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Sample records for megaraptor-like theropod dinosauria

  1. A large abelisaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from Morocco and comments on the Cenomanian theropods from North Africa.

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    Chiarenza, Alfio Alessandro; Cau, Andrea

    2016-01-01

    We describe the partially preserved femur of a large-bodied theropod dinosaur from the Cenomanian "Kem Kem Compound Assemblage" (KKCA) of Morocco. The fossil is housed in the Museo Geologico e Paleontologico "Gaetano Giorgio Gemmellaro" in Palermo (Italy). The specimen is compared with the theropod fossil record from the KKCA and coeval assemblages from North Africa. The combination of a distally reclined head, a not prominent trochanteric shelf, distally placed lesser trochanter of stout, alariform shape, a stocky shaft with the fourth trochanter placed proximally, and rugose muscular insertion areas in the specimen distinguishes it from Carcharodontosaurus, Deltadromeus and Spinosaurus and supports referral to an abelisaurid. The estimated body size for the individual from which this femur was derived is comparable to Carnotaurus and Ekrixinatosaurus (up to 9 meters in length and 2 tons in body mass). This find confirms that abelisaurids had reached their largest body size in the "middle Cretaceous," and that large abelisaurids coexisted with other giant theropods in Africa. We review the taxonomic status of the theropods from the Cenomanian of North Africa, and provisionally restrict the Linnean binomina Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis and Spinosaurus aegyptiacus to the type specimens. Based on comparisons among the theropod records from the Aptian-Cenomanian of South America and Africa, a partial explanation for the so-called "Stromer's riddle" (namely, the coexistence of many large predatory dinosaurs in the "middle Cretaceous" record from North Africa) is offered in term of taphonomic artifacts among lineage records that were ecologically and environmentally non-overlapping. Although morphofunctional and stratigraphic evidence supports an ecological segregation between spinosaurids and the other lineages, the co-occurrence of abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids, two groups showing several craniodental convergences that suggest direct resource competition

  2. A large abelisaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda from Morocco and comments on the Cenomanian theropods from North Africa

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    Alfio Alessandro Chiarenza

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available We describe the partially preserved femur of a large-bodied theropod dinosaur from the Cenomanian “Kem Kem Compound Assemblage” (KKCA of Morocco. The fossil is housed in the Museo Geologico e Paleontologico “Gaetano Giorgio Gemmellaro” in Palermo (Italy. The specimen is compared with the theropod fossil record from the KKCA and coeval assemblages from North Africa. The combination of a distally reclined head, a not prominent trochanteric shelf, distally placed lesser trochanter of stout, alariform shape, a stocky shaft with the fourth trochanter placed proximally, and rugose muscular insertion areas in the specimen distinguishes it from Carcharodontosaurus, Deltadromeus and Spinosaurus and supports referral to an abelisaurid. The estimated body size for the individual from which this femur was derived is comparable to Carnotaurus and Ekrixinatosaurus (up to 9 meters in length and 2 tons in body mass. This find confirms that abelisaurids had reached their largest body size in the “middle Cretaceous,” and that large abelisaurids coexisted with other giant theropods in Africa. We review the taxonomic status of the theropods from the Cenomanian of North Africa, and provisionally restrict the Linnean binomina Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis and Spinosaurus aegyptiacus to the type specimens. Based on comparisons among the theropod records from the Aptian-Cenomanian of South America and Africa, a partial explanation for the so-called “Stromer’s riddle” (namely, the coexistence of many large predatory dinosaurs in the “middle Cretaceous” record from North Africa is offered in term of taphonomic artifacts among lineage records that were ecologically and environmentally non-overlapping. Although morphofunctional and stratigraphic evidence supports an ecological segregation between spinosaurids and the other lineages, the co-occurrence of abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids, two groups showing several craniodental convergences that

  3. Topology, divergence dates, and macroevolutionary inferences vary between different tip-dating approaches applied to fossil theropods (Dinosauria).

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    Bapst, D W; Wright, A M; Matzke, N J; Lloyd, G T

    2016-07-01

    Dated phylogenies of fossil taxa allow palaeobiologists to estimate the timing of major divergences and placement of extinct lineages, and to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. Recently developed Bayesian 'tip-dating' methods simultaneously infer and date the branching relationships among fossil taxa, and infer putative ancestral relationships. Using a previously published dataset for extinct theropod dinosaurs, we contrast the dated relationships inferred by several tip-dating approaches and evaluate potential downstream effects on phylogenetic comparative methods. We also compare tip-dating analyses to maximum-parsimony trees time-scaled via alternative a posteriori approaches including via the probabilistic cal3 method. Among tip-dating analyses, we find opposing but strongly supported relationships, despite similarity in inferred ancestors. Overall, tip-dating methods infer divergence dates often millions (or tens of millions) of years older than the earliest stratigraphic appearance of that clade. Model-comparison analyses of the pattern of body-size evolution found that the support for evolutionary mode can vary across and between tree samples from cal3 and tip-dating approaches. These differences suggest that model and software choice in dating analyses can have a substantial impact on the dated phylogenies obtained and broader evolutionary inferences.

  4. Abelisauridae (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal and dentition-based phylogeny as a contribution for the identification of isolated theropod teeth.

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    Hendrickx, Christophe; Mateus, Octávio

    2014-01-30

    Theropod dinosaurs form a highly diversified clade, and their teeth are some of the most common components of the Mesozoic dinosaur fossil record. This is the case in the Lourinhã Formation (Late Jurassic, Kimmeridgian-Tithonian) of Portugal, where theropod teeth are particularly abundant and diverse. Four isolated theropod teeth are here described and identified based on morphometric and anatomical data. They are included in a cladistic analysis performed on a data matrix of 141 dentition-based characters coded in 60 taxa, as well as a supermatrix combining our dataset with six recent datamatrices based on the whole theropod skeleton. The consensus tree resulting from the dentition-based data matrix reveals that theropod teeth provide reliable data for identification at approximately family level. Therefore, phylogenetic methods will help identifying theropod teeth with more confidence in the future. Although dental characters do not reliably indicate relationships among higher clades of theropods, they demonstrate interesting patterns of homoplasy suggesting dietary convergence in (1) alvarezsauroids, therizinosaurs and troodontids; (2) coelophysoids and spinosaurids; (3) compsognathids and dromaeosaurids; and (4) ceratosaurids, allosauroids and megalosaurids.        Based on morphometric and cladistic analyses, the biggest tooth from Lourinhã is referred to a mesial crown of the megalosaurid Torvosaurus tanneri, due to the elliptical cross section of the crown base, the large size and elongation of the crown, medially positioned mesial and distal carinae, and the coarse denticles. The smallest tooth is identified as Richardoestesia, and as a close relative of R. gilmorei based on the weak constriction between crown and root, the "eight-shaped" outline of the base crown and, on the distal carina, the average of ten symmetrically rounded denticles per mm, as well as a subequal number of denticles basally and at mid-crown. Finally, the two medium

  5. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  8. A late-surviving basal theropod dinosaur from the latest Triassic of North America.

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    Sues, Hans-Dieter; Nesbitt, Sterling J; Berman, David S; Henrici, Amy C

    2011-11-22

    The oldest theropod dinosaurs are known from the Carnian of Argentina and Brazil. However, the evolutionary diversification of this group after its initial radiation but prior to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary is still poorly understood because of a sparse fossil record near that boundary. Here, we report on a new basal theropod, Daemonosaurus chauliodus gen. et sp. nov., from the latest Triassic 'siltstone member' of the Chinle Formation of the Coelophysis Quarry at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. Based on a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis, Daemonosaurus is more closely related to coeval neotheropods (e.g. Coelophysis bauri) than to Herrerasauridae and Eoraptor. The skeletal structure of Daemonosaurus and the recently discovered Tawa bridge a morphological gap between Eoraptor and Herrerasauridae on one hand and neotheropods on the other, providing additional support for the theropod affinities of both Eoraptor and Herrerasauridae and demonstrating that lineages from the initial radiation of Dinosauria persisted until the end of the Triassic. Various features of the skull of Daemonosaurus, including the procumbent dentary and premaxillary teeth and greatly enlarged premaxillary and anterior maxillary teeth, clearly set this taxon apart from coeval neotheropods and demonstrate unexpected disparity in cranial shape among theropod dinosaurs just prior to the end of the Triassic.

  9. Theropod (Dinosauria: Saurischia) tracks from Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation at Sihetun Village, Liaoning Province, China and possible track makers%辽宁省四合屯下白垩统义县组的兽脚类足迹化石和可能的造迹者

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邢立达; 杰瑞德D.哈里斯; 冯向阳; 张志军

    2009-01-01

    Herein we describe three and one half footprints that pertain to Grallator isp. from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, Sihetun, Liaoning Province, China. This is the first description of dinosaur footprints from the Yixian Formation. The tracks were left by at least three individual track makers. It is estimated from the tracks that the body lengths of the track makers were 1.51 m, which is the average length of known theropods from the Yixian Formation. The feet of Caudipteryx and Sinosauropteryx were reconstruct- ed. The former was more similar than the latter to the Grallator isp. track outlines. Feet capable of registering Grallator morphotype tracks may therefore have been widely distributed in small-medium sized theropods (other than dromaeosaurids and troodontids) from the Yixian Formation.%记述了辽宁省四合屯下白垩统义县组三个半恐龙足迹,归入似鹬龙足迹(亦译为跷脚龙足迹)一未定种(Grallator isp.).这是义县组恐龙足迹化石的首次描述.该行迹至少由3个造迹者所造.从足迹推断恐龙体长1.51 m,属于义县组兽脚类恐龙较为普遍的体长范围.重建了尾羽鸟(Caudipteryx)和中华龙鸟(Sinosauropteryx)的足部,前者的足迹轮廓与似鹬龙足迹未定种的吻合度超过后者.根据化石记录,似鹬龙足迹类型可能广泛存在于义县组的各种中小型兽脚类(驰龙类与伤齿龙类除外)中.

  10. The first oviraptorosaur (Dinosauria: Theropoda) bonebed: evidence of gregarious behaviour in a maniraptoran theropod

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    Funston, Gregory F.; Currie, Philip J.; Eberth, David A.; Ryan, Michael J.; Chinzorig, Tsogtbaatar; Badamgarav, Demchig; Longrich, Nicholas R.

    2016-01-01

    A monodominant bonebed of Avimimus from the Nemegt Formation of Mongolia is the first oviraptorosaur bonebed described and the only recorded maniraptoran bonebed from the Late Cretaceous. Cranial elements recovered from the bonebed provide insights on the anatomy of the facial region, which was formerly unknown in Avimimus. Both adult and subadult material was recovered from the bonebed, but small juveniles are underrepresented. The taphonomic and sedimentological evidence suggests that the Avimimus bonebed represents a perimortem gregarious assemblage. The near absence of juveniles in the bonebed may be evidence of a transient age-segregated herd or ‘flock’, but the behaviour responsible for this assemblage is unclear. Regardless, the Avimimus bonebed is the first evidence of gregarious behaviour in oviraptorosaurs, and highlights a potential trend of increasing gregariousness in dinosaurs towards the end of the Mesozoic. PMID:27767062

  11. Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Dimensions

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    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…

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

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    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…

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

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    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...

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

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    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…

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

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

    2009-01-01

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

  16. A basal alvarezsauroid theropod from the early Late Jurassic of Xinjiang, China.

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    Choiniere, Jonah N; Xu, Xing; Clark, James M; Forster, Catherine A; Guo, Yu; Han, Fenglu

    2010-01-29

    The fossil record of Jurassic theropod dinosaurs closely related to birds remains poor. A new theropod from the earliest Late Jurassic of western China represents the earliest diverging member of the enigmatic theropod group Alvarezsauroidea and confirms that this group is a basal member of Maniraptora, the clade containing birds and their closest theropod relatives. It extends the fossil record of Alvarezsauroidea by 63 million years and provides evidence for maniraptorans earlier in the fossil record than Archaeopteryx. The new taxon confirms extreme morphological convergence between birds and derived alvarezsauroids and illuminates incipient stages of the highly modified alvarezsaurid forelimb.

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

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    Farke, Andrew A; Sertich, Joseph J W

    2013-01-01

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

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

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    Andrew A Farke

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

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

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Sanghamitra Ray; Anusuya Chinsamy

    2002-06-01

    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 theropod and shows some features similar to the allosauroids. This tooth is of significance, as dinosaur remains except for some footprints and trackways, are poorly known in the Late Triassic horizons of southern Africa.

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

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott; Richards, Zachary

    2015-03-01

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

  6. A bizarre theropod from the Early Cretaceous of Japan highlighting mosaic evolution among coelurosaurians.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azuma, Yoichi; Xu, Xing; Shibata, Masateru; Kawabe, Soichiro; Miyata, Kazunori; Imai, Takuya

    2016-02-23

    Our understanding of coelurosaurian evolution, particularly of bird origins, has been greatly improved, mainly due to numerous recently discovered fossils worldwide. Nearly all these discoveries are referable to the previously known coelurosaurian subgroups. Here, we report a new theropod, Fukuivenator paradoxus, gen. et sp. nov., based on a nearly complete specimen from the Lower Cretaceous Kitadani Formation of the Tetori Group, Fukui, Japan. While Fukuivenator possesses a large number of morphological features unknown in any other theropod, it has a combination of primitive and derived features seen in different theropod subgroups, notably dromaeosaurid dinosaurs. Computed-tomography data indicate that Fukuivenator possesses inner ears whose morphology is intermediate between those of birds and non-avian dinosaurs. Our phylogenetic analysis recovers Fukuivenator as a basally branching maniraptoran theropod, yet is unable to refer it to any known coelurosaurian subgroups. The discovery of Fukuivenator considerably increases the morphological disparity of coelurosaurian dinosaurs and highlights the high levels of homoplasy in coelurosaurian evolution.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frazzetta, T H; Kardong, Kenneth V

    2002-03-28

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-07-17

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno Grossi

    Full Text Available Birds still share many traits with their dinosaur ancestors, making them the best living group to reconstruct certain aspects of non-avian theropod biology. Bipedal, digitigrade locomotion and parasagittal hindlimb movement are some of those inherited traits. Living birds, however, maintain an unusually crouched hindlimb posture and locomotion powered by knee flexion, in contrast to the inferred primitive condition of non-avian theropods: more upright posture and limb movement powered by femur retraction. Such functional differences, which are associated with a gradual, anterior shift of the centre of mass in theropods along the bird line, make the use of extant birds to study non-avian theropod locomotion problematic. Here we show that, by experimentally manipulating the location of the centre of mass in living birds, it is possible to recreate limb posture and kinematics inferred for extinct bipedal dinosaurs. Chickens raised wearing artificial tails, and consequently with more posteriorly located centre of mass, showed a more vertical orientation of the femur during standing and increased femoral displacement during locomotion. Our results support the hypothesis that gradual changes in the location of the centre of mass resulted in more crouched hindlimb postures and a shift from hip-driven to knee-driven limb movements through theropod evolution. This study suggests that, through careful experimental manipulations during the growth phase of ontogeny, extant birds can potentially be used to gain important insights into previously unexplored aspects of bipedal non-avian theropod locomotion.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grossi, Bruno; Iriarte-Díaz, José; Larach, Omar; Canals, Mauricio; Vásquez, Rodrigo A

    2014-01-01

    Birds still share many traits with their dinosaur ancestors, making them the best living group to reconstruct certain aspects of non-avian theropod biology. Bipedal, digitigrade locomotion and parasagittal hindlimb movement are some of those inherited traits. Living birds, however, maintain an unusually crouched hindlimb posture and locomotion powered by knee flexion, in contrast to the inferred primitive condition of non-avian theropods: more upright posture and limb movement powered by femur retraction. Such functional differences, which are associated with a gradual, anterior shift of the centre of mass in theropods along the bird line, make the use of extant birds to study non-avian theropod locomotion problematic. Here we show that, by experimentally manipulating the location of the centre of mass in living birds, it is possible to recreate limb posture and kinematics inferred for extinct bipedal dinosaurs. Chickens raised wearing artificial tails, and consequently with more posteriorly located centre of mass, showed a more vertical orientation of the femur during standing and increased femoral displacement during locomotion. Our results support the hypothesis that gradual changes in the location of the centre of mass resulted in more crouched hindlimb postures and a shift from hip-driven to knee-driven limb movements through theropod evolution. This study suggests that, through careful experimental manipulations during the growth phase of ontogeny, extant birds can potentially be used to gain important insights into previously unexplored aspects of bipedal non-avian theropod locomotion.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. The evolution of cranial form and function in theropod dinosaurs: insights from geometric morphometrics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brusatte, S L; Sakamoto, M; Montanari, S; Harcourt Smith, W E H

    2012-02-01

    Theropod dinosaurs, an iconic clade of fossil species including Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor, developed a great diversity of body size, skull form and feeding habits over their 160+ million year evolutionary history. Here, we utilize geometric morphometrics to study broad patterns in theropod skull shape variation and compare the distribution of taxa in cranial morphospace (form) to both phylogeny and quantitative metrics of biting behaviour (function). We find that theropod skulls primarily differ in relative anteroposterior length and snout depth and to a lesser extent in orbit size and depth of the cheek region, and oviraptorosaurs deviate most strongly from the "typical" and ancestral theropod morphologies. Noncarnivorous taxa generally fall out in distinct regions of morphospace and exhibit greater overall disparity than carnivorous taxa, whereas large-bodied carnivores independently converge on the same region of morphospace. The distribution of taxa in morphospace is strongly correlated with phylogeny but only weakly correlated with functional biting behaviour. These results imply that phylogeny, not biting function, was the major determinant of theropod skull shape.

  13. An enigmatic plant-eating theropod from the Late Jurassic period of Chile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Novas, Fernando E; Salgado, Leonardo; Suárez, Manuel; Agnolín, Federico L; Ezcurra, Martín D; Chimento, Nicolás R; de la Cruz, Rita; Isasi, Marcelo P; Vargas, Alexander O; Rubilar-Rogers, David

    2015-06-18

    Theropod dinosaurs were the dominant predators in most Mesozoic era terrestrial ecosystems. Early theropod evolution is currently interpreted as the diversification of various carnivorous and cursorial taxa, whereas the acquisition of herbivorism, together with the secondary loss of cursorial adaptations, occurred much later among advanced coelurosaurian theropods. A new, bizarre herbivorous basal tetanuran from the Upper Jurassic of Chile challenges this conception. The new dinosaur was discovered at Aysén, a fossil locality in the Upper Jurassic Toqui Formation of southern Chile (General Carrera Lake). The site yielded abundant and exquisitely preserved three-dimensional skeletons of small archosaurs. Several articulated individuals of Chilesaurus at different ontogenetic stages have been collected, as well as less abundant basal crocodyliforms, and fragmentary remains of sauropod dinosaurs (diplodocids and titanosaurians).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gates, Terry A.; Organ, Chris; Zanno, Lindsay E.

    2016-09-01

    Exaggerated cranial structures such as crests and horns, hereafter referred to collectively as ornaments, are pervasive across animal species. These structures perform vital roles in visual communication and physical interactions within and between species. Yet the origin and influence of ornamentation on speciation and ecology across macroevolutionary time scales remains poorly understood for virtually all animals. Here, we explore correlative evolution of osseous cranial ornaments with large body size in theropod dinosaurs using a phylogenetic comparative framework. We find that body size evolved directionally toward phyletic giantism an order of magnitude faster in theropod species possessing ornaments compared with unadorned lineages. In addition, we find a body mass threshold below which bony cranial ornaments do not originate. Maniraptoriform dinosaurs generally lack osseous cranial ornaments despite repeatedly crossing this body size threshold. Our study provides novel, quantitative support for a shift in selective pressures on socio-sexual display mechanisms in theropods coincident with the evolution of pennaceous feathers.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brink, K S; Reisz, R R; LeBlanc, A R H; Chang, R S; Lee, Y C; Chiang, C C; Huang, T; Evans, D C

    2015-07-28

    Tooth morphology and development can provide valuable insights into the feeding behaviour and evolution of extinct organisms. The teeth of Theropoda, the only clade of predominantly predatory dinosaurs, are characterized by ziphodonty, the presence of serrations (denticles) on their cutting edges. Known today only in varanid lizards, ziphodonty is much more pervasive in the fossil record. Here we present the first model for the development of ziphodont teeth in theropods through histological, SEM, and SR-FTIR analyses, revealing that structures previously hypothesized to prevent tooth breakage instead first evolved to shape and maintain the characteristic denticles through the life of the tooth. We show that this novel complex of dental morphology and tissues characterizes Theropoda, with the exception of species with modified feeding behaviours, suggesting that these characters are important for facilitating the hypercarnivorous diet of most theropods. This adaptation may have played an important role in the initial radiation and subsequent success of theropods as terrestrial apex predators.

  16. Shake a tail feather: the evolution of the theropod tail into a stiff aerodynamic surface.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Pittman

    Full Text Available Theropod dinosaurs show striking morphological and functional tail variation; e.g., a long, robust, basal theropod tail used for counterbalance, or a short, modern avian tail used as an aerodynamic surface. We used a quantitative morphological and functional analysis to reconstruct intervertebral joint stiffness in the tail along the theropod lineage to extant birds. This provides new details of the tail's morphological transformation, and for the first time quantitatively evaluates its biomechanical consequences. We observe that both dorsoventral and lateral joint stiffness decreased along the non-avian theropod lineage (between nodes Theropoda and Paraves. Our results show how the tail structure of non-avian theropods was mechanically appropriate for holding itself up against gravity and maintaining passive balance. However, as dorsoventral and lateral joint stiffness decreased, the tail may have become more effective for dynamically maintaining balance. This supports our hypothesis of a reduction of dorsoventral and lateral joint stiffness in shorter tails. Along the avian theropod lineage (Avialae to crown group birds, dorsoventral and lateral joint stiffness increased overall, which appears to contradict our null expectation. We infer that this departure in joint stiffness is specific to the tail's aerodynamic role and the functional constraints imposed by it. Increased dorsoventral and lateral joint stiffness may have facilitated a gradually improved capacity to lift, depress, and swing the tail. The associated morphological changes should have resulted in a tail capable of producing larger muscular forces to utilise larger lift forces in flight. Improved joint mobility in neornithine birds potentially permitted an increase in the range of lift force vector orientations, which might have improved flight proficiency and manoeuvrability. The tail morphology of modern birds with tail fanning capabilities originated in early ornithuromorph

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  18. Feeding mechanics in spinosaurid theropods and extant crocodilians.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  19. Sizing the Jurassic theropod dinosaur Allosaurus: assessing growth strategy and evolution of ontogenetic scaling of limbs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bybee, Paul J; Lee, Andrew H; Lamm, Ellen-Thérèse

    2006-03-01

    Allosaurus is one of the most common Mesozoic theropod dinosaurs. We present a histological analysis to assess its growth strategy and ontogenetic limb bone scaling. Based on an ontogenetic series of humeral, ulnar, femoral, and tibial sections of fibrolamellar bone, we estimate the ages of the largest individuals in the sample to be between 13-19 years. Growth curve reconstruction suggests that maximum growth occurred at 15 years, when body mass increased 148 kg/year. Based on larger bones of Allosaurus, we estimate an upper age limit of between 22-28 years of age, which is similar to preliminary data for other large theropods. Both Model I and Model II regression analyses suggest that relative to the length of the femur, the lengths of the humerus, ulna, and tibia increase in length more slowly than isometry predicts. That pattern of limb scaling in Allosaurus is similar to those in other large theropods such as the tyrannosaurids. Phylogenetic optimization suggests that large theropods independently evolved reduced humeral, ulnar, and tibial lengths by a phyletic reduction in longitudinal growth relative to the femur.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-25

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roger B J Benson

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Derek W.; Currie, Philip J.

    2013-01-01

    Isolated small theropod teeth are abundant in vertebrate microfossil assemblages, and are frequently used in studies of species diversity in ancient ecosystems. However, determining the taxonomic affinities of these teeth is problematic due to an absence of associated diagnostic skeletal material. Species such as Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Richardoestesia gilmorei, and Saurornitholestes langstoni are known from skeletal remains that have been recovered exclusively from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Campanian). It is therefore likely that teeth from different formations widely disparate in age or geographic position are not referable to these species. Tooth taxa without any associated skeletal material, such as Paronychodon lacustris and Richardoestesia isosceles, have also been identified from multiple localities of disparate ages throughout the Late Cretaceous. To address this problem, a dataset of measurements of 1183 small theropod teeth (the most specimen-rich theropod tooth dataset ever constructed) from North America ranging in age from Santonian through Maastrichtian were analyzed using multivariate statistical methods: canonical variate analysis, pairwise discriminant function analysis, and multivariate analysis of variance. The results indicate that teeth referred to the same taxon from different formations are often quantitatively distinct. In contrast, isolated teeth found in time equivalent formations are not quantitatively distinguishable from each other. These results support the hypothesis that small theropod taxa, like other dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous, tend to be exclusive to discrete host formations. The methods outlined have great potential for future studies of isolated teeth worldwide, and may be the most useful non-destructive technique known of extracting the most data possible from isolated and fragmentary specimens. The ability to accurately assess species diversity and turnover through time based on isolated teeth will help illuminate

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

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    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.

  7. A bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran theropod with preserved evidence of membranous wings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xing; Zheng, Xiaoting; Sullivan, Corwin; Wang, Xiaoli; Xing, Lida; Wang, Yan; Zhang, Xiaomei; O'Connor, Jingmai K; Zhang, Fucheng; Pan, Yanhong

    2015-05-01

    The wings of birds and their closest theropod relatives share a uniform fundamental architecture, with pinnate flight feathers as the key component. Here we report a new scansoriopterygid theropod, Yi qi gen. et sp. nov., based on a new specimen from the Middle-Upper Jurassic period Tiaojishan Formation of Hebei Province, China. Yi is nested phylogenetically among winged theropods but has large stiff filamentous feathers of an unusual type on both the forelimb and hindlimb. However, the filamentous feathers of Yi resemble pinnate feathers in bearing morphologically diverse melanosomes. Most surprisingly, Yi has a long rod-like bone extending from each wrist, and patches of membranous tissue preserved between the rod-like bones and the manual digits. Analogous features are unknown in any dinosaur but occur in various flying and gliding tetrapods, suggesting the intriguing possibility that Yi had membranous aerodynamic surfaces totally different from the archetypal feathered wings of birds and their closest relatives. Documentation of the unique forelimbs of Yi greatly increases the morphological disparity known to exist among dinosaurs, and highlights the extraordinary breadth and richness of the evolutionary experimentation that took place close to the origin of birds.

  8. Cardio-pulmonary anatomy in theropod dinosaurs: Implications from extant archosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quick, Devon E; Ruben, John A

    2009-10-01

    Although crocodilian lung and cardiovascular organs are markedly less specialized than the avian heart and lung air-sac system, all living archosaurs possess four-chambered hearts and heterogeneously vascularized, faveolar lungs. In birds, normal lung function requires extensive, dorsally situated nonvascularized abdominal air-sacs ventilated by an expansive sternum and specially hinged costal ribs. The thin walled and voluminous abdominal air-sacs are supported laterally and caudally to prevent inward (paradoxical) collapse during generation of negative (inhalatory) pressure: the synsacrum, posteriorly directed, laterally open pubes and specialized femoral-thigh complex provide requisite support and largely prevent inhalatory collapse. In comparison, theropod dinosaurs probably lacked similarly enlarged abdominal air-sacs, and skeleto-muscular modifications consistent with their ventilation. In the absence of enlarged, functional abdominal air-sacs, theropods were unlikely to have possessed a specialized bird-like, air-sac lung. The likely absence of bird-like pulmonary function in theropods is inconsistent with suggestions of cardiovascular anatomy more sophisticated than that of modern crocodilians.

  9. Evolution of olfaction in non-avian theropod dinosaurs and birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zelenitsky, Darla K; Therrien, François; Ridgely, Ryan C; McGee, Amanda R; Witmer, Lawrence M

    2011-12-22

    Little is known about the olfactory capabilities of extinct basal (non-neornithine) birds or the evolutionary changes in olfaction that occurred from non-avian theropods through modern birds. Although modern birds are known to have diverse olfactory capabilities, olfaction is generally considered to have declined during avian evolution as visual and vestibular sensory enhancements occurred in association with flight. To test the hypothesis that olfaction diminished through avian evolution, we assessed relative olfactory bulb size, here used as a neuroanatomical proxy for olfactory capabilities, in 157 species of non-avian theropods, fossil birds and living birds. We show that relative olfactory bulb size increased during non-avian maniraptoriform evolution, remained stable across the non-avian theropod/bird transition, and increased during basal bird and early neornithine evolution. From early neornithines through a major part of neornithine evolution, the relative size of the olfactory bulbs remained stable before decreasing in derived neoavian clades. Our results show that, rather than decreasing, the importance of olfaction actually increased during early bird evolution, representing a previously unrecognized sensory enhancement. The relatively larger olfactory bulbs of earliest neornithines, compared with those of basal birds, may have endowed neornithines with improved olfaction for more effective foraging or navigation skills, which in turn may have been a factor allowing them to survive the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

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

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    Lucio M Ibiricu

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-17

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burch, Sara H

    2014-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-07

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Ontogenetic influence on neural spine bifurcation in Diplodocoidea (Dinosauria: Sauropoda): a critical phylogenetic character.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodruff, D Cary; Fowler, Denver W

    2012-07-01

    Within Diplodocoidea (Dinosauria: Sauropoda), phylogenetic position of the three subclades Rebbachisauridae, Dicraeosauridae, and Diplodocidae is strongly influenced by a relatively small number of characters. Neural spine bifurcation, especially within the cervical vertebrae, is considered to be a derived character, with taxa that lack this feature regarded as relatively basal. Our analysis of dorsal and cervical vertebrae from small-sized diplodocoids (representing at least 18 individuals) reveals that neural spine bifurcation is less well developed or absent in smaller specimens. New preparation of the roughly 200-cm long diplodocid juvenile Sauriermuseum Aathal 0009 reveals simple nonbifurcated cervical neural spines, strongly reminiscent of more basal sauropods such as Omeisaurus. An identical pattern of ontogenetically linked bifurcation has also been observed in several specimens of the basal macronarian Camarasaurus, suggesting that this is characteristic of several clades of Sauropoda. We suggest that neural spine bifurcation performs a biomechanical function related to horizontal positioning of the neck that may become significant only at the onset of a larger body size, hence, its apparent absence or weaker development in smaller specimens. These results have significant implications for the taxonomy and phylogenetic position of taxa described from specimens of small body size. On the basis of shallow bifurcation of its cervical and dorsal neural spines, the small diplodocid Suuwassea is more parsimoniously interpreted as an immature specimen of an already recognized diplodocid taxon. Our findings emphasize the view that nonmature dinosaurs often exhibit morphologies more similar to their ancestral state and may therefore occupy a more basal position in phylogenetic analyses than would mature specimens of the same species. In light of this, we stress the need for phylogenetic reanalysis of sauropod clades where vital characters may be ontogenetically

  17. Note on the paleobiogeography of Compsognathidae (Dinosauria: Theropoda and its paleoecological implications

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    MARCOS A.F. SALES

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available The paleobiogeography of the theropod clade Compsognathidae is here reaccessed in order to test the hypothesis of this taxon being adapted specifically to inhabit semi-arid environments. Data about localities where these fossils were collected and their paleoenvironments were gathered from the literature. Compsognathids seem to be found especially in sedimentary deposits known as Fossil Lagerstätten, which were formed under a set of specific conditions that allowed the preservation of the fragile bone remains of these animals. This bias limits an accurate analysis of the historical and/or ecological paleobiogeography of this taxon. Actually, it is possible that compsognathids had an almost worldwide distribution during the Mesozoic Era. Their occurrence in Lower Cretaceous rocks of China suggests that they also inhabited environments with moist conditions instead of being restricted to semi-arid to arid environments.

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

    DEFF Research Database (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...

  19. Tooth loss and alveolar remodeling in Sinosaurus triassicus (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Lower Jurassic strata of the Lufeng Basin, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XING LiDa; BELL Phil R; ROTHSCHILD Bruce M; RAN Hao; ZHANG JianPing; DONG ZhiMing; ZHANG Wei

    2013-01-01

    Pathological or traumatic loss of teeth often results in the resorption and remodeling of the affected alveoli in mammals.However,instances of alveolar remodeling in reptiles are rare.A remodeled alveolus in the maxilla of the Chinese theropod Sinosaurus (Lower Jurassic Lower Lufeng Formation) is the first confirmed example of such dental pathology in a dinosaur.Given the known relationship between feeding behavior and tooth damage in theropods (teeth with spalled enamel,tooth crowns embedded in bone) and the absence of dentary,maxillary,and premaxillary osteomyelitis,traumatic loss of a tooth is most likely the cause of alveolar remodeling.Based on the extent of remodeling,the injury and subsequent tooth loss were non-fatal in this individual.

  20. New Information on the Cranial Anatomy of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis and Its Implications for the Phylogeny of Allosauroidea (Dinosauria: Theropoda)

    OpenAIRE

    Eddy, Drew R.; Julia A. Clarke

    2011-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Allosauroidea has a contentious taxonomic and systematic history. Within this group of theropod dinosaurs, considerable debate has surrounded the phylogenetic position of the large-bodied allosauroid Acrocanthosaurus atokensis from the Lower Cretaceous Antlers Formation of North America. Several prior analyses recover Acrocanthosaurus atokensis as sister taxon to the smaller-bodied Allosaurus fragilis known from North America and Europe, and others nest Acrocanthosaurus atokensis ...

  1. New insights into the lifestyle of Allosaurus (Dinosauria: Theropoda based on another specimen with multiple pathologies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Foth

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Adult large-bodied theropods are often found with numerous pathologies. A large, almost complete, probably adult Allosaurus specimen from the Howe Stephens Quarry, Morrison Formation (Late Kimmeridgian–Early Tithonian, Wyoming, exhibits multiple pathologies. Pathologic bones include the left dentary, two cervical vertebrae, one cervical and several dorsal ribs, the left scapula, the left humerus, the right ischium, and two left pedal phalanges. These pathologies can be classified as follows: the fifth cervical vertebra, the scapula, several ribs and the ischium are probably traumatic, and a callus on the shaft of the left pedal phalanx II-2 is probably traumatic-infectious. Traumatically fractured elements exposed to frequent movement (e.g., the scapula and the ribs show a tendency to develop pseudarthroses instead of a callus. The pathologies in the lower jaw and a reduced extensor tubercle of the left pedal phalanx II-2 are most likely traumatic or developmental in origin. The pathologies on the fourth cervical are most likely developmental in origin or idiopathic, that on the left humerus could be traumatic, developmental, infectious or idiopathic, whereas the left pedal phalanx IV-1 is classified as idiopathic. With exception of the ischium, all as traumatic/traumatic-infectious classified pathologic elements show unambiguous evidences of healing, indicating that the respective pathologies did not cause the death of this individual. Alignment of the scapula and rib pathologies from the left side suggests that all may have been caused by a single traumatic event. The ischial fracture may have been fatal. The occurrence of multiple lesions interpreted as traumatic pathologies again underlines that large-bodied theropods experienced frequent injuries during life, indicating an active predatory lifestyle, and their survival perhaps supports a gregarious behavior for Allosaurus. Alternatively, the frequent survival of traumatic events could be

  2. A new Jurassic theropod from China documents a transitional step in the macrostructure of feathers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lefèvre, Ulysse; Cau, Andrea; Cincotta, Aude; Hu, Dongyu; Chinsamy, Anusuya; Escuillié, François; Godefroit, Pascal

    2017-10-01

    Genuine fossils with exquisitely preserved plumage from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous of northeastern China have recently revealed that bird-like theropod dinosaurs had long pennaceous feathers along their hindlimbs and may have used their four wings to glide or fly. Thus, it has been postulated that early bird flight might initially have involved four wings (Xu et al. Nature 421:335-340, 2003; Hu et al. Nature 461:640-643, 2009; Han et al. Nat Commun 5:4382, 2014). Here, we describe Serikornis sungei gen. et sp. nov., a new feathered theropod from the Tiaojishan Fm (Late Jurassic) of Liaoning Province, China. Its skeletal morphology suggests a ground-dwelling ecology with no flying adaptations. Our phylogenetic analysis places Serikornis, together with other Late Jurassic paravians from China, as a basal paravians, outside the Eumaniraptora clade. The tail of Serikornis is covered proximally by filaments and distally by slender rectrices. Thin symmetrical remiges lacking barbules are attached along its forelimbs and elongate hindlimb feathers extend up to its toes, suggesting that hindlimb remiges evolved in ground-dwelling maniraptorans before being co-opted to an arboreal lifestyle or flight.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-01

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

  4. Phylogenetic eigenvectors and nonstationarity in the evolution of theropod dinosaur skulls.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diniz-Filho, J A F; Alves, D M C C; Villalobos, F; Sakamoto, M; Brusatte, S L; Bini, L M

    2015-07-01

    Despite the long-standing interest in nonstationarity of both phenotypic evolution and diversification rates, only recently have methods been developed to study this property. Here, we propose a methodological expansion of the phylogenetic signal-representation (PSR) curve based on phylogenetic eigenvectors to test for nonstationarity. The PSR curve is built by plotting the coefficients of determination R(2) from phylogenetic eigenvector regression (PVR) models increasing the number of phylogenetic eigenvectors against the accumulated eigenvalues. The PSR curve is linear under a stationary model of trait evolution (i.e. the Brownian motion model). Here we describe the distribution of shifts in the models R(2) and used a randomization procedure to compare observed and simulated shifts along the PSR curve, which allowed detecting nonstationarity in trait evolution. As an applied example, we show that the main evolutionary pattern of variation in the theropod dinosaur skull was nonstationary, with a significant shift in evolutionary rates in derived oviraptorosaurs, an aberrant group of mostly toothless, crested, birdlike theropods. This result is also supported by a recently proposed Bayesian-based method (AUTEUR). A significant deviation between Ceratosaurus and Limusaurus terminal branches was also detected. We purport that our new approach is a valuable tool for evolutionary biologists, owing to its simplicity, flexibility and comprehensiveness.

