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Sample records for early ornithischian dinosaurs

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-22

    Current characterizations of early dinosaur evolution are incomplete: existing palaeobiological and phylogenetic scenarios are based on a fossil record dominated by saurischians and the implications of the early ornithischian record are often overlooked. Moreover, the timings of deep phylogenetic divergences within Dinosauria are poorly constrained owing to the absence of a rigorous chronostratigraphical framework for key Late Triassic-Early Jurassic localities. A new dinosaur from the earliest Jurassic of the Venezuelan Andes is the first basal ornithischian recovered from terrestrial deposits directly associated with a precise radioisotopic date and the first-named dinosaur from northern South America. It expands the early palaeogeographical range of Ornithischia to palaeoequatorial regions, an area sometimes thought to be devoid of early dinosaur taxa, and offers insights into early dinosaur growth rates, the evolution of sociality and the rapid tempo of the global dinosaur radiation following the end-Triassic mass extinction, helping to underscore the importance of the ornithischian record in broad-scale discussions of early dinosaur history. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    Baron, Matthew G; Barrett, Paul M

    2017-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-25

    Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous deposits from northeastern China have yielded varied theropod dinosaurs bearing feathers. Filamentous integumentary structures have also been described in ornithischian dinosaurs, but whether these filaments can be regarded as part of the evolutionary lineage toward feathers remains controversial. Here we describe a new basal neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of Siberia with small scales around the distal hindlimb, larger imbricated scales around the tail, monofilaments around the head and the thorax, and more complex featherlike structures around the humerus, the femur, and the tibia. The discovery of these branched integumentary structures outside theropods suggests that featherlike structures coexisted with scales and were potentially widespread among the entire dinosaur clade; feathers may thus have been present in the earliest dinosaurs. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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

    PubMed

    Nabavizadeh, Ali

    2016-03-01

    Jaw mechanics in ornithischian dinosaurs have been widely studied for well over a century. Most of these studies, however, use only one or few taxa within a given ornithischian clade as a model for feeding mechanics across the entire clade. In this study, mandibular mechanical advantages among 52 ornithischian genera spanning all subclades are calculated using 2D lever arm methods. These lever arm calculations estimate the effect of jaw shape and difference in adductor muscle line of action on relative bite forces along the jaw. Results show major instances of overlap between taxa in tooth positions at which there was highest mechanical advantage. A relatively low bite force is seen across the tooth row among thyreophorans (e.g., stegosaurs and ankylosaurs), with variation among taxa. A convergent transition occurs from a more evenly distributed bite force along the jaw in basal ornithopods and basal marginocephalians to a strong distal bite force in hadrosaurids and ceratopsids, respectively. Accordingly, adductor muscle vector angles show repeated trends from a mid-range caudodorsal orientation in basal ornithischians to a decrease in vector angles indicating more caudally oriented jaw movements in derived taxa (e.g., derived thyreophorans, basal ornithopods, lambeosaurines, pachycephalosaurs, and derived ceratopsids). Analyses of hypothetical jaw morphologies were also performed, indicating that both the coronoid process and lowered jaw joint increase moment arm length therefore increasing mechanical advantage of the jaw apparatus. Adaptive trends in craniomandibular anatomy show that ornithischians evolved more complex feeding apparatuses within different clades as well as morphological convergences between clades. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    The extremes of dinosaur body size have long fascinated scientists. The smallest (<1 m length) known dinosaurs are carnivorous saurischian theropods, and similarly diminutive herbivorous or omnivorous ornithischians (the other major group of dinosaurs) are unknown. We report a new ornithischian dinosaur, Fruitadens haagarorum, from the Late Jurassic of western North America that rivals the smallest theropods in size. The largest specimens of Fruitadens represent young adults in their fifth year of development and are estimated at just 65–75 cm in total body length and 0.5–0.75 kg body mass. They are thus the smallest known ornithischians. Fruitadens is a late-surviving member of the basal dinosaur clade Heterodontosauridae, and is the first member of this clade to be described from North America. The craniodental anatomy and diminutive body size of Fruitadens suggest that this taxon was an ecological generalist with an omnivorous diet, thus providing new insights into morphological and palaeoecological diversity within Dinosauria. Late-surviving (Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous) heterodontosaurids are smaller and less ecologically specialized than Early (Late Triassic and Early Jurassic) heterodontosaurids, and this ecological generalization may account in part for the remarkable 100-million-year-long longevity of the clade. PMID:19846460

  6. Limb-bone scaling indicates diverse stance and gait in quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Maidment, Susannah C R; Linton, Deborah H; Upchurch, Paul; Barrett, Paul M

    2012-01-01

    The most primitive ornithischian dinosaurs were small bipeds, but quadrupedality evolved three times independently in the clade. The transition to quadrupedality from bipedal ancestors is rare in the history of terrestrial vertebrate evolution, and extant analogues do not exist. Constraints imposed on quadrupedal ornithischians by their ancestral bipedal bauplan remain unexplored, and consequently, debate continues about their stance and gait. For example, it has been proposed that some ornithischians could run, while others consider that none were cursorial. Drawing on biomechanical concepts of limb bone scaling and locomotor theory developed for extant taxa, we use the largest dataset of ornithischian postcranial measurements so far compiled to examine stance and gait in quadrupedal ornithischians. Differences in femoral midshaft eccentricity in hadrosaurs and ceratopsids may indicate that hadrosaurs placed their feet on the midline during locomotion, while ceratopsids placed their feet more laterally, under the hips. More robust humeri in the largest ceratopsids relative to smaller taxa may be due to positive allometry in skull size with body mass in ceratopsids, while slender humeri in the largest stegosaurs may be the result of differences in dermal armor distribution within the clade. Hadrosaurs are found to display the most cursorial morphologies of the quadrupedal ornithischian cades, indicating higher locomotor performance than in ceratopsids and thyreophorans. Limb bone scaling indicates that a previously unrealised diversity of stances and gaits were employed by quadrupedal ornithischians despite apparent convergence in limb morphology. Grouping quadrupedal ornithischians together as a single functional group hides this disparity. Differences in limb proportions and scaling are likely due to the possession of display structures such as horns, frills and dermal armor that may have affected the center of mass of the animal, and differences in locomotor

  7. The Predentary Bone and Its Significance in the Evolution of Feeding Mechanisms in Ornithischian Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Nabavizadeh, Ali; Weishampel, David B

    2016-10-01

    The characteristic predentary bone in ornithischian dinosaurs is a unique, unpaired element located at the midline of the mandibular symphysis. Although traditionally thought to only be a plant "nipping" bone, the true functional significance of this bone among feeding mechanisms of ornithischian dinosaurs is poorly known. Recent studies of a select few ornithischian genera have suggested rotation of the mandibular corpora around their long axes relative to their midline joint articulation with the predentary bone. This study aims to re-evaluate these hypotheses as well as provide in-depth qualitative comparative descriptions of predentary bone morphology in ornithischian genera throughout all subclades, including heterodontosaurids, thyreophorans, ornithopods, and marginocephalians. Descriptions evaluate overall shape of the predentary, its articular surfaces contacting the rostral ends of the dentaries, and the morphology of the rostral extent of the dentaries and their midline symphysis. Functionally relevant morphologies in each predentary morphotype are accentuated for further speculation of feeding mechanisms. Three predentary morphotypes are described throughout ornithischian subclades and each plays a unique role in feeding adaptations. Most notably, the predentary likely evolved as a midline axial point of the mandibular symphysis for simultaneous variable movement or rotation of the mandibular corpora in many, but not all, taxa. This simultaneous movement of the hemimandibles would have aided in feeding on both sides of the jaw at once. The function of the predentary as well as other jaw adaptations is discussed for genera throughout all subclades, focusing on both general shape and joint morphology. Anat Rec, 299:1358-1388, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lee, Scott A

    2017-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott A.

    2017-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. What drove reversions to quadrupedality in ornithischian dinosaurs? Testing hypotheses using centre of mass modelling.

    PubMed

    Maidment, Susannah C R; Henderson, Donald M; Barrett, Paul M

    2014-11-01

    The exceptionally rare transition to quadrupedalism from bipedal ancestors occurred on three independent occasions in ornithischian dinosaurs. The possible driving forces behind these transitions remain elusive, but several hypotheses-including the development of dermal armour and the expansion of head size and cranial ornamentation-have been proposed to account for this major shift in stance. We modelled the position of the centre of mass (CoM) in several exemplar ornithischian taxa and demonstrate that the anterior shifts in CoM position associated with the development of an enlarged skull ornamented with horns and frills for display/defence may have been one of the drivers promoting ceratopsian quadrupedality. A posterior shift in CoM position coincident with the development of extensive dermal armour in thyreophorans demonstrates this cannot have been a primary causative mechanism for quadrupedality in this clade. Quadrupedalism developed in response to different selective pressures in each ornithischian lineage, indicating different evolutionary pathways to convergent quadrupedal morphology.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-22

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

  14. Does morphological convergence imply functional similarity? A test using the evolution of quadrupedalism in ornithischian dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Maidment, Susannah C R; Barrett, Paul M

    2012-09-22

    Convergent morphologies are thought to indicate functional similarity, arising because of a limited number of evolutionary or developmental pathways. Extant taxa displaying convergent morphologies are used as analogues to assess function in extinct taxa with similar characteristics. However, functional studies of extant taxa have shown that functional similarity can arise from differing morphologies, calling into question the paradigm that form and function are closely related. We test the hypothesis that convergent skeletal morphology indicates functional similarity in the fossil record using ornithischian dinosaurs. The rare transition from bipedality to quadrupedality occurred at least three times independently in this clade, resulting in a suite of convergent osteological characteristics. We use homology rather than analogy to provide an independent line of evidence about function, reconstructing soft tissues using the extant phylogenetic bracket and applying biomechanical concepts to produce qualitative assessments of muscle leverage. We also optimize character changes to investigate the sequence of character acquisition. Different lineages of quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaur stood and walked differently from each other, falsifying the hypothesis that osteological convergence indicates functional similarity. The acquisition of features correlated with quadrupedalism generally occurs in the same order in each clade, suggesting underlying developmental mechanisms that act as evolutionary constraints.

  15. Locomotion in ornithischian dinosaurs: an assessment using three-dimensional computational modelling.

    PubMed

    Maidment, Susannah C R; Bates, Karl T; Falkingham, Peter L; VanBuren, Collin; Arbour, Victoria; Barrett, Paul M

    2014-08-01

    Ornithischian dinosaurs were primitively bipedal with forelimbs modified for grasping, but quadrupedalism evolved in the clade on at least three occasions independently. Outside of Ornithischia, quadrupedality from bipedal ancestors has only evolved on two other occasions, making this one of the rarest locomotory transitions in tetrapod evolutionary history. The osteological and myological changes associated with these transitions have only recently been documented, and the biomechanical consequences of these changes remain to be examined. Here, we review previous approaches to understanding locomotion in extinct animals, which can be broadly split into form-function approaches using analogy based on extant animals, limb-bone scaling, and computational approaches. We then carry out the first systematic attempt to quantify changes in locomotor muscle function in bipedal and quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaurs. Using three-dimensional computational modelling of the major pelvic locomotor muscle moment arms, we examine similarities and differences among individual taxa, between quadrupedal and bipedal taxa, and among taxa representing the three major ornithischian lineages (Thyreophora, Ornithopoda, Marginocephalia). Our results suggest that the ceratopsid Chasmosaurus and the ornithopod Hypsilophodon have relatively low moment arms for most muscles and most functions, perhaps suggesting poor locomotor performance in these taxa. Quadrupeds have higher abductor moment arms than bipeds, which we suggest is due to the overall wider bodies of the quadrupeds modelled. A peak in extensor moment arms at more extended hip angles and lower medial rotator moment arms in quadrupeds than in bipeds may be due to a more columnar hindlimb and loss of medial rotation as a form of lateral limb support in quadrupeds. We are not able to identify trends in moment arm evolution across Ornithischia as a whole, suggesting that the bipedal ancestry of ornithischians did not constrain the

  16. The origin and early radiation of dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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

  17. The origin and early evolution of dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    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

  18. Dynamic Locomotor Capabilities Revealed by Early Dinosaur Trackmakers from Southern Africa

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Jeffrey A.; Marsicano, Claudia A.; Smith, Roger M. H.

    2009-01-01

    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°), 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. PMID:19806213

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

    PubMed

    Wilson, Jeffrey A; Marsicano, Claudia A; Smith, Roger M H

    2009-10-06

    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. 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. 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.

  20. Dinosaur Extinction, Early Childhood Style

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murray, Mary; Valentine-Anand, Lesley

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

  2. Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Vicki; Happel, Sue

    Facts, activities, and student worksheets about dinosaurs are presented. General information about dinosaurs (when they lived and what they were like) and fossils (how they are created and what information they can provide) is followed by a worksheet and answer sheet. A timeline of the dinosaur age and a classification chart which divides…

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-01-01

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

  4. Early cretaceous dinosaurs from the sahara.

    PubMed

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

    1994-10-14

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

  5. Mesozoic dinosaurs from Brazil and their biogeographic implications.

    PubMed

    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.

  6. Evolution of dinosaur epidermal structures.

    PubMed

    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.

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

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

    2004-01-01

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

  8. A primitive therizinosauroid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Utah

    Kirkland, J.I.; Zanno, L.E.; Sampson, S.D.; Clark, J.M.; DeBlieux, D.D.

    2005-01-01

    Therizinosauroids are an enigmatic group of dinosaurs known mostly from the Cretaceous period of Asia, whose derived members are characterized by elongate necks, laterally expanded pelves, small, leaf-shaped teeth, edentulous rostra and mandibular symphyses that probably bore keratinized beaks. Although more than a dozen therizinosauroid taxa are known, their relationships within Dinosauria have remained controversial because of fragmentary remains and an unusual suite of characters. The recently discovered 'feathered' therizinosauroid Beipiaosaurus from the Early Cretaceous of China helped to clarify the theropod affinities of the group. However, Beipiaosaurus is also poorly represented. Here we describe a new, primitive therizinosauroid from an extensive paucispecific bonebed at the base of the Cedar Mountain Formation (Early Cretaceous) of east-central Utah. This new taxon represents the most complete and most basal therizinosauroid yet discovered. Phylogenetic analysis of coelurosaurian theropods incorporating this taxon places it at the base of the clade Therizinosauroiden, indicating that this species documents the earliest known stage in the poorly understood transition from carnivory to herbivory within Therizinosauroidea. The taxon provides the first documentation, to our knowledge, of therizinosauroids in North America during the Early Cretaceous.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-07

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-11

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

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

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

    2004-01-01

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

  13. A new hadrosauroid dinosaur from the early late cretaceous of Shanxi Province, China.

    PubMed

    Wang, Run-Fu; You, Hai-Lu; Xu, Shi-Chao; Wang, Suo-Zhu; Yi, Jian; Xie, Li-Juan; Jia, Lei; Li, Ya-Xian

    2013-01-01

    The origin of hadrosaurid dinosaurs is far from clear, mainly due to the paucity of their early Late Cretaceous close relatives. Compared to numerous Early Cretaceous basal hadrosauroids, which are mainly from Eastern Asia, only six early Late Cretaceous (pre-Campanian) basal hadrosauroids have been found: three from Asia and three from North America. Here we describe a new hadrosauroid dinosaur, Yunganglong datongensis gen. et sp. nov., from the early Late Cretaceous Zhumapu Formation of Shanxi Province in northern China. The new taxon is represented by an associated but disarticulated partial adult skeleton including the caudodorsal part of the skull. Cladistic analysis and comparative studies show that Yunganglong represents one of the most basal Late Cretaceous hadrosauroids and is diagnosed by a unique combination of features in its skull and femur. The discovery of Yunganglong adds another record of basal Hadrosauroidea in the early Late Cretaceous, and helps to elucidate the origin and evolution of Hadrosauridae.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-05-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-05-01

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

  16. A New Hadrosauroid Dinosaur from the Early Late Cretaceous of Shanxi Province, China

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Run-Fu; You, Hai-Lu; Xu, Shi-Chao; Wang, Suo-Zhu; Yi, Jian; Xie, Li-Juan; Jia, Lei; Li, Ya-Xian

    2013-01-01

    Background The origin of hadrosaurid dinosaurs is far from clear, mainly due to the paucity of their early Late Cretaceous close relatives. Compared to numerous Early Cretaceous basal hadrosauroids, which are mainly from Eastern Asia, only six early Late Cretaceous (pre-Campanian) basal hadrosauroids have been found: three from Asia and three from North America. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we describe a new hadrosauroid dinosaur, Yunganglong datongensis gen. et sp. nov., from the early Late Cretaceous Zhumapu Formation of Shanxi Province in northern China. The new taxon is represented by an associated but disarticulated partial adult skeleton including the caudodorsal part of the skull. Cladistic analysis and comparative studies show that Yunganglong represents one of the most basal Late Cretaceous hadrosauroids and is diagnosed by a unique combination of features in its skull and femur. Conclusions/Significance The discovery of Yunganglong adds another record of basal Hadrosauroidea in the early Late Cretaceous, and helps to elucidate the origin and evolution of Hadrosauridae. PMID:24204734

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

    PubMed Central

    Pol, Diego; Rauhut, Oliver W. M.

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22628475

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

    PubMed

    Pol, Diego; Rauhut, Oliver W M

    2012-08-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-19

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Triassic predatory guild evolution reflects a period of ecological flux spurred by the catastrophic end-Permian mass extinction and terminating with the global ecological dominance of dinosaurs in the early Jurassic. In responding to this dynamic ecospace, terrestrial predator diversity attained new levels, prompting unique trophic webs with a seeming overabundance of carnivorous taxa and the evolution of entirely new predatory clades. Key among these was Crocodylomorpha, the largest living reptiles and only one of two archosaurian lineages that survive to the present day. In contrast to their existing role as top, semi-aquatic predators, the earliest crocodylomorphs were generally small-bodied, terrestrial faunivores, occupying subsidiary (meso) predator roles. Here we describe Carnufex carolinensis a new, unexpectedly large-bodied taxon with a slender and ornamented skull from the Carnian Pekin Formation (~231 Ma), representing one of the oldest and earliest diverging crocodylomorphs described to date. Carnufex bridges a problematic gap in the early evolution of pseudosuchians by spanning key transitions in bauplan evolution and body mass near the origin of Crocodylomorpha. With a skull length of >50 cm, the new taxon documents a rare instance of crocodylomorphs ascending to top-tier predator guilds in the equatorial regions of Pangea prior to the dominance of dinosaurs. PMID:25787306

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    New reports of dinosaur tracksites in the Tuchengzi Formation in the newly established Yanqing Global Geopark, Beijing, China, support previous inferences that the track assemblages from this formation are saurischian-dominated. More specifically, the assemblages appear theropod-dominated, with the majority of well-preserved tracks conforming to the Grallator type (sensus lato), thus representing relatively small trackmakers. Such ichnofaunas supplement the skeletal record from this unit that lacks theropods thus far, proving a larger diversity of dinosaur faunas in that region. Sauropods are represented by medium to large sized and narrow and wide-gauge groups, respectively. The latter correspond with earlier discoveries of titanosauriform skeletons in the same unit. Previous records of ornithischian tracks cannot be positively confirmed. Purported occurrences are re-evaluated here, the trackways and imprints, except of a single possible specimen, re-assigned to theropods. Palecologically the Tuchengzi ichnofauna is characteristic of semi-arid fluvio-lacustrine inland basins with Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous deposits in northern China that all show assemblages with abundant theropod and sauropod tracks and minor components of ornithopod, pterosaur and bird tracks. PMID:25901363

  2. Dinosaur Day!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nakamura, Sandra; Baptiste, H. Prentice

    2006-01-01

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

  3. Paleobiology of Herbivorous Dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, Paul M.

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Corwin; Xu, Xing

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  8. Vision in dinosaurs: Scaling effects in sclerotic rings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-16

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. Endocranial Morphology of the Primitive Nodosaurid Dinosaur Pawpawsaurus campbelli from the Early Cretaceous of North America

    PubMed Central

    Paulina-Carabajal, Ariana; Lee, Yuong-Nam; Jacobs, Louis L.

    2016-01-01

    Background Ankylosaurs are one of the least explored clades of dinosaurs regarding endocranial anatomy, with few available descriptions of braincase anatomy and even less information on brain and inner ear morphologies. The main goal of this study is to provide a detailed description of the braincase and internal structures of the Early Cretaceous nodosaurid Pawpawsaurus campbelli, based on recently made CT scans. Methodology/Principal Findings The skull of Pawpawsaurus was CT scanned at University of Texas at Austin (UTCT). Three-dimensional models were constructed using Mimics 18.0 (Materialise). The digital data and further processed 3D models revealed inaccessible anatomic structures, allowing a detailed description of the lateral wall of the braincase (obscured by other bones in the articulated skull), and endocranial structures such as the cranial endocast, the most complete inner ear morphology for a nodosaurid, and the interpretation of the airflow system within the nasal cavities. Conslusions/Significance The new information on the endocranial morphology of Pawpawsaurus adds anatomical data to the poorly understand ankylosaur paleoneurology. The new set of data has potential use not only in taxonomy and phylogeny, but also in paleobiological interpretations based on the relative development of sense organs, such as olfaction, hearing and balance. PMID:27007950

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Padian, Kevin

    1989-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2018-05-25

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

  16. Stable Isotopes Reveal Rapid Enamel Elongation (Amelogenesis) Rates for the Early Cretaceous Iguanodontian Dinosaur Lanzhousaurus magnidens.

    PubMed

    Suarez, Celina A; You, Hai-Lu; Suarez, Marina B; Li, Da-Qing; Trieschmann, J B

    2017-11-10

    Lanzhousaurus magnidens, a large non-hadrosauriform iguanodontian dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Hekou Group of Gansu Province, China has the largest known herbivorous dinosaur teeth. Unlike its hadrosauriform relatives possessing tooth batteries of many small teeth, Lanzhousaurus utilized a small number (14) of very large teeth (~10 cm long) to create a large, continuous surface for mastication. Here we investigate the significance of Lanzhousaurus in the evolutionary history of iguanodontian-hadrosauriform transition by using a combination of stable isotope analysis and CT imagery. We infer that Lanzhousaurus had a rapid rate of tooth enamel elongation or amelogenesis at 0.24 mm/day with dental tissues common to other Iguanodontian dinosaurs. Among ornithopods, high rates of amelogenesis have been previously observed in hadrosaurids, where they have been associated with a sophisticated masticatory apparatus. These data suggest rapid amelogenesis evolved among non-hadrosauriform iguanodontians such as Lanzhousaurus, representing a crucial step that was exapted for the evolution of the hadrosaurian feeding mechanism.

