of approaches that account for changes in the shape of the taxonomic abundance curve, which are largely dependent on databases compiled from the primary published literature. However, how these 'corrected' diversity patterns are influenced by the history of publication remains largely unknown. Here, we investigate the influence of publication history between 1991 and 2015 on our understanding of dinosaur evolution using raw diversity estimates and shareholder quorum subsampling for the three major subgroups: Ornithischia, Sauropodomorpha, and Theropoda. We find that, while sampling generally improves through time, there remain periods and regions in dinosaur evolutionary history where diversity estimates are highly volatile (e.g. the latest Jurassic of Europe, the mid-Cretaceous of North America, and the Late Cretaceous of South America). Our results show that historical changes in database compilation can often substantially influence our interpretations of dinosaur diversity. 'Global' estimates of diversity based on the fossil record are often also based on incomplete, and distinct regional signals, each subject to their own sampling history. Changes in the record of taxon abundance distribution, either through discovery of new taxa or addition of existing taxa to improve sampling evenness, are important in improving the reliability of our interpretations of dinosaur diversity. Furthermore, the number of occurrences and newly identified dinosaurs is still rapidly increasing through time, suggesting that it is entirely possible for much of what we know about dinosaurs at the present to change within the next 20 years.

  18. Dinosaur fossils predict body temperatures.

    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.

  19. A dark day for dinosaurs

    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?

  20. If You Were a Dinosaur...

    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.…

  1. Making Sense of Dinosaur Tracks

    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…

  2. A Late Cretaceous diversification of Asian oviraptorid dinosaurs: evidence from a new species preserved in an unusual posture

    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.

  3. Dynamics of dental evolution in ornithopod dinosaurs

    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.

  4. Computational modelling of locomotor muscle moment arms in the basal dinosaur Lesothosaurus diagnosticus: assessing convergence between birds and basal ornithischians.

    Bates, Karl T; Maidment, Susannah C R; Allen, Vivian; Barrett, Paul M

    2012-03-01

    Ornithischia (the 'bird-hipped' dinosaurs) encompasses bipedal, facultative quadrupedal and quadrupedal taxa. Primitive ornithischians were small bipeds, but large body size and obligate quadrupedality evolved independently in all major ornithischian lineages. Numerous pelvic and hind limb features distinguish ornithischians from the majority of other non-avian dinosaurs. However, some of these features, notably a retroverted pubis and elongate iliac preacetabular process, appeared convergently in maniraptoran theropods, and were inherited by their avian descendants. During maniraptoran/avian evolution these pelvic modifications led to significant changes in the functions of associated muscles, involving alterations to the moment arms and the activation patterns of pelvic musculature. However, the functions of these features in ornithischians and their influence on locomotion have not been tested and remain poorly understood. Here, we provide quantitative tests of bipedal ornithischian muscle function using computational modelling to estimate 3D hind limb moment arms for the most complete basal ornithischian, Lesothosaurus diagnosticus. This approach enables sensitivity analyses to be carried out to explore the effects of uncertainties in muscle reconstructions of extinct taxa, and allows direct comparisons to be made with similarly constructed models of other bipedal dinosaurs. This analysis supports some previously proposed qualitative inferences of muscle function in basal ornithischians. However, more importantly, this work highlights ambiguities in the roles of certain muscles, notably those inserting close to the hip joint. Comparative analysis reveals that moment arm polarities and magnitudes in Lesothosaurus, basal tetanuran theropods and the extant ostrich are generally similar. However, several key differences are identified, most significantly in comparisons between the moment arms of muscles associated with convergent osteological features in

  5. Misty – museets nye dinosaur

    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....

  6. Counting dinosaurs: how many kinds were there?

    Dodson, P

    1990-01-01

    Dinosaurs figure prominently in discussions of mass extinctions and evolutionary metrics, but their usefulness is hampered by archaic taxonomy, imprecise biostratigraphy, and imperfect preservation that bias our understanding of dinosaur diversity. A critical evaluation shows that of 540 genera and 800 species of dinosaurs proposed since 1824, 285 genera and 336 species are probably valid. Nearly half of all genera are based on a single specimen, and complete skulls and skeletons are known for only 20% of all dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are known from every continent. Countries with the greatest known diversity of dinosaurs are (in descending order) the United States, Mongolia, China, Canada, England, and Argentina; the greatest future increases may be expected from Argentina and China. Nearly half of all dinosaur genera are of latest Cretaceous age (Campanian or Maastrichtian). Estimates of the average duration of a dinosaur genus range from 5 million to 10.5 million years, with the most likely value about 7.7 million years. Dinosaurs evolved as rapidly as Cenozoic mammals. Global dinosaur diversity during the Campanian and Maastrichtian is estimated at 100 genera per stage, using a logistic model to estimate future discoveries. A model of increasing diversity and a bottleneck model compensate for the biasis in the preserved fossil record. The number of dinosaurs that have ever lived is estimated at 900-1200 genera. The fossil record of dinosaurs is presently about 25% complete. Dinosaurs disappeared in the Maastrichtian near the peak of their historic diversity. PMID:2217192

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

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

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:20926438

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

    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.

  9. The extinction of the dinosaurs.

    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. © 2014 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  10. Tyrant dinosaur evolution tracks the rise and fall of Late Cretaceous oceans.

    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.

  11. Evolution: When Dinosaurs Bested Their Early Rivals.

    Brusatte, Stephen L

    2016-11-21

    A sublime fossil discovery in Brazil shows that dinosaurs and their immediate evolutionary precursors lived together for tens of millions of years before dinosaurs ultimately rose to the top. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Dinosaurs of India: Dead but Alive

    Table of contents. Dinosaurs of India: Dead but Alive · Fossils · Evolution and O2 PAL · The Science in Dinosaurs · Origin/ Extinction of Dinosaurs · PowerPoint Presentation · India –94my + 50my · Icehouse /Greenhouse through time · Global Mean Annual Temperature Distributions at 100 my · Global Mean Annual ...

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

    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. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  14. The Development of a Virtual Dinosaur Museum

    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…

  15. Simulating Dinosaur Digestion in the Classroom.

    Peczkis, Jan

    1992-01-01

    Describes an activity for use with a chapter on dinosaurs, prehistoric life, or digestion in which children make simulated dinosaur stomachs to gain hands-on experience about the theory of gastroliths, or stomach stones. Presents teacher information about the digestive processes in birds and dinosaurs. Discusses materials needed, objectives,…

  16. A theropod tooth from the Late Triassic of southern Africa

    An isolated, large recurved and finely serrated tooth found associated with the prosauropod Euskelosaurus from the Late Triassic part of the Elliot Formation is described here. It is compared to the Triassic thecodonts and carnivorous dinosaurs and its possible affinity is discussed. The tooth possibly belongs to a basal ...

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

    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.

  18. Amphibious flies and paedomorphism in the Jurassic period.

    Huang, Diying; Nel, André; Cai, Chenyang; Lin, Qibin; Engel, Michael S

    2013-03-07

    The species of the Strashilidae (strashilids) have been the most perplexing of fossil insects from the Jurassic period of Russia and China. They have been widely considered to be ectoparasites of pterosaurs or feathered dinosaurs, based on the putative presence of piercing and sucking mouthparts and hind tibio-basitarsal pincers purportedly used to fix onto the host's hairs or feathers. Both the supposed host and parasite occur in the Daohugou beds from the Middle Jurassic epoch of China (approximately 165 million years ago). Here we analyse the morphology of strashilids from the Daohugou beds, and reach markedly different conclusions; namely that strashilids are highly specialized flies (Diptera) bearing large membranous wings, with substantial sexual dimorphism of the hind legs and abdominal extensions. The idea that they belong to an extinct order is unsupported, and the lineage can be placed within the true flies. In terms of major morphological and inferred behavioural features, strashilids resemble the recent (extant) and relict members of the aquatic fly family Nymphomyiidae. Their ontogeny are distinguished by the persistence in adult males of larval abdominal respiratory gills, representing a unique case of paedomorphism among endopterygote insects. Adult strashilids were probably aquatic or amphibious, shedding their wings after emergence and mating in the water.

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

    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.

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

    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

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

    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

  2. Structural extremes in a cretaceous dinosaur.

    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.

  3. Dinosaur Footprints and Other Ichnofauna from the Cretaceous Kem Kem Beds of Morocco

    Ibrahim, Nizar; Varricchio, David J.; Sereno, Paul C.; 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. PMID:24603467

  4. Convergent evolution of jaws between spinosaurid dinosaurs and pike conger eels

    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.

  5. The variability of inner ear orientation in saurischian dinosaurs: testing the use of semicircular canals as a reference system for comparative anatomy

    Jesús Marugán-Lobón

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available The vestibular system of the inner ear houses three semicircular canals—oriented on three nearly-orthogonal planes—that respond to angular acceleration stimuli. In recent years, the orientation of the lateral semicircular canal (LSC has been regularly used to determine skull orientations for comparative purposes in studies of non-avian dinosaurs. Such orientations have been inferred based on fixing the LSC to a common set of coordinates (parallel to the Earth’s horizon, given that the orientation to gravity of this sensory system is assumed constant among taxa. Under this assumption, the LSC is used as a baseline (a reference system both to estimate how the animals held their heads and to describe craniofacial variation among dinosaurs. However, the available data in living birds (extant saurischian dinosaurs suggests that the orientation of the LSC in non-avian saurischian dinosaurs could have been very variable and taxon-specific. If such were the case, using the LSC as a comparative reference system would cause inappropriate visual perceptions of craniofacial organization, leading to significant descriptive inconsistencies among taxa. Here, we used Procrustes methods (Geometric Morphometrics, a suite of analytical tools that compares morphology on the basis of shared landmark homology, to show that the variability of LSC relative to skull landmarks is large (ca. 50° and likely unpredictable, thus making it an inconsistent reference system for comparing and describing the skulls of saurischian (sauropodomorph and theropod dinosaurs. In light of our results, the lateral semicircular canal is an inconsistent baseline for comparative studies of craniofacial morphology in dinosaurs.

  6. Allometry in dinosaurs and mammals

    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.

  7. Dinosaur origin of egg color: oviraptors laid blue-green eggs.

    Wiemann, Jasmina; Yang, Tzu-Ruei; Sander, Philipp N; Schneider, Marion; Engeser, Marianne; Kath-Schorr, Stephanie; Müller, Christa E; Sander, P Martin

    2017-01-01

    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 with our

  8. Dinosaur origin of egg color: oviraptors laid blue-green eggs

    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

  9. The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs

    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).

  10. Mesozoic dinosaurs from Brazil and their biogeographic implications

    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

  11. Historical photogrammetry: Bird's Paluxy River dinosaur chase sequence digitally reconstructed as it was prior to excavation 70 years ago.

    Falkingham, Peter L; Bates, Karl T; Farlow, James O

    2014-01-01

    It is inevitable that some important specimens will become lost or damaged over time, conservation is therefore of vital importance. The Paluxy River dinosaur tracksite is among the most famous in the world. In 1940, Roland T. Bird described and excavated a portion of the site containing associated theropod and sauropod trackways. This excavated trackway was split up and housed in different institutions, and during the process a portion was lost or destroyed. We applied photogrammetric techniques to photographs taken by Bird over 70 years ago, before the trackway was removed, to digitally reconstruct the site as it was prior to excavation. The 3D digital model offers the opportunity to corroborate maps drawn by R.T. Bird when the tracksite was first described. More broadly, this work demonstrates the exciting potential for digitally recreating palaeontological, geological, or archaeological specimens that have been lost to science, but for which photographic documentation exists.

  12. Anza palaeoichnological site. Late Cretaceous. Morocco. Part II. Problems of large dinosaur trackways and the first African Macropodosaurus trackway

    Masrour, Moussa; Lkebir, Noura; Pérez-Lorente, Félix

    2017-10-01

    The Anza site shows large ichnological surfaces indicating the coexistence in the same area of different vertebrate footprints (dinosaur and pterosaur) and of different types (tridactyl and tetradactyl, semiplantigrade and rounded without digit marks) and the footprint variability of long trackways. This area may become a world reference in ichnology because it contains the second undebatable African site with Cretaceous pterosaur footprints - described in part I - and the first African site with Macropodosaurus footprints. In this work, problems related to long trackways are also analyzed, such as their sinuosity, the order-disorder of the variability (long-short) of the pace length and the difficulty of morphological classification of the theropod footprints due to their morphological variability.

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

    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.

  14. Body size distribution of the dinosaurs.

    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.

  15. Body size distribution of the dinosaurs.

    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.

  16. Dinosaurs and the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution

    Lloyd, Graeme T; Davis, Katie E; Pisani, Davide; Tarver, James E; Ruta, Marcello; Sakamoto, Manabu; Hone, David W.E; Jennings, Rachel; Benton, Michael J

    2008-01-01

    The observed diversity of dinosaurs reached its highest peak during the mid- and Late Cretaceous, the 50 Myr that preceded their extinction, and yet this explosion of dinosaur diversity may be explained largely by sampling bias. It has long been debated whether dinosaurs were part of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution (KTR), from 125–80 Myr ago, when flowering plants, herbivorous and social insects, squamates, birds and mammals all underwent a rapid expansion. Although an apparent explosion of dinosaur diversity occurred in the mid-Cretaceous, coinciding with the emergence of new groups (e.g. neoceratopsians, ankylosaurid ankylosaurs, hadrosaurids and pachycephalosaurs), results from the first quantitative study of diversification applied to a new supertree of dinosaurs show that this apparent burst in dinosaurian diversity in the last 18 Myr of the Cretaceous is a sampling artefact. Indeed, major diversification shifts occurred largely in the first one-third of the group's history. Despite the appearance of new clades of medium to large herbivores and carnivores later in dinosaur history, these new originations do not correspond to significant diversification shifts. Instead, the overall geometry of the Cretaceous part of the dinosaur tree does not depart from the null hypothesis of an equal rates model of lineage branching. Furthermore, we conclude that dinosaurs did not experience a progressive decline at the end of the Cretaceous, nor was their evolution driven directly by the KTR. PMID:18647715

  17. Body Size Distribution of the Dinosaurs

    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. PMID:23284818

  18. Marine Jurassic lithostratigraphy of Thailand

    Meesook, A.; Grant-Mackie, J. A.

    Marine Jurassic rocks of Thailand are well-exposed in the Mae Sot and Umphang areas and less extensively near Mae Hong Son, Kanchanaburi, Chumphon and Nakhon Si Thammarat, in the north, west, and south respectively. They are generally underlain unconformably by Triassic and overlain by Quaternary strata. Based mainly on five measured sections, fourteen new lithostratigraphic units are established: (in ascending order) Pa Lan, Mai Hung and Kong Mu Formations of the Huai Pong Group in the Mae Hong Son area; Khun Huai, Doi Yot and Pha De Formations of the Hua Fai Group in the Mae Sot area; Klo Tho, Ta Sue Kho, Pu Khloe Khi and Lu Kloc Tu Formations of the Umphang Group in the Umphang area; and the Khao Lak Formation in the Chumphon area. Mudstone, siltstone, sandstone, limestone and marl are the dominant lithologies. Mudstones, siltstones and sandstones are widespread; limestones are confined to the Mae Sot, Umphang, Kanchanaburi and Mae Hong Son areas; marls are found only in Mae Sot. The sequences are approximately 900 m thick in Mae Sot and 450 m thick in Umphang and are rather thinner in the other areas, particularly in the south. Based on ammonites, with additional data from bivalves and foraminifera, the marine Jurassic is largely Toarcian-Aalenian plus some Bajocian. Late Jurassic ages given previously for strata in the Mae Sot and Umphang areas have not been confirmed.

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

    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

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

    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. Consumption of crustaceans by megaherbivorous dinosaurs: dietary flexibility and dinosaur life history strategies

    Chin, Karen; Feldmann, Rodney M.; Tashman, Jessica N.

    2017-01-01

    Large plant-eating dinosaurs are usually presumed to have been strictly herbivorous, because their derived teeth and jaws were capable of processing fibrous plant foods. This inferred feeding behavior offers a generalized view of dinosaur food habits, but rare direct fossil evidence of diet provides more nuanced insights into feeding behavior. Here we describe fossilized feces (coprolites) that demonstrate recurring consumption of crustaceans and rotted wood by large Late Cretaceous dinosaurs...

  2. Secondarily flightless birds or Cretaceous non-avian theropods?

    Kavanau, J Lee

    2010-02-01

    Recent studies by Varricchio et al. reveal that males cared for the eggs of troodontids and oviraptorids, so-called "non-avian theropods" of the Cretaceous, just as do those of most Paleognathic birds (ratites and tinamous) today. Further, the clutches of both groups have large relative volumes, and consist of many eggs of relatively large size. By comparison, clutch care by most extant birds is biparental and the clutches are of small relative volume, and consist of but few small eggs. Varricchio et al. propose that troodontids and oviraptorids were pre-avian and that paternal egg care preceded the origin of birds. On the contrary, unmentioned by them is that abundant paleontological evidence has led several workers to conclude that troodontids and oviraptorids were secondary flightless birds. This evidence ranges from bird-like bodies and bone designs, adapted for climbing, perching, gliding, and ultimately flight, to relatively large, highly developed brains, poor sense of smell, and their feeding habits. Because ratites also are secondarily flightless and tinamous are reluctant, clumsy fliers, the new evidence strengthens the view that troodontids and oviraptorids were secondarily flightless. Although secondary flightlessness apparently favors paternal care of clutches of large, abundant eggs, such care is not likely to have been primitive. There are a suite of previously unknown independent findings that point to the evolution of, first, maternal, followed by biparental egg care in earliest ancestors of birds. This follows from the discovery of remarkable relict avian reproductive behaviors preserved by virtue of the highly conservative nature of vertebrate brain evolution. These behaviors can be elicited readily by exposing breeding birds to appropriate conditions, both environmental and with respect to their eggs and chicks. They give significant new clues for a coherent theory of avian origin and early evolution.

  3. A new pterosaur tracksite from the Jurassic Summerville formation, near Ferron, Utah

    Mickelson, Debra L.; Lockley, Martin G.; Bishop, John; Kirkland, James I.

    2003-01-01

    Pterosaur tracks (cf. Pteraichnus) from the Summerville Formation of the Ferron area of central Utah add to the growing record of Pteraichnus tracksites in the Late Jurassic Summerville Formation and time-equivalent, or near time-equivalent, deposits. The site is typical in revealing high pterosaur track densities, but low ichnodiversity suggesting congregations or “flocks” of many individuals. Footprint length varies from 2.0 to 7.0 cms. The ratio of well-preserved pes:manus tracks is about 1:3.4. This reflects a bias in favor of preservation of manus tracks due to the greater weight-bearing role of the front limbs, as noted in other pterosaur track assemblages. The sample also reveals a number of well-preserved trackways including one suggestive of pes-only progression that might be associated with take off or landing, and another that shows pronounced lengthening of stride indicating acceleration.One well-preserved medium-sized theropod trackway (Therangospodus) and other larger theropod track casts (cf. Megalosauripus) are associated with what otherwise appears to be a nearly monospecific pterosaur track assemblage. However, traces of a fifth pes digit suggest some tracks are of rhamphorynchoid rather than pterodactyloid origin, as usually inferred for Pteraichnus. The tracks occur at several horizons in a thin stratigraphic interval of ripple marked sandstones and siltstones. Overall the assemblage is similar to others found in the same time interval in the Western Interior from central and eastern Utah through central and southern Wyoming, Colorado, northeastern Arizona, and western Oklahoma. This vast “Pteraichnusichnofacies,” with associated saurischian tracks, remains the only ichnological evidence of pre-Cretaceous pterosaurs in North America and sheds important light on the vertebrate ecology of the Summerville Formation and contiguous deposits.

  4. A new Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystem from Gondwana with the description of a new sauropod dinosaur

    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.

  5. Diverse dinosaur-dominated ichnofaunas from the Potomac Group (Lower Cretaceous) Maryland

    Stanford, Ray; Lockley, Martin G.; Weems, Robert E.

    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.

  6. Did You Know? New Data on Dinosaurs.

    Silverberg, Robert

    1981-01-01

    New information reveals that dinosaurs have a pelvic structure similar to that of animals that walk upright. Science teachers should remember that theories and assumptions are always provisional and tentative. (JN)

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

    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. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  8. Body Size Distribution of the Dinosaurs

    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 evolutiona...

  9. New insights into dinosaur jaw muscle anatomy.

    Holliday, Casey M

    2009-09-01

    Jaw muscles are key components of the head and critical to testing hypotheses of soft-tissue homology, skull function, and evolution. Dinosaurs evolved an extraordinary diversity of cranial forms adapted to a variety of feeding behaviors. However, disparate evolutionary transformations in head shape and function among dinosaurs and their living relatives, birds and crocodylians, impair straightforward reconstructions of muscles, and other important cephalic soft tissues. This study presents the osteological correlates and inferred soft tissue anatomy of the jaw muscles and relevant neurovasculature in the temporal region of the dinosaur head. Hypotheses of jaw muscle homology were tested across a broad range archosaur and sauropsid taxa to more accurately infer muscle attachments in the adductor chambers of non-avian dinosaurs. Many dinosaurs likely possessed m. levator pterygoideus, a trait shared with lepidosaurs but not extant archosaurs. Several major clades of dinosaurs (e.g., Ornithopoda, Ceratopsidae, Sauropoda) eliminated the epipterygoid, thus impacting interpretations of m. pseudotemporalis profundus. M. pseudotemporalis superficialis most likely attached to the caudoventral surface of the laterosphenoid, a trait shared with extant archosaurs. Although mm. adductor mandibulae externus profundus and medialis likely attached to the caudal half of the dorsotemporal fossa and coronoid process, clear osteological correlates separating the individual bellies are rare. Most dinosaur clades possess osteological correlates indicative of a pterygoideus ventralis muscle that attaches to the lateral surface of the mandible, although the muscle may have extended as far as the jugal in some taxa (e.g., hadrosaurs, tyrannosaurs). The cranial and mandibular attachments of mm adductor mandibulae externus superficialis and adductor mandibulae posterior were consistent across all taxa studied. These new data greatly increase the interpretive resolution of head anatomy in

  10. Dinosaur extinction: closing the '3 m gap'.

    Lyson, Tyler R; Bercovici, Antoine; Chester, Stephen G B; Sargis, Eric J; Pearson, Dean; Joyce, Walter G

    2011-12-23

    Modern debate regarding the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs was ignited by the publication of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) asteroid impact theory and has seen 30 years of dispute over the position of the stratigraphically youngest in situ dinosaur. A zone devoid of dinosaur fossils reported from the last 3 m of the Upper Cretaceous, coined the '3 m gap', has helped drive controversy. Here, we report the discovery of the stratigraphically youngest in situ dinosaur specimen: a ceratopsian brow horn found in a poorly rooted, silty, mudstone floodplain deposit located no more than 13 cm below the palynologically defined boundary. The K-T boundary is identified using three criteria: (i) decrease in Cretaceous palynomorphs without subsequent recovery, (ii) the existence of a 'fern spike', and (iii) correlation to a nearby stratigraphic section where primary extraterrestrial impact markers are present (e.g. iridium anomaly, spherules, shocked quartz). The in situ specimen demonstrates that a gap devoid of non-avian dinosaur fossils does not exist and is inconsistent with the hypothesis that non-avian dinosaurs were extinct prior to the K-T boundary impact event.

  11. A New Megaraptoran Dinosaur (Dinosauria, Theropoda, Megaraptoridae) from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia

    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

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

    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

  13. Chicken-sized oviraptorid dinosaurs from central China and their ontogenetic implications.

    Lü, Junchang; Currie, Philip J; Xu, Li; Zhang, Xingliao; Pu, Hanyong; Jia, Songhai

    2013-02-01

    Oviraptorids are a group of specialized non-avian theropod dinosaurs that were generally one to 8 m in body length. New specimens of baby oviraptorids from the Late Cretaceous of Henan Province are some of the smallest individuals known. They include diagnostic characters such as the relative position of the antorbital fenestra and the external naris, distinct opening in the premaxilla anteroventral to the external naris, antorbital fossa partly bordered by premaxilla posterodorsally, lacrimal process of premaxilla does not contact the anterodorsal process of the lacrimal, parietal almost as long as frontal; in dorsal view, posterior margin forms a straight line between the postzygapophyses in each of the fourth and fifth cervicals; femur longer than ilium. They also elucidate the ontogenetic processes of oviraptorids, including fusion of cranial elements and changes in relative body proportions. Hind limb proportions are constant in oviraptorids, regardless of absolute body size or ontogenetic stage. This suggests a sedentary lifestyle that did not involve the pursuit of similar-sized prey. The functional implications for bite force and therefore dietary preferences are better understood through the study of such small animals. The comparison of the measurements of 115 skeletons indicates that oviraptorids maintain their hind limb proportions regardless of ontogenetic stage or absolute size, which is a pattern seen more commonly in herbivores than in carnivores. This may weakly support the hypothesis that oviraptorids are herbivores rather than active carnivores.

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

    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.

  15. A New Megaraptoran Dinosaur (Dinosauria, Theropoda, Megaraptoridae from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia.

    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.

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

    Clarke, Andrew

    2013-01-01

    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...

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

    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. Accordi...

  18. Probabilistic divergence time estimation without branch lengths: dating the origins of dinosaurs, avian flight and crown birds.

    Lloyd, G T; Bapst, D W; Friedman, M; Davis, K E

    2016-11-01

    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. © 2016 The Authors.

  19. Luis Alvarez, the Hydrogen Bubble Chamber, Tritium, and Dinosaurs

    Dinosaurs Resources with Additional Information * Patents Luis Alvarez Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National JFK Assassination, and the End of the Dinosaurs Memorial Tribute for Luis W. Alvarez The Fruitful and Luis Alvarez (1911 - 1988) Why Dinosaurs Are Extinct Berkeley Scientists Report First Evidence that

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

    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…

  1. The Great Dinosaur Feud: Science against All Odds

    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…

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

    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.

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

    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.