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

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    Phil Senter

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:27383054

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  9. The first definitive Asian spinosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the early cretaceous of Laos

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allain, Ronan; Xaisanavong, Tiengkham; Richir, Philippe; Khentavong, Bounsou

    2012-05-01

    Spinosaurids are among the largest and most specialized carnivorous dinosaurs. The morphology of their crocodile-like skull, stomach contents, and oxygen isotopic composition of the bones suggest they had a predominantly piscivorous diet. Even if close relationships between spinosaurids and Middle Jurassic megalosaurs seem well established, very little is known about the transition from a generalized large basal tetanuran to the specialized morphology of spinosaurids. Spinosaurid remains were previously known from the Early to Late Cretaceous of North Africa, Europe, and South America. Here, we report the discovery of a new spinosaurid theropod from the late Early Cretaceous Savannakhet Basin in Laos, which is distinguished by an autapomorphic sinusoidal dorsosacral sail. This new taxon, Ichthyovenator laosensis gen. et sp. nov., includes well-preserved and partially articulated postcranial remains. Although possible spinosaurid teeth have been reported from various Early Cretaceous localities in Asia, the new taxon I. laosensis is the first definite record of Spinosauridae from Asia. Cladistic analysis identifies Ichthyovenator as a member of the sub-clade Baryonychinae and suggests a widespread distribution of this clade at the end of the Early Cretaceous. Chilantaisaurus tashouikensis from the Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia, and an ungual phalanx from the Upper Jurassic of Colorado are also referred to spinosaurids, extending both the stratigraphical and geographical range of this clade.

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    A skeleton discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Sierra Barrosa Formation (Turonian-Coniacian) of Neuquén Province, Argentina represents a new species of theropod dinosaur related to the long snouted, highly pneumatized Megaraptoridae. The holotype specimen of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen et n.sp. (MCF-PVPH-411) includes much of the skull, axial skeleton, pelvis and tibia. Murusraptor is unique in having several diagnostic features that include anterodorsal process of lacrimal longer than height of preorbital process, and a thick, shelf-like thickening on the lateral surface of surangular ventral to the groove between the anterior surangular foramen and the insert for the uppermost intramandibular process of the dentary. Other characteristic features of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen. et n. sp.include a large mandibular fenestra, distal ends of caudal neural spines laterally thickened into lateral knob-like processes, short ischia distally flattened and slightly expanded dorsoventrally. Murusraptor belongs to a Patagonian radiation of megaraptorids together with Aerosteon, Megaraptor and Orkoraptor. In spite being immature, it is a larger but more gracile animal than existing specimens of Megaraptor, and is comparable in size with Aerosteon and Orkoraptor. The controversial phylogeny of the Megaraptoridae as members of the Allosauroidea or a clade of Coelurosauria is considered analyzing two alternative data sets. PMID:27439002

  12. Histologic Examination of an Assemblage of Psittacosaurus (Dinosauria: Ceratopsia) Juveniles From the Yixian Formation (Liaoning, China).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bo, Zhao; Hedrick, Brandon P; Chunling, Gao; Tumarkin-Deratzian, Allison R; Fengjiao, Zhang; Caizhi, Shen; Dodson, Peter

    2016-05-01

    Psittacosaurus is one of the most abundant dinosaurs known, which allows for extensive study of its growth and form. Previous studies have evaluated growth trajectories of Psittacosaurus using bone histology. However, we present the first study of Psittacosaurus comparative juvenile histology and describe the histology of Psittacosaurus within its first year of life based on multiple sections taken from an exquisite monospecific assemblage of juveniles from the Yixian Formation in Liaoning, China. Specimens studied had femur lengths ranging from 30 to 36 mm. The five juveniles examined all have similar histologic patterns in the midshaft and epiphyseal regions showing that there is limited plasticity in bone development in juvenile Psittacosaurus and that all of the specimens in the assemblage were likely the same age. The microstructure patterns are compatible with the hypothesis that Psittacosaurus was precocial and that these juveniles were neonates. Based on comparisons with other juvenile ornithischians, juvenile Psittacosaurus had a growth rate similar to Orodromeus, slower than that of Maiasaura, Dysalotosaurus, or hadrosaurs consistent with small body size. Our results support previous studies that demonstrated that the orientation of vascular canals is likely not solely reflective of growth rate, but is also affected by underlying biomechanical, structural processes. The number of studies done on theropod and sauropodomorph histology dwarfs those of ornithischians. More studies of ornithischian histology are necessary in order to better establish phylogenetic trends in microstructure and to learn more about growth in this important clade.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-11-01

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

  14. Reduced plumage and flight ability of a new Jurassic paravian theropod from China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godefroit, Pascal; Demuynck, Helena; Dyke, Gareth; Hu, Dongyu; Escuillié, François; Claeys, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    Feathered theropods were diverse in the Early Cretaceous Jehol Group of western Liaoning Province, China. Recently, anatomically distinct feathered taxa have been discovered in the older Middle-Late Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation in the same region. Phylogenetic hypotheses including these specimens have challenged the pivotal position of Archaeopteryx in bird phylogeny. Here we report a basal troodontid from the Tiaojishan Formation that resembles Anchiornis, also from Jianchang County (regarded as sister-taxa). The feathers of Eosinopteryx are less extensive on the limbs and tail than Anchiornis and other deinonychosaurians. With reduced plumage and short uncurved pedal claws, Eosinopteryx would have been able to run unimpeded (with large foot remiges cursorial locomotion was likely problematic for Anchiornis). Eosinopteryx increases the known diversity of small-bodied dinosaurs in the Jurassic, shows that taxa with similar body plans could occupy different niches in the same ecosystem and suggests a more complex picture for the origin of flight.

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

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    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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland

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

  17. An Immature Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (Dinosauria: Ceratopsidae Nasal Reveals Unexpected Complexity of Craniofacial Ontogeny and Integument in Pachyrhinosaurus.

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    Anthony R Fiorillo

    Full Text Available A new specimen attributable to an immature individual of Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae from the Kikak-Tegoseak Quarry in northern Alaska preserves a mix of features that provides refinement to the sequence of ontogenetic stages and transformations inferred for the development of the nasal boss in Pachyrhinosaurus. The new specimen consists of an incomplete nasal that includes the posterior part of the nasal horn, the dorsal surface between the horn and the left-side contacts for the prefrontal and frontal, and some of the left side of the rostrum posteroventral to the nasal horn. The combination of morphologies in the new specimen suggests either an additional stage of development should be recognized in the ontogeny of the nasal boss of Pachyrhinosaurus, or that the ontogenetic pathway of nasal boss development in P. perotorum was notably different from that of P. lakustai. Additionally, the presence of a distinct basal sulcus and the lateral palisade texture on the nasal horn of the specimen described here indicate that a thick, cornified horn sheath was present well before the formation of a dorsal cornified pad. A separate rugose patch on the nasal well posterior to the nasal horn is evidence for a cornified integumentary structure, most likely a thick cornified pad, on the posterior part of the nasal separate from the nasal horn prior to the onset of nasal boss formation in P. perotorum.

  18. First evidence of dinosaurian secondary cartilage in the post-hatching skull of Hypacrosaurus stebingeri (Dinosauria, Ornithischia.

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    Alida M Bailleul

    Full Text Available Bone and calcified cartilage can be fossilized and preserved for hundreds of millions of years. While primary cartilage is fairly well studied in extant and fossilized organisms, nothing is known about secondary cartilage in fossils. In extant birds, secondary cartilage arises after bone formation during embryonic life at articulations, sutures and muscular attachments in order to accommodate mechanical stress. Considering the phylogenetic inclusion of birds within the Dinosauria, we hypothesized a dinosaurian origin for this "avian" tissue. Therefore, histological thin sectioning was used to investigate secondary chondrogenesis in disarticulated craniofacial elements of several post-hatching specimens of the non-avian dinosaur Hypacrosaurus stebingeri (Ornithischia, Lambeosaurinae. Secondary cartilage was found on three membrane bones directly involved with masticatory function: (1 as nodules on the dorso-caudal face of a surangular; and (2 on the bucco-caudal face of a maxilla; and (3 between teeth as islets in the alveolar processes of a dentary. Secondary chondrogenesis at these sites is consistent with the locations of secondary cartilage in extant birds and with the induction of the cartilage by different mechanical factors - stress generated by the articulation of the quadrate, stress of a ligamentous or muscular insertion, and stress of tooth formation. Thus, our study reveals the first evidence of "avian" secondary cartilage in a non-avian dinosaur. It pushes the origin of this "avian" tissue deep into dinosaurian ancestry, suggesting the creation of the more appropriate term "dinosaurian" secondary cartilage.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas E Williamson

    Full Text Available 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zanno, Lindsay E; Makovicky, Peter J

    2013-01-22

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  6. A new large-bodied oviraptorosaurian theropod dinosaur from the latest Cretaceous of western North America.

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    Matthew C Lamanna

    Full Text Available The oviraptorosaurian theropod dinosaur clade Caenagnathidae has long been enigmatic due to the incomplete nature of nearly all described fossils. Here we describe Anzu wyliei gen. et sp. nov., a new taxon of large-bodied caenagnathid based primarily on three well-preserved partial skeletons. The specimens were recovered from the uppermost Cretaceous (upper Maastrichtian Hell Creek Formation of North and South Dakota, and are therefore among the stratigraphically youngest known oviraptorosaurian remains. Collectively, the fossils include elements from most regions of the skeleton, providing a wealth of information on the osteology and evolutionary relationships of Caenagnathidae. Phylogenetic analysis reaffirms caenagnathid monophyly, and indicates that Anzu is most closely related to Caenagnathus collinsi, a taxon that is definitively known only from a mandible from the Campanian Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta. The problematic oviraptorosaurs Microvenator and Gigantoraptor are recovered as basal caenagnathids, as has previously been suggested. Anzu and other caenagnathids may have favored well-watered floodplain settings over channel margins, and were probably ecological generalists that fed upon vegetation, small animals, and perhaps eggs.

  7. Vertebral Pneumaticity in the Ornithomimosaur Archaeornithomimus (Dinosauria: Theropoda Revealed by Computed Tomography Imaging and Reappraisal of Axial Pneumaticity in Ornithomimosauria.

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    Akinobu Watanabe

    Full Text Available Among extant vertebrates, pneumatization of postcranial bones is unique to birds, with few known exceptions in other groups. Through reduction in bone mass, this feature is thought to benefit flight capacity in modern birds, but its prevalence in non-avian dinosaurs of variable sizes has generated competing hypotheses on the initial adaptive significance of postcranial pneumaticity. To better understand the evolutionary history of postcranial pneumaticity, studies have surveyed its distribution among non-avian dinosaurs. Nevertheless, the degree of pneumaticity in the basal coelurosaurian group Ornithomimosauria remains poorly known, despite their potential to greatly enhance our understanding of the early evolution of pneumatic bones along the lineage leading to birds. Historically, the identification of postcranial pneumaticity in non-avian dinosaurs has been based on examination of external morphology, and few studies thus far have focused on the internal architecture of pneumatic structures inside the bones. Here, we describe the vertebral pneumaticity of the ornithomimosaur Archaeornithomimus with the aid of X-ray computed tomography (CT imaging. Complementary examination of external and internal osteology reveals (1 highly pneumatized cervical vertebrae with an elaborate configuration of interconnected chambers within the neural arch and the centrum; (2 anterior dorsal vertebrae with pneumatic chambers inside the neural arch; (3 apneumatic sacral vertebrae; and (4 a subset of proximal caudal vertebrae with limited pneumatic invasion into the neural arch. Comparisons with other theropod dinosaurs suggest that ornithomimosaurs primitively exhibited a plesiomorphic theropod condition for axial pneumaticity that was extended among later taxa, such as Archaeornithomimus and large bodied Deinocheirus. This finding corroborates the notion that evolutionary increases in vertebral pneumaticity occurred in parallel among independent lineages of bird

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Senter, Phil; Juengst, Sara L

    2016-01-01

    Bone abnormalities are common in theropod dinosaur skeletons, but before now no specimen was known with more than four afflicted bones of the pectoral girdle and/or forelimb. Here we describe the pathology of a specimen of the theropod dinosaur Dilophosaurus wetherilli with eight afflicted bones of the pectoral girdle and forelimb. On its left side the animal has a fractured scapula and radius and large fibriscesses in the ulna and the proximal thumb phalanx. On its right side the animal has abnormal torsion of the humeral shaft, bony tumors on the radius, a truncated distal articular surface of metacarpal III, and angular deformities of the first phalanx of the third finger. Healing and remodeling indicates that the animal survived for months and possibly years after its ailments began, but its right third finger was permanently deformed and lacked the capability of flexion. The deformities of the humerus and the right third finger may be due to developmental osteodysplasia, a condition known in extant birds but unreported in non-avian dinosaurs before now.

  10. Functional variation of neck muscles and their relation to feeding style in Tyrannosauridae and other large theropod dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Snively, Eric; Russell, Anthony P

    2007-08-01

    Reconstructed neck muscles of large theropod dinosaurs suggest influences on feeding style that paralleled variation in skull mechanics. In all examined theropods, the head dorsiflexor m. transversospinalis capitis probably filled in the posterior dorsal concavity of the neck, for a more crocodilian- than avian-like profile in this region. The tyrannosaurine tyrannosaurids Daspletosaurus and Tyrannosaurus had relatively larger moment arms for latero-flexion by m. longissimus capitis superficialis and m. complexus than albertosaurine tyrannosaurids, and longer dorsiflexive moment arms for m. complexus. Areas of dorsiflexor origination are significantly larger relative to neck length in adult Tyrannosaurus rex than in other tyrannosaurids, suggesting relatively large muscle cross-sections and forces. Tyrannosaurids were not particularly specialized for neck ventro-flexion. In contrast, the hypothesis that Allosaurus co-opted m. longissimus capitis superficialis for ventro-flexion is strongly corroborated. Ceratosaurus had robust insertions for the ventro-flexors m. longissimus capitis profundus and m. rectus capitis ventralis. Neck muscle morphology is consistent with puncture-and-pull and powerful shake feeding in tyrannosaurids, relatively rapid strikes in Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus, and ventroflexive augmentation of weaker jaw muscle forces in the non tyrannosaurids. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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

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    Lida Xing

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

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

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    van Heteren, Anneke H.; Wings, Oliver

    2016-01-01

    A profound understanding of the influence of trackmaker anatomy, foot movements and substrate properties is crucial for any interpretation of fossil tracks. In this case study we analyze variability of footprint shape within one large theropod (T3), one medium-sized theropod (T2) and one ornithopod (I1) trackway from the Lower Cretaceous of Münchehagen (Lower Saxony, Germany) in order to determine the informativeness of individual features and measurements for ichnotaxonomy, trackmaker identification, and the discrimination between left and right footprints. Landmark analysis is employed based on interpretative outline drawings derived from photogrammetric data, allowing for the location of variability within the footprint and the assessment of covariation of separate footprint parts. Objective methods to define the margins of a footprint are tested and shown to be sufficiently accurate to reproduce the most important results. The lateral hypex and the heel are the most variable regions in the two theropod trackways. As indicated by principal component analysis, a posterior shift of the lateral hypex is correlated with an anterior shift of the margin of the heel. This pattern is less pronounced in the ornithopod trackway, indicating that variation patterns can differ in separate trackways. In all trackways, hypices vary independently from each other, suggesting that their relative position a questionable feature for ichnotaxonomic purposes. Most criteria commonly employed to differentiate between left and right footprints assigned to theropods are found to be reasonably reliable. The described ornithopod footprints are asymmetrical, again allowing for a left–right differentiation. Strikingly, 12 out of 19 measured footprints of the T2 trackway are stepped over the trackway midline, rendering the trackway pattern a misleading left–right criterion for this trackway. Traditional measurements were unable to differentiate between the theropod and the ornithopod

  13. New information on Nqwebasaurus thwazi, a coelurosaurian theropod from the Early Cretaceous Kirkwood Formation in South Africa

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    Choiniere, Jonah N.; Forster, Catherine A.; de Klerk, William J.

    2012-08-01

    We performed additional preparation on the holotype skeleton of Nqwebasaurus thwazi and discovered new skeletal material. We describe this material, which includes a maxilla with small, conical, unserrated teeth and bones of the braincase, as well as parts of the holotype postcranial anatomy that were previously poorly documented. We incorporate this new anatomical information into a broadly sampled matrix designed to test theropod relationships. Our phylogenetic results hypothesize that Nqwebasaurus is the basalmost ornithomimosaur, and recover numerous characters supporting this relationship, including features of the maxilla, frontal, dentition, axial skeleton, forelimb and hindlimb. Nqwebasaurus is the first African ornithomimosaur and the first Gondwanan member of this group known from articulated skeletal material, supporting the hypothesis that coelurosaurian groups were cosmopolitan during their early evolutionary history. The presence of reduced dentition and a gastric mill in Nqwebasaurus strongly suggest that this taxon was herbivorous.

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

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    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. 

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

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    Lindsay E Zanno

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: 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. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: 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

  16. New information on the cranial anatomy of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis and its implications for the phylogeny of Allosauroidea (Dinosauria: Theropoda.

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    Drew R Eddy

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Allosauroidea has a contentious taxonomic and systematic history. Within this group of theropod dinosaurs, considerable debate has surrounded the phylogenetic position of the large-bodied allosauroid Acrocanthosaurus atokensis from the Lower Cretaceous Antlers Formation of North America. Several prior analyses recover Acrocanthosaurus atokensis as sister taxon to the smaller-bodied Allosaurus fragilis known from North America and Europe, and others nest Acrocanthosaurus atokensis within Carcharodontosauridae, a large-bodied group of allosauroids that attained a cosmopolitan distribution during the Early Cretaceous. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Re-evaluation of a well-preserved skull of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis (NCSM 14345 provides new information regarding the palatal complex and inner surfaces of the skull and mandible. Previously inaccessible internal views and articular surfaces of nearly every element of the skull are described. Twenty-four new morphological characters are identified as variable in Allosauroidea, combined with 153 previously published characters, and evaluated for eighteen terminal taxa. Systematic analysis of this dataset recovers a single most parsimonious topology placing Acrocanthosaurus atokensis as a member of Allosauroidea, in agreement with several recent analyses that nest the taxon well within Carcharodontosauridae. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: A revised diagnosis of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis finds that the species is distinguished by four primary characters, including: presence of a knob on the lateral surangular shelf; enlarged posterior surangular foramen; supraoccipital protruding as a double-boss posterior to the nuchal crest; and pneumatic recess within the medial surface of the quadrate. Furthermore, the recovered phylogeny more closely agrees with the stratigraphic record than hypotheses that place Acrocanthosaurus atokensis as more closely related to Allosaurus fragilis. Fitch optimization

  17. Teeth of Abelisauridae and Carcharodontosauridae cf. (Theropoda, Dinosauria from the Campanian-Maastrichtian Presidente Prudente Formation (Southwestern São Paulo State, Brazil

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    Furtado, M. R.

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Isolated theropod teeth referable to Abelisauridae indet., and Carcharodontosauridae cf., from the Campanian-Maastrichtian Presidente Prudente Formation of the western São Paulo State, Brazil, are described. They are compared to the Late Cretaceous Gondwanan theropod dinosaur teeth and their affinities are discussed. These teeth are significant because carnivorous dinosaur remains are poorly known from the Late Cretaceous beds of Western São Paulo State except for a few isolated elements.Se describen dientes aislados de terópodos referidos a Abelisauridae indet. y Carcharodontosauridae cf., procedentes de la Formación Presidente Prudente del Campaniano-Maastrichtiano, en el oeste del estado de San Pablo, Brasil. Los materiales son comparados con dientes de dinosaurios gondwánicos del Cretácico tardío, y cuyas afinidades son aquí discutidas. Estos dientes de dinosaurios carnívoros son significativos debido a que su presencia es pobremente conocida en el Cretácico tardío del oeste del estado del San Pablo, excepto por unos pocos huesos.

  18. An exquisitely preserved troodontid theropod with new information on the palatal structure from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsuihiji, Takanobu; Barsbold, Rinchen; Watabe, Mahito; Tsogtbaatar, Khishigjav; Chinzorig, Tsogtbaatar; Fujiyama, Yoshito; Suzuki, Shigeru

    2014-02-01

    Troodontidae is a clade of small-bodied theropod dinosaurs. A new troodontid, Gobivenator mongoliensis gen. et sp. nov., is described based on the most complete skeleton of a Late Cretaceous member of this clade presently known, from the Campanian Djadokhta Formation in the central Gobi Desert. G. mongoliensis is different from other troodontids in possessing a pointed anterior end of the fused parietal and a fossa on the surangular in front of the posterior surangular foramen. The skull was superbly preserved in the specimen and provides detailed information of the entire configuration of the palate in Troodontidae. Overall morphology of the palate in Gobivenator resembles those of dromaeosaurids and Archaeopteryx, showing an apparent trend of elongation of the pterygoid process of the palatine and reduction of the pterygopalatine suture toward the basal Avialae. The palatal configuration suggests that the skull of Gobivenator would have been akinetic but had already acquired prerequisites for later evolution of cranial kinesis in birds, such as the loss of the epipterygoid and reduction in contact areas among bones.

  19. The “χ” of the Matter: Testing the Relationship between Paleoenvironments and Three Theropod Clades

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    Sales, Marcos A. F.; Lacerda, Marcel B.; Horn, Bruno L. D.; de Oliveira, Isabel A. P.; Schultz, Cesar L.

    2016-01-01

    The view of spinosaurs as dinosaurs of semi-aquatic habits and strongly associated with marginal and coastal habitats are deeply rooted in both scientific and popular knowledge, but it was never statistically tested. Inspired by a previous analysis of other dinosaur clades and major paleoenvironmental categories, here we present our own statistical evaluation of the association between coastal and terrestrial paleoenvironments and spinosaurids, along with other two theropod taxa: abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids. We also included a taphonomic perspective and classified the occurrences in categories related to potential biases in order to better address our interpretations. Our main results can be summarized as follows: 1) the taxon with the largest amount of statistical evidence showing it positively associated to coastal paleoenvironments is Spinosauridae; 2) abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids had more statistical evidence showing them positively associated with terrestrial paleoenvironments; 3) it is likely that spinosaurids also occupied spatially inland areas in a way somehow comparable at least to carcharodontosaurids; 4) abelisaurids may have been more common than the other two taxa in inland habitats. PMID:26829315

  20. Stable oxygen isotopes from theropod dinosaur tooth enamel: interlaboratory comparison of results and analytical interference by reference standards.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Straight, William H; Karr, Jonathan D; Cox, Julia E; Barrick, Reese E

    2004-01-01

    ('biophosphate') stable isotope research with caution, seasonal variations in enamel phosphate delta18O are a paleoecologically valuable, reproducible phenomenon in theropod dinosaur teeth. 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  1. INSIGHT ON THE THEROPOD FAUNA FROM THE UBERABA FORMATION (BAURU GROUP, MINAS GERAIS STATE: NEW MEGARAPTORAN SPECIMEN FROM THE LATE CRETACEOUS OF BRAZIL

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    AGUSTÍN G. MARTINELLI

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available The first bony theropod record from the Campanian Uberaba Formation (Bauru Group is described. It consists of an isolated caudal centrum (CPPLIP 1324 found in the city of Uberaba, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. The amphicoelous centrum possesses a length to height ratio of 1.74, deep elliptical lateral pneumatic foramen representing 26% of centrum length with three main sub-circular air chambers, andcamellate internal structure.This combination of features is shared with Aerosteon, Megaraptor, and Orkoraptor from the Late Cretaceous of Argentinaand with the Megaraptora indet. fromthe São José do Rio Preto Formation (Bauru Group, São Paulo State,allowing us to refer it to the Megaraptora clade (Tetanurae, Neovenatoridae. As such, the new specimen represents the second megaraptoran from the Late Cretaceous of Brazil and provides new information on tail anatomy on this bizarre group. 

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hendrickx, Christophe; Mateus, Octávio

    2014-01-01

    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.

  4. Découverte de pistes de dinosaures théropodes dans le Lias inférieur des environs de Figeac (Lot)First record of theropod dinosaur trackways from the Lower Jurassic of Figeac (Lot, France).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange-Badré, Brigitte; Lafon, Jean-Paul

    2000-03-01

    For the first time, dinosaur trackways were recorded from the Lower Jurassic near Figeac (Lot, France). All the footprints were tridactyl and were made clearly by animals walking bipedally, probably theropods. These prints, with a longer length than width, have broad and short digits with phalangeal pads and small claws. They are assigned to the ichnogenus Eubrontes. The footprints exposed on limestone hardground, overlying the Latest Hettangian dolomies, are dated to Lower Sinemurian.

  5. A reappraisal of the morphology and systematic position of the theropod dinosaur Sigilmassasaurus from the “middle” Cretaceous of Morocco

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    Serjoscha W. Evers

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis is an enigmatic theropod dinosaur from the early Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian of Morocco, originally based on a few isolated cervical vertebrae. Ever since its original description, both its taxonomic validity and systematic affinities were contentious. Originally considered to represent its own family, Sigilmassasauridae, the genus has variously been suggested to represent a carcharodontosaurid, an ornithischian, and, more recently, a spinosaurid. Here we describe new remains referrable to this taxon and re-evaluate its taxonomic status and systematic affinities. Based on the new remains, a re-evaluation of the original materials, and comparisons with other spinosaurids, the holotype of Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis is identified as an anterior dorsal, rather than a cervical vertebra, and differences between elements referred to this taxon can be explained by different positions of the elements in question within the vertebral column. Many characters used previously to diagnose the genus and species are found to be more widespread among basal tetanurans, and specifically spinosaurids. However, the taxon shows several autapomorphies that support its validity, including the presence of a strongly rugose, ventrally offset triangular platform that is confluent with a ventral keel anteriorly in the mid-cervical vertebral centra and a strongly reduced lateral neural arch lamination, with no or an incomplete distinction between anterior and posterior centrodiapophyseal laminae in the posterior cervical and anterior dorsal vertebrae. We argue furthermore that Spinosaurus maroccanus, also described on the basis of isolated cervical vertebrae from the same stratigraphic unit and in the same paper as Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis, is a subjective synonym of the latter. Both a detailed comparison of this taxon with other theropods and a formal phylogenetic analysis support spinosaurid affintities for Sigilmassasaurus. However, we

  6. A reappraisal of the morphology and systematic position of the theropod dinosaur Sigilmassasaurus from the “middle” Cretaceous of Morocco

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rauhut, Oliver W.M.; Milner, Angela C.; McFeeters, Bradley; Allain, Ronan

    2015-01-01

    Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis is an enigmatic theropod dinosaur from the early Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian) of Morocco, originally based on a few isolated cervical vertebrae. Ever since its original description, both its taxonomic validity and systematic affinities were contentious. Originally considered to represent its own family, Sigilmassasauridae, the genus has variously been suggested to represent a carcharodontosaurid, an ornithischian, and, more recently, a spinosaurid. Here we describe new remains referrable to this taxon and re-evaluate its taxonomic status and systematic affinities. Based on the new remains, a re-evaluation of the original materials, and comparisons with other spinosaurids, the holotype of Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis is identified as an anterior dorsal, rather than a cervical vertebra, and differences between elements referred to this taxon can be explained by different positions of the elements in question within the vertebral column. Many characters used previously to diagnose the genus and species are found to be more widespread among basal tetanurans, and specifically spinosaurids. However, the taxon shows several autapomorphies that support its validity, including the presence of a strongly rugose, ventrally offset triangular platform that is confluent with a ventral keel anteriorly in the mid-cervical vertebral centra and a strongly reduced lateral neural arch lamination, with no or an incomplete distinction between anterior and posterior centrodiapophyseal laminae in the posterior cervical and anterior dorsal vertebrae. We argue furthermore that Spinosaurus maroccanus, also described on the basis of isolated cervical vertebrae from the same stratigraphic unit and in the same paper as Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis, is a subjective synonym of the latter. Both a detailed comparison of this taxon with other theropods and a formal phylogenetic analysis support spinosaurid affintities for Sigilmassasaurus. However, we reject the recently

  7. Abelisauroidea e Carcharodontosauridae (Theropoda,Dinosauria na América do Sul durante do Cretáceo. Implicações Paleogeográficas e Geocronológicas

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    Agustín Guillermo Martinelli

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available In this contribution an up-to-date list of abelisauroid ceratosaurians and carcharodontosauridallosaurians recognized in South America is presented. Abelisauroids and carcharodontosauridsin South America show rich species diversity and a wide range of temporal and geographicaldistribution. At least eight formally described species of Abelisauroidea are recognized in Argen-tina and only one in Brazil; in contrast, only one species of Carcharodontosauridae is known forall South America. The fossil record of abelisauroids and carcharodontosaurids in South Americashows a dominance of abelisauroids in the upper late Cretaceous, while the dominance ofcarcharodontosaurids as large predators was during the Cenomanian-Turonian. Although knowl-edge of the evolution of Abelisauroidea and Carcharodontasauridae in South America, as well asin the rest of Gondwana is still far for being complete, intensive explorations in recent years haveprovided greater insight into the composition of theropod faunas in the Cretaceous of Gondwana.

  8. A probable crouching theropod dinosaur trace from the Tuchengzi Formation in Chichengarea, Hebei Province, China%河北赤城地区土城子组中一例极可能的兽脚类恐龙蹲伏迹

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邢立达; 杰勒德D.杰尔林斯基; 杰瑞德D.哈里斯; 朱利安D.迪维

    2012-01-01

    描述了河北省赤城县寺梁山土城子(后城)组一例极可能的兽脚类恐龙蹲伏迹及相关的足迹,该蹲伏迹也是该组地层目前发现的最大的兽脚类足迹.虽然缺乏前足迹和尾迹,但因保存了左跖骨印、关联的坐骨及可能的耻骨胼胝印被定为蹲伏迹.该蹲伏迹是世界上第三例非对称的兽脚类恐龙蹲伏迹.%A probable theropod dinosaur crouching trace and associated tracks from the Tuchengzi (Houcheng) Formation of Siliang Mountain,Chicheng County,Hebei Province,China are the largest theropod tracks currently known from the formation.Although the crouching trace lacks manus and tail marks,the traces are interpreted as made by a crouching theropod because they include a left metatarsal impression and associated ischial,and possibly pubic,callosity traces.This represents the third known example of an asymmetric crouching position adopted by a theropod.

  9. A NEW OCCURRENCE OF SMALL THEROPOD TRACKS IN THE HOUCHENG (TUCHENGZI) FORMATION OF HEBEI PROVINCE, CHINA%记河北省后城组新发现之小型兽脚类足迹

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    舒柯文; 洪大卫; 提姆·科普; 刘阳; 刘俊

    2009-01-01

    Small theropod footprints have been known from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary strata of northeastern China for several decades, although these ichnofossils have been overshadowed by the feathered dinosaurs and other body fossils from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province. This paper describes a sample of several theropod footprints from a coarse fluvial deposit at Nanshuangmiao, in the lowermost Houcheng (Tuchengzi) Formation of Hebei Province. The Nanshuangmiao tracks exhibit a tridactyl, pachydactylous morphology corresponding to classic "brontozoid" ichnites (Grallator, Anchisauripus and Eubrontes) from the Lower Jurassic of the United States of America. Although many brontozoid tracks from the roughly equivalent Tuchengzi of Liaoning have been previously assigned to the small ichnogenus Grallator, as G. ssatoi, the Nanshuangmiao trcks are larger (up to 28.8 cm total length) and are probably referable to Anchisauripus. The Nanshuangmiao tracks were most likely produced by small theropods travelling in a group. Of the abundant theropod taxa known from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning, the small oviraptorosaur Caudipteryx is the most plausible trackmaker, but this interpretation remains uncertain because of a lack of diagnostic features in the tracks and because of the temporal and geographic gap between the Houcheng of Hebei and the Yixian of Liaoning.%几十年前人们就已经开始研究中国东北侏罗纪-白垩纪界线附近地层中的小型兽脚类恐龙足迹,虽然这些遗迹化石比辽宁省义县组带羽毛的恐龙及其他实体化石逊色了许多.本文记述了河北省承德南双庙后城组(土城子组)最下部河流相沉积中发现的一组兽脚类恐龙足迹.南双庙足迹具有三趾,趾粗大,其形态与美国下侏罗统经典的"brontozoid"足迹(Gral-lator,Anchisauripus和Eubrontes)相符.虽然许多产自辽宁土城子组中基本同时的brontozoid足迹被鉴定为小型的跷脚龙足迹属(Grallator),但南

  10. 中国四川盆地南缘白垩纪中期的非鸟兽脚类行迹%MID-CRETACEOUS NON-AVIAN THEROPOD TRACKWAYS FROM THE SOUTHERN MARGIN OF THE SICHUAN BASIN,CHINA

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邢立达; 杰瑞德D哈里斯; 杰勒德D杰尔林斯基; 王伟铭; 王智勇; 李大庆

    2011-01-01

    Here we describe seven non-avian theropod trackways from the Baoyuan track site in the mid-Cretaceous Wotoushan Formation (Jiaguan Formation)in the Chishui area,Guizhou Province,China.Preliminary palynological analysis indicates Late Cretaceous age not earlier than Cenomanian at the oldest.Footprints at the site pertain to cf.Irenesauripus isp.Most tracks preserve partial metatarsal pads that are not distinct from their respective metatarsophalangeal regions.Several elongate digit impressions may indicate that digit Ⅱ of the track maker possessed a long claw,longer than on any of the other digits.Most notably,the Wotoushan (Jiaguan)fauna lacks sauropod sand is dominated instead by theropods and ornithopods.%描述中国贵州赤水地区白垩纪中期窝头山组(夹关组)宝源足迹点的七道非鸟兽脚类行迹.尽管统计的样本不甚充足,但足迹所在岩层的孢粉初步分析结果表明其时代可新至晚白垩世(最晚可晚于Cenomanian阶).这批足迹被归入似和平河足迹未定种(cf.Irenesauripus isp.),大多数足迹的跖趾垫区域保存了不同大小的跖骨垫.一些延长的趾痕则可能暗示着其造迹者的第二趾拥有一个超过其它趾的长爪.足迹化石显示窝头山组(夹关组)所含动物群缺乏蜥脚类,而以兽脚类和鸟脚类为主.

  11. Earliest records of theropod and mammal-like tetrapod footprints in the Upper Triassic of Sichuan Basin, China%四川盆地上三叠统最古老的兽脚类恐龙和似哺乳四足类动物足迹

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邢立达; Hendrik KLEIN; Martin G.LOCKLEY; 王仕莉; 陈伟; 叶勇; 松川正树; 张建平

    2013-01-01

    Eubrontes-and Grallator-sized theropod footprints are known from two localities in the Upper Triassic Xujiahe Formation of the Sichuan Basin,southwest China.The larger footprints include a partial trackway with two successive pes imprints that were named as Pengxianpus cifengensis.Compared with robust Eubrontes,they have slender digits,less welldefined pad impressions and display a wider digit divarication similar to the theropod ichnotaxon Kayentapus from the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic.Presently,a synonymy of the latter cannot be proved conclusively and the ichnotaxon is retained here.For both footprints,some small areas preserve skin texture with polygonal scales,the clearest preservation is in a small area on the metatarsal-phalangeal pad Ⅳ of the second imprint.The smaller theropod footprints are also part of an incomplete trackway.They show a wide digit divarication similar to Kayentapus and Pengxianpus but they are here tentatively referred to theropod footprints indet.A peculiarity on the surface with Pengxianpus is the presence of small pes or manus imprints that can be assigned to mammal-like tetrapods somewhat similar to those known from Triassic-Jurassic strata of North America and southern Africa.This is the first report of mammal-like footprints in the Triassic of southeastern Asia.%四川盆地须家河组地层已发现了两处兽脚类恐龙足迹化石点,其大小分别与实雷龙足迹(Eubrontes)和跷脚龙足迹(Grallator)相仿.其中与实雷龙足迹大小相近的足迹包括了两个连续的后足迹,并构成行迹的一部分,已被命名为磁峰彭县足迹(Pengxianpus cifengensis).与粗壮的实雷龙足迹相比,彭县足迹有着较细长的脚趾、保存尚清晰的趾垫、较宽的趾间角,这些特征都与晚三叠世-早侏罗世的卡岩塔足迹(Kayentapus)相似.目前尚不能证明彭县足迹和卡岩塔足迹属于同物异名,彭县足迹仍然被保留.两个足迹的部分区域都保存有皮肤纹理和

  12. Two theropod track assemblages from the Jurassic of Chongqing, China, and the Jurassic Stratigraphy of Sichuan Basin%重庆晚侏罗世两处兽脚类足迹组合与四川盆地侏罗纪地层

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邢立达; Martin G.LOCKLEY; 陈伟; Gerard D.GIERLI(N)SKI; 李建军; W.Scott PERSONSIV; 松川正树; 叶勇; Murray K.GINGRAS

    2013-01-01

    the Shangshaximiao Formation.The fourth site (Chengyu),so far not accessible to the present authors,is not described.The Nan'an site,and type locality of Chongqingpus nananensis,has yielded a large sample of theropod tracks from the heart of Chongqing Municipality,at a site that has been lost in the urban development.Fortunately the sample is preserved at Chongqing Museum of Natural History and has been studied independently on two occasions to produce the results presented here.C.nananensis is a medium-sized track (mean track length ~29 cm) that may best be accommodated in ichngenus Kayentapus,and may in some cases preserve ill-defined hallux traces.Associated tracks are attributed to cf.Anomoepus.Other smaller ichnospecies from other localities outside Chongqing municipality,and from older middle Middle Jurassic formations,were previously assigned to ichnogenus Grallator.The Jinji site has yielded a single long theropod trackway of a robust form tentatively labeled cf.Therangospodus.This Jinji trackway also provides intermittent evidence of a hallux.Although theropod tracks are becoming increasingly well-known in the Jurassic sections of Chongqing Municipality,the Sichuan Basin and the broader region,determining their precise age and assigning them to valid ichnotaxa remain challenging.This is because Jurassic theropod tracks,despite being abundant,show a continuous range of morphological,and preservational variation that is difficult to define and differentiate in space and time.