  17. Dinosaur lactation?

    PubMed

    Else, Paul L

    2013-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Dinosaur Impressions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taquet, Philippe

    1998-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Chok, Derek J.; Herrero, Annisa; Scolieri, Brandon; Werning, Sarah

    2013-01-01

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

  2. Sexual maturity in growing dinosaurs does not fit reptilian growth models

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Andrew H.; Werning, Sarah

    2008-01-01

    Recent histological studies suggest relatively rapid growth in dinosaurs. However, the timing of reproductive maturity (RM) in dinosaurs is poorly known because unambiguous indicators of RM are rare. One exception is medullary bone (MB), which is an ephemeral bony tissue that forms before ovulation in the marrow cavities of birds as a calcium source for eggshelling. Recently, MB also was described in a single specimen of the saurischian dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. Here, we report two other occurrences of MB: in another saurischian dinosaur, Allosaurus, and in the ornithischian dinosaur Tenontosaurus. We show by counting lines of arrested growth and performing growth curve reconstructions that Tenontosaurus, Allosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus were reproductively mature by 8, 10, and 18 years, respectively. RM in these dinosaurs coincided with a transition from growth acceleration to deceleration. It also far precedes predictions based on the growth rates of living reptiles scaled to similar size. Despite relatively rapid growth, dinosaurs were similar to reptiles in that RM developed before reaching asymptotic size. However, this reproductive strategy also occurs in medium- to large-sized mammals and correlates with a strategy of prolonged multiyear growth. RM in actively growing individuals suggests that these dinosaurs were born relatively precocial and experienced high adult mortality. The origin of the modern avian reproductive strategy in ornithuran birds likely coincided with their extreme elevations in growth rate and truncations to growth duration. PMID:18195356

  3. Sexual maturity in growing dinosaurs does not fit reptilian growth models.

    PubMed

    Lee, Andrew H; Werning, Sarah

    2008-01-15

    Recent histological studies suggest relatively rapid growth in dinosaurs. However, the timing of reproductive maturity (RM) in dinosaurs is poorly known because unambiguous indicators of RM are rare. One exception is medullary bone (MB), which is an ephemeral bony tissue that forms before ovulation in the marrow cavities of birds as a calcium source for eggshelling. Recently, MB also was described in a single specimen of the saurischian dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. Here, we report two other occurrences of MB: in another saurischian dinosaur, Allosaurus, and in the ornithischian dinosaur Tenontosaurus. We show by counting lines of arrested growth and performing growth curve reconstructions that Tenontosaurus, Allosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus were reproductively mature by 8, 10, and 18 years, respectively. RM in these dinosaurs coincided with a transition from growth acceleration to deceleration. It also far precedes predictions based on the growth rates of living reptiles scaled to similar size. Despite relatively rapid growth, dinosaurs were similar to reptiles in that RM developed before reaching asymptotic size. However, this reproductive strategy also occurs in medium- to large-sized mammals and correlates with a strategy of prolonged multiyear growth. RM in actively growing individuals suggests that these dinosaurs were born relatively precocial and experienced high adult mortality. The origin of the modern avian reproductive strategy in ornithuran birds likely coincided with their extreme elevations in growth rate and truncations to growth duration.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-01

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

  5. The precise temporal calibration of dinosaur origins.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-19

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

  6. The precise temporal calibration of dinosaur origins

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Dinosaurs have been major components of ecosystems for over 200 million years. Although different macroevolutionary scenarios exist to explain the Triassic origin and subsequent rise to dominance of dinosaurs and their closest relatives (dinosauromorphs), all lack critical support from a precise biostratigraphically independent temporal framework. The absence of robust geochronologic age control for comparing alternative scenarios makes it impossible to determine if observed faunal differences vary across time, space, or a combination of both. To better constrain the origin of dinosaurs, we produced radioisotopic ages for the Argentinian Chañares Formation, which preserves a quintessential assemblage of dinosaurian precursors (early dinosauromorphs) just before the first dinosaurs. Our new high-precision chemical abrasion thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-TIMS) U–Pb zircon ages reveal that the assemblage is early Carnian (early Late Triassic), 5- to 10-Ma younger than previously thought. Combined with other geochronologic data from the same basin, we constrain the rate of dinosaur origins, demonstrating their relatively rapid origin in a less than 5-Ma interval, thus halving the temporal gap between assemblages containing only dinosaur precursors and those with early dinosaurs. After their origin, dinosaurs only gradually dominated mid- to high-latitude terrestrial ecosystems millions of years later, closer to the Triassic–Jurassic boundary. PMID:26644579

  7. Dinosaur biomechanics

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, R. McNeill

    2006-01-01

    Biomechanics has made large contributions to dinosaur biology. It has enabled us to estimate both the speeds at which dinosaurs generally moved and the maximum speeds of which they may have been capable. It has told us about the range of postures they could have adopted, for locomotion and for feeding, and about the problems of blood circulation in sauropods with very long necks. It has made it possible to calculate the bite forces of predators such as Tyrannosaurus, and the stresses they imposed on its skull; and to work out the remarkable chewing mechanism of hadrosaurs. It has shown us how some dinosaurs may have produced sounds. It has enabled us to estimate the effectiveness of weapons such as the tail spines of Stegosaurus. In recent years, techniques such as computational tomography and finite element analysis, and advances in computer modelling, have brought new opportunities. Biomechanists should, however, be especially cautious in their work on animals known only as fossils. The lack of living specimens and even soft tissues oblige us to make many assumptions. It is important to be aware of the often wide ranges of uncertainty that result. PMID:16822743

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

    We describe a new species of an ornithischian dinosaur, Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. The specimen, consisting in an almost complete skull and incomplete postcranium was collected from the marine-deltaic deposits of the Los Molles Formation (Toarcian-Bajocian), being the first reported dinosaur for this unit, one of the oldest from Neuquén Basin, and the first neornithischian dinosaur known from the Jurassic of South America. Despite showing a general stegosaurian appearance, the extensive phylogenetic analysis carried out depicts Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. as a basal ornithopod, suggesting that both Thyreophora and neornithischians could have achieved significant convergent features. The specimen was preserved articulated and with some of its gut content place in the middle-posterior part of the thoracic cavity. Such stomach content was identified as seeds, most of them belonging to the Cycadales group. This finding reveals a possible and unexpected role of this ornithischian species as seed-dispersal agent. PMID:28202910

  9. A New Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of Patagonia and the Origin and Evolution of the Sauropod-type Sacrum

    PubMed Central

    Pol, Diego; Garrido, Alberto; Cerda, Ignacio A.

    2011-01-01

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

  10. Phylogeny, Histology and Inferred Body Size Evolution in a New Rhabdodontid Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Hungary

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  11. What's New, Dinosaur?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Prime, Carol Spirkoff; Cox, Judy

    1987-01-01

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

  12. Brushing up on Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weisburd, Stefi

    1986-01-01

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

  13. Stuffed Dinosaur

    2013-09-22

    ISS037-E-002783 (22 Sept. 2013) --- NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, Expedition 37 flight engineer, made this stuffed dinosaur toy aboard the International Space Station, using scraps of food-packaging liners and a T-shirt. She sent images of it to her young son on Sept. 22. Many of the astronaut’s hobbies lean toward artistic pursuits. She has let it be known that she loves to create different things through quilting, sewing and sketching. Nyberg took four “fat quarters” (pieces of fabric that are 18 by 22 inches) with her to the International Space Station along with needles, thread and a sketchbook when she launched to space on May 28.

  14. Depositional setting and early diagenesis of the dinosaur eggshell-bearing Aren Fm at Bastus, Late Campanian, south-central Pyrenees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Díaz-Molina, Margarita; Kälin, Otto; Benito, M. Isabel; Lopez-Martinez, Nieves; Vicens, Enric

    2007-07-01

    The Late Cretaceous Aren Fm exposed north of Bastus in the Tremp Basin (south-central Pyrenees) preserves an excellent record of dinosaur eggs laid in a marine littoral setting. Different from other cases reported in literature, at the Bastus site the preferential nesting ground was original beach sand. The coastal deposits of Aren Fm can be grouped into four facies assemblages, representing respectively shoreface, beachface, beach ridge plain and backbarrier lagoon environments. Shoreface deposits include fine- to coarse-grained hybrid arenites and subordinate quartz-dominated conglomerates with ripple structures of wave and wave-current origin. Beachface deposits are mainly storm beach conglomerates, but parallel-laminated foreshore arenites locally occur. Backbarrier lagoon deposits comprise of washover sandy conglomerates that grade laterally into sandy lime mudstones, biomicrites and marls. Beach ridge sediment, wherein the bulk of dinosaur eggs and eggshell debris occurs, predominantly is a reddish hybrid arenite that has undergone a complex early diagenetic evolution, including marine and meteoric cementation followed by soil development. The reddish arenites overlie wave-dominated shoreface deposits and in places pass laterally into lagoonal deposits. They originally formed shore ridges, that became stabilized during progradational episodes by pedogenesis (beach ridge, sensu [Otvos, E.G., 2000. Beach ridges—definitions and significance. Geomorphology 32, 83-108.]), which also affected the dinosaur eggs. The eggshell-bearing beach ridge arenites are typically preserved at the top of parasequences forming the systems tracts of a third-order sequence. Thick packages of this facies resulted from aggradation of barrier/beach ridge deposits, whose preservation below surfaces of transgressive erosion was favoured by incipient lithification.

  15. At the feet of the dinosaurs: the early history and radiation of lizards.

    PubMed

    Evans, Susan E

    2003-11-01

    Lizards, snakes and amphisbaenians together constitute the Squamata, the largest and most diverse group of living reptiles. Despite their current success, the early squamate fossil record is extremely patchy. The last major survey of squamate palaeontology and evolution was published 20 years ago. Since then, there have been major changes in systematic theory and methodology, as well as a steady trickle of new fossil finds. This review examines our current understanding of the first 150 million years of squamate evolution in the light of the new data and changing ideas. Contrary to previous reports, no squamate fossils are currently documented before the Jurassic. Nonetheless, indirect evidence predicts that squamates had evolved by at least the middle Triassic, and had diversified into existing major lineages before the end of this period. There is thus a major gap in the squamate record at a time when key morphological features were evolving. With the exception of fragmentary remains from Africa and India, Jurassic squamates are known only from localities in northern continents (Laurasia). The situation improves in the Early Cretaceous, but the southern (Gondwanan) record remains extremely poor. This constrains palaeobiogeographic discussion and makes it difficult to predict centres of origin for major squamate clades on the basis of fossil evidence alone. Preliminary mapping of morphological characters onto a consensus tree demonstrates stages in the sequence of acquisition for some characters of the skull and postcranial skeleton, but many crucial stages--most notably those relating to the acquisition of squamate skull kinesis--remain unclear.

  16. Dietary adaptions in the ultrastructure of dinosaur dentine.

    PubMed

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

    2016-12-01

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

  17. Digging into Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Oleson, Barb

    This four-week unit of study for grades 1-3 provides information and activities on 17 different dinosaurs. A 21-item pre- and post-test and a brief history of dinosaurs precede descriptions and full-page drawings of the following dinosaurs: (1) giant plant-eaters (brachiosaurus, brontosaurus, and diplodocus); (2) giant meat-eaters (allosaurus,…

  18. A new Chinese specimen indicates that 'protofeathers' in the Early Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx are degraded collagen fibres.

    PubMed

    Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten; Feduccia, Alan; Wang, Xiaolin

    2007-08-07

    Alleged primitive feathers or protofeathers in the theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx have potentially profound implications concerning feather morphogenesis, evolution offlight, dinosaur physiology and perhaps even the origin of birds, yet their existence has never been adequately documented. We report on a new specimen of Sinosauropteryx which shows that the integumental structures proposed as protofeathers are the remains of structural fibres that provide toughness. The preservation in the proximal tail area reveals an architecture of closely associated bands offibres parallel to the tail's long axis, which originate from the skin. In adjacent more exposed areas, the fibres are short, fragmented and disorganized. Fibres preserved dorsal to the neck and back and in the distal part of the tail are the remains of a stiffening system of a frill, peripheral to the body and extending from the head to the tip of the tail. These findings are confirmed in the holotype Sinosauropteryx and NIGP 127587. The fibres show a striking similarity to the structure and levels of organization of dermal collagen. The proposal that these fibres are protofeathers is dismissed.

  19. A new Chinese specimen indicates that ‘protofeathers’ in the Early Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx are degraded collagen fibres

    PubMed Central

    Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten; Feduccia, Alan; Wang, Xiaolin

    2007-01-01

    Alleged primitive feathers or protofeathers in the theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx have potentially profound implications concerning feather morphogenesis, evolution of flight, dinosaur physiology and perhaps even the origin of birds, yet their existence has never been adequately documented. We report on a new specimen of Sinosauropteryx which shows that the integumental structures proposed as protofeathers are the remains of structural fibres that provide toughness. The preservation in the proximal tail area reveals an architecture of closely associated bands of fibres parallel to the tail's long axis, which originate from the skin. In adjacent more exposed areas, the fibres are short, fragmented and disorganized. Fibres preserved dorsal to the neck and back and in the distal part of the tail are the remains of a stiffening system of a frill, peripheral to the body and extending from the head to the tip of the tail. These findings are confirmed in the holotype Sinosauropteryx and NIGP 127587. The fibres show a striking similarity to the structure and levels of organization of dermal collagen. The proposal that these fibres are protofeathers is dismissed. PMID:17521978

  20. Body Temperatures in Dinosaurs: What Can Growth Curves Tell Us?

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  3. Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    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.

  4. Dinosaur physiology. Evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-13

    Were dinosaurs ectotherms or fast-metabolizing endotherms whose activities were unconstrained by temperature? To date, some of the strongest evidence for endothermy comes from the rapid growth rates derived from the analysis of fossil bones. However, these studies are constrained by a lack of comparative data and an appropriate energetic framework. Here we compile data on ontogenetic growth for extant and fossil vertebrates, including all major dinosaur clades. Using a metabolic scaling approach, we find that growth and metabolic rates follow theoretical predictions across clades, although some groups deviate. Moreover, when the effects of size and temperature are considered, dinosaur metabolic rates were intermediate to those of endotherms and ectotherms and closest to those of extant mesotherms. Our results suggest that the modern dichotomy of endothermic versus ectothermic is overly simplistic. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  5. Dinosaur incubation periods directly determined from growth-line counts in embryonic teeth show reptilian-grade development.

    PubMed

    Erickson, Gregory M; Zelenitsky, Darla K; Kay, David Ian; Norell, Mark A

    2017-01-17

    Birds stand out from other egg-laying amniotes by producing relatively small numbers of large eggs with very short incubation periods (average 11-85 d). This aspect promotes high survivorship by limiting exposure to predation and environmental perturbation, allows for larger more fit young, and facilitates rapid attainment of adult size. Birds are living dinosaurs; their rapid development has been considered to reflect the primitive dinosaurian condition. Here, nonavian dinosaurian incubation periods in both small and large ornithischian taxa are empirically determined through growth-line counts in embryonic teeth. Our results show unexpectedly slow incubation (2.8 and 5.8 mo) like those of outgroup reptiles. Developmental and physiological constraints would have rendered tooth formation and incubation inherently slow in other dinosaur lineages and basal birds. The capacity to determine incubation periods in extinct egg-laying amniotes has implications for dinosaurian embryology, life history strategies, and survivorship across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event.

  6. Dinosaur incubation periods directly determined from growth-line counts in embryonic teeth show reptilian-grade development

    PubMed Central

    Erickson, Gregory M.; Zelenitsky, Darla K.; Kay, David Ian; Norell, Mark A.

    2017-01-01

    Birds stand out from other egg-laying amniotes by producing relatively small numbers of large eggs with very short incubation periods (average 11–85 d). This aspect promotes high survivorship by limiting exposure to predation and environmental perturbation, allows for larger more fit young, and facilitates rapid attainment of adult size. Birds are living dinosaurs; their rapid development has been considered to reflect the primitive dinosaurian condition. Here, nonavian dinosaurian incubation periods in both small and large ornithischian taxa are empirically determined through growth-line counts in embryonic teeth. Our results show unexpectedly slow incubation (2.8 and 5.8 mo) like those of outgroup reptiles. Developmental and physiological constraints would have rendered tooth formation and incubation inherently slow in other dinosaur lineages and basal birds. The capacity to determine incubation periods in extinct egg-laying amniotes has implications for dinosaurian embryology, life history strategies, and survivorship across the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction event. PMID:28049837

  7. On Dinosaur Growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erickson, Gregory M.

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-23

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

  9. The Dinosaur Connection.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Donovan, Christine S.

    1988-01-01

    Provides background information, lesson plans, bulletin board activities, and a learning center description, all dealing with dinosaurs. Includes clip art for the learning center and reproducible "stamps" about some endangered species. (TW)

  10. Warm and Cool Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mannlein, Sally

    2001-01-01

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

  11. Dinosaur Reproduction and Parenting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  12. Herbivorous dinosaur jaw disparity and its relationship to extrinsic evolutionary drivers.

    PubMed

    MacLaren, Jamie A; Anderson, Philip S L; Barrett, Paul M; Rayfield, Emily J

    2017-02-01

    Morphological responses of nonmammalian herbivores to external ecological drivers have not been quantified over extended timescales. Herbivorous nonavian dinosaurs are an ideal group to test for such responses, because they dominated terrestrial ecosystems for more than 155 Myr and included the largest herbivores that ever existed. The radiation of dinosaurs was punctuated by several ecologically important events, including extinctions at the Triassic/Jurassic (Tr/J) and Jurassic/Cretaceous (J/K) boundaries, the decline of cycadophytes, and the origin of angiosperms, all of which may have had profound consequences for herbivore communities. Here we present the first analysis of morphological and biomechanical disparity for sauropodomorph and ornithischian dinosaurs in order to investigate patterns of jaw shape and function through time. We find that morphological and biomechanical mandibular disparity are decoupled: mandibular shape disparity follows taxonomic diversity, with a steady increase through the Mesozoic. By contrast, biomechanical disparity builds to a peak in the Late Jurassic that corresponds to increased functional variation among sauropods. The reduction in biomechanical disparity following this peak coincides with the J/K extinction, the associated loss of sauropod and stegosaur diversity, and the decline of cycadophytes. We find no specific correspondence between biomechanical disparity and the proliferation of angiosperms. Continual ecological and functional replacement of pre-existing taxa accounts for disparity patterns through much of the Cretaceous, with the exception of several unique groups, such as psittacosaurids that are never replaced in their biomechanical or morphological profiles.

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

    PubMed Central

    Starrfelt, Jostein; Liow, Lee Hsiang

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:26977060

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

    PubMed

    Starrfelt, Jostein; Liow, Lee Hsiang

    2016-04-05

    The fossil record is a rich source of information about biological diversity in the past. However, the fossil record is not only incomplete but has also inherent biases due to geological, physical, chemical and biological factors. Our knowledge of past life is also biased because of differences in academic and amateur interests and sampling efforts. As a result, not all individuals or species that lived in the past are equally likely to be discovered at any point in time or space. To reconstruct temporal dynamics of diversity using the fossil record, biased sampling must be explicitly taken into account. Here, we introduce an approach that uses the variation in the number of times each species is observed in the fossil record to estimate both sampling bias and true richness. We term our technique TRiPS (True Richness estimated using a Poisson Sampling model) and explore its robustness to violation of its assumptions via simulations. We then venture to estimate sampling bias and absolute species richness of dinosaurs in the geological stages of the Mesozoic. Using TRiPS, we estimate that 1936 (1543-2468) species of dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Mesozoic. We also present improved estimates of species richness trajectories of the three major dinosaur clades: the sauropodomorphs, ornithischians and theropods, casting doubt on the Jurassic-Cretaceous extinction event and demonstrating that all dinosaur groups are subject to considerable sampling bias throughout the Mesozoic. © 2016 The Authors.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  16. The evolution of dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Sereno, P C

    1999-06-25

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

  17. Cardiovascular Physiology of Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Seymour, Roger S

    2016-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Paul; Mannion, Philip D.; Sullivan, Corwin; Butler, Richard J.

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27781168

  19. A Child Centered Approach to Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Strader, William H.; Rinker, Catherine A.

    1989-01-01

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

  20. Kindergartners Love Dinosaurs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stollon, Marcy

    2005-01-01

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

  1. Models for the rise of the dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-20

    Dinosaurs arose in the early Triassic in the aftermath of the greatest mass extinction ever and became hugely successful in the Mesozoic. Their initial diversification is a classic example of a large-scale macroevolutionary change. Diversifications at such deep-time scales can now be dissected, modelled and tested. New fossils suggest that dinosaurs originated early in the Middle Triassic, during the recovery of life from the devastating Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Improvements in stratigraphic dating and a new suite of morphometric and comparative evolutionary numerical methods now allow a forensic dissection of one of the greatest turnovers in the history of life. Such studies mark a move from the narrative to the analytical in macroevolutionary research, and they allow us to begin to answer the proposal of George Gaylord Simpson, to explore adaptive radiations using numerical methods. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Dinosaur Fossils Predict Body Temperatures

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Andrew P; Charnov, Eric L

    2006-01-01

    Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding dinosaurs concerns whether they were endotherms, ectotherms, or some unique intermediate form. Here we present a model that yields estimates of dinosaur body temperature based on ontogenetic growth trajectories obtained from fossil bones. The model predicts that dinosaur body temperatures increased with body mass from approximately 25 °C at 12 kg to approximately 41 °C at 13,000 kg. The model also successfully predicts observed increases in body temperature with body mass for extant crocodiles. These results provide direct evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles that exhibited inertial homeothermy. PMID:16817695

  3. Dinosaur fossils predict body temperatures.

    PubMed

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

    2006-07-01

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

  4. Piscivory in the feathered dinosaur Microraptor.

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-01

    The largest specimen of the four-winged dromaeosaurid dinosaur Microraptor gui includes preserved gut contents. Previous reports of gut contents and considerations of functional morphology have indicated that Microraptor hunted in an arboreal environment. The new specimen demonstrates that this was not strictly the case, and offers unique insights into the ecology of nonavian dinosaurs early in the evolution of flight. The preserved gut contents are composed of teleost fish remains. Several morphological adaptations of Microraptor are identified as consistent with a partially piscivorous diet, including dentition with reduced serrations and forward projecting teeth on the anterior of the dentary. The feeding habits of Microraptor can now be understood better than that of any other carnivorous nonavian dinosaur, and Microraptor appears to have been an opportunistic and generalist feeder, able to exploit the most common prey in both the arboreal and aquatic microhabitats of the Early Cretaceous Jehol ecosystem. © 2013 The Author(s). Evolution © 2013 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

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

    PubMed

    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. A new long-necked ‘sauropod-mimic’ stegosaur and the evolution of the plated dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    Stegosaurian dinosaurs have a quadrupedal stance, short forelimbs, short necks, and are generally considered to be low browsers. A new stegosaur, Miragaia longicollum gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Jurassic of Portugal, has a neck comprising at least 17 cervical vertebrae. This is eight additional cervical vertebrae when compared with the ancestral condition seen in basal ornithischians such as Scutellosaurus. Miragaia has a higher cervical count than most of the iconically long-necked sauropod dinosaurs. Long neck length has been achieved by ‘cervicalization’ of anterior dorsal vertebrae and probable lengthening of centra. All these anatomical features are evolutionarily convergent with those exhibited in the necks of sauropod dinosaurs. Miragaia longicollum is based upon a partial articulated skeleton, and includes the only known cranial remains from any European stegosaur. A well-resolved phylogeny supports a new clade that unites Miragaia and Dacentrurus as the sister group to Stegosaurus; this new topology challenges the common view of Dacentrurus as a basal stegosaur. PMID:19324778

  7. An exceptionally preserved armored dinosaur reveals the morphology and allometry of osteoderms and their horny epidermal coverings.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb M

    2017-01-01

    Although the evolution and function of "exaggerated" bony projections in ornithischian dinosaurs has been subject to significant debate recently, our understanding of the structure and morphology of their epidermal keratinized coverings is greatly limited. The holotype of Borealopelta , a new nodosaurid ankylosaur, preserves osteoderms and extensive epidermal structures (dark organic residues), in anatomic position across the entire precaudal length. Contrasting previous specimens, organic epiosteodermal scales, often in the form of horn-like (keratinous) sheaths, cap and exaggerate nearly all osteoderms, allowing for morphometric and allometric analyses of both the bony osteoderms and their horny sheaths. A total of 172 osteoderms were quantified, with osteoderm spine length and height being positively allometric with respect to basal length and width. Despite tight correlations between the different measures amongst all other osteoderms, the large parascapular spines represent consistent outliers. Thickness and relative contribution of the keratinized epiosteodermal scales/sheaths varies greatly by region, ranging from 2% to 6% for posterior thoracics, to ∼25% (1.3×) for the parascapular spines-similar to horn sheaths in some bovid analogues. Relative to the bony cores, the horny portions of the spines are strongly positively allometric (slope = 2.3, CI = 1.8-2.8). Strong allometric scaling, species-specific morphology, and significant keratinous extension of the cervicoscapular spines is consistent with elaboration under socio-sexual selection. This marks the first allometric analysis of ornithischian soft tissues.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    We describe an extensive ichnofossil assemblage from the likely Cenomanian-age ‘lower’ and ‘upper’ units of the ‘Kem Kem beds’ in southeastern Morocco. In the lower unit, trace fossils include narrow vertical burrows in cross-bedded sandstones and borings in dinosaur bone, with the latter identified as the insect ichnotaxon Cubiculum ornatus. In the upper unit, several horizons preserve abundant footprints from theropod dinosaurs. Sauropod and ornithischian footprints are much rarer, similar to the record for fossil bone and teeth in the Kem Kem assemblage. The upper unit also preserves a variety of invertebrate traces including Conichnus (the resting trace of a sea-anemone), Scolicia (a gastropod trace), Beaconites (a probable annelid burrow), and subvertical burrows likely created by crabs for residence and detrital feeding on a tidal flat. The ichnofossil assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem beds contributes evidence for a transition from predominantly terrestrial to marine deposition. Body fossil and ichnofossil records together provide a detailed view of faunal diversity and local conditions within a fluvial and deltaic depositional setting on the northwestern coast of Africa toward the end of the Cretaceous. PMID:24603467

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

    PubMed Central

    Kilbourne, Brandon M; Makovicky, Peter J

    2010-01-01

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

  10. First Reported Cases of Biomechanically Adaptive Bone Modeling in Non-Avian Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Cubo, Jorge; Woodward, Holly; Wolff, Ewan; Horner, John R.