  4. Biomechanical comments about Triassic dinosaurs from Brazil

    Rafael Delcourt

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Triassic dinosaurs of Brazil are found in Santa Maria and Caturrita formations, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. There are three species known from the Santa Maria Formation (Staurikosaurus pricei, Saturnalia tupiniquim and Pampadromaeus barberenai, and two from Caturrita Formation (Guaibasaurus candelariensis and Unaysaurus tolentinoi. These dinosaur materials are, for the most part, well preserved and allow for descriptions of musculature and biomechanical studies. The lateral rotation of the Saturnalia femur is corroborated through calculations of muscle moment arms. The enhanced supracetabular crest of Saturnalia, Guaibasaurus, Staurikosaurus, Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis, Efraasia minor and Chormogisaurus novasi suggests that basal dinosaurs may have maintained an inclination of the trunk at least 20º on the horizontal axis. The pectoral girdle articulation of basal sauropodomorphs (Saturnalia and Unaysaurus was established using a new method, the Clavicular Ring, and the scapular blade remains near 60º on the horizontal axis. This is a plesiomorphic condition among sauropodomorphs and is also seen in the articulated plateosauridae Seitaad ruessi. The Brazilian basal dinosaurs were lightweight with a body mass estimated around 18.5 kg for Staurikosaurus, 6.5 kg for Saturnalia, and 17 kg for Guaibasaurus. Pampadromaeus probably weighed 2.5 kg, but measures of its femur are necessary to confirm this hypothesis. The Triassic dinosaurs from Brazil were diversified but shared some functional aspects that were important in an evolutionary context.

  5. Metabolism of dinosaurs as determined from their growth

    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.

  6. Metabolism of dinosaurs as determined from their growth.

    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.

  7. Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs

    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.

  8. Unappreciated diversification of stem archosaurs during the Middle Triassic predated the dominance of dinosaurs.

    Foth, Christian; Ezcurra, Martín D; Sookias, Roland B; Brusatte, Stephen L; Butler, Richard J

    2016-09-15

    Archosauromorpha originated in the middle-late Permian, radiated during the Triassic, and gave rise to the crown group Archosauria, a highly successful clade of reptiles in terrestrial ecosystems over the last 250 million years. However, scientific attention has mainly focused on the diversification of archosaurs, while their stem lineage (i.e. non-archosaurian archosauromorphs) has often been overlooked in discussions of the evolutionary success of Archosauria. Here, we analyse the cranial disparity of late Permian to Early Jurassic archosauromorphs and make comparisons between non-archosaurian archosauromorphs and archosaurs (including Pseudosuchia and Ornithodira) on the basis of two-dimensional geometric morphometrics. Our analysis recovers previously unappreciated high morphological disparity for non-archosaurian archosauromorphs, especially during the Middle Triassic, which abruptly declined during the early Late Triassic (Carnian). By contrast, cranial disparity of archosaurs increased from the Middle Triassic into the Late Triassic, declined during the end-Triassic extinction, but re-expanded towards the end of the Early Jurassic. Our study indicates that non-archosaurian archosauromorphs were highly diverse components of terrestrial ecosystems prior to the major radiation of archosaurs, including dinosaurs, while disparity patterns of the Ladinian and Carnian indicate a gradual faunal replacement of stem archosaurs by the crown group, including a short interval of partial overlap in morphospace during the Ladinian.

  9. New Horned Dinosaurs from Utah Provide Evidence for Intracontinental Dinosaur Endemism

    Sampson, Scott D.; Loewen, Mark A.; Farke, Andrew A.; Roberts, Eric M.; Forster, Catherine A.; Smith, Joshua A.; Titus, Alan L.

    2010-01-01

    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 restricted

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

    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

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

    Sampson, Scott D; Loewen, Mark A; Farke, Andrew A; Roberts, Eric M; Forster, Catherine A; Smith, Joshua A; Titus, Alan L

    2010-09-22

    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. 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. 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 restricted to the southern portion of Laramidia. Results further suggest the presence of

  12. The Jurassic of Denmark and Greenland: Jurassic lithostratigraphy and stratigraphic development onshore and offshore Denmark

    Michelsen, Olaf

    2003-10-01

    Full Text Available A complete updated and revised lithostratigraphic scheme for the Jurassic succession of the onshore and offshore Danish areas is presented together with an overview of the geological evolution. The lithostratigraphies of Bornholm, the Danish Basin and the Danish Central Graben are described in ascending order, and a number of new units are defined. On Bornholm, the Lower-Middle Jurassic coal-bearing clays and sands that overlie the Lower Pliensbachian Hasle Formation are referred to the new Sorthat Formation (Lower Jurassic and the revised Bagå Formation (Middle Jurassic. In the southern Danish Central Graben, the Middle Jurassic succession formerly referred to the Lower Graben Sand Formation is now included in the revised Bryne Formation. The Lulu Formation is erected to include the uppermost part of the Middle Jurassic succession, previously referred to the Bryne Formation in the northern Danish Central Graben. The Upper Jurassic Heno Formation is subdivided into two new members, the Gert Member (lower and the Ravn Member (upper. The organic-rich part of the upper Farsund Formation, the former informal `hot unit', is established formally as the Bo Member. Dominantly shallow marine and paralic deposition in the Late Triassic was succeeded by widespread deposition of offshore marine clays in the Early Jurassic. On Bornholm, coastal and paralic sedimentation prevailed. During maximum transgression in the Early Toarcian, sedimentation of organic-rich offshore clays took place in the Danish area. This depositional phase was terminated by a regional erosional event in early Middle Jurassic time, caused by uplift of the central North Sea area, including the Ringkøbing-Fyn High. In the Sorgenfrei-Tornquist Zone to the east, where slow subsidence continued, marine sandy sediments were deposited in response to the uplift. Uplift of the central North Sea area was followed by fault-controlled subsidence accompanied by fluvial and floodplain deposition

  13. First dinosaur tracks from the Arabian Peninsula

    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

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

    Foth, Christian; Hedrick, Brandon P; Ezcurra, Martin D

    2016-01-01

    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 non-avian dinosaurs

  15. A novel form of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in a sauropod dinosaur: Implications for the paleobiology of Rebbachisauridae

    Lucio M. Ibiricu

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available In dinosaurs and other archosaurs, the presence of foramina connected with internal chambers in axial and appendicular bones is regarded as a robust indicator of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity (PSP. Here we analyze PSP and its paleobiological implications in rebbachisaurid diplodocoid sauropod dinosaurs based primarily on the dorsal vertebrae of Katepensaurus goicoecheai, a rebbachisaurid from the Cenomanian–Turonian (Upper Cretaceous Bajo Barreal Formation of Patagonia, Argentina. We document a complex of interconnected pneumatic foramina and internal chambers within the dorsal vertebral transverse processes of Katepensaurus. Collectively, these structures constitute a form of PSP that has not previously been observed in sauropods, though it is closely comparable to morphologies seen in selected birds and non-avian theropods. Parts of the skeletons of Katepensaurus and other rebbachisaurid taxa such as Amazonsaurus maranhensis and Tataouinea hannibalis exhibit an elevated degree of pneumaticity relative to the conditions in many other sauropods. We interpret this extensive PSP as an adaptation for lowering the density of the skeleton, and tentatively propose that this reduced skeletal density may also have decreased the muscle energy required to move the body and the heat generated in so doing. Given that several rebbachisaurids inhabited tropical to subtropical paleolatitudes during the extreme warmth of the mid-Cretaceous, increased PSP may have better enabled these sauropods to cope with extraordinarily high temperatures. Extensive skeletal pneumaticity may have been an important innovation in Rebbachisauridae, and perhaps also in saltasaurine titanosaurs, which evolved an even greater degree of PSP. This may in turn have contributed to the evolutionary success of rebbachisaurids, which were the only diplodocoids to survive into the Late Cretaceous.

  16. Dinosaur morphological diversity and the end-Cretaceous extinction.

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Butler, Richard J; Prieto-Márquez, Albert; Norell, Mark A

    2012-05-01

    The extinction of non-avian dinosaurs 65 million years ago is a perpetual topic of fascination, and lasting debate has focused on whether dinosaur biodiversity was in decline before end-Cretaceous volcanism and bolide impact. Here we calculate the morphological disparity (anatomical variability) exhibited by seven major dinosaur subgroups during the latest Cretaceous, at both global and regional scales. Our results demonstrate both geographic and clade-specific heterogeneity. Large-bodied bulk-feeding herbivores (ceratopsids and hadrosauroids) and some North American taxa declined in disparity during the final two stages of the Cretaceous, whereas carnivorous dinosaurs, mid-sized herbivores, and some Asian taxa did not. Late Cretaceous dinosaur evolution, therefore, was complex: there was no universal biodiversity trend and the intensively studied North American record may reveal primarily local patterns. At least some dinosaur groups, however, did endure long-term declines in morphological variability before their extinction.

  17. Math and Fossils Resolve a Debate on Dinosaur Metabolism

    Gillooly, James F; Allen, Andrew P; Charnov, Eric L

    2006-01-01

    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 ...

  18. Analysis of radiation level on dinosaur fossil in Zigong

    Yang Changshu; Liang Shuzhi; Fan Zhengnian.

    1995-01-01

    Study on radiation level of dinosaur fossil and environment in conservation zone in Zigong, Sichuan has been done. The results showed that the γ radiation dose and radioactivity strength of 232 Th and 40 K in dinosaur fossil, soil and rock in the conservation zone were within the limits of radioactive background value in Zigong. Radioactivity strength of 238 U, 226 Ra in dinosaur fossil were 26.6 and 29.2 times higher than the rock of same layer respectively

  19. Consumption of crustaceans by megaherbivorous dinosaurs: dietary flexibility and dinosaur life history strategies.

    Chin, Karen; Feldmann, Rodney M; Tashman, Jessica N

    2017-09-21

    Large plant-eating dinosaurs are usually presumed to have been strictly herbivorous, because their derived teeth and jaws were capable of processing fibrous plant foods. This inferred feeding behavior offers a generalized view of dinosaur food habits, but rare direct fossil evidence of diet provides more nuanced insights into feeding behavior. Here we describe fossilized feces (coprolites) that demonstrate recurring consumption of crustaceans and rotted wood by large Late Cretaceous dinosaurs. These multi-liter coprolites from the Kaiparowits Formation are primarily composed of comminuted conifer wood tissues that were fungally degraded before ingestion. Thick fragments of laminar crustacean cuticle are scattered within the coprolite contents and suggest that the dinosaurian defecators consumed sizeable crustaceans that sheltered in rotting logs. The diet of decayed wood and crustaceans offered a substantial supply of plant polysaccharides, with added dividends of animal protein and calcium. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the fossilized fecal residues depict year-round feeding habits. It is more reasonable to infer that these coprolites reflected seasonal dietary shifts-possibly related to the dinosaurs' oviparous breeding activities. This surprising fossil evidence challenges conventional notions of herbivorous dinosaur diets and reveals a degree of dietary flexibility that is consistent with that of extant herbivorous birds.

  20. SICILIAN JURASSIC PHYSIOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGIC REALMS (ITALY

    BENEDETTO ABATE

    2004-03-01

    Full Text Available Two tectono-sedimentary domains, which were deformed during the Neogene and evolved into two large structural sectors, characterize the Sicilian Jurassic: the Maghrebides and Peloritani. Africa margin sediments, passing downward to Triassic successions and perhaps originally to Paleozoic deposits, characterize the former. The latter belongs to the European "Calabrian Arc", where the Jurassic transgressively rests on a continental substrate (i.e. the crystalline Variscan basement. These domains are characterized by four sedimentary facies: shallow platform-derived limestones; condensed seamount-type red limestones; nodular limestones with ammonites; deep radiolarites and shales. These facies are illustrated in a dozen of stratigraphic logs. The drowning of most Triassic-Liassic carbonate platforms or ramps and the deepening of adjacent basins came with inferred Jurassic strike-slip tectonics, connected to the relative movement of Africa (Gondwanan part vs Europe (Laurasian part; the same strike-slip tectonics may have caused scattered intraplate volcanic seamounts found in Maghrebides. During the Jurassic the Maghrebide realm was characterized by the interfingering of basins and carbonate platforms. During the Early and Middle Liassic, carbonate platforms and ramps were dominant. Since Toarcian either radiolarites in some basins or Ammonite-bearing calcareous muds developed with intervening basaltic flows, and were accompanied by condensed pelagic carbonates on the ensialic seamount-type highs. The Peloritani realm displays similar characteristics, but with later transgression on the basement, several strike-slip basins and without any volcanoes.

  1. Reconstruction of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation extinct ecosystem—a synthesis

    Turner, Christine E.; Peterson, Fred

    2004-05-01

    basin was appreciably less than groundwater and surface water contributions. The terrestrial Morrison ecosystem, which can be likened to a savannah, expanded with the northward retreat of the Late Jurassic Western Interior Seaway. The ecosystem was a complex mosaic, the components of which shifted through time. Riparian environments probably were the most diverse parts of the ecosystem, where a multi-storeyed canopy supported a diverse fauna, from insects to dinosaurs. Equable conditions also existed in wetlands, lakes, and elsewhere on the floodplain when seasonal rainfall brought an herbaceous groundcover to life. Eolian environments and alkaline, saline wetlands were inhospitable to life. Large herbivorous dinosaurs were adapted to this semi-arid landscape. Their size was an adaptive asset based on considerations of food requirements associated with a low metabolism and was also an advantage for migration during drought. Some of the large sauropods were adapted to browsing the higher vegetation associated with riparian environments; others to grazing the herbaceous groundcover on the floodplain and charophytes in the wetlands. The extensive distal wetlands may, in fact, have been refugia for some of these herbivores during the dry season and droughts. Extended periods of drought account for some of the dinosaur death assemblages; yet, the ecosystem could also sustain the most unusual life forms that ever roamed the Earth.

  2. Reconstruction of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation extinct ecosystem - A synthesis

    Turner, C.E.; Peterson, F.

    2004-01-01

    appreciably less than groundwater and surface water contributions. The terrestrial Morrison ecosystem, which can be likened to a savannah, expanded with the northward retreat of the Late Jurassic Western Interior Seaway. The ecosystem was a complex mosaic, the components of which shifted through time. Riparian environments probably were the most diverse parts of the ecosystem, where a multi-storeyed canopy supported a diverse fauna, from insects to dinosaurs. Equable conditions also existed in wetlands, lakes, and elsewhere on the floodplain when seasonal rainfall brought an herbaceous groundcover to life. Eolian environments and alkaline, saline wetlands were inhospitable to life.Large herbivorous dinosaurs were adapted to this semi-arid landscape. Their size was an adaptive asset based on considerations of food requirements associated with a low metabolism and was also an advantage for migration during drought. Some of the large sauropods were adapted to browsing the higher vegetation associated with riparian environments; others to grazing the herbaceous groundcover on the floodplain and charophytes in the wetlands. The extensive distal wetlands may, in fact, have been refugia for some of these herbivores during the dry season and droughts. Extended periods of drought account for some of the dinosaur death assemblages; yet, the ecosystem could also sustain the most unusual life forms that ever roamed the Earth. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  5. A nomenclature for vertebral fossae in sauropods and other saurischian dinosaurs.

    Jeffrey A Wilson

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The axial skeleton of extinct saurischian dinosaurs (i.e., theropods, sauropodomorphs, like living birds, was pneumatized by epithelial outpocketings of the respiratory system. Pneumatic signatures in the vertebral column of fossil saurischians include complex branching chambers within the bone (internal pneumaticity and large chambers visible externally that are bounded by neural arch laminae (external pneumaticity. Although general aspects of internal pneumaticity are synapomorphic for saurischian subgroups, the individual internal pneumatic spaces cannot be homologized across species or even along the vertebral column, due to their variability and absence of topographical landmarks. External pneumatic structures, in contrast, are defined by ready topological landmarks (vertebral laminae, but no consistent nomenclatural system exists. This deficiency has fostered confusion and limited their use as character data in phylogenetic analysis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We present a simple system for naming external neural arch fossae that parallels the one developed for the vertebral laminae that bound them. The nomenclatural system identifies fossae by pointing to reference landmarks (e.g., neural spine, centrum, costal articulations, zygapophyses. We standardize the naming process by creating tripartite names from "primary landmarks," which form the zygodiapophyseal table, "secondary landmarks," which orient with respect to that table, and "tertiary landmarks," which further delineate a given fossa. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The proposed nomenclatural system for lamina-bounded fossae adds clarity to descriptions of complex vertebrae and allows these structures to be sourced as character data for phylogenetic analyses. These anatomical terms denote potentially homologous pneumatic structures within Saurischia, but they could be applied to any vertebrate with vertebral laminae that enclose spaces, regardless of their developmental

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

    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.

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

    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.

  8. Models for the rise of the dinosaurs.

    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. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Avian paternal care had dinosaur origin.

    Varricchio, David J; Moore, Jason R; Erickson, Gregory M; Norell, Mark A; Jackson, Frankie D; Borkowski, John J

    2008-12-19

    The repeated discovery of adult dinosaurs in close association with egg clutches leads to speculation over the type and extent of care exhibited by these extinct animals for their eggs and young. To assess parental care in Cretaceous troodontid and oviraptorid dinosaurs, we examined clutch volume and the bone histology of brooding adults. In comparison to four archosaur care regressions, the relatively large clutch volumes of Troodon, Oviraptor, and Citipati scale most closely with a bird-paternal care model. Clutch-associated adults lack the maternal and reproductively associated histologic features common to extant archosaurs. Large clutch volumes and a suite of reproductive features shared only with birds favor paternal care, possibly within a polygamous mating system. Paternal care in both troodontids and oviraptorids indicates that this care system evolved before the emergence of birds and represents birds' ancestral condition. In extant birds and over most adult sizes, paternal and biparental care correspond to the largest and smallest relative clutch volumes, respectively.

  10. Hanford: The evolution of a dinosaur

    Fulton, J.

    1995-01-01

    This article describes how the Westinghouse Hanford Company is reinventing the US DOE's Hanford Site, turning a 1940s-era dinosaur into a 1990s-style business. The major topics covered include the following: breaking the logjam by ending the inefficient cost-plus days; Concentrating resources on resolving urgent safety issues; contract reform with more incentive, greater risk; finally reengineering: the next step

  11. Cockroaches probably cleaned up after dinosaurs.

    Peter Vršanský

    Full Text Available 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.

  12. Dinosaur peptides suggest mechanisms of protein survival.

    San Antonio, James D; Schweitzer, Mary H; Jensen, Shane T; Kalluri, Raghu; Buckley, Michael; Orgel, Joseph P R O

    2011-01-01

    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.

  13. Cockroaches probably cleaned up after dinosaurs.

    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.

  14. Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival

    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.

  15. Piscivory in the feathered dinosaur Microraptor.

    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. © 2013 The Author(s). Evolution © 2013 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

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

    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…

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

    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…

  18. Dinosaurs reveal the geographical signature of an evolutionary radiation.

    O'Donovan, Ciara; Meade, Andrew; Venditti, Chris

    2018-03-01

    Dinosaurs dominated terrestrial ecosystems across the globe for over 100 million years and provide a classic example of an evolutionary radiation. However, little is known about how these animals radiated geographically to become globally distributed. Here, we use a biogeographical model to reconstruct the dinosaurs' ancestral locations, revealing the spatial mechanisms that underpinned this 170-million-year-long radiation. We find that dinosaurs spread rapidly initially, followed by a significant continuous and gradual reduction in their speed of movement towards the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary (66 million years ago). This suggests that the predominant mode of dinosaur speciation changed through time with speciation originally largely driven by geographical isolation-when dinosaurs speciated more, they moved further. This was gradually replaced by increasing levels of sympatric speciation (species taking advantage of ecological opportunities within their existing environment) as terrestrial space became a limiting factor. Our results uncover the geographical signature of an evolutionary radiation.

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

    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.

  20. 76 FR 7232 - Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Dinosaur...

    2011-02-09

    .... Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur, CO AGENCY: National... Service, Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur, CO, has completed an inventory of human remains and... Indian tribe that believes itself to be culturally affiliated with the human remains may contact Dinosaur...

  1. A revision of Sanpasaurus yaoi Young, 1944 from the Early Jurassic of China, and its relevance to the early evolution of Sauropoda (Dinosauria

    Blair W. McPhee

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available The Early Jurassic of China has long been recognized for its diverse array of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. However, the contribution of this record to our understanding of early sauropod evolution is complicated by a dearth of information on important transitional taxa. We present a revision of the poorly known taxon Sanpasaurus yaoi Young, 1944 from the late Early Jurassic Ziliujing Formation of Sichuan Province, southwest China. Initially described as the remains of an ornithopod ornithischian, we demonstrate that the material catalogued as IVPP V156 is unambiguously referable to Sauropoda. Although represented by multiple individuals of equivocal association, Sanpasaurus is nonetheless diagnosable with respect to an autapomorphic feature of the holotypic dorsal vertebral series. Additional material thought to be collected from the type locality is tentatively referred to Sanpasaurus. If correctly attributed, a second autapomorphy is present in a referred humerus. The presence of a dorsoventrally compressed pedal ungual in Sanpasaurus is of particular interest, with taxa possessing this typically ‘vulcanodontid’ character exhibiting a much broader geographic distribution than previously thought. Furthermore, the association of this trait with other features of Sanpasaurus that are broadly characteristic of basal eusauropods underscores the mosaic nature of the early sauropod–eusauropod transition. Our revision of Sanpasaurus has palaeobiogeographic implications for Early Jurassic sauropods, with evidence that the group maintained a cosmopolitan Pangaean distribution.

  2. A Late Jurassic fossil assemblage in Gondwana: Biostratigraphy and correlations of the Tacuarembó Formation, Parana Basin, Uruguay

    Perea, Daniel; Soto, Matías; Veroslavsky, Gerardo; Martínez, Sergio; Ubilla, Martín

    2009-08-01

    The Tacuarembó Formation has yielded a fossil assemblage that includes the best known body fossils, consisting of isolated scales, teeth, spines, and molds of bones, recovered from thin and patchy bonebeds, from the Botucatu Desert, Parana Basin, South America. The remains are preserved in the sandstones widespread around the city of Tacuarembó. We propose a new formalized nomenclature for the Tacuarembó Formation, naming its "Lower" and "Upper" members as the Batoví (new name) and Rivera (new rank) members, respectively. An assemblage zone is defined for the Batoví Member (fluviolacustrine and aeolian deposits). In this unit, the freshwater hybodontid shark Priohybodusarambourgi D'Erasmo is well represented. This species was previously recorded in Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous units of the Sahara and the southern Arabian Peninsula. Globally considered, the fossil assemblage of this member ( P. arambourgi, dipnoan fishes, Ceratosaurus-like theropods, and conchostracans) is indicative of a Kimmeridgian-Tithonian age, which in combination with the stratigraphic relationships of the Tacuarembó Formation with the overlying basalts of the Arapey Formation (132 My average absolute age) implies that the latter was deposited during the Kimmeridgian-Hauterivian interval.

  3. The Jurassic of Denmark and Greenland: The Upper Jurassic of Europe: its subdivision and correlation

    Zeiss, Arnold

    2003-10-01

    Full Text Available In the last 40 years, the stratigraphy of the Upper Jurassic of Europe has received much attention and considerable revision; much of the impetus behind this endeavour has stemmed from the work of the International Subcommission on Jurassic Stratigraphy. The Upper Jurassic Series consists of three stages, the Oxfordian, Kimmeridgian and Tithonian which are further subdivided into substages, zones and subzones, primarily on the basis of ammonites. Regional variations between the Mediterranean, Submediterranean and Subboreal provinces are discussed and correlation possibilities indicated. The durations of the Oxfordian, Kimmeridgian and Tithonian Stages are reported to have been 5.3, 3.4 and 6.5 Ma, respectively. This review of the present status of Upper Jurassic stratigraphy aids identification of a number of problems of subdivision and definition of Upper Jurassic stages; in particular these include correlation of the base of the Kimmeridgian and the top of the Tithonian between Submediterranean and Subboreal Europe. Although still primarily based on ammonite stratigraphy, subdivision of the Upper Jurassic is increasingly being refined by the incorporation of other fossil groups; these include both megafossils, such as aptychi, belemnites, bivalves, gastropods, brachiopods, echinoderms, corals, sponges and vertebrates, and microfossils such as foraminifera, radiolaria, ciliata, ostracodes, dinoflagellates, calcareous nannofossils, charophyaceae, dasycladaceae, spores and pollen. Important future developments will depend on the detailed integration of these disparate biostratigraphic data and their precise combination with the abundant new data from sequence stratigraphy, utilising the high degree of stratigraphic resolution offered by certain groups of fossils. This article also contains some notes on the recent results of magnetostratigraphy and sequence chronostratigraphy.

  4. FIRST REPORT OF SITTING ANOMOEPUS TRACKS IN EUROPEAN LOWER JURASSIC (LAVINI DI MARCO SITE - NORTHERN ITALY

    MARCO AVANZINI

    2001-03-01

    Full Text Available The palaeontologic site at Lavini di Marco, near to Rovereto (Trento, reveals a wide fossil tidal flat of Early Jurassic age (Calcari Grigi Formations – lower Member; Hettangian to lower Sinemurian . An extensive set of dinosaur prints were discovered a few years ago and are now the subject of ichnological and paleobiological studies. The prints which are described in present short note are believed to represent the right and left foot of the same individual, set in a side-by-side, sub-parallel, sitting posture. The prints can be classified as Anomoepus Hitchcock 1848. Amongst recognised ichnospecies, most of the charachteristics of the prints here described point to Moyenisauropus dodai Ellenberger 1974 (recte Anomoepus dodai Olsen & Galton 1984 of Lesotho. By contrast, the prints found at Lavini di Marco differ from the Anomoepus found in central-east Europe. These characters would seem to confirm the Gondwanic origins of the Rovereto ichnofauna as previously supposed from the study of other taxa. 

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

    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

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

    A.J. (Tom van Loon

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  7. Jurassic Paleolatitudes, Paleogeography, and Climate Transitions In the Mexican Subcontinen

    Molina-Garza, R. S.; Geissman, J. W.; Lawton, T. F.