  13. Revision of Amygdalodon patagonicus Cabrera, 1947 (Dinosauria, Sauropoda

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. W. M. Rauhut

    2003-01-01

    Full Text Available The type material of the oldest known sauropod dinosaur from South America, Amygdalodon patagonicus, from the Cerro Carnerero Formation (Toarcian-Bajocian of Chubut province. Argentina, is reviewed. The material includes elements of at least two individuals plus a remain of another, indeterminate vertebrate, and a posterior dorsal vertebra is designated as the lectotype of Amygdalodon. All of the sauropod material originally referred to this species represents very basal, non-neosauropodan eusauropods. Amygdalodon is the only South American evidence for a probable Early to early Middle Jurassic global dispersal of basal eusauropodan sauropods. Das Typusmaterial des ältesten südamerikanische sauropoden Dinosauriers. Amygdalodon patagonicus von der Cerro Carnerero Formation (Toarc-Bajoc der Provinz Chubut, Argentinien, wird revidiert. Das Material enthält Elemente von mindestens zwei Individuen sowie eines anderen, nicht identifizierbaren Wirbeltieres. Ein hinterer Dorsalwirbel wird als Lektotypus von Amygdalodon bestimmt. Das gesamte ursprünglich zu diesem Taxon gestellte Sauropodenmaterial repräsentiert sehr basale Eusauropoden außerhalb der Neosauropoda. Amygdalodon ist der einzige südamerikanische Hinweis auf eine vermutlich globale Verbreitung der Eusauropoden im unteren bis frühen mittleren Jura. doi:10.1002/mmng.20030060110

  14. Phylogeny of basal iguanodonts (Dinosauria: Ornithischia: an update.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew T McDonald

    Full Text Available The precise phylogenetic relationships of many non-hadrosaurid members of Iguanodontia, i.e., basal iguanodonts, have been unclear. Therefore, to investigate the global phylogeny of basal iguanodonts a comprehensive data matrix was assembled, including nearly every valid taxon of basal iguanodont. The matrix was analyzed in the program TNT, and the maximum agreement subtree of the resulting most parsimonious trees was then calculated in PAUP. Ordering certain multistate characters and omitting taxa through safe taxonomic reduction did not markedly improve resolution. The results provide some new information on the phylogeny of basal iguanodonts, pertaining especially to obscure or recently described taxa, and support some recent taxonomic revisions, such as the splitting of traditional "Camptosaurus" and "Iguanodon". The maximum agreement subtree also shows a close relationship between the Asian Probactrosaurus gobiensis and the North American Eolambia, supporting the previous hypothesis of faunal interchange between Asia and North America in the early Late Cretaceous. Nevertheless, the phylogenetic relationships of many basal iguanodonts remain ambiguous due to the high number of taxa removed from the maximum agreement subtree and poor resolution of consensus trees.

  15. Phylogeny of basal iguanodonts (Dinosauria: Ornithischia): an update.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDonald, Andrew T

    2012-01-01

    The precise phylogenetic relationships of many non-hadrosaurid members of Iguanodontia, i.e., basal iguanodonts, have been unclear. Therefore, to investigate the global phylogeny of basal iguanodonts a comprehensive data matrix was assembled, including nearly every valid taxon of basal iguanodont. The matrix was analyzed in the program TNT, and the maximum agreement subtree of the resulting most parsimonious trees was then calculated in PAUP. Ordering certain multistate characters and omitting taxa through safe taxonomic reduction did not markedly improve resolution. The results provide some new information on the phylogeny of basal iguanodonts, pertaining especially to obscure or recently described taxa, and support some recent taxonomic revisions, such as the splitting of traditional "Camptosaurus" and "Iguanodon". The maximum agreement subtree also shows a close relationship between the Asian Probactrosaurus gobiensis and the North American Eolambia, supporting the previous hypothesis of faunal interchange between Asia and North America in the early Late Cretaceous. Nevertheless, the phylogenetic relationships of many basal iguanodonts remain ambiguous due to the high number of taxa removed from the maximum agreement subtree and poor resolution of consensus trees.

  16. Pelvic and hind limb musculature of Staurikosaurus pricei (Dinosauria: Saurischia

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    Orlando N. Grillo

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available The study of pelvic and hind limb bones and muscles in basal dinosaurs is important for understanding the early evolution of bipedal locomotion in the group. The use of data from both extant and extinct taxa placed into a phylogenetic context allowed to make well-supported inferences concerning most of the hind limb musculature of the basal saurischian Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970 (Santa Maria Formation, Late Triassic of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Two large concavities in the lateral surface of the ilium represent the origin of the muscles iliotrochantericus caudalis plus iliofemoralis externus (in the anterior concavity and iliofibularis (in the posterior concavity. Muscle ambiens has only one head and originates from the pubic tubercle. The origin of puboischiofemoralis internus 1 possibly corresponds to a fossa in the ventral margin of the pré-acetabular iliac process. This could represent an intermediate stage prior to the origin of a true pré-acetabular fossa. Muscles caudofemorales longus et brevis were likely well developed, and Staurikosaurus is unique in bearing a posteriorly projected surface for the origin of caudofemoralis brevis.O estudo da musculatura pelvica e do membro posterior em dinossauros basais e importante para entender a evolução inicial do bipedalismo em dinossauros Saurischia. Empregando uma metodologia que tem como base dados obtidos a partir de taxons viventes e extintos posicionados em um contexto filogenetico, foi possivel fazer inferencias bem suportadas relativas a maior parte dos musculos do membro posterior do dinossauro Saurischia basal Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970 (Formação Santa Maria, Triassico Superior do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Duas grandes concavidades na superficie lateral do ilio correspondem a origem dos musculos iliotrochantericus caudalis e iliofeoralis externus (compartilhando a concavidade anterior e para o musculo iliofibularis (na concavidade posterior. O musculo ambiens apresenta apenas um ramo que se origina no tuberculo pubico. A origem provavel do musculo puboischiofemoralis internus 1 esta localizada numa fossa na margem ventral do processo pré-acetabular do ilio, representando um estagio anterior a formacão da verdadeira fossa pré-acetabular. Os musculos caudofemorales longus et brevis sao bem desenvolvidos e Staurikosaurus e unico por apresentar a superficie de origem do musculo caudofeoralis brevis projetada e expandida posteriormente.

  17. Pelvic and hind limb musculature of Staurikosaurus pricei (Dinosauria: Saurischia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grillo, Orlando N; Azevedo, Sergio A K

    2011-03-01

    The study of pelvic and hind limb bones and muscles in basal dinosaurs is important for understanding the early evolution of bipedal locomotion in the group. The use of data from both extant and extinct taxa placed into a phylogenetic context allowed to make well-supported inferences concerning most of the hind limb musculature of the basal saurischian Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970 (Santa Maria Formation, Late Triassic of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). Two large concavities in the lateral surface of the ilium represent the origin of the muscles iliotrochantericus caudalis plus iliofemoralis externus (in the anterior concavity) and iliofibularis (in the posterior concavity). Muscle ambiens has only one head and originates from the pubic tubercle. The origin of puboischiofemoralis internus 1 possibly corresponds to a fossa in the ventral margin of the pré-acetabular iliac process. This could represent an intermediate stage prior to the origin of a true pré-acetabular fossa. Muscles caudofemorales longus et brevis were likely well developed, and Staurikosaurus is unique in bearing a posteriorly projected surface for the origin of caudofemoralis brevis.

  18. Pelvic and hind limb musculature of Staurikosaurus pricei (Dinosauria: Saurischia)

    OpenAIRE

    Grillo,Orlando N.; SERGIO A.K. AZEVEDO

    2011-01-01

    The study of pelvic and hind limb bones and muscles in basal dinosaurs is important for understanding the early evolution of bipedal locomotion in the group. The use of data from both extant and extinct taxa placed into a phylogenetic context allowed to make well-supported inferences concerning most of the hind limb musculature of the basal saurischian Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970 (Santa Maria Formation, Late Triassic of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). Two large concavities in the lateral ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffin, Christopher T.; Nesbitt, Sterling J.

    2016-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffin, Christopher T; Nesbitt, Sterling J

    2016-12-20

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

  1. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs

    OpenAIRE

    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 th...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griebeler, Eva Maria

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eva Maria Griebeler

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

  4. Posture and mechanics of the forelimbs of Brachiosaurus brancai (Dinosauria: Sauropoda

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    A. Christian

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available The posture and mechanics of the forelimbs of Brachiosaurus brancai were analysed with the help of biomechanical models. Peak forces in the joints due to acceleration of the fraction of body weight carried on the shoulder joints are critical in models with completely straight, column-like limbs and a rigid shoulder girdle. During fast walking, either the forelimbs were flexed at the elbows during the middle of the support phase or the apparently rigid shoulder girdle allowed movements of the shoulder joints relative to the trunk. The overall construction of Brachiosaurus was related to an extreme task, browsing high above the ground. Consequently, versatility was very restricted. Die Stellung und die Mechanik der Vorderbeine von Brachiosaurus brancai wurden mit Hilfe von biomechanischen Modellen untersucht. Kraftspitzen aufgrund von Beschleunigungen des von den Schultern getragenen Anteils der Körpermasse erscheinen in Modellen mit völlig geraden, säulenförmigen Vorderbeinen und einem unbeweglichen Schultergürtel problematisch. Während des schnellen Gehens waren entweder die Vorderbeine in der Mitte der Stützphase in den Ellenbogengelenken gebeugt oder der scheinbar rigide Schultergürtel erlaubte Bewegungen der Schultergelenke relativ zum Brustkorb. Die Gesamtkonstruktion von Brachiosaurus war auf die Ausübung einer extremen Tätigkeit, die Nahrungsaufnahme in großer Höhe, ausgerichtet. Die Konsequenz war eine geringe Vielseitigkeit. doi:10.1002/mmng.1999.4860020103

  5. The First Stegosaur (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Upper Jurassic Shishugou Formation of Xinjiang, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    JIA Chengkai; Catherine A. FOSTER; XU Xing; James M. CLARK

    2007-01-01

    A new stegosaur species, Jiangjunosaurus junggarensis, gen. et sp. nov., is erected based on a specimen collected from the Upper Jurassic upper section of the Shishugou Formation in the Junggar Basin, Xinjiang, China. It represents the first stegosaur from the Jurassic of Xinjiang and increases the diversity of the dinosaur fauna in the Shishugou Formation. The new genus is characterized by symmetrical and proportionally wide tooth crowns, a sub-rectangular axial neural spine seen in lateral view, and large openings on the lateral surfaces of the cervical centra. A preliminary character analysis suggests that this new taxon is more derived than the Middle Jurassic stegosaur Huayangosaurus but more primitive than most other known stegosaur species.

  6. Inferences of diplodocoid (Sauropoda: Dinosauria feeding behavior from snout shape and microwear analyses.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John A Whitlock

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: As gigantic herbivores, sauropod dinosaurs were among the most important members of Mesozoic communities. Understanding their ecology is fundamental to developing a complete picture of Jurassic and Cretaceous food webs. One group of sauropods in particular, Diplodocoidea, has long been a source of debate with regard to what and how they ate. Because of their long lineage duration (Late Jurassic-Late Cretaceous and cosmopolitan distribution, diplodocoids formed important parts of multiple ecosystems. Additionally, fortuitous preservation of a large proportion of cranial elements makes them an ideal clade in which to examine feeding behavior. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Hypotheses of various browsing behaviors (selective and nonselective browsing at ground-height, mid-height, or in the upper canopy were examined using snout shape (square vs. round and dental microwear. The square snouts, large proportion of pits, and fine subparallel scratches in Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Nigersaurus, and Rebbachisaurus suggest ground-height nonselective browsing; the narrow snouts of Dicraeosaurus, Suuwassea, and Tornieria and the coarse scratches and gouges on the teeth of Dicraeosaurus suggest mid-height selective browsing in those taxa. Comparison with outgroups (Camarasaurus and Brachiosaurus reinforces the inferences of ground- and mid-height browsing and the existence of both non-selective and selective browsing behaviors in diplodocoids. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results reaffirm previous work suggesting the presence of diverse feeding strategies in sauropods and provide solid evidence for two different feeding behaviors in Diplodocoidea. These feeding behaviors can subsequently be tied to paleoecology, such that non-selective, ground-height behaviors are restricted to open, savanna-type environments. Selective browsing behaviors are known from multiple sauropod clades and were practiced in multiple environments.

  7. Oviraptorosaurian Eggs (Dinosauria) with Embryonic Skeletons Discovered for the First Time in China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yen-nien CHENG; JI Qiang; Xiao-chun WU; Hsi-yin SHAN

    2008-01-01

    Two elongatoolithid dinosaur eggs from the Upper Cretaceous of Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province and the embryonic skeletons they bear are described. They represent the first Oviraptorosaurian eggs with embryonic skeletons in China and provide the first example that an oospecies can be correlated to certain dinosaur taxon/taxa. The two eggs are the same as the pair of the eggs inside a female Oviraptorosaurian pelvis from the same horizon of the same area in both macro- and micro-structures of the egg shells, and can be referred to the oospecies, Macroolithus yaotunensis Zhao, 1975. The morphology of the preserved part of the embryonic skeletons indicates that they may have been laid by an oviraptorid, Heyuannia huangi from Guangdong Province or a closely related Oviraptorosaurian, which may have been lived in the Ganzhou area too in the Late Cretaceous. The embryonic skeletons of the two eggs are not in the same developing stage. In one of the eggs, the postzygapophysis of the preserved vertebrae are well ossified, indicating that it was just hatched.

  8. Digital preparation and osteology of the skull of Lesothosaurus diagnosticus (Ornithischia: Dinosauria).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porro, Laura B; Witmer, Lawrence M; Barrett, Paul M

    2015-01-01

    Several skulls of the ornithischian dinosaur Lesothosaurus diagnosticus (Lower Jurassic, southern Africa) are known, but all are either incomplete, deformed, or incompletely prepared. This has hampered attempts to provide a comprehensive description of skull osteology in this crucial early dinosaurian taxon. Using visualization software, computed tomographic scans of the Lesothosaurus syntypes were digitally segmented to remove matrix, and identify and separate individual cranial and mandibular bones, revealing new anatomical details such as sutural morphology and the presence of several previously undescribed elements. Together with visual inspection of exposed skull bones, these CT data enable a complete description of skull anatomy in this taxon. Comparisons with our new data suggest that two specimens previously identified as Lesothosaurus sp. (MNHN LES 17 and MNHN LES 18) probably represent additional individuals of Lesothosaurus diagnosticus.

  9. A New Giant Titanosauria (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) from the Late Cretaceous Bauru Group, Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    Titanosaurian dinosaurs include some of the largest land-living animals that ever existed, and most were discovered in Cretaceous deposits of Argentina. Here we describe the first Brazilian gigantic titanosaur, Austroposeidon magnificus gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Cretaceous Presidente Prudente Formation (Bauru Group, Paraná Basin), São Paulo State, southeast Brazil. The size of this animal is estimated around 25 meters. It consists of a partial vertebral column composed by the last two cervical and the first dorsal vertebrae, all fairly complete and incomplete portions of at least one sacral and seven dorsal elements. The new species displays four autapomorphies: robust and tall centropostzygapophyseal laminae (cpol) in the last cervical vertebrae; last cervical vertebra bearing the posterior centrodiapophyseal lamina (pcdl) bifurcated; first dorsal vertebra with the anterior and posterior centrodiapophyseal laminae (acdl/pcdl) curved ventrolaterally, and the diapophysis reaching the dorsal margin of the centrum; posterior dorsal vertebra bearing forked spinoprezygapophyseal laminae (sprl). The phylogenetic analysis presented here reveals that Austroposeidon magnificus is the sister group of the Lognkosauria. CT scans reveal some new osteological internal features in the cervical vertebrae such as the intercalation of dense growth rings with camellae, reported for the first time in sauropods. The new taxon further shows that giant titanosaurs were also present in Brazil during the Late Cretaceous and provides new information about the evolution and internal osteological structures in the vertebrae of the Titanosauria clade. PMID:27706250

  10. First evidence of stegosaurs (Dinosauria: Thyreophora) in the Vega Formation, Kimmeridgian, Asturias, N Spain

    OpenAIRE

    Ruiz Omeñaca, José Ignacio; Pereda Suberbiola, Xabier; Piñuela, Laura; García Ramos, José Carlos

    2013-01-01

    We describe a dinosaur caudal centrum from an outcrop of the Vega Formation (Kimmeridgian) in Colunga (Asturias Principality, Northern Spain). It is very similar to the centra of mid-caudal vertebrae of some stegosaurs, like Dacentrurus and Stegosaurus, which are characterized by the presence of well developed haemal processes on the posteroventral corner. Because this character is not diagnostic to the generic level, the vertebral centrum is assigned to Stegosauria indet. T...

  11. Pelvis of gargoyleosaurus (Dinosauria: Ankylosauria) and the origin and evolution of the ankylosaur pelvis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carpenter, Kenneth; DiCroce, Tony; Kinneer, Billy; Simon, Robert

    2013-01-01

    Discovery of a pelvis attributed to the Late Jurassic armor-plated dinosaur Gargoyleosaurus sheds new light on the origin of the peculiar non-vertical, broad, flaring pelvis of ankylosaurs. It further substantiates separation of the two ankylosaurs from the Morrison Formation of the western United States, Gargoyleosaurus and Mymoorapelta. Although horizontally oriented and lacking the medial curve of the preacetabular process seen in Mymoorapelta, the new ilium shows little of the lateral flaring seen in the pelvis of Cretaceous ankylosaurs. Comparison with the basal thyreophoran Scelidosaurus demonstrates that the ilium in ankylosaurs did not develop entirely by lateral rotation as is commonly believed. Rather, the preacetabular process rotated medially and ventrally and the postacetabular process rotated in opposition, i.e., lateral and ventrally. Thus, the dorsal surfaces of the preacetabular and postacetabular processes are not homologous. In contrast, a series of juvenile Stegosaurus ilia show that the postacetabular process rotated dorsally ontogenetically. Thus, the pelvis of the two major types of Thyreophora most likely developed independently. Examination of other ornithischians show that a non-vertical ilium had developed independently in several different lineages, including ceratopsids, pachycephalosaurs, and iguanodonts. Therefore, a separate origin for the non-vertical ilium in stegosaurs and ankylosaurs does have precedent.

  12. Pelvis of gargoyleosaurus (Dinosauria: Ankylosauria and the origin and evolution of the ankylosaur pelvis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kenneth Carpenter

    Full Text Available Discovery of a pelvis attributed to the Late Jurassic armor-plated dinosaur Gargoyleosaurus sheds new light on the origin of the peculiar non-vertical, broad, flaring pelvis of ankylosaurs. It further substantiates separation of the two ankylosaurs from the Morrison Formation of the western United States, Gargoyleosaurus and Mymoorapelta. Although horizontally oriented and lacking the medial curve of the preacetabular process seen in Mymoorapelta, the new ilium shows little of the lateral flaring seen in the pelvis of Cretaceous ankylosaurs. Comparison with the basal thyreophoran Scelidosaurus demonstrates that the ilium in ankylosaurs did not develop entirely by lateral rotation as is commonly believed. Rather, the preacetabular process rotated medially and ventrally and the postacetabular process rotated in opposition, i.e., lateral and ventrally. Thus, the dorsal surfaces of the preacetabular and postacetabular processes are not homologous. In contrast, a series of juvenile Stegosaurus ilia show that the postacetabular process rotated dorsally ontogenetically. Thus, the pelvis of the two major types of Thyreophora most likely developed independently. Examination of other ornithischians show that a non-vertical ilium had developed independently in several different lineages, including ceratopsids, pachycephalosaurs, and iguanodonts. Therefore, a separate origin for the non-vertical ilium in stegosaurs and ankylosaurs does have precedent.

  13. Hypothetical lung structure of Brachiosaurus (Dinosauria: Sauropoda based on functional constraints

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. F. Perry

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available Comparison of avian and crocodylian lung structure suggests a basic archosaurian structural type, consisting of four rows of chambers that radiate independently from an intrapulmonary bronchus. The later structure is cartilage-reinforced cranially. Caudally, the cartilage reinforcement diminishes and the radiating pattern of tubular chambers becomes irregular. The presence of extensive pneumatic spaces in the dorsal vertebrae combined with the extremely large size of Brachiosaurus suggests that the dorsal margin of the lungs was strongly attached to the body wall, thus restricting lung inflation in this region. By analogy with similarly structured testudine lungs, it is highly probable that the ventral part of the very large and cavernous lungs consisted of sac-like chambers, which acted as air reservoirs and also ventilated the gas exchange tissue, which was concentrated dorsally. Die Strukturen der Vogel- und der Krokodillunge deuten auf einen basalen Bauplan der Archosaurierlunge hin, der aus vier Reihen von Kammern besteht, die von einem intrapulmonalen Bronchus entspringen. Dieser ist cranial knorpelig verstärkt. Caudal vermindert sich die knorpelige Verstärkung und das Verteilungsmuster der Kammern wird ungleichmäßig. Die Anwesenheit von pneumatischen Räumen in den Wirbelkörpern und die extreme Größe von Brachiosaurus deuten daraufhin, daß der dorsale Bereich der Lunge mit der Körperwand verbunden war. Dies schränkte die Belüftung der Lunge in dieser Region ein. In Analogie zu den ähnlich strukturierten Schildkrötenlungen ist es höchst wahrscheinlich, daß der ventrale Teil der sehr großen Lungen aus sackartigen Kammern bestand, die als Luftreservoir dienten und das dorsal liegende Gasaustauschgewebe ventilierten. doi:10.1002/mmng.1999.4860020104

  14. A new basal ankylosaurid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning Province, China

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Han, Fenglu; Zheng, Wenjie; Hu, Dongyu; Xu, Xing; Barrett, Paul M

    2014-01-01

    A new ankylosaurid, Chuanqilong chaoyangensis gen. et sp. nov., is described here based on a nearly complete skeleton from the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Baishizui Village, Lingyuan City, Liaoning Province, China...

  15. Notes on the axial skeleton of the titanosaur Bonitasaura salgadoi (Dinosauria-Sauropoda

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pablo A. Gallina

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Sauropod axial anatomy is particularly important in understanding morphological features and phylogenetic analyses. Spatial arrangement of zygapophyses and rib articulations, as well as their complex laminar development, help to recognize the relative position of isolated vertebral elements. The presence of anterior, mid and posterior elements along the cervical, dorsal and caudal series in Bonitasaura salgadoi allows the analysis of several anatomical characteristics. These include the pattern of neurocentral closure with unfused, partially fused and completely fused elements in a peculiar temporal sequence, as well as several neural spine modifications and the laminar arrangement. The variations in neural spine morphology include a lateral expansion of the distal tip in cervico-dorsal region, different lateral constituents of these lateral expansions, and a marked deviation in spine angulation. The spinal inclination allows the division into three easily recognizable vertebral regions separated by two landmarks, which adds support in the determination of an accurate vertebral position for isolated elements. Finally, an analysis of the vertebral laminae reveals the importance of examining vertebral series in order to recognize laminar homologies and developmental series. Two vertebral laminae are analyzed here.A anatomia axial dos saurópodes compõe um conjunto dedados fundamentais para a caracterização morfológica dostáxons, bem como para a determinação de suas relações filogenéticas. A disposição espacial das zigapófises e articulações das costelas, assim como de seu complexo de lâminas acessórias, auxiliam no reconhecimento da posição relativa de elementos vertebrais isolados. A preservação de vértebras anteriores, médias e posteriores nas séries cervical, dorsal e caudal de Bonitasaura salgadoi permite a análise de características adicionais diagnósticas observadas ao longo das séries vertebrais. Estas incluem o grau de fusão da sutura neurocentral,havendo elementos livres, parcialmente fundidos a completamente fundidos em uma sequência temporal peculiar, assim como a presença de diversas modificações do espinho neural e a disposição laminar. As variações na morfologia do espinho neural incluem uma expansão lateral em seu ápice distal na região cervico-dorsal, outros componentes laterais distintos destas expansões, e um desvio crânio-caudal marcado pela angulação do espinho neural. A inclinação espinal permite a divisão em três segmentos vertebrais reconhecíveis separados por duas linhas de transição. Finalmente, a análise das lâminas vertebrais revela a importância de examinar a série vertebral a fim de reconhecer homologias nas lâminas e nas séries de desenvolvimento. Neste trabalho são analisadas duas lâminas vertebrais.

  16. Notes on the axial skeleton of the titanosaur Bonitasaura salgadoi (Dinosauria-Sauropoda).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallina, Pablo A

    2011-03-01

    Sauropod axial anatomy is particularly important in understanding morphological features and phylogenetic analyses. Spatial arrangement of zygapophyses and rib articulations, as well as their complex laminar development, help to recognize the relative position of isolated vertebral elements. The presence of anterior, mid and posterior elements along the cervical, dorsal and caudal series in Bonitasaura salgadoi allows the analysis of several anatomical characteristics. These include the pattern of neurocentral closure with unfused, partially fused and completely fused elements in a peculiar temporal sequence, as well as several neural spine modifications and the laminar arrangement. The variations in neural spine morphology include a lateral expansion of the distal tip in cervico-dorsal region, different lateral constituents of these lateral expansions, and a marked deviation in spine angulation. The spinal inclination allows the division into three easily recognizable vertebral regions separated by two landmarks, which adds support in the determination of an accurate vertebral position for isolated elements. Finally, an analysis of the vertebral laminae reveals the importance of examining vertebral series in order to recognize laminar homologies and developmental series. Two vertebral laminae are analyzed here.

  17. The muscle-powered bite of allosaurus (dinosauria; theropoda: an interpretation of cranio-dental morphology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Turner, A.

    2003-12-01

    Full Text Available The skull morphology of Allosaurus has been the subject of functional interpretations which imply a predatory behaviour radically different from that recorded in any predatory land vertebrate. Those interpretations imply the use of the skull and maxillary dentition as analogues of hand-held, man-made weapons, incorporating the inertia of the predator's dash toward prey to add to the effect of the impact, and using wide jaw gapes as a way to keep the mandible out of the way of such blows. We re-interpret the evident adaptations for gape and for recruitment of neck muscles in head depression of Allosaurus in terms of a muscle-powered bite directed at surfaces with moderate convexity, such as the bodies of very large pres. In our model, the forces leading to penetration of the teeth are generated in the context of the opposition between the maxillary and the mandible. This interpretation allows us to incorporate al1 the observed adaptations of the Allosaurus skull, while avoiding the problems created by previous models.La morfología craneal de Allosaurus ha sido objeto de interpretaciones funcionales que implican un comportamiento depredador radicalmente distinto para el inferido para cualquier vertebrado depredador terrestre. Esas interpretaciones implican el uso de la dentición superior e inferior como análogos de cuchillos o dagas manufacturadas por el hombre, incorporando la inercia del golpe del depredador contra la presa para añadir el efecto del impacto, y usando amplias aperturas mandibulares para mantener la mandíbula fuera de la línea de acción del impacto. Reinterpretamos las evidentes adaptaciones para amplias aberturas mandibulares, y para la utilización de la musculatura cervical en la depresih de la cabeza de Allosaurus en función de una mordida basada en la fuerza muscular dirigida a superficies moderadamente convexas, como el cuerpo de una gran presa. En nuestro modelo, las fuerzas que producen la penetración son generadas en el contexto de una oposición entre el maxilar y la mandíbula. Esta interpretación nos permite incorporar todas las adaptaciones observadas en el cráneo de Allosaurus, al mismo tiempo que se evitan los problemas creados por modelos alternativos.

  18. Osteology of the basal hadrosauroid Eolambia caroljonesa (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda from the Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew T McDonald

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Eolambia caroljonesa is known from copious remains from the lower Cenomanian Mussentuchit Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation in eastern Utah; however, the taxon has been only briefly described. Thus, we present herein a complete osteological description of Eolambia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The description of Eolambia presented here is based upon the holotype partial skeleton (CEUM 9758, paratype partial skull (CEUM 5212, and abundant disarticulated elements from two bonebeds that contain juvenile individuals. These remains allow the skeletal anatomy of Eolambia to be documented almost fully and a revised diagnosis to be proposed. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The description provided here facilitates comparisons between Eolambia and other iguanodontians and allows Eolambia to be coded for additional characters in phylogenetic analyses. The close affinity between Eolambia and Probactrosaurus gobiensis from the Early Cretaceous of China supports previous hypotheses of faunal interchange between Asia and North America in the early Late Cretaceous.

  19. Osteology of the Basal Hadrosauroid Eolambia caroljonesa (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah

    OpenAIRE

    McDonald, Andrew T.; John Bird; Kirkland, James I.; Peter Dodson

    2012-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Eolambia caroljonesa is known from copious remains from the lower Cenomanian Mussentuchit Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation in eastern Utah; however, the taxon has been only briefly described. Thus, we present herein a complete osteological description of Eolambia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The description of Eolambia presented here is based upon the holotype partial skeleton (CEUM 9758), paratype partial skull (CEUM 5212), and abundant disarticulated elements from two ...

  20. Cranial ontogeny in Stegoceras validum (Dinosauria: Pachycephalosauria: a quantitative model of pachycephalosaur dome growth and variation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan K Schott

    Full Text Available Historically, studies of pachycephalosaurs have recognized plesiomorphically flat-headed taxa and apomorphically domed taxa. More recently, it has been suggested that the expression of the frontoparietal dome is ontogenetic and derived from a flat-headed juvenile morphology. However, strong evidence to support this hypothesis has been lacking. Here we test this hypothesis in a large, stratigraphically constrained sample of specimens assigned to Stegoceras validum, the best known pachycephalosaur, using multiple independent lines of evidence including conserved morphology of ornamentation, landmark-based allometric analyses of frontoparietal shape, and cranial bone histology. New specimens show that the diagnostic ornamentation of the parietosquamosal bar is conserved throughout the size range of the sample, which links flat-headed specimens to domed S. validum. High-resolution CT scans of three frontoparietals reveal that vascularity decreases with size and document a pattern that is consistent with previously proposed histological changes during growth. Furthermore, aspects of dome shape and size are strongly correlated and indicative of ontogenetic growth. These results are complementary and strongly support the hypothesis that the sample represents a growth series of a single taxon. Cranial dome growth is positively allometric, proceeds from a flat-headed to a domed state, and confirms the synonymy of Ornatotholus browni as a juvenile Stegoceras. This dataset serves as the first detailed model of growth and variation in a pachycephalosaur. Flat-headed juveniles possess three characters (externally open cranial sutures, tuberculate dorsal surface texture, and open supratemporal fenestrae that are reduced or eliminated during ontogeny. These characters also occur in putative flat-headed taxa, suggesting that they may also represent juveniles of domed taxa. However, open cranial sutures and supratemporal fenestrae are plesiomorphic within Ornithischia, and thus should be expected in the adult stage of a primitive pachycephalosaur. Additional lines of evidence will be needed to resolve the taxonomic validity of flat-headed pachycephalosaur taxa.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Milàn, Jesper; Surlyk, Finn

    2015-01-01

    cored boreholes shows that the accommodation space created by rapid subsidence along the fault was continuously filled in to upper shoreface level by rapid longshore sediment influx from the north. In quiet periods with easterly winds and extreme low-water low tide, the small dinosaur creating the newly...... found footprint is interpreted to have walked in shallow beach pools, thus explaining the strange occurrence of the footprint in a marine deposit....

  2. A history of digit identification in the manus of theropods (including Aves)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Kasper Lykke

    2010-01-01

    an originally pentadactyl forelimb, either digits I, II and III form in the manus of birds and thus support a dinosaurian ancestry, or digits II, III and IV form in the manus supporting a more ancient ancestry or an evolutionary frameshift. A review of the history of research into the subject is presented here...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrick R. Getty

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Eubrontes giganteus is a common ichnospecies of large dinosaur track in the Early Jurassic rocks of the Hartford and Deerfield basins in Connecticut and Massachusetts, USA. It has been proposed that the trackmaker was gregarious based on parallel trackways at a site in Massachusetts known as Dinosaur Footprint Reservation (DFR. The gregariousness hypothesis is not without its problems, however, since parallelism can be caused by barriers that direct animal travel. We tested the gregariousness hypothesis by examining the orientations of trackways at five sites representing permanent and ephemeral lacustrine environments. Parallelism is only prominent in permanent lacustrine rocks at DFR, where trackways show a bimodal orientation distribution that approximates the paleoshoreline. By contrast, parallel trackways are uncommon in ephemeral lacustrine facies, even at sites with large numbers of trackways, and those that do occur exhibit differences in morphology, suggesting that they were made at different times. Overall, the evidence presented herein suggests that parallelism seen in Hartford Basin Eubrontes giganteus is better explained as a response to the lake acting as a physical barrier rather than to gregariousness. Consequently, these parallel trackways should not be used as evidence to support the hypothesis that the trackmaker was a basal sauropodomorph unless other evidence can substantiate the gregariousness hypothesis.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott; Richards, Zachary

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

  5. Arcosaurios (Crocodilia, Dinosauria del Cretácico superior de la Conca de Tremp (Lleida, España

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Buscalioni, A. D.

    1987-12-01

    Full Text Available The study of a great part of the material found during the excavation work carried out by a team of the «Institut de Paleontología de Sabadell» and other paleontologists of the universities of Madrid and Bellaterra, in the basin of Tremp (Maastrichtiense in 1984 and 1985 has made possible the recognition of: 1.º A large sized Crocodilian, attributable to an adult animal of the Alligatoridae family, comparable to Crocodilus affluvelensis. 2.° Dinosaur remains atributed to three difIerent families: Atlantosauridae (represented by a large sized Sauropod, probably Hypselosaurus; Iguanodontidae (afI. Rhabdodon, medium sized Omithopod; and Hadrosauridae (Ortbomerus, small sized. 3.° Dinosaur's footprints, not very well preserved, medium and large sized, attributable to biped Omithopod. The fauna remains were always found unconnected, scattered all over large areas and with no signs of depredation. The sort of materials found reveal a certain transport which caused a selective action over the remains. Later, the efIects of the orogenic processes suffered by this area in the Tertiary period would combine with this transport.El estudio de gran parte del material hallado en los trabajos de excavación realizados por un equipo del «Institut de Paleontología de Sabadell» y otros paleontólogos de las Universidades de Madrid y Bellaterra, en la cuenca de Tremp (Maastrichtiense, durante los años 1984 y 1985, ha permitido reconocer: 1.º Un crocodílido de gran talla, atribuible a un animal adulto de la familia Alligatoridae, comparable a Crocodilus affluvelensis. 2.° Restos de dinosaurios que se han atribuido a tres familias: Atlantosauridae (representada por un saurópodo de gran talla, probablemente Hypselosaurus; Iguanodontidae (afI. Rhabdodon, ornitópodo de talla media, y Hadrosauridae (Ortbomerus, de talla pequeña. 3.° Icnitas de dinosaurios, bastante mal conservadas, de tamaño medio y grande, atribuibles a omitópodos bípedos. Los restos faunísticos han sido hallados siempre inconexos, esparcidos en extensas superficies y sin señales de depredación. El tipo de material hallado indica, en principio, un cierto transporte, el cual ejerció una acción selectiva sobre los restos. Posteriormente, a este transporte se unirían los efectos de los procesos orogénicos que afectaron la zona durante el Terciario.

  6. A New Oviraptorid Dinosaur (Dinosauria: Oviraptorosauria) from the Late Cretaceous of Southern China and Its Paleobiogeographical Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lü, Junchang; Pu, Hanyong; Kobayashi, Yoshitsugu; Xu, Li; Chang, Huali; Shang, Yuhua; Liu, Di; Lee, Yuong-Nam; Kundrát, Martin; Shen, Caizhi

    2015-07-01

    The Ganzhou area of Jiangxi Province, southern China is becoming one of the most productive oviraptorosaurian localities in the world. A new oviraptorid dinosaur was unearthed from the uppermost Upper Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Ganzhou area. It is characterized by an anterodorsally sloping occiput and quadrate (a feature shared with Citipati), a circular supratemporal fenestra that is much smaller than the lower temporal fenestra, and a dentary in which the dorsal margin above the external mandibular fenestra is strongly concave ventrally. The position of the anteroventral corner of the external naris in relation to the posterodorsal corner of the antorbital fenestra provides new insight into the craniofacial evolution of oviraptorosaurid dinosaurs. A phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as closely related to the Mongolian Citipati. Six oviraptorid dinosaurs from the Nanxiong Formation (Ganzhou and Nanxiong) are distributed within three clades of the family. Each of the three clades from the Nanxiong Formation has close relatives in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, and in both places each clade may have had a specific diet or occupied a different ecological niche. Oviraptorid dinosaurs were geographically widespread across Asia in the latest Cretaceous and were an important component of terrestrial ecosystems during this time.

  7. The Slothful Claw: Osteology and Taphonomy of Nothronychus mckinleyi and N. graffami (Dinosauria: Theropoda) and Anatomical Considerations for Derived Therizinosaurids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hedrick, Brandon P; Zanno, Lindsay E; Wolfe, Douglas G; Dodson, Peter

    2015-01-01

    Nothronychus was the first definitive therizinosaurian discovered in North America and currently represents the most specialized North American therizinosaurian genus. It is known from two species, No. mckinleyi from the Moreno Hill Formation (middle Turonian) in west-central New Mexico, and No. graffami from the Tropic Shale (early Turonian) in south-central Utah. Both species are represented by partial to nearly complete skeletons that have helped elucidate evolutionary trends in Therizinosauria. In spite of the biogeographical and evolutionary importance of these two taxa, neither has received a detailed description. Here, we present comprehensive descriptions of No. mckinleyi and No. graffami, the latter of which represents the most complete therizinosaurid skeleton known to date. We amend previous preliminary descriptions of No. mckinleyi and No. graffami based on these new data and modify previous character states based on an in-depth morphological analysis. Additionally, we review the depositional history of both specimens of Nothronychus and compare their taphonomic modes. We demonstrate that the species were not only separated geographically, but also temporally. Based on ammonoid biozones, the species appear to have been separated by at least 1.5 million years and up to 3 million years. We then discuss the impacts of diagenetic deformation on morphology and reevaluate potentially diagnostic characters in light of these new data. For example, the ulna of No. mckinleyi is curved whereas the ulna of No. graffami was considered straight, a character originally separating the two species. However, here we present the difference as much more likely related to diagenetic compression in No. graffami rather than as a true biologic difference. Finally, we include copies of three-dimensional surface scans of all major bones for both taxa for reference.

  8. A new basal sauropodomorph (Dinosauria: Saurischia from Quebrada del Barro Formation (Marayes-El Carrizal Basin, northwestern Argentina.

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    Cecilia Apaldetti

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Argentinean basal sauropodomorphs are known by several specimens from different basins; Ischigualasto, El Tranquilo, and Mogna. The Argentinean record is diverse and includes some of the most primitive known sauropodomorphs such as Panphagia and Chromogisaurus, as well as more derived forms, including several massospondylids. Until now, the Massospondylidae were the group of basal sauropodomorphs most widely spread around Pangea with a record in almost all continents, mostly from the southern hemisphere, including the only record from Antarctica. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING: We describe here a new basal sauropodomorph, Leyesaurus marayensis gen. et sp. nov., from the Quebrada del Barro Formation, an Upper Triassic-Lower Jurassic unit that crops out in northwestern Argentina. The new taxon is represented by a partial articulated skeleton that includes the skull, vertebral column, scapular and pelvic girdles, and hindlimb. Leyesaurus is diagnosed by a set of unique features, such as a sharply acute angle (50 degrees formed by the ascending process of the maxilla and the alveolar margin, a straight ascending process of the maxilla with a longitudinal ridge on its lateral surface, noticeably bulging labial side of the maxillary teeth, greatly elongated cervical vertebrae, and proximal articular surface of metatarsal III that is shelf-like and medially deflected. Phylogenetic analysis recovers Leyesaurus as a basal sauropodomorph, sister taxon of Adeopapposaurus within the Massospondylidae. Moreover, the results suggest that massospondylids achieved a higher diversity than previously thought. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our phylogenetic results differ with respect to previous analyses by rejecting the massospondylid affinities of some taxa from the northern hemisphere (e.g., Seitaad, Sarahsaurus. As a result, the new taxon Leyesaurus, coupled with other recent discoveries, suggests that the diversity of massospondylids in the southern hemisphere was higher than in other regions of Pangea. Finally, the close affinities of Leyesaurus with the Lower Jurassic Massospondylus suggest a younger age for the Quebrada del Barro Formation than previously postulated.