    2015-01-01

    Predator confrontation or predator evasion frequently produces bone fractures in potential prey in the wild. Although there are reports of healed bone injuries and pathologies in non-avian dinosaurs, no previously published instances of biomechanically adaptive bone modeling exist. Two tibiae from an ontogenetic sample of fifty specimens of the herbivorous dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum (Ornithopoda: Hadrosaurinae) exhibit exostoses. We show that these outgrowths are cases of biomechanically adaptive periosteal bone modeling resulting from overstrain on the tibia after a fibula fracture. Histological and biomechanical results are congruent with predictions derived from this hypothesis. Histologically, the outgrowths are constituted by radial fibrolamellar periosteal bone tissue formed at very high growth rates, as expected in a process of rapid strain equilibration response. These outgrowths show greater compactness at the periphery, where tensile and compressive biomechanical constraints are higher. Moreover, these outgrowths increase the maximum bending strength in the direction of the stresses derived from locomotion. They are located on the antero-lateral side of the tibia, as expected in a presumably bipedal one year old individual, and in the posterior position of the tibia, as expected in a presumably quadrupedal individual at least four years of age. These results reinforce myological evidence suggesting that Maiasaura underwent an ontogenetic shift from the primitive ornithischian bipedal condition when young to a derived quadrupedal posture when older. PMID:26153689

  11. First Reported Cases of Biomechanically Adaptive Bone Modeling in Non-Avian Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Cubo, Jorge; Woodward, Holly; Wolff, Ewan; Horner, John R

    2015-01-01

    Predator confrontation or predator evasion frequently produces bone fractures in potential prey in the wild. Although there are reports of healed bone injuries and pathologies in non-avian dinosaurs, no previously published instances of biomechanically adaptive bone modeling exist. Two tibiae from an ontogenetic sample of fifty specimens of the herbivorous dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum (Ornithopoda: Hadrosaurinae) exhibit exostoses. We show that these outgrowths are cases of biomechanically adaptive periosteal bone modeling resulting from overstrain on the tibia after a fibula fracture. Histological and biomechanical results are congruent with predictions derived from this hypothesis. Histologically, the outgrowths are constituted by radial fibrolamellar periosteal bone tissue formed at very high growth rates, as expected in a process of rapid strain equilibration response. These outgrowths show greater compactness at the periphery, where tensile and compressive biomechanical constraints are higher. Moreover, these outgrowths increase the maximum bending strength in the direction of the stresses derived from locomotion. They are located on the antero-lateral side of the tibia, as expected in a presumably bipedal one year old individual, and in the posterior position of the tibia, as expected in a presumably quadrupedal individual at least four years of age. These results reinforce myological evidence suggesting that Maiasaura underwent an ontogenetic shift from the primitive ornithischian bipedal condition when young to a derived quadrupedal posture when older.

  12. Hadrosauroid Dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman.

    PubMed

    Buffetaut, Eric; Hartman, Axel-Frans; Al-Kindi, Mohammed; Schulp, Anne S

    2015-01-01

    Fragmentary post-cranial remains (femora, tibia, vertebrae) of ornithischian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman are described and referred to hadrosauroids. The specimens come from the Al-Khod Conglomerate, of latest Campanian to Maastrichtian age, in the north-eastern part of the country. Although the fragmentary condition of the fossils precludes a precise identification, various characters, including the shape of the fourth trochanter of the femur and the morphology of its distal end, support an attribution to hadrosauroids. With the possible exception of a possible phalanx from Angola, this group of ornithopod dinosaurs, which apparently originated in Laurasia, was hitherto unreported from the Afro-Arabian plate. From a paleobiogeographical point of view, the presence of hadrosauroids in Oman in all likelihood is a result of trans-Tethys dispersal from Asia or Europe, probably by way of islands in the Tethys shown on all recent paleogeographical maps of that area. Whether hadrosauroids were widespread on the Afro-Arabian landmass in the latest Cretaceous, or where restricted to the « Oman island » shown on some paleogeographical maps, remains to be determined.

  13. Hadrosauroid Dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman

    PubMed Central

    Buffetaut, Eric; Hartman, Axel-Frans; Al-Kindi, Mohammed; Schulp, Anne S.

    2015-01-01

    Fragmentary post-cranial remains (femora, tibia, vertebrae) of ornithischian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of the Sultanate of Oman are described and referred to hadrosauroids. The specimens come from the Al-Khod Conglomerate, of latest Campanian to Maastrichtian age, in the north-eastern part of the country. Although the fragmentary condition of the fossils precludes a precise identification, various characters, including the shape of the fourth trochanter of the femur and the morphology of its distal end, support an attribution to hadrosauroids. With the possible exception of a possible phalanx from Angola, this group of ornithopod dinosaurs, which apparently originated in Laurasia, was hitherto unreported from the Afro-Arabian plate. From a paleobiogeographical point of view, the presence of hadrosauroids in Oman in all likelihood is a result of trans-Tethys dispersal from Asia or Europe, probably by way of islands in the Tethys shown on all recent paleogeographical maps of that area. Whether hadrosauroids were widespread on the Afro-Arabian landmass in the latest Cretaceous, or where restricted to the « Oman island » shown on some paleogeographical maps, remains to be determined. PMID:26562674

  14. If You Were a Dinosaur...

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ashbrook, Peggy

    2010-01-01

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

  15. Making Sense of Dinosaur Tracks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    MacKenzie, Ann Haley; McDowell, Brian

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-13

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. The extinction of the dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

    Non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago, geologically coincident with the impact of a large bolide (comet or asteroid) during an interval of massive volcanic eruptions and changes in temperature and sea level. There has long been fervent debate about how these events affected dinosaurs. We review a wealth of new data accumulated over the past two decades, provide updated and novel analyses of long-term dinosaur diversity trends during the latest Cretaceous, and discuss an emerging consensus on the extinction's tempo and causes. Little support exists for a global, long-term decline across non-avian dinosaur diversity prior to their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. However, restructuring of latest Cretaceous dinosaur faunas in North America led to reduced diversity of large-bodied herbivores, perhaps making communities more susceptible to cascading extinctions. The abruptness of the dinosaur extinction suggests a key role for the bolide impact, although the coarseness of the fossil record makes testing the effects of Deccan volcanism difficult. © 2014 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Myhrvold, Nathan P

    2015-05-29

    Grady et al. (Reports, 13 June 2014, p. 1268) studied dinosaur metabolism by comparison of maximum somatic growth rate allometry with groups of known metabolism. They concluded that dinosaurs exhibited mesothermy, a metabolic rate intermediate between endothermy and ectothermy. Multiple statistical and methodological issues call into question the evidence for dinosaur mesothermy. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. Simulating Dinosaur Digestion in the Classroom.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peczkis, Jan

    1992-01-01

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

  2. The Development of a Virtual Dinosaur Museum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tarng, Wernhuar; Liou, Hsin-Hun

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  6. Comparative histology of some craniofacial sutures and skull-base synchondroses in non-avian dinosaurs and their extant phylogenetic bracket.

    PubMed

    Bailleul, Alida M; Horner, John R

    2016-08-01

    Sutures and synchondroses, the fibrous and cartilaginous articulations found in the skulls of vertebrates, have been studied for many biological applications at the morphological scale. However, little is known about these articulations at the microscopic scale in non-mammalian vertebrates, including extant archosaurs (birds and crocodilians). The major goals of this paper were to: (i) document the microstructure of some sutures and synchondroses through ontogeny in archosaurs; (ii) compare these microstructures with previously published sutural histology (i.e. that of mammals); and (iii) document how these articulations with different morphological degrees of closure (open or obliterated) appear histologically. This was performed with histological analyses of skulls of emus, American alligators, a fossil crocodilian and ornithischian dinosaurs (hadrosaurids, pachycephalosaurids and ceratopsids). Emus and mammals possess a sutural periosteum until sutural fusion, but it disappears rapidly during ontogeny in American alligators. This study identified seven types of sutural mineralized tissues in extant and extinct archosaurs and grouped them into four categories: periosteal tissues; acellular tissues; fibrous tissues; and intratendinous tissues. Due to the presence of a periosteum in their sutures, emus and mammals possess periosteal tissues at their sutural borders. The mineralized sutural tissues of crocodilians and ornithischian dinosaurs are more variable and can also develop via a form of necrosis for acellular tissues and metaplasia for fibrous and intratendinous tissues. It was hypothesized that non-avian dinosaurs, like the American alligator, lacked a sutural periosteum and that their primary mode of ossification involved the direct mineralization of craniofacial sutures (instead of intramembranous ossification found in mammals and birds). However, we keep in mind that a bird-like sutural microstructure might have arisen within non-avian saurichians. While

  7. Explorationists and dinosaurs

    SciT

    French, W.S.

    1993-02-01

    The exploration industry is changing, exploration technology is changing and the explorationist's job is changing. Resource companies are diversifying internationally and their central organizations are providing advisors rather than services. As a result, the relationship between the resource company and the contractor is changing. Resource companies are promoting standards so that all contract services in all parts of the world will look the same to their advisors. Contractors, for competitive reasons, want to look [open quotes]different[close quotes] from other contractors. The resource companies must encourage competition between contractors to insure the availability of new technology but must also resist themore » current trend of burdening the contractor with more and more of the risk involved in exploration. It is becoming more and more obvious that geophysical expenditures represent the best [open quotes]value added[close quotes] expenditures in exploration and development budgets. As a result, seismic-related contractors represent the growth component of our industry. The predominant growth is in 3-D seismic technology, and this growth is being further propelled by the computational power of the new generation of massively parallel computers and by recent advances in computer graphic techniques. Interpretation of seismic data involves the analysis of wavelet shapes and amplitudes prior to stacking the data. Thus, modern interpretation involves understanding compressional waves, shear waves, and propagating modes which create noise and interference. Modern interpretation and processing are carried out simultaneously, iteratively, and interactively and involve many physics-related concepts. These concepts are not merely tools for the interpretation, they are the interpretation. Explorationists who do not recognize this fact are going the way of the dinosaurs.« less

  8. Estimating the diversity of dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Steve C.; Dodson, Peter

    2006-09-01

    Despite current interest in estimating the diversity of fossil and extant groups, little effort has been devoted to estimating the diversity of dinosaurs. Here we estimate the diversity of nonavian dinosaurs at ≈1,850 genera, including those that remain to be discovered. With 527 genera currently described, at least 71% of dinosaur genera thus remain unknown. Although known diversity declined in the last stage of the Cretaceous, estimated diversity was steady, suggesting that dinosaurs as a whole were not in decline in the 10 million years before their ultimate extinction. We also show that known diversity is biased by the availability of fossiliferous rock outcrop. Finally, by using a logistic model, we predict that 75% of discoverable genera will be known within 60-100 years and 90% within 100-140 years. Because of nonrandom factors affecting the process of fossil discovery (which preclude the possibility of computing realistic confidence bounds), our estimate of diversity is likely to be a lower bound.

  9. Allometry in dinosaurs and mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  11. The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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).

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-12-12

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

  13. New Australian sauropods shed light on Cretaceous dinosaur palaeobiogeography.

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-20

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

  14. New Australian sauropods shed light on Cretaceous dinosaur palaeobiogeography

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  15. Dinosaur Fossil, Leonardo, at Ellington Field

    2008-03-14

    Documentation of NASA's partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Montana's Great Plains Dinosaur Museum to provide an insulated facility at Ellington Field in which the Leonardo Project Team was able to X-ray Leonardo, a 77 million year old dinosaur fossil. View of the Brachylophosaurus fossil called Leonardo.

  16. Body size distribution of the dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  17. Body Size Distribution of the Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    O’Gorman, Eoin J.; Hone, David W. E.

    2012-01-01

    The distribution of species body size is critically important for determining resource use within a group or clade. It is widely known that non-avian dinosaurs were the largest creatures to roam the Earth. There is, however, little understanding of how maximum species body size was distributed among the dinosaurs. Do they share a similar distribution to modern day vertebrate groups in spite of their large size, or did they exhibit fundamentally different distributions due to unique evolutionary pressures and adaptations? Here, we address this question by comparing the distribution of maximum species body size for dinosaurs to an extensive set of extant and extinct vertebrate groups. We also examine the body size distribution of dinosaurs by various sub-groups, time periods and formations. We find that dinosaurs exhibit a strong skew towards larger species, in direct contrast to modern day vertebrates. This pattern is not solely an artefact of bias in the fossil record, as demonstrated by contrasting distributions in two major extinct groups and supports the hypothesis that dinosaurs exhibited a fundamentally different life history strategy to other terrestrial vertebrates. A disparity in the size distribution of the herbivorous Ornithischia and Sauropodomorpha and the largely carnivorous Theropoda suggests that this pattern may have been a product of a divergence in evolutionary strategies: herbivorous dinosaurs rapidly evolved large size to escape predation by carnivores and maximise digestive efficiency; carnivores had sufficient resources among juvenile dinosaurs and non-dinosaurian prey to achieve optimal success at smaller body size. PMID:23284818

  18. Dinosaurs and the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-02-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-06-01

    A major unresolved aspect of the rise of dinosaurs is why early dinosaurs and their relatives were rare and species-poor at low paleolatitudes throughout the Late Triassic Period, a pattern persisting 30 million years after their origin and 10-15 million years after they became abundant and speciose at higher latitudes. New palynological, wildfire, organic carbon isotope, and atmospheric pCO2 data from early dinosaur-bearing strata of low paleolatitudes in western North America show that large, high-frequency, tightly correlated variations in δ13Corg and palynomorph ecotypes occurred within a context of elevated and increasing pCO2 and pervasive wildfires. Whereas pseudosuchian archosaur-dominated communities were able to persist in these same regions under rapidly fluctuating extreme climatic conditions until the end-Triassic, large-bodied, fast-growing tachymetabolic dinosaurian herbivores requiring greater resources were unable to adapt to unstable high CO2 environmental conditions of the Late Triassic.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-30

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

  2. CRETACEOUS CLIMATE SENSITIVITY STUDY USING DINOSAUR & PLANT PALEOBIOGEOGRAPHY

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goswami, A.; Main, D. J.; Noto, C. R.; Moore, T. L.; Scotese, C.

    2009-12-01

    The Early Cretaceous was characterized by cool poles and moderate global temperatures (~16° C). During the mid and late Cretaceous, long-term global warming (~20° - 22° C) was driven by increasing levels of CO2, rising sea level (lowering albedo) and the continuing breakup of Pangea. Paleoclimatic reconstructions for four time intervals during the Cretaceous: Middle Campanian (80 Ma), Cenomanian/Turonian (90 Ma), Early Albian (110 Ma) and Barremian-Hauterivian (130Ma) are presented here. These paleoclimate simulations were prepared using the Fast Ocean and Atmosphere Model (FOAM). The simulated results show the pattern of the pole-to-Equator temperature gradients, rainfall, surface run-off, the location of major rivers and deltas. In order to investigate the effect of potential dispersal routes on paleobiogeographic patterns, a time-slice series of maps from Early - Late Cretaceous were produced showing plots of dinosaur and plant fossil distributions. These Maps were created utilizing: 1) plant fossil localities from the GEON and Paleobiology (PBDB) databases; and 2) dinosaur fossil localities from an updated version of the Dinosauria (Weishampel, 2004) database. These results are compared to two different types of datasets, 1) Paleotemperature database for the Cretaceous and 2) locality data obtained from GEON, PBDB and Dinosauria database. Global latitudinal mean temperatures from both the model and the paelotemperature database were plotted on a series of latitudinal graphs along with the distributions of fossil plants and dinosaurs. It was found that most dinosaur localities through the Cretaceous tend to cluster within specific climate belts, or envelopes. Also, these Cretaceous maps show variance in biogeographic zonation of both plants and dinosaurs that is commensurate with reconstructed climate patterns and geography. These data are particularly useful for understanding the response of late Mesozoic ecosystems to geographic and climatic conditions that

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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°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.

  4. The systematic position of the enigmatic thyreophoran dinosaur Paranthodon africanus, and the use of basal exemplifiers in phylogenetic analysis.

    PubMed

    Raven, Thomas J; Maidment, Susannah C R

    2018-01-01

    The first African dinosaur to be discovered, Paranthodon africanus was found in 1845 in the Lower Cretaceous of South Africa. Taxonomically assigned to numerous groups since discovery, in 1981 it was described as a stegosaur, a group of armoured ornithischian dinosaurs characterised by bizarre plates and spines extending from the neck to the tail. This assignment has been subsequently accepted. The type material consists of a premaxilla, maxilla, a nasal, and a vertebra, and contains no synapomorphies of Stegosauria. Several features of the maxilla and dentition are reminiscent of Ankylosauria, the sister-taxon to Stegosauria, and the premaxilla appears superficially similar to that of some ornithopods. The vertebral material has never been described, and since the last description of the specimen, there have been numerous discoveries of thyreophoran material potentially pertinent to establishing the taxonomic assignment of the specimen. An investigation of the taxonomic and systematic position of Paranthodon is therefore warranted. This study provides a detailed re-description, including the first description of the vertebra. Numerous phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that the systematic position of Paranthodon is highly labile and subject to change depending on which exemplifier for the clade Stegosauria is used. The results indicate that the use of a basal exemplifier may not result in the correct phylogenetic position of a taxon being recovered if the taxon displays character states more derived than those of the basal exemplifier, and we recommend the use, minimally, of one basal and one derived exemplifier per clade. Paranthodon is most robustly recovered as a stegosaur in our analyses, meaning it is one of the youngest and southernmost stegosaurs.

  5. Global aspects of dinosaur distribution and evolution

    SciT

    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,more » 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.« less

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Perinate and eggs of a giant caenagnathid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of central China

    PubMed Central

    Pu, Hanyong; Zelenitsky, Darla K.; Lü, Junchang; Currie, Philip J.; Carpenter, Kenneth; Xu, Li; Koppelhus, Eva B.; Jia, Songhai; Xiao, Le; Chuang, Huali; Li, Tianran; Kundrát, Martin; Shen, Caizhi

    2017-01-01

    The abundance of dinosaur eggs in Upper Cretaceous strata of Henan Province, China led to the collection and export of countless such fossils. One of these specimens, recently repatriated to China, is a partial clutch of large dinosaur eggs (Macroelongatoolithus) with a closely associated small theropod skeleton. Here we identify the specimen as an embryo and eggs of a new, large caenagnathid oviraptorosaur, Beibeilong sinensis. This specimen is the first known association between skeletal remains and eggs of caenagnathids. Caenagnathids and oviraptorids share similarities in their eggs and clutches, although the eggs of Beibeilong are significantly larger than those of oviraptorids and indicate an adult body size comparable to a gigantic caenagnathid. An abundance of Macroelongatoolithus eggs reported from Asia and North America contrasts with the dearth of giant caenagnathid skeletal remains. Regardless, the large caenagnathid-Macroelongatoolithus association revealed here suggests these dinosaurs were relatively common during the early Late Cretaceous. PMID:28486442

  8. Did You Know? New Data on Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Silverberg, Robert

    1981-01-01

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

  9. New insights into dinosaur jaw muscle anatomy.

    PubMed

    Holliday, Casey M

    2009-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    D'Emic, M D

    2015-05-29

    Grady et al. (Reports, 13 June 2014, p. 1268) suggested that nonavian dinosaur metabolism was neither endothermic nor ectothermic but an intermediate physiology termed "mesothermic." However, rates were improperly scaled and phylogenetic, physiological, and temporal categories of animals were conflated during analyses. Accounting for these issues suggests that nonavian dinosaurs were on average as endothermic as extant placental mammals. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  11. Dinosaurs in the year of Darwin.

    PubMed

    Dodson, Peter

    2009-09-01

    This special issue of The Anatomical Record explores the recent advances in the functional morphology and paleobiology of dinosaurs. Although Darwin did not study dinosaurs because paleontology was in its infancy a century and half ago, he considered both paleontology and anatomy as essential subjects for establishing the validity of evolution. The study of dinosaurs constitutes a vigorous subdiscipline within vertebrate paleontology, and anatomists and evolutionary functional morphologists constitute an especially creative subgroup within dinosaur paleontology. The collection of 17 papers presented in this issue encompass cranial anatomy, postcranial anatomy, and paleobiology of dinosaurs and other archosaurs. Soft tissue subjects include studies of brain structure, jaw adductor muscles, and keratinous appendages of the skull. Taxonomically, it includes four papers with a focus on theropods, including Tyrannosaurus, five papers dealing with ceratopsians, three papers on hadrosaurs, and one on ankylosaurs. Modern anatomical techniques such as CT scanning, finite element analysis, and high resolution histology are emphasized. The visual presentation of results of these studies is spectacular. Results include the first-ever life history table of a plant-eating dinosaur; a determination of the head orientation of Tyrannosaurus and its relatives based on interpretation of the semicircular canals. The claws of Velociraptor appear to best adapted for tree climbing, but not for horrific predatory activities. Pachyrhinosaurus evidently used its massive head for head butting. The tail club of the armored dinosaur Euoplocephalus had the structural integrity to be used as a weapon. The pages abound with insights such as these. Dinosaurs once dead for millions of years live again! (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-23

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

  13. Description of Arundel Clay ornithomimosaur material and a reinterpretation of Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni as an "Ostrich Dinosaur": biogeographic implications.

    PubMed

    Brownstein, Chase Doran

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-01

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

  15. Rates of Dinosaur Body Mass Evolution Indicate 170 Million Years of Sustained Ecological Innovation on the Avian Stem Lineage

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

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

  18. The Great Dinosaur Feud: Science against All Odds

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James; Carpinelli, Amy

    2008-01-01

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

  19. Forearm posture and mobility in quadrupedal dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    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.

  20. Forearm Posture and Mobility in Quadrupedal Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24058633

  1. Metabolism of dinosaurs as determined from their growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  2. Metabolism of dinosaurs as determined from their growth.

    PubMed

    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.

  3. Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dean, Dennis R.

    1999-01-01

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

  4. Control of a robot dinosaur

    PubMed Central

    Papantoniou, V.

    1999-01-01

    The Palaiomation Consortium, supported by the European Commission, is building a robot Iguanodon atherfieldensis for museum display that is much more sophisticated than existing animatronic exhibits. The current half-size (2.5 m) prototype is fully autonomous, carrying its own computer and batteries. It walks around the room, choosing its own path and avoiding obstacles. A bigger version with a larger repertoire of behaviours is planned. Many design problems have had to be overcome. A real dinosaur would have had hundreds of muscles, and we have had to devise means of achieving life-like movement with a much smaller number of motors; we have limited ourselves to 20, to keep the control problems manageable. Realistic stance requires a narrower trackway and a higher centre of mass than in previous (often spider-like) legged robots, making it more difficult to maintain stability. Other important differences from previous walking robots are that the forelegs have to be shorter than the hind, and the machinery has had to be designed to fit inside a realistically shaped body shell. Battery life is about one hour, but to achieve this we have had to design the robot to have very low power consumption. Currently, this limits it to unrealistically slow movement. The control system includes a high-level instructions processor, a gait generator, a motion-coordination generator, and a kinematic model.

  5. Analysis of dinosaur samples by nuclear microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Xiankang; Orlić, I.; Tang, S. M.; Wang, Yiming; Wang, Xiaohong; Zhu, Jieqing

    1997-07-01

    Several dinosaur bone and eggshell fossil samples unearthed at different sites in China were analyzed by means of nuclear microscopy. Concentrations and distributions of elements such as Na, Mg, Al, P, S, Ca, Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Br, Sr, Y, Ce, Pb and U, etc. were obtained for each sample. The results of quantitative PIXE and RBS analyses show unusually high concentrations of U and Ce in several samples obtained from a period near the K-T boundary (between Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, 65 million years ago), suggesting that some form of environmental pollution could be the cause of dinosaur extinction.

  6. Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Dimensions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott A.

    2014-05-01

    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 paper, we explore the role of longitudinal stress in the femur bones due to the weight of the dinosaur in determining how the geometry of the femur changes with size of the theropod. This is one area of allometry the study of how different biological characteristics scale with size.

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

    Modreski, P.J.