    2014-12-01

    Jurassic northward migration of Mexico, trailing the North America plate, resulted in temporal evolution of climate-sensitive depositional environments. Lower-Middle Jurassic rocks in central Mexico contain a record of warm-humid conditions, which are indicated by coal and compositionally mature sandstone deposited in continental environments. Preliminary paleomagnetic data indicate that these rocks were deposited at near-equatorial paleolatitudes. The Middle Jurassic (ca. 170 Ma) Diquiyú volcanic sequence in central Oaxaca give an overall mean of D=82.2º/ I= +4.1º (n=10; k=17.3, α95=12º). In the Late Jurassic, the Gulf of Mexico formed as a subsidiary basin of the Atlantic Ocean, when the supercontinent Pangaea ruptured. Upper Jurassic strata, including eolianite and widespread evaporite deposits, across Mexico indicate dry-arid conditions. Available paleomagnetic data (compaction-corrected) from eolianites in northeast Mexico indicate deposition at ~15-20ºN. As North America moved northward during Jurassic opening of the Atlantic, different latitudinal regions experienced coeval Late Jurassic climatic shifts. Climate transitions have been widely recognized in the Colorado plateau region. The plateau left the horse-latitudes in the late Middle Jurassic to reach temperate humid climates at ~40ºN in the latest Jurassic. In turn, the southern end of the North America plate (central Mexico) reached arid horse-latitudes in the Late Jurassic. At that time, epeiric platforms developed in the circum-Gulf region after a long period of margin extension. We suggest that Upper Jurassic hydrocarbon source rocks in the circum-Gulf region accumulated on these platforms as warm epeiric hypersaline seas and the Gulf of Mexico itself were fertilized by an influx of wind-blown silt from continental regions. Additional nutrients were brought to shallow zones of photosynthesis by ocean upwelling driven by changes in the continental landmass configuration.

  8. Exotic Members of Southern Alaska's Jurassic Arc

    Todd, E.; Jones, J. V., III; Karl, S. M.; Box, S.; Haeussler, P. J.

    2017-12-01

    The Jurassic Talkeetna arc and contemporaneous plutonic rocks of the Alaska-Aleutian Range batholith (ARB) are key components of the Peninsular terrane of southern Alaska. The Talkeetna arc, considered to be a type example of an intra-oceanic arc, was progressively accreted to northwestern North America in the Jurassic to Late Cretaceous, together with associated components of the Wrangellia Composite terrane. Older Paleozoic and Mesozoic rock successions closely associated with the ARB suggest that at least part of the Peninsular terrane might be an overlap succession built on pre-existing crust, possibly correlative with the Wrangellia terrane to the east. However, the relationship between the Talkeetna arc, ARB, and any pre-existing crust remains incompletely understood. Field investigations focused on the petrogenesis of the ARB near Lake Clark National Park show that Jurassic to Late Cretaceous plutonic rocks commonly host a diverse range of mineralogically distinct xenolith inclusions, ranging in size from several cm to hundreds of meters. The modal fraction of these inclusions ranges from 50% in some outcrops. They are generally mafic in composition and, with few exceptions, are more mafic than host plutonic rocks, although they are observed as both igneous (e.g., gabbro cumulate, diorite porphyry) and metamorphic types (e.g., amphibolite, gneiss and quartzite). Inclusion shapes range from angular to rounded with sharp to diffuse boundaries and, in some instances, are found as planar, compositionally distinct bands or screens containing high-temperature ductile shear fabrics. Other planar bands are more segmented, consistent with lower-temperature brittle behavior. Comparison of age, geochemical fractionation trends, and isotope systematics between the inclusions and host plutons provides a critical test of whether they are co-genetic with host plutons. Where they are related, mafic inclusions provide clues about magmatic evolution and fractionation history

  9. Incubation times of dinosaur eggs via embryonic metabolism

    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.

  10. Vision in dinosaurs: Scaling effects in sclerotic rings

    Lee, Scott

    Sclerotic rings are composed of bones found in the eyes of most vertebrates except mammals and crocodilians. They are believed to have a role in maintaining the shape of the eye. Their inner diameter is an upper limit for the effective diameter of the pupil and, therefore, provides a measure of the light-gathering ability of the eyes of extinct animals. Thirty-six different species of dinosaurs (from both the Saurischian and Ornithischian branches) have been studied. The smallest dinosaurs, with masses less than 1 kg, include Juravenator starki, Archaeopteryx lithographica, and Mei long while the largest dinosaurs, with masses on the order of 10,000 kg, include Diplodocus longus and Nemegtosaurus mongoliensis. The light-gathering properties of the eyes of the dinosaurs are studied as a function of the mass. The sclerotic ring diameter is found to increase with mass.

  11. Studies of C60 in fossil of dinosaur egg shell

    Wang Zhenxia; Li Xuepeng; Wang Wenmin; Xu Xunjiang; Tang Zichao; Huang Rongbin; Zheng Lansun

    1998-01-01

    The occurrence of C 60 in unearthed fossil of dinosaur egg shell about 70 million years ago was reported. The results are discussed considering possible effects of the conceivable atmosphere pollution on the growth of fullerene molecules

  12. Evolution: How Some Birds Survived When All Other Dinosaurs Died.

    Brusatte, Stephen L

    2016-05-23

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinction wiped out the dinosaurs, including many birds. But some bird lineages survived. May seed-eating have been the key? Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Modeling the Middle Jurassic ocean circulation

    Maura Brunetti

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available We present coupled ocean–sea-ice simulations of the Middle Jurassic (∼165 Ma when Laurasia and Gondwana began drifting apart and gave rise to the formation of the Atlantic Ocean. Since the opening of the Proto-Caribbean is not well constrained by geological records, configurations with and without an open connection between the Proto-Caribbean and Panthalassa are examined. We use a sea-floor bathymetry obtained by a recently developed three-dimensional (3D elevation model which compiles geological, palaeogeographical and geophysical data. Our original approach consists in coupling this elevation model, which is based on detailed reconstructions of oceanic realms, with a dynamical ocean circulation model. We find that the Middle Jurassic bathymetry of the Central Atlantic and Proto-Caribbean seaway only allows for a weak current of the order of 2 Sv in the upper 1000 m even if the system is open to the west. The effect of closing the western boundary of the Proto-Caribbean is to increase the transport related to barotropic gyres in the southern hemisphere and to change water properties, such as salinity, in the Neo-Tethys. Weak upwelling rates are found in the nascent Atlantic Ocean in the presence of this superficial current and we discuss their compatibility with deep-sea sedimentological records in this region.

  14. Biomechanics of running indicates endothermy in bipedal dinosaurs.

    Pontzer, Herman; Allen, Vivian; Hutchinson, John R

    2009-11-11

    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. 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. 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.

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

    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

  16. Multimedia: The Death of the Dinosaurs: 27 Years Later (LBNL Summer Lecture

    Find ScienceCinema Search Results Multimedia: The Death of the Dinosaurs: 27 Years Later (LBNL Summer Lecture Series) Citation Details Title: The Death of the Dinosaurs: 27 Years Later (LBNL Summer Lecture Alvarez and colleagues' 1979 discovery that an asteroid impact killed the dinosaurs. He also discussesmore

  17. Angolatitan adamastor, a new sauropod dinosaur and the first record from Angola

    Mateus, Octávio; Jacobs, Louis L.; Schulp, Anne S.; Polcyn, Michael J.; Tavares, Tatiana S.; Neto, André Buta; Morais, Maria Luísa; Antunes, Miguel T.

    A forelimb of a new sauropod dinosaur (Angolatitan adamastor n. gen. et sp.) from the Late Turonian of Iembe (Bengo Province) represents the first dinosaur discovery in Angola, and is one of the few occurrences of sauropod dinosaurs in sub-Saharan Africa collected with good chronological controls.

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

    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…

  19. New Patagonian Cretaceous theropod sheds light about the early radiation of Coelurosauria

    Fernando E Novas

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Here we describe a new theropod, Bicentenaria argentina nov. gen. et nov. sp., from the early Late Cretaceous of Patagonia. It is represented by more than a hundred bones belonging to different sized individuals, which were buried together in disarticulation after little transportation. The available association of skeletal elements suggests a gregarious behaviour for Bicentenaria, an ethological trait also recorded among other theropod clades. Increasing documentation of monospecific assemblages of different groups of theropods suggests that a gregarious behaviour may have constituted the ancestral condition for Theropoda, at least. Bicentenaria characterizes for the surangular bone with a high dorsal margin and a prominent lateral shelf, a retroarticular process that is low, wide and spoon-shaped, and quadrate bone with its lateral condyle larger than the medial one. Phylogenetic analysis found the Chinese Tugulusaurus and the Patagonian Bicentenaria as successive sister taxa of all other coelurosaurs, thus revealing the importance of the new taxon in the understanding of the early diversification of Coelurosauria. In particular, Bicentenaria amplifies the array of basal coelurosaurs that inhabited Gondwana during the Cretaceous, also including compsognathids, Aniksosaurus and Santanaraptor. Although still restricted to a handful of forms, available information indicates that Gondwana was a cradle for the evolution of different lineages of basal coelurosaurs, different from those documented in Upper Cretaceous beds in the northern landmasses. Analysis of body size distribution in averostran theropods results in the identification of two main episodes of drastic size reduction in the evolutionary history of Coelurosauria: one occurred at the initial radiation of the group (as represented by Bicentenaria, Zuolong, Tugulusaurus, compsognathids, and Aniksosaurus, and a second episode occurred at the early diverification of Paraves or avialans

  20. Geomagnetic Reversals of the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous Captured in a North China Core

    Kuhn, T.; Fu, R. R.; Kent, D. V.; Olsen, P. E.

    2016-12-01

    The Tuchengzi formation in North China nominally spans nearly 20 million years of the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, an interval during which age calibration of the Geomagnetic Polarity Time Scale (GPTS) based on seafloor magnetic anomalies is poorly known. The overlying Yixian formation is of special paleontological interest due to an abundance of spectacularly preserved macrofossils of feathered non-avian dinosaurs, birds, mammals, and insects. Scarce fossils in the Tuchengzi, sparse accurate radiometric dates on both the Tuchengzi and overlying Yixian formation, and scant previous paleomagnetic studies on these formations motivated our application of magnetostratigraphy as a geochronological tool. We constructed a geomagnetic reversal sequence from the upper 142m of a 200m core extracted in Liaoning Province at Huangbanjigou spanning the lower Yixian Formation and the unconformably underlying Tuchengzi Formation. Thermal demagnetization up to 680°C in steps of 25-50°C revealed predominantly normal overprints consistent with the modern day field with unblocking temperatures between 125°C and as high as 550°C, as well as normal and reverse characteristic components with unblocking temperatures between 500°C and 680°C. Going up from the base of the core, there is a reverse polarity magnetozone >6m thick, followed by a 5m normal magnetozone, a 10m reverse magnetozone, a 25m normal magnetozone, and a 6m reverse magnetozone truncated by the Yixian-Tuchengzi unconformity. Above the unconformity, all 81m of core were normal. These results indicate that a meaningful polarity stratigraphy can be recovered from the Tuchengzi and Yixian formations that will be invaluable for correlations across the Tuchengzi and potentially the Yixian formations, which span thousands of square kilometers and vary in thickness by many hundreds of meters. The results also demonstrate that, in combination with accurate and precise radiometric dates, the Tuchengzi Formation has the

  1. Diachronism between extinction time of terrestrial and marine dinosaurs

    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.

  2. Dinosaur trackways from the early Late Cretaceous of western Cameroon

    Martin, Jeremy E.; Menkem, Elie Fosso; Djomeni, Adrien; Fowe, Paul Gustave; Ntamak-Nida, Marie-Joseph

    2017-10-01

    Dinosaur trackways have rarely been reported in Cretaceous strata across the African continent. To the exception of ichnological occurrences in Morocco, Tunisia, Niger and Cameroon, our knowledge on the composition of Cretaceous dinosaur faunas mostly relies on skeletal evidence. For the first time, we document several dinosaur trackways from the Cretaceous of the Mamfe Basin in western Cameroon. Small and medium-size tridactyl footprints as well as numerous large circular footprints are present on a single horizon showing mudcracks and ripple marks. The age of the locality is considered Cenomanian-Turonian and if confirmed, this ichnological assemblage could be younger than the dinosaur footprints reported from northern Cameroon, and coeval with or younger than skeletal remains reported from the Saharan region. These trackways were left in an adjacent subsiding basin along the southern shore of the Benue Trough during a time of high-sea stand when the Trans-Saharan Seaway was already disconnecting West Africa from the rest of the continent. We predict that other similar track sites may be occurring along the margin of the Benue Trough and may eventually permit to test hypotheses related to provincialism among African dinosaur faunas.

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

    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.

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

    Gates, Terry A; Prieto-Márquez, Albert; Zanno, Lindsay E

    2012-01-01

    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.

  5. Desert and groundwater dynamics of the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, southeast Utah

    Chan, M. A.; Hasiotis, S. T.; Parrish, J. T.

    2017-12-01

    The Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southeastern Utah is a rich archive of a desert complex with an active groundwater system, influenced by climate changes and recharge from the Uncompahgre Uplift of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. This eastern erg margin was dominated by dune deposits of large (>10 m thick) and small (m-scale) crossbedded sandstone sets. Within these porous deposits, common soft sediment deformation is expressed as contorted and upturned bedding, fluid escape structures, concentrations of clastic pipes with ring faults, and thick intervals of massive sandstone embedded in crossbedded sandstone. Collectively, these deformation features reflect changes and/or overpressure in the groundwater system. Interdune deposits record laterally variable bounding surfaces, resulting from the change in position of and proximity to the water table. Interdune modification by pedogenesis from burrows, roots, and trees suggest stable periods of moisture and water supply, as well as periodic drying expressed as polygonal cracked mud- to sand-cracked layers. Freshwater bedded and platy limestone beds represent lakes of decameter to kilometer extent, common in the upper part of the formation. Some carbonate springs that fed the lakes are preserved as limestone buildups (tufa mounds) with microbial structures. Extradunal deposits of rivers to small ephemeral streams show channelized and lenticular, subhorizontal, cm- to m-scale sandstone bodies with basal scours and rip-up clasts. Proxy records of the active hydrology imply a changing landscape at the Navajo desert's edge, punctuated by periods of significant rainfall, runoff, rivers, lakes, and springs, fed by high water table conditions to sustain periods of flourishing communities of plants, arthropods, reptiles, mammals, and dinosaurs. Strong ground motion perturbations periodically disrupted porous, water-saturated sands with possible surface eruptions, adding to the dynamic activity of the desert regime.

  6. A Unique Late Triassic Dinosauromorph Assemblage Reveals Dinosaur Ancestral Anatomy and Diet.

    Cabreira, Sergio Furtado; Kellner, Alexander Wilhelm Armin; Dias-da-Silva, Sérgio; Roberto da Silva, Lúcio; Bronzati, Mario; Marsola, Júlio Cesar de Almeida; Müller, Rodrigo Temp; Bittencourt, Jonathas de Souza; Batista, Brunna Jul'Armando; Raugust, Tiago; Carrilho, Rodrigo; Brodt, André; Langer, Max Cardoso

    2016-11-21

    Dinosauromorpha includes dinosaurs and other much less diverse dinosaur precursors of Triassic age, such as lagerpetids [1]. Joint occurrences of these taxa with dinosaurs are rare but more common during the latest part of that period (Norian-Rhaetian, 228-201 million years ago [mya]) [2, 3]. In contrast, the new lagerpetid and saurischian dinosaur described here were unearthed from one of the oldest rock units with dinosaur fossils worldwide, the Carnian (237-228 mya) Santa Maria Formation of south Brazil [4], a record only matched in age by much more fragmentary remains from Argentina [5]. This is the first time nearly complete dinosaur and non-dinosaur dinosauromorph remains are found together in the same excavation, clearly showing that these animals were contemporaries since the first stages of dinosaur evolution. The new lagerpetid preserves the first skull, scapular and forelimb elements, plus associated vertebrae, known for the group, revealing how dinosaurs acquired several of their typical anatomical traits. Furthermore, a novel phylogenetic analysis shows the new dinosaur as the most basal Sauropodomorpha. Its plesiomorphic teeth, strictly adapted to faunivory, provide crucial data to infer the feeding behavior of the first dinosaurs. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Tracking Early Jurassic marine (de)oxygenation

    Them, T. R., II; Caruthers, A. H.; Gill, B. C.; Gröcke, D. R.; Marroquín, S. M.; Owens, J. D.

    2017-12-01

    It has been suggested that the carbon cycle was perturbed during the Toarcian OAE (T-OAE) as observed in the carbon isotope record, and more recently other elemental cycles (e.g., Hg, Mo, Os, S). The most widely accepted hypothesis focuses on the emplacement of the Karoo-Ferrar large igneous province, outgassing of greenhouse gases, and subsequent feedbacks in the Earth system, which caused severe environmental change and biological turnover. Feedbacks to elevated atmospheric pCO2 include enhanced weathering rates, dissociation of methane clathrates, increased terrestrial methanogenesis, and widespread marine anoxia. The sequence of events related to the development and duration of marine anoxia are not well constrained for this time interval due to a lack of open-ocean geochemical records. In order to reconstruct the timing of marine deoxygenation during the Early Jurassic T-OAE, we have utilized thallium isotopes, a novel geochemical proxy from multiple anoxic basins in North America and Germany. Three sites representing a basin transect from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, and one site from the South German Basin, were chosen to reconstruct the thallium isotopic composition (ɛ205Tl) of the ocean. The ɛ205Tl composition of sediments deposited under anoxic and euxinic water columns records the global seawater ɛ205Tl composition, a function of the amount of manganese oxides that are precipitated. Increased geographic extent of marine anoxia will cause a decrease in manganese oxide precipitation and perturb the thallium system. Importantly, the inputs of thallium are nearly identical, thus changes in these fluxes cannot drive the observed perturbation. Our new Early Jurassic ɛ205Tl records suggest that the onset of marine deoxygenation occurred concurrently with Karoo-Ferrar magmatism in the late Pliensbachian and continued until after the T-OAE. These new data support a Karoo-Ferrar trigger of the T-OAE. However, thallium isotopes also suggest that

  8. Preservation of the bone protein osteocalcin in dinosaurs

    Muyzer, Gerard; Sandberg, Philip; Knapen, Marjo H. J.; Vermeer, Cees; Collins, Matthew; Westbroek, Peter

    1992-10-01

    Two different immunological assays were used to identify the remains of a bone matrix protein, osteocalcin (OC), in the bones of dinosaurs and other fossil vertebrates. Antibodies raised against OC from modern vertebrates showed strong immunological cross-reactivity with modern and relatively young fossil samples and significant reactions with some of the dinosaur bone extracts. The presence of OC was confirmed by the detection of a peptide-bound, uniquely vertebrate amino acid, γcarboxyglutamic acid (Gla). Preservation of OC in fossil bones appears to be strongly dependent on the burial history and not simply on age. These results extend the range of protein preservation in the geologic record and provide a first step toward a molecular phylogeny of the dinosaurs.

  9. Epidermal and dermal integumentary structures of ankylosaurian dinosaurs.

    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.

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

    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.

  11. Palaeoecology and depositional environments of the Tendaguru Beds (Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, Tanzania

    M. Aberhan

    2002-01-01

    Full Text Available The Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous Tendaguru Beds (Tanzania, East Africa have been well known for nearly a century for their diverse dinosaur assemblages. Here, we present sedimentological and palaeontological data collected by the German-Tanzanian Tendaguru Expedition 2000 in an attempt to reconstruct the palaeo-ecosystems of the Tendaguru Beds at their type locality. Our reconstructions are based on sedimentological data and on a palaeoecological analysis of macroinvertebrates, microvertebrates, plant fossils and microfossils (ostracods, foraminifera, charophytes, palynomorphs. In addition, we included data from previous expeditions, particularly those on the dinosaur assemblages. The environmental model of the Tendaguru Beds presented herein comprises three broad palaeoenvironmental units in a marginal marine setting: (1 Lagoon-like, shallow marine environments above fair weather wave base and with evidence of tides and storms. These formed behind barriers such as ooid bar and siliciclastic sand bar complexes and were generally subject to minor salinity fluctuations. (2 Extended tidal flats and low-relief coastal plains. These include low-energy, brackish coastal lakes and ponds as well as pools and small fluvial channels of coastal plains in which the large dinosaurs were buried. Since these environments apparently were, at best, poorly vegetated, the main feeding grounds of giant sauropods must have been elsewhere. Presumably, tidal flats and coastal plains were visited by dinosaurs primarily during periods of drought. (3 Vegetated hinterland. Vegetation of this environment can only be inferred indirectly from plant material transported into the other depositional environments. Vegetation was dominated by a diverse conifer flora, which apparently formed part of the food source of large herbivorous sauropods. Evidence from various sources suggests a subtropical to tropical palaeoclimate, characterised by seasonal rainfall alternating with

  12. Biomechanics of running indicates endothermy in bipedal dinosaurs.

    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.

  13. Annual monsoon rains recorded by Jurassic dunes.

    Loope, D B; Rowe, C M; Joeckel, R M

    2001-07-05

    Pangaea, the largest landmass in the Earth's history, was nearly bisected by the Equator during the late Palaeozoic and early Mesozoic eras. Modelling experiments and stratigraphic studies have suggested that the supercontinent generated a monsoonal atmospheric circulation that led to extreme seasonality, but direct evidence for annual rainfall periodicity has been lacking. In the Mesozoic era, about 190 million years ago, thick deposits of wind-blown sand accumulated in dunes of a vast, low-latitude desert at Pangaea's western margin. These deposits are now situated in the southwestern USA. Here we analyse slump masses in the annual depositional cycles within these deposits, which have been described for some outcrops of the Navajo Sandstone. Twenty-four slumps, which were generated by heavy rainfall, appear within one interval representing 36 years of dune migration. We interpret the positions of 20 of these masses to indicate slumping during summer monsoon rains, with the other four having been the result of winter storms. The slumped lee faces of these Jurassic dunes therefore represent a prehistoric record of yearly rain events.

  14. First Jurassic grasshopper (Insecta, Caelifera) from China.

    Gu, Jun-Jie; Yue, Yanli; Shi, Fuming; Tian, He; Ren, Dong

    2016-09-20

    Orthoptera is divided into two suborders, the Ensifera (katydids, crickets and mole crickets) and the Caelifera (grasshoppers and pygmy mole crickets). The earliest definitive caeliferans are those found in the Triassic (Bethoux & Ross 2005). The extinct caeliferan families, such as Locustopsidae and Locustavidae, may prove to be stem groups to some of the modern superfamilies (Grimaldi & Engel 2005). Locustopsidae is known from the Late Triassic or Early Jurassic to Late Cretaceous, consisting of two subfamilies (Gorochov et al. 2006). They are recorded from Europe, England, Russia, central Asia, China, Egypt, North America, Brazil and Australia. Up to now, Late Mesozoic fossil deposits of China has been reported plenty taxa of orthopterids, e.g. ensiferans, phasmatodeans, grylloblattids (Cui et al. 2012; Gu et al. 2010; Gu et al. 2012a; Gu et al. 2012b; Ren et al. 2012; Wang et al. 2014); but, with few caeliferans records, only four species, Pseudoacrida costata Lin 1982, Mesolocustopsis sinica Hong 1990, Tachacris stenosis Lin 1977 and T. turgis Lin 1980, were reported from the Early Cretaceous of Ningxia, Shandong, Yunnan and Zhejiang of China.

  15. Tellurium Enrichment in Jurassic Coal, Brora, Scotland

    Liam Bullock

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Mid-Jurassic pyritic coals exposed at the village of Brora, northern Scotland, UK, contain a marked enrichment of tellurium (Te relative to crustal mean, average world coal compositions and British Isles Carboniferous coals. The Te content of Brora coal pyrite is more than one order of magnitude higher than in sampled pyrite of Carboniferous coals. The Te enrichment coincides with selenium (Se and mercury (Hg enrichment in the rims of pyrite, and Se/Te is much lower than in pyrites of Carboniferous coals. Initial pyrite formation is attributed to early burial (syn-diagenesis, with incorporation of Te, Se, Hg and lead (Pb during later pyrite formation. The source of Te may have been a local hydrothermal system which was responsible for alluvial gold (Au in the region, with some Au in Brora headwaters occurring as tellurides. Anomalous Te is not ubiquitous in coal, but may occur locally, and is detectable by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS.

  16. Avian-like attributes of a virtual brain model of the oviraptorid theropod Conchoraptor gracilis

    Kundrát, Martin

    2007-06-01

    An almost complete adult endoneurocranium of Conchoraptor gracilis Barsbold 1986 (Oviraptoridae; ZPAL MgD-I/95), discovered at the Hermiin Tsav locality (the Upper Cretaceous) in Mongolia, is analyzed. A virtual model of the endoneurocranial cavity was derived from CT scans and represents the most complete maniraptoran endocast to date. It displays reduced olfactory bulbs, large cerebral hemispheres in contact with the expanded cerebellum, an epiphysial projection, optic lobes displaced latero-ventrally, presumptive cerebellar folia, enlarged cerebellar auricles, and a deep medulla oblongata with a prominent ventral flexure. Contrary to Archaeopteryx, the shortened olfactory tract and cerebellum overtopping cerebral hemispheres of Conchoraptor resemble conditions in modern birds. Calculating brain mass relative to body mass indicates that Conchoraptor falls within the range of extant birds, whereas Archaeopteryx occupies a marginal position. Most of the endoneurocranial attributes, however, have a less birdlike appearance in Conchoraptor than do corresponding structures in Archaeopteryx and modern birds in which 1) postero-laterally expanded hemispheral domains broadly overlap the optic lobes, 2) the epiphysis projects to the posterior cerebrum, 3) lateral extension of the optic lobes substantially decreases a brain length-to-width ratio, 4) optic lobe and anterior hindbrain are superposed in lateral view, and 5) cerebellar and midbrain compartments are in distinct superposition. The endoneurocranial characteristics of Conchoraptor, taken together, suggest that the animal had a keen sense of vision, balance, and coordination. The data presented in this study do not allow an unambiguous assessment whether the avian-like endoneurocranial characteristics of the flightless Conchoraptor evolved convergently to those of avian theropods, or indicate a derivation of oviraptorosaurs from volant ancestors.