  9. A New Specimen of the Controversial Chasmosaurine Torosaurus latus (Dinosauria: Ceratopsidae) from the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of Montana.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDonald, Andrew T; Campbell, Carl E; Thomas, Brian

    2016-01-01

    Torosaurus latus is an uncommon and contentious taxon of chasmosaurine ceratopsid known from several upper Maastrichtian units in western North America. We describe a partial parietal of To. latus from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. Although the specimen's ontogenetic maturity means that it cannot inform the ongoing debate over whether To. latus is the old adult form of the contemporary Triceratops, the specimen is one of the best-preserved To. latus parietals and supplements previous descriptions.

  10. A New Specimen of the Controversial Chasmosaurine Torosaurus latus (Dinosauria: Ceratopsidae from the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of Montana.

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    Andrew T McDonald

    Full Text Available Torosaurus latus is an uncommon and contentious taxon of chasmosaurine ceratopsid known from several upper Maastrichtian units in western North America. We describe a partial parietal of To. latus from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. Although the specimen's ontogenetic maturity means that it cannot inform the ongoing debate over whether To. latus is the old adult form of the contemporary Triceratops, the specimen is one of the best-preserved To. latus parietals and supplements previous descriptions.

  11. A New Brachylophosaurin Hadrosaur (Dinosauria: Ornithischia with an Intermediate Nasal Crest from the Campanian Judith River Formation of Northcentral Montana.

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    Elizabeth A Freedman Fowler

    Full Text Available Brachylophosaurini is a clade of hadrosaurine dinosaurs currently known from the Campanian (Late Cretaceous of North America. Its members include: Acristavus gagslarsoni, which lacks a nasal crest; Brachylophosaurus canadensis, which possesses a flat paddle-shaped nasal crest projecting posteriorly over the dorsal skull roof; and Maiasaura peeblesorum, which possesses a dorsally-projecting nasofrontal crest. Acristavus, from the lower Two Medicine Formation of Montana (~81-80 Ma, is hypothesized to be the ancestral member of the clade. Brachylophosaurus specimens are from the middle Oldman Formation of Alberta and equivalent beds in the Judith River Formation of Montana; the upper Oldman Formation is dated 77.8 Ma.A new brachylophosaurin hadrosaur, Probrachylophosaurus bergei (gen. et sp. nov. is described and phylogenetically analyzed based on the skull and postcranium of a large individual from the Judith River Formation of northcentral Montana (79.8-79.5 Ma; the horizon is equivalent to the lower Oldman Formation of Alberta. Cranial morphology of Probrachylophosaurus, most notably the nasal crest, is intermediate between Acristavus and Brachylophosaurus. In Brachylophosaurus, the nasal crest lengthens and flattens ontogenetically, covering the supratemporal fenestrae in large adults. The smaller nasal crest of Probrachylophosaurus is strongly triangular in cross section and only minimally overhangs the supratemporal fenestrae, similar to an ontogenetically earlier stage of Brachylophosaurus. Sutural fusion and tibial osteohistology reveal that the holotype of Probrachylophosaurus was relatively more mature than a similarly large Brachylophosaurus specimen; thus, Probrachylophosaurus is not simply an immature Brachylophosaurus.The small triangular posteriorly oriented nasal crest of Probrachylophosaurus is proposed to represent a transitional nasal morphology between that of a non-crested ancestor such as Acristavus and the large flat posteriorly oriented nasal crest of adult Brachylophosaurus. Because Probrachylophosaurus is stratigraphically and morphologically intermediate between these taxa, Probrachylophosaurus is hypothesized to be an intermediate member of the Acristavus-Brachylophosaurus evolutionary lineage.

  12. Common functional correlates of head-strike behavior in the pachycephalosaur Stegoceras validum (Ornithischia, Dinosauria and combative artiodactyls.

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    Eric Snively

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Pachycephalosaurs were bipedal herbivorous dinosaurs with bony domes on their heads, suggestive of head-butting as seen in bighorn sheep and musk oxen. Previous biomechanical studies indicate potential for pachycephalosaur head-butting, but bone histology appears to contradict the behavior in young and old individuals. Comparing pachycephalosaurs with fighting artiodactyls tests for common correlates of head-butting in their cranial structure and mechanics. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Computed tomographic (CT scans and physical sectioning revealed internal cranial structure of ten artiodactyls and pachycephalosaurs Stegoceras validum and Prenocephale prenes. Finite element analyses (FEA, incorporating bone and keratin tissue types, determined cranial stress and strain from simulated head impacts. Recursive partition analysis quantified strengths of correlation between functional morphology and actual or hypothesized behavior. Strong head-strike correlates include a dome-like cephalic morphology, neurovascular canals exiting onto the cranium surface, large neck muscle attachments, and dense cortical bone above a sparse cancellous layer in line with the force of impact. The head-butting duiker Cephalophus leucogaster is the closest morphological analog to Stegoceras, with a smaller yet similarly rounded dome. Crania of the duiker, pachycephalosaurs, and bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis share stratification of thick cortical and cancellous layers. Stegoceras, Cephalophus, and musk ox crania experience lower stress and higher safety factors for a given impact force than giraffe, pronghorn, or the non-combative llama. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Anatomy, biomechanics, and statistical correlation suggest that some pachycephalosaurs were as competent at head-to-head impacts as extant analogs displaying such combat. Large-scale comparisons and recursive partitioning can greatly refine inference of behavioral capability for fossil animals.

  13. A Basal Lithostrotian Titanosaur (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) with a Complete Skull: Implications for the Evolution and Paleobiology of Titanosauria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martínez, Rubén D. F.; Lamanna, Matthew C.; Novas, Fernando E.; Ridgely, Ryan C.; Casal, Gabriel A.; Martínez, Javier E.; Vita, Javier R.; Witmer, Lawrence M.

    2016-01-01

    We describe Sarmientosaurus musacchioi gen. et sp. nov., a titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian—Turonian) Lower Member of the Bajo Barreal Formation of southern Chubut Province in central Patagonia, Argentina. The holotypic and only known specimen consists of an articulated, virtually complete skull and part of the cranial and middle cervical series. Sarmientosaurus exhibits the following distinctive features that we interpret as autapomorphies: (1) maximum diameter of orbit nearly 40% rostrocaudal length of cranium; (2) complex maxilla—lacrimal articulation, in which the lacrimal clasps the ascending ramus of the maxilla; (3) medial edge of caudal sector of maxillary ascending ramus bordering bony nasal aperture with low but distinct ridge; (4) ‘tongue-like’ ventral process of quadratojugal that overlaps quadrate caudally; (5) separate foramina for all three branches of the trigeminal nerve; (6) absence of median venous canal connecting infundibular region to ventral part of brainstem; (7) subvertical premaxillary, procumbent maxillary, and recumbent dentary teeth; (8) cervical vertebrae with ‘strut-like’ centroprezygapophyseal laminae; (9) extremely elongate and slender ossified tendon positioned ventrolateral to cervical vertebrae and ribs. The cranial endocast of Sarmientosaurus preserves some of the most complete information obtained to date regarding the brain and sensory systems of sauropods. Phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as a basal member of Lithostrotia, as the most plesiomorphic titanosaurian to be preserved with a complete skull. Sarmientosaurus provides a wealth of new cranial evidence that reaffirms the close relationship of titanosaurs to Brachiosauridae. Moreover, the presence of the relatively derived lithostrotian Tapuiasaurus in Aptian deposits indicates that the new Patagonian genus represents a ‘ghost lineage’ with a comparatively plesiomorphic craniodental form, the evolutionary history of which is missing for at least 13 million years of the Cretaceous. The skull anatomy of Sarmientosaurus suggests that multiple titanosaurian species with dissimilar cranial structures coexisted in the early Late Cretaceous of southern South America. Furthermore, the new taxon possesses a number of distinctive morphologies—such as the ossified cervical tendon, extremely pneumatized cervical vertebrae, and a habitually downward-facing snout—that have rarely, if ever, been documented in other titanosaurs, thus broadening our understanding of the anatomical diversity of this remarkable sauropod clade. The latter two features were convergently acquired by at least one penecontemporaneous diplodocoid, and may represent mutual specializations for consuming low-growing vegetation. PMID:27115989

  14. Cranial bones and atlas of titanosaurs (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from Late Cretaceous (Bauru Group) of Uberaba, Minas Gerais State, Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinelli, Agustín G.; Marinho, Thiago da Silva; Filippi, Leonardo S.; Ribeiro, Luiz Carlos Borges; Ferraz, Mara Lúcia da Fonseca; Cavellani, Camila Lourencini; Teixeira, Vicente de Paula Antunes

    2015-08-01

    Isolated left prefrontal, left squamosal and atlas of titanosaur dinosaurs are described and compared. They come from the Late Cretaceous Serra da Galga Member of the Marília Formation at the Serra do Veadinho region, Peirópolis (Uberaba County, Minas Gerais State, Brazil). Due to the sparse cranial elements of titanosaurs already known from Brazil, these specimens are noticeable to be presented. In addition, the atlas vertebra is described for the first time for Brazilian titanosaurs. The morphology of the cranial bones closely resembles lithostratian titanosaurs, such as Rapetosaurus, rather than basal titanosaurs. The atlas is similar to that of other titanosaurs, suggesting that the anatomy of this element seems to be more conservative than other vertebral elements, in which vertebral laminae play an important rule in titanosaur taxonomy.

  15. A Basal Lithostrotian Titanosaur (Dinosauria: Sauropoda with a Complete Skull: Implications for the Evolution and Paleobiology of Titanosauria.

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    Rubén D F Martínez

    Full Text Available We describe Sarmientosaurus musacchioi gen. et sp. nov., a titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian Lower Member of the Bajo Barreal Formation of southern Chubut Province in central Patagonia, Argentina. The holotypic and only known specimen consists of an articulated, virtually complete skull and part of the cranial and middle cervical series. Sarmientosaurus exhibits the following distinctive features that we interpret as autapomorphies: (1 maximum diameter of orbit nearly 40% rostrocaudal length of cranium; (2 complex maxilla-lacrimal articulation, in which the lacrimal clasps the ascending ramus of the maxilla; (3 medial edge of caudal sector of maxillary ascending ramus bordering bony nasal aperture with low but distinct ridge; (4 'tongue-like' ventral process of quadratojugal that overlaps quadrate caudally; (5 separate foramina for all three branches of the trigeminal nerve; (6 absence of median venous canal connecting infundibular region to ventral part of brainstem; (7 subvertical premaxillary, procumbent maxillary, and recumbent dentary teeth; (8 cervical vertebrae with 'strut-like' centroprezygapophyseal laminae; (9 extremely elongate and slender ossified tendon positioned ventrolateral to cervical vertebrae and ribs. The cranial endocast of Sarmientosaurus preserves some of the most complete information obtained to date regarding the brain and sensory systems of sauropods. Phylogenetic analysis recovers the new taxon as a basal member of Lithostrotia, as the most plesiomorphic titanosaurian to be preserved with a complete skull. Sarmientosaurus provides a wealth of new cranial evidence that reaffirms the close relationship of titanosaurs to Brachiosauridae. Moreover, the presence of the relatively derived lithostrotian Tapuiasaurus in Aptian deposits indicates that the new Patagonian genus represents a 'ghost lineage' with a comparatively plesiomorphic craniodental form, the evolutionary history of which is missing for at least 13 million years of the Cretaceous. The skull anatomy of Sarmientosaurus suggests that multiple titanosaurian species with dissimilar cranial structures coexisted in the early Late Cretaceous of southern South America. Furthermore, the new taxon possesses a number of distinctive morphologies-such as the ossified cervical tendon, extremely pneumatized cervical vertebrae, and a habitually downward-facing snout-that have rarely, if ever, been documented in other titanosaurs, thus broadening our understanding of the anatomical diversity of this remarkable sauropod clade. The latter two features were convergently acquired by at least one penecontemporaneous diplodocoid, and may represent mutual specializations for consuming low-growing vegetation.

  16. An Adult Specimen of Hongshanosaurus houi (Dinosauria: Psittacosauridae) from the Lower Cretaceous of Western Liaoning Province, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    YOU Hailu; XU Xing

    2005-01-01

    A new specimen consisting of a complete skull and lower jaw was discovered from the Lujiatun bed of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation in the Lujiatun site, Beipiao, western Liaoning Province. It represents an adult specimen of Hongshanosaurus houi. Comparative studies show that Hongshanosaurus is distinguishable from its sister taxon Psittacosaurus by having the preorbital portion about half of the basal skull length, and the elliptical external naris,orbit, and a lower temporal fenestra oriented caudodorsally.

  17. A basal sauropodomorph (Dinosauria: Saurischia from the Ischigualasto Formation (Triassic, Carnian and the early evolution of Sauropodomorpha.

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    Ricardo N Martinez

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The earliest dinosaurs are from the early Late Triassic (Carnian of South America. By the Carnian the main clades Saurischia and Ornithischia were already established, and the presence of the most primitive known sauropodomorph Saturnalia suggests also that Saurischia had already diverged into Theropoda and Sauropodomorpha. Knowledge of Carnian sauropodomorphs has been restricted to this single species. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe a new small sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Ischigualsto Formation (Carnian in northwest Argentina, Panphagia protos gen. et sp. nov., on the basis of a partial skeleton. The genus and species are characterized by an anteroposteriorly elongated fossa on the base of the anteroventral process of the nasal; wide lateral flange on the quadrate with a large foramen; deep groove on the lateral surface of the lower jaw surrounded by prominent dorsal and ventral ridges; bifurcated posteroventral process of the dentary; long retroarticular process transversally wider than the articular area for the quadrate; oval scars on the lateral surface of the posterior border of the centra of cervical vertebrae; distinct prominences on the neural arc of the anterior cervical vertebra; distal end of the scapular blade nearly three times wider than the neck; scapular blade with an expanded posterodistal corner; and medial lamina of brevis fossa twice as wide as the iliac spine. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We regard Panphagia as the most basal sauropodomorph, which shares the following apomorphies with Saturnalia and more derived sauropodomorphs: basally constricted crowns; lanceolate crowns; teeth of the anterior quarter of the dentary higher than the others; and short posterolateral flange of distal tibia. The presence of Panphagia at the base of the early Carnian Ischigualasto Formation suggests an earlier origin of Sauropodomorpha during the Middle Triassic.

  18. The origin and early evolution of dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  19. New theropod and prosauropod ichnites from Issil-n-Aït Arbi (Lower Jurassic, Central High Atlas, Morocco)

    OpenAIRE

    2015-01-01

    El conjunto de afloramientos de 1AAR presenta huellas de dinosaurios bípedos y cuadrúpedos. Las huellas bípedas se han asociado a icnitas terópodas y prosaurópodas, mientras que las segundas se asocian a icnitas prosaurópodas. Cabe la posibilidad de que parte de las icnitas cuadrupedas sean saurópodas, pero la mala conservación y las condiciones de los afloramientos no permiten hacer observaciones directas ni apropiadas sobre ellas. En este trabajo se describen los caractere...

  20. An ornithomimid (Dinosauria bonebed from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, with implications for the behavior, classification, and stratigraphy of North American ornithomimids.

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    Thomas M Cullen

    Full Text Available Bonebeds can provide a wealth of anatomical, taphonomic, and ontogenetic information about the specimens preserved within them, and can provide evidence for inferred behavior. The material described here represents the first known bonebed of ornithomimids in North America, and the fourth record of an ornithomimosaur bonebed in the world. Partial skeletons representing three individuals are preserved in this assemblage, each comprising primarily portions of the posterior postcrania (pelvis, hind limbs and tail. All three individuals are morphologically similar, although one is larger in overall size. Given the stratigraphic position of the site, and the morphology of the postcrania, the preserved material represents a taxon from the clade containing Ornithomimus and Struthiomimus. Pedal ungual morphology is examined and found to be too variable to be useful in distinguishing these species taxonomically. This site provides additional evidence of gregarious behavior in ornithomimids and the first probable record of that behavior in North American forms.

  1. The Postcranial Skeleton of an Exceptionally Complete Individual of the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus stenops (Dinosauria: Thyreophora from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming, U.S.A.

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    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.

  2. The Postcranial Skeleton of an Exceptionally Complete Individual of the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus stenops (Dinosauria: Thyreophora) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming, U.S.A.

    OpenAIRE

    Susannah Catherine Rose Maidment; Charlotte Brassey; Paul Michael Barrett

    2015-01-01

    Although Stegosaurus is one of the most iconic dinosaurs, well-preserved fossils are rare and as a consequence there is still much that remains unknown about the taxon. A new, exceptionally complete individual affords the opportunity to describe the anatomy of Stegosaurus in detail for the first time in over a century, and enables additional comparisons with other stegosaurian dinosaurs. The new specimen is from the Red Canyon Ranch Quarry, near Shell Wyoming, and appears to have been so well...

  3. 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.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  4. Anatomy, taphonomy, and phylogenetic implications of a new specimen of Eolambia caroljonesa (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDonald, Andrew T.; Gates, Terry A.; Zanno, Lindsay E.; Makovicky, Peter J.

    2017-01-01

    Background Eolambia caroljonesa is the most abundant dinosaur in the lower Cenomanian Mussentuchit Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah, and one of the most completely known non-hadrosaurid iguanodontians from North America. In addition to the large holotype and paratype partial skulls, copious remains of skeletally immature individuals, including three bonebeds, have been referred to E. caroljonesa. Nevertheless, aspects of the postcranial anatomy of this taxon, particularly the pelvic girdle, have remained ambiguous due to the lack of associated postcranial material of larger, more mature individuals. Methodology/Principal findings Here we describe a recently discovered associated partial postcranial skeleton of a large Eolambia caroljonesa. This specimen, FMNH PR 3847, provides new anatomical data regarding the vertebral column and pelvic girdle, supplementing previous diagnoses and descriptions of E. caroljonesa. A new phylogenetic analysis incorporating information from FMNH PR 3847 places E. caroljonesa as a basal hadrosauromorph closely related to Protohadros byrdi from the Cenomanian Woodbine Formation of Texas. Histological analysis of FMNH PR 3847 reveals that it represents a subadult individual eight to nine years of age. Taphonomic analysis indicates that FMNH PR 3847 was preserved in a crevasse splay deposit, along with an unusual abundance of small crocodylomorph material. Conclusions/Significance FMNH PR 3847 provides a wealth of new morphological data, adding to the anatomical and systematic characterization of Eolambia caroljonesa, and histological data, revealing new information on growth history in a basal hadrosauromorph. Taphonomic characterization of FMNH PR 3847 and associated vertebrate material will allow comparison with other vertebrate localities in the Mussentuchit Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation. PMID:28489871

  5. Cranial Anatomy of Wendiceratops pinhornensis gen. et sp. nov., a Centrosaurine Ceratopsid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia from the Oldman Formation (Campanian, Alberta, Canada, and the Evolution of Ceratopsid Nasal Ornamentation.

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    David C Evans

    Full Text Available The fossil record of ceratopsid dinosaurs between the occurrence of their proximate sister taxa in the Turonian and the beginning of their well-documented radiation from the late Campanian of North America onwards (approximately 90 and 77 Ma is poor, with only seven taxa described from this early period in their evolution. We describe a new taxon of a highly adorned basal centrosaurine, Wendiceratops pinhornensis gen. et sp. nov., from the lower part of the Oldman Formation (middle Campanian, approximately 78-79 Ma, Alberta, Canada. Over 200 bones derived from virtually all parts of the skeleton, including multiple well-preserved specimens of the diagnostic parietosquamosal frill, were collected from a medium-density monodominant bonebed, making the new taxon one of the best-represented early ceratopsids. The new taxon is apomorphic in having epiparietals at loci 2 and 3 developed as broad-based, pachyostotic processes that are strongly procurved anterodorsally to overhang the posterior and lateral parietal rami, and an ischium with a broad, rectangular distal terminus. Although the morphology of the nasal is incompletely known, Wendiceratops is inferred to have a large, upright nasal horn located close to the orbits, which represents the oldest occurrence of this feature in Ceratopsia. Given the phylogenetic position of the new taxon within Centrosaurinae, a enlarged nasal horn is hypothesized to have arisen independently at least twice in ceratopsid evolution.

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

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    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.

  7. 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.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:26466098

  8. A new North American therizinosaurid and the role of herbivory in ‘predatory’ dinosaur evolution

    OpenAIRE

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

    2009-01-01

    Historically, ecomorphological inferences regarding theropod (i.e. ‘predatory’) dinosaurs were guided by an assumption that they were singularly hypercarnivorous. A recent plethora of maniraptoran discoveries has produced evidence challenging this notion. Here, we report on a new species of maniraptoran theropod, Nothronychus graffami sp. nov. Relative completeness of this specimen permits a phylogenetic reassessment of Therizinosauria—the theropod clade exhibiting the most substantial anatom...

  9. Estudio anatómico, sistemático y paleobiológico de Bonitasaura salgadoi (Dinosauria: sauropoda): su importancia en el contexto de la evolución de los titanosaurios del cretácico superior de la Argentina

    OpenAIRE

    Gallina, Pablo Ariel

    2011-01-01

    En este trabajo de tesis se realiza un estudio de integración sobre el dinosaurio saurópodo Bonitasaura salgadoi Apesteguía 2004, hallado en la localidad de Cerro Policía, en la provincia de Río Negro. Para comenzar, se analiza el marco geológico mediante un análisis estratigráfico realizado en la localidad, y un estudio tafonómico de los restos óseos del holotipo de Bonitasaura para reconocer el contexto paleoambiental en el que el especímen habría pasado sus últimos momentos de vi...

  10. The dinosaurs of Thailand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buffetaut, Eric; Suteethorn, Varavudh

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-02-23

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

  12. Avian-like breathing mechanics in maniraptoran dinosaurs

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

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

    2008-01-01

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

  13. Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-04-26

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

  15. 河南省义马县中侏罗统义马组兽脚类恐龙足印化石的发现及其意义%The Discovery of Theropod Dinosaur Footprints from the Middle Jurassic Yima Formation of Yima County, Henan Province

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    吕君昌; 张兴辽; 贾松海; 胡卫勇; 吴炎华; 季强

    2007-01-01

    本文记述了河南省义马县中侏罗世地层中首次发现的大型兽脚类恐龙足印.该足印虽然与发现于下-中侏罗统的张北足印类似,但是又不完全相同,从而命名为该属的一新种:徐氏张北足印(新足迹种):Changpeipus xuiana inchnosp.nov..它具有以下特征:足印的长度与宽度的比率约为1.9,第Ⅱ趾长度稍短于第Ⅳ趾的长度;第Ⅱ和第Ⅲ趾之间的夹角约为25°;第Ⅲ和第Ⅳ趾之间的夹角约为32°,足印的后部具有蹠骨所留下的印痕.徐氏张北足印的发现,不仅为我国中侏罗世恐龙足印增加了新的成员,而且为将来在该地区中侏罗世的地层中发现大型兽脚类恐龙骨骼化石提供确凿的依据.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Persons Iv, 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  18. Higher-order phylogeny of modern birds (Theropoda, Aves: Neornithes) based on comparative anatomy. II. Analysis and discussion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Livezey, Bradley C; Zusi, Richard L

    2007-01-01

    In recent years, avian systematics has been characterized by a diminished reliance on morphological cladistics of modern taxa, intensive palaeornithogical research stimulated by new discoveries and an inundation by analyses based on DNA sequences. Unfortunately, in contrast to significant insights into basal origins, the broad picture of neornithine phylogeny remains largely unresolved. Morphological studies have emphasized characters of use in palaeontological contexts. Molecular studies, following disillusionment with the pioneering, but non-cladistic, work of Sibley and Ahlquist, have differed markedly from each other and from morphological works in both methods and findings. Consequently, at the turn of the millennium, points of robust agreement among schools concerning higher-order neornithine phylogeny have been limited to the two basalmost and several mid-level, primary groups. This paper describes a phylogenetic (cladistic) analysis of 150 taxa of Neornithes, including exemplars from all non-passeriform families, and subordinal representatives of Passeriformes. Thirty-five outgroup taxa encompassing Crocodylia, predominately theropod Dinosauria, and selected Mesozoic birds were used to root the trees. Based on study of specimens and the literature, 2954 morphological characters were defined; these characters have been described in a companion work, approximately one-third of which were multistate (i.e. comprised at least three states), and states within more than one-half of these multistate characters were ordered for analysis. Complete heuristic searches using 10 000 random-addition replicates recovered a total solution set of 97 well-resolved, most-parsimonious trees (MPTs). The set of MPTs was confirmed by an expanded heuristic search based on 10 000 random-addition replicates and a full ratchet-augmented exploration to ascertain global optima. A strict consensus tree of MPTs included only six trichotomies, i.e. nodes differing topologically among MPTs

  19. Higher-order phylogeny of modern birds (Theropoda, Aves: Neornithes) based on comparative anatomy. II. Analysis and discussion

    Science.gov (United States)

    LIVEZEY, BRADLEY C; ZUSI, RICHARD L

    2007-01-01

    In recent years, avian systematics has been characterized by a diminished reliance on morphological cladistics of modern taxa, intensive palaeornithogical research stimulated by new discoveries and an inundation by analyses based on DNA sequences. Unfortunately, in contrast to significant insights into basal origins, the broad picture of neornithine phylogeny remains largely unresolved. Morphological studies have emphasized characters of use in palaeontological contexts. Molecular studies, following disillusionment with the pioneering, but non-cladistic, work of Sibley and Ahlquist, have differed markedly from each other and from morphological works in both methods and findings. Consequently, at the turn of the millennium, points of robust agreement among schools concerning higher-order neornithine phylogeny have been limited to the two basalmost and several mid-level, primary groups. This paper describes a phylogenetic (cladistic) analysis of 150 taxa of Neornithes, including exemplars from all non-passeriform families, and subordinal representatives of Passeriformes. Thirty-five outgroup taxa encompassing Crocodylia, predominately theropod Dinosauria, and selected Mesozoic birds were used to root the trees. Based on study of specimens and the literature, 2954 morphological characters were defined; these characters have been described in a companion work, approximately one-third of which were multistate (i.e. comprised at least three states), and states within more than one-half of these multistate characters were ordered for analysis. Complete heuristic searches using 10 000 random-addition replicates recovered a total solution set of 97 well-resolved, most-parsimonious trees (MPTs). The set of MPTs was confirmed by an expanded heuristic search based on 10 000 random-addition replicates and a full ratchet-augmented exploration to ascertain global optima. A strict consensus tree of MPTs included only six trichotomies, i.e. nodes differing topologically among MPTs

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbassi, Nasrollah; Madanipour, Saeed

    2014-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Göhlich, Ursula B; Chiappe, Luis M

    2006-03-16

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ALEXANDER W. A. KELLNER

    2012-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-02-07

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-08-23

    A recent study proposed that incubation behaviour (i.e. type of parental care) in theropod dinosaurs can be inferred from an allometric analysis of clutch volume in extant birds. However, the study in question failed to account for factors known to affect egg and clutch size in living bird species. A new scaling analysis of avian clutch mass demonstrates that type of parental care cannot be distinguished by conventional allometry because of the confounding effects of phylogeny and hatchling maturity. Precociality of young but not paternal care in the theropod ancestors of birds is consistent with the available data.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Candeiro, Carlos Roberto A.

    2015-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lida Xing

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

  8. Dinosaurs' True Colors

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    TANG YUANKAI

    2010-01-01

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

  9. NEW ABELISAURID MATERIAL FROM THE UPPER CRETACEOUS (CENOMANIAN OF MOROCCO

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    SIMONE D'ORAZI PORCHETTI

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Fragmentary cranial bones of dinosaur origin have been recently recovered from the Kem Kem beds (Upper Cretaceous, Cenomanian of Morocco. They include two incompletely preserved maxillary bones evidencing diagnostic features of abelisaurid theropods. These new finds provide further evidence of Abelisauridae in the Late Cretaceous of Morocco. 

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-10-20

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

  11. New ichnotaxa based on tooth impression on dinosaur and whale bones

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jacobsen, Aase Roland; Bromley, Richard

    2009-01-01

    and studies of distribution. Using similar ichnological terminology for both theropod and mammalian feeding traces, and even those of selachian sharks preying on whales or scavenging their corpses, will help coordinate biting strategies, jaw mechanism and feeding behaviour for both recent and ancient...

  12. Cross-species transmission and emergence of novel viruses from birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Jasper Fuk-Woo; To, Kelvin Kai-Wang; Chen, Honglin; Yuen, Kwok-Yung

    2015-02-01

    Birds, the only living member of the Dinosauria clade, are flying warm-blooded vertebrates displaying high species biodiversity, roosting and migratory behavior, and a unique adaptive immune system. Birds provide the natural reservoir for numerous viral species and therefore gene source for evolution, emergence and dissemination of novel viruses. The intrusions of human into natural habitats of wild birds, the domestication of wild birds as pets or racing birds, and the increasing poultry consumption by human have facilitated avian viruses to cross species barriers to cause zoonosis. Recently, a novel adenovirus was exclusively found in birds causing an outbreak of Chlamydophila psittaci infection among birds and humans. Instead of being the primary cause of an outbreak by jumping directly from bird to human, a novel avian virus can be an augmenter of another zoonotic agent causing the outbreak. A comprehensive avian virome will improve our understanding of birds' evolutionary dynamics.

  13. A New Leptoceratopsid (Ornithischia, Ceratopsia with a Unique Ischium from the Upper Cretaceous of Shandong Province, China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yiming He

    Full Text Available The partial skeleton of a leptoceratopsid dinosaur, Ischioceratops zhuchengensis gen. et sp. nov., was excavated from the bone-beds of the Upper Cretaceous Wangshi Group of Zhucheng, Shandong Province, China. This fossil represents the second leptoceratopsid dinosaur specimen recovered from the Kugou locality, a highly productive site in Zhucheng. The ischium of the new taxon is morphologically unique among known Dinosauria, flaring gradually to form an obturator process in its middle portion and resembling the shaft of a recurve bow. An elliptical fenestra perforates the obturator process, and the distal end of the shaft forms an axehead-shaped expansion. The discovery of Ischioceratops increases the known taxonomic diversity and morphological disparity of the Leptoceratopsidae.

  14. Unusual endosteally formed bone tissue in a patagonian basal sauropodomorph dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerda, Ignacio A; Chinsamy, Anusuya; Pol, Diego

    2014-08-01

    Mussaurus patagonicus (Dinosauria: Sauropodomorpha) is a basal sauropodomorph from the Late Triassic of southern Argentina that is known from a large number of individuals, including juveniles, subadults, and adults. Here, we report on the occurrence of an unusual bone tissue in an individual of M. patagonicus. The rather atypical bone tissue is located within the femoral medullary cavity and also occurs within several erosion cavities of the midinner part of the cortex. This tissue is well vascularized and is composed of a matrix that consists of abundant and densely packed osteocyte lacunae. Although some features of this tissue resembles avian medullary bone, the histological features are distinctive and share more features with the pathological, reactive bone produced in extant birds in response to a retrovirus-induced disease (avian osteopetrosis). Here, we also discuss and provide histological features to effectively differentiate endosteally formed medullary bone from pathological avian osteopetrosis.

  15. Metabolism of dinosaurs as determined from their growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Scott A.

    2015-09-01

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

  16. Paleobiology of Herbivorous Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrett, Paul M.

    2014-05-01

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

  17. Dinosaur Reproduction and Parenting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horner, John R.

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

  18. The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fastovsky, David E.; Weishampel, David B.

    2005-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-07-25

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

  20. A bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran from China with elongate ribbon-like feathers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Fucheng; Zhou, Zhonghe; Xu, Xing; Wang, Xiaolin; Sullivan, Corwin

    2008-10-23

    Recent coelurosaurian discoveries have greatly enriched our knowledge of the transition from dinosaurs to birds, but all reported taxa close to this transition are from relatively well known coelurosaurian groups. Here we report a new basal avialan, Epidexipteryx hui gen. et sp. nov., from the Middle to Late Jurassic of Inner Mongolia, China. This new species is characterized by an unexpected combination of characters seen in several different theropod groups, particularly the Oviraptorosauria. Phylogenetic analysis shows it to be the sister taxon to Epidendrosaurus, forming a new clade at the base of Avialae. Epidexipteryx also possesses two pairs of elongate ribbon-like tail feathers, and its limbs lack contour feathers for flight. This finding shows that a member of the avialan lineage experimented with integumentary ornamentation as early as the Middle to Late Jurassic, and provides further evidence relating to this aspect of the transition from non-avian theropods to birds.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-07-15

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-08-01

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

  3. Chemistry supports the identification of gender-specific reproductive tissue in Tyrannosaurus rex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schweitzer, Mary Higby; Zheng, Wenxia; Zanno, Lindsay; Werning, Sarah; Sugiyama, Toshie

    2016-01-01

    Medullary bone (MB), an estrogen-dependent reproductive tissue present in extant gravid birds, is texturally, histologically and compositionally distinct from other bone types. Phylogenetic proximity led to the proposal that MB would be present in non-avian dinosaurs, and recent studies have used microscopic, morphological, and regional homologies to identify this reproductive tissue in both theropod and ornithischian dinosaurs. Here, we capitalize on the unique chemical and histological fingerprint of MB in birds to characterize, at the molecular level, MB in the non-avian theropod Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125), and show that the retention of original molecular components in fossils allows deeper physiological and evolutionary questions to be addressed. PMID:26975806

  4. Feathered non-avian dinosaurs from North America provide insight into wing origins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zelenitsky, Darla K; Therrien, François; Erickson, Gregory M; DeBuhr, Christopher L; Kobayashi, Yoshitsugu; Eberth, David A; Hadfield, Frank

    2012-10-26

    Previously described feathered dinosaurs reveal a fascinating record of feather evolution, although substantial phylogenetic gaps remain. Here we report the occurrence of feathers in ornithomimosaurs, a clade of non-maniraptoran theropods for which fossilized feathers were previously unknown. The Ornithomimus specimens, recovered from Upper Cretaceous deposits of Alberta, Canada, provide new insights into dinosaur plumage and the origin of the avian wing. Individuals from different growth stages reveal the presence of a filamentous feather covering throughout life and winglike structures on the forelimbs of adults. The appearance of winglike structures in older animals indicates that they may have evolved in association with reproductive behaviors. These specimens show that primordial wings originated earlier than previously thought, among non-maniraptoran theropods.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werner, Jan; Griebeler, Eva Maria

    2013-01-01

    It has been hypothesized that a high reproductive output contributes to the unique gigantism in large dinosaur taxa. In order to infer more information on dinosaur reproduction, we established allometries between body mass and different reproductive traits (egg mass, clutch mass, annual clutch mass) for extant phylogenetic brackets (birds, crocodiles and tortoises) of extinct non-avian dinosaurs. Allometries were applied to nine non-avian dinosaur taxa (theropods, hadrosaurs, and sauropodomorphs) for which fossil estimates on relevant traits are currently available. We found that the reproductive traits of most dinosaurs conformed to similar-sized or scaled-up extant reptiles or birds. The reproductive traits of theropods, which are considered more bird-like, were indeed consistent with birds, while the traits of sauropodomorphs conformed better to reptiles. Reproductive traits of hadrosaurs corresponded to both reptiles and birds. Excluding Massospondyluscarinatus, all dinosaurs studied had an intermediary egg to body mass relationship to reptiles and birds. In contrast, dinosaur clutch masses fitted with either the masses predicted from allometries of birds (theropods) or to the masses of reptiles (all other taxa). Theropods studied had probably one clutch per year. For sauropodomorphs and hadrosaurs, more than one clutch per year was predicted. Contrary to current hypotheses, large dinosaurs did not have exceptionally high annual egg numbers (AEN). Independent of the extant model, the estimated dinosaur AEN did not exceed 850 eggs (75,000 kg sauropod) for any of the taxa studied. This estimated maximum is probably an overestimation due to unrealistic assumptions. According to most AEN estimations, the dinosaurs studied laid less than 200 eggs per year. Only some AEN estimates obtained for medium to large sized sauropods were higher (200-400 eggs). Our results provide new (testable) hypotheses, especially for reproductive traits that are insufficiently documented

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Werner

    Full Text Available It has been hypothesized that a high reproductive output contributes to the unique gigantism in large dinosaur taxa. In order to infer more information on dinosaur reproduction, we established allometries between body mass and different reproductive traits (egg mass, clutch mass, annual clutch mass for extant phylogenetic brackets (birds, crocodiles and tortoises of extinct non-avian dinosaurs. Allometries were applied to nine non-avian dinosaur taxa (theropods, hadrosaurs, and sauropodomorphs for which fossil estimates on relevant traits are currently available. We found that the reproductive traits of most dinosaurs conformed to similar-sized or scaled-up extant reptiles or birds. The reproductive traits of theropods, which are considered more bird-like, were indeed consistent with birds, while the traits of sauropodomorphs conformed better to reptiles. Reproductive traits of hadrosaurs corresponded to both reptiles and birds. Excluding Massospondyluscarinatus, all dinosaurs studied had an intermediary egg to body mass relationship to reptiles and birds. In contrast, dinosaur clutch masses fitted with either the masses predicted from allometries of birds (theropods or to the masses of reptiles (all other taxa. Theropods studied had probably one clutch per year. For sauropodomorphs and hadrosaurs, more than one clutch per year was predicted. Contrary to current hypotheses, large dinosaurs did not have exceptionally high annual egg numbers (AEN. Independent of the extant model, the estimated dinosaur AEN did not exceed 850 eggs (75,000 kg sauropod for any of the taxa studied. This estimated maximum is probably an overestimation due to unrealistic assumptions. According to most AEN estimations, the dinosaurs studied laid less than 200 eggs per year. Only some AEN estimates obtained for medium to large sized sauropods were higher (200-400 eggs. Our results provide new (testable hypotheses, especially for reproductive traits that are insufficiently

  7. Lower Cretaceous Dinosaur Tracks from Puebla, Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

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

  8. Flapping before Flight: High Resolution, Three-Dimensional Skeletal Kinematics of Wings and Legs during Avian Development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ashley M Heers

    Full Text Available Some of the greatest transformations in vertebrate history involve developmental and evolutionary origins of avian flight. Flight is the most power-demanding mode of locomotion, and volant adult birds have many anatomical features that presumably help meet these demands. However, juvenile birds, like the first winged dinosaurs, lack many hallmarks of advanced flight capacity. Instead of large wings they have small "protowings", and instead of robust, interlocking forelimb skeletons their limbs are more gracile and their joints less constrained. Such traits are often thought to preclude extinct theropods from powered flight, yet young birds with similarly rudimentary anatomies flap-run up slopes and even briefly fly, thereby challenging longstanding ideas on skeletal and feather function in the theropod-avian lineage. Though skeletons and feathers are the common link between extinct and extant theropods and figure prominently in discussions on flight performance (extant birds and flight origins (extinct theropods, skeletal inter-workings are hidden from view and their functional relationship with aerodynamically active wings is not known. For the first time, we use X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology to visualize skeletal movement in developing birds, and explore how development of the avian flight apparatus corresponds with ontogenetic trajectories in skeletal kinematics, aerodynamic performance, and the locomotor transition from pre-flight flapping behaviors to full flight capacity. Our findings reveal that developing chukars (Alectoris chukar with rudimentary flight apparatuses acquire an "avian" flight stroke early in ontogeny, initially by using their wings and legs cooperatively and, as they acquire flight capacity, counteracting ontogenetic increases in aerodynamic output with greater skeletal channelization. In conjunction with previous work, juvenile birds thereby demonstrate that the initial function of developing wings is to

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

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    Diego Castanera

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1997-01-01

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

  11. Flapping before Flight: High Resolution, Three-Dimensional Skeletal Kinematics of Wings and Legs during Avian Development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heers, Ashley M; Baier, David B; Jackson, Brandon E; Dial, Kenneth P

    2016-01-01

    Some of the greatest transformations in vertebrate history involve developmental and evolutionary origins of avian flight. Flight is the most power-demanding mode of locomotion, and volant adult birds have many anatomical features that presumably help meet these demands. However, juvenile birds, like the first winged dinosaurs, lack many hallmarks of advanced flight capacity. Instead of large wings they have small "protowings", and instead of robust, interlocking forelimb skeletons their limbs are more gracile and their joints less constrained. Such traits are often thought to preclude extinct theropods from powered flight, yet young birds with similarly rudimentary anatomies flap-run up slopes and even briefly fly, thereby challenging longstanding ideas on skeletal and feather function in the theropod-avian lineage. Though skeletons and feathers are the common link between extinct and extant theropods and figure prominently in discussions on flight performance (extant birds) and flight origins (extinct theropods), skeletal inter-workings are hidden from view and their functional relationship with aerodynamically active wings is not known. For the first time, we use X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology to visualize skeletal movement in developing birds, and explore how development of the avian flight apparatus corresponds with ontogenetic trajectories in skeletal kinematics, aerodynamic performance, and the locomotor transition from pre-flight flapping behaviors to full flight capacity. Our findings reveal that developing chukars (Alectoris chukar) with rudimentary flight apparatuses acquire an "avian" flight stroke early in ontogeny, initially by using their wings and legs cooperatively and, as they acquire flight capacity, counteracting ontogenetic increases in aerodynamic output with greater skeletal channelization. In conjunction with previous work, juvenile birds thereby demonstrate that the initial function of developing wings is to enhance leg

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

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    Diego Castanera

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  16. Variation, variability, and the origin of the avian endocranium: insights from the anatomy of Alioramus altai (Theropoda: Tyrannosauroidea.