    2001-01-01

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

  8. Structural Extremes in a Cretaceous Dinosaur

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

    Fossils of the Early Cretaceous dinosaur, Nigersaurus taqueti, document for the first time the cranial anatomy of a rebbachisaurid sauropod. Its extreme adaptations for herbivory at ground-level challenge current hypotheses regarding feeding function and feeding strategy among diplodocoids, the larger clade of sauropods that includes Nigersaurus. We used high resolution computed tomography, stereolithography, and standard molding and casting techniques to reassemble the extremely fragile skull. Computed tomography also allowed us to render the first endocast for a sauropod preserving portions of the olfactory bulbs, cerebrum and inner ear, the latter permitting us to establish habitual head posture. To elucidate evidence of tooth wear and tooth replacement rate, we used photographic-casting techniques and crown thin sections, respectively. To reconstruct its 9-meter postcranial skeleton, we combined and size-adjusted multiple partial skeletons. Finally, we used maximum parsimony algorithms on character data to obtain the best estimate of phylogenetic relationships among diplodocoid sauropods. Nigersaurus taqueti shows extreme adaptations for a dinosaurian herbivore including a skull of extremely light construction, tooth batteries located at the distal end of the jaws, tooth replacement as fast as one per month, an expanded muzzle that faces directly toward the ground, and hollow presacral vertebral centra with more air sac space than bone by volume. A cranial endocast provides the first reasonably complete view of a sauropod brain including its small olfactory bulbs and cerebrum. Skeletal and dental evidence suggests that Nigersaurus was a ground-level herbivore that gathered and sliced relatively soft vegetation, the culmination of a low-browsing feeding strategy first established among diplodocoids during the Jurassic. PMID:18030355

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-03

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    A measured magnetozone sequence defined by 24 sampling sites with normal polarity and 28 sites with reverse polarity characteristic magnetizations was established for the heretofore poorly age-constrained Los Colorados Formation and its dinosaur-bearing vertebrate fauna in the Ischigualasto–Villa Union continental rift basin of Argentina. The polarity pattern in this ∼600-m-thick red-bed section can be correlated to Chrons E7r to E15n of the Newark astrochronological polarity time scale. This represents a time interval from 227 to 213 Ma, indicating that the Los Colorados Formation is predominantly Norian in age, ending more than 11 My before the onset of the Jurassic. The magnetochronology confirms that the underlying Ischigualasto Formation and its vertebrate assemblages including some of the earliest known dinosaurs are of Carnian age. The oldest dated occurrences of vertebrate assemblages with dinosaurs in North America (Chinle Formation) are younger (Norian), and thus the rise of dinosaurs was diachronous across the Americas. Paleogeography of the Ischigualasto and Los Colorados Formations indicates prolonged residence in the austral temperate humid belt where a provincial vertebrate fauna with early dinosaurs may have incubated. Faunal dispersal across the Pangean supercontinent in the development of more cosmopolitan vertebrate assemblages later in the Norian may have been in response to reduced contrasts between climate zones and lowered barriers resulting from decreasing atmospheric pCO2 levels. PMID:24843149

  15. Scaling in Theropod Dinosaurs: Femoral Bone Dimensions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  16. Resources and energetics determined dinosaur maximal size

    PubMed Central

    McNab, Brian K.

    2009-01-01

    Some dinosaurs reached masses that were ≈8 times those of the largest, ecologically equivalent terrestrial mammals. The factors most responsible for setting the maximal body size of vertebrates are resource quality and quantity, as modified by the mobility of the consumer, and the vertebrate's rate of energy expenditure. If the food intake of the largest herbivorous mammals defines the maximal rate at which plant resources can be consumed in terrestrial environments and if that limit applied to dinosaurs, then the large size of sauropods occurred because they expended energy in the field at rates extrapolated from those of varanid lizards, which are ≈22% of the rates in mammals and 3.6 times the rates of other lizards of equal size. Of 2 species having the same energy income, the species that uses the most energy for mass-independent maintenance of necessity has a smaller size. The larger mass found in some marine mammals reflects a greater resource abundance in marine environments. The presumptively low energy expenditures of dinosaurs potentially permitted Mesozoic communities to support dinosaur biomasses that were up to 5 times those found in mammalian herbivores in Africa today. The maximal size of predatory theropods was ≈8 tons, which if it reflected the maximal capacity to consume vertebrates in terrestrial environments, corresponds in predatory mammals to a maximal mass less than a ton, which is what is observed. Some coelurosaurs may have evolved endothermy in association with the evolution of feathered insulation and a small mass. PMID:19581600

  17. Resources and energetics determined dinosaur maximal size.

    PubMed

    McNab, Brian K

    2009-07-21

    Some dinosaurs reached masses that were approximately 8 times those of the largest, ecologically equivalent terrestrial mammals. The factors most responsible for setting the maximal body size of vertebrates are resource quality and quantity, as modified by the mobility of the consumer, and the vertebrate's rate of energy expenditure. If the food intake of the largest herbivorous mammals defines the maximal rate at which plant resources can be consumed in terrestrial environments and if that limit applied to dinosaurs, then the large size of sauropods occurred because they expended energy in the field at rates extrapolated from those of varanid lizards, which are approximately 22% of the rates in mammals and 3.6 times the rates of other lizards of equal size. Of 2 species having the same energy income, the species that uses the most energy for mass-independent maintenance of necessity has a smaller size. The larger mass found in some marine mammals reflects a greater resource abundance in marine environments. The presumptively low energy expenditures of dinosaurs potentially permitted Mesozoic communities to support dinosaur biomasses that were up to 5 times those found in mammalian herbivores in Africa today. The maximal size of predatory theropods was approximately 8 tons, which if it reflected the maximal capacity to consume vertebrates in terrestrial environments, corresponds in predatory mammals to a maximal mass less than a ton, which is what is observed. Some coelurosaurs may have evolved endothermy in association with the evolution of feathered insulation and a small mass.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

    Xu, Xing; Norell, Mark A

    2004-10-14

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-01

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

  2. Breathing life into dinosaurs: tackling challenges of soft-tissue restoration and nasal airflow in extinct species.

    PubMed

    Bourke, Jason M; Porter, W M Ruger; Ridgely, Ryan C; Lyson, Tyler R; Schachner, Emma R; Bell, Phil R; Witmer, Lawrence M

    2014-11-01

    The nasal region plays a key role in sensory, thermal, and respiratory physiology, but exploring its evolution is hampered by a lack of preservation of soft-tissue structures in extinct vertebrates. As a test case, we investigated members of the "bony-headed" ornithischian dinosaur clade Pachycephalosauridae (particularly Stegoceras validum) because of their small body size (which mitigated allometric concerns) and their tendency to preserve nasal soft tissues within their hypermineralized skulls. Hypermineralization directly preserved portions of the olfactory turbinates along with an internal nasal ridge that we regard as potentially an osteological correlate for respiratory conchae. Fossil specimens were CT-scanned, and nasal cavities were segmented and restored. Soft-tissue reconstruction of the nasal capsule was functionally tested in a virtual environment using computational fluid dynamics by running air through multiple models differing in nasal soft-tissue conformation: a bony-bounded model (i.e., skull without soft tissue) and then models with soft tissues added, such as a paranasal septum, a scrolled concha, a branched concha, and a model combining the paranasal septum with a concha. Deviations in fluid flow in comparison to a phylogenetically constrained sample of extant diapsids were used as indicators of missing soft tissue. Models that restored aspects of airflow found in extant diapsids, such as appreciable airflow in the olfactory chamber, were judged as more likely. The model with a branched concha produced airflow patterns closest to those of extant diapsids. These results from both paleontological observation and airflow modeling indicate that S. validum and other pachycephalosaurids could have had both olfactory and respiratory conchae. Although respiratory conchae have been linked to endothermy, such conclusions require caution in that our re-evaluation of the reptilian nasal apparatus indicates that respiratory conchae may be more widespread

  3. The earliest bird-line archosaurs and the assembly of the dinosaur body plan.

    PubMed

    Nesbitt, Sterling J; Butler, Richard J; Ezcurra, Martín D; Barrett, Paul M; Stocker, Michelle R; Angielczyk, Kenneth D; Smith, Roger M H; Sidor, Christian A; Niedźwiedzki, Grzegorz; Sennikov, Andrey G; Charig, Alan J

    2017-04-27

    The relationship between dinosaurs and other reptiles is well established, but the sequence of acquisition of dinosaurian features has been obscured by the scarcity of fossils with transitional morphologies. The closest extinct relatives of dinosaurs either have highly derived morphologies or are known from poorly preserved or incomplete material. Here we describe one of the stratigraphically lowest and phylogenetically earliest members of the avian stem lineage (Avemetatarsalia), Teleocrater rhadinus gen. et sp. nov., from the Middle Triassic epoch. The anatomy of T. rhadinus provides key information that unites several enigmatic taxa from across Pangaea into a previously unrecognized clade, Aphanosauria. This clade is the sister taxon of Ornithodira (pterosaurs and birds) and shortens the ghost lineage inferred at the base of Avemetatarsalia. We demonstrate that several anatomical features long thought to characterize Dinosauria and dinosauriforms evolved much earlier, soon after the bird-crocodylian split, and that the earliest avemetatarsalians retained the crocodylian-like ankle morphology and hindlimb proportions of stem archosaurs and early pseudosuchians. Early avemetatarsalians were substantially more species-rich, widely geographically distributed and morphologically diverse than previously recognized. Moreover, several early dinosauromorphs that were previously used as models to understand dinosaur origins may represent specialized forms rather than the ancestral avemetatarsalian morphology.

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

    PubMed Central

    Nesbitt, Sterling J.

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27930315

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-09-21

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

  8. Do feathered dinosaurs exist? Testing the hypothesis on neontological and paleontological evidence.

    PubMed

    Feduccia, Alan; Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten; Hinchliffe, J Richard

    2005-11-01

    The origin of birds and avian flight from within the archosaurian radiation has been among the most contentious issues in paleobiology. Although there is general agreement that birds are related to theropod dinosaurs at some level, debate centers on whether birds are derived directly from highly derived theropods, the current dogma, or from an earlier common ancestor lacking suites of derived anatomical characters. Recent discoveries from the Early Cretaceous of China have highlighted the debate, with claims of the discovery of all stages of feather evolution and ancestral birds (theropod dinosaurs), although the deposits are at least 25 million years younger than those containing the earliest known bird Archaeopteryx. In the first part of the study we examine the fossil evidence relating to alleged feather progenitors, commonly referred to as protofeathers, in these putative ancestors of birds. Our findings show no evidence for the existence of protofeathers and consequently no evidence in support of the follicular theory of the morphogenesis of the feather. Rather, based on histological studies of the integument of modern reptiles, which show complex patterns of the collagen fibers of the dermis, we conclude that "protofeathers" are probably the remains of collagenous fiber "meshworks" that reinforced the dinosaur integument. These "meshworks" of the skin frequently formed aberrant patterns resembling feathers as a consequence of decomposition. Our findings also draw support from new paleontological evidence. We describe integumental structures, very similar to "protofeathers," preserved within the rib area of a Psittacosaurus specimen from Nanjing, China, an ornithopod dinosaur unconnected with the ancestry of birds. These integumental structures show a strong resemblance to the collagenous fiber systems in the dermis of many animals. We also report the presence of scales in the forearm of the theropod ornithomimid (bird mimic) dinosaur, Pelecanimimus, from

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

    PubMed

    Mallon, Jordan C; Anderson, Jason S

    2013-01-01

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

  10. Skull Ecomorphology of Megaherbivorous Dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada

    PubMed Central

    Mallon, Jordan C.; Anderson, Jason S.

    2013-01-01

    Megaherbivorous dinosaur coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has long puzzled researchers, owing to the mystery of how so many large herbivores (6–8 sympatric species, in many instances) could coexist on such a small (4–7 million km2) landmass. Various explanations have been put forth, one of which–dietary niche partitioning–forms the focus of this study. Here, we apply traditional morphometric methods to the skulls of megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta to infer the ecomorphology of these animals and to test the niche partitioning hypothesis. We find evidence for niche partitioning not only among contemporaneous ankylosaurs, ceratopsids, and hadrosaurids, but also within these clades at the family and subfamily levels. Consubfamilial ceratopsids and hadrosaurids differ insignificantly in their inferred ecomorphologies, which may explain why they rarely overlap stratigraphically: interspecific competition prevented their coexistence. PMID:23874409

  11. Avian paternal care had dinosaur origin.

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-19

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

  12. Additional specimen of Microraptor provides unique evidence of dinosaurs preying on birds

    PubMed Central

    O'Connor, Jingmai; Zhou, Zhonghe; Xu, Xing

    2011-01-01

    Preserved indicators of diet are extremely rare in the fossil record; even more so is unequivocal direct evidence for predator–prey relationships. Here, we report on a unique specimen of the small nonavian theropod Microraptor gui from the Early Cretaceous Jehol biota, China, which has the remains of an adult enantiornithine bird preserved in its abdomen, most likely not scavenged, but captured and consumed by the dinosaur. We provide direct evidence for the dietary preferences of Microraptor and a nonavian dinosaur feeding on a bird. Further, because Jehol enantiornithines were distinctly arboreal, in contrast to their cursorial ornithurine counterparts, this fossil suggests that Microraptor hunted in trees thereby supporting inferences that this taxon was also an arborealist, and provides further support for the arboreality of basal dromaeosaurids. PMID:22106278

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    A major unresolved aspect of the rise of dinosaurs is why early dinosaurs and their relatives were rare and species-poor at low paleolatitudes throughout the Late Triassic Period, a pattern persisting 30 million years after their origin and 10–15 million years after they became abundant and speciose at higher latitudes. New palynological, wildfire, organic carbon isotope, and atmospheric pCO2 data from early dinosaur-bearing strata of low paleolatitudes in western North America show that large, high-frequency, tightly correlated variations in δ13Corg and palynomorph ecotypes occurred within a context of elevated and increasing pCO2 and pervasive wildfires. Whereas pseudosuchian archosaur-dominated communities were able to persist in these same regions under rapidly fluctuating extreme climatic conditions until the end-Triassic, large-bodied, fast-growing tachymetabolic dinosaurian herbivores requiring greater resources were unable to adapt to unstable high CO2 environmental conditions of the Late Triassic. PMID:26080428

  14. A Dome-Headed Stem Archosaur Exemplifies Convergence among Dinosaurs and Their Distant Relatives.

    PubMed

    Stocker, Michelle R; Nesbitt, Sterling J; Criswell, Katharine E; Parker, William G; Witmer, Lawrence M; Rowe, Timothy B; Ridgely, Ryan; Brown, Matthew A

    2016-10-10

    Similarities in body plan evolution, such as wings in pterosaurs, birds, and bats or limblessness in snakes and amphisbaenians, can be recognized as classical examples of convergence among animals [1-3]. We introduce a new Triassic stem archosaur that is unexpectedly and remarkably convergent with the "dome-headed" pachycephalosaur dinosaurs that lived over 100 million years later. Surprisingly, numerous additional taxa in the same assemblage (the Otis Chalk assemblage from the Dockum Group of Texas) demonstrate the early acquisition of morphological novelties that were later convergently evolved by post-Triassic dinosaurs. As one of the most successful clades of terrestrial vertebrates, dinosaurs came to occupy an extensive morphospace throughout their diversification in the Mesozoic Era [4, 5], but their distant relatives were first to evolve many of those "dinosaurian" body plans in the Triassic Period [6-8]. Our analysis of convergence between archosauromorphs from the Triassic Period and post-Triassic archosaurs demonstrates the early and extensive exploration of morphospace captured in a single Late Triassic assemblage, and we hypothesize that many of the "novel" morphotypes interpreted to occur among archosaurs later in the Mesozoic already were in place during the initial Triassic archosauromorph, largely non-dinosaurian, radiation and only later convergently evolved in diverse dinosaurian lineages. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    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. Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival

    SciT

    San Antonio, James D.; Schweitzer, Mary H.; Jensen, Shane T.

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

  17. Revisiting the Estimation of Dinosaur Growth Rates

    PubMed Central

    Myhrvold, Nathan P.

    2013-01-01

    Previous growth-rate studies covering 14 dinosaur taxa, as represented by 31 data sets, are critically examined and reanalyzed by using improved statistical techniques. The examination reveals that some previously reported results cannot be replicated by using the methods originally reported; results from new methods are in many cases different, in both the quantitative rates and the qualitative nature of the growth, from results in the prior literature. Asymptotic growth curves, which have been hypothesized to be ubiquitous, are shown to provide best fits for only four of the 14 taxa. Possible reasons for non-asymptotic growth patterns are discussed; they include systematic errors in the age-estimation process and, more likely, a bias toward younger ages among the specimens analyzed. Analysis of the data sets finds that only three taxa include specimens that could be considered skeletally mature (i.e., having attained 90% of maximum body size predicted by asymptotic curve fits), and eleven taxa are quite immature, with the largest specimen having attained less than 62% of predicted asymptotic size. The three taxa that include skeletally mature specimens are included in the four taxa that are best fit by asymptotic curves. The totality of results presented here suggests that previous estimates of both maximum dinosaur growth rates and maximum dinosaur sizes have little statistical support. Suggestions for future research are presented. PMID:24358133

  18. Cockroaches probably cleaned up after dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  19. Cockroaches Probably Cleaned Up after Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Dinosaurs undoubtedly produced huge quantities of excrements. But who cleaned up after them? Dung beetles and flies with rapid development were rare during most of the Mesozoic. Candidates for these duties are extinct cockroaches (Blattulidae), whose temporal range is associated with herbivorous dinosaurs. An opportunity to test this hypothesis arises from coprolites to some extent extruded from an immature cockroach preserved in the amber of Lebanon, studied using synchrotron X-ray microtomography. 1.06% of their volume is filled by particles of wood with smooth edges, in which size distribution directly supports their external pre-digestion. Because fungal pre-processing can be excluded based on the presence of large particles (combined with small total amount of wood) and absence of damages on wood, the likely source of wood are herbivore feces. Smaller particles were broken down biochemically in the cockroach hind gut, which indicates that the recent lignin-decomposing termite and cockroach endosymbionts might have been transferred to the cockroach gut upon feeding on dinosaur feces. PMID:24324610

  20. Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Eleven collagen peptide sequences recovered from chemical extracts of dinosaur bones were mapped onto molecular models of the vertebrate collagen fibril derived from extant taxa. The dinosaur peptides localized to fibril regions protected by the close packing of collagen molecules, and contained few acidic amino acids. Four peptides mapped to collagen regions crucial for cell-collagen interactions and tissue development. Dinosaur peptides were not represented in more exposed parts of the collagen fibril or regions mediating intermolecular cross-linking. Thus functionally significant regions of collagen fibrils that are physically shielded within the fibril may be preferentially preserved in fossils. These results show empirically that structure-function relationships at the molecular level could contribute to selective preservation in fossilized vertebrate remains across geological time, suggest a ‘preservation motif’, and bolster current concepts linking collagen structure to biological function. This non-random distribution supports the hypothesis that the peptides are produced by the extinct organisms and suggests a chemical mechanism for survival. PMID:21687667

  1. Dinosaur peptides suggest mechanisms of protein survival.

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    1994-11-04

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Duggan, Denis

    2011-01-01

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

  4. Evolution of High Tooth Replacement Rates in Sauropod Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Kathlyn M.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Wilson, Jeffrey A.

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

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

    PubMed

    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.

  10. There Could Be a Dinosaur in Your Life!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jacob, Beth; Dempsey, Bill

    This booklet describes how to make large two-dimensional models of dinosaur skeletons which can be effective teaching tools. Small laminated wood dinosaur models are enlarged, traced, and transferred to tri-wall cardboard (one-half inch thick) and cut out with a saber saw. Parts are then slotted and numbered for easy assembly. The result is a kit…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Herminghaus, Trisha, Ed.

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

  12. 36 CFR 7.63 - Dinosaur National Monument.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Dinosaur National Monument. 7.63 Section 7.63 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR SPECIAL REGULATIONS, AREAS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM § 7.63 Dinosaur National Monument. (a) Commercial...

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

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

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-02-09

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Wrzosek, Beata; Królikowska, Agata

    2016-01-01

    Well-preserved mycelia of fungal- or saprolegnia-like biota mineralised by ferromanganese oxides were found for the first time in long bones of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs from the Gobi Desert (Nemegt Valley, Mongolia). The mycelia formed a biofilm on the wall of the bone marrow cavity and penetrated the osteon channels of the nearby bone tissue. Optical microscopy, Raman, SEM/EDS, SEM/BSE, electron microprobe and cathodoluminescence analyses revealed that the mineralisation of the mycelia proceeded in two stages. The first stage was early post-mortem mineralisation of the hyphae by Fe/Mn-oxide coatings and microconcretions. Probably this proceeded in a mildly acidic to circumneutral environment, predominantly due to heterotrophic bacteria degrading the mycelial necromass and liberating Fe and Mn sorbed by the mycelia during its lifetime. The second stage of mineralisation, which proceeded much later following the final burial of the bones in an alkaline environment, resulted from the massive precipitation of calcite and occasionally barite on the iron/manganese-oxide-coated mycelia. The mineral phases produced by fungal biofilms colonising the interiors of decaying dinosaur bones not only enhance the preservation (fossilisation) of fungal remains but can also be used as indicators of the geochemistry of the dinosaur burial sites. PMID:26863014

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-30

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

  20. Cartilaginous Epiphyses in Extant Archosaurs and Their Implications for Reconstructing Limb Function in Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kubo, Tai; Kubo, Mugino O

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kubo, Tai; Kubo, Mugino O.

    2016-01-01

    Dinosaurs had functionally digitigrade or sub-unguligrade foot postures. With their immediate ancestors, dinosaurs were the only terrestrial nonplantigrades during the Mesozoic. Extant terrestrial mammals have different optimal body sizes according to their foot posture (plantigrade, digitigrade, and unguligrade), yet the relationship of nonplantigrade foot posture with dinosaur body size has never been investigated, even though the body size of dinosaurs has been studied intensively. According to a large dataset presented in this study, the body sizes of all nonplantigrades (including nonvolant dinosaurs, nonvolant terrestrial birds, extant mammals, and extinct Nearctic mammals) are above 500 g, except for macroscelid mammals (i.e., elephant shrew), a few alvarezsauroid dinosaurs, and nondinosaur ornithodirans (i.e., the immediate ancestors of dinosaurs). When nonplantigrade tetrapods evolved from plantigrade ancestors, lineages with nonplantigrade foot posture exhibited a steady increase in body size following Cope’s rule. In contrast, contemporaneous plantigrade lineages exhibited no trend in body size evolution and were largely constrained to small body sizes. This evolutionary pattern of body size specific to foot posture occurred repeatedly during both the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic eras. Although disturbed by the end-Cretaceous extinction, species of mid to large body size have predominantly been nonplantigrade animals from the Jurassic until the present; conversely, species with small body size have been exclusively composed of plantigrades in the nonvolant terrestrial tetrapod fauna. PMID:26790003

  3. Avian-like breathing mechanics in maniraptoran dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

    In 1868 Thomas Huxley first proposed that dinosaurs were the direct ancestors of birds and subsequent analyses have identified a suite of ‘avian’ characteristics in theropod dinosaurs. Ossified uncinate processes are found in most species of extant birds and also occur in extinct non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs. Their presence in these dinosaurs represents another morphological character linking them to Aves, and further supports the presence of an avian-like air-sac respiratory system in theropod dinosaurs, prior to the evolution of flight. Here we report a phylogenetic analysis of the presence of uncinate processes in Aves and non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs indicating that these were homologous structures. Furthermore, recent work on Canada geese has demonstrated that uncinate processes are integral to the mechanics of avian ventilation, facilitating both inspiration and expiration. In extant birds, uncinate processes function to increase the mechanical advantage for movements of the ribs and sternum during respiration. Our study presents a mechanism whereby uncinate processes, in conjunction with lateral and ventral movements of the sternum and gastral basket, affected avian-like breathing mechanics in extinct non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs. PMID:17986432

  4. Upper jurassic dinosaur egg from utah.

    PubMed

    Hirsch, K F; Stadtman, K L; Miller, W E; Madsen, J H

    1989-03-31

    The Upper Jurassic egg described here is the first known egg from the 100-million-year gap in the fossil record between Lower Jurassic (South Africa) and upper Lower Cretaceous (Utah). The discovery of the egg, which was found mixed in with thousands of dinosaur bones rather than in a nest, the pathological multilayering of the eggshell as found in modern and fossil reptilians, and the pliable condition of the eggshell at the time of burial indicate an oviducal retention of the egg at the time of burial.