  17. The bone microstructure of polar "hypsilophodontid" dinosaurs from Victoria, Australia.

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

    2018-01-18

    High-latitude (i.e., "polar") Mesozoic fauna endured months of twilight and relatively low mean annual temperatures. Yet non-avian dinosaurs flourished in this taxing environment. Fossils of basal ornithopod dinosaurs ("hypsilophodontids") are common in the Early Cretaceous high-latitude sediments of Victoria, Australia, and four taxa have been described; although their ontogenetic histories are largely unexplored. In the present study, eighteen tibiae and femora were utilized in the first multi-specimen ontogenetic histological analysis of Australian polar hypsilophodontids. The sample consists of eleven individuals from the Flat Rocks locality (Late Valanginian or Barremian), and five from the Dinosaur Cove locality (Albian). In both groups, growth was most rapid during the first three years, and skeletal maturity occurred between five and seven years. There is a weak asymptotic trend in a plot of growth mark count versus femur length, with considerable individual variation. Histology suggests two genera are present within the Dinosaur Cove sample, but bone microstructure alone could not distinguish genera within the Flat Rocks sample, or across the two geologically separate (~ 26 Ma) localities. Additional histologic sampling, combined with morphological analyses, may facilitate further differentiation between ontogenetic, individual, and species variation.

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

    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. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  19. TeV Scale Gravity, Mirror Universe and. . . Dinosaurs

    Silagadze, Z K [Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk (Russian Federation)

    2001-01-01

    This is somewhat extended version of the talk given at the Gran Sasso Summer Institute: Massive Neutrinos in Physics and Astrophysics. It described general ideas about mirror world, extra spatial dimension and dinosaur extinction. Some suggestions are made how these seemingly different things can be related to each other. (author)

  20. Study of dinosaur's egg shell by EPR method

    Tleuberdina, R.A.; Nasirov, R.N.

    1998-01-01

    Two varieties of calcium carbonate are defined on base of ESR spectra radiation-inducted signals containing in mollusc shell and dinosaur and ostrich egg shell; their spectral characters are studied by infrared-spectroscopy methods and X-ray analysis. Possibility of correlation between ESR signals intensity of CO 2 -radical of investigated object and geological age is determined. (author)

  1. Metric-Asaurus: Conceptualizing Scale Using Dinosaur Models

    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…

  2. Dinosaur remains from the type Maastrichtian: An update

    Weishampel, David B.; Mulder, Eric W A; Dortangs, Rudi W.; Jagt, John W M; Jianu, Coralia Maria; Kuypers, Marcel M M; Peeters, Hans H G; Schulp, Anne S.

    1999-01-01

    Isolated cranial and post-cranial remains of hadrosaurid dinosaurs have been collected from various outcrops in the type area of the Maastrichtian stage during the last few years. In the present contribution, dentary and maxillary teeth are recorded from the area for the first time. Post-cranial

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

    Lewy, Zeev

    2017-10-01

    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

  4. The first finding of reliable Jurassic radiolarians in the Crimea

    Vishnevskaya, V. S.; Alekseev, A. S.; Zhegallo, E. A.

    2017-02-01

    Radiolarians of Leugeonidae Yang et Wang, 1990, which represent a morphologically distinctive group of spherical radiolarians of the Spumellaria order, were found for the first time in Crimea and reliably confirm the Jurassic age of the finding. The nodules, which host the Jurassic radiolarians, were collected by A.S. Alekseev in 1983 in the terrigenous sequence of the Lozovskaya tectonic zone. The radiolarian assemblage in the nodules includes Levileugeo ordinarius Yang et Wang, Triactoma jonesi Pessagno, Pseudocrucella aff. prava Blome, Paronella kotura Baumgartner, P. ex gr. mulleri Pessagno, and Praeconocaryomma sp. The Levileugeo genus is easily identified due to its unique hexagonal element, which is typical only of the Jurassic, in particular, Upper Bajocian-Lower Tithonian radiolarians.

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

    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. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  6. Feeding height stratification among the herbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada

    2013-01-01

    Background Herbivore coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has been a topic of great interest, stemming from the paradoxically high diversity and biomass of these animals in relation to the relatively small landmass available to them. Various hypotheses have been advanced to account for these facts, of which niche partitioning is among the most frequently invoked. However, despite its wide acceptance, this hypothesis has not been rigorously tested. This study uses the fossil assemblage from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta as a model to investigate whether niche partitioning facilitated herbivorous dinosaur coexistence on Laramidia. Specifically, the question of feeding height stratification is examined in light of the role it plays in facilitating modern ungulate coexistence. Results Most herbivorous dinosaur species from the Dinosaur Park Formation were restricted to feeding no higher than approximately 1 m above the ground. There is minimal evidence for feeding height partitioning at this level, with ceratopsids capable of feeding slightly higher than ankylosaurs, but the ecological significance of this is ambiguous. Hadrosaurids were uniquely capable of feeding up to 2 m quadrupedally, or up to 5 m bipedally. There is no evidence for either feeding height stratification within any of these clades, or for change in these ecological relationships through the approximately 1.5 Ma record of the Dinosaur Park Formation. Conclusions Although we cannot reject the possibility, we find no good evidence that feeding height stratification, as revealed by reconstructed maximum feeding heights, played an important role in facilitating niche partitioning among the herbivorous dinosaurs of Laramidia. Most browsing pressure was concentrated in the herb layer, although hadrosaurids were capable of reaching shrubs and low-growing trees that were out of reach from ceratopsids, ankylosaurs, and other small herbivores, effectively dividing the

  7. Feeding height stratification among the herbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada.

    Mallon, Jordan C; Evans, David C; Ryan, Michael J; Anderson, Jason S

    2013-04-04

    Herbivore coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has been a topic of great interest, stemming from the paradoxically high diversity and biomass of these animals in relation to the relatively small landmass available to them. Various hypotheses have been advanced to account for these facts, of which niche partitioning is among the most frequently invoked. However, despite its wide acceptance, this hypothesis has not been rigorously tested. This study uses the fossil assemblage from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta as a model to investigate whether niche partitioning facilitated herbivorous dinosaur coexistence on Laramidia. Specifically, the question of feeding height stratification is examined in light of the role it plays in facilitating modern ungulate coexistence. Most herbivorous dinosaur species from the Dinosaur Park Formation were restricted to feeding no higher than approximately 1 m above the ground. There is minimal evidence for feeding height partitioning at this level, with ceratopsids capable of feeding slightly higher than ankylosaurs, but the ecological significance of this is ambiguous. Hadrosaurids were uniquely capable of feeding up to 2 m quadrupedally, or up to 5 m bipedally. There is no evidence for either feeding height stratification within any of these clades, or for change in these ecological relationships through the approximately 1.5 Ma record of the Dinosaur Park Formation. Although we cannot reject the possibility, we find no good evidence that feeding height stratification, as revealed by reconstructed maximum feeding heights, played an important role in facilitating niche partitioning among the herbivorous dinosaurs of Laramidia. Most browsing pressure was concentrated in the herb layer, although hadrosaurids were capable of reaching shrubs and low-growing trees that were out of reach from ceratopsids, ankylosaurs, and other small herbivores, effectively dividing the herbivores in terms of relative

  8. Jurassic domes in the North Sea - northern North Atlantic region

    Surlyk, F. [Univ. of Copenhagen, Geological Inst., Copenhagen (Denmark)

    1996-12-31

    The stratigraphic and tectonic evolution of the Jurassic of East Greenland, the Norwegian Shelf and the North Sea is remarkably similar. A major Middle Jurassic unconformity occurs in all three areas. In the North Sea it is commonly termed the `Mid-Cimmerian Unconformity` and is characterized by progressive truncation of the underlying section towards a centre at the triple junction between the Central Graben, Viking Graben and Moray Firth. Strata above the unconformity show a progressive Late Aalenian-Early Kimmeridgian onlap in the same direction. These relations have been interpreted as caused by Early Jurassic uplift and of a major thermal dome in the central North Sea, followed by Medial and Late Jurassic rifting, erosion, deflation and transgression of the dome. The East Greenland unconformity shows progressive truncation of underlying strata from south to north, and Bajocian to Callovian onlap in the same direction. The same pattern seems to be developed on the conjugate Norwegian margin. This suggests the possibility that the three unconformities have similar causes for their development. It is proposed that major rift domes formed in the Central North Sea and in the Greenland-Norway seaway in Early Jurassic times. The domes were eroded and gradually deflated during Medial Jurassic times and were finally submerged by the Late Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian. They were associated with volcanism and rifting which was delayed with respect to dome initiation. Roughly contemperaneous domes were present west of Britain, north of the Porcupine Seabight, and in Scania, southern Sweden, as reflected by development of asymmetrical unconformities showing progressive truncation of underlying strata, onlap of overlying Jurassic strata, and associated intrusive and extrusive volcanism. The domes are related to impingement of the heads of transient mantle plumes at the base of the lithosphere. The associated unconformities are thus of non-eustatic nature. Domal uplift and

  9. An Evolutionary Cascade Model for Sauropod Dinosaur Gigantism - Overview, Update and Tests

    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 evolutiona...

  10. Clavicles, interclavicles, gastralia, and sternal ribs in sauropod dinosaurs: new reports from diplodocidae and their morphological, functional and evolutionary implications.

    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

  11. Hydrocarbon potential of a new Jurassic play, central Tunisia

    Beall, A.O.; Law, C.W.

    1996-01-01

    A largely unrecognized Jurassic Sag Basin has been identified in central Tunisia, proximal to the Permo-Carboniferous flexure delineating the northern boundary of the Saharan platform of north Africa. The northwestern margin of the Sag is delineated by an extensive region of salt-cored anticlines and localized salt diapirs extending north and west. Due to lack of deep drilling, delineation of the Sag is largely based on regional gravity data. Subsidence of the Jurassic Sag Basin is characterized by rapid expansion of Jurassic sediments from 400 m. of tidal flat and shelf carbonate at the western outcrop to over 2000 meters of tidal flat and basinal carbonate and shale within the basin center, a five-fold expansion. Rapid loading of the basin continued into Lower Cretaceous time, marked by lateral flowage of Triassic salt into pronounced structural trends. Published source rock data and interpreted subsurface well data provided the basis for GENEX 1-D hydrocarbon generation and expulsion modeling of the Sag. Middle Jurassic black source shales typically contain Type II and Type III kerogens with T.O.C.'s ranging up to 4 percent. Modeling results indicate that middle Jurassic shales are presently mature for liquid generation within portions of the Sag, with maximum generation taking place during the Tertiary. Potential hydrocarbon generation yields, based on 60 meters of mature source shale, are 20,000 BOE/acre for gas and 75,000 BOE/acre for liquids. Prospects within the region could contain an estimated potential reserve of several T.C.F. or over 1 billion barrels of oil

  12. parasitised feathered dinosaurs as revealed by Cretaceous amber assemblages.

    Peñalver, Enrique; Arillo, Antonio; Delclòs, Xavier; Peris, David; Grimaldi, David A; Anderson, Scott R; Nascimbene, Paul C; Pérez-de la Fuente, Ricardo

    2017-12-12

    Ticks are currently among the most prevalent blood-feeding ectoparasites, but their feeding habits and hosts in deep time have long remained speculative. Here, we report direct and indirect evidence in 99 million-year-old Cretaceous amber showing that hard ticks and ticks of the extinct new family Deinocrotonidae fed on blood from feathered dinosaurs, non-avialan or avialan excluding crown-group birds. A †Cornupalpatum burmanicum hard tick is entangled in a pennaceous feather. Two deinocrotonids described as †Deinocroton draculi gen. et sp. nov. have specialised setae from dermestid beetle larvae (hastisetae) attached to their bodies, likely indicating cohabitation in a feathered dinosaur nest. A third conspecific specimen is blood-engorged, its anatomical features suggesting that deinocrotonids fed rapidly to engorgement and had multiple gonotrophic cycles. These findings provide insight into early tick evolution and ecology, and shed light on poorly known arthropod-vertebrate interactions and potential disease transmission during the Mesozoic.

  13. Dinosaur Metabolism and the Allometry of Maximum Growth Rate

    Myhrvold, Nathan P.

    2016-01-01

    The allometry of maximum somatic growth rate has been used in prior studies to classify the metabolic state of both extant vertebrates and dinosaurs. The most recent such studies are reviewed, and their data is reanalyzed. The results of allometric regressions on growth rate are shown to depend on the choice of independent variable; the typical choice used in prior studies introduces a geometric shear transformation that exaggerates the statistical power of the regressions. The maximum growth...

  14. Low beta diversity of Maastrichtian dinosaurs of North America

    Vavrek, Matthew J.; Larsson, Hans C. E.

    2010-01-01

    Beta diversity is an important component of large-scale patterns of biodiversity, but its explicit examination is more difficult than that of alpha diversity. Only recently have data sets large enough been presented to begin assessing global patterns of species turnover, especially in the fossil record. We present here an analysis of beta diversity of a Maastrichtian (71–65 million years old) assemblage of dinosaurs from the Western Interior of North America, a region that covers ≈1.5 × 106 km2, borders an epicontinental sea, and spans ≈20° of latitude. Previous qualitative analyses have suggested regional groupings of these dinosaurs and generally concluded that there were multiple distinct faunal regions. However, these studies did not directly account for sampling bias, which may artificially decrease similarity and increase turnover between regions. Our analysis used abundance-based data to account for sampling intensity and was unable to support any hypothesis of multiple distinct faunas; earlier hypothesized faunal delineations were likely a sampling artifact. Our results indicate a low beta diversity and support a single dinosaur community within the entire Western Interior region of latest Cretaceous North America. Homogeneous environments are a known driver of low modern beta diversities, and the warm equable climate of the late Cretaceous modulated by the epicontenental seaway is inferred to be an underlying influence on the low beta diversity of this ancient ecosystem. PMID:20404176

  15. Dinosaur Metabolism and the Allometry of Maximum Growth Rate.

    Myhrvold, Nathan P

    2016-01-01

    The allometry of maximum somatic growth rate has been used in prior studies to classify the metabolic state of both extant vertebrates and dinosaurs. The most recent such studies are reviewed, and their data is reanalyzed. The results of allometric regressions on growth rate are shown to depend on the choice of independent variable; the typical choice used in prior studies introduces a geometric shear transformation that exaggerates the statistical power of the regressions. The maximum growth rates of extant groups are found to have a great deal of overlap, including between groups with endothermic and ectothermic metabolism. Dinosaur growth rates show similar overlap, matching the rates found for mammals, reptiles and fish. The allometric scaling of growth rate with mass is found to have curvature (on a log-log scale) for many groups, contradicting the prevailing view that growth rate allometry follows a simple power law. Reanalysis shows that no correlation between growth rate and basal metabolic rate (BMR) has been demonstrated. These findings drive a conclusion that growth rate allometry studies to date cannot be used to determine dinosaur metabolism as has been previously argued.

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

    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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Dinosaur Metabolism and the Allometry of Maximum Growth Rate

    Myhrvold, Nathan P.

    2016-01-01

    The allometry of maximum somatic growth rate has been used in prior studies to classify the metabolic state of both extant vertebrates and dinosaurs. The most recent such studies are reviewed, and their data is reanalyzed. The results of allometric regressions on growth rate are shown to depend on the choice of independent variable; the typical choice used in prior studies introduces a geometric shear transformation that exaggerates the statistical power of the regressions. The maximum growth rates of extant groups are found to have a great deal of overlap, including between groups with endothermic and ectothermic metabolism. Dinosaur growth rates show similar overlap, matching the rates found for mammals, reptiles and fish. The allometric scaling of growth rate with mass is found to have curvature (on a log-log scale) for many groups, contradicting the prevailing view that growth rate allometry follows a simple power law. Reanalysis shows that no correlation between growth rate and basal metabolic rate (BMR) has been demonstrated. These findings drive a conclusion that growth rate allometry studies to date cannot be used to determine dinosaur metabolism as has been previously argued. PMID:27828977

  18. Vascularised endosteal bone tissue in armoured sauropod dinosaurs.

    Chinsamy, Anusuya; Cerda, Ignacio; Powell, Jaime

    2016-04-26

    The presence of well-vascularised, endosteal bone in the medullary region of long bones of nonavian dinosaurs has been invoked as being homologous to medullary bone, a specialised bone tissue formed during ovulation in birds. However, similar bone tissues can result as a pathological response in modern birds and in nonavian dinosaurs, and has also been reported in an immature nonavian dinosaur. Here we report on the occurrence of well-vascularised endosteally formed bone tissue in three skeletal elements of armoured titanosaur sauropods from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina: i) within the medullary cavity of a metatarsal, ii) inside a pneumatic cavity of a posterior caudal vertebra, iii) in intra-trabecular spaces in an osteoderm. We show that considering the criteria of location, origin (or development), and histology, these endosteally derived tissues in the saltasaurine titanosaurs could be described as either medullary bone or pathological bone. Furthermore, we show that similar endosteally formed well-vascularised bone tissue is fairly widely distributed among nondinosaurian Archosauriformes, and are not restricted to long bones, but can occur in the axial, and dermal skeleton. We propose that independent evidence is required to verify whether vascularised endosteal bone tissues in extinct archosaurs are pathological or reproductive in nature.

  19. Dietary adaptions in the ultrastructure of dinosaur dentine.

    Brink, Kirstin S; Chen, Yu-Cheng; Wu, Ya-Na; Liu, Wei-Min; Shieh, Dar-Bin; Huang, Timothy D; Sun, Chi-Kuang; Reisz, Robert R

    2016-12-01

    Teeth are key to understanding the feeding ecology of both extant and extinct vertebrates. Recent studies have highlighted the previously unrecognized complexity of dinosaur dentitions and how specific tooth tissues and tooth shapes differ between taxa with different diets. However, it is unknown how the ultrastructure of these tooth tissues contributes to the differences in feeding style between taxa. In this study, we use third harmonic generation microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to examine the ultrastructure of the dentine in herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs to understand how the structure of this tissue contributes to the overall utility of the tooth. Morphometric analyses of dentinal tubule diameter, density and branching rates reveal a strong signal for dietary preferences, with herbivorous saurischian and ornithischian dinosaurs consistently having higher dentinal tubule density than their carnivorous relatives. We hypothesize that this relates to the hardness of the dentine, where herbivorous taxa have dentine that is more resistant to breakage and wear at the dentine-enamel junction than carnivorous taxa. This study advocates the detailed study of dentine and the use of advanced microscopy techniques to understand the evolution of dentition and feeding ecology in extinct vertebrates. © 2016 The Author(s).

  20. New Australian sauropods shed light on Cretaceous dinosaur palaeobiogeography

    Poropat, Stephen F.; Mannion, Philip D.; Upchurch, Paul; Hocknull, Scott A.; Kear, Benjamin P.; Kundrát, Martin; Tischler, Travis R.; Sloan, Trish; Sinapius, George H. K.; Elliott, Judy A.; Elliott, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Australian dinosaurs have played a rare but controversial role in the debate surrounding the effect of Gondwanan break-up on Cretaceous dinosaur distribution. Major spatiotemporal gaps in the Gondwanan Cretaceous fossil record, coupled with taxon incompleteness, have hindered research on this effect, especially in Australia. Here we report on two new sauropod specimens from the early Late Cretaceous of Queensland, Australia, that have important implications for Cretaceous dinosaur palaeobiogeography. Savannasaurus elliottorum gen. et sp. nov. comprises one of the most complete Cretaceous sauropod skeletons ever found in Australia, whereas a new specimen of Diamantinasaurus matildae includes the first ever cranial remains of an Australian sauropod. The results of a new phylogenetic analysis, in which both Savannasaurus and Diamantinasaurus are recovered within Titanosauria, were used as the basis for a quantitative palaeobiogeographical analysis of macronarian sauropods. Titanosaurs achieved a worldwide distribution by at least 125 million years ago, suggesting that mid-Cretaceous Australian sauropods represent remnants of clades which were widespread during the Early Cretaceous. These lineages would have entered Australasia via dispersal from South America, presumably across Antarctica. High latitude sauropod dispersal might have been facilitated by Albian–Turonian warming that lifted a palaeoclimatic dispersal barrier between Antarctica and South America. PMID:27763598

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

    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

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

    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

  3. Diversity and paleogeographic distribution of Early Jurassic plesiosaurs

    Vincent, Peggy; Suan, Guillaume

    2010-05-01

    Early Jurassic plesiosaurs, a group of extinct marine reptiles, were one of the first groups to be described in the history of vertebrate paleontology. Nevertheless, the paleogeographic distribution and the taxonomic diversity of these forms are still unclear, particularly because most descriptions and taxonomic attributions were realized during the mid 19th to early 20th century. Here we investigate the paleodiversity and paleogeographic distribution of Early Jurassic plesiosaurs using an extensive taxonomic and anatomical revision of most known Early Jurassic specimens. We also present an examination of the biostratigraphic and sedimentological framework of deposits in which these specimens were discovered, in order to decipher whether their fossil record reflects primary paleobiological trends or taphonomic/discovery biases. Early Jurassic Plesiosaur diversity appears to reach its maximum during the Toarcian (falciferum-bifrons ammonite zones). Nevertheless, the inclusion of ghost lineages into the diversity curves indicates that this pattern likely reflects discovery and taphonomical biases rather than primary biodiversity trends. Indeed, most strata where numerous plesiosaurs species were discovered correspond to sediments that were deposited under poorly-oxygenated conditions and exploited at least in a semi-industrial way during the 1800's-1950's. The Lower Jurassic fossiliferous localities that yielded identifiable plesiosaur species are only found in Western Europe (England, Germany, and France). In Europe, the Toarcian stage is the only interval where more than one fossiliferous locality is known (the Hettangian, Sinemurian and Pliensbachian stages being each represented by only one locality where specimens are identifiable at the species level). The different Toarcian fossiliferous sites of Europe do not bear any single common taxon, suggesting a high degree of endemism in Early Jurassic plesiosaurs. Nevertheless, these sites are fundamentally

  4. The Jurassic of Denmark and Greenland: Shallow marine syn-rift sedimentation: Middle Jurassic Pelion Formation, Jameson Land, East Greenland

    Engkilde, Michael

    2003-10-01

    Full Text Available The Middle Jurassic Pelion Formation – Fossilbjerget Formation couplet of Jameson Land, East Greenland, is a well-exposed example of the Middle Jurassic inshore–offshore successions characteristicof the rifted seaways in the Northwest European – North Atlantic region. Early Jurassic deposition took place under relatively quiet tectonic conditions following Late Permian – earliest Triassic and Early Triassic rift phases and the Lower Jurassic stratal package shows an overall layer-cake geometry. A long-term extensional phase was initiated in Middle Jurassic (Late Bajocian time, culminated in the Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian–Volgian, and petered out in the earliest Cretaceous (Valanginian. The Upper Bajocian – Middle Callovian early-rift succession comprises shallow marine sandstones of the Pelion Formation and correlative offshore siltstones of theFossilbjerget Formation. Deposition was initiated by southwards progradation of shallow marine sands of the Pelion Formation in the Late Bajocian followed by major backstepping in Bathonian–Callovian times and drowning of the sandy depositional system in the Middle–Late Callovian. Six facies associations are recognised in the Pelion–Fossilbjerget couplet, representing estuarine, shoreface, offshore transition zone and offshore environments. The north–southtrendingaxis of the Jameson Land Basin had a low inclination, and deposition was sensitive to even small changes in relative sea level which caused the shorelines to advance or retreat over tens to several hundreds of kilometres. Eight composite sequences, termed P1–P8, are recognised and are subdivided into a total of 28 depositional sequences. The duration of the two orders of sequences was about 1–2 Ma and 360,000 years, respectively. The Upper Bajocian P1–2 sequencesinclude the most basinally positioned shallow marine sandstones, deposited during major sealevel lowstands. The lowstands were terminated by significant marine

  5. Rock mechanics related to Jurassic underburden at Valdemar oil field

    Foged, Niels

    1999-01-01

    .It has been initiated as a feasibility study of the North Jens-1 core 12 taken in the top Jurassic clay shale as a test specimens for integrated petrological, mineralogical and rock mechanical studies. Following topics are studied:(1) Pore pressure generation due to conversion of organic matter...... and deformation properties of the clay shale using the actual core material or outcrop equivalents.(3) Flushing mechanisms for oil and gas from source rocks due to possibly very high pore water pressure creating unstable conditions in deeply burried sedimentsThere seems to be a need for integrating the knowledge...... in a number of geosciences to the benefit of common understanding of important reservoir mechanisms. Rock mechanics and geotechnical modelling might be key points for this understanding of reservoir geology and these may constitute a platform for future research in the maturing and migration from the Jurassic...

  6. A mysterious giant ichthyosaur from the lowermost Jurassic of Wales

    Jeremy E. Martin

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Ichthyosaurs rapidly diversified and colonised a wide range of ecological niches during the Early and Middle Triassic period, but experienced a major decline in diversity near the end of the Triassic. Timing and causes of this demise and the subsequent rapid radiation of the diverse, but less disparate, parvipelvian ichthyosaurs are still unknown, notably because of inadequate sampling in strata of latest Triassic age. Here, we describe an exceptionally large radius from Lower Jurassic deposits at Penarth near Cardiff, south Wales (UK the morphology of which places it within the giant Triassic shastasaurids. A tentative total body size estimate, based on a regression analysis of various complete ichthyosaur skeletons, yields a value of 12–15 m. The specimen is substantially younger than any previously reported last known occurrences of shastasaurids and implies a Lazarus range in the lowermost Jurassic for this ichthyosaur morphotype.

  7. The Tacuarembo formation (late jurassic-early cretaceiys): ataphonomical approach

    Perea, D.

    2007-01-01

    The Tacuarembo Formation of Uruguay exhibits the only body fossils from Botucatu desert, at Parana basin. The taphonomic pattern of this unit was studied in all fossiliferous localities and 4 modes were distinguished: 1)bonebeds, 2) Friable sandstone levels with fragments and clay pellets, 3) articulated and not fragmented remains, 4) molds. These modes clearly reflect a subaqueous system showing different degrees in deepness, energy and distance to the shore border. The two first referred modes which are associated to coarser grain sizes including dinosaur remains, represent high energy flows nearer to the terrestrial margins of the system

  8. An approach to scoring cursorial limb proportions in carnivorous dinosaurs and an attempt to account for allometry

    Persons, W. Scott, IV; Currie, Philip J.