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    Gabe S Bever

    Full Text Available The internal braincase anatomy of the holotype of Alioramus altai, a relatively small-bodied tyrannosauroid from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia, was studied using high-resolution computed tomography. A number of derived characters strengthen the diagnosis of this taxon as both a tyrannosauroid and a unique, new species (e.g., endocranial position of the gasserian ganglion, internal ramification of the facial nerve. Also present are features intermediate between the basal theropod and avialan conditions that optimize as the ancestral condition for Coelurosauria--a diverse group of derived theropods that includes modern birds. The expression of several primitive theropod features as derived character states within Tyrannosauroidea establishes previously unrecognized evolutionary complexity and morphological plasticity at the base of Coelurosauria. It also demonstrates the critical role heterochrony may have played in driving patterns of endocranial variability within the group and potentially reveals stages in the evolution of neuroanatomical development that could not be inferred based solely on developmental observations of the major archosaurian crown clades. We discuss the integration of paleontology with variability studies, especially as applied to the nature of morphological transformations along the phylogenetically long branches that tend to separate the crown clades of major vertebrate groups.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-05-01

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

  18. Pistes de dinosaures dans les niveaux du Crétacé inférieur de Muong Phalane, province de Savannakhet (Laos)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allain, Ronan; Taquet, Philippe; Battail, Bernard; Dejax, Jean; Richir, Philippe; Veran, Monette; Sayarath, Phouvong; Khenthavong, Bounxou; Thamvirith, Phosikeo; Hom, Boun

    1997-11-01

    In 1993, a Franco-Lao field-work team found three levels with dinosaur footprints in Muong Phalane, Savannakhet Province (Laos). The footprints are visible on the bank of the Sang Soy River on a tabular bedded sandstone belonging to the top of the "Grès supérieurs" Formation, dated by the occurrence of fresh water pelecypods (Trigonioidacea) from the end of the Lower Cretaceous. We have registered 13 theropod footprints on the lower slab, 8 footprints of an ornithopod and 38 of sauropods on the medium one, and on the upper one, 2 theropod footprints similar to those of the lower slab. The different trackways allowed us to estimate the speed of the theropod at 5 km/h with a hip-height of 170 cm, and the speed of the ornithopod at 6 km/h with a hip-height of 210 cm. The fades of the sediment collected in Muong Phalane and the occurrence of ripple-marks on the slabs seem to be related to a flood plain.

  19. Myology of the forelimb of Majungasaurus crenatissimus (Theropoda, Abelisauridae) and the morphological consequences of extreme limb reduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burch, Sara H

    2017-08-01

    Forelimb reduction occurred independently in multiple lineages of theropod dinosaurs. Although tyrannosaurs are renowned for their tiny, two-fingered forelimbs, the degree of their reduction in length is surpassed by abelisaurids, which possess an unusual morphology distinct from that of other theropods. The forelimbs of abelisaurids are short but robust and exhibit numerous crests, tubercles, and scars that allow for inferences of muscle attachment sites. Phylogenetically based reconstructions of the musculature were used in combination with close examination of the osteology in the Malagasy abelisaurid Majungasaurus to create detailed muscle maps of the forelimbs, and patterns of the muscular and bony morphology were compared with those of extant tetrapods with reduced or vestigial limbs. The lever arms of muscles crossing the glenohumeral joint are shortened relative to the basal condition, reducing the torque of these muscles but increasing the excursion of the humerus. Fusion of the antebrachial muscles into a set of flexors and extensors is common in other tetrapods and occurred to some extent in Majungasaurus. However, the presence of tubercles on the antebrachial and manual elements of abelisaurids indicates that many of the individual distal muscles acting on the wrist and digits were retained. Majungasaurus shows some signs of the advanced stages of forelimb reduction preceding limb loss, while also exhibiting features suggesting that the forelimb was not completely functionless. The conformation of abelisaurid forelimb musculature was unique among theropods and further emphasizes the unusual morphology of the forelimbs in this clade. © 2017 Anatomical Society.

  20. An integrative approach to understanding bird origins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Xing; Zhou, Zhonghe; Dudley, Robert; Mackem, Susan; Chuong, Cheng-Ming; Erickson, Gregory M; Varricchio, David J

    2014-12-12

    Recent discoveries of spectacular dinosaur fossils overwhelmingly support the hypothesis that birds are descended from maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs, and furthermore, demonstrate that distinctive bird characteristics such as feathers, flight, endothermic physiology, unique strategies for reproduction and growth, and a novel pulmonary system originated among Mesozoic terrestrial dinosaurs. The transition from ground-living to flight-capable theropod dinosaurs now probably represents one of the best-documented major evolutionary transitions in life history. Recent studies in developmental biology and other disciplines provide additional insights into how bird characteristics originated and evolved. The iconic features of extant birds for the most part evolved in a gradual and stepwise fashion throughout archosaur evolution. However, new data also highlight occasional bursts of morphological novelty at certain stages particularly close to the origin of birds and an unavoidable complex, mosaic evolutionary distribution of major bird characteristics on the theropod tree. Research into bird origins provides a premier example of how paleontological and neontological data can interact to reveal the complexity of major innovations, to answer key evolutionary questions, and to lead to new research directions. A better understanding of bird origins requires multifaceted and integrative approaches, yet fossils necessarily provide the final test of any evolutionary model.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Francischini, H.; Dentzien–Dias, P. C.; Fernandes, M. A.; Schultz, C. L.

    2015-11-01

    Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous sedimentary layers are represented in the Brazilian Paraná Basin by the fluvio-aeolian Guará Formation and the Botucatu Formation palaeoerg, respectively, overlapped by the volcanic Serra Geral Formation. In Uruguay, the corresponding sedimentary units are named Batoví and Rivera Members (both from the Tacuarembó Formation), and the lava flows constitute the Arapey Formation (also in Paraná Basin). Despite the lack of body fossils in the mentioned Brazilian formations, Guará/Batoví dinosaur fauna is composed of theropod, ornithopod and wide-gauge sauropod tracks and isolated footprints, as well as theropod teeth. In turn, the Botucatu/Rivera dinosaur fauna is represented by theropod and ornithopod ichnofossils smaller than those from the underlying units. The analysis of these dinosaur ichnological records and comparisons with other global Mesozoic ichnofauna indicates that there is a size reduction in dinosaur fauna in the more arid Botucatu/Rivera environment, which is dominated by aeolian dunes. The absence of sauropod trackways in the Botucatu Sandstone fits with the increasingly arid conditions because it is difficult for heavy animals to walk on sandy dunes, as well as to obtain the required amount of food resources. This comparison between the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous dinosaur fauna in south Brazil and Uruguay demonstrates the influence of aridization on the size of animals occupying each habitat.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peecook, Brandon R; Sidor, Christian A

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-10-07

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-02-25

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:26064540

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  9. The predatory ecology of Deinonychus and the origin of flapping in birds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denver W Fowler

    Full Text Available Most non-avian theropod dinosaurs are characterized by fearsome serrated teeth and sharp recurved claws. Interpretation of theropod predatory ecology is typically based on functional morphological analysis of these and other physical features. The notorious hypertrophied 'killing claw' on pedal digit (D II of the maniraptoran theropod Deinonychus (Paraves: Dromaeosauridae is hypothesized to have been a predatory adaptation for slashing or climbing, leading to the suggestion that Deinonychus and other dromaeosaurids were cursorial predators specialized for actively attacking and killing prey several times larger than themselves. However, this hypothesis is problematic as extant animals that possess similarly hypertrophied claws do not use them to slash or climb up prey. Here we offer an alternative interpretation: that the hypertrophied D-II claw of dromaeosaurids was functionally analogous to the enlarged talon also found on D-II of extant Accipitridae (hawks and eagles; one family of the birds commonly known as "raptors". Here, the talon is used to maintain grip on prey of subequal body size to the predator, while the victim is pinned down by the body weight of the raptor and dismembered by the beak. The foot of Deinonychus exhibits morphology consistent with a grasping function, supportive of the prey immobilisation behavior model. Opposite morphological trends within Deinonychosauria (Dromaeosauridae + Troodontidae are indicative of ecological separation. Placed in context of avian evolution, the grasping foot of Deinonychus and other terrestrial predatory paravians is hypothesized to have been an exaptation for the grasping foot of arboreal perching birds. Here we also describe "stability flapping", a novel behaviour executed for positioning and stability during the initial stages of prey immobilisation, which may have been pivotal to the evolution of the flapping stroke. These findings overhaul our perception of predatory dinosaurs and

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Phil Senter

    Full Text Available 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-14

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

  12. Evidence for avian intrathoracic air sacs in a new predatory dinosaur from Argentina.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul C Sereno

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Living birds possess a unique heterogeneous pulmonary system composed of a rigid, dorsally-anchored lung and several compliant air sacs that operate as bellows, driving inspired air through the lung. Evidence from the fossil record for the origin and evolution of this system is extremely limited, because lungs do not fossilize and because the bellow-like air sacs in living birds only rarely penetrate (pneumatize skeletal bone and thus leave a record of their presence. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe a new predatory dinosaur from Upper Cretaceous rocks in Argentina, Aerosteon riocoloradensis gen. et sp. nov., that exhibits extreme pneumatization of skeletal bone, including pneumatic hollowing of the furcula and ilium. In living birds, these two bones are pneumatized by diverticulae of air sacs (clavicular, abdominal that are involved in pulmonary ventilation. We also describe several pneumatized gastralia ("stomach ribs", which suggest that diverticulae of the air sac system were present in surface tissues of the thorax. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We present a four-phase model for the evolution of avian air sacs and costosternal-driven lung ventilation based on the known fossil record of theropod dinosaurs and osteological correlates in extant birds: (1 Phase I-Elaboration of paraxial cervical air sacs in basal theropods no later than the earliest Late Triassic. (2 Phase II-Differentiation of avian ventilatory air sacs, including both cranial (clavicular air sac and caudal (abdominal air sac divisions, in basal tetanurans during the Jurassic. A heterogeneous respiratory tract with compliant air sacs, in turn, suggests the presence of rigid, dorsally attached lungs with flow-through ventilation. (3 Phase III-Evolution of a primitive costosternal pump in maniraptoriform theropods before the close of the Jurassic. (4 Phase IV-Evolution of an advanced costosternal pump in maniraptoran theropods before the close of the Jurassic

  13. Seasonality and Paleoecology of the Late Cretaceous Multi-Taxa Vertebrate Assemblage of “Lo Hueco” (Central Eastern Spain)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domingo, Laura; Barroso-Barcenilla, Fernando; Cambra-Moo, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    Isotopic studies of multi-taxa terrestrial vertebrate assemblages allow determination of paleoclimatic and paleoecological aspects on account of the different information supplied by each taxon. The late Campanian-early Maastrichtian “Lo Hueco” Fossil-Lagerstätte (central eastern Spain), located at a subtropical paleolatitude of ~31°N, constitutes an ideal setting to carry out this task due to its abundant and diverse vertebrate assemblage. Local δ18OPO4 values estimated from δ18OPO4 values of theropods, sauropods, crocodyliforms, and turtles are close to δ18OH2O values observed at modern subtropical latitudes. Theropod δ18OH2O values are lower than those shown by crocodyliforms and turtles, indicating that terrestrial endothermic taxa record δ18OH2O values throughout the year, whereas semiaquatic ectothermic taxa δ18OH2O values represent local meteoric waters over a shorter time period when conditions are favorable for bioapatite synthesis (warm season). Temperatures calculated by combining theropod, crocodyliform, and turtle δ18OH2O values and gar δ18OPO4 have enabled us to estimate seasonal variability as the difference between mean annual temperature (MAT, yielded by theropods) and temperature of the warmest months (TWMs, provided by crocodyliforms and turtles). ΔTWMs-MAT value does not point to a significantly different seasonal thermal variability when compared to modern coastal subtropical meteorological stations and Late Cretaceous rudists from eastern Tethys. Bioapatite and bulk organic matter δ13C values point to a C3 environment in the “Lo Hueco” area. The estimated fractionation between sauropod enamel and diet is ~15‰. While waiting for paleoecological information yielded by the ongoing morphological study of the “Lo Hueco” crocodyliforms, δ13C and δ18OCO3 results point to incorporation of food items with brackish influence, but preferential ingestion of freshwater. “Lo Hueco” turtles showed the lowest δ13C and δ18OCO3

  14. Evidence for Avian Intrathoracic Air Sacs in a New Predatory Dinosaur from Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sereno, Paul C.; Martinez, Ricardo N.; Wilson, Jeffrey A.; Varricchio, David J.; Alcober, Oscar A.; Larsson, Hans C. E.

    2008-01-01

    Background Living birds possess a unique heterogeneous pulmonary system composed of a rigid, dorsally-anchored lung and several compliant air sacs that operate as bellows, driving inspired air through the lung. Evidence from the fossil record for the origin and evolution of this system is extremely limited, because lungs do not fossilize and because the bellow-like air sacs in living birds only rarely penetrate (pneumatize) skeletal bone and thus leave a record of their presence. Methodology/Principal Findings We describe a new predatory dinosaur from Upper Cretaceous rocks in Argentina, Aerosteon riocoloradensis gen. et sp. nov., that exhibits extreme pneumatization of skeletal bone, including pneumatic hollowing of the furcula and ilium. In living birds, these two bones are pneumatized by diverticulae of air sacs (clavicular, abdominal) that are involved in pulmonary ventilation. We also describe several pneumatized gastralia (“stomach ribs”), which suggest that diverticulae of the air sac system were present in surface tissues of the thorax. Conclusions/Significance We present a four-phase model for the evolution of avian air sacs and costosternal-driven lung ventilation based on the known fossil record of theropod dinosaurs and osteological correlates in extant birds: (1) Phase I—Elaboration of paraxial cervical air sacs in basal theropods no later than the earliest Late Triassic. (2) Phase II—Differentiation of avian ventilatory air sacs, including both cranial (clavicular air sac) and caudal (abdominal air sac) divisions, in basal tetanurans during the Jurassic. A heterogeneous respiratory tract with compliant air sacs, in turn, suggests the presence of rigid, dorsally attached lungs with flow-through ventilation. (3) Phase III—Evolution of a primitive costosternal pump in maniraptoriform theropods before the close of the Jurassic. (4) Phase IV—Evolution of an advanced costosternal pump in maniraptoran theropods before the close of the

  15. Coprolites with prey remains and traces from coprophagous organisms from the Lower Cretaceous (Late Berriasian) Jydegaard Formation of Bornholm, Denmark

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Milàn, Jesper; Rasmussen, Bo Wilhelm; Bonde, Niels Christensøn

    2012-01-01

    Two fragmentary coprolites from the Lower Cretaceous Jydegaard Formation of Bornholm, Denmark, represent the first record of coprolites from continental Mesozoic deposits in Denmark. Both specimens contain fish scale bone fragments of unknown affinity. Based on morphology, inclusions and the pote...... and the potential producers found in the Jydegaard Formation, we suggest they were made by either a turtle or a theropod with a piscivorous diet. One specimen shows pits and grooves in the surface, as well as two deep cylindrical burrows, made by coprophagous organisms....

  16. Dinosaurs of a Feather

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    David Hone

    2010-01-01

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

  17. The Late Cretaceous fauna and flora of the Uberaba area (Minas Gerais State, Brazil)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Candeiro, Carlos Roberto A.; Santos, Adriano R.; Bergqvist, Lílian P.; Ribeiro, Luiz Carlos B.; Apesteguía, Sebastián

    2008-03-01

    The Uberaba area, in Minas Gerais State, Brazil, yields a rich continental fauna and flora from the Late Cretaceous Uberaba and Marília formations. This paper reviews the diversity of the biota recorded from these formations. The most significant taxa from Peirópolis are the frog Baurubatrachus pricei, the turtle Cambaremys langertoni, the lizard Pristiguana brasiliensis, the crocodyliforms Itasuchus jesuinoi, Peirosaurus tormini and Uberabasuchus terrificus, the titanosaurian Baurutitan britoi, Trigonosaurus pricei, Aeolosaurus sp., indeterminate titanosaurians, and abelisaurid, carcharodontosaurid and maniraptoran theropods. Together with faunas of a similar age in Argentina and Madagascar, the assemblages contribute to a better understanding of Late Cretaceous Gondwanan faunas as a whole.

  18. Archaeopteryx: Dinosaur or Bird?

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    SONG Jianlan

    2011-01-01

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

  19. The First Mesozoic Heterodactyl Bird from China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHANG Zihui; HOU Lianhai; HASEGAWA Yoshikasu; Jingmai O'CONNOR; Larry D.MARTIN; Luis M.CHIAPPE

    2006-01-01

    Dalingheornis liweii gen. et sp. nov., a new enantiornithine bird was collected from the early Cretaceous Yixian Formation in northeastern China. It is the first record of a highly specialized heterodactyl foot in Mesozoic birds. The Y-shaped furcula with short hypocleidum is different from that of other enantiornithines. The minor metacarpal is robust and longer than the major metacarpal.A long bony tail composed of 20 caudal vertebrae with chevrons resembling those of dromaeosaurids and thus, highlighting again the evolutionary relationship between birds and non-avian theropods.Well-preserved alula feathers and a heterodactyl foot provide strong evidence for the arboreal habit of Dalingheornis.

  20. Mesozoic dinosaurs from Brazil and their biogeographic implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bittencourt, Jonathas S; Langer, Max C

    2011-03-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  2. Global aspects of dinosaur distribution and evolution

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sues, H.

    1988-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    Branch lengths—measured in character changes—are an essential requirement of clock-based divergence estimation, regardless of whether the fossil calibrations used represent nodes or tips. However, a separate set of divergence time approaches are typically used to date palaeontological trees, which may lack such branch lengths. Among these methods, sophisticated probabilistic approaches have recently emerged, in contrast with simpler algorithms relying on minimum node ages. Here, using a novel phylogenetic hypothesis for Mesozoic dinosaurs, we apply two such approaches to estimate divergence times for: (i) Dinosauria, (ii) Avialae (the earliest birds) and (iii) Neornithes (crown birds). We find: (i) the plausibility of a Permian origin for dinosaurs to be dependent on whether Nyasasaurus is the oldest dinosaur, (ii) a Middle to Late Jurassic origin of avian flight regardless of whether Archaeopteryx or Aurornis is considered the first bird and (iii) a Late Cretaceous origin for Neornithes that is broadly congruent with other node- and tip-dating estimates. Demonstrating the feasibility of probabilistic time-scaling further opens up divergence estimation to the rich histories of extinct biodiversity in the fossil record, even in the absence of detailed character data. PMID:28336787

  4. Evolutionary trends in Triceratops from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scannella, John B; Fowler, Denver W; Goodwin, Mark B; Horner, John R

    2014-07-15

    The placement of over 50 skulls of the well-known horned dinosaur Triceratops within a stratigraphic framework for the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (HCF) of Montana reveals the evolutionary transformation of this genus. Specimens referable to the two recognized morphospecies of Triceratops, T. horridus and T. prorsus, are stratigraphically separated within the HCF with the T. prorsus morphology recovered in the upper third of the formation and T. horridus found lower in the formation. Hypotheses that these morphospecies represent sexual or ontogenetic variation within a single species are thus untenable. Stratigraphic placement of specimens appears to reveal ancestor-descendant relationships. Transitional morphologies are found in the middle unit of the formation, a finding that is consistent with the evolution of Triceratops being characterized by anagenesis, the transformation of a lineage over time. Variation among specimens from this critical stratigraphic zone may indicate a branching event in the Triceratops lineage. Purely cladogenetic interpretations of the HCF dataset imply greater diversity within the formation. These findings underscore the critical role of stratigraphic data in deciphering evolutionary patterns in the Dinosauria.

  5. Archaeopteryx feathers and bone chemistry fully revealed via synchrotron imaging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bergmann, U; Morton, R W; Manning, P L; Sellers, W I; Farrar, S; Huntley, K G; Wogelius, R A; Larson, P

    2010-05-18

    Evolution of flight in maniraptoran dinosaurs is marked by the acquisition of distinct avian characters, such as feathers, as seen in Archaeopteryx from the Solnhofen limestone. These rare fossils were pivotal in confirming the dinosauria-avian lineage. One of the key derived avian characters is the possession of feathers, details of which were remarkably preserved in the Lagerstätte environment. These structures were previously simply assumed to be impressions; however, a detailed chemical analysis has, until now, never been completed on any Archaeopteryx specimen. Here we present chemical imaging via synchrotron rapid scanning X-ray fluorescence (SRS-XRF) of the Thermopolis Archaeopteryx, which shows that portions of the feathers are not impressions but are in fact remnant body fossil structures, maintaining elemental compositions that are completely different from the embedding geological matrix. Our results indicate phosphorous and sulfur retention in soft tissue as well as trace metal (Zn and Cu) retention in bone. Other previously unknown chemical details of Archaeopteryx are also revealed in this study including: bone chemistry, taphonomy (fossilization process), and curation artifacts. SRS-XRF represents a major advancement in the study of the life chemistry and fossilization processes of Archaeopteryx and other extinct organisms because it is now practical to image the chemistry of large specimens rapidly at concentration levels of parts per million. This technique has wider application to the archaeological, forensic, and biological sciences, enabling the mapping of "unseen" compounds critical to understanding biological structures, modes of preservation, and environmental context.

  6. An overview of the dinosaur fossil record from Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-08-01

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

  7. Taphonomy and paleoecology inferences of vertebrate ichnofossils from Guará Formation (Upper Jurassic), southern Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dentzien-Dias, Paula C.; Schultz, Cesar L.; Bertoni-Machado, Cristina

    2008-03-01

    In southern Brazil, the eolian facies of the Guará Formation (Late Jurassic) reveal footprints and trackways of vertebrates (dinosaurs), as well as burrows made by small vertebrates. All the footprints and trackways are preserved in dunes and sand sheets. The footprints made in the sand sheets are not well preserved due to intense trampling and can be distinguished only by the deformation of the sandstone laminations. In some cases it is possible to see this deformation in plan and in section. Tracks of theropods, ornithopods and middle-sized sauropods are present. Two footprints preserved in the foreset of a paleodune permitted recognition of slide structures and identification of the trackmaker, a theropod. Burrows horizontally across the foresets were found at this same paleodune. Ribbons of massive sandstone - interpreted as the partial filling of the base of the burrows - covered by little blocks of stratified sandstone - suggest the collapse of the burrow roof inward. There are no body fossils in the Guará Formation, consequently the preservation of these tracks provides unique evidence of widespread dinosaurs activity in southern Brazil near the end of the Jurassic.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benson, Roger B J; Choiniere, Jonah N

    2013-10-07

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  11. Assessing arboreal adaptations of bird antecedents: testing the ecological setting of the origin of the avian flight stroke.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T Alexander Dececchi

    Full Text Available The origin of avian flight is a classic macroevolutionary transition with research spanning over a century. Two competing models explaining this locomotory transition have been discussed for decades: ground up versus trees down. Although it is impossible to directly test either of these theories, it is possible to test one of the requirements for the trees-down model, that of an arboreal paravian. We test for arboreality in non-avian theropods and early birds with comparisons to extant avian, mammalian, and reptilian scansors and climbers using a comprehensive set of morphological characters. Non-avian theropods, including the small, feathered deinonychosaurs, and Archaeopteryx, consistently and significantly cluster with fully terrestrial extant mammals and ground-based birds, such as ratites. Basal birds, more advanced than Archaeopteryx, cluster with extant perching ground-foraging birds. Evolutionary trends immediately prior to the origin of birds indicate skeletal adaptations opposite that expected for arboreal climbers. Results reject an arboreal capacity for the avian stem lineage, thus lending no support for the trees-down model. Support for a fully terrestrial ecology and origin of the avian flight stroke has broad implications for the origin of powered flight for this clade. A terrestrial origin for the avian flight stroke challenges the need for an intermediate gliding phase, presents the best resolved series of the evolution of vertebrate powered flight, and may differ fundamentally from the origin of bat and pterosaur flight, whose antecedents have been postulated to have been arboreal and gliding.

  12. A Possible Long-tailed Bird with a Pygostyle from the Late Mesozoic Yixian Formation,Western Liaoning,China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    L(U) Junchang; HOU Lianhai

    2005-01-01

    An incomplete caudal vertebral series (IVPP V11309) from the Yixian Formation of late Mesozoic,Jianshangou area of B eipiao, western Liaoning Province, may represent a new bird. The tail is composed of at least 12 free caudal vertebrae and the most distal 5 caudal vertebrae co-ossified into a pygostyle. The pygostyle is plate-like and slightly curved dorsally. The anterior free caudals are amphiplatyan. The anterior caudal surfaces of the last three free caudals are concave, but their posterior articular surfaces are convex. The pygostyle is regarded as the first appeared flight apparatus during the evolutionary process from Archaeopteryx to neornithes. The pygostyle appeared in most early fossil birds and almost all the modern birds. Although their morphologies are different, they are basically formed by at least four last caudal vertebrae. The specimen V11309 is regarded as a bird rather than a non-avian theropod dinosaur based on the following characters: short caudal vertebrae, numerous pits present on the surfaces of the centra and, a foramen present between the basal part of the fused neural spines, which is similar to that of Struthio camelus. The discoveries of pygostyles from the therizinosauroids and oviraptorosaurs may provide strong evidence for supporting the origin of birds from small theropod dinosaurs. The structure of the pygostyle in specimen V11309 is different from those of Beipiaosaurus (Therizinosauroid) and Nomingia (oviraptorosaur). The most parsimonious interpretation is that these pygostyle-like structures are independently acquired by Beipiaosaurus and Nomingia during their evolutionary process.

  13. Icnitas de Dinosaurios Terópodos en el Weald de Soria (España. Nuevo icnogénero Kalohipus

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    Meijide Calvo, M.

    1998-08-01

    Full Text Available In this work we present a first report of the research that is being carried out in the northern of Soria (Spain in relation with the group of Dinosaur and other vertebrates footprints which have been found in that range. Those studied here correspond to «Santa Cristina» site in Bretún, on the presence of an Theropod without any generic attribution and a little Theropod, Kalohipus bretunensis nov. icnog., nov. icnosp.Se presenta un avance del estudio que se está realizando en la zona norte de Soria (España, relativo al conjunto de icnitas de Dinosaurios y de otros vertebrados fósiles existentes en la misma. Las aquí estudiadas corresponden al yacimiento de «Santa Cristina » en las cercanías de Bretún, pertenecientes a un dinosaurio Terópodo sin una atribución genérica específica y a un pequeño Terópodo para el que se proponen un nuevo icnogénero y una nueva icnoespecie, Kalohipus bretunensis.

  14. The ornithologist Alfred Russel Wallace and the controversy surrounding the dinosaurian origin of birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibrahim, Nizar; Kutschera, Ulrich

    2013-12-01

    Over many years of his life, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) explored the tropical forests of Malaysia, collecting numerous specimens, including hundreds of birds, many of them new to science. Subsequently, Wallace published a series of papers on systematic ornithology, and discovered a new species on top of a volcano on Ternate, where he wrote, in 1858, his famous essay on natural selection. Based on this hands-on experience, and an analysis of an Archaeopteryx fossil, Wallace suggested that birds may have descended from dinosaurian ancestors. Here, we describe the "dinosaur-bird hypothesis" that originated with the work of Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895). We present the strong evidence linking theropod dinosaurs to birds, and briefly outline the long and ongoing controversy around this concept. Dinosaurs preserving plumage, nesting sites and trace fossils provide overwhelming evidence for the dinosaurian origin of birds. Based on these recent findings of paleontological research, we conclude that extant birds indeed descended, with some modifications, from small, Mesozoic theropod dinosaurs. In the light of Wallace's view of bird origins, we critically evaluate recent opposing views to this idea, including Ernst Mayr's (1904-2005) arguments against the "dinosaur-bird hypothesis", and document that this famous ornithologist was not correct in his assessment of this important aspect of vertebrate evolution.

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    CHEN Pingfu; SONG Jianlan

    2010-01-01

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

  16. Avian-like breathing mechanics in maniraptoran dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-22

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

  17. Dinosaur speed demon: the caudal musculature of Carnotaurus sastrei and implications for the evolution of South American abelisaurids.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W Scott Persons

    Full Text Available In the South American abelisaurids Carnotaurus sastrei, Aucasaurus garridoi, and, to a lesser extent Skorpiovenator bustingorryi, the anterior caudal ribs project at a high dorsolateral inclination and have interlocking lateral tips. This unique morphology facilitated the expansion of the caudal hypaxial musculature at the expense of the epaxial musculature. Distinct ridges on the ventrolateral surfaces of the caudal ribs of Aucasaurus garridoi are interpreted as attachment scars from the intra caudofemoralis/ilio-ischiocaudalis septa, and confirm that the M. caudofemoralis of advanced South American abelisaurids originated from a portion of the caudal ribs. Digital muscle models indicate that, relative to its overall body size, Carnotaurus sastrei had a substantially larger M. caudofemoralis than any other theropod yet studied. In most non-avian theropods, as in many extant sauropsids, the M. caudofemoralis served as the primary femoral retractor muscle during the locomotive power stroke. This large investment in the M. caudofemoralis suggests that Carnotaurus sastrei had the potential for great cursorial abilities, particularly short-burst sprinting. However, the tightly interlocking morphology of the anterior caudal vertebrae implies a reduced ability to make tight turns. Examination of these vertebral traits in evolutionary context reveals a progressive sequence of increasing caudofemoral mass and tail rigidity among the Abelisauridae of South America.

  18. Seasonal Equability in Late Cretaceous Central-Eastern Iberia? Inferences from Isotopic Data on Vertebrates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domingo, L.; Barroso-Barcenilla, F.; Cambra-Moo, O.

    2013-12-01

    After the mid-Cretaceous thermal maximum, the latest Cretaceous witnessed a long-term cooling trend (Santonian-Maastrichtian). It has been proposed that seasonal equability (low mean annual range of temperatures) accompanied the mid-Cretaceous greenhouse period, but was it also a climatic feature of the colder latest Cretaceous? Terrestrial proxies have proven useful in understanding past seasonality and in this vein, we performed oxygen isotope analyses of the phosphate (δ18OPO4) on the rich and exceptionally well preserved late Campanian-early Maastrichtian vertebrate assemblage of 'Lo Hueco' fossil site (Cuenca, Spain). We analysed theropod and crocodilian tooth enamel, turtle shell, and gar ganoine with the aim of evaluating paleoclimatic conditions existing in the western area of the Tethys realm. The 'Lo Hueco' locality was situated at a paleo-latitude of 31°N and sedimentological and paleontological studies point to a coastal environment with distributary channels and sporadic sabkhas. Samples were collected from two different levels: G1 (proximal muddy floodplain) and G2 (distal muddy floodplain), with G1 being older. δ18OH2O values were calculated from theropod, crocodilian and turtle δ18OPO4 values using established equations and in all cases they are in good agreement with precipitation water from subtropical latest Cretaceous and modern settings. Theropods recorded consistently slightly lower δ18OH2O values (G1: -4.1×1.4‰, G2: -3.5×0.5‰) than crocodilians (G1: -3.6×0.6‰, G2: -2.7×0.6‰) and turtles (G1: -3.8×0.6‰, G2: -2.9×0.5‰). This may be due to terrestrial endothermic taxa, such as theropods, recording ingested water year round, meanwhile semiaquatic ectothermic taxa, such as crocodilians and turtles, would record δ18OH2O values representing local meteoric waters over the warm season, when conditions are favorable for apatite synthesis. With these δ18OH2O values, we used gar ganoine δ18OPO4 values as an independent proxy to

  19. Evolutionary and Ecological Sequelae of Mass Extinctions: Examples From the Continental Triassic-Jurassic Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, P. E.; Whiteside, J. H.

    2003-12-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic boundary at ˜200 Ma marks one of the five major mass-extinctions of the Phanerozoic and, depending on the metrics used, was similar in magnitude to the K-T mass extinction. In continental environments about 50% of all tetrapod families are eliminated and although floral diversity change is difficult to gauge, a similar proportion of palynomorph taxa disappear at the boundary. The extinction event appears to have been very abrupt, followed by a roughly 900 ky super-greenhouse period characterized by increased precipitation. We hypothesize a series of biological consequences of the drop in diversity and associated super-greenhouse based on observations of the earliest Jurassic assemblages, largely from eastern North America. 1) The drop in diversity results in a collapse of ecological interactions that tend to stabilize the composition of regional biotas and buffer them from invading forms. Triassic assemblages show considerable biogeographic provinciality despite the existence of Pangea, but the earliest Jurassic assemblages were extraordinarily homogenous with many vertebrate genera being essentially global in distribution. 2) Initially the post-boundary terrestrial assemblages were comprised of eurytopic trophic generalists, with animal communities with few herbivores, but abundant carnivores and detritivores subsisting on aquatic-based food webs. The earliest Jurassic tetrapod footprint record is overwhelmingly dominated by the footprints of ceratosaurian theropod dinosaurs, the latter having skull characteristics usually associated at least in part with piscivory. 3) The dramatic size changes over very short periods of time were likely due to an absence of competition (i.e., ecological release). The maximum size of theropod dinosaur footprints increased by about 25% within 10 ky following the boundary, corresponding to a doubling of mass. 4) Representatives of clades with intrinsically high rates of speciation tend to form species flocks

  20. Primera cita de cocodrilos zifodontos en el Cenozoico de Asturias: Royo Gómez y los supuestos dientes de dinosaurio del Eoceno de Llamaquique

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    Pereda Suberbiola, X.

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available In 1928, José Royo Gómez mentioned the find of “two teeth similar to those of theropod dinosaurs from the Secondary” in the Eocene of Llamaquique (Oviedo Basin, Asturias. Royo Gómez was aware of the interest of the discovery, “because they would be the youngest remains found of these gigantic reptiles”. According to the hitherto unpublished documents preserved in the Archives of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, Royo Gómez photographed five teeth from Llamaquique in April 1932, which he regarded as belonging to theropods. The whereabouts of this material is currently unknown. However, the revision of the Llamaquique collection in the above mentioned museum has allowed to recover one labiolingually compressed and serrated tooth (ziphodont condition. We reject here that the tooth belongs to a theropod, and we assign it to a Mesoeucrocodylia indet. This is the first mention of the discovery of ziphodont crocodyliforms in the Paleogene of Asturias.