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-04-12

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

  6. Kinematics from a 163 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Trackway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2011-10-01

    Dinosaurs always grab the interest of students. Information about dinosaur locomotion is accessible from the trackways they left. In a unique connection to kinematics, evidence of the acceleration of a meat-eating dinosaur (theropod) is evident in Trackway 13 in Ardley Quarry in Oxfordshire, UK. This particular trackway is described by J.J. Day, D.B. Norman, P. Upchuch and H.P. Powell in Vol. 415 of Nature on pages 494 and 495, published in 2002. This particular theropod underwent an acceleration of about g/3. This example provides a fun and engaging exercise for students studying kinematics.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-07

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Sauropodomorph dinosaurs originated in the Southern Hemisphere in the Middle or Late Triassic and are commonly portrayed as spreading rapidly to all corners of Pangaea as part of a uniform Late Triassic to Early Jurassic cosmopolitan dinosaur fauna. Under this model, dispersal allegedly inhibited dinosaurian diversification, while vicariance and local extinction enhanced it. However, apomorphy-based analyses of the known fossil record indicate that sauropodomorphs were absent in North America until the Early Jurassic, reframing the temporal context of their arrival. We describe a new taxon from the Kayenta Formation of Arizona that comprises the third diagnosable sauropodomorph from the Early Jurassic of North America. We analysed its relationships to test whether sauropodomorphs reached North America in a single sweepstakes event or in separate dispersals. Our finding of separate arrivals by all three taxa suggests dispersal as a chief factor in dinosaurian diversification during at least the early Mesozoic. It questions whether a ‘cosmopolitan’ dinosaur fauna ever existed, and corroborates that vicariance, extinction and dispersal did not operate uniformly in time or under uniform conditions during the Mesozoic. Their relative importance is best measured in narrow time slices and circumscribed geographical regions. PMID:20926438

  9. News & Views Evaluation of Projects for Basic Research of Scientific Instruments in 2008 Completed NSFC Former President Tang Ao-qing Passed Away Professor Tang Aoqing and NSFC Carbon Nanotube Film-Based Speaker Developed in Tsinghua University Dinosaur Footprint Fossils Discovered in Xinjiang New Method for Early Cancer Diagnosis New Progress Achieved by NSFC Project in Basic Research of Black Hole Physics New progress in Organic FET 67 NSFC-RFBR Cooperative Projects Approved for 2008 Spin Configuration and Super-exchange Mechanism in Molecular Magnets Observed NSFC Strengthens its Funding in Wenchuan Concerns Go to Disaster's Impact on Economy and Emergency Response Thirty-seven NSFC-KOSEF Cooperative Projects Approved

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2008-01-01

    Evaluation of Projects for Basic Research of Scientific Instruments in 2008 Completed NSFC Former President Tang Ao-qing Passed Away Professor Tang Aoqing and NSFC Carbon Nanotube Film-Based Speaker Developed in Tsinghua University Dinosaur Footprint Fossils Discovered in Xinjiang New Method for Early Cancer Diagnosis New Progress Achieved by NSFC Project in Basic Research of Black Hole Physics New progress in Organic FET 67 NSFC-RFBR Cooperative Projects Approved for 2008 Spin Configuration and Super-exchange Mechanism in Molecular Magnets Observed NSFC Strengthens its Funding in Wenchuan Concerns Go to Disaster's Impact on Economy and Emergency Response Thirty-seven NSFC-KOSEF Cooperative Projects Approved

  10. Incubation times of dinosaur eggs via embryonic metabolism.

    PubMed

    Lee, Scott A

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Brusatte, Stephen L

    2016-05-23

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

  12. Incubation times of dinosaur eggs via embryonic metabolism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott A.

    2016-08-01

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

  13. New Discoveries about Dinosaurs: Separating the Facts from the News.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Padian, Kevin

    1988-01-01

    Reviews discoveries and reports of dinosaurs to help put them into paleontological perspective. Proposes that discoveries not be announced from the field, but submitted to professional evaluation and peer review before release to the public. (Author/RT)

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

    PubMed

    Noto, Christopher R; Grossman, Ari

    2010-09-03

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

  15. Biomechanics of running indicates endothermy in bipedal dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-11

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-20

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

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

    PubMed

    Zanno, Lindsay E; Makovicky, Peter J

    2011-01-04

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

  18. Heme compounds in dinosaur trabecular bone.

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, M H; Marshall, M; Carron, K; Bohle, D S; Busse, S C; Arnold, E V; Barnard, D; Horner, J R; Starkey, J R

    1997-06-10

    Six independent lines of evidence point to the existence of heme-containing compounds and/or hemoglobin breakdown products in extracts of trabecular tissues of the large theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. These include signatures from nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin resonance that indicate the presence of a paramagnetic compound consistent with heme. In addition, UV/visible spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography data are consistent with the Soret absorbance characteristic of this molecule. Resonance Raman profiles are also consistent with a modified heme structure. Finally, when dinosaurian tissues were extracted for protein fragments and were used to immunize rats, the resulting antisera reacted positively with purified avian and mammalian hemoglobins. The most parsimonious explanation of this evidence is the presence of blood-derived hemoglobin compounds preserved in the dinosaurian tissues.

  19. Common avian infection plagued the tyrant dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2009-09-30

    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. 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. 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.

  20. Common Avian Infection Plagued the Tyrant Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    Background Tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaurid fossils often display multiple, smooth-edged full-thickness erosive lesions on the mandible, either unilaterally or bilaterally. The cause of these lesions in the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen FMNH PR2081 (known informally by the name ‘Sue’) has previously been attributed to actinomycosis, a bacterial bone infection, or bite wounds from other tyrannosaurids. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted an extensive survey of tyrannosaurid specimens and identified ten individuals with full-thickness erosive lesions. These lesions were described, measured and photographed for comparison with one another. We also conducted an extensive survey of related archosaurs for similar lesions. We show here that these lesions are consistent with those caused by an avian parasitic infection called trichomonosis, which causes similar abnormalities on the mandible of modern birds, in particular raptors. Conclusions/Significance This finding represents the first evidence for the ancient evolutionary origin of an avian transmissible disease in non-avian theropod dinosaurs. It also provides a valuable insight into the palaeobiology of these now extinct animals. Based on the frequency with which these lesions occur, we hypothesize that tyrannosaurids were commonly infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan. For tyrannosaurid populations, the only non-avian dinosaur group that show trichomonosis-type lesions, it is likely that the disease became endemic and spread as a result of antagonistic intraspecific behavior, consumption of prey infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan and possibly even cannibalism. The severity of trichomonosis-related lesions in specimens such as Tyrannosaurus rex FMNH PR2081 and Tyrannosaurus rex MOR 980, strongly suggests that these animals died as a direct result of this disease, mostly likely through starvation. PMID:19789646

  1. New stem-sauropodomorph (Dinosauria, Saurischia) from the Triassic of Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabreira, Sergio F.; Schultz, Cesar L.; Bittencourt, Jonathas S.; Soares, Marina B.; Fortier, Daniel C.; Silva, Lúcio R.; Langer, Max C.

    2011-12-01

    Post-Triassic theropod, sauropodomorph, and ornithischian dinosaurs are readily recognized based on the set of traits that typically characterize each of these groups. On the contrary, most of the early members of those lineages lack such specializations, but share a range of generalized traits also seen in more basal dinosauromorphs. Here, we report on a new Late Triassic dinosaur from the Santa Maria Formation of Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. The specimen comprises the disarticulated partial skeleton of a single individual, including most of the skull bones. Based on four phylogenetic analyses, the new dinosaur fits consistently on the sauropodomorph stem, but lacks several typical features of sauropodomorphs, showing dinosaur plesiomorphies together with some neotheropod traits. This is not an exception among basal dinosaurs, the early radiation of which is characterized by a mosaic pattern of character acquisition, resulting in the uncertain phylogenetic placement of various early members of the group.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Moen, Daniel; Morlon, Hélène

    2014-05-01

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

  5. A New Basal Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of Southern Utah

    PubMed Central

    Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Loewen, Mark A.

    2010-01-01

    Background Basal sauropodomorphs, or ‘prosauropods,’ are a globally widespread paraphyletic assemblage of terrestrial herbivorous dinosaurs from the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic. In contrast to several other landmasses, the North American record of sauropodomorphs during this time interval remains sparse, limited to Early Jurassic occurrences of a single well-known taxon from eastern North America and several fragmentary specimens from western North America. Methodology/Principal Findings On the basis of a partial skeleton, we describe here a new basal sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southern Utah, Seitaad ruessi gen. et sp. nov. The partially articulated skeleton of Seitaad was likely buried post-mortem in the base of a collapsed dune foreset. The new taxon is characterized by a plate-like medial process of the scapula, a prominent proximal expansion of the deltopectoral crest of the humerus, a strongly inclined distal articular surface of the radius, and a proximally and laterally hypertrophied proximal metacarpal I. Conclusions/Significance Phylogenetic analysis recovers Seitaad as a derived basal sauropodomorph closely related to plateosaurid or massospondylid ‘prosauropods’ and its presence in western North America is not unexpected for a member of this highly cosmopolitan clade. This occurrence represents one of the most complete vertebrate body fossil specimens yet recovered from the Navajo Sandstone and one of the few basal sauropodomorph taxa currently known from North America. PMID:20352090

  6. A new horned dinosaur reveals convergent evolution in cranial ornamentation in Ceratopsidae.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb M; Henderson, Donald M

    2015-06-15

    Ceratopsid (horned) dinosaurs are an iconic group of large-bodied, quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaurs that evolved in the Late Cretaceous and were largely restricted to western North America [1-5]. Ceratopsids are easily recognized by their cranial ornamentation in the form of nasal and postorbital horns and frill (capped by epiossifications); these structures show high morphological disparity and also represent the largest cranial display structures known to have evolved [2, 4]. Despite their restricted occurrence in time and space, this group has one of the best fossil records within Dinosauria, showing a rapid diversification in horn and frill morphology [1]. Here a new genus and species of chasmosaurine ceratopsid is described based on a nearly complete and three-dimensionally preserved cranium recovered from the uppermost St. Mary River Formation (Maastrichtian) of southwestern Alberta. Regaliceratops peterhewsi gen. et sp. nov. exhibits many unique characters of the frill and is characterized by a large nasal horncore, small postorbital horncores, and massive parietal epiossifications. Cranial morphology, particularly the epiossifications, suggests close affinity with the late Campanian/early Maastrichian taxon Anchiceratops, as well as with the late Maastrichtian taxon Triceratops. A median epiparietal necessitates a reassessment of epiossification homology and results in a more resolved phylogeny. Most surprisingly, Regaliceratops exhibits a suite of cranial ornamentations that are superficially similar to Campanian centrosaurines, indicating both exploration of novel display morphospace in Chasmosaurinae, especially Maastrichtian forms, and convergent evolution in horn morphology with the recently extinct Centrosaurinae. This marks the first time that evolutionary convergence in horn-like display structures has been demonstrated between dinosaur clades, similar to those seen in fossil and extant mammals [6]. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. Diachronism between extinction time of terrestrial and marine dinosaurs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hansen, H. J.

    1988-01-01

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

  9. Mountain Building Triggered Late Cretaceous North American Megaherbivore Dinosaur Radiation

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Prior studies of Mesozoic biodiversity document a diversity peak for dinosaur species in the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, yet have failed to provide explicit causal mechanisms. We provide evidence that a marked increase in North American dinosaur biodiversity can be attributed to dynamic orogenic episodes within the Western Interior Basin (WIB). Detailed fossil occurrences document an association between the shift from Sevier-style, latitudinally arrayed basins to smaller Laramide-style, longitudinally arrayed basins and a well substantiated decreased geographic range/increased taxonomic diversity of megaherbivorous dinosaur species. Dispersal-vicariance analysis demonstrates that the nearly identical biogeographic histories of the megaherbivorous dinosaur clades Ceratopsidae and Hadrosauridae are attributable to rapid diversification events within restricted basins and that isolation events are contemporaneous with known tectonic activity in the region. SymmeTREE analysis indicates that megaherbivorous dinosaur clades exhibited significant variation in diversification rates throughout the Late Cretaceous. Phylogenetic divergence estimates of fossil clades offer a new lower boundary on Laramide surficial deformation that precedes estimates based on sedimentological data alone. PMID:22876302

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-21

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

  11. Epidermal and dermal integumentary structures of ankylosaurian dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  12. Preservation of the bone protein osteocalcin in dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1992-10-01

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

  13. The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benton, Michael J.; Shishkin, Mikhail A.; Unwin, David M.; Kurochkin, Evgenii N.

    2003-12-01

    The former Soviet Union covers a vast area of land, and over the last 200 years, many dozens of extraordinary dinosaurs and other fossil amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have been found in Mesozoic rocks in its territories. The Permo-Triassic of the Ural Mountains of Russia have produced hundreds of superb specimens, and many of the dinosaurs from Mongolia are unique. This is the first compilation in any Western language of this large body of Russian research and the first time so much of this research, previously unexplored by the West, has been introduced in English. The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia is written by a unique mix of Russian and Western palaeontologists, and provides an entrée to a range of fossil faunas, in particular reptiles, that have been little known outside Russia. It will undoubtedly become a major reference work for all vertebrate palaeontologists.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-03-01

    In the second paper1 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 locomotion. In this paper, our model calculation of Ref. 1 is extended to incorporate the fact that larger animals run with straighter legs. As in Ref. 1, students use geometric data for the femora of theropod dinosaurs to analyze their locomotion abilities. This can either be an in-class activity or given as a homework problem. Larger theropods are found to be less athletic in their movements than smaller theropods since the stresses in the femora of large theropods are closer to breaking their legs than smaller theropods.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  16. The First Dinosaur from Washington State and a Review of Pacific Coast Dinosaurs from North America

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25993090

  17. Biomechanics of Running Indicates Endothermy in Bipedal Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    Background One of the great unresolved controversies in paleobiology is whether extinct dinosaurs were endothermic, ectothermic, or some combination thereof, and when endothermy first evolved in the lineage leading to birds. Although it is well established that high, sustained growth rates and, presumably, high activity levels are ancestral for dinosaurs and pterosaurs (clade Ornithodira), other independent lines of evidence for high metabolic rates, locomotor costs, or endothermy are needed. For example, some studies have suggested that, because large dinosaurs may have been homeothermic due to their size alone and could have had heat loss problems, ectothermy would be a more plausible metabolic strategy for such animals. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we describe two new biomechanical approaches for reconstructing the metabolic rate of 14 extinct bipedal dinosauriforms during walking and running. These methods, well validated for extant animals, indicate that during walking and slow running the metabolic rate of at least the larger extinct dinosaurs exceeded the maximum aerobic capabilities of modern ectotherms, falling instead within the range of modern birds and mammals. Estimated metabolic rates for smaller dinosaurs are more ambiguous, but generally approach or exceed the ectotherm boundary. Conclusions/Significance Our results support the hypothesis that endothermy was widespread in at least larger non-avian dinosaurs. It was plausibly ancestral for all dinosauriforms (perhaps Ornithodira), but this is perhaps more strongly indicated by high growth rates than by locomotor costs. The polarity of the evolution of endothermy indicates that rapid growth, insulation, erect postures, and perhaps aerobic power predated advanced “avian” lung structure and high locomotor costs. PMID:19911059

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19793755

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

    PubMed

    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.

  20. Dynamics of dental evolution in ornithopod dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  1. Dynamics of dental evolution in ornithopod dinosaurs.

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-14

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

  2. Estimating cranial musculoskeletal constraints in theropod dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Lautenschlager, Stephan

    2015-11-01

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

  3. Estimating cranial musculoskeletal constraints in theropod dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Lautenschlager, Stephan

    2015-01-01

    Many inferences on the biology, behaviour and ecology of extinct vertebrates are based on the reconstruction of the musculature and rely considerably on its accuracy. Although the advent of digital reconstruction techniques has facilitated the creation and testing of musculoskeletal hypotheses in recent years, muscle strain capabilities have rarely been considered. Here, a digital modelling approach using the freely available visualization and animation software Blender is applied to estimate cranial muscle length changes and optimal and maximal possible gape in different theropod dinosaurs. Models of living archosaur taxa (Alligator mississippiensis, Buteo buteo) were used in an extant phylogenetically bracketed framework to validate the method. Results of this study demonstrate that Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus fragilis and Erlikosaurus andrewsi show distinct differences in the recruitment of the jaw adductor musculature and resulting gape, confirming previous dietary and ecological assumptions. While the carnivorous taxa T. rex and Allo. fragilis were capable of a wide gape and sustained muscle force, the herbivorous therizinosaurian E. andrewsi was constrained to small gape angles. PMID:26716007

  4. Molecular preservation in Late Cretaceous sauropod dinosaur eggshells.

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, M H; Chiappe, L; Garrido, A C; Lowenstein, J M; Pincus, S H

    2005-04-22

    Exceptionally preserved sauropod eggshells discovered in Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) deposits in Patagonia, Argentina, contain skeletal remains and soft tissues of embryonic Titanosaurid dinosaurs. To preserve these labile embryonic remains, the rate of mineral precipitation must have superseded post-mortem degradative processes, resulting in virtually instantaneous mineralization of soft tissues. If so, mineralization may also have been rapid enough to retain fragments of original biomolecules in these specimens. To investigate preservation of biomolecular compounds in these well-preserved sauropod dinosaur eggshells, we applied multiple analytical techniques. Results demonstrate organic compounds and antigenic structures similar to those found in extant eggshells.

  5. Molecular preservation in Late Cretaceous sauropod dinosaur eggshells

    PubMed Central

    Schweitzer, M.H; Chiappe, L; Garrido, A.C; Lowenstein, J.M; Pincus, S.H

    2005-01-01

    Exceptionally preserved sauropod eggshells discovered in Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) deposits in Patagonia, Argentina, contain skeletal remains and soft tissues of embryonic Titanosaurid dinosaurs. To preserve these labile embryonic remains, the rate of mineral precipitation must have superseded post-mortem degradative processes, resulting in virtually instantaneous mineralization of soft tissues. If so, mineralization may also have been rapid enough to retain fragments of original biomolecules in these specimens. To investigate preservation of biomolecular compounds in these well-preserved sauropod dinosaur eggshells, we applied multiple analytical techniques. Results demonstrate organic compounds and antigenic structures similar to those found in extant eggshells. PMID:15888409

  6. Broad-Scale Patterns of Late Jurassic Dinosaur Paleoecology

    PubMed Central

    Noto, Christopher R.; Grossman, Ari

    2010-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2015-02-01

    In our first article1 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 that this effect is important for the geometry of the bone. We find that larger theropods (including Tyrannosaurus rex) were less athletic than smaller theropods.

  8. Water resources of Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado and Utah

    Sumsion, C.T.

    1976-01-01

    Dinosaur National Monument, partly in the Rocky Mountain System and partly in the Colorado Plateaus physiographic province, covers an area of 322 square miles (834 square kilometres) in northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah. The climate is generally cool and pleasant in May, early June, September, and October; winters are cold. Normal annual precipitation ranges from less than 8 to more than 16 inches (203 to 406 millimetres).Geologic formations in the monument range in age from upper Precambrian to Holocene, but not all ages are represented. The monument is on the south limb of the east-trending regional fold representing the Uinta Mountains. Faults and subsidary folds on the south slope of the Uinta Mountains complicate the geology and hydrology of the area.None of the surface streams in the monument are diverted for public supply, but the Green and Yampa Rivers are a recreational resource for boaters. The flow of the Green River is regulated by Flaming Gorge Reservoir; however, flood potentials are estimated for the Yampa River and three smaller streams. Facilities in the monument are not endangered by probable mean annual floods, but may sustain some damage to facilities by the 25- or 50-year floods.Major aquifers in the monument are sandstone and limestone formations, but these formations are drained in the higher areas. Alluvium along the major stream channels yields small amounts of water to wells, but some of the water is not of suitable chemical quality for public supply. All public water supplies in 1971 were obtained from wells, and the use of water during 1970 was estimated to be 15 million gallons (46 acre-feet or 0.057 cubic hectometres). Most of the ground water obtained from sandstone and limestone is of suitable chemical quality for public supply.

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

    SciT

    Eaton, J.G.; Kirkland, J.I.; Doi, K.

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

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

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:24297877

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-29

    D'Emic and Myhrvold raise a number of statistical and methodological issues with our recent analysis of dinosaur growth and energetics. However, their critiques and suggested improvements lack biological and statistical justification. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  15. Metric-Asaurus: Conceptualizing Scale Using Dinosaur Models

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Gunter, Nicole L; Weir, Tom A; Slipinksi, Adam; Bocak, Ladislav; Cameron, Stephen L

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewy, Zeev

    2017-10-01

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

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

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Chinsamy, Anusuya; Tumarkin-Deratzian, Allison

    2009-09-01

    We report on similar pathological bone microstructure in an extant turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and a nonavian dinosaur from Transylvania. Both these individuals exhibit distinctive periosteal reactive bone deposition accompanied by endosteal bone deposits in the medullary cavity. Our findings have direct implications on the two novel bone tissues recently described among nonavian dinosaurs, radial fibrolamellar bone tissue and medullary bone tissue. On the basis of the observed morphology of the periosteal reactive bone in the turkey vulture and the Transylvanian dinosaur, we propose that the radial fibrolamellar bone tissues observed in mature dinosaurs may have had a pathological origin. Our analysis also shows that on the basis of origin, location, and morphology, pathologically derived endosteal bone tissue can be similar to medullary bone tissues described in nonavian dinosaurs. As such, we caution the interpretation of all endosteally derived bone tissue as homologous to avian medullary bone. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-04-04

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

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

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

    1987-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Arbour, Victoria M; Currie, Philip J

    2015-10-01

    Ankylosaurid ankylosaurs were quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaurs with abundant dermal ossifications. They are best known for their distinctive tail club composed of stiff, interlocking vertebrae (the handle) and large, bulbous osteoderms (the knob), which may have been used as a weapon. However, tail clubs appear relatively late in the evolution of ankylosaurids, and seemed to have been present only in a derived clade of ankylosaurids during the last 20 million years of the Mesozoic Era. New evidence from mid Cretaceous fossils from China suggests that the evolution of the tail club occurred at least 40 million years earlier, and in a stepwise manner, with early ankylosaurids evolving handle-like vertebrae before the distal osteoderms enlarged and coossified to form a knob. © 2015 Anatomical Society.

  5. Magnesium and extinction of dinosaurs. Was magnesium deficit a major cause?

    PubMed

    Durlach, J

    1991-01-01

    Chinese researchers have recently demonstrated that, before the extinction of dinosaurs, there was an impressive lowering in the magnesium concentration of fossil dinosaur eggshell. The structural and functional importance of eggshell magnesium--mainly in the cone layer--for embryonic viability and hatchability of oviparous species supports the hypothesis that magnesium deficit may have had a direct role in dinosaur extinction. Conversely this low magnesium concentration seems a questionable marker of magnesium deficit. The natural forces involved in the extinction of dinosaurs are more likely to induce magnesium depletion than magnesium deficiency. These very interesting preliminary data call for further research.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-05-01

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

  7. Unexpected amino acid composition of modern Reptilia and its implications in molecular mechanisms of dinosaur extinction.

    PubMed

    Wang, Guang-Zhong; Ma, Bin-Guang; Yang, Yan; Zhang, Hong-Yu

    2005-08-12

    Dinosaur extinction is a great challenge to evolutionary biology. Although accumulating evidence suggests that an abrupt change of environment, such as a long period of low temperature induced by asteroid hit or other disasters, may be responsible for dinosaur extinction, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. By analyzing the amino acid compositions of 13 biological classes, we found that the charged amino acid content of modern Reptilia, the sibling of dinosaur, is strikingly different from those of other classes, which inspires us to propose a possible molecular mechanism for dinosaur extinction.

  8. Gradual Dinosaur Extinction and Simultaneous Ungulate Radiation in the Hell Creek Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sloan, Robert E.; Rigby, J. Keith; van Valen, Leigh M.; Gabriel, Diane

    1986-05-01

    Dinosaur extinction in Montana, Alberta, and Wyoming was a gradual process that began 7 million years before the end of the Cretaceous and accelerated rapidly in the final 0.3 million years of the Cretaceous, during the interval of apparent competition from rapidly evolving immigrating ungulates. This interval involves rapid reduction in both diversity and population density of dinosaurs. The last dinosaurs known are from a channel that contains teeth of Mantuan mammals, seven species of dinosaurs, and Paleocene pollen. The top of this channel is 1.3 meters above the likely position of the iridium anomaly, the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary.

  9. From Dinosaurs to Modern Bird Diversity: Extending the Time Scale of Adaptive Radiation

    PubMed Central

    Moen, Daniel; Morlon, Hélène

    2014-01-01

    What explains why some groups of organisms, like birds, are so species rich? And what explains their extraordinary ecological diversity, ranging from large, flightless birds to small migratory species that fly thousand of kilometers every year? These and similar questions have spurred great interest in adaptive radiation, the diversification of ecological traits in a rapidly speciating group of organisms. Although the initial formulation of modern concepts of adaptive radiation arose from consideration of the fossil record, rigorous attempts to identify adaptive radiation in the fossil record are still uncommon. Moreover, most studies of adaptive radiation concern groups that are less than 50 million years old. Thus, it is unclear how important adaptive radiation is over temporal scales that span much larger portions of the history of life. In this issue, Benson et al. test the idea of a “deep-time” adaptive radiation in dinosaurs, compiling and using one of the most comprehensive phylogenetic and body-size datasets for fossils. Using recent phylogenetic statistical methods, they find that in most clades of dinosaurs there is a strong signal of an “early burst” in body-size evolution, a predicted pattern of adaptive radiation in which rapid trait evolution happens early in a group's history and then slows down. They also find that body-size evolution did not slow down in the lineage leading to birds, hinting at why birds survived to the present day and diversified. This paper represents one of the most convincing attempts at understanding deep-time adaptive radiations. PMID:24802950

  10. Predation upon Hatchling Dinosaurs by a New Snake from the Late Cretaceous of India

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Jeffrey A.; Mohabey, Dhananjay M.; Peters, Shanan E.; Head, Jason J.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Fassett, J.E.

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Farke, Andrew A.; Maxwell, W. Desmond; Cifelli, Richard L.; Wedel, Mathew J.