    2016-01-01

    From an initial dataset of 53 theropod species, the general relationship between theropod lower-leg length and body mass is identified. After factoring out this allometric relationship, theropod hindlimb proportions are assessed irrespective of body mass. Cursorial-limb-proportion (CLP) scores derived for each of the considered theropod taxa offer a measure of the extent to which a particular species deviates in favour of higher or lower running speeds. Within the same theropod species, these CLP scores are found to be consistent across multiple adult specimens and across disparate ontogenetic stages. Early theropods are found to have low CLP scores, while the coelurosaurian tyrannosauroids and compsognathids are found to have high CLP scores. Among deinonychosaurs, troodontids have consistently high CLP scores, while many dromaeosaur taxa, including Velociraptor and Deinonychus, have low CLP scores. This indicates that dromaeosaurs were not, overall, a particularly cursorily adapted group. Comparisons between the CLP scores of Tyrannosaurus and specimens referred to the controversial genus Nanotyrannus indicate a strong discrepancy in cursorial adaptations, which supports the legitimacy of Nanotyrannus and the previous suggestions of ecological partitioning between Nanotyrannus and the contemporaneous Tyrannosaurus.

  9. An approach to scoring cursorial limb proportions in carnivorous dinosaurs and an attempt to account for allometry.

    Persons, W Scott; Currie, Philip J

    2016-01-27

    From an initial dataset of 53 theropod species, the general relationship between theropod lower-leg length and body mass is identified. After factoring out this allometric relationship, theropod hindlimb proportions are assessed irrespective of body mass. Cursorial-limb-proportion (CLP) scores derived for each of the considered theropod taxa offer a measure of the extent to which a particular species deviates in favour of higher or lower running speeds. Within the same theropod species, these CLP scores are found to be consistent across multiple adult specimens and across disparate ontogenetic stages. Early theropods are found to have low CLP scores, while the coelurosaurian tyrannosauroids and compsognathids are found to have high CLP scores. Among deinonychosaurs, troodontids have consistently high CLP scores, while many dromaeosaur taxa, including Velociraptor and Deinonychus, have low CLP scores. This indicates that dromaeosaurs were not, overall, a particularly cursorily adapted group. Comparisons between the CLP scores of Tyrannosaurus and specimens referred to the controversial genus Nanotyrannus indicate a strong discrepancy in cursorial adaptations, which supports the legitimacy of Nanotyrannus and the previous suggestions of ecological partitioning between Nanotyrannus and the contemporaneous Tyrannosaurus.

  10. The Jurassic of Denmark and Greenland: key elements in the reconstruction of the North Atlantic Jurassic rift system

    Surlyk, Finn

    2003-10-01

    Full Text Available The Jurassic succession of Denmark is largely confined to the subsurface with the exception of exposures on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. In East Greenland, in contrast, the Jurassic is extensively exposed. Comparison of basin evolution in the two regions, which now occur on two separate plates, thus relies on highly different datasets. It is possible nevertheless to construct an integrated picture allowing testing of hypotheses concerning basin evolution, regional uplift, onset and climax of rifting, relative versus eustatic sea-level changes and sequence stratigraphic subdivision and correlation. On a smaller scale, it is possible to compare the signatures of sequence stratigraphic surfaces as seen on well logs, in cores and at outcrop and of sequences recognised and defined on the basis of very different data types. Breakdown of the successions into tectonostratigraphic megasequences highlights the high degree of similarity in overall basin evolution and tectonic style. An important difference, however, lies in the timing. Major events such as late Early - Middle Jurassic uplift, followed by onset of rifting, basin reorganisation and rift climax were delayed in East Greenland relative to the Danish region. This has important implications both for regional reconstructions of the rift system and for the understanding and testing of classical sequence stratigraphic concepts involving eustatic versus tectonic controls of basin evolution and stratigraphy.

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

    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.

  12. Texture analyses of Sauropod dinosaur bones from Tendaguru

    Pyzalla, A.R.; Sander, P.M.; Hansen, A.; Ferreyro, R.; Yi, S.-B.; Stempniewicz, M.; Brokmeier, H.-G.

    2006-01-01

    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 -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

  13. Texture analyses of Sauropod dinosaur bones from Tendaguru

    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.

  14. New tyrannosaur from the mid-Cretaceous of Uzbekistan clarifies evolution of giant body sizes and advanced senses in tyrant dinosaurs.

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Averianov, Alexander; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Muir, Amy; Butler, Ian B

    2016-03-29

    Tyrannosaurids--the familiar group of carnivorous dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus and Albertosaurus--were the apex predators in continental ecosystems in Asia and North America during the latest Cretaceous (ca. 80-66 million years ago). Their colossal sizes and keen senses are considered key to their evolutionary and ecological success, but little is known about how these features developed as tyrannosaurids evolved from smaller basal tyrannosauroids that first appeared in the fossil record in the Middle Jurassic (ca. 170 million years ago). This is largely because of a frustrating 20+ million-year gap in the mid-Cretaceous fossil record, when tyrannosauroids transitioned from small-bodied hunters to gigantic apex predators but from which no diagnostic specimens are known. We describe the first distinct tyrannosauroid species from this gap, based on a highly derived braincase and a variety of other skeletal elements from the Turonian (ca. 90-92 million years ago) of Uzbekistan. This taxon is phylogenetically intermediate between the oldest basal tyrannosauroids and the latest Cretaceous forms. It had yet to develop the giant size and extensive cranial pneumaticity of T. rex and kin but does possess the highly derived brain and inner ear characteristic of the latest Cretaceous species. Tyrannosauroids apparently developed huge size rapidly during the latest Cretaceous, and their success in the top predator role may have been enabled by their brain and keen senses that first evolved at smaller body size.

  15. New tyrannosaur from the mid-Cretaceous of Uzbekistan clarifies evolution of giant body sizes and advanced senses in tyrant dinosaurs

    Brusatte, Stephen L.; Averianov, Alexander; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Muir, Amy; Butler, Ian B.

    2016-03-01

    Tyrannosaurids-the familiar group of carnivorous dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus and Albertosaurus-were the apex predators in continental ecosystems in Asia and North America during the latest Cretaceous (ca. 80-66 million years ago). Their colossal sizes and keen senses are considered key to their evolutionary and ecological success, but little is known about how these features developed as tyrannosaurids evolved from smaller basal tyrannosauroids that first appeared in the fossil record in the Middle Jurassic (ca. 170 million years ago). This is largely because of a frustrating 20+ million-year gap in the mid-Cretaceous fossil record, when tyrannosauroids transitioned from small-bodied hunters to gigantic apex predators but from which no diagnostic specimens are known. We describe the first distinct tyrannosauroid species from this gap, based on a highly derived braincase and a variety of other skeletal elements from the Turonian (ca. 90-92 million years ago) of Uzbekistan. This taxon is phylogenetically intermediate between the oldest basal tyrannosauroids and the latest Cretaceous forms. It had yet to develop the giant size and extensive cranial pneumaticity of T. rex and kin but does possess the highly derived brain and inner ear characteristic of the latest Cretaceous species. Tyrannosauroids apparently developed huge size rapidly during the latest Cretaceous, and their success in the top predator role may have been enabled by their brain and keen senses that first evolved at smaller body size.

  16. Histological evidence for a supraspinous ligament in sauropod dinosaurs.

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

    2015-10-01

    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.

  17. 2004 assessment of habitat improvements in Dinosaur Reservoir

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

    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.

  19. Inter-layered clay stacks in Jurassic shales

    Pye, K.; Krinsley, D. H.

    1983-01-01

    Scanning electron microscopy in the backscattered electron mode is used together with energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis to show that Lower Jurassic shales from the North Sea Basin contain large numbers of clay mineral stacks up to 150 microns in size. Polished shale sections are examined to determine the size, shape orientation, textural relationships, and internal compositional variations of the clays. Preliminary evidence that the clay stacks are authigenic, and may have formed at shallow burial depths during early diagenesis, is presented.

  20. Tectonic forcing of early to middle jurassic seawater Sr/Ca

    Ullmann, Clemens Vinzenz; Hesselbo, Stephen P.; Korte, Christoph

    2013-01-01

    The Jurassic Period (ca. 201–145 Ma) is marked by fundamental reorganizations of paleogeography, paleoceanography, ecosystems, and the progressive shift from aragonite to calcite as the favored marine biogenic carbonate polymorph. Sr/Ca ratios of well-preserved Jurassic oysters and belemnites from...

  1. The Jurassic section along McElmo Canyon in southwestern Colorado

    O'Sullivan, Robert B.

    1997-01-01

    In McElmo Canyon, Jurassic rocks are 1500-1600 ft thick. Lower Jurassic rocks of the Glen Canyon Group include (in ascending order) Wingate Sandstone, Kayenta Formation and Navajo Sandstone. Middle Jurassic rocks are represented by the San Rafael Group, which includes the Entrada Sandstone and overlying Wanakah Formation. Upper Jurassic rocks comprise the Junction Creek Sandstone overlain by the Morrison Formation. The Burro Canyon Formation, generally considered to be Lower Cretaceous, may be Late Jurassic in the McElmo Canyon area and is discussed with the Jurassic. The Upper Triassic Chinle Formation in the subsurface underlies, and the Upper Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone overlies, the Jurassic section. An unconformity is present at the base of the Glen Canyon Group (J-0), at the base of the San Rafael Group (J-2), and at the base of the Junction Creek Sandstone (J-5). Another unconformity of Cretaceous age is at the base of the Dakota Sandstone. Most of the Jurassic rocks consist of fluviatile, lacustrine and eolian deposits. The basal part of the Entrada Sandstone and the Wanakah Formation may be of marginal marine origin.

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

    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. Ontogeny and the fossil record: what, if anything, is an adult dinosaur?

    Hone, David W E; Farke, Andrew A; Wedel, Mathew J

    2016-02-01

    Identification of the ontogenetic status of an extinct organism is complex, and yet this underpins major areas of research, from taxonomy and systematics to ecology and evolution. In the case of the non-avialan dinosaurs, at least some were reproductively mature before they were skeletally mature, and a lack of consensus on how to define an 'adult' animal causes problems for even basic scientific investigations. Here we review the current methods available to determine the age of non-avialan dinosaurs, discuss the definitions of different ontogenetic stages, and summarize the implications of these disparate definitions for dinosaur palaeontology. Most critically, a growing body of evidence suggests that many dinosaurs that would be considered 'adults' in a modern-day field study are considered 'juveniles' or 'subadults' in palaeontological contexts. © 2016 The Author(s).

  4. Maximal Aerobic and Anaerobic Power Generation in Large Crocodiles versus Mammals: Implications for Dinosaur Gigantothermy

    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 dinosau...

  5. New findings of dinosaur remains and considerations on the age of the guichon formation

    Soto, M; Perea, D; Veroslasky, G; Rinderknecht, A; Ubilla, M.; Leucuona, G.

    2008-01-01

    The first known dinosaur remains from the Guichon Formation are reviewed herein, demonstrating that they have a limited bio stratigraphic value. New materials (comprising abundant bones and several eggshell fragments) are described, representing the first record of sauropod dinosaurs from the Guichon Formation. The bone belong to a derived titanosaurian (Eutitanosauria) while the eggshells are refered to the oogenus Sphaerovum Mones 1980. Bio stratigraphic implications of these materials are discussed, allowing to propose a Late Cretaceous age for this unit

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

    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. A re-examination of paleomagnetic results from NA Jurassic sedimentary rocks: Additional evidence for proposed Jurassic MUTO?

    Housen, B. A.

    2015-12-01

    Kent and Irving, 2010; and Kent et al, 2015 propose a monster shift in the position of Jurassic (160 to 145 Ma) paleopoles for North America- defined by results from igneous rocks. This monster shift is likely an unrecognized true polar wander occurrence. Although subject to inclination error, results from sedimentary rocks from North America, if corrected for these effects, can be used to supplement the available data for this time period. Steiner (2003) reported results from 48 stratigraphic horizons sampled from the Callovian Summerville Fm, from NE New Mexico. A recalculated mean of these results yields a mean direction of D = 332, I = 39, n=48, k = 15, α95 = 5.4°. These data were analyzed for possible inclination error-although the dataset is small, the E-I results yielded a corrected I = 53. This yields a corrected paleopole for NA at ~165 Ma located at 67° N and 168° E.Paleomagnetic results from the Black Hills- Kilanowski (2002) for the Callovian Hulett Mbr of the Sundance Fm, and Gregiore (2001) the Oxfordian-Tithonian Morrison Fm (Gregiore, 2001) have previously been interpreted to represent Eocene-aged remagnetizations- due to the nearly exact coincidence between the in-situ pole positions of these Jurassic units with the Eocene pole for NA. Both of the tilt-corrected results for these units have high latitude poles (Sundance Fm: 79° N, 146° E; Morrison Fm: 89° N, 165° E). An E-I analysis of these data will be presented- using a provisional inclination error of 10°, corrected paleopoles are: (Sundance Fm: 76° N, 220° E; Morrison Fm: 77° N, 266° E). The Black Hills 165 Ma (Sundance Fm) and 145 Ma (Morrison Fm) poles, provisionally corrected for 10° inclination error- occur fairly close to the NA APWP proposed by Kent et al, 2015- using an updated set of results from kimberlites- the agreement between the Sundance Fm and the Triple-B (158 Ma) pole would be nearly exact with a slightly lesser inclination error. The Summerville Fm- which is

  8. Triassic-Jurassic pteridosperms of Australasia: speciation, diversity and decline

    Pattemore, G. A.; Rigby, J. F.; Playford, G.

    2015-07-01

    Pteridosperms are preserved abundantly in the Gondwanan Triassic, with many species exhibiting consider- able morphological variation that has been attributed to a hybridization model of speciation. This is an improbable explanation given that hybridization is very rare in gymnosperms. Allopatric speciation resulting from geographic and climatic provincialism is a more likely explanation for the morphological diversity which is well represented in Anisian Norian (Middle and Upper Triassic) floras of Australasia and elsewhere in Gondwana. Most specimens are distributed among three families: Umkomasiaceae, Peltaspermaceae and Matatiellaceae. These families, together with other possibly pteridospermous genera, are reviewed herein. Diversity in these families apparently declined by the Rhaetian and they did not persist into the Gondwanan post-Triassic. Australasian post-Triassic strata contain remarkably different floral assemblages to those of the Triassic. No fructifications are clearly pteridospermous and no remains show any obvious relationship with pteridosperms of the Gondwanan Triassic. Caytonialean fructifications are not known in Australasian strata; however, associated foliage has been reported from the Eastern Gondwanan Upper Triassic through Middle Jurassic including Australia. Much fern-like foliage, claimed to be pteridospermous from the Lower Jurassic through Eocene of Eastern Gondwana, lacks supporting evidence of such affiliation. (Author)

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

    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. Footprints pull origin and diversification of dinosaur stem lineage deep into Early Triassic.

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Niedźwiedzki, Grzegorz; Butler, Richard J

    2011-04-07

    The ascent of dinosaurs in the Triassic is an exemplary evolutionary radiation, but the earliest phase of dinosaur history remains poorly understood. Body fossils of close dinosaur relatives are rare, but indicate that the dinosaur stem lineage (Dinosauromorpha) originated by the latest Anisian (ca 242-244 Ma). Here, we report footprints from the Early-Middle Triassic of Poland, stratigraphically well constrained and identified using a conservative synapomorphy-based approach, which shifts the origin of the dinosaur stem lineage back to the Early Olenekian (ca 249-251 Ma), approximately 5-9 Myr earlier than indicated by body fossils, earlier than demonstrated by previous footprint records, and just a few million years after the Permian/Triassic mass extinction (252.3 Ma). Dinosauromorph tracks are rare in all Polish assemblages, suggesting that these animals were minor faunal components. The oldest tracks are quadrupedal, a morphology uncommon among the earliest dinosauromorph body fossils, but bipedality and moderately large body size had arisen by the Early Anisian (ca 246 Ma). Integrating trace fossils and body fossils demonstrates that the rise of dinosaurs was a drawn-out affair, perhaps initiated during recovery from the Permo-Triassic extinction.

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

    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.

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

    D'Emic, Michael D; Whitlock, John A; Smith, Kathlyn M; Fisher, Daniel C; Wilson, Jeffrey A

    2013-01-01

    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. 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. 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 diplodocoids independently evolved the highest known tooth replacement rates among archosaurs.

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

    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. Did A Galactic Gamma-Ray Burst Kill the Dinosaurs?

    Brecher, K.

    1997-12-01

    Gamma-ray bursts now appear to be primarily of extragalactic origin. Statistically, assuming isotropic emission, the observed event rates and fluxes imply that one event occurs per 10(4) \\ - 10(6) \\ years per galaxy, with about 10(51) \\ - 10(53) \\ ergs in gamma-rays emitted per event. Unless the Milky Way is unusual, a gamma-ray burst should occur within 10(2) \\ - 10(3) \\ pc of the Sun in a time span of order 10(8) \\ years. Independent of the underlying cause of the event, it would irradiate the solar system with a brief flash of MeV gamma-rays with a fluence as large as 10(9) - 10(11) \\ erg cm(-2) . What is the effect of such an event on the Earth and objects nearby? Ruderman (\\underbar{Science}, 184, 1079, 1974) and subsequent authors have considered a number of effects of a flash of gamma-rays from a nearby supernova explosion on the Earth's atmosphere, and on its biota. However, with regard to the demise of the dinosaurs, it appears that there was a marked increase in the deposition rate of the rare earth iridium coincident with their extinction. For this reason, an asteroid-Earth impact has been considered the leading contender for the death of the dinosaurs. Here we consider a new mechanism for mass biological extinctions, caused by small comets nudged into the inner solar system by nearby gamma-ray bursts. If comets populate the Oort cloud with a wide distribution of masses, radii and orbital eccentricities, we find that small (extinctions.

  15. Cretaceous Vertebrate Tracksites - Korean Cretaceous Dinosaur Coast World Heritage Nomination Site

    Huh, M.; Woo, K. S.; Lim, J. D.; Paik, I. S.

    2009-04-01

    South Korea is one of the best known regions in the world for Cretaceous fossil footprints, which are also world-renowned. Korea has produced more scientifically named bird tracks (ichnotaxa) than any other region in the world. It has also produced the world's largest pterosaur tracks. Dinosaur tracksites also have the highest frequency of vertebrate track-bearing levels currently known in any stratigraphic sequence. Among the areas that have the best track records, and the greatest scientific significance with best documentation, Korea ranks very highly. Objective analysis of important individual tracksites and tracksite regions must be based on multiple criteria including: size of site, number of tracks, trackways and track bearing levels, number of valid named ichnotaxa including types, number of scientific publications, quality of preservation. The unique and distinctive dinosaur tracksites are known as one of the world's most important dinosaur track localities. In particular, the dinosaur track sites in southern coastal area of Korea are very unique. In the sites, we have excavated over 10,000 dinosaur tracks. The Hwasun sites show diverse gaits with unusual walking patterns and postures in some tracks. The pterosaur tracks are the most immense in the world. The longest pterosaur trackway yet known from any track sites suggests that pterosaurs were competent terrestrial locomotors. This ichnofauna contains the first pterosaur tracks reported from Asia. The Haenam Uhangri pterosaur assigns to a new genus Haenamichnus which accomodates the new ichnospecies, Haenamichnus uhangriensis. At least 12 track types have been reported from the Haman and Jindong Formations (probably late Lower Cretaceous). These include the types of bird tracks assigned to Koreanornis, Jindongornipes, Ignotornis and Goseongornipes. In addition the bird tracks Hwangsanipes, Uhangrichnus, the pterosaur track Haenamichnus and the dinosaur tracks, Brontopodus, Caririchnium, Minisauripus and

  16. JURASSIC PALEONTOLOGICAL HERITAGE OF MURCIA (BETIC CORDILLERA, SOUTH-EASTERN SPAIN

    GREGORIO ROMERO

    2004-03-01

    Full Text Available Jurassic rocks of the External and Internal Zones of the Betic Cordillera are widespread in the province of Murcia. Four areas are considered of special interest for stratigraphical and paleontological analysis: a Sierra Quípar and b Sierras Lúgar-Corque (External Subbetic, c Sierra Ricote (Median Subbetic and d Sierra Espuña (Malaguide Complex. The first two contain Jurassic sections including Sinemurian-Tithonian deposits, and major stratigraphic discontinuities, containing significant cephalopod concentrations of taphonomic and taxonomic interest, occuring in the Lower-Upper Pliensbachian, Lower/Middle Jurassic and Middle/Upper Jurassic boundaries. These areas are also relevant for biostratigraphical analysis of the Middle-Upper Jurassic interval. In the Sierra de Ricote, the Mahoma section is of especial interest for the study of Lías/Dogger transition. Casa Chimeneas section constitutes the best Subbetic site for the analysis of the Lower/Upper Bajocian boundary. In the La Bermeja-Casas de Vite area, the Bajocian-Tithonian interval is well-represented, including a parastratotype of the Radiolarite Jarropa Formation. Finally, the Malvariche section in Sierra Espuña represents the best Jurassic succession of Internal Zones of the Betic Cordillera and could be considered as a reference section for this Betic Domain. In this paper a heritage evaluation has been carried out for these classical jurassic sections with the object of protecting these sites according to the legal framework prevailing in the province of Murcia.

  17. Middle to Late Jurassic Tectonic Evolution of the Klamath Mountains, California-Oregon

    Harper, Gregory D.; Wright, James E.

    1984-12-01

    The geochronology, stratigraphy, and spatial relationships of Middle and Late Jurassic terranes of the Klamath Mountains strongly suggest that they were formed in a single west-facing magmatic arc built upon older accreted terranes. A Middle Jurassic arc complex is represented by the volcanic rocks of the western Hayfork terrane and consanguineous dioritic to peridotitic plutons. New U/Pb zircon dates indicate that the Middle Jurassic plutonic belt was active from 159 to 174 Ma and is much more extensive than previously thought. This plutonic belt became inactive just as the 157 Ma Josephine ophiolite, which lies west and structurally below the Middle Jurassic arc, was generated. Late Jurassic volcanic and plutonic arc rocks (Rogue Formation and Chetco intrusive complex) lie outboard and structurally beneath the Josephine ophiolite; U/Pb and K/Ar age data indicate that this arc complex is coeval with the Josephine ophiolite. Both the Late Jurassic arc complex and the Josephine ophiolite are overlain by the "Galice Formation," a Late Jurassic flysch sequence, and are intruded by 150 Ma dikes and sills. The following tectonic model is presented that accounts for the age and distribution of these terranes: a Middle Jurassic arc built on older accreted terranes undergoes rifting at 160 Ma, resulting in formation of a remnant arc/back-arc basin/island arc triad. This system collapsed during the Late Jurassic Nevadan Orogeny (150 Ma) and was strongly deformed and stacked into a series of east-dipping thrust sheets. Arc magmatism was active both before and after the Nevadan Orogeny, but virtually ceased at 140 Ma.

  18. Partial diagenetic overprint of late jurassic belemnites from New Zealand

    Ullmann, Clemens Vinzenz; Campbell, Hamish J.; Frei, Robert

    2013-01-01

    δ7Li values become more positive with progressive alteration. The direction and magnitude of the trends in the geochemical record indicate that one main phase of alteration that occurred in the Late Cretaceous caused most of the diagenetic signature in the calcite. Despite relatively deep burial......The preservation potential and trends of alteration of many isotopic systems (e.g. Li, Mg, Ca) that are measured in fossil carbonates are little explored, yet extensive paleoenvironmental interpretations have been made on the basis of these records. Here we present a geochemical dataset for a Late...... Jurassic (~153 Ma) belemnite (Belemnopsis sp.) from New Zealand that has been partially overprinted by alteration. We report the physical pathways and settings of alteration, the resulting elemental and isotopic trends including δ7Li values and Li/Ca ratios, and assess whether remnants of the primary shell...

  19. Paleoenvironments of the Jurassic and Cretaceous Oceans: Selected Highlights

    Ogg, J. G.

    2007-12-01

    There are many themes contributing to the sedimentation history of the Mesozoic oceans. This overview briefly examines the roles of the carbonate compensation depth (CCD) and the associated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, of the evolution of marine calcareous microplankton, of major transgressive and regressive trends, and of super-plume eruptions. Initiation of Atlantic seafloor spreading in the Middle Jurassic coincided with an elevated carbonate compensation depth (CCD) in the Pacific-Tethys mega-ocean. Organic-rich sediments that would become the oil wealth of regions from Saudi Arabia to the North Sea were deposited during a continued rise in CCD during the Oxfordian-early Kimmeridgian, which suggests a possible increase in carbon dioxide release by oceanic volcanic activity. Deep-sea deposits in near-equatorial settings are dominated by siliceous shales or cherts, which reflect the productivity of siliceous microfossils in the tropical surface waters. The end-Jurassic explosion in productivity by calcareous microplankton contributed to the lowering of the CCD and onset of the chalk ("creta") deposits that characterize the Tithonian and lower Cretaceous in all ocean basins. During the mid-Cretaceous, the eruption of enormous Pacific igneous provinces (Ontong Java Plateau and coeval edifices) increased carbon dioxide levels. The resulting rise in CCD terminated chalk deposition in the deep sea. The excess carbon was progressively removed in widespread black-shale deposits in the Atlantic basins and other regions - another major episode of oil source rock. A major long-term transgression during middle and late Cretaceous was accompanied by extensive chalk deposition on continental shelves and seaways while the oceanic CCD remained elevated. Pacific guyots document major oscillations (sequences) of global sea level superimposed on this broad highstand. The Cretaceous closed with a progressive sea-level regression and lowering of the CCD that again enabled

  20. Geochemical Astro- and Geochronological Constraints on the Early Jurassic

    Storm, M.; Condon, D. J.; Ruhl, M.; Jenkyns, H. C.; Hesselbo, S. P.; Al-Suwaidi, A. H.; Percival, L.