    En 1928, José Royo Gómez informó del hallazgo de “dos dientes idénticos a los de los Dinosaurios terópodos del Secundario” en el Eoceno de Llamaquique (Cuenca de Oviedo, Asturias. Royo Gómez era consciente del interés de este descubrimiento, “pues serían los restos más modernos que se conocerían de estos gigantescos reptiles”. Según la documentación conservada en el Archivo del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales en Madrid, hasta ahora inédita, Royo Gómez fotografió en abril de 1932 cinco dientes de Llamaquique que él consideraba pertenecientes a terópodos. Este material se encuentra actualmente en paradero desconocido. No obstante, la revisión de la colección paleontológica de Llamaquique en el mencionado museo ha permitido recuperar un diente comprimido lateralmente y provisto de carenas denticuladas (condición zifodonta. Se descarta que el diente pertenezca a un terópodo, asignándose a un Mesoeucrocodylia indeterminado. Se trata de la

  1. Postcranial pneumaticity: an evaluation of soft-tissue influences on the postcranial skeleton and the reconstruction of pulmonary anatomy in archosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connor, Patrick M

    2006-10-01

    Postcranial pneumaticity has been reported in numerous extinct sauropsid groups including pterosaurs, birds, saurischian dinosaurs, and, most recently, both crurotarsan and basal archosauriform taxa. By comparison with extant birds, pneumatic features in fossils have formed the basis for anatomical inferences concerning pulmonary structure and function, in addition to higher-level inferences related to growth, metabolic rate, and thermoregulation. In this study, gross dissection, vascular and pulmonary injection, and serial sectioning were employed to assess the manner in which different soft tissues impart their signature on the axial skeleton in a sample of birds, crocodylians, and lizards. Results from this study indicate that only cortical foramina or communicating fossae connected with large internal chambers are reliable and consistent indicators of pneumatic invasion of bone. As both vasculature and pneumatic diverticula may produce foramina of similar sizes and shapes, cortical features alone do not necessarily indicate pneumaticity. Noncommunicating (blind) vertebral fossae prove least useful, as these structures are associated with many different soft-tissue systems. This Pneumaticity Profile (PP) was used to evaluate the major clades of extinct archosauriform taxa with purported postcranial pneumaticity. Unambiguous indicators of pneumaticity are present only in certain ornithodiran archosaurs (e.g., sauropod and theropod dinosaurs, pterosaurs). In contrast, the basal archosauriform Erythrosuchus africanus and other nonornithodiran archosaurs (e.g., parasuchians) fail to satisfy morphological criteria of the PP, namely, that internal cavities are absent within bone, even though blind fossae and/or cortical foramina are present on vertebral neural arches. An examination of regional pneumaticity in extant avians reveals remarkably consistent patterns of diverticular invasion of bone, and thus provides increased resolution for inferring specific components

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-04-04

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

  3. Ascent of dinosaurs linked to an iridium anomaly at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, P E; Kent, D V; Sues, H-D; Koeberl, C; Huber, H; Montanari, A; Rainforth, E C; Fowell, S J; Szajna, M J; Hartline, B W

    2002-05-17

    Analysis of tetrapod footprints and skeletal material from more than 70 localities in eastern North America shows that large theropod dinosaurs appeared less than 10,000 years after the Triassic-Jurassic boundary and less than 30,000 years after the last Triassic taxa, synchronous with a terrestrial mass extinction. This extraordinary turnover is associated with an iridium anomaly (up to 285 parts per trillion, with an average maximum of 141 parts per trillion) and a fern spore spike, suggesting that a bolide impact was the cause. Eastern North American dinosaurian diversity reached a stable maximum less than 100,000 years after the boundary, marking the establishment of dinosaur-dominated communities that prevailed for the next 135 million years.

  4. Plumage color patterns of an extinct dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-03-12

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

  5. Vertebrate fossils and trace fossils in Upper Jurassic-Lower cretaceous red beds in the Atacama region, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, C. M.; Suárez, M.

    Pterosaur, dinosaur, and crocodile bones are recorded here for the first time in Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous red beds in the Atacama region east of Copiapó, Chile. Trace fossils produced by vertebrate animals include the footprints of theropod dinosaurs and the depressions of sandstone laminae interpreted as burrows and foot impressions. The fossils occur in the 1500-meter-thick Quebrada Monardes Formation, which consists predominantly of the aeolian and alluvial deposits of a semi-arid terrestrial environment. Vertebrate fossils are very rare in Chile. Dinosaur bones and footprints have previously been recorded at only seven locations, and pterosaur remains at only one location. The newly discovered dinosaur bones are the oldest to be described in Chile.

  6. First dinosaurs from Saudi Arabia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin P Kear

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

  7. Cranial Endocast of the lambeosaurine hadrosaurid Amurosaurus riabinini from the Amur region, Russia.

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    Pascaline Lauters

    Full Text Available Information on the structure of the brain of the lambeosaurine hadrosaurid dinosaur Amurosaurus riabinini, from the Late Maastrichtian of Blagoveschensk, Far Eastern Russia, is presented based on endocranial casts. The endocasts are compared with physical and digital endocasts of other dinosaurs. The olfactory tract was large. The cerebral hemispheres are enlarged and round, illustrating the important development of this part of the brain in hadrosaurids. The pituitary body is enlarged as well, perhaps prefiguring the large size attained by hadrosaurids. The EQ of Amurosaurus was similar to that of the lambeosaurine dinosaur Hypacrosaurus altispinus and was relatively larger than in most extant non-avian reptiles, including sauropod and ceratopsian dinosaurs. However, it was apparently relatively smaller than those of most theropod dinosaurs. The relatively large size of the cerebrum is consistent with the range and complexity of social behaviors inferred for lambeosaurine dinosaurs.

  8. A New Troodontid (Theropoda:Troodontidae) from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Western Liaoning, China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    XU Xing; WANG Xiaolin

    2004-01-01

    A specimen collected from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of western Liaoning, China, represents a new genus and species of troodontid theropod. The new taxon is named and described on the basis of the holotype and the only known specimen, which comprises an articulated skeleton with the presacral vertebral, shoulder girdle and forelimbs missing as preserved. Diagnostic features of the new species include nasals that are sinusoid in lateral view, absence of a passage connecting the antorbital and maxillary fenestrae, relatively large teeth, plate-like chevrons forming a band along most of the length of the tail, and a long neck between the femoral head and shaft. The temporal constraints of the three paravian groups (Troodontidae, Dromaeosauridae and Aves) combined with the character distributions among the earliest known troodontids indicate a rapid evolution at the base of the Troodontidae.

  9. A diminutive new tyrannosaur from the top of the world.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiorillo, Anthony R; Tykoski, Ronald S

    2014-01-01

    Tyrannosaurid theropods were dominant terrestrial predators in Asia and western North America during the last of the Cretaceous. The known diversity of the group has dramatically increased in recent years with new finds, but overall understanding of tyrannosaurid ecology and evolution is based almost entirely on fossils from latitudes at or below southern Canada and central Asia. Remains of a new, relatively small tyrannosaurine were recovered from the earliest Late Maastrichtian (70-69Ma) of the Prince Creek Formation on Alaska's North Slope. Cladistic analyses show the material represents a new tyrannosaurine species closely related to the highly derived Tarbosaurus+Tyrannosaurus clade. The new taxon inhabited a seasonally extreme high-latitude continental environment on the northernmost edge of Cretaceous North America. The discovery of the new form provides new insights into tyrannosaurid adaptability, and evolution in an ancient greenhouse Arctic.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  11. Semiaquatic adaptations in a giant predatory dinosaur.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-09-26

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

  12. Dinosaurios de la Península Ibérica

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    Sanz, J. L.

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Body fossils of the Iberian Peninsula dinosaurs are very relevant for the knowledge of several aspects of the evolutionary history of the group, and, in addition, for the interpretation of the distribution of many of its components, due to the geographic situation of the Iberian Peninsula. Almost all of the groups of dinosaurs are represented in the Iberian Peninsula record: ornithopods, thyreophorans, theropods and sauropods. These groups are present, mainly, in the transit Jurassic-Cretaceous (Kimmeridigian- Berriasian, the upper part of the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian-Aptian and in the end of the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian-Masstrichtian. Ornithischian dinosaurs are represented by thyreophorans such as the stegosaurians Dacentrurus and Stegosaurus, the ankylosaurs Dracopelta, Polacanthus and Struthiosaurus, and ornithopods like hypsilophodontids, basal iguanodontians (Rhabdodon, dryosaurids, camptosaurids (Draconyx and Camptosaurus, iguanodontids (Iguanodon and hadrosaurids (Pararhabdodon. Some Incertae sedis and taxa in process of description are present too. Sauropods are represented by taxa related to Neosauropoda (Lourinhasaurus, Dinheirosaurus, Galveosaurus and Losillasaurus and titanosauriforms (Aragosaurus, Lusotitan and Lirainosaurus. In addition, new forms are still in description, like the sauropods of Riodeva (Teruel, Peñarroya de Tastavins (Teruel and Morella (Castellón. Theropods are represented by the ceratosaurian Ceratosaurus, the spinosauroid Torvosaurus, the carnosaurs Lourinhanosaurus and Allosaurus, the tyrannosaurid Aviatyrannis, the ornithomimosaur Pelecanimimus, and the avian-theropods Iberomesornis, Concornis, Eoalulavis and Noguerornis. Nevertheless, theropods diversity is more abundant as it shows the great variability of teeth morphotypes identified.registro de restos directos de dinosaurios en la Península Ibérica ha mostrado, en los últimos años, que puede ser muy relevante para el conocimiento de distintos

  13. Largest bird from the Early Cretaceous and its implications for the earliest avian ecological diversification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Zhonghe; Zhang, Fucheng

    2002-01-01

    With only one known exception, early Cretaceous birds were smaller than their closest theropod dinosaur relatives. Here we report on a new bird from the Early Cretaceous feathered-dinosaur-bearing continental deposits of Liaoning, northeast China, which is not only larger than Archaeopteryx but is nearly twice as large as the basal dromaeosaur Microraptor. The new taxon, Sapeornis chaoyangensis gen. et sp. nov. , has a more basal phylogenetic position than all other birds except for Archaeopteryx. Its exceptionally long forelimbs, well-developed deltoid crest of the humerus, proximally fused metacarpals, relatively short hindlimbs and short pygostyle indicate powerful soaring capability and further suggest that by the Early Cretaceous ecological diversification of early birds was greater than previously assumed. Electronic supplementary material to this paper can be obtained by using the Springer LINK server located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00114-001-0276-9.

  14. The first dinosaur tracksite from Xinjiang, NW China (Middle Jurassic Sanjianfang Formation, Turpan Basin)——a preliminary report

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Oliver WINGS; Rico SCHELLHORN; Heinrich MALLISON; Ben THUY; Wenhao WU; Ge SUN

    2007-01-01

    A new dinosaur tracksite was discovered in a steeply inclined sandstone layer of the Middle Jurassic Sanjianfang Formation in the Shanshan area of the Turpan Basin. The site is the first record of dinosaur footprints from Xinjiang Province in northwestern China. More than 150 tridactyl theropod dinosaur footprints are preserved as positive hyporeliefs on the lower bedding plane of a fine-grained sandstone body. Most of the footprints are isolated and appear to be randomly distributed. Some show well defined phalangeal pads, heels and rarely indistinct impressions of the distal part of the metatarsus. Two distinct morphotypes are present: a larger type with relatively broad pads shows similarities to Changpeipus and Megalosauripus, and a slightly smaller, slender and gracile type which is similar to Grallator, Eubrontes and Anchisauripus. In both morphotypes, digit III is the longest with a length between 11.4 and 33.6 cm. A single imprint shows prominent scratches, probably formed during slipping of the track maker.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loewen, Mark A; Irmis, Randall B; Sertich, Joseph J W; Currie, Philip J; Sampson, Scott D

    2013-01-01

    The Late Cretaceous (∼95-66 million years ago) western North American landmass of Laramidia displayed heightened non-marine vertebrate diversity and intracontinental regionalism relative to other latest Cretaceous Laurasian ecosystems. Processes generating these patterns during this interval remain poorly understood despite their presumed role in the diversification of many clades. Tyrannosauridae, a clade of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs restricted to the Late Cretaceous of Laramidia and Asia, represents an ideal group for investigating Laramidian patterns of evolution. We use new tyrannosaurid discoveries from Utah--including a new taxon which represents the geologically oldest member of the clade--to investigate the evolution and biogeography of Tyrannosauridae. These data suggest a Laramidian origin for Tyrannosauridae, and implicate sea-level related controls in the isolation, diversification, and dispersal of this and many other Late Cretaceous vertebrate clades.

  16. Cretaceous Small Scavengers: Feeding Traces in Tetrapod Bones from Patagonia, Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Valais, Silvina; Apesteguía, Sebastián; Garrido, Alberto C.

    2012-01-01

    Ecological relationships among fossil vertebrate groups are interpreted based on evidence of modification features and paleopathologies on fossil bones. Here we describe an ichnological assemblage composed of trace fossils on reptile bones, mainly sphenodontids, crocodyliforms and maniraptoran theropods. They all come from La Buitrera, an early Late Cretaceous locality in the Candeleros Formation of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina. This locality is significant because of the abundance of small to medium-sized vertebrates. The abundant ichnological record includes traces on bones, most of them attributable to tetrapods. These latter traces include tooth marks that provde evidence of feeding activities made during the sub-aerial exposure of tetrapod carcasses. Other traces are attributable to arthropods or roots. The totality of evidence provides an uncommon insight into paleoecological aspects of a Late Cretaceous southern ecosystem. PMID:22253800

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-04-01

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

  18. Lower Cretaceous Dinosaur Tracks from Puebla, Mexico

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    Rubén A. Rodríguez-de la Rosa

    2012-01-01

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

  19. Brief review of dinosaur studies and perspectives in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ALEXANDER W. A. KELLNER

    2000-12-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark A Loewen

    Full Text Available The Late Cretaceous (∼95-66 million years ago western North American landmass of Laramidia displayed heightened non-marine vertebrate diversity and intracontinental regionalism relative to other latest Cretaceous Laurasian ecosystems. Processes generating these patterns during this interval remain poorly understood despite their presumed role in the diversification of many clades. Tyrannosauridae, a clade of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs restricted to the Late Cretaceous of Laramidia and Asia, represents an ideal group for investigating Laramidian patterns of evolution. We use new tyrannosaurid discoveries from Utah--including a new taxon which represents the geologically oldest member of the clade--to investigate the evolution and biogeography of Tyrannosauridae. These data suggest a Laramidian origin for Tyrannosauridae, and implicate sea-level related controls in the isolation, diversification, and dispersal of this and many other Late Cretaceous vertebrate clades.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-07-01

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

  2. Evolution of dinosaur epidermal structures.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  3. Marine vertebrates from the Santonian coastal carbonates of northwestern Germany - a tool for the reconstruction of a Proto- North Sea Basin intertidal dinosaur-exchange bridge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diedrich, Cajus G.; Scheer, Udo

    2015-09-01

    A diverse vertebrate fauna, dominated by shark teeth, is recorded from conglomerates within the limestones of the Upper Cretaceous (Santonian) Burgsteinfurt Formation of northwestern Germany. The conglomerate beds comprise carbonatic, glauconitic and phosphate nodules, as well as Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous extraclasts. The Burgsteinfurt Formation conglomerates contain fining-upwards parasequences 2-20 cm in thickness, interpreted as tempestite layers within a unit formed by larger-scale Milankovitch Cycles. The presence of the inoceramid Sphenoceramus patootensis and belemnite Gonioteuthis granulata indicate a late Santonian age for the unit. The studied vertebrate fauna from the Weiner Esch locality consists of 20 selachian species (14 macroselachians and 6 microselachians), a few teleosts, rare marine mosasaur remains, and one tooth from a theropod dinosaur. 95% of the vertebrates in the assemblage are depositionally autochthonous, with the remaining material reworked from older underlying Cenomanian-Coniacian (lower Upper Cretaceous) limestones. On the basis of observed sedimentary structures, the scarcity of deep-sea selachians, and the dominance of the Mitsukurinidae (59% of the preserved shark fauna) in the fossil assemblage, the unit is interpreted as a shallow (0-3 metres deep), subtidal, nearshore environment, or even subaerial carbonate-sand islands, located on the southern margin of a submarine swell. The presence of a Santonian theropod in this deposit, and other dinosaur records in northern Germany, together support the interpretation of a short-lived uplift event with strong upwelling influence for the Northwestphalian-Lippe submarine swell north of the Rhenish Massif in the southern Proto- North Sea Basin. A new migration model for dinosaurs moving along carbonate coasts or intertidal zones of shallow carbonate-sand islands in Central Europe is presented, which may explain the scattered distribution of dinosaur remains across Europe in the

  4. Dinosaur tracks from Middle-Upper Jurassic Santai Formation:New materials and new interpretation%山东蒙阴盆地中晚侏罗世三台组恐龙足迹化石新材料新认识

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李日辉; 刘明渭; 杜圣贤

    2015-01-01

    对山东蒙阴盆地三台组以前及新发现的三趾型恐龙足迹化石开展了综合研究,认为应归入翘脚龙足迹属Grallator,其造迹者是小型兽脚类恐龙而非此前认为的鸟脚类恐龙,是目前山东省时代最老的恐龙足迹化石,也是中晚侏罗世恐龙活动的唯一证据。%New revealed and previously reported dinosaur tracks,which are all from Middle-Upper Juras-sic Santai Formation of the Mengyin basin in Yangzhuang,Xintai City,Shandong Province,are syntheti-cally studied herein.These tracks are all tridactyl,longer than wide (ranges 12.0~17.5 cm in length and 9.5~12.4 cm in width),and the track length/width ratios range between 1.3 and 1.4.One of the track (LR-XT10.1)even shows clear sharp claw traces.All these features demonstrate that these traces are of theropod,instead of ornithopod as previously interpreted,dinosaur affinity,and they are herein tentatively labeled as Grallator isp.The tracks from the Santai Formation are the earliest dinosaur record ever repor-ted in Shandong Province,it also indicate that small-scale theropod dinosaurs once existed in the Megnyin basin during Middle-Late Jurassic time.

  5. The wings before the bird: an evaluation of flapping-based locomotory hypotheses in bird antecedents

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Alexander Dececchi

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Background: Powered flight is implicated as a major driver for the success of birds. Here we examine the effectiveness of three hypothesized pathways for the evolution of the flight stroke, the forelimb motion that powers aerial locomotion, in a terrestrial setting across a range of stem and basal avians: flap running, Wing Assisted Incline Running (WAIR, and wing-assisted leaping. Methods: Using biomechanical mathematical models based on known aerodynamic principals and in vivo experiments and ground truthed using extant avians we seek to test if an incipient flight stroke may have contributed sufficient force to permit flap running, WAIR, or leaping takeoff along the phylogenetic lineage from Coelurosauria to birds. Results: None of these behaviours were found to meet the biomechanical threshold requirements before Paraves. Neither was there a continuous trend of refinement for any of these biomechanical performances across phylogeny nor a signal of universal applicability near the origin of birds. None of these flap-based locomotory models appear to have been a major influence on pre-flight character acquisition such as pennaceous feathers, suggesting non-locomotory behaviours, and less stringent locomotory behaviours such as balancing and braking, played a role in the evolution of the maniraptoran wing and nascent flight stroke. We find no support for widespread prevalence of WAIR in non-avian theropods, but can’t reject its presence in large winged, small-bodied taxa like Microraptor and Archaeopteryx. Discussion: Using our first principles approach we find that “near flight” locomotor behaviors are most sensitive to wing area, and that non-locomotory related selection regimes likely expanded wing area well before WAIR and other such behaviors were possible in derived avians. These results suggest that investigations of the drivers for wing expansion and feather elongation in theropods need not be intrinsically linked to locomotory

  6. Icnitas de dinosaurios en Valdelavilla (Soria, España

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sanz Pérez, E.

    2000-04-01

    Full Text Available Within the ichnological study of the surroundings of San Pedro Manrique (Soria, Spain, the new site at Valdelavilla, located in unit IV-b of the Huérteles Formation, has yielded dinosaur and pterosaur tracks. The main feature of this site is that it contains a great variety of dinosaur tracks, as regards their type (theropods, omithopods, sauropods their size (from 70 cm to 6 cm, and the way these tracemakers walked (digitigrade, plantigrade. Like many other place at Oncala Group, theropod tracks are abundant, and at a lesser degree, sauropod tracks are also present There is no conclusive evidence of omithopods tracks.Dentro del estudio icnológico que se realiza en los alrededores de San Pedro Manrique (Soria, España el nuevo yacimiento de Valdelavilla, enclavado en la unidad IV-b de la Aloformación Huérteles, ha proporcionado, hasta el momento, huellas de dinosaurios y de pterosaurios. La principal característica del mismo estriba en contener una gran variedad de icnitas de dinosaurios, tanto por su tipo (terópodos, omitópodos, saurópodos, como por su tamaño (desde 70 cm hasta 8 cm y forma de caminar (digitígrados, plantígrados. Como en muchos otros lugares del Grupo Oncala, abundan las huellas de terópodos y en menor proporción las de saurópodos, no presentándose claramente las de omitópodos.

  7. Specializations of the mandibular anatomy and dentition of Segnosaurus galbinensis (Theropoda: Therizinosauria

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    Lindsay E. Zanno

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Definitive therizinosaurid cranial materials are exceptionally rare, represented solely by an isolated braincase and tooth in the North American taxon Nothronychus mckinleyi, the remarkably complete skull of the Asian taxon Erlikosaurus andrewsi, and the lower hemimandibles of Segnosaurus galbinensis. To date, comprehensive descriptions of the former taxa are published; however, the mandibular materials of S. galbinensis have remained largely understudied since their initial description in 1979. Here we provide a comprehensive description of the well-preserved hemimandibles and dentition of S. galbinensis (MPC-D 100/80, from the Upper Cretaceous Bayanshiree Formation, Gobi Desert, Mongolia. The subrectangular and ventrally displaced caudal hemimandible, extreme ventral deflection of the rostral dentary, and edentulism of the caudal dentary of S. galbinensis are currently apomorphic among therizinosaurians. Unique, unreported dental traits including lingually folded mesial carinae, development of a denticulated triangular facet on the distal carinae near the cervix, and extracarinal accessory denticles, suggest a highly specialized feeding strategy in S. galbinensis. The presence of triple carinae on the distalmost lateral tooth crowns is also unique, although may represent an abnormality. Contrasted with the simplistic dentition of the contemporaneous therizinosaurid E. andrewsi, the dentition of S. galbinensis is indicative of niche partitioning in food acquisition, processing, or resources among known therizinosaurids inhabiting Asian ecosystems in the Late Cretaceous. Although not quantitatively correlated with diet, this suite of specializations is otherwise unique among theropod dinosaurs and supports derived inferences of facultative or obligate herbivory in therizinosaurids, ultimately adding novel information to our understanding of ecomorphology in theropods.

  8. Forearm Range of Motion in Australovenator wintonensis (Theropoda, Megaraptoridae.

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    Matt A White

    Full Text Available The hypertrophied manual claws and modified manus of megaraptoran theropods represent an unusual morphological adaptation among carnivorous dinosaurs. The skeleton of Australovenator wintonensis from the Cenomanian of Australia is among the most complete of any megaraptorid. It presents the opportunity to examine the range of motion of its forearm and the function of its highly modified manus. This provides the basis for behavioural inferences, and comparison with other Gondwanan theropod groups. Digital models created from computed tomography scans of the holotype reveal a humerus range of motion that is much greater than Allosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus, Tyrannosaurus but similar to that of the dromaeosaurid Bambiraptor. During flexion, the radius was forced distally by the radial condyle of the humerus. This movement is here suggested as a mechanism that forced a medial movement of the wrist. The antebrachium possessed a range of motion that was close to dromaeosaurids; however, the unguals were capable of hyper-extension, in particular manual phalanx I-2, which is a primitive range of motion characteristic seen in allosaurids and Dilophosaurus. During flexion, digits I and II slightly converge and diverge when extended which is accentuated by hyperextension of the digits in particular the unguals. We envision that prey was dispatched by its hands and feet with manual phalanx I-2 playing a dominant role. The range of motion analysis neither confirms nor refutes current phylogenetic hypotheses with regards to the placement of Megaraptoridae; however, we note Australovenator possessed, not only a similar forearm range of motion to some maniraptorans and basal coelurosaurs, but also similarities with Tetanurans (Allosauroids and Dilophosaurus.

  9. Description of Arundel Clay ornithomimosaur material and a reinterpretation of Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni as an “Ostrich Dinosaur”: biogeographic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-01-01

    The fossil record of dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous of Eastern North America is scant, especially since a few stratigraphic units from the east are fossiliferous. Among these stratigraphic units, the Arundel Clay of the eastern seaboard has produced the best-characterized dinosaur faunas known from the Early Cretaceous of Eastern North America. The diverse dinosaur fauna of the Arundel Clay has been thoroughly discussed previously, but a few of the dinosaur species originally described from the Arundel Clay are still regarded as valid genera. Much of the Arundel material is in need of review and redescription. Among the fossils of dinosaurs from this stratigraphic unit are those referred to ornithomimosaurs. Here, the researcher describes ornithomimosaur remains from the Arundel Clay of Prince George’s County, Maryland which may be from two distinct ornithomimosaur taxa. These remains provide key information on the theropods of the Early Cretaceous of Eastern North America. Recent discoveries of small theropod material from the Arundel Clay possibly belonging to ornithomimosaurs are also reviewed and described for the first time. The description of the Arundel material herein along with recent discoveries of basal ornithomimosaurs in the past 15 years has allowed for comparisons with the coelurosaur Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni, suggesting the latter animal was a basal ornithomimosaur rather than a “generalized” coelurosaur as it was originally described. Comparisons between the Arundel ornithomimosaur material and similar Asian and European specimens suggest that both extremely basal ornithomimosaurs and more intermediate or derived forms may have coexisted throughout the northern hemisphere during the Early Cretaceous. PMID:28286718

  10. Description of Arundel Clay ornithomimosaur material and a reinterpretation of Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni as an “Ostrich Dinosaur”: biogeographic implications

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    Chase Doran Brownstein

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available The fossil record of dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous of Eastern North America is scant, especially since a few stratigraphic units from the east are fossiliferous. Among these stratigraphic units, the Arundel Clay of the eastern seaboard has produced the best-characterized dinosaur faunas known from the Early Cretaceous of Eastern North America. The diverse dinosaur fauna of the Arundel Clay has been thoroughly discussed previously, but a few of the dinosaur species originally described from the Arundel Clay are still regarded as valid genera. Much of the Arundel material is in need of review and redescription. Among the fossils of dinosaurs from this stratigraphic unit are those referred to ornithomimosaurs. Here, the researcher describes ornithomimosaur remains from the Arundel Clay of Prince George’s County, Maryland which may be from two distinct ornithomimosaur taxa. These remains provide key information on the theropods of the Early Cretaceous of Eastern North America. Recent discoveries of small theropod material from the Arundel Clay possibly belonging to ornithomimosaurs are also reviewed and described for the first time. The description of the Arundel material herein along with recent discoveries of basal ornithomimosaurs in the past 15 years has allowed for comparisons with the coelurosaur Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni, suggesting the latter animal was a basal ornithomimosaur rather than a “generalized” coelurosaur as it was originally described. Comparisons between the Arundel ornithomimosaur material and similar Asian and European specimens suggest that both extremely basal ornithomimosaurs and more intermediate or derived forms may have coexisted throughout the northern hemisphere during the Early Cretaceous.

  11. Vascular Patterns in Iguanas and Other Squamates: Blood Vessels and Sites of Thermal Exchange.

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    William Ruger Porter

    Full Text Available Squamates use the circulatory system to regulate body and head temperatures during both heating and cooling. The flexibility of this system, which possibly exceeds that of endotherms, offers a number of physiological mechanisms to gain or retain heat (e.g., increase peripheral blood flow and heart rate, cooling the head to prolong basking time for the body as well as to shed heat (modulate peripheral blood flow, expose sites of thermal exchange. Squamates also have the ability to establish and maintain the same head-to-body temperature differential that birds, crocodilians, and mammals demonstrate, but without a discrete rete or other vascular physiological device. Squamates offer important anatomical and phylogenetic evidence for the inference of the blood vessels of dinosaurs and other extinct archosaurs in that they shed light on the basal diapsid condition. Given this basal positioning, squamates likewise inform and constrain the range of physiological thermoregulatory mechanisms that may have been found in Dinosauria. Unfortunately, the literature on squamate vascular anatomy is limited. Cephalic vascular anatomy of green iguanas (Iguana iguana was investigated using a differential-contrast, dual-vascular injection (DCDVI technique and high-resolution X-ray microcomputed tomography (μCT. Blood vessels were digitally segmented to create a surface representation of vascular pathways. Known sites of thermal exchange, consisting of the oral, nasal, and orbital regions, were given special attention due to their role in brain and cephalic thermoregulation. Blood vessels to and from sites of thermal exchange were investigated to detect conserved vascular patterns and to assess their ability to deliver cooled blood to the dural venous sinuses. Arteries within sites of thermal exchange were found to deliver blood directly and through collateral pathways. The venous drainage was found to have multiple pathways that could influence neurosensory

  12. The systematic relationships and biogeographic history of ornithischian dinosaurs

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    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

  13. Vascular Patterns in Iguanas and Other Squamates: Blood Vessels and Sites of Thermal Exchange.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porter, William Ruger; Witmer, Lawrence M

    2015-01-01

    Squamates use the circulatory system to regulate body and head temperatures during both heating and cooling. The flexibility of this system, which possibly exceeds that of endotherms, offers a number of physiological mechanisms to gain or retain heat (e.g., increase peripheral blood flow and heart rate, cooling the head to prolong basking time for the body) as well as to shed heat (modulate peripheral blood flow, expose sites of thermal exchange). Squamates also have the ability to establish and maintain the same head-to-body temperature differential that birds, crocodilians, and mammals demonstrate, but without a discrete rete or other vascular physiological device. Squamates offer important anatomical and phylogenetic evidence for the inference of the blood vessels of dinosaurs and other extinct archosaurs in that they shed light on the basal diapsid condition. Given this basal positioning, squamates likewise inform and constrain the range of physiological thermoregulatory mechanisms that may have been found in Dinosauria. Unfortunately, the literature on squamate vascular anatomy is limited. Cephalic vascular anatomy of green iguanas (Iguana iguana) was investigated using a differential-contrast, dual-vascular injection (DCDVI) technique and high-resolution X-ray microcomputed tomography (μCT). Blood vessels were digitally segmented to create a surface representation of vascular pathways. Known sites of thermal exchange, consisting of the oral, nasal, and orbital regions, were given special attention due to their role in brain and cephalic thermoregulation. Blood vessels to and from sites of thermal exchange were investigated to detect conserved vascular patterns and to assess their ability to deliver cooled blood to the dural venous sinuses. Arteries within sites of thermal exchange were found to deliver blood directly and through collateral pathways. The venous drainage was found to have multiple pathways that could influence neurosensory tissue temperature

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

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Advances in the study of vertebrate fossils of the Middle Jurassic Yanliao biota in western Liaoning Province and adjacent areas%辽宁西部及邻区中侏罗世燕辽生物群脊椎动物化石研究进展

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    郭相奇; 韩建刚; 姬书安

    2012-01-01

    近年来,在中国辽宁西部、内蒙古东南部、河北北部中侏罗世髫髻山组和九龙山组中发现了丰富的脊椎动物、无脊椎动物和植物化石,这一化石群被称为燕辽生物群.燕辽生物群已正式命名的脊椎动物26属28种,包括鱼类1属1种、两栖类4属4种、有鳞类1属1种、翼龙类10属12种、兽脚类恐龙5属5种、哺乳类5属5种.燕辽生物群的脊椎动物化石对研究长羽毛兽脚类恐龙的演化、翼龙类的分类演化、滑体两栖类的分异等具有重要意义.虽然辽宁西部及邻区燕辽生物群脊椎动物的多样性不及同一地区早白垩世的热河生物群,但它为认识这一地区晚中生代生物群的演替提供了极为重要的依据.%In recent years, numerous fossil vertebrates, invertebrates and plants have been found in the Middle Jurassic Tiaojishan and Jiulongshan Formations in western Liaoning, southeastern Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei. This biota is called Yanliao biota. Up till now, 28 species of different vertebrate groups have been formally named, which include 1 fish, 4 amphibians, 1 lizard, 12 pterosaurs, 5 theropods, and 5 mammals. The vertebrates of this biota have great significance for studying the theropod evolution, the pterosaur classification, and the lissamphibian diversity. Although the diversity of the Middle Jurassic Yanliao biota is less than that of the Early Cretaceous Jehol biota, it provides important evidence for understanding the succession of the Late Mesozoic biotas in this region.

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

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    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

  17. The Evolution of Diapsid Reproductive Strategy with Inferences about Extinct Taxa.

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    Jason R Moore

    Full Text Available Diapsids show an extremely wide range of reproductive strategies. Offspring may receive no parental care, care from only one sex, care from both parents, or care under more complex regimes. Young may vary from independent, super-precocial hatchlings to altricial neonates needing much care before leaving the nest. Parents can invest heavily in a few young, or less so in a larger number. Here we examine the evolution of these traits across a composite phylogeny spanning the extant diapsids and including the limited number of extinct taxa for which reproductive strategies can be well constrained. Generalized estimating equation(GEE-based phylogenetic comparative methods demonstrate the influences of body mass, parental care strategy and hatchling maturity on clutch volume across the diapsids. The influence of polygamous reproduction is not important despite a large sample size. Applying the results of these models to the dinosaurs supports the hypothesis of paternal care (male only in derived non-avian theropods, previously suggested based on simpler analyses. These data also suggest that sauropodomorphs did not care for their young. The evolution of parental-care occurs in an almost linear series of transitions. Paternal care rarely gives rise to other care strategies. Where hatchling condition changes, diapsids show an almost unidirectional tendency of evolution towards increased altriciality. Transitions to social monogamy from the ancestral state in diapsids, where both sexes are polygamous, are common. In contrast, once evolved, polygyny and polyandry are very evolutionarily stable. Polygyny and maternal care correlate, as do polyandry and paternal care. Ancestral-character estimation (ACE of these care strategies with the character transition likelihoods estimated from the original data gives good confidence at most important nodes. These analyses suggest that the basalmost diapsids had no parental care. Crocodilians independently evolved

  18. The integument of Psittacosaurus from Liaoning Province, China: taphonomy, epidermal patterns and color of a ceratopsian dinosaur

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten; Plodowski, Gerhard

    2010-05-01

    Preserved skin of small dinosaurs is rare. Here, a specimen of the ceratopsian dinosaur, Psittacosaurus, presents some of the best preserved epidermal scales observed to date in a relatively small dinosaur, over wide areas extending from the head to the tail. We study the preserved epidermis of SMF R 4970, the different types of scales, color, and patterns, and their respective locations in the body. We use modern application of high-power digital imaging for close-up analysis of the tubercles and fragments of preserved color. Three types of scales are preserved, large plate-like scales, smaller polygonal scales or tubercles, and round pebble-like scales. The sizes of the plate-like scales vary in different parts of the body and vanish altogether posteriorly. Light and dark cryptic patterns are created by the associations of the tubercle and plate-like scales, and there is also evidence of countershading in the proximal caudal region, the body darker dorsally and lighter ventrally. Perhaps most impressive are the distinctive pigmented impressions of scales over most of the skeletal elements. The pigmentation follows the curvature of the bones implying that when it was deposited, the skin was still pliable and able to wrap around the visible parts of the elements. The present record of color is the first in a non-theropod dinosaur and only the second record in a non-avian dinosaur. Because of its resistance to degradation and ability to produce various color tones from yellows to blacks, we suggest that melanin was the dominant chemical involved in the coloration of Psittacosaurus. The data here enable us to reconstruct the colors of Psittacosaurus as predominantly black and amber/brown, in cryptic patterns, somewhat dull, but useful to a prey animal. Indeed, skin pigment within a partially degraded bone indicates that Psittacosaurus was scavenged shortly after death. The theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx has recently been reported to have naturally pigmented

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Starrfelt, Jostein; Liow, Lee Hsiang

    2016-04-01

    The fossil record is a rich source of information about biological diversity in the past. However, the fossil record is not only incomplete but has also inherent biases due to geological, physical, chemical and biological factors. Our knowledge of past life is also biased because of differences in academic and amateur interests and sampling efforts. As a result, not all individuals or species that lived in the past are equally likely to be discovered at any point in time or space. To reconstruct temporal dynamics of diversity using the fossil record, biased sampling must be explicitly taken into account. Here, we introduce an approach that uses the variation in the number of times each species is observed in the fossil record to estimate both sampling bias and true richness. We term our technique TRiPS (True Richness estimated using a Poisson Sampling model) and explore its robustness to violation of its assumptions via simulations. We then venture to estimate sampling bias and absolute species richness of dinosaurs in the geological stages of the Mesozoic. Using TRiPS, we estimate that 1936 (1543-2468) species of dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Mesozoic. We also present improved estimates of species richness trajectories of the three major dinosaur clades: the sauropodomorphs, ornithischians and theropods, casting doubt on the Jurassic-Cretaceous extinction event and demonstrating that all dinosaur groups are subject to considerable sampling bias throughout the Mesozoic.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-06-20

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

  3. New Early Jurassic Tetrapod Assemblages Constrain Triassic-Jurassic Tetrapod Extinction Event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, P. E.; Shubin, N. H.; Anders, M. H.

    1987-08-01

    The discovery of the first definitively correlated earliest Jurassic (200 million years before present) tetrapod assemblage (Fundy basin, Newark Supergroup, Nova Scotia) allows reevaluation of the duration of the Triassic-Jurassic tetrapod extinction event. Present are tritheledont and mammal-like reptiles, prosauropod, theropod, and ornithischian dinosaurs, protosuchian and sphenosuchian crocodylomorphs, sphenodontids, and hybodont, semionotid, and palaeonisciform fishes. All of the families are known from Late Triassic and Jurassic strata from elsewhere; however, pollen and spore, radiometric, and geochemical correlation indicate an early Hettangian age for these assemblages. Because all ``typical Triassic'' forms are absent from these assemblages, most Triassic-Jurassic tetrapod extinctions occurred before this time and without the introduction of new families. As was previously suggested by studies of marine invertebrates, this pattern is consistent with a global extinction event at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. The Manicouagan impact structure of Quebec provides dates broadly compatible with the Triassic-Jurassic boundary and, following the impact theory of mass extinctions, may be implicated in the cause.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, Andrew

    2013-09-01

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

  5. Diente de un gran dinosaurio terópodo (Allosauroidea de la Formación Villar del Arzobispo (Titónico-Berriasiense de Riodeva (España

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    Alcalá, L.

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available An isolated theropod tooth from a microconglomerate of the Tithonian-Berriasian Villar del Arzobispo Formation at Riodeva (Aragón, Spain is described. The specimen is remarkably large (apical length: 98.3 mm. The morphology of the tooth is compressed labiolingually, with denticules on the carinae reaching the base in the carina distal but not in the mesial one. These features and their large size allow us to include it in the clade Allosauroidea. Having in mind the dental variability existing among the tooth of the different genera of Allosauroidea we can not assign it to any definite group within this clade.Se describe un diente de dinosaurio terópodo de 98,3 mm de longitud apical hallado en el término municipal de Riodeva (Teruel. El diente ha sido localizado de forma aislada en un nivel de microconglomerados perteneciente a la Formación Villar del Arzobispo de edad Titónico-Berriasiense. La morfología del diente, comprimido labiolingualmente, con las carenas denticuladas que alcanzan la base de la corona distal pero no la mesial, y el tamaño del ejemplar permiten incluirlo dentro del clado Allosauroidea. La variabilidad existente entre los dientes de diferentes géneros de alosauroideos determina que sea prudente no asignarlo a un grupo concreto dentro de este clado.