    2014-01-01

    The fossil record for neoceratopsian (horned) dinosaurs in the Lower Cretaceous of North America primarily comprises isolated teeth and postcrania of limited taxonomic resolution, hampering previous efforts to reconstruct the early evolution of this group in North America. An associated cranium and lower jaw from the Cloverly Formation (?middle–late Albian, between 104 and 109 million years old) of southern Montana is designated as the holotype for Aquilops americanus gen. et sp. nov. Aquilops americanus is distinguished by several autapomorphies, including a strongly hooked rostral bone with a midline boss and an elongate and sharply pointed antorbital fossa. The skull in the only known specimen is comparatively small, measuring 84 mm between the tips of the rostral and jugal. The taxon is interpreted as a basal neoceratopsian closely related to Early Cretaceous Asian taxa, such as Liaoceratops and Auroraceratops. Biogeographically, A. americanus probably originated via a dispersal from Asia into North America; the exact route of this dispersal is ambiguous, although a Beringian rather than European route seems more likely in light of the absence of ceratopsians in the Early Cretaceous of Europe. Other amniote clades show similar biogeographic patterns, supporting an intercontinental migratory event between Asia and North America during the late Early Cretaceous. The temporal and geographic distribution of Upper Cretaceous neoceratopsians (leptoceratopsids and ceratopsoids) suggests at least intermittent connections between North America and Asia through the early Late Cretaceous, likely followed by an interval of isolation and finally reconnection during the latest Cretaceous. PMID:25494182

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-12-01

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

  14. Reassessment of the Evidence for Postcranial Skeletal Pneumaticity in Triassic Archosaurs, and the Early Evolution of the Avian Respiratory System

    PubMed Central

    Butler, Richard J.; Barrett, Paul M.; Gower, David J.

    2012-01-01

    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 been present

  15. Vascularised endosteal bone tissue in armoured sauropod dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Chinsamy, Anusuya; Cerda, Ignacio; Powell, Jaime

    2016-04-26

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

  16. Vascularised endosteal bone tissue in armoured sauropod dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Chinsamy, Anusuya; Cerda, Ignacio; Powell, Jaime

    2016-01-01

    The presence of well-vascularised, endosteal bone in the medullary region of long bones of nonavian dinosaurs has been invoked as being homologous to medullary bone, a specialised bone tissue formed during ovulation in birds. However, similar bone tissues can result as a pathological response in modern birds and in nonavian dinosaurs, and has also been reported in an immature nonavian dinosaur. Here we report on the occurrence of well-vascularised endosteally formed bone tissue in three skeletal elements of armoured titanosaur sauropods from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina: i) within the medullary cavity of a metatarsal, ii) inside a pneumatic cavity of a posterior caudal vertebra, iii) in intra-trabecular spaces in an osteoderm. We show that considering the criteria of location, origin (or development), and histology, these endosteally derived tissues in the saltasaurine titanosaurs could be described as either medullary bone or pathological bone. Furthermore, we show that similar endosteally formed well-vascularised bone tissue is fairly widely distributed among nondinosaurian Archosauriformes, and are not restricted to long bones, but can occur in the axial, and dermal skeleton. We propose that independent evidence is required to verify whether vascularised endosteal bone tissues in extinct archosaurs are pathological or reproductive in nature. PMID:27112710

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

    PubMed

    Myhrvold, Nathan P

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Turner, Derek D

    2016-02-01

    In earlier work, I predicted that we would probably not be able to determine the colors of the dinosaurs. I lost this epistemic bet against science in dramatic fashion when scientists discovered that it is possible to draw inferences about dinosaur coloration based on the microstructure of fossil feathers (Vinther et al., 2008). This paper is an exercise in philosophical error analysis. I examine this episode with two questions in mind. First, does this case lend any support to epistemic optimism about historical science? Second, under what conditions is it rational to make predictions about what questions scientists will or will not be able answer? In reply to the first question, I argue that the recent work on the colors of the dinosaurs matters less to the debate about the epistemology of historical science than it might seem. In reply to the second question, I argue that it is difficult to specify a policy that would rule out the failed bet without also being too conservative. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Dinosaur Metabolism and the Allometry of Maximum Growth Rate

    PubMed Central

    Myhrvold, Nathan P.

    2016-01-01

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

  20. Retrodeformation and muscular reconstruction of ornithomimosaurian dinosaur crania

    PubMed Central

    Rayfield, Emily J.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26213655

  1. Gigantism and comparative life-history parameters of tyrannosaurid dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Erickson, Gregory M; Makovicky, Peter J; Currie, Philip J; Norell, Mark A; Yerby, Scott A; Brochu, Christopher A

    2004-08-12

    How evolutionary changes in body size are brought about by variance in developmental timing and/or growth rates (also known as heterochrony) is a topic of considerable interest in evolutionary biology. In particular, extreme size change leading to gigantism occurred within the dinosaurs on multiple occasions. Whether this change was brought about by accelerated growth, delayed maturity or a combination of both processes is unknown. A better understanding of relationships between non-avian dinosaur groups and the newfound capacity to reconstruct their growth curves make it possible to address these questions quantitatively. Here we study growth patterns within the Tyrannosauridae, the best known group of large carnivorous dinosaurs, and determine the developmental means by which Tyrannosaurus rex, weighing 5,000 kg and more, grew to be one of the most enormous terrestrial carnivorous animals ever. T. rex had a maximal growth rate of 2.1 kg d(-1), reached skeletal maturity in two decades and lived for up to 28 years. T. rex's great stature was primarily attained by accelerating growth rates beyond that of its closest relatives.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-23

    The causes, rate, and selectivity of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction continue to be highly debated [1-5]. Extinction patterns in small, feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs (including birds) are important for understanding extant biodiversity and present an enigma considering the survival of crown group birds (Neornithes) and the extinction of their close kin across the end-Cretaceous boundary [6]. Because of the patchy Cretaceous fossil record of small maniraptorans [7-12], this important transition has not been closely examined in this group. Here, we test the hypothesis that morphological disparity in bird-like dinosaurs was decreasing leading up to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, as has been hypothesized in some dinosaurs [13, 14]. To test this, we examined tooth morphology, an ecological indicator in fossil reptiles [15-19], from over 3,100 maniraptoran teeth from four groups (Troodontidae, Dromaeosauridae, Richardoestesia, and cf. Aves) across the last 18 million years of the Cretaceous. We demonstrate that tooth disparity, a proxy for variation in feeding ecology, shows no significant decline leading up to the extinction event within any of the groups. Tooth morphospace occupation also remains static over this time interval except for increased size during the early Maastrichtian. Our data provide strong support that extinction within this group occurred suddenly after a prolonged period of ecological stability. To explain this sudden extinction of toothed maniraptorans and the survival of Neornithes, we propose that diet may have been an extinction filter and suggest that granivory associated with an edentulous beak was a key ecological trait in the survival of some lineages. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. An Exceptionally Preserved Three-Dimensional Armored Dinosaur Reveals Insights into Coloration and Cretaceous Predator-Prey Dynamics.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb M; Henderson, Donald M; Vinther, Jakob; Fletcher, Ian; Sistiaga, Ainara; Herrera, Jorsua; Summons, Roger E

    2017-08-21

    Predator-prey dynamics are an important evolutionary driver of escalating predation mode and efficiency, and commensurate responses of prey [1-3]. Among these strategies, camouflage is important for visual concealment, with countershading the most universally observed [4-6]. Extant terrestrial herbivores free of significant predation pressure, due to large size or isolation, do not exhibit countershading. Modern predator-prey dynamics may not be directly applicable to those of the Mesozoic due to the dominance of very large, visually oriented theropod dinosaurs [7]. Despite thyreophoran dinosaurs' possessing extensive dermal armor, some of the most extreme examples of anti-predator structures [8, 9], little direct evidence of predation on these and other dinosaur megaherbivores has been documented. Here we describe a new, exquisitely three-dimensionally preserved nodosaurid ankylosaur, Borealopelta markmitchelli gen. et sp. nov., from the Early Cretaceous of Alberta, which preserves integumentary structures as organic layers, including continuous fields of epidermal scales and intact horn sheaths capping the body armor. We identify melanin in the organic residues through mass spectroscopic analyses and observe lighter pigmentation of the large parascapular spines, consistent with display, and a pattern of countershading across the body. With an estimated body mass exceeding 1,300 kg, B. markmitchelli was much larger than modern terrestrial mammals that either are countershaded or experience significant predation pressure as adults. Presence of countershading suggests predation pressure strong enough to select for concealment in this megaherbivore despite possession of massive dorsal and lateral armor, illustrating a significant dichotomy between Mesozoic predator-prey dynamics and those of modern terrestrial systems. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  4. New Basal Iguanodonts from the Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah and the Evolution of Thumb-Spiked Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    McDonald, Andrew T.; Kirkland, James I.; DeBlieux, Donald D.; Madsen, Scott K.; Cavin, Jennifer; Milner, Andrew R. C.; Panzarin, Lukas

    2010-01-01

    Background Basal iguanodontian dinosaurs were extremely successful animals, found in great abundance and diversity almost worldwide during the Early Cretaceous. In contrast to Europe and Asia, the North American record of Early Cretaceous basal iguanodonts has until recently been limited largely to skulls and skeletons of Tenontosaurus tilletti. Methodology/Principal Findings Herein we describe two new basal iguanodonts from the Yellow Cat Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation of eastern Utah, each known from a partial skull and skeleton. Iguanacolossus fortis gen. et sp. nov. and Hippodraco scutodens gen. et sp. nov. are each diagnosed by a single autapomorphy and a unique combination of characters. Conclusions/Significance Iguanacolossus and Hippodraco add greatly to our knowledge of North American basal iguanodonts and prompt a new comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of basal iguanodont relationships. This analysis indicates that North American Early Cretaceous basal iguanodonts are more basal than their contemporaries in Europe and Asia. PMID:21124919

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-15

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

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

    PubMed

    Bellardini, Flavio; Cerda, Ignacio A

    2017-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellardini, Flavio; Cerda, Ignacio A.

    2017-02-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26741567

  12. Bone microstructure and developmental plasticity in birds and other dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Starck, J Matthias; Chinsamy, Anusuya

    2002-12-01

    Patterns of bone microstructure have frequently been used to deduce dynamics and processes of growth in extant and fossil tetrapods. Often, the various types of primary bone tissue have been associated with different bone deposition rates and more recently such deductions have extended to patterns observed in dinosaur bone microstructure. These previous studies are challenged by the findings of the current research, which integrates an experimental neontological approach and a paleontological comparison. We use tetracycline labeling and morphometry to study the variability of bone deposition rates in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) growing under different experimental conditions. We compare resulting patterns in bone microstructure with those found in fossil birds and other dinosaurs. We found that a single type of primary bone varies significantly in rates of growth in response to environmental conditions. Ranging between 10-50 microm per day, rates of growth overlap with the full range of bone deposition rates that were previously associated with different patterns of bone histology. Bone formation rate was significantly affected by environmental/experimental conditions, skeletal element, and age. In the quail, the experimental conditions did not result in formation of lines of arrested growth (LAGs). Because of the observed variation of bone deposition rates in response to variation in environmental conditions, we conclude that bone deposition rates measured in extant birds cannot simply be extrapolated to their fossil relatives. Additionally, we observe the variable incidence of LAGs and annuli among several dinosaur species, including fossil birds, extant sauropsids, as well as nonmammalian synapsids, and some extant mammals. This suggests that the ancestral condition of the response of bone to environmental conditions was variable. We propose that such developmental plasticity in modern birds may be reduced in association with the shortened developmental

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-14

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

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

    PubMed

    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

  15. Reworking of Cretaceous dinosaurs into Paleocene channel deposits, upper Hell Creek Formation, Montana

    SciT

    Lofgren, D.L.; Hotton, C.L.; Runkel, A.C.

    1990-09-01

    Dinosaur teeth from Paleocene channel fills have been interpreted as indicating dinosaur survival into the Paleocene. However, enormous potential for reworking exists because these records are restricted to large channel fills that are deeply incised into Cretaceous strata. Identification of reworked fossils is usually equivocal. This problem is illustrated by the Black Spring Coulee channel fill, a dinosaur-bearing Paleocene deposit in the upper Hell Creek Formation of eastern Montana. In this example, the reworked nature of well-preserved dinosaur bones is apparent only after detailed sedimentological and palynological analysis. Because of the potential for reworking, dinosaur remains derived from Paleocene fluvialmore » deposits should not be assigned a Paleocene age unless the (1) are found in floodplain deposits, (2) are articulated, (3) are in channels that do not incise Cretaceous strata, or (4) are demonstrably reworked from Paleocene deposits. To date, reports of Paleocene dinosaurs do not fulfill any of these criteria. Thus, the proposal that dinosaurs persisted into the Paleocene remains unsubstantiated.« less

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

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

    2003-01-01

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

  17. Predatory Dinosaurs from the Sahara and Late Cretaceous Faunal Differentiation

    PubMed

    Sereno; Dutheil; Iarochene; Larsson; Lyon; Magwene; Sidor; Varricchio; Wilson

    1996-05-17

    Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian) fossils discovered in the Kem Kem region of Morocco include large predatory dinosaurs that inhabited Africa as it drifted into geographic isolation. One, represented by a skull approximately 1.6 meters in length, is an advanced allosauroid referable to the African genus Carcharodontosaurus. Another, represented by a partial skeleton with slender proportions, is a new basal coelurosaur closely resembling the Egyptian genus Bahariasaurus. Comparisons with Cretaceous theropods from other continents reveal a previously unrecognized global radiation of carcharodontosaurid predators. Substantial geographic differentiation of dinosaurian faunas in response to continental drift appears to have arisen abruptly at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous.

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  2. Out of the Box Thinking: Kinematics from a 163 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Trackway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2012-02-01

    Dinosaurs always grab the interest of students. Information about dinosaur locomotion is accessible from the trackways they left. In a unique connection to kinematics, evidence of the acceleration of a meat-eating dinosaur (theropod) is evident in Trackway 13 in Ardley Quarry in Oxfordshire, UK. This particular trackway is described by J.J. Day, D.B. Norman, P. Upchuch and H.P. Powell in Vol. 415 of Nature on pages 494 and 495, published in 2002. This particular theropod underwent an acceleration of about g/3. This example provides a fun and engaging exercise for students studying kinematics.

  3. Reanalysis of “Raptorex kriegsteini”: A Juvenile Tyrannosaurid Dinosaur from Mongolia

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    The carnivorous Tyrannosauridae are among the most iconic dinosaurs: typified by large body size, tiny forelimbs, and massive robust skulls with laterally thickened teeth. The recently described small-bodied tyrannosaurid Raptorex kreigsteini is exceptional as its discovery proposes that many of the distinctive anatomical traits of derived tyrannosaurids were acquired in the Early Cretaceous, before the evolution of large body size. This inference depends on two core interpretations: that the holotype (LH PV18) derives from the Lower Cretaceous of China, and that despite its small size, it is a subadult or young adult. Here we show that the published data is equivocal regarding stratigraphic position and that ontogenetic reanalysis shows there is no reason to conclude that LH PV18 has reached this level of maturity. The probable juvenile status of LH PV18 makes its use as a holotype unreliable, since diagnostic features of Raptorex may be symptomatic of its immature status, rather than its actual phylogenetic position. These findings are consistent with the original sale description of LH PV18 as a juvenile Tarbosaurus from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia. Consequently, we suggest that there is currently no evidence to support the conclusion that tyrannosaurid skeletal design first evolved in the Early Cretaceous at small body size. PMID:21738646

  4. Histological evidence for a supraspinous ligament in sauropod dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-01

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

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

    SciT

    Dorr, J.A. Jr.

    1983-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Rieppel, Lukas

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Identification of the ontogenetic status of an extinct organism is complex, and yet this underpins major areas of research, from taxonomy and systematics to ecology and evolution. In the case of the non-avialan dinosaurs, at least some were reproductively mature before they were skeletally mature, and a lack of consensus on how to define an ‘adult’ animal causes problems for even basic scientific investigations. Here we review the current methods available to determine the age of non-avialan dinosaurs, discuss the definitions of different ontogenetic stages, and summarize the implications of these disparate definitions for dinosaur palaeontology. Most critically, a growing body of evidence suggests that many dinosaurs that would be considered ‘adults’ in a modern-day field study are considered ‘juveniles’ or ‘subadults’ in palaeontological contexts. PMID:26888916

  11. A new basal hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Uzbekistan and the early radiation of duck-billed dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Sues, Hans-Dieter; Averianov, Alexander

    2009-07-22

    Levnesovia transoxiana gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Cretaceous (Middle-Late Turonian) of Uzbekistan, is the oldest well-documented taxon referable to Hadrosauroidea sensu Godefroit et al. It differs from a somewhat younger and closely related Bactrosaurus from Inner Mongolia (China) by a tall sagittal crest on the parietals and the absence of club-shaped dorsal neural spines in adult specimens. Levnesovia, Bactrosaurus and possibly Gilmoreosaurus represent the earliest radiation of Hadrosauroidea, which took place during the Cenomanian-Turonian and possibly in North America. The second, Santonian-age radiation of Hadrosauroidea included Aralosaurus, Hadrosauridae and lineages leading to Tanius (Campanian) and Telmatosaurus (Maastrichtian). Hadrosauridae appears to be monophyletic, but Hadrosaurinae and Lambeosaurinae originated in North America and Asia, respectively.

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

    PubMed Central

    2018-01-01

    Assessments of dinosaur macroevolution at any given time can be biased by the historical publication record. Recent studies have analysed patterns in dinosaur diversity that are based on secular variations in the numbers of published taxa. Many of these have employed a range of approaches that account for changes in the shape of the taxonomic abundance curve, which are largely dependent on databases compiled from the primary published literature. However, how these ‘corrected’ diversity patterns are influenced by the history of publication remains largely unknown. Here, we investigate the influence of publication history between 1991 and 2015 on our understanding of dinosaur evolution using raw diversity estimates and shareholder quorum subsampling for the three major subgroups: Ornithischia, Sauropodomorpha, and Theropoda. We find that, while sampling generally improves through time, there remain periods and regions in dinosaur evolutionary history where diversity estimates are highly volatile (e.g. the latest Jurassic of Europe, the mid-Cretaceous of North America, and the Late Cretaceous of South America). Our results show that historical changes in database compilation can often substantially influence our interpretations of dinosaur diversity. ‘Global’ estimates of diversity based on the fossil record are often also based on incomplete, and distinct regional signals, each subject to their own sampling history. Changes in the record of taxon abundance distribution, either through discovery of new taxa or addition of existing taxa to improve sampling evenness, are important in improving the reliability of our interpretations of dinosaur diversity. Furthermore, the number of occurrences and newly identified dinosaurs is still rapidly increasing through time, suggesting that it is entirely possible for much of what we know about dinosaurs at the present to change within the next 20 years. PMID:29479504

  13. Ecological Interactions in Dinosaur Communities: Influences of Small Offspring and Complex Ontogenetic Life Histories

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    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.

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

    SciT

    Dunham, A.E.; Overall, K.L.; Forster, C.A.

    1988-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    SciT

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

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-06-01

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

  19. Constructing Seasonal Climograph Overlap Envelopes from Holocene Packrat Midden Contents, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharpe, Saxon E.

    2002-05-01

    Five Neotoma spp. (packrat) middens are analyzed from Sand Canyon Alcove, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado. Plant remains in middens dated at approximately 9870, 9050, 8460, 3000, and 0 14C yr B.P. are used to estimate Holocene seasonal temperature and precipitation values based on modern plant tolerances published by Thompson et al. (1999a, 1999b). Early Holocene vegetation at the alcove shows a transition from a cool/mesic to a warmer, more xeric community between 9050 and 8460 14C yr B.P. Picea pungens, Pinus flexilis, and Juniperus communis exhibit an average minimum elevational displacement of 215 m. Picea pungens and Pinus flexilis are no longer found in the monument. Estimates based on modern plant parameters (Thompson et al., 1999a) suggest that average temperatures at 9870 14C yr B.P. may have been at least 1° to 3°C colder in January and no greater than 3° to 10°C colder in July than modern at this site. Precipitation during this time may have been at least 2 times modern in January and 2 to 3 times modern in July. Discrepancies in estimated temperature and precipitation tolerances between last occurrence and first occurrence taxa in the midden record suggest that midden assemblages may include persisting relict vegetation.

  20. A new giant titanosaur sheds light on body mass evolution among sauropod dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Carballido, José L; Pol, Diego; Otero, Alejandro; Cerda, Ignacio A; Salgado, Leonardo; Garrido, Alberto C; Ramezani, Jahandar; Cúneo, Néstor R; Krause, Javier M

    2017-08-16

    Titanosauria was the most diverse and successful lineage of sauropod dinosaurs. This clade had its major radiation during the middle Early Cretaceous and survived up to the end of that period. Among sauropods, this lineage has the most disparate values of body mass, including the smallest and largest sauropods known. Although recent findings have improved our knowledge on giant titanosaur anatomy, there are still many unknown aspects about their evolution, especially for the most gigantic forms and the evolution of body mass in this clade. Here we describe a new giant titanosaur, which represents the largest species described so far and one of the most complete titanosaurs. Its inclusion in an extended phylogenetic analysis and the optimization of body mass reveals the presence of an endemic clade of giant titanosaurs inhabited Patagonia between the Albian and the Santonian. This clade includes most of the giant species of titanosaurs and represents the major increase in body mass in the history of Titanosauria. © 2017 The Author(s).

  1. Deep faunistic turnovers preceded the rise of dinosaurs in southwestern Pangaea.

    PubMed

    Ezcurra, Martín D; Fiorelli, Lucas E; Martinelli, Agustín G; Rocher, Sebastián; von Baczko, M Belén; Ezpeleta, Miguel; Taborda, Jeremías R A; Hechenleitner, E Martín; Trotteyn, M Jimena; Desojo, Julia B

    2017-10-01

    The Triassic period documents the origin and diversification of modern amniote lineages and the Late Triassic fossil record of South America has been crucial to shed light on these early evolutionary histories. However, the faunistic changes that led to the establishment of Late Triassic ecosystems are largely ignored because of the global scarcity of fossils from assemblages a few million years older. Here we contribute to fill this gap with the description of a new tetrapod assemblage from the lowermost levels of the Chañares Formation (uppermost Middle-lower Late Triassic epochs) of Argentina, which is older than the other vertebrate assemblages of the same basin. The new assemblage is composed of therapsids, rhynchosaurids and archosaurs, and clearly differs from that of the immediately overlying and well-known historical Chañares vertebrate assemblage. The new tetrapod association is part of a phase of relatively rapidly changing vertebrate assemblage compositions, in a time span shorter than 6 million years, before the diversification of dinosaurs and other common Late Triassic tetrapods in southwestern Pangaea.

  2. Impact of Sauropod Dinosaurs on Lagoonal Substrates in the Broome Sandstone (Lower Cretaceous), Western Australia

    PubMed Central

    Thulborn, Tony

    2012-01-01

    Existing knowledge of the tracks left by sauropod dinosaurs (loosely ‘brontosaurs’) is essentially two-dimensional, derived mainly from footprints exposed on bedding planes, but examples in the Broome Sandstone (Early Cretaceous) of Western Australia provide a complementary three-dimensional picture showing the extent to which walking sauropods could deform the ground beneath their feet. The patterns of deformation created by sauropods traversing thinly-stratified lagoonal deposits of the Broome Sandstone are unprecedented in their extent and structural complexity. The stacks of transmitted reliefs (underprints or ghost prints) beneath individual footfalls are nested into a hierarchy of deeper and more inclusive basins and troughs which eventually attain the size of minor tectonic features. Ultimately the sauropod track-makers deformed the substrate to such an extent that they remodelled the topography of the landscape they inhabited. Such patterns of substrate deformation are revealed by investigating fragmentary and eroded footprints, not by the conventional search for pristine footprints on intact bedding planes. For that reason it is not known whether similar patterns of substrate deformation might occur at sauropod track-sites elsewhere in the world. PMID:22662116

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

    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.

  4. Tipsy punters: sauropod dinosaur pneumaticity, buoyancy and aquatic habits.

    PubMed

    Henderson, Donald M

    2004-05-07

    Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest terrestrial animals to have ever existed, and are difficult to interpret as living animals owing to their lack of living descendants. With computer models that employ the basic physics of buoyancy and equilibrium, it is possible to investigate how the bodies of these animals would have reacted when immersed in water. Multi-tonne sauropods are found to be extremely buoyant and unstable in water when aspects of their probable respiratory anatomy are considered, which obviates the old problem of them being unable to breathe when fully immersed. Interpretations of 'manus-only' trackways made by floating sauropods will depend on the details of buoyancy as not all sauropods float in the same manner.