    2017-12-01

    The Early Jurassic Hettangian and Sinemurian time scales are poorly defined due to the lack of continuous geochemical records, and the temporal constrain of the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event and associated global carbon cycle perturbation is afflicted by geochemical and biostratigraphical uncertainties of the existing radiometric dates from various volcanic ash bearing sections. Here we present a continuous, orbitally paced Hettangian to Pliensbachian carbon-isotope record of the Mochras drill-core (Cardigan bay Basin, UK). The record generates new insights into the evolution and driving mechanisms of the Early Jurassic carbon cycle, and is contributing to improve the Hettangian and Sinemurian time scale. Furthermore, we introduce a new high-resolution carbon-isotope chemostratigraphy, integrated with ammonite biostratigraphy and new U/Pb single zircon geochronology of the Las Overas section (Neuquén Basin, Argentina). The studied section comprises sediments from the tenuicostatum to Dumortiera Andean Ammonite zone (tenuicostatum to levesqui European standard zones). A stratigraphically expanded negative shift in d13Corg values, from -24‰ down to -32­‰, appears in the tenuicostatum and hoelderi ammonite zone, coeval to the negative excursion in European realm which is associated with the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event. The negative isotope excursion appears concomitant with an increase in sedimentary mercury levels, indicating enhanced volcanic activity. TOC values and elemental data suggest a high sedimentation dilution in the tenuicostatum to pacificum zone. The new geochronological data from several volcanic ash beds throughout the section are further improving the temporal correlation between the Early Toarcian isotope event and causal mechanisms

  1. The Jurassic of Denmark and Greenland: The Middle Jurassic of western and northern Europe: its subdivisions, geochronology and correlations

    Callomon, John H.

    2003-10-01

    Full Text Available The palaeogeographic settings of Denmark and East Greenland during the Middle Jurassic are outlined. They lay in the widespread epicontinental seas that covered much of Europe in the post-Triassic transgression. It was a period of continuing eustatic sea-level rise, with only distant connections to world oceans: to the Pacific, via the narrow Viking Straits between Greenland and Norway and hence the arctic Boreal Sea to the north; and to the subtropical Tethys, via some 1200 km of shelf-seas to the south. The sedimentary history of the region was strongly influenced by two factors: tectonism and climate. Two modes of tectonic movement governed basinal evolution: crustal extension leading to subsidence through rifting, such as in the Viking and Central Grabens of the North Sea; and subcrustal thermal upwelling, leading to domal uplift and the partition of marine basins through emergent physical barriers, as exemplified by the Central North Sea Dome with its associated volcanics. The climatic gradient across the 30º of temperate latitude spanned by the European seas governed biotic diversity and biogeography, finding expression in rock-forming biogenic carbonates that dominate sediments in the south and give way to largely siliciclastic sediments in the north. Geochronology of unrivalled finesse is provided by standard chronostratigraphy based on the biostratigraphy of ammonites. The Middle Jurassic saw the onset of considerable bioprovincial endemisms in these guide-fossils, making it necessary to construct parallel standard zonations for Boreal, Subboreal or NW European and Submediterranean Provinces, of which the NW European zonation provides the primary international standard. The current versions of these zonations are presented and reviewed.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  4. Fe-Ni Micrometorites from Upper Jurassic Cañadon Asfalto Fm., Patagonia, Argentina

    Matteini, M.; Hauser, N.; Cabaleri, N.; Silva Nieto, D.; Cuadros, F. A.; Reyes, S.

    2014-09-01

    Microspherules from an upper Jurassic sediments from Patagonia, show mineralogical, geochemical and textural features very similar to those reported for I-type micrometeorites whereas some spherules are interpreted as typical G-type micrometeorites.

  5. First diagnostic marine reptile remains from the Aalenian (Middle Jurassic): a new ichthyosaur from southwestern Germany.

    Maxwell, Erin E; Fernández, Marta S; Schoch, Rainer R

    2012-01-01

    The Middle Jurassic was a critical time in the evolutionary history of ichthyosaurs. During this time interval, the diverse, well-studied faunas of the Lower Jurassic were entirely replaced by ophthalmosaurids, a new group that arose sometime prior to the Aalenian-Bajocian boundary and by the latest middle Jurassic comprised the only surviving group of ichthyosaurs. Thus, the Middle Jurassic Aalenian-Bathonian interval (176-165 million years ago) comprises the time frame during which ophthalmosaurids not only originated but also achieved taxonomic dominance. However, diagnostic ichthyosaur remains have been described previously from only a single locality from this interval, from the Bajocian of Argentina. In this paper, we describe a new species of ichthyosaur based on a partial articulated specimen from the Middle Jurassic of southwestern Germany. This specimen was recovered from the Opalinuston Formation (early Aalenian) and is referable to Stenopterygius aaleniensis sp. nov. reflecting features of the skull and forefin. The genus Stenopterygius is diverse and abundant in the Lower Jurassic of Europe, but its presence has not previously been confirmed in younger (Middle Jurassic) rocks from the northern hemisphere. This specimen represents the only diagnostic ichthyosaur remains reported from the Aalenian. It bears numerous similarities in size and in morphology to the Lower Jurassic species of the genus Stenopterygius and provides additional evidence that the major ecological changes hypothesized to have occurred at the end of the Toarcian took place sometime after this point and most likely did not occur suddenly. There is currently no evidence for the presence of ophthalmosaurids in the northern hemisphere during the Aalenian-Bathonian interval.

  6. First diagnostic marine reptile remains from the Aalenian (Middle Jurassic: a new ichthyosaur from southwestern Germany.

    Erin E Maxwell

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The Middle Jurassic was a critical time in the evolutionary history of ichthyosaurs. During this time interval, the diverse, well-studied faunas of the Lower Jurassic were entirely replaced by ophthalmosaurids, a new group that arose sometime prior to the Aalenian-Bajocian boundary and by the latest middle Jurassic comprised the only surviving group of ichthyosaurs. Thus, the Middle Jurassic Aalenian-Bathonian interval (176-165 million years ago comprises the time frame during which ophthalmosaurids not only originated but also achieved taxonomic dominance. However, diagnostic ichthyosaur remains have been described previously from only a single locality from this interval, from the Bajocian of Argentina. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this paper, we describe a new species of ichthyosaur based on a partial articulated specimen from the Middle Jurassic of southwestern Germany. This specimen was recovered from the Opalinuston Formation (early Aalenian and is referable to Stenopterygius aaleniensis sp. nov. reflecting features of the skull and forefin. The genus Stenopterygius is diverse and abundant in the Lower Jurassic of Europe, but its presence has not previously been confirmed in younger (Middle Jurassic rocks from the northern hemisphere. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This specimen represents the only diagnostic ichthyosaur remains reported from the Aalenian. It bears numerous similarities in size and in morphology to the Lower Jurassic species of the genus Stenopterygius and provides additional evidence that the major ecological changes hypothesized to have occurred at the end of the Toarcian took place sometime after this point and most likely did not occur suddenly. There is currently no evidence for the presence of ophthalmosaurids in the northern hemisphere during the Aalenian-Bathonian interval.

  7. The cranial anatomy of the neornithischian dinosaur Thescelosaurus neglectus

    Clint A. Boyd

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Though the dinosaur Thescelosaurus neglectus was first described in 1913 and is known from the relatively fossiliferous Lance and Hell Creek formations in the Western Interior Basin of North America, the cranial anatomy of this species remains poorly understood. The only cranial material confidently referred to this species are three fragmentary bones preserved with the paratype, hindering attempts to understand the systematic relationships of this taxon within Neornithischia. Here the cranial anatomy of T. neglectus is fully described for the first time based on two specimens that include well-preserved cranial material (NCSM 15728 and TLAM.BA.2014.027.0001. Visual inspection of exposed cranial elements of these specimens is supplemented by detailed CT data from NCSM 15728 that enabled the examination of otherwise unexposed surfaces, facilitating a complete description of the cranial anatomy of this species. The skull of T. neglectus displays a unique combination of plesiomorphic and apomorphic traits. The premaxillary and ‘cheek’ tooth morphologies are relatively derived, though less so than the condition seen in basal iguanodontians, suggesting that the high tooth count present in the premaxillae, maxillae, and dentaries may be related to the extreme elongation of the skull of this species rather than a retention of the plesiomorphic condition. The morphology of the braincase most closely resembles the iguanodontians Dryosaurus and Dysalotosaurus, especially with regard to the morphology of the prootic. One autapomorphic feature is recognized for the first time, along with several additional cranial features that differentiate this species from the closely related and contemporaneous Thescelosaurus assiniboiensis. Published phylogenetic hypotheses of neornithischian dinosaur relationships often differ in the placement of the North American taxon Parksosaurus, with some recovering a close relationship with Thescelosaurus and others with

  8. Post-Jurassic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia

    Zahirovic, Sabin; Seton, Maria; Dietmar Müller, R.; Flament, Nicolas

    2014-05-01

    The accretionary growth of Asia, linked to long-term convergence between Eurasia, Gondwana-derived blocks and the Pacific, resulted in a mosaic of terranes for which conflicting tectonic interpretations exist. Here, we propose solutions to a number of controversies related to the evolution of Sundaland through a synthesis of published geological data and plate reconstructions that reconcile both geological and geophysical constraints with plate driving forces. We propose that West Sulawesi, East Java and easternmost Borneo rifted from northern Gondwana in the latest Jurassic, collided with an intra-oceanic arc at ~115 Ma and subsequently sutured to Sundaland by 80 Ma. Although recent models argue that the Southwest Borneo core accreted to Sundaland at this time, we use volcanic and biogeographic constraints to show that the core of Borneo was on the Asian margin since at least the mid Jurassic. This northward transfer of Gondwana-derived continental fragments required a convergent plate boundary in the easternmost Tethys that we propose gave rise to the Philippine Archipelago based on the formation of latest Jurassic-Early Cretaceous supra-subduction zone ophiolites on Halmahera, Obi Island and Luzon. The Late Cretaceous marks the shift from Andean-style subduction to back-arc opening on the east Asian margin. Arc volcanism along South China ceased by ~60 Ma due to the rollback of the Izanagi slab, leading to the oceanward migration of the volcanic arc and the opening of the Proto South China Sea (PSCS). We use the Apennines-Tyrrhenian system in the Mediterranean as an analogue to model this back-arc. Continued rollback detaches South Palawan, Mindoro and the Semitau continental blocks from the stable east Asian margin and transfers them onto Sundaland in the Eocene to produce the Sarawak Orogeny. The extrusion of Indochina and subduction polarity reversal along northern Borneo opens the South China Sea and transfers the Dangerous Grounds-Reed Bank southward to

  9. Neutron activation and track analysis of the newly found bones of the southern mammoths and dinosaurs

    Vasidov, A.; Osinskaya, N.S.; Saidullaev, B.J.; Akhmadshaev, A.

    2016-01-01

    The bones of southern mammoths and dinosaur had been discovered in the territory of Uzbekistan in 2005-2014. The main aim of the work was a study of profiles of radiogenic and some of elements in bones of mammoths and dinosaur, and the element comparisons with standard bones and its soils by instrumental neutron activation and track analysis. In bones of the mammoths and dinosaur were registered a high contents of uranium and rare earth elements by instrumental neutron activation analysis. The radon concentrations in samples were measured in isolated plastic chambers by solid state nuclear track detectors type of CR-39 within 35 days. The values of radon exhalation rates were determined very more in ancient bones than in standard bones and soils. (author)

  10. Preliminary data on dinosaurs habitat during the Upper Maastrichtian, Hateg Basin, Romania

    Grigorescu, D.; Klarik, L.; Bojar, A.-V.

    2002-01-01

    The Hateg basin is located in the south-western part of the Transylvanian Depression and it is filled with sediments that overly the crystalline rocks of the Getic nappe. The basin show multiple stage of Mesozoic evolution. The Latest Cretaceous (Middle and Upper Maastrichtian) with continuous transition to Paleocene is represented by two continental lithostratigraphic units: the Densus-Ciula and the Sinpetru Formations. The Upper Maastrichtian of Densus-Ciula Formation at Tustea Quarry is represented by a pebbly alluvium with massive, matrix supported conglomerates, cross bedded sandstones and mudstones, the last one containing calcretes and dinosaur remains, including eggs and hatchlings of the hadrosaurid Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus. In order to constrain the paleoenvironment in which dinosaurs lived, calcretes and dinosaur eggshells were analyzed for carbon and oxygen isotopic composition

  11. Preliminary data on dinosaurs habitat during the Upper Maastrichtian, Hateg Basin, Romania

    Grigorescu, D; Klarik, L [University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geology and Geophysics (Romania); Bojar, A -V [Department of Geology and Paleontology, Graz (Austria)

    2002-10-01

    The Hateg basin is located in the south-western part of the Transylvanian Depression and it is filled with sediments that overly the crystalline rocks of the Getic nappe. The basin show multiple stage of Mesozoic evolution. The Latest Cretaceous (Middle and Upper Maastrichtian) with continuous transition to Paleocene is represented by two continental lithostratigraphic units: the Densus-Ciula and the Sinpetru Formations. The Upper Maastrichtian of Densus-Ciula Formation at Tustea Quarry is represented by a pebbly alluvium with massive, matrix supported conglomerates, cross bedded sandstones and mudstones, the last one containing calcretes and dinosaur remains, including eggs and hatchlings of the hadrosaurid Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus. In order to constrain the paleoenvironment in which dinosaurs lived, calcretes and dinosaur eggshells were analyzed for carbon and oxygen isotopic composition.

  12. Extreme ecosystem instability suppressed tropical dinosaur dominance for 30 million years.

    Whiteside, Jessica H; Lindström, Sofie; Irmis, Randall B; Glasspool, Ian J; Schaller, Morgan F; Dunlavey, Maria; Nesbitt, Sterling J; Smith, Nathan D; Turner, Alan H

    2015-06-30

    A major unresolved aspect of the rise of dinosaurs is why early dinosaurs and their relatives were rare and species-poor at low paleolatitudes throughout the Late Triassic Period, a pattern persisting 30 million years after their origin and 10-15 million years after they became abundant and speciose at higher latitudes. New palynological, wildfire, organic carbon isotope, and atmospheric pCO2 data from early dinosaur-bearing strata of low paleolatitudes in western North America show that large, high-frequency, tightly correlated variations in δ(13)Corg and palynomorph ecotypes occurred within a context of elevated and increasing pCO2 and pervasive wildfires. Whereas pseudosuchian archosaur-dominated communities were able to persist in these same regions under rapidly fluctuating extreme climatic conditions until the end-Triassic, large-bodied, fast-growing tachymetabolic dinosaurian herbivores requiring greater resources were unable to adapt to unstable high CO2 environmental conditions of the Late Triassic.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  15. Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades

    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.

  16. Dinosaurs and Ancient Civilizations: Reflections on the Treatment of Cancer

    Alnawaz Rehemtulla

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Research efforts in the area of palaeopathology have been seen as an avenue to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of cancer. Answers to questions of whether dinosaurs had cancer, or if cancer plagued ancient civilizations, have captured the imagination as well as the popular media. Evidence for dinosaurian cancer may indicate that cancer may have been with us from the dawn of time. Ancient recorded history suggests that past civilizations attempted to fight cancer with a variety of interventions. When contemplating the issuewhy a generalized cure for cancer has not been found, it might prove useful to reflect on the relatively limited timethat this issue has been an agenda item of governmental attention as well as continued introduction of an every evolving myriad of manmade carcinogens relative to the total time cancer has been present on planet Earth. This article reflects on the history of cancer and the progress made following the initiation of the “era of cancer chemotherapy.”

  17. Dinosaurs and Ancient Civilizations: Reflections on the Treatment of Cancer

    Rehemtulla, Alnawaz

    2010-01-01

    Research efforts in the area of palaeopathology have been seen as an avenue to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of cancer. Answers to questions of whether dinosaurs had cancer, or if cancer plagued ancient civilizations, have captured the imagination as well as the popular media. Evidence for dinosaurian cancer may indicate that cancer may have been with us from the dawn of time. Ancient recorded history suggests that past civilizations attempted to fight cancer with a variety of interventions. When contemplating the issuewhy a generalized cure for cancer has not been found, it might prove useful to reflect on the relatively limited timethat this issue has been an agenda item of governmental attention as well as continued introduction of an every evolving myriad of manmade carcinogens relative to the total time cancer has been present on planet Earth. This article reflects on the history of cancer and the progress made following the initiation of the “era of cancer chemotherapy.” PMID:21170260

  18. The phylogeny and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs

    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.

  19. Mechanical implications of pneumatic neck vertebrae in sauropod dinosaurs

    Schwarz-Wings, Daniela; Meyer, Christian A.; Frey, Eberhard; Manz-Steiner, Hans-Rudolf; Schumacher, Ralf

    2010-01-01

    The pre-sacral vertebrae of most sauropod dinosaurs were surrounded by interconnected, air-filled diverticula, penetrating into the bones and creating an intricate internal cavity system within the vertebrae. Computational finite-element models of two sauropod cervical vertebrae now demonstrate the mechanical reason for vertebral pneumaticity. The analyses show that the structure of the cervical vertebrae leads to an even distribution of all occurring stress fields along the vertebrae, concentrated mainly on their external surface and the vertebral laminae. The regions between vertebral laminae and the interior part of the vertebral body including thin bony struts and septa are mostly unloaded and pneumatic structures are positioned in these regions of minimal stress. The morphology of sauropod cervical vertebrae was influenced by strongly segmented axial neck muscles, which require only small attachment areas on each vertebra, and pneumatic epithelia that are able to resorb bone that is not mechanically loaded. The interaction of these soft tissues with the bony tissue of the vertebrae produced lightweight, air-filled vertebrae in which most stresses were borne by the external cortical bone. Cervical pneumaticity was therefore an important prerequisite for neck enlargement in sauropods. Thus, we expect that vertebral pneumaticity in other parts of the body to have a similar role in enabling gigantism. PMID:19801376

  20. Histological evidence for a dynamic dental battery in hadrosaurid dinosaurs.

    Bramble, Katherine; LeBlanc, Aaron R H; Lamoureux, Denis O; Wosik, Mateusz; Currie, Philip J

    2017-11-17

    The first histological study of an entire hadrosaurid dental battery provides a comprehensive look at tooth movement within this complex structure. Previous studies have focused on isolated teeth, or in-situ batteries, but this is the first study to examine an entire dental battery of any dinosaur. The absence of direct tooth-to-tooth contact across the entire battery and a unique arrangement of the dental tissues in hadrosaurids led us to compare their teeth with the ever-growing incisors of mammals. The similarity in the distributions of tissues along the incisor, coupled with continuous eruption, make for helpful comparisons to hadrosaurid teeth. The mammalian ever-growing incisor can be used as a model to extrapolate the soft tissue connections and eruptive mechanisms within the hadrosaurid dental battery. Serial sections across the adult dental battery reveal signs of gradual ontogenetic tooth migration. Extensive remodeling of the alveolar septa and the anteroposterior displacement of successive generations of teeth highlight the gradual migration of tooth generations within the battery. These eruptive and ontogenetic tooth movements would not be possible without a ligamentous connection between successive teeth and the jaws, underscoring the dynamic nature of one of the most unique and complex dental systems in vertebrate history.

  1. Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades.

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

    2016-05-20

    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.

  2. Dinosaurs, dragons, and dwarfs: The evolution of maximal body size

    Burness, Gary P.; Diamond, Jared; Flannery, Timothy

    2001-01-01

    Among local faunas, the maximum body size and taxonomic affiliation of the top terrestrial vertebrate vary greatly. Does this variation reflect how food requirements differ between trophic levels (herbivores vs. carnivores) and with taxonomic affiliation (mammals and birds vs. reptiles)? We gathered data on the body size and food requirements of the top terrestrial herbivores and carnivores, over the past 65,000 years, from oceanic islands and continents. The body mass of the top species was found to increase with increasing land area, with a slope similar to that of the relation between body mass and home range area, suggesting that maximum body size is determined by the number of home ranges that can fit into a given land area. For a given land area, the body size of the top species decreased in the sequence: ectothermic herbivore > endothermic herbivore > ectothermic carnivore > endothermic carnivore. When we converted body mass to food requirements, the food consumption of a top herbivore was about 8 times that of a top carnivore, in accord with the factor expected from the trophic pyramid. Although top ectotherms were heavier than top endotherms at a given trophic level, lower metabolic rates per gram of body mass in ectotherms resulted in endotherms and ectotherms having the same food consumption. These patterns explain the size of the largest-ever extinct mammal, but the size of the largest dinosaurs exceeds that predicted from land areas and remains unexplained. PMID:11724953

  3. Neck length and mean arterial pressure in the sauropod dinosaurs.

    Hughes, Stephen; Barry, John; Russell, Jeremy; Bell, Robert; Gurung, Som

    2016-04-15

    How blood was able to reach the heads of the long-necked sauropod dinosaurs has long been a matter of debate and several hypotheses have been presented. For example, it has been proposed that sauropods had exceptionally large hearts, multiple 'normal' sized hearts spaced at regular intervals up the neck or held their necks horizontal, or that the siphon effect was in operation. By means of an experimental model, we demonstrate that the siphon principle is able to explain how blood was able to adequately perfuse the sauropod brain. The return venous circulation may have been protected from complete collapse by a structure akin to the vertebral venous plexus. We derive an equation relating neck height and mean arterial pressure, which indicates that with a mean arterial pressure similar to that of the giraffe, the maximum safe vertical distance between heart and head would have been about 12 m. A hypothesis is presented that the maximum neck length in the fossil record is due to the siphon height limit. The equation indicates that to migrate over high ground, sauropods would have had to either significantly increase their mean arterial pressure or keep their necks below a certain height dependent on altitude. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  4. The phylogeny and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs.

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Carr, Thomas D

    2016-02-02

    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.

  5. First diagnosis of septic arthritis in a dinosaur.

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  8. First diagnosis of septic arthritis in a dinosaur

    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.

  9. The Origin and Diversification of Birds.

    Brusatte, Stephen L; O'Connor, Jingmai K; Jarvis, Erich D

    2015-10-05

    Birds are one of the most recognizable and diverse groups of modern vertebrates. Over the past two decades, a wealth of new fossil discoveries and phylogenetic and macroevolutionary studies has transformed our understanding of how birds originated and became so successful. Birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic (around 165-150 million years ago) and their classic small, lightweight, feathered, and winged body plan was pieced together gradually over tens of millions of years of evolution rather than in one burst of innovation. Early birds diversified throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous, becoming capable fliers with supercharged growth rates, but were decimated at the end-Cretaceous extinction alongside their close dinosaurian relatives. After the mass extinction, modern birds (members of the avian crown group) explosively diversified, culminating in more than 10,000 species distributed worldwide today. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Boron-containing organic pigments from a Jurassic red alga.

    Wolkenstein, Klaus; Gross, Jürgen H; Falk, Heinz

    2010-11-09

    Organic biomolecules that have retained their basic chemical structures over geological periods (molecular fossils) occur in a wide range of geological samples and provide valuable paleobiological, paleoenvironmental, and geochemical information not attainable from other sources. In rare cases, such compounds are even preserved with their specific functional groups and still occur within the organisms that produced them, providing direct information on the biochemical inventory of extinct organisms and their possible evolutionary relationships. Here we report the discovery of an exceptional group of boron-containing compounds, the borolithochromes, causing the distinct pink coloration of well-preserved specimens of the Jurassic red alga Solenopora jurassica. The borolithochromes are characterized as complicated spiroborates (boric acid esters) with two phenolic moieties as boron ligands, representing a unique class of fossil organic pigments. The chiroptical properties of the pigments unequivocally demonstrate a biogenic origin, at least of their ligands. However, although the borolithochromes originated from a fossil red alga, no analogy with hitherto known present-day red algal pigments was found. The occurrence of the borolithochromes or their possible diagenetic products in the fossil record may provide additional information on the classification and phylogeny of fossil calcareous algae.

  11. Middle Jurassic - Early Cretaceous rifting of the Danish Central Graben

    Moeller, J.J.; Rasmussen, E.S.

    1998-12-01

    During the Jurassic-early Cretaceous, the Danish Central Graben developed as a N-S to NNW-SSE trending Graben bounded by the Ringkoebing-Fyn High towards the east and the Mid North Sea High towards the west. The Graben consists of a system of half-Grabens and evolved by fault-controlled subsidence; three main rift pulses have been recognized. The first pulse ranged from the Callovian to the early Oxfordian, the second pulse was initiated in the latest Late Kimmeridgian and Early Volgian, and the third and final pulse occurred within the Valanginian in the Early Cretaceous. The first pulse was characterized by subsidence along N-S trending faults. During the second pulse, in early Volgian times, subsidence was concentrated along new NNW-SSE trending faults and the main depocentre shifted westward, being most marked within the Tail End Graben, the Arne-Elin Graben, and the Feda Graben. This tectonic event was accompanied by the accumulation of a relatively thick sediment load resulting in the development of salt diapers, especially within the Salt Dome Province. The third tectonic pulse was essentially a reactivation of the NNW-SSE trending structures. This tectonic pulse also shows clear evidence of combined fault-controlled subsidence and salt movements. (EG) 12 figs.; 45 refs.

  12. THE TRIASSIC/JURASSIC BOUNDARY IN THE ANDES OF ARGENTINA

    ALBERTO C. RICCARDI

    2004-03-01

    Full Text Available The Arroyo Malo Formation at Alumbre Creek, on the northern bank of the Atuel River, west central Argentina, comprises a c. 300 m thick continuous marine succession across the Triassic-Jurassic System boundary, consisting of massive and laminated pelites indicative of a slope depositional environment. Late Triassic invertebrates, including ammonoids, nautiloids, bivalves, gastropods, brachiopods and corals are restricted to the lower 150 m. Beds between 125-135 m from the bottom yield Choristoceras cf. marshi Hauer, a species found in the Marshi/Crickmayi Zone of Europe and North America, together with loose fragments of Psiloceras cf. pressum Hillebrandt, coeval with the lower to middle part of the Hettangian Planorbis Zone. About 80 m higher are beds yielding Psiloceras cf. rectocostatum Hillebrandt, a species that gives name to an Andean biozone partially coeval with the Johnstoni and Plicatulum Subzones, upper Planorbis Zone. Other fossils recorded in the Rhaetian strata of this section are foraminifers, ostracods and plant remains identified as Zuberia cf. zuberi (Szaj. Freng. and Clathropteris sp. The section was also sampled for conodonts and radiolarians, thus far with negative results. A palaeomagnetic study is underway.