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

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    Hanyong Pu

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

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

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    Novella L Razzolini

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

  8. Dinosaur footprints and other ichnofauna from the cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibrahim, Nizar; Varricchio, David J; Sereno, Paul C; Wilson, Jeffery A; Wilson, Jeff A; Dutheil, Didier B; Martill, David M; Baidder, Lahssen; Zouhri, Samir

    2014-01-01

    We describe an extensive ichnofossil assemblage from the likely Cenomanian-age 'lower' and 'upper' units of the 'Kem Kem beds' in southeastern Morocco. In the lower unit, trace fossils include narrow vertical burrows in cross-bedded sandstones and borings in dinosaur bone, with the latter identified as the insect ichnotaxon Cubiculum ornatus. In the upper unit, several horizons preserve abundant footprints from theropod dinosaurs. Sauropod and ornithischian footprints are much rarer, similar to the record for fossil bone and teeth in the Kem Kem assemblage. The upper unit also preserves a variety of invertebrate traces including Conichnus (the resting trace of a sea-anemone), Scolicia (a gastropod trace), Beaconites (a probable annelid burrow), and subvertical burrows likely created by crabs for residence and detrital feeding on a tidal flat. The ichnofossil assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem beds contributes evidence for a transition from predominantly terrestrial to marine deposition. Body fossil and ichnofossil records together provide a detailed view of faunal diversity and local conditions within a fluvial and deltaic depositional setting on the northwestern coast of Africa toward the end of the Cretaceous.

  9. HIGH RATES OF EVOLUTION PRECEDED THE ORIGIN OF BIRDS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puttick, Mark N; Thomas, Gavin H; Benton, Michael J; Polly, P David

    2014-01-01

    The origin of birds (Aves) is one of the great evolutionary transitions. Fossils show that many unique morphological features of modern birds, such as feathers, reduction in body size, and the semilunate carpal, long preceded the origin of clade Aves, but some may be unique to Aves, such as relative elongation of the forelimb. We study the evolution of body size and forelimb length across the phylogeny of coelurosaurian theropods and Mesozoic Aves. Using recently developed phylogenetic comparative methods, we find an increase in rates of body size and body size dependent forelimb evolution leading to small body size relative to forelimb length in Paraves, the wider clade comprising Aves and Deinonychosauria. The high evolutionary rates arose primarily from a reduction in body size, as there were no increased rates of forelimb evolution. In line with a recent study, we find evidence that Aves appear to have a unique relationship between body size and forelimb dimensions. Traits associated with Aves evolved before their origin, at high rates, and support the notion that numerous lineages of paravians were experimenting with different modes of flight through the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. PMID:24471891

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

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    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.

  11. Dinosaurian growth patterns and rapid avian growth rates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, G M; Rogers, K C; Yerby, S A

    2001-07-26

    Did dinosaurs grow in a manner similar to extant reptiles, mammals or birds, or were they unique? Are rapid avian growth rates an innovation unique to birds, or were they inherited from dinosaurian precursors? We quantified growth rates for a group of dinosaurs spanning the phylogenetic and size diversity for the clade and used regression analysis to characterize the results. Here we show that dinosaurs exhibited sigmoidal growth curves similar to those of other vertebrates, but had unique growth rates with respect to body mass. All dinosaurs grew at accelerated rates relative to the primitive condition seen in extant reptiles. Small dinosaurs grew at moderately rapid rates, similar to those of marsupials, but large species attained rates comparable to those of eutherian mammals and precocial birds. Growth in giant sauropods was similar to that of whales of comparable size. Non-avian dinosaurs did not attain rates like those of altricial birds. Avian growth rates were attained in a stepwise fashion after birds diverged from theropod ancestors in the Jurassic period.

  12. The pes of Australovenator wintonensis (Theropoda: Megaraptoridae: analysis of the pedal range of motion and biological restoration

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    Matt A. White

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available The pedal range of motion in Australovenator wintonensis is investigated to determine what influence soft tissue had on range of motion in the foot. Fortunately, the theropod pes shares a close morphology with extant large cursorial birds. Therefore, to better understand the pedal range of motion of Australovenator, the pedal range of motion of Dromaius novaehollandiae (commonly known as the emu was analysed with and without soft tissue. We used a variety of innovative digital techniques to analyse the range of motion and biologically restore the Australovenator pes. Computed tomography scans of Dromaius pes in fully flexed and fully extended positions provided the soft tissue range of motion limits. The bone on bone range of motion of the same specimen was replicated following the removal of soft tissue. It was identified that there was an increase in range of motion potential with the removal of soft tissue. This variation provided a guide to develop the potential range of motion of a fully fleshed Australovenator pes. Additionally, the dissection of the Dromaius pes provided a guide enabling the replication of the corresponding soft tissue and keratin sheaths of the Australovenator pes.

  13. Forearm posture and mobility in quadrupedal dinosaurs.

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    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.

  14. Bird Integumentary Melanins: Biosynthesis, Forms, Function and Evolution

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    Ismael Galván

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Melanins are the ubiquitous pigments distributed in nature. They are one of the main pigments responsible for colors in living cells. Birds are among the most diverse animals regarding melanin-based coloration, especially in the plumage, although they also pigment bare parts of the integument. This review is devoted to the main characteristics of bird melanins, including updated views of the formation and nature of melanin granules, whose interest has been raised in the last years for inferring the color of extinct birds and non-avian theropod dinosaurs using resistant fossil feathers. The molecular structure of the two main types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin, and the environmental and genetic factors that regulate avian melanogenesis are also presented, establishing the main relationship between them. Finally, the special functions of melanin in bird feathers are also discussed, emphasizing the aspects more closely related to these animals, such as honest signaling, and the factors that may drive the evolution of pheomelanin and pheomelanin-based color traits, an issue for which birds have been pioneer study models.

  15. Dinosaur footprints and other ichnofauna from the cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco.

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    Nizar Ibrahim

    Full Text Available We describe an extensive ichnofossil assemblage from the likely Cenomanian-age 'lower' and 'upper' units of the 'Kem Kem beds' in southeastern Morocco. In the lower unit, trace fossils include narrow vertical burrows in cross-bedded sandstones and borings in dinosaur bone, with the latter identified as the insect ichnotaxon Cubiculum ornatus. In the upper unit, several horizons preserve abundant footprints from theropod dinosaurs. Sauropod and ornithischian footprints are much rarer, similar to the record for fossil bone and teeth in the Kem Kem assemblage. The upper unit also preserves a variety of invertebrate traces including Conichnus (the resting trace of a sea-anemone, Scolicia (a gastropod trace, Beaconites (a probable annelid burrow, and subvertical burrows likely created by crabs for residence and detrital feeding on a tidal flat. The ichnofossil assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem beds contributes evidence for a transition from predominantly terrestrial to marine deposition. Body fossil and ichnofossil records together provide a detailed view of faunal diversity and local conditions within a fluvial and deltaic depositional setting on the northwestern coast of Africa toward the end of the Cretaceous.

  16. Retrodeformation and muscular reconstruction of ornithomimosaurian dinosaur crania

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    Andrew R. Cuff

    2015-07-01

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

  17. New Australovenator hind limb elements pertaining to the holotype reveal the most complete Neovenatorid leg.

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Matt A; Benson, Roger B J; Tischler, Travis R; Hocknull, Scott A; Cook, Alex G; Barnes, David G; Poropat, Stephen F; Wooldridge, Sarah J; Sloan, Trish; Sinapius, George H K; Elliott, David A

    2013-01-01

    We report new skeletal elements pertaining to the same individual which represents the holotype of Australovenator wintonensis, from the 'Matilda Site' in the Winton Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of western Queensland. The discovery of these new elements means that the hind limb of Australovenator is now the most completely understood hind limb among Neovenatoridae. The new hind limb elements include: the left fibula; left metatarsal IV; left pedal phalanges I-2, II-1, III-4, IV-2, IV-3; and right pedal phalanges, II-2 and III-1. The detailed descriptions are supported with three dimensional figures. These coupled with the completeness of the hind limb will increase the utility of Australovenator in comparisons with less complete neovenatorid genera. These specimens and the previously described hind limb elements of Australovenator are compared with other theropods classified as neovenatorids (including Neovenator, Chilantaisaurus, Fukuiraptor, Orkoraptor and Megaraptor). Hind limb length proportion comparisons indicate that the smaller neovenatorids Australovenator and Fukuiraptor possess more elongate and gracile hind limb elements than the larger Neovenator and Chilantaisaurus. Greater stride lengths to body size exist in both Fukuiraptor and Australovenator with the femur discovered to be proportionally shorter the rest of the hind limb length. Additionally Australovenator is identified as possessing the most elongate metatarsus. The metatarsus morphology varies with body size. The larger neoventorids possess a metatarsus with greater width but shorter length compared to smaller forms.

  18. Restos de Alvarezsauridae (Theropoda, Coelurosauria en la Formación Alien (Campaniano-Maastrichtiano, en Salitral Ojo de Agua, Provincia de Río Negro, Argentina Remains of Alvarezsauridae (Theropoda, Coelurosauria in the Alien Formation (Campanian-Maastrichthian, in Salitral Ojo de Agua, Río Negro Province, Argentina

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    Leonardo Salgado

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Se presentan nuevos restos provenientes de estratos campaniano-maastrichtianos de la Formación Alien, en Salitral Ojo de Agua (Río Negro, Argentina, los cuales son asignables a Alvarezsauridae indet. Este ciado de pequeños terópodos celurosaurios es conocido de estratos de edad similar en Mongolia y de sedimentitas más antiguas (de edad turoniana y coniaciana en Argentina. De este modo, el material que aquí se informa extiende el registro temporal de los alvarezsáuridos del Hemisferio Sur hasta el Cretácico Tardío alto. Los huesos reportados estaban asociados a cascaras de huevo de la oofamilia Elongatoolithidae, los cuales son actualmente atribuidos a Theropoda.We present new remains from the Cam-panian-Maastrichtian beds of the Alien Formation, in Salitral Ojo de Agua (Río Negro, Argentina, which are assignable to Alvarezsauridae indet. This clade of small coelurosaurian theropods is known from strata of similar age in Mongolia, and from older sediments (Turonian and Coniacian in age in Argentina. Thus, the material presented here extends the temporal record of the alvarezsaurids from the Southern Hemisphere up to the Latest Cretaceous. The fossil bones reported were associated to eggshells of the oofamily Elongatoolithidae, which are actually attributed to Theropoda.

  19. 蒙古戈壁上白垩统的暴龙类额骨%A TYRANNOSAUROID FRONTAL FROM THE UPPER CRETACEOUS (CENOMANIAN-SANTONIAN) OF THE GOBI DESERT, MONGOLIA

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    对比地孝亘; 渡部真人; Khishigjav TSOGTBAATAR; Rinchen BARSBOLD; 鈴木茂

    2012-01-01

    An isolated frontal found at the Tsagaan Teg locality in the Gobi Desert is described.Such features as a short orbital rim and the presence of a sagittal crest indicate that this specimen belongs to Tyrannosauroidea.Because the sediment cropping out at Tsagaan Teg is considered as belonging to the Cenomanian-Santonian Bayn Shire Formation,the present specimen contributes to improving the extremely poor fossil record of tyrannosauroid theropods in the lower Upper Cretaceous.%记述了发现于蒙古戈壁查干泰格地点的一块额骨.短的眶缘和矢状脊的存在等特征表明,该标本属于暴龙超科.查干泰格地点出露的地层被认为属于森诺曼-桑托期的巴音沙拉组,新材料的发现为上白垩统下部非常稀少的暴龙类恐龙记录增添了新的内容.

  20. A new basal bird from China with implications for morphological diversity in early birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Min; Wang, Xiaoli; Wang, Yan; Zhou, Zhonghe

    2016-01-25

    The Chinese Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group is the second oldest fossil bird-bearing deposit, only surpassed by Archaeopteryx from the German Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Limestones. Here we report a new bird, Chongmingia zhengi gen. et sp. nov., from the Jehol Biota. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that Chongmingia zhengi is basal to the dominant Mesozoic avian clades Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha, and represents a new basal avialan lineage. This new discovery adds to our knowledge regarding the phylogenetic differentiation and morphological diversity in early avian evolution. The furcula of Chongmingia is rigid (reducing its efficiency), consequently requiring more power for flight. However, the elongated forelimb and the large deltopectoral crest on the humerus might indicate that the power was available. The unique combination of features present in this species demonstrates that numerous evolutionary experimentations took place in the early evolution of powered flight. The occurrence of gastroliths further confirms that herbivory was common among basal birds. The Jehol birds faced competition with pterosaurs, and occupied sympatric habitats with non-avian theropods, some of which consumed birds. Thus, avialan herbivory may have reduced ecological competition from carnivorous close relatives and other volant vertebrates early in their evolutionary history.

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

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    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.

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

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

    2016-08-19

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

  3. Fossilized excreta associated to dinosaurs in Brazil

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

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    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.

  5. The endocranial anatomy of therizinosauria and its implications for sensory and cognitive function.

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    Stephan Lautenschlager

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Therizinosauria is one of the most enigmatic and peculiar clades among theropod dinosaurs, exhibiting an unusual suite of characters, such as lanceolate teeth, a rostral rhamphotheca, long manual claws, and a wide, opisthopubic pelvis. This specialized anatomy has been associated with a shift in dietary preferences and an adaptation to herbivory. Despite a large number of discoveries in recent years, the fossil record for Therizinosauria is still relatively poor, and cranial remains are particularly rare. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Based on computed tomographic (CT scanning of the nearly complete and articulated skull of Erlikosaurus andrewsi, as well as partial braincases of two other therizinosaurian taxa, the endocranial anatomy is reconstructed and described. The wider phylogenetic range of the described specimens permits the evaluation of sensory and cognitive capabilities of Therizinosauria in an evolutionary context. The endocranial anatomy reveals a mosaic of plesiomorphic and derived characters in therizinosaurians. The anatomy of the olfactory apparatus and the endosseous labyrinth suggests that olfaction, hearing, and equilibrium were well-developed in therizinosaurians and might have affected or benefited from an enlarged telencephalon. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: This study presents the first appraisal of the evolution of endocranial anatomy and sensory adaptations in Therizinosauria. Despite their phylogenetically basal position among maniraptoran dinosaurs, therizinosaurians had developed the neural pathways for a well developed sensory repertoire. In particular olfaction and hearing may have played an important role in foraging, predator evasion, and/or social complexity.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  7. Forearm posture and mobility in quadrupedal dinosaurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    VanBuren, Collin S; Bonnan, Matthew

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lü, Junchang; Chen, Rongjun; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Zhu, Yangxiao; Shen, Caizhi

    2016-11-01

    Oviraptorosaurs are a bizarre group of bird-like theropod dinosaurs, the derived forms of which have shortened, toothless skulls, and which diverged from close relatives by developing peculiar feeding adaptations. Although once among the most mysterious of dinosaurs, oviraptorosaurs are becoming better understood with the discovery of many new fossils in Asia and North America. The Ganzhou area of southern China is emerging as a hotspot of oviraptorosaur discoveries, as over the past half decade five new monotypic genera have been found in the latest Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) deposits of this region. We here report a sixth diagnostic oviraptorosaur from Ganzhou, Tongtianlong limosus gen. et sp. nov., represented by a remarkably well-preserved specimen in an unusual splayed-limb and raised-head posture. Tongtianlong is a derived oviraptorid oviraptorosaur, differentiated from other species by its unique dome-like skull roof, highly convex premaxilla, and other features of the skull. The large number of oviraptorosaurs from Ganzhou, which often differ in cranial morphologies related to feeding, document an evolutionary radiation of these dinosaurs during the very latest Cretaceous of Asia, which helped establish one of the last diverse dinosaur faunas before the end-Cretaceous extinction.

  10. Why sauropods had long necks; and why giraffes have short necks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wedel, Mathew J.

    2013-01-01

    The necks of the sauropod dinosaurs reached 15 m in length: six times longer than that of the world record giraffe and five times longer than those of all other terrestrial animals. Several anatomical features enabled this extreme elongation, including: absolutely large body size and quadrupedal stance providing a stable platform for a long neck; a small, light head that did not orally process food; cervical vertebrae that were both numerous and individually elongate; an efficient air-sac-based respiratory system; and distinctive cervical architecture. Relevant features of sauropod cervical vertebrae include: pneumatic chambers that enabled the bone to be positioned in a mechanically efficient way within the envelope; and muscular attachments of varying importance to the neural spines, epipophyses and cervical ribs. Other long-necked tetrapods lacked important features of sauropods, preventing the evolution of longer necks: for example, giraffes have relatively small torsos and large, heavy heads, share the usual mammalian constraint of only seven cervical vertebrae, and lack an air-sac system and pneumatic bones. Among non-sauropods, their saurischian relatives the theropod dinosaurs seem to have been best placed to evolve long necks, and indeed their necks probably surpassed those of giraffes. But 150 million years of evolution did not suffice for them to exceed a relatively modest 2.5 m. PMID:23638372

  11. Palaeopathological survey of a population of Mapusaurus (Theropoda: Carcharodontosauridae from the Late Cretaceous Huincul Formation, Argentina.

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    Phil R Bell

    Full Text Available Paleoepidemiology (the study of disease and trauma in prehistoric populations provides insight into the distribution of disease and can have implications for interpreting behavior in extinct organisms. A monospecific bonebed of the giant carcharodontosaurid Mapusaurus (minimum number of individuals = 9 from the Cañadón del Gato site, Neuquén Province, Argentina (Cenomanian provides a rare opportunity to investigate disease within a single population of this important apex predator. Visual inspection of 176 skeletal elements belonging to a minimum of nine individuals yielded a small number of abnormalities on a cervical vertebra, two ribs, pedal phalanx, and an ilium. These are attributed to traumatic (two cases, infectious (two cases and anomalous (one case conditions in a minimum of one individual. The emerging picture for large theropod (abelisaurids, allosaurids, carcharodontosaurids, tyrannosaurids populations suggests that 1 osseous abnormalities were relatively rare (7-19% of individuals but consistently present, and 2 trauma was a leading factor in the frequency of pathological occurrences, evidence of an active, often perilous lifestyle.

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

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    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.

  13. Bird Integumentary Melanins: Biosynthesis, Forms, Function and Evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galván, Ismael; Solano, Francisco

    2016-04-08

    Melanins are the ubiquitous pigments distributed in nature. They are one of the main pigments responsible for colors in living cells. Birds are among the most diverse animals regarding melanin-based coloration, especially in the plumage, although they also pigment bare parts of the integument. This review is devoted to the main characteristics of bird melanins, including updated views of the formation and nature of melanin granules, whose interest has been raised in the last years for inferring the color of extinct birds and non-avian theropod dinosaurs using resistant fossil feathers. The molecular structure of the two main types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin, and the environmental and genetic factors that regulate avian melanogenesis are also presented, establishing the main relationship between them. Finally, the special functions of melanin in bird feathers are also discussed, emphasizing the aspects more closely related to these animals, such as honest signaling, and the factors that may drive the evolution of pheomelanin and pheomelanin-based color traits, an issue for which birds have been pioneer study models.

  14. Phylogenetic placement, developmental trajectories and evolutionary implications of a feathered dinosaur tail in Mid-Cretaceous amber.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lambertz, Markus

    2017-03-20

    In a recent report in Current Biology, Xing and colleagues [1] present a small fragment of a vertebrate tail preserved in amber that bears integumentary appendages (DIP-V-15103, Dexu Institute of Paleontology, Chaozhou, China; Figure 1). Following several analyses using cutting-edge technology the authors conclude that: the tail belongs to a non-avian theropod dinosaur (non-avialan according to the authors, but non-avian used synonymously here); the dinosaur most likely was a member of the Coelurosauria, possibly even Maniraptora; and, the integumentary appendages are feathers that support a barbule-first evolutionary pattern for feathers. DIP-V-15103 is indeed an intriguing specimen with potential implications for contributing to understanding the evolution of feathers among dinosaurs, which remains a current and undoubtedly controversial topic [2,3]. However, I would like to raise several concerns about the available evidence for the phylogenetic hypothesis concerning the placement of DIP-V-15103 as concluded by Xing and colleagues [1], and furthermore discuss the developmental trajectories predicted by them in light of their far-reaching evolutionary implications. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  16. Mesozoic dinosaurs from Brazil and their biogeographic implications

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    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

  17. 冀西北尚义上侏罗统—下白垩统后城组恐龙足迹新发现及生物古地理意义%New discovery of dinosaur footprints in the Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Houcheng Formation at Shangyi,northwestern Hebei Province and its biogeographical implications

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    柳永清; 旷红伟; 彭楠; 许欢; 陈军; 徐加林; 刘海; 章朋

    2012-01-01

    简要报道了新近首次在冀西北张家口尚义地区发现的恐龙足迹.野外地质调查发现,恐龙足迹赋存于尚义晚中生代盆地侏罗系—白垩系后城组顶部.恐龙行迹呈近东西向展布,由数十个足迹构成.初步研究表明,造迹者分别属于兽脚类和蜥脚类恐龙,由西向东行进.足迹中包括兽脚类足迹70余个,组成数个行迹;蜥脚类足迹15个,构成1列行迹.蜥脚类足迹特征显示其可能属于游泳状的行迹.华北北部土城子组/后城组发育于燕辽生物群—热河生物群更替演化时期(晚侏罗世—早白垩世早期),以往在该时期沉积物中罕见脊椎动物骨骼化石.近年来华北北部土城子组/后城组中频繁发现的恐龙足迹表明,燕辽生物群—热河生物群更替演化时期发育着以恐龙为代表的脊椎动物群.该发现将有助于进一步了解土城子组/后城组沉积时期恐龙属种的多样性及其生物古地理环境.晚侏罗世—早白垩世早期沉积古地理和古生态环境及其与恐龙动物群发育的研究有助于揭示陆地生物群更替演化和环境的关系.%A number of dinosaur footprints have been discovered recently from the Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Houcheng Formation in Shangyi, Zhangjiakou, northwestern Hebei Province. The trackways and footprints display a east-west trend on the rock surface of the top of the Houcheng Formation. The preliminary research indicates that these trackways comprise theropod and probably swimming sauropod footprints. One trackway consisted of fifteen sauropod footprints and the other footprints cluster including more than seventy theropod footprints were both recognized. The Tuchengzi/Houcheng Formation was deposited in the transitional period from the Yanliao Biota to the Jehol Biota, which was previously considered as poor palaeogeography and palaeoecology and rare dinosaur bone fossils have been found. Frequent discoveries of dinosaur footprints

  18. 记河北赤城上侏罗统-下白垩统土城子组窄足龙-巨齿龙(兽脚类恐龙)足迹组合及其古生态学意义%THERANGOSPODUS AND MEGALOSA URIPUS TRACK ASSEMBLAGE FROM THE UPPER JURASSIC-LOWER CRETACEOUS TUCHENGZI FORMATION OF CHICHENG COUNTY, HEBEI PROVINCE, CHINA AND THEIR PALEOECOLOGICAL IMPLJCATIONS

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    邢立达; Jerald D. HARRIS; Gerard D; GIERLI(N)SKI

    2011-01-01

    记述了河北省赤城县落凤沟化石点163个窄足龙足迹(Therangrospodus isp.).当该地区洪水泛滥时,同样的造迹者留下了5个游泳迹.一个异常大的足迹和一道疑似尾迹被归入巨齿龙足迹(Megalosauripus isp.).土城子组7个主要足迹化石点表明,兽脚类的似鹬龙足迹型(Grallator morphotype)占据主导地位,这些足迹型的大小在各个足迹化石点都有着特定的范围.如果这些大小不同的足迹属于同一种造迹者,则暗示着同年龄的成员在特定年龄时会共同栖息在一起,在动物行为学上类似现生的一些蜥蜴和短吻鳄;如果这些足迹由不同的造迹者组成,则暗示着不同大小的种(主要表现在小型动物)可能拥有自己的领地,并特意避免与其他动物(特别是大型动物)相接触,在动物行为学上类似现生的肉食性哺乳动物.%One hundred sixty-three footprints that pertain to Therangospocus have been found in the Tuchengzi Formation at the Luofenggou track site in Chicheng County,Hebei Province,China.Five swim tracks were subsequently made by the same track makers after water submerged the region.In addition to the Therangospodus tracks,one exceptionally large theropod track and one possible trail trace are referred to Megalosauripus isp.Theropod tracks of the grallatorid morphotype predominate at this site and at six other known Tuchengzi Formation track sites ; grallatorid tracks at each of these sites are dominated by individual specimens in particular size ranges.If the tracks were made by the same species of track maker,the variation in dominant track size among sites suggests that cohabiting groups were composed mainly of members of a single age class,ethologically similar to some extant lizards and Alligator.If the tracks were instead made by different species,their size distribution (favoring smaller species) suggests that species of different sizes may have preferred discrete territories or specifically

  19. Nueva evidencia icnológica de dinosaurios en el Cretácico inferior de La Rioja (España

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    Jiménez, S.

    1988-04-01

    Full Text Available Three new Early Cretaceous (Hauterivian dinosaur footprints outcrops are reported from La Rioja: Valdeté, La Magdalena (townsbip of Préjano and Muro de Aguas. The morphology and size of the footprints suggest that the track-makers are three different iguanodontids at least. The footprints from La Magdalena were printed by a graviportal ornithopod osteologically unknown. That morphotype shows a maximun development of graviportality within the biped dinosaurs (omithopods or theropods. Within omithopod dinosaurs graviportality is a derived structural state from a relatively slender, tridactyl, mesaxonic formo Respect to the estimation of speed of the track-makers, the height of the limb (b has been calculated by means of an statistical analysis within the osteological material of several iguanodontids. The speed values are the common ones reported within medium and great sized ornithopods. Ten dinosaur footprint morphotypes, at least, have been reported from La Rioja Baja and the Nord area of Soria, up to now (four medium-great sized ornithopods, one small sized ornithopod, two theropods, one coelurosaur and two sauropods.Se describen 3 nuevos yacimientos de icnitas de Dinosaurios en el Cretácico inferior (Hauteriviense de La Rioja: Valdeté, La Magdalena (ambos en el término de Préjano y Muro de Aguas. La morfología y tamaño de las huellas sugiere que han sido causadas por al menos 3 diferentes tipos de dinosaurios Iguanodóntidos. Las ienitas de La Magdalena fueron producidas por un gran Ornitópodo graviportal desconocido osteológicamente. Su morfotipo indica un máximo desarrollo de este carácter dentro del conjunto de dinosaurios bípedos (Ornitópodos o Terópodos. En el caso de los Ornitópodos, la graviportalidad es un estadio estructural derivado a partir de una forma relativamente más grácil, tridáctila y mesaxónica. Con respecto al cálculo de la velocidad que indican las trazas, la estimación de la altura de la extremidad

  20. Red Iron-Pigmented Tooth Enamel in a Multituberculate Mammal from the Late Cretaceous Transylvanian "Hateg Island".

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    Thierry Smith

    Full Text Available Mammals that inhabit islands are characterized by peculiar morphologies in comparison to their mainland relatives. Here we report the discovery of a partial skull associated with the lower jaws of a Late Cretaceous (≈70 Ma multituberculate mammal from the Carpathian "Haţeg Island" of Transylvania, Romania. The mammal belongs to the Kogaionidae, one of the rare families that survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction in Europe. The excellent preservation of this specimen allows for the first time description of the complete dentition of a kogaionid and demonstration that the enigmatic Barbatodon transylvanicus presents a mosaic of primitive and derived characters, and that it is phylogenetically basal among the Cimolodonta. Another peculiarity is the presence of red pigmentation in its tooth enamel. The red coloration is present on the anterior side of the incisors and on the cusps of most of the teeth. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS analysis reveals that the pigmented enamel contains iron, as in living placentals. Such a red pigmentation is known in living soricine shrews and many families of rodents, where it is thought to increase the resistance of the enamel to the abrasion that occurs during "grinding" mastication. The extended pattern of red pigment distribution in Barbatodon is more similar to that in eulipotyplan insectivores than to that in rodents and suggests a very hard diet and, importantly, demonstrates that its grasping incisors were not ever-growing. As inferred for other endemic Transylvanian vertebrates such as dwarf herbivorous dinosaurs and unusual theropod dinosaurs, insularity was probably the main factor of survival of such a primitive mammalian lineage relative to other mainland contemporaries of the Northern hemisphere.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  2. [Earth Sciences Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    contents include the following: 1. Argentina Field Expedition (2004). NASA funds supported joint fieldwork by Peter Makovicky (Dept. of Geology, TFM) and Sebastian Apesteguia (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Buenos Aires) in a fossil-rich locality in the Cenomanian Candeleros Formation of northern Rio Negro Province, Argentina. The goal of this fieldwork was to collect small fossil vertebrates, which are abundant in this formation, with a special emphasis on small theropod (casmivorous) dinosaurs. 2. East Greenland Field Expedition (2004). During July-August 2004 the Field Museum led a month long expedition to Jameson Land in East Greenland to collect Triassic-Jurassic aged fossil plants from one of the most productive sites of this age in the world. The project aims include the study of events leading up to catastrophic changes in the biota and atmosphere that occurred about 200 million years ago. 3. Chile Field Expedition (March, 2004). Paleontological reconnaisance of the central Andean main range by helicopter: additional new Cenozoic mammal faunas from Chile. A several thousand sq km swath of the central Andean Cordillera was prospected by helicopter during 2004, permitting rapid survey of large areas in remote or difficult to access regions. This led to the recovery of fossils from several parts of the range, and the identification of sites worthy of future attention. 4. Wyoming Field Expedition (2004). NASA funds supported a three-week field program by Curator of Dinosaurs Peter Makovicky and a crew of Field Museum staff and volunteers at several sites in the Early Cretaceous Cloverly Formation of north-central Wyoming. The nine-member team excavated a number of sites that had been discovered over the preceding two summers.

  3. A Science Centre as a Geoturism promoter - the Lagos Ciência Viva examples (Portugal).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azevedo Rodrigues, Luis; Leote, Catarina

    2017-04-01

    Science outreach and engagement are crucial core objectives of the Lagos Ciência Viva Science Centre (CCVL). By engaging audiences in the real world a link is made between their science centre experience and the environment in which they live. Therefore, it has been an option of the CCVL to offer geological outdoor activities, both in the natural environment and urban context. Dinosaurs are an appealing science subject for both students and tourists. Thus, the CCVL has a long tradition in organizing and guiding field trips to two dinosaur track sites - Salema and Santa beaches (Vila do Bispo, southwest Algarve). These sites, both from the Lower Cretaceous reveal at least two types of tracks - theropod and iguanodontian footprints. Often in combination with the paleontology field trips, the CCVL also offers different geological field trips both for formal (school) and informal (tourism) education. This allows students and tourists to be introduced to dinosaur paleobiology and ichnology and to the structural geology and stratigraphy of the area. Our science outreach is being further developed by contractual agreement with a regional tour operator, in which the CCVL is responsible for the scientific content and guidance of the visits. Aiming at an urban context, the CCVL produced three Urban Geology and Paleontology Guide Books for three Algarve cities (Lagos, Faro and Tavira), which can be acquired in the three Ciência Viva Science Centres shops as well as in the tourist information offices serving this way as a basis for guided urban tours also offered by the CCVL. Based on our experience, we review and contextualise these geoscience activities and their potential for science outreach, communication and tourism. We discuss and propose a classification of different possibilities in geoscience communication and outreach based on three vertices: Science, Heritage and Geotourism. Some particularities of these visits, such as the merge between geosciences and other

  4. New Developmental Evidence Clarifies the Evolution of Wrist Bones in the Dinosaur–Bird Transition

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    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

  5. Paleoenvironmental interpretation of an ancient Arctic coastal plain: Integrated paleopedology and palynology from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Prince Creek Formation, North Slope, Alaska, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCarthy, P. J.; Flaig, P. P.; Fiorillo, A. R.

    2010-12-01

    The Cretaceous (Early Maastrichtian), dinosaur-bearing Prince Creek Formation, North Slope, Alaska, records high-latitude, alluvial sedimentation and soil formation on a low-lying, coastal plain during a greenhouse phase in Earth history. This study combines outcrop observations, micromorphology, geochemistry, and palynological analyses of paleosols in order to reconstruct local paleoenvironments of weakly developed, high-latitude coastal plain soils. Sediments of the Prince Creek Fm. include quartz- and chert-rich sandstone channels, and floodplains containing organic-rich siltstone and mudstone, carbonaceous shale, coal and ashfall deposits. Vertically stacked horizons of blocky-to-platy, drab-colored mudstone and siltstone with carbonaceous root-traces and mottled aggregates alternating with sandy units indicate that the development of compound and cumulative, weakly-developed soils on floodplains alternated with overbank alluviation and deposition on crevasse splay complexes on floodplains . Soil formation occurred on levees, point bars, crevasse splays and along the margins of floodplain lakes, ponds, and swamps. Soil-forming processes were interrupted by repeated deposition of sediment on top of soil profiles by flooding of nearby channels. Alluviation is evidenced by thin (fern and moss spores, projectates, age-diagnostic Wodehouseia edmontonicola, hinterland bisaccate pollen and pollen from lowland trees, shrubs, and herbs indicate an Early Maastrichtian age for these sediments. Large and small theropods, hadrosaurs, pachycephalosaurs, and ceratopsians, as well as fishes and fossil mammals have been found as well. Paleosols are similar to modern aquic subgroups of Entisols and Inceptisols and, in more distal locations, potential acid sulfate soils. Integration of pedogenic processes and palynology suggests that these high latitude floodplains were influenced by seasonally(?) fluctuating water table levels on a coastal plain governed by a near polar light

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Codron, Daryl; Carbone, Chris; Clauss, Marcus

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  9. Balance and Strength - Estimating the Maximum Prey-Lifting Potential of the Large Predatory Dinosaur Carcharodontosaurus saharicus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, Donald M; Nicholls, Robert

    2015-08-01

    Motivated by the work of palaeo-art "Double Death (2011)," a biomechanical analysis using three-dimensional digital models was conducted to assess the potential of a pair of the large, Late Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Carcharodontosaurus saharicus to successfully lift a medium-sized sauropod and not lose balance. Limaysaurus tessonei from the Late Cretaceous of South America was chosen as the sauropod as it is more completely known, but closely related to the rebbachisaurid sauropods found in the same deposits with C. saharicus. The body models incorporate the details of the low-density regions associated with lungs, systems of air sacs, and pneumatized axial skeletal regions. These details, along with the surface meshes of the models, were used to estimate the body masses and centers of mass of the two animals. It was found that a 6 t C. saharicus could successfully lift a mass of 2.5 t and not lose balance as the combined center of mass of the body and the load in the jaws would still be over the feet. However, the neck muscles were found to only be capable of producing enough force to hold up the head with an added mass of 424 kg held at the midpoint of the maxillary tooth row. The jaw adductor muscles were more powerful, and could have held a load of 512 kg. The more limiting neck constraint leads to the conclusion that two, adult C. saharicus could successfully lift a L. tessonei with a maximum body mass of 850 kg and a body length of 8.3 m.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-09-01

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

  12. Vertebrate biochronology of late Triassic red beds in New Mexico

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hunt, A.P. (Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque (USA))

    1989-09-01

    Four vertebrate biochrons can be recognized in Late Triassic strata of New Mexico: (A) Metoposaurus-Rutiodon-Desmatosuchus-Calyptosuchus-Placerias occurs in the Los Esteros member of the Santa Rosa formation near Lamy and is less well known from the lower Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation near San Ysidro, at Mesa del Oro, near Fort Wingate, at Ojo Huelos, and in the Joyita hills. (B) Anaschisma-Belodon-Typothorax-Desmatosuchus-Paratypothorax occurs in the lower Bull Canyon formation in Bull Canyon and near Tucumcari, in the Trujillo Formation near Tucumcari, and possibly in the Travesser Formation of the Dry Cimarron valley, the Petrified Forest Member near Carthage, and the Garita Creek formation near Lamy and Conchas Lake. (C) Anaschisma-Belodon-Typothorax occurs in the upper Bull Canyon formation in Bull Canyon, in the upper Petrified Forest Member near San Ysidro, at Ghost Ranch, near Albuquerque (Correo Sandstone Bed), and possibly in the Sloan Canyon Formation of the Dry Cimarron valley. (D) Anaschisma-new phytosaur, cf. Typothorax-new sphenosuchian, occurs in the Redonda Formation near Tucumcari. The biochronologic ranges of significant vertebrate taxa within New Mexico follow: metoposaurs - Metoposaurus (A-B ), Anaschisma (B-D); phytosuars - Rutiodon (A), Belodon (B-C), new taxon (D); aetosaurs - Calyptosuchus (A), Desmatosuchus (A-B), Paratypothorax (B), Typothorax (B-D ); rauisuchians - Postosuchus (A-B), Chatterjeea (B-C); sphenosuchians - new taxon 1 (A), Hesperosuchus (B), new taxon 2 (D); dinosaurs - ornithischians (B), Coelophysis (C), other theropods (B-C); therapsids - Placerias (A), Pseudotriconodon (C). Biochron A may be Carnian in age, whereas biochrons B-D are probably early to middle ( ) Norian.