  5. Hearts, neck posture and metabolic intensity of sauropod dinosaurs.

    PubMed Central

    Seymour, R S; Lillywhite, H B

    2000-01-01

    Hypothesized upright neck postures in sauropod dinosaurs require systemic arterial blood pressures reaching 700 mmHg at the heart. Recent data on ventricular wall stress indicate that their left ventricles would have weighed 15 times those of similarly sized whales. Such dimensionally, energetically and mechanically disadvantageous ventricles were highly unlikely in an endothermic sauropod. Accessory hearts or a siphon mechanism, with sub-atmospheric blood pressures in the head, were also not feasible. If the blood flow requirements of sauropods were typical of ectotherms, the left-ventricular blood volume and mass would have been smaller; nevertheless, the heart would have suffered the serious mechanical disadvantage of thick walls. It is doubtful that any large sauropod could have raised its neck vertically and endured high arterial blood pressure, and it certainly could not if it had high metabolic rates characteristic of endotherms. PMID:11052540

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Rieppel, Lukas

    2012-09-01

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

  9. The cranial anatomy of the neornithischian dinosaur Thescelosaurus neglectus

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brecher, K.

    1997-12-01

    Gamma-ray bursts now appear to be primarily of extragalactic origin. Statistically, assuming isotropic emission, the observed event rates and fluxes imply that one event occurs per 10(4) \\ - 10(6) \\ years per galaxy, with about 10(51) \\ - 10(53) \\ ergs in gamma-rays emitted per event. Unless the Milky Way is unusual, a gamma-ray burst should occur within 10(2) \\ - 10(3) \\ pc of the Sun in a time span of order 10(8) \\ years. Independent of the underlying cause of the event, it would irradiate the solar system with a brief flash of MeV gamma-rays with a fluence as large as 10(9) - 10(11) \\ erg cm(-2) . What is the effect of such an event on the Earth and objects nearby? Ruderman (\\underbar{Science}, 184, 1079, 1974) and subsequent authors have considered a number of effects of a flash of gamma-rays from a nearby supernova explosion on the Earth's atmosphere, and on its biota. However, with regard to the demise of the dinosaurs, it appears that there was a marked increase in the deposition rate of the rare earth iridium coincident with their extinction. For this reason, an asteroid-Earth impact has been considered the leading contender for the death of the dinosaurs. Here we consider a new mechanism for mass biological extinctions, caused by small comets nudged into the inner solar system by nearby gamma-ray bursts. If comets populate the Oort cloud with a wide distribution of masses, radii and orbital eccentricities, we find that small (< 1 km), low density (10(-2) \\ gm cm(-3) ) objects in highly eccentric orbits can be injected into the inner solar system by a nearby gamma-ray burst. For a relatively brief period of time, the near Earth comet population would increase dramatically. The consequent increased probability of comet-Earth impacts of appropriate energy and material content could account for many of the characteristics of the Cretaceous-Tertiary or other terrestrial mass biological extinctions.

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

    PubMed

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Seymour, Roger S

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Seymour, Roger S.

    2013-01-01

    Inertial homeothermy, the maintenance of a relatively constant body temperature that occurs simply because of large size, is often applied to large dinosaurs. Moreover, biophysical modelling and actual measurements show that large crocodiles can behaviourally achieve body temperatures above 30°C. Therefore it is possible that some dinosaurs could achieve high and stable body temperatures without the high energy cost of typical endotherms. However it is not known whether an ectothermic dinosaur could produce the equivalent amount of muscular power as an endothermic one. To address this question, this study analyses maximal power output from measured aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in burst exercising estuarine crocodiles, Crocodylusporosus , weighing up to 200 kg. These results are compared with similar data from endothermic mammals. A 1 kg crocodile at 30°C produces about 16 watts from aerobic and anaerobic energy sources during the first 10% of exhaustive activity, which is 57% of that expected for a similarly sized mammal. A 200 kg crocodile produces about 400 watts, or only 14% of that for a mammal. Phosphocreatine is a minor energy source, used only in the first seconds of exercise and of similar concentrations in reptiles and mammals. Ectothermic crocodiles lack not only the absolute power for exercise, but also the endurance, that are evident in endothermic mammals. Despite the ability to achieve high and fairly constant body temperatures, therefore, large, ectothermic, crocodile-like dinosaurs would have been competitively inferior to endothermic, mammal-like dinosaurs with high aerobic power. Endothermy in dinosaurs is likely to explain their dominance over mammals in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Mesozoic. PMID:23861968

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

  17. First diagnosis of septic arthritis in a dinosaur.

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  18. The phylogeny and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brusatte, Stephen L.; Carr, Thomas D.

    2016-02-01

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

  19. Incubation behaviours of oviraptorosaur dinosaurs in relation to body size.

    PubMed

    Tanaka, Kohei; Zelenitsky, Darla K; Lü, Junchang; DeBuhr, Christopher L; Yi, Laiping; Jia, Songhai; Ding, Fang; Xia, Mengli; Liu, Di; Shen, Caizhi; Chen, Rongjun

    2018-05-01

    Most birds sit on their eggs during incubation, a behaviour that likely evolved among non-avian dinosaurs. Several 'brooding' specimens of smaller species of oviraptorosaurs and troodontids reveal these non-avian theropods sat on their eggs, although little is known of incubation behaviour in larger theropod species. Here we examine egg clutches over a large body size range of oviraptorosaurs in order to understand the potential effect of body size on incubation behaviour. Eggshell porosity indicates that the eggs of all oviraptorosaurs were exposed in the nest, similar to brooding birds. Although all oviraptorosaur clutches consist of radially arranged eggs in a ring configuration, clutch morphology varies in that the central opening is small or absent in the smallest species, becomes significantly larger in larger species, and occupies most of the nest area in giant species. Our results suggest that the smallest oviraptorosaurs probably sat directly on the eggs, whereas with increasing body size more weight was likely carried by the central opening, reducing or eliminating the load on the eggs and still potentially allowing for some contact during incubation in giant species. This adaptation, not seen in birds, appears to remove the body size constraints of incubation behaviour in giant oviraptorosaurs. © 2018 The Author(s).

  20. First diagnosis of septic arthritis in a dinosaur

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-08-01

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

  1. Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-05-01

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

  2. The phylogeny and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Brusatte, Stephen L; Carr, Thomas D

    2016-02-02

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-15

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  6. The phylogeny and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Brusatte, Stephen L.; Carr, Thomas D.

    2016-01-01

    Tyrannosauroids—the group of carnivores including Tyrannosaurs rex—are some of the most familiar dinosaurs of all. A surge of recent discoveries has helped clarify some aspects of their evolution, but competing phylogenetic hypotheses raise questions about their relationships, biogeography, and fossil record quality. We present a new phylogenetic dataset, which merges published datasets and incorporates recently discovered taxa. We analyze it with parsimony and, for the first time for a tyrannosauroid dataset, Bayesian techniques. The parsimony and Bayesian results are highly congruent, and provide a framework for interpreting the biogeography and evolutionary history of tyrannosauroids. Our phylogenies illustrate that the body plan of the colossal species evolved piecemeal, imply no clear division between northern and southern species in western North America as had been argued, and suggest that T. rex may have been an Asian migrant to North America. Over-reliance on cranial shape characters may explain why published parsimony studies have diverged and filling three major gaps in the fossil record holds the most promise for future work. PMID:26830019

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

    PubMed Central

    Rehemtulla, Alnawaz

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-20

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-11-17

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

  11. The earliest known titanosauriform sauropod dinosaur and the evolution of Brachiosauridae

    PubMed Central

    Moine, Olivier

    2017-01-01

    Brachiosauridae is a clade of titanosauriform sauropod dinosaurs that includes the well-known Late Jurassic taxa Brachiosaurus and Giraffatitan. However, there is disagreement over the brachiosaurid affinities of most other taxa, and little consensus regarding the clade’s composition or inter-relationships. An unnamed partial sauropod skeleton was collected from middle–late Oxfordian (early Late Jurassic) deposits in Damparis, in the Jura department of eastern France, in 1934. Since its brief description in 1943, this specimen has been informally known in the literature as the ‘Damparis sauropod’ and ‘French Bothriospondylus’, and has been considered a brachiosaurid by most authors. If correctly identified, this would make the specimen the earliest known titanosauriform. Coupled with its relatively complete nature and the rarity of Oxfordian sauropod remains in general, this is an important specimen for understanding the early evolution of Titanosauriformes. Full preparation and description of this specimen, known from teeth, vertebrae and most of the appendicular skeleton of a single individual, recognises it as a distinct taxon: Vouivria damparisensis gen. et sp. nov. Phylogenetic analysis of a data matrix comprising 77 taxa (including all putative brachiosaurids) scored for 416 characters recovers a fairly well resolved Brachiosauridae. Vouivria is a basal brachiosaurid, confirming its status as the stratigraphically oldest known titanosauriform. Brachiosauridae consists of a paraphyletic array of Late Jurassic forms, with Europasaurus, Vouivria and Brachiosaurus recovered as successively more nested genera that lie outside of a clade comprising (Giraffatitan + Sonorasaurus) + (Lusotitan + (Cedarosaurus + Venenosaurus)). Abydosaurus forms an unresolved polytomy with the latter five taxa. The Early Cretaceous South American sauropod Padillasaurus was previously regarded as a brachiosaurid, but is here placed within Somphospondyli. A recent study

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Mallon, Jordan C; Anderson, Jason S

    2014-01-01

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

  15. The Functional and Palaeoecological Implications of Tooth Morphology and Wear for the Megaherbivorous Dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada

    PubMed Central

    Mallon, Jordan C.; Anderson, Jason S.

    2014-01-01

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

  16. Paleoneuroanatomy of the European lambeosaurine dinosaur Arenysaurus ardevoli

    PubMed Central

    Fortuny, J; Llacer, S; Canudo, JI

    2015-01-01

    The neuroanatomy of hadrosaurid dinosaurs is well known from North America and Asia. In Europe only a few cranial remains have been recovered that include the braincase. Arenysaurus is the first European endocast for which the paleoneuroanatomy has been studied. The resulting data have enabled us to draw ontogenetic, phylogenetic and functional inferences. Arenysaurus preserves the endocast and the inner ear. This cranial material was CT scanned, and a 3D-model was generated. The endocast morphology supports a general pattern for hadrosaurids with some characters that distinguish it to a subfamily level, such as a brain cavity that is anteroposteriorly shorter or the angle of the major axis of the cerebral hemisphere to the horizontal in lambeosaurines. Both these characters are present in the endocast of Arenysaurus. Osteological features indicate an adult ontogenetic stage, while some paleoneuroanatomical features are indicative of a subadult ontogenetic stage. It is hypothesized that the presence of puzzling mixture of characters that suggest different ontogenetic stages for this specimen may reflect some degree of dwarfism in Arenysaurus. Regarding the inner ear, its structure shows differences from the ornithopod clade with respect to the height of the semicircular canals. These differences could lead to a decrease in the compensatory movements of eyes and head, with important implications for the paleobiology and behavior of hadrosaurid taxa such as Edmontosaurus, Parasaurolophus and Arenysaurus. The endocranial morphology of European hadrosaurids sheds new light on the evolution of this group and may reflect the conditions in the archipelago where these animals lived during the Late Cretaceous. PMID:25755931

  17. Restoring Maximum Vertical Browsing Reach in Sauropod Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Paul, Gregory S

    2017-10-01

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

  18. Paleoneuroanatomy of the European lambeosaurine dinosaur Arenysaurus ardevoli.

    PubMed

    Cruzado-Caballero, P; Fortuny, J; Llacer, S; Canudo, Ji

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Persons, W Scott; Currie, Philip J

    2017-05-07

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-06

    Among living vertebrates, soft tissues are responsible for labile appendages (combs, wattles, proboscides) that are critical for activities ranging from locomotion to sexual display [1]. However, soft tissues rarely fossilize, and such soft-tissue appendages are unknown for many extinct taxa, including dinosaurs. Here we report a remarkable "mummified" specimen of the hadrosaurid dinosaur Edmontosaurus regalis from the latest Cretaceous Wapiti Formation, Alberta, Canada, that preserves a three-dimensional cranial crest (or "comb") composed entirely of soft tissue. Previously, crest function has centered on the hypertrophied nasal passages of lambeosaurine hadrosaurids, which acted as resonance chambers during vocalization [2-4]. The fleshy comb in Edmontosaurus necessitates an alternative explanation most likely related to either social signaling or sexual selection [5-7]. This discovery provides the first view of bizarre, soft-tissue signaling structures in a dinosaur and provides additional evidence for social behavior. Crest evolution within Hadrosaurinae apparently culminated in the secondary loss of the bony crest at the terminal Cretaceous; however, the new specimen indicates that cranial ornamentation was in fact not lost but substituted in Edmontosaurus by a fleshy display structure. It also implies that visual display played a key role in the evolution of hadrosaurine crests and raises the possibility of similar soft-tissue structures among other dinosaurs. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2017-01-01

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

  2. Nest substrate reflects incubation style in extant archosaurs with implications for dinosaur nesting habits.

    PubMed

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

    2018-03-15

    Dinosaurs thrived and reproduced in various regions worldwide, including the Arctic. In order to understand their nesting in diverse or extreme environments, the relationships between nests, nesting environments, and incubation methods in extant archosaurs were investigated. Statistical analyses reveal that species of extant covered nesters (i.e., crocodylians and megapodes) preferentially select specific sediments/substrates as a function of their nesting style and incubation heat sources. Relationships between dinosaur eggs and the sediments in which they occur reveal that hadrosaurs and some sauropods (i.e., megaloolithid eggs) built organic-rich mound nests that relied on microbial decay for incubation, whereas other sauropods (i.e., faveoloolithid eggs) built sandy in-filled hole nests that relied on solar or potentially geothermal heat for incubation. Paleogeographic distribution of mound nests and sandy in-filled hole nests in dinosaurs reveals these nest types produced sufficient incubation heat to be successful up to mid latitudes (≤47°), 10° higher than covered nesters today. However, only mound nesting and likely brooding could have produced sufficient incubation heat for nesting above the polar circle (>66°). As a result, differences in nesting styles may have placed restrictions on the reproduction of dinosaurs and their dispersal at high latitudes.

  3. The origin of the bird's beak: new insights from dinosaur incubation periods.

    PubMed

    Yang, Tzu-Ruei; Sander, P Martin

    2018-05-01

    The toothless beak of modern birds was considered as an adaption for feeding ecology; however, several recent studies suggested that developmental factors are also responsible for the toothless beak. Neontological and palaeontological studies have progressively uncovered how birds evolved toothless beaks and suggested that the multiple occurrences of complete edentulism in non-avian dinosaurs were the result of selection for specialized diets. Although developmental biology and ecological factors are not mutually exclusive, the conventional hypothesis that ecological factors account for the toothless beak appears insufficient. A recent study on dinosaur incubation period using embryonic teeth posited that tooth formation rate limits developmental speed, constraining toothed dinosaur incubation to slow reptilian rates. We suggest that selection for tooth loss was a side effect of selection for fast embryo growth and thus shorter incubation. This observation would also explain the multiple occurrences of tooth loss and beaks in non-avian dinosaur taxa crownward of Tyrannosaurus Whereas our hypothesis is an observation without any experimental supports, more studies of gene regulation of tooth formation in embryos would allow testing for the trade-off between incubation period and tooth development. © 2018 The Author(s).

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Whether dinosaurs were in a long-term decline or whether they were reigning strong right up to their final disappearance at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event 66 Mya has been debated for decades with no clear resolution. The dispute has continued unresolved because of a lack of statistical rigor and appropriate evolutionary framework. Here, for the first time to our knowledge, we apply a Bayesian phylogenetic approach to model the evolutionary dynamics of speciation and extinction through time in Mesozoic dinosaurs, properly taking account of previously ignored statistical violations. We find overwhelming support for a long-term decline across all dinosaurs and within all three dinosaurian subclades (Ornithischia, Sauropodomorpha, and Theropoda), where speciation rate slowed down through time and was ultimately exceeded by extinction rate tens of millions of years before the K-Pg boundary. The only exceptions to this general pattern are the morphologically specialized herbivores, the Hadrosauriformes and Ceratopsidae, which show rapid species proliferations throughout the Late Cretaceous instead. Our results highlight that, despite some heterogeneity in speciation dynamics, dinosaurs showed a marked reduction in their ability to replace extinct species with new ones, making them vulnerable to extinction and unable to respond quickly to and recover from the final catastrophic event. PMID:27092007

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-23

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-03

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Given the physiological limits to egg size, large-bodied non-avian dinosaurs experienced some of the most extreme shifts in size during postnatal ontogeny found in terrestrial vertebrate systems. In contrast, mammals—the other dominant vertebrate group since the Mesozoic—have less complex ontogenies. Here, we develop a model that quantifies the impact of size-specific interspecies competition on abundances of differently sized dinosaurs and mammals, taking into account the extended niche breadth realized during ontogeny among large oviparous species. Our model predicts low diversity at intermediate size classes (between approx. 1 and 1000 kg), consistent with observed diversity distributions of dinosaurs, and of Mesozoic land vertebrates in general. It also provides a mechanism—based on an understanding of different ecological and evolutionary constraints across vertebrate groups—that explains how mammals and birds, but not dinosaurs, were able to persist beyond the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) boundary, and how post-K–T mammals were able to diversify into larger size categories. PMID:22513279

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Klein, Jeanne M.

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

  9. Journey to the end of the dinosaur era: A society expedition to Belize

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ocampo, Adriana

    1995-01-01

    The impact of the extraterrestrial object that formed the Chicxulub crater in the northwestern Yucatan peninsula of Mexico is the leading suspect for the extinction of the dinosaurs. This article reports on a Planetary Society expedition to Albion Island in the Rio Hondo region of Belize to investigate evidence supporting the impact theory.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pate, Monique

    2009-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moore, Randy

    2014-01-01

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

  13. What are Theories For? Concept Use throughout the Continuum of Dinosaur Expertise

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Kathy E.; Scott, Paul; Mervis, Carolyn B.

    2004-01-01

    Although it is now well established that object concepts are situated within broader systems of theoretical knowledge, it is less clear how theories influence the use of object concepts at various points throughout the continuum of expertise. Two studies were conducted to investigate the impact of specific theories (concerning dinosaurs) and…

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakamoto, Manabu; Benton, Michael J.

    2016-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sander, P Martin

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Sander, P. Martin

    2013-01-01

    Sauropod dinosaurs are a group of herbivorous dinosaurs which exceeded all other terrestrial vertebrates in mean and maximal body size. Sauropod dinosaurs were also the most successful and long-lived herbivorous tetrapod clade, but no abiological factors such as global environmental parameters conducive to their gigantism can be identified. These facts justify major efforts by evolutionary biologists and paleontologists to understand sauropods as living animals and to explain their evolutionary success and uniquely gigantic body size. Contributions to this research program have come from many fields and can be synthesized into a biological evolutionary cascade model of sauropod dinosaur gigantism (sauropod gigantism ECM). This review focuses on the sauropod gigantism ECM, providing an updated version based on the contributions to the PLoS ONE sauropod gigantism collection and on other very recent published evidence. The model consist of five separate evolutionary cascades (“Reproduction”, “Feeding”, “Head and neck”, “Avian-style lung”, and “Metabolism”). Each cascade starts with observed or inferred basal traits that either may be plesiomorphic or derived at the level of Sauropoda. Each trait confers hypothetical selective advantages which permit the evolution of the next trait. Feedback loops in the ECM consist of selective advantages originating from traits higher in the cascades but affecting lower traits. All cascades end in the trait “Very high body mass”. Each cascade is linked to at least one other cascade. Important plesiomorphic traits of sauropod dinosaurs that entered the model were ovipary as well as no mastication of food. Important evolutionary innovations (derived traits) were an avian-style respiratory system and an elevated basal metabolic rate. Comparison with other tetrapod lineages identifies factors limiting body size. PMID:24205267

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  19. Implications of Airflow Dynamics and Soft-Tissue Reconstructions for the Heat Exchange Potential of Dinosaur Nasal Passages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bourke, Jason Michael

    This study seeks to restore the internal anatomy within the nasal passages of dinosaurs via the use of comparative anatomical methods along with computational fluid dynamic simulations. Nasal airway descriptions and airflow simulations are described for extant birds, crocodylians, and lizards. These descriptions served as a baseline for airflow within the nasal passages of diapsids. The presence of shared airflow and soft-tissue properties found in the nasal passages of extant diapsids, were used to restore soft tissues within the airways of dinosaurs under the assumption that biologically unfeasible airflow patterns (e.g., lack of air movement in olfactory recess) can serve as signals for missing soft tissues. This methodology was tested on several dinosaur taxa. Restored airways in some taxa revealed the potential presence and likely shape of nasal turbinates. Heat transfer efficiency was tested in two dinosaur species with elaborated nasal passages. Results of that analysis revealed that dinosaur noses were efficient heat exchangers that likely played an integral role in maintaining cephalic thermoregulation. Brain cooling via nasal expansion appears to have been necessary for dinosaurs to have achieved their immense body sizes without overheating their brains.

  20. Using creation science to demonstrate evolution: application of a creationist method for visualizing gaps in the fossil record to a phylogenetic study of coelurosaurian dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Senter, P

    2010-08-01

    It is important to demonstrate evolutionary principles in such a way that they cannot be countered by creation science. One such way is to use creation science itself to demonstrate evolutionary principles. Some creation scientists use classic multidimensional scaling (CMDS) to quantify and visualize morphological gaps or continuity between taxa, accepting gaps as evidence of independent creation and accepting continuity as evidence of genetic relatedness. Here, I apply CMDS to a phylogenetic analysis of coelurosaurian dinosaurs and show that it reveals morphological continuity between Archaeopteryx, other early birds, and a wide range of nonavian coelurosaurs. Creation scientists who use CMDS must therefore accept that these animals are genetically related. Other uses of CMDS for evolutionary biologists include the identification of taxa with much missing evolutionary history and the tracing of the progressive filling of morphological gaps in the fossil record through successive years of discovery.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  2. Experimental alteration of limb posture in the chicken (Gallus gallus) and its bearing on the use of birds as analogs for dinosaur locomotion.

    PubMed

    Carrano, M T; Biewener, A A

    1999-06-01

    Extant birds represent the only diverse living bipeds, and can be informative for investigations into the life-history parameters of their extinct dinosaurian relatives. However, morphological changes that occurred during early avian evolution, including the unique adoption of a nearly horizontal femoral orientation associated with a shift in center of mass (CM), suggest that caution is warranted in the use of birds as analogs for nonavian dinosaur locomotion. In this study, we fitted a group of white leghorn chickens (Gallus gallus) with a weight suspended posterior to the hip in order to examine the effects on loading and morphology. This caused a CM shift that necessitated a change in femoral posture (by 35 degrees towards the horizontal, P < 0.001), and resulted in reorientation of the ground reaction force (GRF) vector relative to the femur (from 41 degrees to 82 degrees, P < 0.001). Despite similar strain magnitudes, an overall increase in torsion relative to bending (from 1.70 to 1.95 times bending, P < 0.001) was observed, which was weakly associated with a tendency for increased femoral cross-sectional dimensions (P = 0.1). We suggest that a relative increase in torsion is consistent with a change in femoral posture towards the horizontal, since this change increases the degree to which the bone axis and the GRF vector produce mediolateral long-axis rotation of the bone. These results support the hypothesis that a postural change during early avian evolution could underlie the allometric differences seen between bird and nonavian dinosaur femora by requiring more robust femoral dimensions in birds due to an increase in torsion.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  4. Intra-Trackway Morphological Variations Due to Substrate Consistency: The El Frontal Dinosaur Tracksite (Lower Cretaceous, Spain)

    PubMed Central

    Razzolini, Novella L.; Vila, Bernat; Castanera, Diego; Falkingham, Peter L.; Barco, José Luis; Canudo, José Ignacio; Manning, Phillip L.; Galobart, Àngel

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24699696

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-07-01

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

  6. Evidence for prosauropod dinosaur gastroliths in the Bull Run Formation (Upper Triassic, Norian) of Virginia

    Weems, Robert E.; Culp, Michelle J.; Wings, Oliver

    2007-01-01

    Definitive criteria for distinguishing gastroliths from sedimentary clasts are lacking for many depositional settings, and many reported occurrences of gastroliths either cannot be verified or have been refuted. We discuss four occurrences of gastrolith-like stones (category 6 exoliths) not found within skeletal remains from the Upper Triassic Bull Run Formation of northern Virginia, USA. Despite their lack of obvious skeletal association, the most parsimonious explanation for several characteristics of these stones is their prolonged residence in the gastric mills of large animals. These characteristics include 1) typical gastrolith microscopic surface texture, 2) evidence of pervasive surface wear on many of these stones that has secondarily removed variable amounts of thick weathering rinds typically found on these stones, and 3) a width/length-ratio modal peak for these stones that is more strongly developed than in any population of fluvial or fanglomerate stones of any age found in this region. When taken together, these properties of the stones can be explained most parsimoniously by animal ingestion and gastric-mill abrasion. The size of these stones indicates the animals that swallowed them were large, and the best candidate is a prosauropod dinosaur, possibly an ancestor of the Early Jurassic gastrolith-producing prosauropod Massospondylus or Ammosaurus.Skeletal evidence for Upper Triassic prosauropods is lacking in the Newark Supergroup basins; footprints (Agrestipus hottoni and Eubrontes isp.) from the Bull Run Formation in the Culpeper basin previously ascribed to prosauropods are now known to be underprints (Brachychirotherium parvum) of an aetosaur and underprints (Kayentapus minor) of a ceratosaur. The absence of prosauropod skeletal remains or footprints in all but the uppermost (upper Rhaetian) Triassic rocks of the Newark Supergroup is puzzling because prosauropod remains are abundant elsewhere in the world in Upper Triassic (Carnian

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fricke, Henry C.; Rogers, Raymond R.