  13. A jurassic-cretaceous dolerite dike from Sri Lanka

    Yoshida, M.; Vitanage, P.W.

    1989-01-01

    A dolerite dike from southwestern Sri Lanka gave whole-rock K-Ar ages of 152.6 ± 7.6 Ma and 143.3 ± 7.2 Ma. Many of the other dolerite dikes of Sri Lanka are considered to be of Mesozoic ages judging from the present age data and tectonometamorphic history of Sri Lanka. Petrographic similarities should not be used for age correlations, because dolerites of different age may have the same petrography. Preliminary natural remanent magnetization (NRM) after AF and thermal demagnetization gave a mean inclination of 24.6deg and declination of 67.5deg with α95=21.7deg. A virtual geomagnetic pole position calculated from the mean NRM was rotated relative to Antarctica so as to fit with that obtained from the Jurassic Ferrar dolerite of Antarctica. This rotation results in the location and attitude of Sri Lanka to attach with Antarctica at Lutzow-Holm Bay as suggested by Barron et al. (1978). (author). 18 refs

  14. Neuroanatomy of the marine Jurassic turtle Plesiochelys etalloni (Testudinata, Plesiochelyidae).

    Carabajal, Ariana Paulina; Sterli, Juliana; Müller, Johannes; Hilger, André

    2013-01-01

    Turtles are one of the least explored clades regarding endocranial anatomy with few available descriptions of the brain and inner ear of extant representatives. In addition, the paleoneurology of extinct turtles is poorly known and based on only a few natural cranial endocasts. The main goal of this study is to provide for the first time a detailed description of the neuroanatomy of an extinct turtle, the Late Jurassic Plesiochelysetalloni, including internal carotid circulation, cranial endocast and inner ear, based on the first digital 3D reconstruction using micro CT scans. The general shape of the cranial endocast of P. etalloni is tubular, with poorly marked cephalic and pontine flexures. Anteriorly, the olfactory bulbs are clearly differentiated suggesting larger bulbs than in any other described extinct or extant turtle, and indicating a higher capacity of olfaction in this taxon. The morphology of the inner ear of P. etalloni is comparable to that of extant turtles and resembles those of slow-moving terrestrial vertebrates, with markedly low, short and robust semicircular canals, and a reduced lagena. In P. etalloni the arterial pattern is similar to that found in extant cryptodires, where all the internal carotid branches are protected by bone. As the knowledge of paleoneurology in turtles is scarce and the application of modern techniques such as 3D reconstructions based on CT scans is almost unexplored in this clade, we hope this paper will trigger similar investigations of this type in other turtle taxa.

  15. Mineralogical and geochemical characterization of the Jurassic coal from Egypt

    Baioumy, H.M. [Central Metallurgical Research and Development Institute, Cairo (Egypt)

    2009-06-15

    The Jurassic coal deposit in the Maghara area, Sinai, Egypt contains at least 11 coal seams of lenticular shape. The thickness of the main coal seams ranges from 130 cm to 2 m and are underlain and overlain by thin black shale beds. Mineralogical analysis indicated that this coal is characterized by low mineral matter with traces of quartz in some samples. However, coal ash is made up of quartz with traces of calcite, anhydrite, and hematite. Analysis of coal rank parameters indicated that the Maghara coal can be classified as medium volatile bituminous coal. The high sulfur contents and the relatively high proportion of pyritic sulfur suggest a possible marine transgression after the deposition of precursor peat. This interpretation is supported by the relatively high B contents. The relatively high Ge in the Maghara coal could be attributed to an infiltration of Ge enriched water from the surrounding siliceous sediments probably during diagenesis. The high Au contents were contributed to an Au-rich provenance of the ash contents of this coal. Rare earth elements geochemistry indicated low concentrations of these elements with slight enrichment of light rare earth elements (LREEs), slight negative Eu anomaly, and relatively flat heavy rare earth elements (HREEs) patterns. The low contents of trace and rare earth elements, particularly those with environmental relevance, compared to the usual concentration ranges in worldwide coal gives an advantage for this coal.

  16. Fish faunas from the Late Jurassic (Tithonian) Vaca Muerta Formation of Argentina: One of the most important Jurassic marine ichthyofaunas of Gondwana

    Gouiric-Cavalli, Soledad; Cione, Alberto Luis

    2015-11-01

    The marine deposits of the Vaca Muerta Formation (Tithonian-Berriasian) houses one of the most diverse Late Jurassic ichthyofaunas of Gondwana. However, most of the specimens remain undescribed. Jurassic fishes have been recovered from several localities at Neuquén Province (i.e., Picún Leufú, Plaza Huincul, Cerro Lotena, Portada Las Lajas, Los Catutos, and Arroyo Covunco) but also from Mendoza Province (i.e., La Valenciana, Los Molles, and Arroyo del Cajón Grande). Presently, the fish fauna of Los Catutos, near Zapala city (Neuquén Province), has yielded the highest number of specimens, which are taxonomically and morphologically diverse. At Los Catutos locality, the Vaca Muerta Formation is represented by the Los Catutos Member, which is considered the only lithographic limestones known in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, we review the Tithonian fish faunas from the Vaca Muerta Formation. During Late Jurassic times, the actual Argentinian territory could have been a morphological diversification center, at least for some actinopterygian groups. The apparently lower species diversity recorded in marine Jurassic ichthyofaunas of Argentina (and some Gondwanan countries) in comparison with Chilean and European fish faunas could be related to the fish paleontological research history in Gondwana and the low number of detailed studies of most of specimens recorded.

  17. Jurassic sedimentary evolution of southern Junggar Basin: Implication for palaeoclimate changes in northern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China

    Shun-Li Li

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Junggar Basin, located in northern Xinjiang, presents continuous and multikilometer-thick strata of the Jurassic deposits. The Jurassic was entirely terrestrial fluvial and lacustrine deltaic sedimentation. Eight outcrop sections across the Jurassic strata were measured at a resolution of meters in southern Junggar Basin. Controlling factors of sedimentary evolution and palaeoclimate changes in Junggar Basin during the Jurassic were discussed based on lithology, fossils and tectonic setting. In the Early to Middle Jurassic, the warm and wide Tethys Sea generated a strong monsoonal circulation over the central Asian continent, and provided adequate moisture for Junggar Basin. Coal-bearing strata of the Badaowan, Sangonghe, and Xishanyao Formations were developed under warm and humid palaeoclimate in Junggar Basin. In the late Middle Jurassic, Junggar Basin was in a semi-humid and semi-arid environment due to global warming event. Stratigraphy in the upper part of the Middle Jurassic with less plant fossils became multicolor or reddish from dark color sediments. During the Late Jurassic, collision of Lhasa and Qiangtang Block obstructed monsoon from the Tethys Sea. A major change in climate from semi-humid and semi-arid to arid conditions took place, and reddish strata of the Upper Jurassic were developed across Junggar Basin.

  18. The systematic relationships and biogeographic history of ornithischian dinosaurs

    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

  19. The systematic relationships and biogeographic history of ornithischian dinosaurs.

    Boyd, Clint A

    2015-01-01

    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 two later dispersals to

  20. Toward establishing a definitive Late-Mid Jurassic (M-series) Geomagnetic Polarity Reversal Time Scale through unraveling the nature of Jurassic Quiet Zone.

    Tominaga, M.; Tivey, M.; Sager, W.

    2017-12-01

    Two major difficulties have hindered improving the accuracy of the Late-Mid Jurassic geomagnetic polarity time scale: a dearth of reliable high-resolution radiometric dates and the lack of a continuous Jurassic geomagnetic polarity time scale (GPTS) record. We present the latest effort towards establishing a definitive Mid Jurassic to Early Cretaceous (M-series) GPTS model using three high-resolution, multi-level (sea surface [0 km], mid-water [3 km], and near-source [5.2 km]) marine magnetic profiles from a seamount-free corridor adjacent to the Waghenaer Fracture Zone in the western Pacific Jurassic Quiet Zone (JQZ). The profiles show a global coherency in magnetic anomaly correlations between two mid ocean ridge systems (i.e., Japanese and Hawaiian lineations). Their unprecedented high data resolution documents a detailed anomaly character (i.e., amplitudes and wavelengths). We confirm that this magnetic anomaly record shows a coherent anomaly sequence from M29 back in time to M42 with previously suggested from the Japanese lineation in the Pigafetta Basin. Especially noticeable is the M39-M41 Low Amplitude Zone defined in the Pigafetta Bsin, which potentially defines the bounds of JQZ seafloor. We assessed the anomaly source with regard to the crustal architecture, including the effects of Cretaceous volcanism on crustal magnetization and conclude that the anomaly character faithfully represents changes in geomagnetic field intensity and polarity over time and is mostly free of any overprint of the original Jurassic magnetic remanence by later Cretaceous volcanism. We have constructed polarity block models (RMS Japanese M-series sequence. The anomalously high reversal rates during a period of apparent low field intensity suggests a unique period of geomagnetic field behavior in Earth's history.

  1. The Jurassic of North-East Greenland: Jurassic dinoflagellate cysts from Hochstetter Forland, North-East Greenland

    Piasecki, Stefan

    2004-11-01

    Full Text Available Three sections in Hochstetter Forland, North-East Greenland, referred to the Jurassic Payer Dal and Bernbjerg Formations, have been analysed for dinoflagellate cysts. The dinoflagellate cysts,new finds of ammonites and previously recorded marine faunas form the basis for improved dating of the succession. The basal strata of the Payer Dal Formation at Kulhus is here dated as Late Callovian, Peltoceras athleta Chronozone, based on the presence of relatively abundant Limbicysta bjaerkei, Mendicodinium groenlandicum, Rhychoniopsis cladophora and Tubotuberella dangeardii in an otherwise poor Upper Callovian dinoflagellate assemblage. Ammoniteshave not been recorded from these strata. The upper Payer Dal Formation at Agnetesøelven is dated as Late Oxfordian, Amoeboceras glosense – Amoeboceras serratum Chronozones, based onthe presence of Sciniodinium crystallinum, together with Cribroperidinium granuligera and Stephanelytron sp. The age is in accordance with ammonites present in the uppermost part ofthe formation at Søndre Muslingebjerg. New ammonites in the Bernbjerg Formation at Agnetesøelven together with dinoflagellate cysts indicate an earliest Kimmeridgian age, Raseniacymodoce and Aulacostephanoides mutabilis Chronozones.The Upper Callovian dinoflagellate cysts from Hochstetter Forland belong to a local brackish to marginal marine assemblage, which only allows a fairly broad correlation to coeval assemblagesin central East Greenland. In contrast, the Oxfordian and Kimmeridgian assemblages are fully marine and can be correlated from Milne Land in central East Greenland via Hochstetter Forland to Peary Land in eastern North Greenland.

  2. Investigation of the age and geological thermal history of the strata containing dinosaurs fossil in Tianzhen county of Shanxi Province

    Kang Tiesheng; Wang Lanfen; Wang Shicheng; Cheng Zhengwu

    1996-01-01

    The age and thermal history of the strata containing dinosaurs fossil in Tianzhen County of Shanxi Province have been studied using apatite and zircon fission track analysis. It is shown that the burial age of dinosaurs skeletons is not earlier than Late Cretaceous. The provenance area of the strata had experienced heating events with temperature higher than 200-250 degree C 73 Ma ago. But the strata has been at environmental temperature and never been affected by heating events since the dinosaurs skeletons were buried

  3. Investigation of the age and geological thermal history of the strata containing dinosaurs fossil in Tianzhen county of Shanxi Province

    Tiesheng, Kang; Lanfen, Wang; Shicheng, Wang [Academia Sinica, Beijing, BJ (China). Inst. of High Energy Physics; Qiqing, Pang [Hebei College of Geology, Shijiazhuang (China); Zhengwu, Cheng [Institute of Geology, MGMR, Beijing (China)

    1996-10-01

    The age and thermal history of the strata containing dinosaurs fossil in Tianzhen County of Shanxi Province have been studied using apatite and zircon fission track analysis. It is shown that the burial age of dinosaurs skeletons is not earlier than Late Cretaceous. The provenance area of the strata had experienced heating events with temperature higher than 200-250 degree C 73 Ma ago. But the strata has been at environmental temperature and never been affected by heating events since the dinosaurs skeletons were buried.

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

    Jordan C Mallon

    Full Text Available 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

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

    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

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

    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. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. Restoring Maximum Vertical Browsing Reach in Sauropod Dinosaurs.

    Paul, Gregory S

    2017-10-01

    The ongoing controversy centered on neck posture and function in sauropod dinosaurs is misplaced for a number of reasons. Because of an absence of pertinent data it is not possible to accurately restore the posture and range of motion in long necked fossil animals, only gross approximations are possible. The existence of a single "neutral posture" in animals with long, slender necks may not exist, and its relationship to feeding habits is weak. Restorations of neutral osteological neck posture based on seemingly detailed diagrams of cervical articulations are not reliable because the pictures are not sufficiently accurate due to a combination of illustration errors, and distortion of the fossil cervicals. This is all the more true because fossil cervical series lack the critical inter-centra cartilage. Maximum vertical reach is more readily restorable and biologically informative for long necked herbivores. Modest extension of 10° between each caudal cervical allowed high shouldered sauropods to raise the cranial portion of their necks to vertical postures that allowed them to reach floral resources far higher than seen in the tallest mammals. This hypothesis is supported by the dorsally extended articulation of the only known co-fused sauropod cervicals. Many sauropods appear to have been well adapted for rearing in order to boost vertical reach, some possessed retroverted pelves that may have allowed them to walk slowly while bipedal. A combination of improved high browsing abilities and sexual selection probably explains the unusually long necks of tall ungulates and super tall sauropods. Anat Rec, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Anat Rec, 300:1802-1825, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  8. Episodic Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous intraplate compression in Central Patagonia during Gondwana breakup

    Navarrete, César; Gianni, Guido; Echaurren, Andrés; Kingler, Federico Lince; Folguera, Andrés

    2016-12-01

    From Lower Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous, several intraplate compression events affected discrete sectors of Central Patagonia, under a general context of crustal extension associated with Gondwana breakup. This was demonstrated by means of 2D and 3D seismic and borehole data, which show partial inversion of Lower and Middle Jurassic extensional structures of the Chubut and Cañadón Asfalto basins, during the earliest stages of breakup. A comparison with surrounding areas in Patagonia, where similar Jurassic intraplate compression was described, allowed the discrimination of three discrete pulses of subtle compression (C1: ∼188-185 Ma; C2: ∼170-163; C3: ∼157-136? Ma). Interestingly, episodic intraplate compressional events are closely followed by high flux magmatic events linked to the westward expansion of the Karoo-Ferrar thermal anomaly, which impacted on the lithosphere of southwest Gondwana in Lower Jurassic. In addition, we determined the approximate direction of the main compressive strain (σ1) compatible with other Jurassic intraplate belts of South America. These observations led us to propose a linkage between a thermo mechanically weakened continental crust due to LIPs activity, changes in plate motions and ridge-push forces generated by the opening of the Weddell Sea, in order to explain intraplate shortening, interrupted while Karoo LIPs magmatic invigoration took place.

  9. Palinspastic reconstruction and geological evolution of Jurassic basins in Mongolia and neighboring China

    Wu Genyao

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available The important event in Jurassic tectonics in Mongolia was the subduction and closure of the Mongolia-Okhotsk ocean; correspondingly, basin evolution can be divided into two main stages, related to the orogeny and collapse of the orogenic belt, respectively. The developing of Early–Middle Jurassic basins to the north of the ocean resulted from back-arc extension. The fossil sutures, from the China–SE Asia sub-continent to the south of the ocean, were rejuvenated by subduction-related orogeny; in addition, the Yanshanian intra-continental movement occurred. Three Early–Middle Jurassic molasse basins were developed by movement in Inner Mongolia, all of which stretched westwards (or northwards into Mongolia; therefore, the molasse basins in eastern and southern Mongolia had the same geometric and kinematic features as the basins in the Inner Mongolia. Owing to the collapse of the Mongolia-Okhotsk orogenic belt, a group of rift basins developed during the Late Jurassic. In eastern Mongolia, the NE orientated extensional basins were controlled by the neogenic NE-structure. The contemporary basins in southern Mongolia and the neighboring areas in China were constrained by remobilization (inherited activation of the latitudinal or ENE-directional basement structures. Three stages can be recognized in the evolution of the Early–Middle Jurassic basins after reversal; the basins also experienced four episodes of reformation.

  10. Molecular analyses of dinosaur osteocytes support the presence of endogenous molecules.

    Schweitzer, Mary Higby; Zheng, Wenxia; Cleland, Timothy P; Bern, Marshall

    2013-01-01

    The discovery of soft, transparent microstructures in dinosaur bone consistent in morphology with osteocytes was controversial. We hypothesize that, if original, these microstructures will have molecular features in common with extant osteocytes. We present immunological and mass spectrometry evidence for preservation of proteins comprising extant osteocytes (Actin, Tubulin, PHEX, Histone H4) in osteocytes recovered from two non-avian dinosaurs. Furthermore, antibodies to DNA show localized binding to these microstructures, which also react positively with DNA intercalating stains propidium iodide (PI) and 4',6'-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI). Each antibody binds dinosaur cells in patterns similar to extant cells. These data are the first to support preservation of multiple proteins and to present multiple lines of evidence for material consistent with DNA in dinosaurs, supporting the hypothesis that these structures were part of the once living animals. We propose mechanisms for preservation of cells and component molecules, and discuss implications for dinosaurian cellular biology. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. Radioactive dinosaur fossil bones of Balasinor area, Kheda district, Gujarat, India

    Maithani, P.B.; Rathaiah, Y.V.; Dwivedy, K.K.

    1993-01-01

    High-thorium (upto 0.4% ThO 2 ) bearing Dinosaur fossil remains are reported from the Infratrappeans of Balasinor area, Kheda district, Gujarat. The thorium enrichment in these fossils is confined to the osseous matter which could be attributed to either isomorphic substitution for Ca 2+ or adsorption and colloidal precipitation on the bone surfaces. (author). 5 refs., 1 fig

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

    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…

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

    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.

  14. Learning with Dinosaurs: A Study on Motivation, Cognitive Reasoning, and Making Observations

    Salmi, Hannu; Thuneberg, Helena; Vainikainen, Mari-Pauliina

    2017-01-01

    Dinosaurs have been a very popular science topic since signs of their presence on earth were first discovered. They have represented so-called "edutainment" for some people. Learning from informal sources and in- an out-of-school environment can be effective and motivating. In this study, 12-year-old pupils (N = 366) visited a dinosaur…

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

    Sakamoto, Manabu; Benton, Michael J; Venditti, Chris

    2016-05-03

    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.

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

    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…

  17. Dinosaurs from the Maastrichtian-type area (southeastern Netherlands, northeastern Belgium)

    Jagt, J. W M; Mulder, E. W. A.; Schulp, Anne S.; Dortangs, Rudi W.; Fraaije, R. H B

    In comparison to pre-1980 records of nonavian dinosaur remains from the Maastrichtian type strata, material collected during the past 20 years is both fairly common and diverse, consisting mostly of isolated cranial and post-cranial remains of hadrosaurids. With the exception of the type specimen of

  18. Study of dinosaur's egg shell by EPR method; Issledovaniya metodom EhPR skorlupy yaits dinozavrov

    Tleuberdina, R A; Nasirov, R N

    1998-07-01

    Two varieties of calcium carbonate are defined on base of ESR spectra radiation-inducted signals containing in mollusc shell and dinosaur and ostrich egg shell; their spectral characters are studied by infrared-spectroscopy methods and X-ray analysis. Possibility of correlation between ESR signals intensity of CO{sub 2}-radical of investigated object and geological age is determined. (author)

  19. Hadrosauroid dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman

    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

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

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

    2014-01-06

    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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    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.

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

    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…

  3. The functional origin of dinosaur bipedalism: Cumulative evidence from bipedally inclined reptiles and disinclined mammals.

    Persons, W Scott; Currie, Philip J

    2017-05-07

    Bipedalism is a trait basal to, and widespread among, dinosaurs. It has been previously argued that bipedalism arose in the ancestors of dinosaurs for the function of freeing the forelimbs to serve as predatory weapons. However, this argument does not explain why bipedalism was retained among numerous herbivorous groups of dinosaurs. We argue that bipedalism arose in the dinosaur line for the purpose of enhanced cursoriality. Modern facultatively bipedal lizards offer an analog for the first stages in the evolution of dinosaurian bipedalism. Many extant lizards assume a bipedal stance while attempting to flee predators at maximum speed. Bipedalism, when combined with a caudofemoralis musculature, has cursorial advantages because the caudofemoralis provides a greater source of propulsion to the hindlimbs than is generally available to the forelimbs. That cursorial advantage explains the relative abundance of cursorial facultative bipeds and obligate bipeds among fossil diapsids and the relative scarcity of either among mammals. Having lost their caudofemoralis in the Permian, perhaps in the context of adapting to a fossorial lifestyle, the mammalian line has been disinclined towards bipedalism, but, having never lost the caudofemoralis of their ancestors, cursorial avemetatarsalians (bird-line archosaurs) were naturally inclined towards bipedalism. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Early to middle Jurassic salt in Baltimore Canyon trough

    McKinney, B. Ann; Lee, Myung W.; Agena, Warren F.; Poag, C. Wylie

    2005-01-01

    A pervasive, moderately deep (5-6 s two-way traveltime), high-amplitude reflection is traced on multichannel seismic sections over an approximately 7500 km² area of Baltimore Canyon Trough. The layer associated with the reflection is about 25 km wide, about 60 m thick in the center, and thins monotonically laterally, though asymmetrically, at the edges. Geophysical characteristics are compatible with an interpretation of this negative-polarity reflector as a salt lens deposited on the top of a synrift evaporite sequence. However, alternative interpretations of the layer as gas-saturated sediments, an overpressured shale, or a weathered igneous intrusion are also worthy of consideration.Geophysical analyses were made on three wavelet- and true-amplitude processed multichannel seismic dip lines. The lens-shaped layer demarked by the reflection has a velocity of 4.4 km/s; the lens lies within strata having velocities of 5.3 to 5.7 km/s. A trough marking the onset of the lens has an amplitude that is 10 to 20 db greater than reflections from the encasing layers and an apparent reflection coefficient of -0.24. Using amplitude versus offset analysis methods, we determined that observed reflection coefficients, though variable, decrease consistently with respect to increasing offset. Linear inversion yields a low density, about 2.2 g/cc. Integration of one of the true-amplitude-processed lines and one-dimensional modeling of the layer provide data on the impedance contrast and interference patterns that further reinforce the salt lens interpretation.The thin, horizontal salt lens was probably deposited or precipitated during the Jurassic in a shallow, narrow (peripheral) rift basin, as rifting progressed down the North Atlantic margin. Unlike thicker deposits in other areas that deformed and flowed, often into diapir structures, this thin lens has remained relatively undisturbed since deposition.

  5. Early Jurassic allotherians from South Wales (United Kingdom

    W. A. Clemens

    2007-02-01

    Full Text Available Fossils from two fissure fillings in Pant Quarry (designated Pant 4 and Pant 5, South Wales, United Kingdom, probably of Early Jurassic age document a taxonomically diverse vertebrate fauna, the Morganucodon-sphenodont fauna, composed of several kinds of reptiles, non-mammalian synapsids, and mammals. Six isolated molariform teeth from Pant 4 and 5 fissures clearly record the presence of Thomasia (Mammalia, Allotheria, Haramiyidae, a genus previously known only from purported Late Triassic faunas of southwestern England, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, and Switzerland. Small morphological differences from teeth in the larger English and continental European samples warrant identification of the Welsh material as Thomasia cf. moorei. The highly derived morphology of an isolated molariform tooth from Pant 5 fissure indicates the presence of another, possibly allotherian, taxon. Fossilien aus zwei wahrscheinlich unterjurassischen Spaltenfüllungen (Pant 4 und Pant 5 im Steinbruch Pant in Süd-Wales dokumentieren eine taxonomisch diverse Wirbeltierfauna. Diese Morganucodon-Sphenodontiden-Fauna besteht aus verschiedenen Formen von Reptilien, Synapsiden und Säugetieren. Sechs isolierte molariforme Zähne aus den Spaltenfüllungen Pant 4 und Pant 5 belegen eindeutig das Vorkommen von Thomasia (Mammalia, Allotheria, Haramiyidae, einer bisher nur aus vermutlich obertriassischen Faunen Südwest-Englands, Frankreichs, Belgiens, Luxemburgs, Deutschlands und der Schweiz bekannten Gattung. Geringe morphologische Unterschiede zu dem umfangreicheren Material aus England und Kontinental-Europa sprechen für die Identifikation des neuen Materials als Thomasia cf. moorei. Die stark abgeleitete Morphologie eines isolierten molariformen Zahnes aus der Spalte Pant 5 belegt das Vorkommen eines anderen Taxons, das möglicherweise auch den Allotheria zuzuordnen ist. doi:10.1002/mmng.200600018

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

    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.

  7. An Evolutionary Cascade Model for Sauropod Dinosaur Gigantism - Overview, Update and Tests

    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. PMID:24205267

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

    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.