  13. Reassessment of the evidence for postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in Triassic archosaurs, and the early evolution of the avian respiratory system.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Richard J Butler

    Full Text Available Uniquely among extant vertebrates, birds possess complex respiratory systems characterised by the combination of small, rigid lungs, extensive pulmonary air sacs that possess diverticula that invade (pneumatise the postcranial skeleton, unidirectional ventilation of the lungs, and efficient crosscurrent gas exchange. Crocodilians, the only other living archosaurs, also possess unidirectional lung ventilation, but lack true air sacs and postcranial skeletal pneumaticity (PSP. PSP can be used to infer the presence of avian-like pulmonary air sacs in several extinct archosaur clades (non-avian theropod dinosaurs, sauropod dinosaurs and pterosaurs. However, the evolution of respiratory systems in other archosaurs, especially in the lineage leading to crocodilians, is poorly documented. Here, we use µCT-scanning to investigate the vertebral anatomy of Triassic archosaur taxa, from both the avian and crocodilian lineages as well as non-archosaurian diapsid outgroups. Our results confirm previous suggestions that unambiguous evidence of PSP (presence of internal pneumatic cavities linked to the exterior by foramina is found only in bird-line (ornithodiran archosaurs. We propose that pulmonary air sacs were present in the common ancestor of Ornithodira and may have been subsequently lost or reduced in some members of the clade (notably in ornithischian dinosaurs. The development of these avian-like respiratory features might have been linked to inferred increases in activity levels among ornithodirans. By contrast, no crocodile-line archosaur (pseudosuchian exhibits evidence for unambiguous PSP, but many of these taxa possess the complex array of vertebral laminae and fossae that always accompany the presence of air sacs in ornithodirans. These laminae and fossae are likely homologous with those in ornithodirans, which suggests the need for further investigation of the hypothesis that a reduced, or non-invasive, system of pulmonary air sacs may be have

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    João Francisco Botelho

    2014-09-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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

  17. Common avian infection plagued the tyrant dinosaurs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ewan D S Wolff

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lara Sciscio

    2016-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

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    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.

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

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    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

  2. Using physical models to study the gliding performance of extinct animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koehl, M A R; Evangelista, Dennis; Yang, Karen

    2011-12-01

    Aerodynamic studies using physical models of fossil organisms can provide quantitative information about how performance of defined activities, such as gliding, depends on specific morphological features. Such analyses allow us to rule out hypotheses about the function of extinct organisms that are not physically plausible and to determine if and how specific morphological features and postures affect performance. The purpose of this article is to provide a practical guide for the design of dynamically scaled physical models to study the gliding of extinct animals using examples from our research on the theropod dinosaur, †Microraptor gui, which had flight feathers on its hind limbs as well as on its forelimbs. Analysis of the aerodynamics of †M. gui can shed light on the design of gliders with large surfaces posterior to the center of mass and provide functional information to evolutionary biologists trying to unravel the origins of flight in the dinosaurian ancestors and sister groups to birds. Measurements of lift, drag, side force, and moments in pitch, roll, and yaw on models in a wind tunnel can be used to calculate indices of gliding and parachuting performance, aerodynamic static stability, and control effectiveness in maneuvering. These indices permit the aerodynamic performance of bodies of different shape, size, stiffness, texture, and posture to be compared and thus can provide insights about the design of gliders, both biological and man-made. Our measurements of maximum lift-to-drag ratios of 2.5-3.1 for physical models of †M. gui suggest that its gliding performance was similar to that of flying squirrels and that the various leg postures that might have been used by †M. gui make little difference to that aspect of aerodynamic performance. We found that body orientation relative to the movement of air past the animal determines whether it is difficult or easy to maneuver.

  3. A computational analysis of limb and body dimensions in Tyrannosaurus rex with implications for locomotion, ontogeny, and growth.

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    John R Hutchinson

    Full Text Available The large theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex underwent remarkable changes during its growth from 6000 kg adults in <20 years. These changes raise fascinating questions about the morphological transformations involved, peak growth rates, and scaling of limb muscle sizes as well as the body's centre of mass that could have influenced ontogenetic changes of locomotion in T. rex. Here we address these questions using three-dimensionally scanned computer models of four large, well-preserved fossil specimens as well as a putative juvenile individual. Furthermore we quantify the variations of estimated body mass, centre of mass and segment dimensions, to characterize inaccuracies in our reconstructions. These inaccuracies include not only subjectivity but also incomplete preservation and inconsistent articulations of museum skeletons. Although those problems cause ambiguity, we conclude that adult T. rex had body masses around 6000-8000 kg, with the largest known specimen ("Sue" perhaps ∼9500 kg. Our results show that during T. rex ontogeny, the torso became longer and heavier whereas the limbs became proportionately shorter and lighter. Our estimates of peak growth rates are about twice as rapid as previous ones but generally support previous methods, despite biases caused by the usage of scale models and equations that underestimate body masses. We tentatively infer that the hindlimb extensor muscles masses, including the large tail muscle M. caudofemoralis longus, may have decreased in their relative size as the centre of mass shifted craniodorsally during T. rex ontogeny. Such ontogenetic changes would have worsened any relative or absolute decline of maximal locomotor performance. Regardless, T. rex probably had hip and thigh muscles relatively larger than any extant animal's. Overall, the limb "antigravity" muscles may have been as large as or even larger than those of ratite birds, which themselves have the most muscular limbs of any living

  4. Development, structure, and function of a novel respiratory organ, the lung-air sac system of birds: to go where no other vertebrate has gone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maina, John N

    2006-11-01

    respiratory organs of nonavian theropod dinosaurs and the lung-air sac system of birds appear to have evolved. However, many fundamental aspects of the evolution, development, and even the structure and function of the avian respiratory system still remain uncertain.

  5. An Ornithopod-Dominated Tracksite from the Lower Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation (Barremian-Albian of Qijiang, South-Central China: New Discoveries, Ichnotaxonomy, Preservation and Palaeoecology.

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    Lida Xing

    Full Text Available The historically-famous Lotus Fortress site, a deep 1.5-3.0-meter-high, 200-meter-long horizonal notch high up in near-vertical sandstone cliffs comprising the Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation, has been known since the 13th Century as an impregnable defensive position. The site is also extraordinary for having multiple tetrapod track-bearing levels, of which the lower two form the floor of part of the notch, and yield very well preserved asseamblages of ornithopod, bird (avian theropod and pterosaur tracks. Trackway counts indicate that ornithopods dominate (69% accounting for at least 165 trackmakers, followed by bird (18%, sauropod (10%, and pterosaur (3%. Previous studies designated Lotus Fortress as the type locality of Caririchnium lotus and Wupus agilis both of which are recognized here as valid ichnotaxa. On the basis of multiple parallel trackways both are interpreted as representing the trackways of gregarious species. C. lotus is redescribed here in detail and interpreted to indicate two age cohorts representing subadults that were sometimes bipedal and larger quadrupedal adults. Two other previously described dinosaurian ichnospecies, are here reinterpreted as underprints and considered nomina dubia. Like a growing number of significant tetrapod tracksites in China the Lotus Fortress site reveals new information about the composition of tetrapod faunas from formations in which the skeletal record is sparse. In particular, the site shows the relatively high abundance of Caririchium in a region where saurischian ichnofaunas are often dominant. It is also the only site known to have yielded Wupus agilis. In combination with information from other tracksites from the Jiaguan formation and other Cretaceous formations in the region, the track record is proving increasingly impotant as a major source of information on the vertebrate faunas of the region. The Lotus Fortress site has been developed as a spectacular, geologically

  6. An Ornithopod-Dominated Tracksite from the Lower Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation (Barremian–Albian) of Qijiang, South-Central China: New Discoveries, Ichnotaxonomy, Preservation and Palaeoecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xing, Lida; Lockley, Martin G.; Marty, Daniel; Zhang, Jianping; Wang, Yan; Klein, Hendrik; McCrea, Richard T.; Buckley, Lisa G.; Belvedere, Matteo; Mateus, Octávio; Gierliński, Gerard D.; Piñuela, Laura; Persons, W. Scott; Wang, Fengping; Ran, Hao; Dai, Hui; Xie, Xianming

    2015-01-01

    The historically-famous Lotus Fortress site, a deep 1.5–3.0-meter-high, 200-meter-long horizonal notch high up in near-vertical sandstone cliffs comprising the Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation, has been known since the 13th Century as an impregnable defensive position. The site is also extraordinary for having multiple tetrapod track-bearing levels, of which the lower two form the floor of part of the notch, and yield very well preserved asseamblages of ornithopod, bird (avian theropod) and pterosaur tracks. Trackway counts indicate that ornithopods dominate (69%) accounting for at least 165 trackmakers, followed by bird (18%), sauropod (10%), and pterosaur (3%). Previous studies designated Lotus Fortress as the type locality of Caririchnium lotus and Wupus agilis both of which are recognized here as valid ichnotaxa. On the basis of multiple parallel trackways both are interpreted as representing the trackways of gregarious species. C. lotus is redescribed here in detail and interpreted to indicate two age cohorts representing subadults that were sometimes bipedal and larger quadrupedal adults. Two other previously described dinosaurian ichnospecies, are here reinterpreted as underprints and considered nomina dubia. Like a growing number of significant tetrapod tracksites in China the Lotus Fortress site reveals new information about the composition of tetrapod faunas from formations in which the skeletal record is sparse. In particular, the site shows the relatively high abundance of Caririchium in a region where saurischian ichnofaunas are often dominant. It is also the only site known to have yielded Wupus agilis. In combination with information from other tracksites from the Jiaguan formation and other Cretaceous formations in the region, the track record is proving increasingly impotant as a major source of information on the vertebrate faunas of the region. The Lotus Fortress site has been developed as a spectacular, geologically-, paleontologically- and a

  7. An Ornithopod-Dominated Tracksite from the Lower Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation (Barremian-Albian) of Qijiang, South-Central China: New Discoveries, Ichnotaxonomy, Preservation and Palaeoecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xing, Lida; Lockley, Martin G; Marty, Daniel; Zhang, Jianping; Wang, Yan; Klein, Hendrik; McCrea, Richard T; Buckley, Lisa G; Belvedere, Matteo; Mateus, Octávio; Gierliński, Gerard D; Piñuela, Laura; Persons, W Scott; Wang, Fengping; Ran, Hao; Dai, Hui; Xie, Xianming

    2015-01-01

    The historically-famous Lotus Fortress site, a deep 1.5-3.0-meter-high, 200-meter-long horizonal notch high up in near-vertical sandstone cliffs comprising the Cretaceous Jiaguan Formation, has been known since the 13th Century as an impregnable defensive position. The site is also extraordinary for having multiple tetrapod track-bearing levels, of which the lower two form the floor of part of the notch, and yield very well preserved asseamblages of ornithopod, bird (avian theropod) and pterosaur tracks. Trackway counts indicate that ornithopods dominate (69%) accounting for at least 165 trackmakers, followed by bird (18%), sauropod (10%), and pterosaur (3%). Previous studies designated Lotus Fortress as the type locality of Caririchnium lotus and Wupus agilis both of which are recognized here as valid ichnotaxa. On the basis of multiple parallel trackways both are interpreted as representing the trackways of gregarious species. C. lotus is redescribed here in detail and interpreted to indicate two age cohorts representing subadults that were sometimes bipedal and larger quadrupedal adults. Two other previously described dinosaurian ichnospecies, are here reinterpreted as underprints and considered nomina dubia. Like a growing number of significant tetrapod tracksites in China the Lotus Fortress site reveals new information about the composition of tetrapod faunas from formations in which the skeletal record is sparse. In particular, the site shows the relatively high abundance of Caririchium in a region where saurischian ichnofaunas are often dominant. It is also the only site known to have yielded Wupus agilis. In combination with information from other tracksites from the Jiaguan formation and other Cretaceous formations in the region, the track record is proving increasingly impotant as a major source of information on the vertebrate faunas of the region. The Lotus Fortress site has been developed as a spectacular, geologically-, paleontologically- and a

  8. Oxygen isotope fractionation between bird bone phosphate and drinking water

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amiot, Romain; Angst, Delphine; Legendre, Serge; Buffetaut, Eric; Fourel, François; Adolfssen, Jan; André, Aurore; Bojar, Ana Voica; Canoville, Aurore; Barral, Abel; Goedert, Jean; Halas, Stanislaw; Kusuhashi, Nao; Pestchevitskaya, Ekaterina; Rey, Kevin; Royer, Aurélien; Saraiva, Antônio Álamo Feitosa; Savary-Sismondini, Bérengère; Siméon, Jean-Luc; Touzeau, Alexandra; Zhou, Zhonghe; Lécuyer, Christophe

    2017-06-01

    Oxygen isotope compositions of bone phosphate (δ18Op) were measured in broiler chickens reared in 21 farms worldwide characterized by contrasted latitudes and local climates. These sedentary birds were raised during an approximately 3 to 4-month period, and local precipitation was the ultimate source of their drinking water. This sampling strategy allowed the relationship to be determined between the bone phosphate δ18Op values (from 9.8 to 22.5‰ V-SMOW) and the local rainfall δ18Ow values estimated from nearby IAEA/WMO stations (from -16.0 to -1.0‰ V-SMOW). Linear least square fitting of data provided the following isotopic fractionation equation: δ18Ow = 1.119 (±0.040) δ18Op - 24.222 (±0.644); R 2 = 0.98. The δ18Op-δ18Ow couples of five extant mallard ducks, a common buzzard, a European herring gull, a common ostrich, and a greater rhea fall within the predicted range of the equation, indicating that the relationship established for extant chickens can also be applied to birds of various ecologies and body masses. Applied to published oxygen isotope compositions of Miocene and Pliocene penguins from Peru, this new equation computes estimates of local seawater similar to those previously calculated. Applied to the basal bird Confuciusornis from the Early Cretaceous of Northeastern China, our equation gives a slightly higher δ18Ow value compared to the previously estimated one, possibly as a result of lower body temperature. These data indicate that caution should be exercised when the relationship estimated for modern birds is applied to their basal counterparts that likely had a metabolism intermediate between that of their theropod dinosaur ancestors and that of advanced ornithurines.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-12-22

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

  10. Dinosaurs in the year of Darwin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dodson, Peter

    2009-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-04

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

  12. Red Iron-Pigmented Tooth Enamel in a Multituberculate Mammal from the Late Cretaceous Transylvanian "Haţeg Island".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Thierry; Codrea, Vlad

    2015-01-01

    Mammals that inhabit islands are characterized by peculiar morphologies in comparison to their mainland relatives. Here we report the discovery of a partial skull associated with the lower jaws of a Late Cretaceous (≈70 Ma) multituberculate mammal from the Carpathian "Haţeg Island" of Transylvania, Romania. The mammal belongs to the Kogaionidae, one of the rare families that survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction in Europe. The excellent preservation of this specimen allows for the first time description of the complete dentition of a kogaionid and demonstration that the enigmatic Barbatodon transylvanicus presents a mosaic of primitive and derived characters, and that it is phylogenetically basal among the Cimolodonta. Another peculiarity is the presence of red pigmentation in its tooth enamel. The red coloration is present on the anterior side of the incisors and on the cusps of most of the teeth. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) analysis reveals that the pigmented enamel contains iron, as in living placentals. Such a red pigmentation is known in living soricine shrews and many families of rodents, where it is thought to increase the resistance of the enamel to the abrasion that occurs during "grinding" mastication. The extended pattern of red pigment distribution in Barbatodon is more similar to that in eulipotyplan insectivores than to that in rodents and suggests a very hard diet and, importantly, demonstrates that its grasping incisors were not ever-growing. As inferred for other endemic Transylvanian vertebrates such as dwarf herbivorous dinosaurs and unusual theropod dinosaurs, insularity was probably the main factor of survival of such a primitive mammalian lineage relative to other mainland contemporaries of the Northern hemisphere.

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

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    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.

  14. How to Make a Bird Skull: Major Transitions in the Evolution of the Avian Cranium, Paedomorphosis, and the Beak as a Surrogate Hand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Hanson, Michael; Fabbri, Matteo; Pritchard, Adam; Bever, Gabe S; Hoffman, Eva

    2016-09-01

    The avian skull is distinctive in its construction and in its function. Much of bird anatomical variety is expressed in the beak; but the beak itself, largely formed of the premaxillary bone, is set upon a shortened face and a bulbous, enlarged braincase. Here, we use original anatomical observations and reconstructions to describe the overall form of the avian skull in a larger context and to provide a general account of the evolutionary transformation from the early dinosaur skull-the skull of an archosaurian macropredator-to that of modern birds. Facial shortening, the enlargement of the braincase around an enlarged brain (with consequential reduction of circumorbital elements and the adductor chamber), and general thinning and looser articulation of bones are trends. Many of these owe to juvenilization or paedomorphosis, something that is abundantly evident from comparison of a juvenile early theropod (Coelophysis) to early avialans like Archaeopteryx Near the avian crown, the premaxilla becomes dramatically enlarged and integrated into the characteristic mobile kinetic system of birds. We posit that this addition of a large element onto the skull may be biomechanically feasible only because of the paedomorphic shortening of the face; and kinesis of the beak only because of the paedomorphic thinning of the bones and loosening of articulations, as played out in reverse during the maturation of Coelophysis Finally, the beak itself becomes elaborated as the hands are integrated into the wing. There are structural, kinematic, and neurological similarities between avian pecking and primate grasping. The ability to precision-select high-quality food against a complex but depauperate background may have permitted crown birds to survive the end-Cretaceous cataclysm by feeding on insects, seeds, and other detritus after the collapse of higher trophic levels in the food web.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  16. Effect of Mesozoic volcanic eruptions in the western Liaoning Province, China on paleoclimate and paleoenvironment

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    GUO; Zhengfu(郭正府); LIU; Jiaqi(刘嘉麒); WANG; Xiaolin(汪筱林)

    2003-01-01

    (primarily SO2 and H2S) released. They declined the surface's temperatures and formed large-scale toxic acid rains. Eventually, such environmental trauma killed many land- and freshwater-based vertebrates and formed vertebrate (including feathered theropod dinosaurs) fossil-rich layers. The results show that the Mesozoic volcanic activities on either a large scale or frequent moderate scales in western Liao- ning could lead to mass mortality of the vertebrates.

  17. A vertebrate assemblage of Las Curtiembres Formation (Upper Cretaceous of northwestern Argentina Una asociación de vertebrados de la Formación Las Curtiembres (Cretácico Superior del Noroeste de la Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Agustín Scanferla

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available We describe an association of fossil vertebrates from the Morales Member of the Las Curtiembres Formation (Campanian near Puente Morales, Salta Province, NW Argentina. The fossils include teleostean fishes, pipid frogs, pleurodiran turtles, mesoeucrocodylians, non-avian theropod dinosaurs, and enantiornithine birds. The vertebrate record is dominated by freshwater taxa. With the exception of pipid frogs, all taxa here described constitute new records for this sedimentary unit. Among them, the turtles are reported for the first time in the Cretaceous of northwestern Argentina (Salta Group. Additionally, the recently published small enantiornithine Intiornis inexpectatus enlarges the diversity of cretaceous birds from South America. Despite the fragmentary nature of the specimens, the information provided by this Late Cretaceous assemblage sheds new light on the composition of the continental vertebrate fauna in a paleontologically poorly known region of South America.Aquí describimos una asociación de fósiles de vertebrados proveniente del Miembro Morales de la Formación Las Curtiembres (Campaniano exhumada en la localidad de Puente Morales, provincia de Salta, Argentina. Esta asociación se encuentra conformada por peces teleósteos, anuros pipidos, tortugas pleurodiras, mesoeucrocodilidos, dinosaurios terópodos no avianos y aves Enantiornithes. Este registro de vertebrados se encuentra dominado por taxa de agua dulce. Con la excepción de los anuros pipidos, todos los demás taxa aquí descriptos constituyen nuevos registros para esta unidad sedimentaria. Entre ellos, el registro de tortugas resulta ser el primero para el Grupo Salta. Adicionalmente, el Enantiornithes Intiornis inexpectatus amplía la diversidad de aves cretácicas de América del Sur. Más allá de la naturaleza fragmentaria de algunos de los especímenes, la información proporcionada por esta asociación del Cretácico Superior aporta novedosa información acerca de la

  18. Los Cayos S y D: dos afloramientos con icnitas de saurópodos, terópodos y ornitópodos en el Cretácico inferior del área de Los Cayos (Cornago, La Rioja, España

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    Moratalla, J. J.

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Although most part of the Los Cayos area track-bearing layers have yielded almost non-avian theropod footprints, Los Cayos S and D have revealed the presence of fossil prints belonging to sauropods and ornithopods respectively. Los Cayos S contains ten track-bearing layers, but the most significant one shows a short sauropod trackway that, based on manus print morphology, it is identified with the ichnogenus Titanosaurimanus. This trackway was caused by a titanosaurid sauropod or at least by a titanosauriform. On the contrary, Los Cayos D has yielded abundant footprints —most of them isolated— that have been produced by relatively big ornithopod dinosaurs. We identify these tracks with the ichnogenus Iguanodontipus. The existence of both footprint morphotypes is very interesting for the Los Cayos area due to it represents the presence of large herbivorous dinosaurs in those Cretaceous ecosystems that produced the sediments of the Enciso Group.Mientras que la mayor parte de los afloramientos del área de Los Cayos (Cornago, La Rioja han proporcionado casi exclusivamente icnitas de terópodos no avianos, Los Cayos S y D han aportado, por el contrario, pisadas fósiles de saurópodos y de ornitópodos respectivamente. Los Cayos S contiene 10 niveles paleoicnológicos, aunque el más significativo de ellos muestra la presencia de un rastro corto de saurópodo que, sobre la base de la morfología de una icnita de la mano, se identifica con el icnogénero Titanosaurimanus. Esta pista ha sido producida por un saurópodo titanosaurio o al menos por un titanosauriforme. Los Cayos D ha proporcionado abundantes icnitas, la mayoría aisladas, de dinosaurios ornitópodos de gran talla cuyas huellas identificamos con el icnogénero Iguanodontipus. La existencia de ambos tipos de icnitas añade un interés adicional al área de Los Cayos, ya que indica la presencia de grandes dinosaurios fitófagos en los ecosistemas cretácicos que dieron lugar

  19. Taphonomy of a Baurusuchus (Crocodyliformes, Baurusuchidae) from the Adamantina Formation (Upper Cretaceous, Bauru Basin), Brazil: Implications for preservational modes, time resolution and paleoecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Araújo Júnior, Hermínio Ismael de; Silva Marinho, Thiago da

    2013-11-01

    Upper Cretaceous vertebrate accumulations from the Adamantina Formation are known due to their high taxonomic diversity. On the other hand, taphonomic analyses still are rare, limiting the understanding of processes related to the biostratinomic and fossildiagenetic histories of this lithostratigraphic unit. In 2005, fossils were collected from an outcrop located at Jales municipality, state of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil. From this outcrop, a well-preserved Baurusuchus was recovered, which displays a peculiar set of taphonomic signatures. This paper identifies and interprets taphonomic features of a specimen of Baurusuchus (Crocodyliformes, Baurusuchidae; UFRJ DG 418-R) from the Adamantina Formation (Upper Cretaceous of the Bauru Basin), in Jales municipality, state of São Paulo. Brief taphonomic comparisons with other specimens previously studied (crocodiles and dinosaurs) and a lithofaciological analysis of the outcrop were undertaken in order to enhance the knowledge of the stratigraphy and paleoenvironment and improve the time resolution for the Adamantina Formation in the region of Jales. Furthermore, paleoecological data were interpreted based on the taphonomic analysis. The fossil is composed of an articulated segment of vertebral column, ribs, part of the pelvic girdle and gastralia. There is no hydraulic equivalence between both the specimen of Baurusuchus and the size of quartz grain predominant in the fossiliferous layer, suggesting death in situ or short transport as a “water carcass”. Teeth marks identified on the pubes were assigned to a small/juvenile baurusuchid crocodyliform or a theropod dinosaur. The repositioning of some elements (ribs and dorsal osteoderms) is suggestive of mummification. Desiccation marks were observed and attributed to the stage 1 of weathering. These features suggest subaerial exposure of the carcass prior to burial, however, probably after the mummification. On the other hand, the subaerial exposure was short

  20. Middle Jurassic (Bajocian and Bathonian) dinosaur megatracksites, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kvale, E.P.; Johnson, G.D.; Mickelson, D.L.; Keller, K.; Furer, L.; Archer, A.

    2001-01-01

    Two previously unknown rare Middle Jurassic dinosaur megatracksites are reported from the Bighorn Basin of northern Wyoming in the Western Interior of the United States. These trace fossils occur in carbonate units once thought to be totally marine in origin, and constitute the two most extensive Middle Jurassic dinosaur tracksites currently known in North America. The youngest of these occurs primarily along a single horizon at or near the top of the "basal member" of the "lower" Sundance Formation, is mid-Bathonian in age, and dates to ??? 167 ma. This discovery necessitates a major change in the paleogeographic reconstructions for Wyoming for this period. The older tracksites occur at multiple horizons within a 1 m interval in the middle part of the Gypsum Spring Formation. This interval is uppermost Bajocian in age and dates to ??? 170 ma. Terrestrial tracks found, to date, have been all bipedal tridactyl dinosaur prints. At least some of these prints can be attributed to the theropods. Possible swim tracks of bipedal dinosaurs are also present in the Gypsum Spring Formation. Digitigrade prints dominate the Sundance trackways, with both plantigrade and digitigrade prints being preserved in the Gypsum Spring trackways. The Sundance track-bearing surface locally covers 7.5 square kilometers in the vicinity of Shell, Wyoming. Other tracks occur apparently on the same horizon approximately 25 kilometers to the west, north of the town of Greybull. The Gypsum Spring megatracksite is locally preserved across the same 25 kilometer east-west expanse, with the Gypsum Spring megatracksite more extensive in a north-south direction with tracks occurring locally across a 100 kilometer extent. Conservative estimates for the trackway density based on regional mapping in the Sundance tracksite discovery area near Shell suggests that over 150, 000 in situ tracks may be preserved per square kilometer in the Sundance Formation in this area. Comparable estimates have not been made

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

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    Tschopp, Emanuel; Mateus, Octávio

    2013-03-01

    Ossified gastralia, clavicles and sternal ribs are known in a variety of reptilians, including dinosaurs. In sauropods, however, the identity of these bones is controversial. The peculiar shapes of these bones complicate their identification, which led to various differing interpretations in the past. Here we describe different elements from the chest region of diplodocids, found near Shell, Wyoming, USA. Five morphotypes are easily distinguishable: (A) elongated, relatively stout, curved elements with a spatulate and a bifurcate end resemble much the previously reported sauropod clavicles, but might actually represent interclavicles; (B) short, L-shaped elements, mostly preserved as a symmetrical pair, probably are the real clavicles, as indicated by new findings in diplodocids; (C) slender, rod-like bones with rugose ends are highly similar to elements identified as sauropod sternal ribs; (D) curved bones with wide, probably medial ends constitute the fourth morphotype, herein interpreted as gastralia; and (E) irregularly shaped elements, often with extended rugosities, are included into the fifth morphotype, tentatively identified as sternal ribs and/or intercostal elements. To our knowledge, the bones previously interpreted as sauropod clavicles were always found as single bones, which sheds doubt on the validity of their identification. Various lines of evidence presented herein suggest they might actually be interclavicles - which are single elements. This would be the first definitive evidence of interclavicles in dinosauromorphs. Previously supposed interclavicles in the early sauropodomorph Massospondylus or the theropods Oviraptor and Velociraptor were later reinterpreted as clavicles or furculae. Independent from their identification, the existence of the reported bones has both phylogenetic and functional significance. Their presence in non-neosauropod Eusauropoda and Flagellicaudata and probable absence in rebbachisaurs and Titanosauriformes shows a

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

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    Christian Foth

    2016-01-01

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

  3. Sabretoothed carnivores and the killing of large prey.

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    Ki Andersson

    extinct predators including therocephalians (gorgonopsian + cynodont, sabretoothed mammal-like reptiles, sauropterygians (marine reptiles and theropod dinosaurs.

  4. The origin and early radiation of dinosaurs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-07-01

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

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

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    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

  6. Paleoecology and Paleoenvironmental Interpretations of the Late Cretaceous Lower Cantwell Formation, Denali National Park, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomsich, C. S.; Salazar Jaramillo, S.; Jacobus, R. T.; McCarthy, P. J.; Fowell, S. J.; Fiorillo, A. R.

    2010-12-01

    The level of diversity of an ancient high-latitude fauna or flora is of interest not just for the study of species evolution and paleogeographic migration patterns, but also for the imminent response to an amplified climate change rate. Climate modelers thus focus increasingly on proxies of Polar Regions. A rich floral and faunal record indicative of a warm high-latitude paleoclimate is presently emerging from the late Campanian-Maastrichtian lower Cantwell Formation in Denali National Park, south-central Alaska. This thick (up to 4000m) alluvial fan succession was deposited during the latest accretionary phase of the Wrangellia terrane to the former southern margin of Alaska. Facies descriptions from outcrops near Sable Mountain and Polychrome Mountain record heterogeneous and laterally discontinuous lithologies characteristic of alluvial and marginal alluvial fan environments: braided channel, sandy channel, crevasse splay, sheetflood, floodplain, and lacustrine. Trace and plant fossils occur predominantly at lithological boundaries. The vertebrate fossil record encompasses tracks that can be attributed to fishes, pterosaurs, large and small non-avian theropods, birds, hadrosaurs, and ceratopsians. Hadrosaur footprints are abundant and record populations with multiple generations present. The pterosaur tracks constitute the northernmost fossil occurrence for these flying reptiles. Bird traces range from small, shore-wading bird tracks to those of a large crane-like bird. Diverse invertebrate tracks include freshwater bivalve, ostracode and gastropod trails, crayfish burrows, beetle and mole cricket tracks, wood borings and feeding traces on angiosperm leaves. Plant impression fossils represent dicotyledonous angiosperm leaves referable to nymphaealean, menispermoid, platanoid, trochodendroid and higher hamamelid groups; magnoliid seeds; diverse broad-leaved and blade-like monocot leaf fragments; the leafy shoots, leaves, cones, seeds and wood of cupressaceous and

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

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    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

  8. CRETACEOUS TETRAPOD FOOTPRINT BIOSTRATIGRAPHY, BIOCHRONOLOGY, AND ICHNOFACIES%白垩纪四足动物足印的生物地层学、生物年代学与遗迹相

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Martin G.LOCKLEY; Spencer G. LUCAS; Masaki MATSUKAWA; Jerald D. HARRIS

    2012-01-01

    The global record of Cretaceous tetrapod footprints is dominated by the tracks of non-avian dinosaurs and birds; fewer tracks are known of pterosaurs, crocodylians, turtles, mammals, and other tetrapods. The Cretaceous track record is best known from East Asia (especially China and Korea) and western North America. A moderately extensive record is also known from South America (primarily Argentina and Brazil), but Cretaceous track assemblages from Europe, Africa, and Australia are much more poorly known. Here, we re-examine two global footprint biochrons based on the Cretaceous tetrapod footprint record. An Early Cretaceous biochron is characterized by sauropod and ornithopod tracks. A Late Cretaceous biochron has fewer sauropod tracks but adds the tracks of hadrosaurs, tyrannosaurids, and ceratopsians. Furthermore, the Cretaceous footprint record documents many important biostratigraphic data points, such as the mid-Cretaceous extirpation of sauropod dinosaurs in North America and the terminal Cretaceous extinction of dinosaurs. A growing Cretaceous footprint record from eastern Asia also provides the first glimpse of a more refined, provincial Cretaceous footprint biochronology, in which three or four Cretaceous footprint biochrons based on the stratigraphic distributions of endemic theropod dinosaur (including bird) ichnogenera may be recognizable. The abun- dance and endemism of this east Asian Cretaceous avian iehnofauna may indicate that a unique and prolific avian fauna existed in eastern Asia during the Cretaceous, a footprint-based hypothesis that merits further testing.%从全球范围来看,白垩纪四足动物的足印多数是非鸟恐龙与鸟类留下的痕迹;少量足印来自翼龙、鳄鱼、龟、哺乳动物和其他四足动物。白垩纪的足迹化石以东亚(尤其是中国和朝鲜)和北美西部的最为人所知。南美(主要是阿根廷和巴西)也有一定数量广泛分布的足迹化石,欧洲、非

  9. CORRELATION OF LATE CRETACEOUS CONTINENTAL VERTEBRATE ASSEMBLAGES IN MIDDLE AND CENTRAL ASIA%中亚与亚洲中部晚白垩世的陆生脊椎动物组合对比

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    A. AVERIANOV; H.D.SUES

    2012-01-01

    The relative stratigraphic positions of the better-known assemblages of Late Cretaceous continental vertebrates from Middle and Central Asia are assessed by parsimony analysis of the presence/absence of 26 proposed bio- stratigraphic marker taxa. The oldest assemblage in the region is Khodzhakul from the Kyzylkum Desert of Uzbekistan (early Cenomanian). The next stage includes assemblages from the lower and upper parts of the Bayn Shire Formation of the eastern Gobi Desert, Mongolia (Cenomanian to Santonian). The Iren Dabasu fauna from Inner Mongolia, China, clusters with the Turonian-Santonian faunas from Middle Asia based on the shared presence of the trionychid turtle Khunnuchelys and is likely Santonian in age. Three Middle Asian assemblages (Bissekty, Yalovach, and Bostobe) are endemic in the presence of two crocodyliform taxa (Kansajsuchus and Tadzhikosuchus) but share another crocodyliform (Shamosuchus) with the Gobi assemblages. The Campanian-Maastrichtian assemblages from the Gobi Desert cluster with coeval North American faunas. The Campanian vertebrate assemblages from the Djadokhta and Barun Goyot for- mations are highly endemic, reflecting semi-arid paleoenvironments. The assemblage from the Nemegt Formation, which existed under more mesic conditions, is similar in composition to those from other fluvial depositional environ- ments (Bissekty, Iren Dabasu, and North American Judithian and Lancian assemblages). The presence of the crested hadrosaurine Saurolophus supports a Maastrichtian age for the Nemegt assemblage. Three Gobi assemblages (Djadokhta, Barun Goyot, and Nemegt) are grouped together based on the shared presence of the endemic turtle Mongolemys and parvicursorine theropods. The Campanian to Maastrichtian assemblages of Central Asia and North America differ from the older assemblages in Asia in the presence of derived Tyrannosauridae, Pachycephalosauria, and Hadrosauridae. In Middle Asia, continental vertebrate

  10. Dinosaurios del Cretácico inferior de Galve (Teruel, España

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    Santafé, J. V.

    1987-12-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this paper is to complete the study of the Dinosaur fauna of the syncline of Galve (Teruel, Spain. Most of the outcrops are Early Barremian in age. Nevertheless, the outcrop called Las Zabacheras could be Hauterivian and El Pelejón Hauterivian-Early Barremian in age. Theropod Dinosaurs are poorly represented. Three vertebral centra are described. They are identified as Theropoda indet. The several outcrops of Galve have yielded four forms of Sauropods. Three of them (cf. Astrodon sp., Camarasauridae indet., form A, Camarasauridae indet., form B have been identified based on isolated teeth. The Sauropod from Las Zabacheras (Lapparent, 1960; Sanz, 1982 has been proposed as a new taxon, Aragosaurus ischiaticus n. gen. et n. sp. The material which the new taxon is based on are the bones studied by Lapparent (Museo de la Diputación de Teruel and new ones: caudal vertebrae, chevrones, seapula, ilium, femur and autopodial material. After a research on evolutive polarity of some traits within the Sauropoda, the apomorphic character-states which define the new taxon are as follows: First caudal vertebrae with a great transversal development of the neuroapophysis (club-like, seapular blade terminally expansioned, with an intermediate development (for example between Cetiosaurs and Brachiosaurus or Rebbachisaurus. Great dorso-ventral development (acromio-glenoideus of the anterior seapular zone (ratio miminal width of the seapular blade/maximal acromio-glenoideus height of 0.27. lliac process of ischium well developed. Pubic process of ischium with great dorso-ventral development (ratio antero-posterior length of this process/lenght of ischiadic contact with pubis, 0.63. Ischiadic process of ischium with a conspicuous final expansion. Lenght ratio humerus/femur 0.82. Lateral bulge just distal to the femoral greater trochanter. Medial condyle of femur relatively developed (ratio maximal antero-posterior diameter of medial condyle

  11. Palaeogeographic evolution of the marine Middle Triassic marine Germanic Basin changements - With emphasis on the carbonate tidal flat and shallow marine habitats of reptiles in Central Pangaea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diedrich, Cajus G.

    2009-01-01

    began to diversify at exactly this time, and it seems likely that this was a direct reaction to these environmental changes. It can be inferred that the earliest dinosaurs must have started to evolve in the late Early Triassic, because in Europe it can be demonstrated that at least two main dinosaur groups already were present and clearly differentiated by the middle part of the Middle Triassic, and all three of the major groups of dinosaurs (theropods, sauropods and ornithischians) had diversified and spread globally throughout terrestrial habitats by the end of the Triassic Period. Six new palaeogeographic maps, representing time intervals from the Aegean to the Illyrian (Anisian) stages, show these important environmental changes in detail and explain the direction and timing of terrestrial reptile exchanges between the Central Massif, Rhenish Massif, and Bohemian Massif, and also the direction and timing of marine reptile exchanges between the Alps of Central Pangaea and the ancient northern Tethys Ocean and Germanic Basin Sea.

  12. Sedimentary facies of dinosaur trackways and bonebeds in the Cretaceous Jiaolai Basin, eastern Shandong, China, and their paleogeographical implications%山东胶莱盆地白垩纪恐龙足迹与骨骼化石埋藏沉积相与古地理环境

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    柳永清; 旷红伟; 彭楠; 许欢; 刘燕学

    2011-01-01

    The core issue of taphonomy is to study the sedimentary facies of fossil-bearing rocks, reconstruct their depositional environments, and understand the paleogeographical background before and after the burying of fossils at different scales. One of current taphonomy interests focuses on the mass extinction or bonebeds of dinosaurs, including their paleogeography, paleoenvironment and preservation. Numerous Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaur fossil sites have been discovered in China, making it number 1 in the world in terms of richness of dinosaur genera and species. The terrestrial Cretaceous Laiyang, Qingshan and Wangshi groups (130-65 Ma), in ascending order, are widely distributed in Jiaolai Basin of eastern Shandong Province, China. Litho-logically, the Early Cretaceous Laiyang Group consists of fluvial and lacustrine sediments and the Early Cretaceous Qingshan Group is mainly composed of medium or acid volcanic rocks and pyroclastic rocks interbeded with sedimentary rocks. The Late Cretaceous Wangshi Group is mainly deposits of alluvial fan, mud flow and braided-channel facies in the lower part; shallow lacustrine deposits and rhythmic fluvial sediments of mud-stone, siltstone, sandstone or soils (palesoil) in the middle part; and rhythmic depositions of silty-muddy conglomerate, sandstone and siltstone of mud flow, braided-channel and flooding plain facies, locally interbeded with basalt in the upper part. Sedimentary successions and facies associations of the Cretaceous Jiaolai Basin indicate an evolution of basin and sedimentary paleogeography, I. E. , from alluvial-lacustrine environment in humid and warm climate in the Early Cretaceous to an alluvial environment in hot and drought climate towards the Late Cretaceous. Biota of the Early Cretaceous in Jiaolai Basin is identical to the Jehol Biota in the northern areas of North China. In the Laiyang Group, a plentiful of dinosaur (theropod, sauropod and ornithopod) footprints were excellently preserved, as