  9. Chronological study of the pre-jurassic basement rocks of southern Patagonia

    Pankhurst, R.J; Rapela, C.W; Loske, W.P; Fanning, C.M

    2001-01-01

    Southern Patagonia east of the Andes was the site of extensive rhyolite volcanism during the Jurassic rifting of Gondwana and subsequent shallow marine basin formation during the Cretaceous. Thus exposures of pre-Jurassic basement are extremely sparse. Nevertheless, extraction of the maximum amount of information from these scattered outcrops of granite and metamorphic rocks is crucial to assessment of the Palaeozoic and earliest Mesozoic history and crustal structure of the Pacific margin of the supercontinent. In particular, the identification and possible correlation of early terrane accretion on this margin depends on comparison of pre-Jurassic igneous and metamorphic events with adjacent areas. This is a preliminary report on work now in progress to this end (au)

  10. Resetting the evolution of marine reptiles at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

    Thorne, Philippa M; Ruta, Marcello; Benton, Michael J

    2011-05-17

    Ichthyosaurs were important marine predators in the Early Jurassic, and an abundant and diverse component of Mesozoic marine ecosystems. Despite their ecological importance, however, the Early Jurassic species represent a reduced remnant of their former significance in the Triassic. Ichthyosaurs passed through an evolutionary bottleneck at, or close to, the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, which reduced their diversity to as few as three or four lineages. Diversity bounced back to some extent in the aftermath of the end-Triassic mass extinction, but disparity remained at less than one-tenth of pre-extinction levels, and never recovered. The group remained at low diversity and disparity for its final 100 Myr. The end-Triassic mass extinction had a previously unsuspected profound effect in resetting the evolution of apex marine predators of the Mesozoic.

  11. Stratigraphy and macrofauna of the Lower Jurassic (Toarcian) Marrat Formation, central Saudi Arabia

    El-Sorogy, Abdelbaset S.; Gameil, Mohamed; Youssef, Mohamed; Al-Kahtany, Khaled M.

    2017-10-01

    The stratigraphy and macrofaunal content of the Lower Jurassic (Toarcian) Marrat Formation was studied at Khashm adh Dhibi, central Saudi Arabia. The studied succession is dominated by limestones and dolomites, with subordinate occurrences of sandstones, siltstones and claystones. The formation is highly fossiliferous with brachiopods, gastropods, bivalves, ammonites and echinoids, particularly the lower and upper members. Twenty nine species are identified, they include 7 species of brachiopods, 8 gastropods, 8 bivalves, 4 ammonites and 2 echinoids. Many of the identified fauna are correlated with Jurassic equivalents in Jordan, Italy, Morocco, Egypt and India. Three gastropod species: Globularia subumbilicata, Ampullospira sp., Purpuroidea peristriata and seven bivalve species: Palaeonucula lateralis, Chlamys (Radulopecten) fibrosa, Eligmus weiri, E.integer, E. asiaticus, Musculus somaliensis and Pholadomya orientalis were recognized for the first time in the Lower Jurassic deposits of Saudi Arabia.

  12. Faunal turnover of marine tetrapods during the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition.

    Benson, Roger B J; Druckenmiller, Patrick S

    2014-02-01

    Marine and terrestrial animals show a mosaic of lineage extinctions and diversifications during the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition. However, despite its potential importance in shaping animal evolution, few palaeontological studies have focussed on this interval and the possible climate and biotic drivers of its faunal turnover. In consequence evolutionary patterns in most groups are poorly understood. We use a new, large morphological dataset to examine patterns of lineage diversity and disparity (variety of form) in the marine tetrapod clade Plesiosauria, and compare these patterns with those of other organisms. Although seven plesiosaurian lineages have been hypothesised as crossing the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, our most parsimonious topology suggests the number was only three. The robust recovery of a novel group including most Cretaceous plesiosauroids (Xenopsaria, new clade) is instrumental in this result. Substantial plesiosaurian turnover occurred during the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary interval, including the loss of substantial pliosaurid, and cryptoclidid diversity and disparity, followed by the radiation of Xenopsaria during the Early Cretaceous. Possible physical drivers of this turnover include climatic fluctuations that influenced oceanic productivity and diversity: Late Jurassic climates were characterised by widespread global monsoonal conditions and increased nutrient flux into the opening Atlantic-Tethys, resulting in eutrophication and a highly productive, but taxonomically depauperate, plankton. Latest Jurassic and Early Cretaceous climates were more arid, resulting in oligotrophic ocean conditions and high taxonomic diversity of radiolarians, calcareous nannoplankton and possibly ammonoids. However, the observation of discordant extinction patterns in other marine tetrapod groups such as ichthyosaurs and marine crocodylomorphs suggests that clade-specific factors may have been more important than overarching extrinsic drivers of faunal

  13. The Jurassic-early Cretaceous Ilo batholith of southern coastal Peru: geology, geochronology and geochemistry

    Boekhout, Flora; Sempere, Thierry; Spikings, Richard; Schaltegger, Urs

    2010-05-01

    The Ilo batholith (17°00 - 18°30 S) crops out in an area of about 20 by 100 km, along the coast of southern Peru. This batholith is emplaced into the ‘Chocolate‘ Formation of late Permian to middle Jurassic age, which consists of more than 1000 m of basaltic and andesitic lavas, with interbedded volcanic agglomerates and breccias. The Ilo Batholith is considered to be a rarely exposed fragment of the Jurassic arc in Peru. Our aim is to reconstruct the magmatic evolution of this batholith, and place it within the context of long-lasting magma genesis along the active Andean margin since the Paleozoic. Sampling for dating and geochemical analyses was carried out along several cross sections through the batholith that were exposed by post-intrusion eastward tilting of 20-30°. Sparse previous work postulates early to middle Jurassic and partially early Cretaceous emplacement, on the basis of conventional K/Ar and 40Ar/39Ar dating methods in the Ilo area. Twenty new U-Pb zircon ages (LA-ICP-MS and CA-ID-TIMS) accompanied by geochemical data suggests the Ilo batholith formed via the amalgamation of middle Jurassic and early Cretaceous, subduction-related plutons. Preliminary Hf isotope studies reveal a primitive mantle source for middle Jurassic intrusions. Additional Sr, Nd and Hf isotope analyses are planned to further resolve the source regions of different pulses of plutonic activity. We strongly suggest that batholith emplacement was at least partly coeval with the emplacement of the late Permian to middle Jurassic Chocolate Formation, which was deposited in an extensional tectonic regime. Our age results and geochemical signature fit into the scheme of episodic emplacement of huge amounts of subduction related magmatism that is observed throughout the whole Andean event, particularly during the middle Jurassic onset of the first Andean cycle (southern Peru, northern Chile and southern Argentina). Although the exact geodynamic setting remains to be precisely

  14. The palaeogeography of Sundaland and Wallacea since the Late Jurassic

    Robert Hall

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available The continental core of Southeast (SE Asia, Sundaland, was assembled from Gondwana fragments by the Early Mesozoic. Continental blocks rifted from Australia in the Jurassic [South West (SW Borneo, East Java-West Sulawesi-Sumba], and the Woyla intraoceanic arc of Sumatra, were added to Sundaland in the Cretaceous. These fragments probably included emergent areas and could have carried a terrestrial flora and fauna. Sarawak, the offshore Luconia-Dangerous Grounds areas, and Palawan include Asian continental material. These probably represent a wide accretionary zone at the Asia-Pacific boundary, which was an active continental margin until the mid Cretaceous. Subduction ceased around Sundaland in the Late Cretaceous, and from about 80 Ma most of Sundaland was emergent, physically connected to Asia, but separated by deep oceans from India and Australia. India moved rapidly north during the Late Cretaceous and Early Cenozoic but there is no evidence that it made contact with SE Asia prior to collision with Asia. One or more arc-India collisions during the Eocene may have preceded India-Asia collision. The arcs could have provided dispersal pathways from India into SE Asia before final suturing of the two continents. During the Late Cretaceous and Early Cenozoic there was no significant subduction beneath Sumatra, Java and Borneo. At about 45 Ma Australia began to move north, subduction resumed and there was widespread rifting within Sundaland. During the Paleogene east and north Borneo were largely submerged, the Makassar Straits became a wide marine barrier within Sundaland, and West Sulawesi was separated from Sundaland but included land. By the Early Miocene the proto-South China Sea had been eliminated by subduction leading to emergence of land in central Borneo, Sabah and Palawan. Australia-SE Asia collision began, eliminating the former deep ocean separating the two continents, and forming the region now known as Wallacea. The microplate or

  15. A new mass mortality of juvenile Protoceratops and size-segregated aggregation behaviour in juvenile non-avian dinosaurs.

    David W E Hone

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Monodominant bonebeds are a relatively common occurrence for non-avian dinosaurs, and have been used to infer associative, and potentially genuinely social, behavior. Previously known assemblages are characterized as either mixed size-classes (juvenile and adult-sized specimens together or single size-classes of individuals (only juveniles or only adult-sized individuals within the assemblage. In the latter case, it is generally unknown if these kinds of size-segregated aggregations characterize only a particular size stage or represent aggregations that happened at all size stages. Ceratopsians ("horned dinosaurs" are known from both types of assemblages. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we describe a new specimen of the ceratopsian dinosaur Protoceratops andrewsi, Granger and Gregory 1923 from Mongolia representing an aggregation of four mid-sized juvenile animals. In conjunction with existing specimens of groups of P. andrewsi that includes size-clustered aggregations of young juveniles and adult-sized specimens, this new material provides evidence for some degree of size-clustered aggregation behaviour in Protoceratops throughout ontogeny. This continuity of size-segregated (and presumably age-clustered aggregation is previously undocumented in non-avian dinosaurs. CONCLUSIONS: The juvenile group fills a key gap in the available information on aggregations in younger ceratopsians. Although we support the general hypothesis that many non-avian dinosaurs were gregarious and even social animals, we caution that evidence for sociality has been overstated and advocate a more conservative interpretation of some data of 'sociality' in dinosaurs.

  16. A new mass mortality of juvenile Protoceratops and size-segregated aggregation behaviour in juvenile non-avian dinosaurs.

    Hone, David W E; Farke, Andrew A; Watabe, Mahito; Shigeru, Suzuki; Tsogtbaatar, Khishigjav

    2014-01-01

    Monodominant bonebeds are a relatively common occurrence for non-avian dinosaurs, and have been used to infer associative, and potentially genuinely social, behavior. Previously known assemblages are characterized as either mixed size-classes (juvenile and adult-sized specimens together) or single size-classes of individuals (only juveniles or only adult-sized individuals within the assemblage). In the latter case, it is generally unknown if these kinds of size-segregated aggregations characterize only a particular size stage or represent aggregations that happened at all size stages. Ceratopsians ("horned dinosaurs") are known from both types of assemblages. Here we describe a new specimen of the ceratopsian dinosaur Protoceratops andrewsi, Granger and Gregory 1923 from Mongolia representing an aggregation of four mid-sized juvenile animals. In conjunction with existing specimens of groups of P. andrewsi that includes size-clustered aggregations of young juveniles and adult-sized specimens, this new material provides evidence for some degree of size-clustered aggregation behaviour in Protoceratops throughout ontogeny. This continuity of size-segregated (and presumably age-clustered) aggregation is previously undocumented in non-avian dinosaurs. The juvenile group fills a key gap in the available information on aggregations in younger ceratopsians. Although we support the general hypothesis that many non-avian dinosaurs were gregarious and even social animals, we caution that evidence for sociality has been overstated and advocate a more conservative interpretation of some data of 'sociality' in dinosaurs.

  17. High resolution stratigraphy of the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary interval in the Gresten Klippenbelt (Austria)

    Lukeneder, A.; Halásová, E.; Kroh, A.; Mayrhofer, S.; Pruner, Petr; Reháková, D.; Schnabl, Petr; Sprovieri, M.; Wagreich, M.

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 61, č. 5 (2010), s. 365-381 ISSN 1335-0552 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/07/1365 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z30130516 Keywords : Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary * Penninic Ocean, * paleoecology * paleogeography * environmental changes Subject RIV: DB - Geology ; Mineralogy Impact factor: 0.909, year: 2010

  18. New finds of stegosaur tracks from the Upper Jurassic Lourinhã formation, Portugal

    Mateus, Octavio; Milàn, Jesper; Romano, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Eleven new tracks from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal are described and attributed to the stegosaurian ichnogenus Deltapodus. One track exhibits exceptionally well−preserved impressions of skin on the plantar surface, showing the stegosaur foot to be covered by closely spaced skin tubercles of ca...

  19. New Chironomidae (Diptera) with elongate proboscises from the Late Jurassic of Mongolia

    Lukashevich, Elena D.; Przhiboro, Andrey A.

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Four new species of Chironomidae with well-developed elongate proboscises are described from a Late Jurassic site Shar Teg in SW Mongolia. These are named Cretaenne rasnicyni sp. n., Podonomius blepharis sp. n., Podonomius macromastix sp. n., ?Podonomius robustus sp. n. PMID:22259285

  20. Palynology of uppermost Jurassic and lowermost Cretaceous strata in the Eastern Netherlands

    Burger, D.

    1965-01-01

    The present investigation is a systematical treatment of the sporomorphs from strata at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary in the eastern Netherlands Twente area, and an attempt to apply palynology to detailed stratigraphical study, by making use of quantitative pollen analyses. The rock samples used

  1. Late Jurassic low latitude of Central Iran: paleogeographic and tectonic implications

    Mattei, Massimo; Muttoni, Giovanni; Cifelli, Francesca

    2014-05-01

    The individual blocks forming present-day Central Iran are now comprised between the Zagros Neo-Tethys suture to the south and the Alborz Palaeo-Tethys suture to the north. At the end of the Palaeozoic, the Iranian blocks rifted away from the northern margin of Gondwana as consequence of the opening of the Neo-Tethys, and collided with Eurasia during the Late Triassic, giving place to the Eo-Cimmerian orogeny. From then on, the Iranian block(s) should have maintained European affinity. Modern generations of apparent polar wander paths (APWPs) show the occurrence in North American and African coordinates of a major and rapid shift in pole position (=plate shift) during the Middle-Late Jurassic. This so-called monster polar shift is predicted also for Eurasia from the North Atlantic plate circuit, but Jurassic data from this continent are scanty and problematic. Here, we present paleomagnetic data from the Kimmeridgian-Tithonian (Upper Jurassic) Garedu Formation of Iran. Paleomagnetic component directions of primary (pre-folding) age indicate a paleolatitude of deposition of 10°N ± 5° that is in excellent agreement with the latitude drop predicted for Iran from APWPs incorporating the Jurassic monster polar shift. We show that paleolatitudes calculated from these APWPs, used in conjunction with simple zonal climate belts, better explain the overall stratigraphic evolution of Iran during the Mesozoic.

  2. First records of crocodyle and pterosaur tracks in the Upper Jurassic of Portugal

    Mateus, Octavio; Milàn, Jesper

    2010-01-01

    The Upper Jurassic of Portugal has a rich vertebrate fauna well documented from both body and trace fossils. Although the occurrence of crocodyles and pterosaurs is well documented from body fossils, trace fossils from both groups were unknown until now. Here we describe an isolated crocodyle-lik...

  3. A new spelaeogriphacean (Crustacea: Peracarida) from the Upper Jurassic of China

    Yan-bin, Shen; Taylor, Rod S.; Schram, Frederick R.

    1998-01-01

    A new monotypic genus of Spelaeogriphacea is described from the Upper Jurassic of Liaoning Province, north-east China. This new genus and species brings the number of known spelaeogriphacean taxa to four, the others being two recent forms from Brazil and South Africa, and one from the Carboniferous

  4. Permeability, compressibility and porosity of Jurassic shale from the Norwegian-Danish Basin

    Mbia, Ernest Ncha; Fabricius, Ida Lykke; Krogsbøll, Anette

    2014-01-01

    The Fjerritslev Formation in the Norwegian-Danish Basin forms the main seal to Upper Triassic-Lower Jurassic sandstone reservoirs. In order to estimate the sealing potential and rock properties, samples from the deep wells Vedsted-1 in Jylland, and Stenlille-2 and Stenlille-5 on Sjael-land, were ...

  5. Early and Middle Jurassic climate changes: implications for palaeoceanography and tectonics

    Korte, Christoph; Hesselbo, Stephen; Ullmann, Clemens Vinzenz

    2014-01-01

    The occurrence of ‘ice ages’ within the overall warm Jurassic Period has been the subject of much discussion and not a little controversy. Recently it has been suggested on the basis of occurrence of glendonites in circum-Arctic basins that cold episodes took place in the Jurassic (Price, 1999; R...... by substantial changes in oceanic current patterns which were initiated by a major tectonic uplift that prevented the transport of heat to Polar Regions....... three pronounced oxygen isotope ‘Ice Age’ cycles, and the subsequent well known Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic ‘supergreenhouse’ Event is followed by very warm seawater temperatures in the late Toarcian. Moreover, a very pronounced and effective cooling occurred during the latest Toarcian and early Aalenian...... (Early-Middle Jurassic Boundary Event) resulted in substantial expansion of Arctic climates to palaeolatitudes as low as 45° and in distinctly cooler seawater temperatures in lower latitude European seas. At least the extensive cooling at the Early-Middle Jurassic Boundary Event was most likely driven...

  6. Depositional environments and oil potential of Jurassic/Cretaceous source rocks within the Seychelles microcontinent

    Plummer, P.S.; Joseph, P.R.; Samson, P.J. [Seychelles National Oil Co., Mahe (Seychelles)

    1998-12-31

    The Seychelles microcontinent became isolated between the Somali, Mascarene and Arabian basins of the Indian Ocean as a result of the Mesozoic fragmentation of Gondwana. Major rifting events occurred during the Triassic-Middle Jurassic and Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Santonian and Maastrichtian) during which shaly source rock facies accumulated in principally marginal marine/deltaic environments. Between these times, post-rift passive margin deposition within restricted to open marine environments produced shaly source rocks during late Middle Jurasic-Early Cretaceous, Campanian-Maastrichtian and Paleocene times. Recent geochemical analysis of cuttings from the Seagull Shoals-1 well has identified an oil-prone liptinitic (Type II) coaly shale within early Middle Jurassic abandoned deltaic deposits. This coaly source rock is regionally developed, having also been identified in the Majunja and Morondava basins of Madagascar. Oil-prone Type II organic matter has also been identified in the Owen Bank A-1 well within restricted marine shales of late Middle Jurassic age. These shales are part of a thick post-rift source rock sequence that extends into the Early Cretaceous and is in part correlative with the proven Late Jurassic Uarandab Shale of Somalia. Analysis of Campanian marine shales from Reith Bank-1 well identified significant dilution of total organic carbon content in composite, compared to picked, well cuttings samples. This finding supports a published inference that these post-rift shales have source rock potential. (author)

  7. Neutron activation analysis in geochemical characterization of Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentary rocks from the Nordvik Peninsula

    Mizera, Jiří; Řanda, Zdeněk; Košťák, M.

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 284, č. 1 (2010), s. 211-219 ISSN 0236-5731 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10480505 Keywords : Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary * Nordvik Peninsula * Iridium anomaly Subject RIV: BG - Nuclear, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Colliders Impact factor: 0.777, year: 2010

  8. Neutron activation analysis in geochemical characterization of Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentary rocks from the Nordvik Peninsula

    Mizera, Jiří; Řanda, Z.; Košťák, M.

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 284, č. 1 (2010), s. 211-219 ISSN 0236-5731 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z30460519 Keywords : Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary * Nordvik Peninsula * Iridium anomaly Subject RIV: BG - Nuclear, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Colliders OBOR OECD: Geology Impact factor: 0.777, year: 2010

  9. Review of the Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous stratigraphy in Western Cameros basin, Northern Spain

    Vidal, Maria del Pilar Clemente

    2010-01-01

    The Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous stratigraphy of the Cameros basin has been reviewed. In Western Cameros the stratigraphic sections are condensed but they have a parallel development with the basin depocentre and the same groups have been identified. The Tera Group consists of two formations: ...

  10. Isotopic ordering in eggshells reflects body temperatures and suggests differing thermophysiology in two Cretaceous dinosaurs

    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.

  11. What do giant titanosaur dinosaurs and modern Australasian megapodes have in common?

    Hechenleitner, E Martín; 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.

  12. Novel insight into the origin of the growth dynamics of sauropod dinosaurs.

    Ignacio Alejandro Cerda

    Full Text Available Sauropod dinosaurs include the largest terrestrial animals and are considered to have uninterrupted rapid rates of growth, which differs from their more basal relatives, which have a slower cyclical growth. Here we examine the bone microstructure of several sauropodomorph dinosaurs, including basal taxa, as well as the more derived sauropods. Although our results agree that the plesiomorphic condition for Sauropodomorpha is cyclical growth dynamics, we found that the hypothesized dichotomy between the growth patterns of basal and more derived sauropodomorphs is not supported. Here, we show that sauropod-like growth dynamics of uninterrupted rapid growth also occurred in some basal sauropodomorphs, and that some basal sauropods retained the plesiomorphic cyclical growth patterns. Among the sauropodomorpha it appears that the basal taxa exploited different growth strategies, but the more derived Eusauropoda successfully utilized rapid, uninterrupted growth strategies.

  13. What do giant titanosaur dinosaurs and modern Australasian megapodes have in common?

    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.

  14. Trace element composition and distribution in micron area of dinosaur eggshell fossils determined by proton microprobe

    Chen Youhong; Zhu Jieqing; Wang Xiaohong; Wang Yimin

    1997-01-01

    The scanning proton microprobe and micro-PIXE quantitative analysis technique have been used to determine composition and distribution of the trace elements in micron areas of dinosaur eggshell fossils from the stratum of Upper Cretaceous system at Nanxiong Basin in Guangdong Province, China. The study shows that the trace elements mainly include Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Sb, Ba and Pb in the micron area, but they present different distributions. While the element Sr is mainly enriched in the near surface layer, others mainly reside in the near inner layer. A preliminary discussion on the reason of the dinosaur extinction is given based on the above study

  15. Novel insight into the origin of the growth dynamics of sauropod dinosaurs.

    Cerda, Ignacio Alejandro; Chinsamy, Anusuya; Pol, Diego; Apaldetti, Cecilia; Otero, Alejandro; Powell, Jaime Eduardo; Martínez, Ricardo Nestor

    2017-01-01

    Sauropod dinosaurs include the largest terrestrial animals and are considered to have uninterrupted rapid rates of growth, which differs from their more basal relatives, which have a slower cyclical growth. Here we examine the bone microstructure of several sauropodomorph dinosaurs, including basal taxa, as well as the more derived sauropods. Although our results agree that the plesiomorphic condition for Sauropodomorpha is cyclical growth dynamics, we found that the hypothesized dichotomy between the growth patterns of basal and more derived sauropodomorphs is not supported. Here, we show that sauropod-like growth dynamics of uninterrupted rapid growth also occurred in some basal sauropodomorphs, and that some basal sauropods retained the plesiomorphic cyclical growth patterns. Among the sauropodomorpha it appears that the basal taxa exploited different growth strategies, but the more derived Eusauropoda successfully utilized rapid, uninterrupted growth strategies.

  16. Trace element composition and distribution in micron area of dinosaur eggshell fossils determined by proton microprobe

    Chen Youhong; Zhu Jieqing; Wang Xiaohong; Wang Yimin

    1997-01-01

    The scanning proton microprobe and micro-PIXE quantitative analysis technique have been used to determine composition and distribution of the trace elements in micron areas of dinosaur eggshell fossils from the stratum of Upper Cretaceous system at Nanxiong Basin in Guangdong Province, China. The study shows that the trace elements mainly include Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Sb, Ba and Pb in the micron area, but they present different distributions. While the elements Sr is mainly enriched in the near surface layer, others mainly reside in the near inner layer. A preliminary discussion on the reason of the dinosaur extinction is given based on the above study

  17. A new troodontid dinosaur from China with avian-like sleeping posture.

    Xu, Xing; Norell, Mark A

    2004-10-14

    Discovering evidence of behaviour in fossilized vertebrates is rare. Even rarer is evidence of behaviour in non-avialan dinosaurs that directly relates to stereotypical behaviour seen in extant birds (avians) and not previously predicted in non-avialan dinosaurs. Here we report the discovery of a new troodontid taxon from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of western Liaoning, China. Numerous other three-dimensionally preserved vertebrate fossils have been recovered recently at this locality, including some specimens preserving behavioural information. The new troodontid preserves several features that have been implicated in avialan origins. Notably, the specimen is preserved in the stereotypical sleeping or resting posture found in extant Aves. Evidence of this behaviour outside of the crown group Aves further demonstrates that many bird features occurred early in dinosaurian evolution.

  18. Basin geodynamics and sequence stratigraphy of Upper Triassic to Lower Jurassic deposits of Southern Tunisia

    Carpentier, Cédric; Hadouth, Suhail; Bouaziz, Samir; Lathuilière, Bernard; Rubino, Jean-Loup

    2016-05-01

    Aims of this paper are to propose a geodynamic and sequential framework for the late Triassic and early Jurassic of and south Tunisia and to evidence the impact of local tectonics on the stratigraphic architecture. Facies of the Upper Triassic to Lower Jurassic of Southern Tunisia have been interpreted in terms of depositional environments. A sequential framework and correlation schemes are proposed for outcrops and subsurface transects. Nineteen middle frequency sequences inserted in three and a half low frequency transgression/regression cycles were evidenced. Despite some datation uncertainties and the unknown durations of Lower Jurassic cycles, middle frequency sequences appear to be controlled by eustasy. In contrast the tectonics acted as an important control on low frequency cycles. The Carnian flooding was certainly favored by the last stages of a rifting episode which started during the Permian. The regression accompanied by the formation of stacked angular unconformities and the deposition of lowstand deposits during the late Carnian and Norian occured during the uplift and tilting of the northern basin margins. The transpressional activity of the Jeffara fault system generated the uplift of the Tebaga of Medenine high from the late Carnian and led to the Rhaetian regional angular Sidi Stout Unconformity. Facies analysis and well-log correlations permitted to evidence that Rhaetian to Lower Jurassic Messaoudi dolomites correspond to brecciated dolomites present on the Sidi Stout unconformity in the North Dahar area. The Early-cimmerian compressional event is a possible origin for the global uplift of the northern African margin and Western Europe during the late Carnian and the Norian. During the Rhaetian and the early Jurassic a new episode of normal faulting occured during the third low frequency flooding. This tectonosedimentary evolution ranges within the general geodynamic framework of the north Gondwana margin controlled by the opening of both

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

    Casey M Holliday

    2010-09-01

    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

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

    Holliday, Casey M; Ridgely, Ryan C; Sedlmayr, Jayc C; Witmer, Lawrence M

    2010-09-30

    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 suggest that