    2000-09-01

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

  8. Tyrannosaurus en pointe: allometry minimized rotational inertia of large carnivorous dinosaurs.

    PubMed Central

    Henderson, Donald M; Snively, Eric

    2004-01-01

    Theropod dinosaurs attained the largest body sizes among terrestrial predators, and were also unique in being exclusively bipedal. With only two limbs for propulsion and balance, theropods would have been greatly constrained in their locomotor performance at large body size. Using three-dimensional restorations of the axial bodies and limbs of 12 theropod dinosaurs, and determining their rotational inertias (RIs) about a vertical axis, we show that these animals expressed a pattern of phyletic size increase that minimized the increase in RI associated with increases in body size. By contrast, the RI of six quadrupedal, carnivorous archosaurs exhibited changes in body proportions that were closer to those predicted by isometry. Correlations of low RI with high agility in lizards suggest that large theropods, with low relative RI, could engage in activities requiring higher agility than would be possible with isometric scaling. PMID:15101419

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

    Sauropod dinosaurs include the largest terrestrial animals and are considered to have uninterrupted rapid rates of growth, which differs from their more basal relatives, which have a slower cyclical growth. Here we examine the bone microstructure of several sauropodomorph dinosaurs, including basal taxa, as well as the more derived sauropods. Although our results agree that the plesiomorphic condition for Sauropodomorpha is cyclical growth dynamics, we found that the hypothesized dichotomy between the growth patterns of basal and more derived sauropodomorphs is not supported. Here, we show that sauropod-like growth dynamics of uninterrupted rapid growth also occurred in some basal sauropodomorphs, and that some basal sauropods retained the plesiomorphic cyclical growth patterns. Among the sauropodomorpha it appears that the basal taxa exploited different growth strategies, but the more derived Eusauropoda successfully utilized rapid, uninterrupted growth strategies. PMID:28654696

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27676310

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

    PubMed Central

    Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Fiorelli, Lucas E.

    2015-01-01

    Titanosauria is a globally distributed clade of sometimes extremely large Mesozoic herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs. On the basis of current evidence these giant dinosaurs seem to have reproduced in specific and localized nesting sites. However, no investigations have been performed to understand the possible ecological and geological biases that acted for the selection of these nesting sites worldwide. In this study, observations were performed on the best-known Cretaceous nesting sites around the world. Our observations strongly suggest their eggs were incubated with environmental sources of heat, in burial conditions. Taking into account the clutch composition and geometry, the nature and properties of the sediments, the eggshells’ structures and conductance, it would appear that titanosaurs adopted nesting behaviors comparable to the modern Australasian megapodes, using burrow-nesting in diverse media and mound-building strategies. PMID:26623184

  14. The Death of the Dinosaurs: 27 Years Later (LBNL Summer Lecture Series)

    SciT

    Muller, Rich

    2006-06-30

    Summer Lecture Series 2006: Rich Muller, a Berkeley Lab physicist, discusses Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez and colleagues' 1979 discovery that an asteroid impact killed the dinosaurs. He also discusses what scientists have learned in the subsequent 27 years. Alvarez's team detected unusual amounts of iridium in sedimentary layers. They attributed the excess iridium to an impact from a large asteroid. His talk was presented June 30, 2006.

  15. The Death of the Dinosaurs: 27 Years Later (LBNL Summer Lecture Series)

    Muller, Rich [Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics

    2017-12-15

    Summer Lecture Series 2006: Rich Muller, a Berkeley Lab physicist, discusses Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez and colleagues' 1979 discovery that an asteroid impact killed the dinosaurs. He also discusses what scientists have learned in the subsequent 27 years. Alvarez's team detected unusual amounts of iridium in sedimentary layers. They attributed the excess iridium to an impact from a large asteroid. His talk was presented June 30, 2006.

  16. Allometry of visceral organs in living amniotes and its implications for sauropod dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Franz, Ragna; Hummel, Jürgen; Kienzle, Ellen; Kölle, Petra; Gunga, Hanns-Christian; Clauss, Marcus

    2009-01-01

    Allometric equations are often used to extrapolate traits in animals for which only body mass estimates are known, such as dinosaurs. One important decision can be whether these equations should be based on mammal, bird or reptile data. To address whether this choice will have a relevant influence on reconstructions, we compared allometric equations for birds and mammals from the literature to those for reptiles derived from both published and hitherto unpublished data. Organs studied included the heart, kidneys, liver and gut, as well as gut contents. While the available data indicate that gut content mass does not differ between the clades, the organ masses for reptiles are generally lower than those for mammals and birds. In particular, gut tissue mass is significantly lower in reptiles. When applying the results in the reconstruction of a sauropod dinosaur, the estimated volume of the coelomic cavity greatly exceeds the estimated volume of the combined organ masses, irrespective of the allometric equation used. Therefore, substantial deviation of sauropod organ allometry from that of the extant vertebrates can be allowed conceptually. Extrapolations of retention times from estimated gut contents mass and food intake do not suggest digestive constraints on sauropod dinosaur body size. PMID:19324837

  17. Spatial niche partitioning in dinosaurs from the latest cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of North America.

    PubMed

    Lyson, Tyler R; Longrich, Nicholas R

    2011-04-22

    We examine patterns of occurrence of associated dinosaur specimens (n = 343) from the North American Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation and equivalent beds, by comparing their relative abundance in sandstone and mudstone. Ceratopsians preferentially occur in mudstone, whereas hadrosaurs and the small ornithopod Thescelosaurus show a strong association with sandstone. By contrast, the giant carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex shows no preferred association with either lithology. These lithologies are used as an indicator of environment of deposition, with sandstone generally representing river environments, and finer grained sediments typically representing floodplain environments. Given these patterns of occurrence, we argue that spatial niche partitioning helped reduce competition for resources between the herbivorous dinosaurs. Within coastal lowlands ceratopsians preferred habitats farther away from rivers, whereas hadrosaurs and Thescelosaurus preferred habitats in close proximity to rivers, and T. rex, the ecosystem's sole large carnivore, inhabited both palaeoenvironments. Spatial partitioning of the environment helps explain how several species of large herbivorous dinosaurs coexisted. This study emphasizes that different lithologies can preserve dramatically dissimilar vertebrate assemblages, even when deposited in close proximity and within a narrow window of time. The lithology in which fossils are preserved should be recorded as these data can provide unique insights into the palaeoecology of the animals they preserve.

  18. Spatial niche partitioning in dinosaurs from the latest cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of North America

    PubMed Central

    Lyson, Tyler R.; Longrich, Nicholas R.

    2011-01-01

    We examine patterns of occurrence of associated dinosaur specimens (n = 343) from the North American Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation and equivalent beds, by comparing their relative abundance in sandstone and mudstone. Ceratopsians preferentially occur in mudstone, whereas hadrosaurs and the small ornithopod Thescelosaurus show a strong association with sandstone. By contrast, the giant carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex shows no preferred association with either lithology. These lithologies are used as an indicator of environment of deposition, with sandstone generally representing river environments, and finer grained sediments typically representing floodplain environments. Given these patterns of occurrence, we argue that spatial niche partitioning helped reduce competition for resources between the herbivorous dinosaurs. Within coastal lowlands ceratopsians preferred habitats farther away from rivers, whereas hadrosaurs and Thescelosaurus preferred habitats in close proximity to rivers, and T. rex, the ecosystem's sole large carnivore, inhabited both palaeoenvironments. Spatial partitioning of the environment helps explain how several species of large herbivorous dinosaurs coexisted. This study emphasizes that different lithologies can preserve dramatically dissimilar vertebrate assemblages, even when deposited in close proximity and within a narrow window of time. The lithology in which fossils are preserved should be recorded as these data can provide unique insights into the palaeoecology of the animals they preserve. PMID:20943689

  19. The modified gap excess ratio (GER*) and the stratigraphic congruence of dinosaur phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Wills, Matthew A; Barrett, Paul M; Heathcote, Julia F

    2008-12-01

    Palaeontologists routinely map their cladograms onto what is known of the fossil record. Where sister taxa first appear as fossils at different times, a ghost range is inferred to bridge the gap between these dates. Some measure of the total extent of ghost ranges across the tree underlies several indices of cladistic/stratigraphic congruence. We investigate this congruence for 19 independent, published cladograms of major dinosaur groups and report exceptional agreement between the phylogenetic and stratigraphic patterns, evidenced by sums of ghost ranges near the theoretical minima. This implies that both phylogenetic and stratigraphic data reflect faithfully the evolutionary history of dinosaurs, at least for the taxa included in this study. We formally propose modifications to an existing index of congruence (the gap excess ratio; GER), designed to remove a bias in the range of values possible with trees of different shapes. We also propose a more informative index of congruence--GER*--that takes account of the underlying distribution of sums of ghost ranges possible when permuting stratigraphic range data across the tree. Finally, we incorporate data on the range of possible first occurrence dates into our estimates of congruence, extending a procedure originally implemented with the modified Manhattan stratigraphic measure and GER to our new indices. Most dinosaur data sets maintain extremely high congruence despite such modifications.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Herbivorous reptiles rarely evolve occluding dentitions that allow for the mastication (chewing) of plant matter. Conversely, most herbivorous mammals have occluding teeth with complex tissue architectures that self-wear to complex morphologies for orally processing plants. Dinosaurs stand out among reptiles in that several lineages acquired the capacity to masticate. In particular, the horned ceratopsian dinosaurs, among the most successful Late Cretaceous dinosaurian lineages, evolved slicing dentitions for the exploitation of tough, bulky plant matter. We show how Triceratops, a 9-m-long ceratopsian, and its relatives evolved teeth that wore during feeding to create fullers (recessed central regions on cutting blades) on the chewing surfaces. This unique morphology served to reduce friction during feeding. It was achieved through the evolution of a complex suite of osseous dental tissues rivaling the complexity of mammalian dentitions. Tribological (wear) properties of the tissues are preserved in ~66-million-year-old teeth, allowing the creation of a sophisticated three-dimensional biomechanical wear model that reveals how the complexes synergistically wore to create these implements. These findings, along with similar discoveries in hadrosaurids (duck-billed dinosaurs), suggest that tissue-mediated changes in dental morphology may have played a major role in the remarkable ecological diversification of these clades and perhaps other dinosaurian clades capable of mastication. PMID:26601198

  1. A fossil protein chimera; difficulties in discriminating dinosaur peptide sequences from modern cross-contamination.

    PubMed

    Buckley, Michael; Warwood, Stacey; van Dongen, Bart; Kitchener, Andrew C; Manning, Phillip L

    2017-05-31

    A decade ago, reports that organic-rich soft tissue survived from dinosaur fossils were apparently supported by proteomics-derived sequence information of exceptionally well-preserved bone. This initial claim to the sequencing of endogenous collagen peptides from an approximately 68 Myr Tyrannosaurus rex fossil was highly controversial, largely on the grounds of potential contamination from either bacterial biofilms or from laboratory practice. In a subsequent study, collagen peptide sequences from an approximately 78 Myr Brachylophosaurus canadensis fossil were reported that have remained largely unchallenged. However, the endogeneity of these sequences relies heavily on a single peptide sequence, apparently unique to both dinosaurs. Given the potential for cross-contamination from modern bone analysed by the same team, here we extract collagen from bone samples of three individuals of ostrich, Struthio camelus The resulting LC-MS/MS data were found to match all of the proposed sequences for both the original Tyrannosaurus and Brachylophosaurus studies. Regardless of the true nature of the dinosaur peptides, our finding highlights the difficulty of differentiating such sequences with confidence. Our results not only imply that cross-contamination cannot be ruled out, but that appropriate measures to test for endogeneity should be further evaluated. © 2017 The Authors.

  2. A fossil protein chimera; difficulties in discriminating dinosaur peptide sequences from modern cross-contamination

    PubMed Central

    Warwood, Stacey; van Dongen, Bart; Kitchener, Andrew C.; Manning, Phillip L.

    2017-01-01

    A decade ago, reports that organic-rich soft tissue survived from dinosaur fossils were apparently supported by proteomics-derived sequence information of exceptionally well-preserved bone. This initial claim to the sequencing of endogenous collagen peptides from an approximately 68 Myr Tyrannosaurus rex fossil was highly controversial, largely on the grounds of potential contamination from either bacterial biofilms or from laboratory practice. In a subsequent study, collagen peptide sequences from an approximately 78 Myr Brachylophosaurus canadensis fossil were reported that have remained largely unchallenged. However, the endogeneity of these sequences relies heavily on a single peptide sequence, apparently unique to both dinosaurs. Given the potential for cross-contamination from modern bone analysed by the same team, here we extract collagen from bone samples of three individuals of ostrich, Struthio camelus. The resulting LC–MS/MS data were found to match all of the proposed sequences for both the original Tyrannosaurus and Brachylophosaurus studies. Regardless of the true nature of the dinosaur peptides, our finding highlights the difficulty of differentiating such sequences with confidence. Our results not only imply that cross-contamination cannot be ruled out, but that appropriate measures to test for endogeneity should be further evaluated. PMID:28566488

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

    Protoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV) give rise to the enormous diversity in avian egg coloration. Egg color serves several ecological purposes, including post-mating signaling and camouflage. Egg camouflage represents a major character of open-nesting birds which accomplish protection of their unhatched offspring against visually oriented predators by cryptic egg coloration. Cryptic coloration evolved to match the predominant shades of color found in the nesting environment. Such a selection pressure for the evolution of colored or cryptic eggs should be present in all open nesting birds and relatives. Many birds are open-nesting, but protect their eggs by continuous brooding, and thus exhibit no or minimal eggshell pigmentation. Their closest extant relatives, crocodiles, protect their eggs by burial and have unpigmented eggs. This phylogenetic pattern led to the assumption that colored eggs evolved within crown birds. The mosaic evolution of supposedly avian traits in non-avian theropod dinosaurs, however, such as the supposed evolution of partially open nesting behavior in oviraptorids, argues against this long-established theory. Using a double-checking liquid chromatography ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry routine, we traced the origin of colored eggs to their non-avian dinosaur ancestors by providing the first record of the avian eggshell pigments protoporphyrin and biliverdin in the eggshells of Late Cretaceous oviraptorid dinosaurs. The eggshell parataxon Macroolithus yaotunensis can be assigned to the oviraptor Heyuannia huangi based on exceptionally preserved, late developmental stage embryo remains. The analyzed eggshells are from three Late Cretaceous fluvial deposits ranging from eastern to southernmost China. Reevaluation of these taphonomic settings, and a consideration of patterns in the porosity of completely preserved eggs support an at least partially open nesting behavior for oviraptorosaurs. Such a nest arrangement corresponds with our

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

    Protoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV) give rise to the enormous diversity in avian egg coloration. Egg color serves several ecological purposes, including post-mating signaling and camouflage. Egg camouflage represents a major character of open-nesting birds which accomplish protection of their unhatched offspring against visually oriented predators by cryptic egg coloration. Cryptic coloration evolved to match the predominant shades of color found in the nesting environment. Such a selection pressure for the evolution of colored or cryptic eggs should be present in all open nesting birds and relatives. Many birds are open-nesting, but protect their eggs by continuous brooding, and thus exhibit no or minimal eggshell pigmentation. Their closest extant relatives, crocodiles, protect their eggs by burial and have unpigmented eggs. This phylogenetic pattern led to the assumption that colored eggs evolved within crown birds. The mosaic evolution of supposedly avian traits in non-avian theropod dinosaurs, however, such as the supposed evolution of partially open nesting behavior in oviraptorids, argues against this long-established theory. Using a double-checking liquid chromatography ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry routine, we traced the origin of colored eggs to their non-avian dinosaur ancestors by providing the first record of the avian eggshell pigments protoporphyrin and biliverdin in the eggshells of Late Cretaceous oviraptorid dinosaurs. The eggshell parataxon Macroolithus yaotunensis can be assigned to the oviraptor Heyuannia huangi based on exceptionally preserved, late developmental stage embryo remains. The analyzed eggshells are from three Late Cretaceous fluvial deposits ranging from eastern to southernmost China. Reevaluation of these taphonomic settings, and a consideration of patterns in the porosity of completely preserved eggs support an at least partially open nesting behavior for oviraptorosaurs. Such a nest arrangement corresponds with our

  5. Androgynous rex - the utility of chevrons for determining the sex of crocodilians and non-avian dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Erickson, Gregory M; Kristopher Lappin, A; Larson, Peter

    2005-01-01

    The sex of non-avian dinosaurs has been inferred on numerous occasions using a variety of anatomical criteria, but the efficacy of none has been proven. Nearly 50 years ago Romer suggested that the cranial-most or first chevron in the tails of some reptiles, including crocodilians, is sexually dimorphic. Recent work on this subject purportedly substantiated that the female first chevron articulates in a more caudal position than in males. Furthermore, it was concluded that this element is shorter in females. These phenotypic attributes theoretically provide a broader cloacal passageway for eggs by ovipositing females and a greater attachment area for male "penile retractor muscles". Because theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex presumably show similar variation in chevron anatomy, the same criteria has been advocated for sexing dinosaurs. We tested the neontological model for the chevron sexual dimorphism hypothesis using a skeletonized growth series of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) of known sex. No statistical support for the hypothesis was found. Furthermore, analysis of a diversity of crocodilian taxa from museum collections revealed similar findings suggesting the alligator results are not taxon specific. Study of well-preserved tyrannosaurid dinosaurs in museum collections showed nearly invariant chevron positioning like that seen in crocodilians. This suggests the usefulness of chevron anatomy for sexing dinosaurs is tenuous.

  6. Oldest known dinosaurian nesting site and reproductive biology of the Early Jurassic sauropodomorph Massospondylus

    PubMed Central

    Reisz, Robert R.; Evans, David C.; Roberts, Eric M.; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Yates, Adam M.

    2012-01-01

    The extensive Early Jurassic continental strata of southern Africa have yielded an exceptional record of dinosaurs that includes scores of partial to complete skeletons of the sauropodomorph Massospondylus, ranging from embryos to large adults. In 1976 an incomplete egg clutch including in ovo embryos of this dinosaur, the oldest known example in the fossil record, was collected from a road-cut talus, but its exact provenance was uncertain. An excavation program at the site started in 2006 has yielded multiple in situ egg clutches, documenting the oldest known dinosaurian nesting site, predating other similar sites by more than 100 million years. The presence of numerous clutches of eggs, some of which contain embryonic remains, in at least four distinct horizons within a small area, provides the earliest known evidence of complex reproductive behavior including site fidelity and colonial nesting in a terrestrial vertebrate. Thus, fossil and sedimentological evidence from this nesting site provides empirical data on reproductive strategies in early dinosaurs. A temporally calibrated optimization of dinosaurian reproductive biology not only demonstrates the primary significance of the Massospondylus nesting site, but also provides additional insights into the initial stages of the evolutionary history of dinosaurs, including evidence that deposition of eggs in a tightly organized single layer in a nest evolved independently from brooding. PMID:22308330

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    Werner, Jan; Griebeler, Eva Maria

    2013-01-01

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

  9. Generic Pronouns in Early Childhood Education: Were There Female Dinosaurs, Too?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gelb, Steven A.

    Two studies were conducted to (1) discover how often and in what contexts preschool children might hear generic male pronouns, and (2) gauge the extent to which young children have assimilated the idea that the general case of biological being is male. In order to determine when children hear generic male pronouns, regular observations of…

  10. Direct U-Pb dating of Cretaceous and Paleocene dinosaur bones, San Juan Basin, New Mexico: COMMENT

    Koenig, Alan E.; Lucas, Spencer G.; Neymark, Leonid A.; Heckert, Andrew B.; Sullivan, Robert M.; Jasinski, Steven E.; Fowler, Denver W.

    2012-01-01

    Based on U-Pb dating of two dinosaur bones from the San Juan Basin of New Mexico (United States), Fassett et al. (2011) claim to provide the first successful direct dating of fossil bones and to establish the presence of Paleocene dinosaurs. Fassett et al. ignore previously published work that directly questions their stratigraphic interpretations (Lucas et al., 2009), and fail to provide sufficient descriptions of instrumental, geochronological, and statistical treatments of the data to allow evaluation of the potentially complex diagenetic and recrystallization history of bone. These shortcomings lead us to question the validity of the U-Pb dates published by Fassett et al. and their conclusions regarding the existence of Paleocene dinosaurs.

  11. Dinosaur Census Reveals Abundant Tyrannosaurus and Rare Ontogenetic Stages in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian), Montana, USA

    PubMed Central

    Horner, John R.; Goodwin, Mark B.; Myhrvold, Nathan

    2011-01-01

    Background A dinosaur census recorded during the Hell Creek Project (1999–2009) incorporates multiple lines of evidence from geography, taphohistory, stratigraphy, phylogeny and ontogeny to investigate the relative abundance of large dinosaurs preserved in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of northeastern Montana, USA. Overall, the dinosaur skeletal assemblages in the Hell Creek Formation (excluding lag-influenced records) consist primarily of subadult or small adult size individuals. Small juveniles and large adults are both extremely rare, whereas subadult individuals are relatively common. We propose that mature individuals of at least some dinosaur taxa either lived in a separate geographic locale analogous to younger individuals inhabiting an upland environment where sedimentation rates were relatively less, or these taxa experienced high mortality before reaching terminal size where late stage and often extreme cranial morphology is expressed. Methodology/Principal Findings Tyrannosaurus skeletons are as abundant as Edmontosaurus, an herbivore, in the upper Hell Creek Formation and nearly twice as common in the lower third of the formation. Smaller, predatory dinosaurs (e.g., Troodon and dromaeosaurids) are primarily represented by teeth found in microvertebrate localities and their skeletons or identifiable lag specimens were conspicuously absent. This relative abundance suggests Tyrannosaurus was not a typical predator and likely benefited from much wider food choice opportunities than exclusively live prey and/or specific taxa. Tyrannosaurus adults may not have competed with Tyrannosaurus juveniles if the potential for selecting carrion increased with size during ontogeny. Conclusions/Significance Triceratops is the most common dinosaur and isolated skulls contribute to a significant portion of this census. Associated specimens of Triceratops consisting of both cranial and postcranial elements remain relatively rare. This rarity may be explained

  12. Palynologically calibrated vertebrate record from North Dakota consistent with abrupt dinosaur extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    Pearson, D.A.; Schaefer, T.; Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.

    2001-01-01

    New data from 17 Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sections and 53 vertebrate sites in the Hell Creek and Fort Union Formations in southwestern North Dakota document a 1.76 m barren interval between the highest Cretaceous vertebrate fossils and the palynologically recognized K-T boundary. The boundary is above the formational contact at 15 localities and coincident with it at two, demonstrating that the formational contact is diachronous. Dinosaurs are common in the highest Cretaceous vertebrate samples and a partial dinosaur skeleton in the Fort Union Formation is the highest recorded Cretaceous vertebrate fossil in this area.

  13. Assessment of diagenetic alteration of dinosaur eggshells through petrography and geochemical analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Enriquez, M. V.; Eagle, R.; Eiler, J. M.; Tripati, A. K.; Ramirez, P. C.; Loyd, S. J.; Chiappe, L.; Montanari, S.; Norell, M.; Tuetken, T.

    2012-12-01

    Carbonate clumped isotope analysis of fossil eggshells has the potential to constrain both the physiology of extinct animals and, potentially, paleoenvironmental conditions, especially when coupled with isotopic measurements of co-occurring soil carbonates. Eggshell samples from both modern vertebrates and Cretaceous Hadrosaurid, Oviraptorid, Titanosaur, Hypselosaurus, Faveoolithus, dinosaur fossils have been collected from Auca Mahuevo, Argentina and Rousett, France, amongst other locations, for geochemical analysis to determine if isotopic signatures could be used to indicate warm- or cold-bloodedness. In some locations soil carbonates were also analyzed to constrain environmental temperatures. In order to test the validity of the geochemical results, an extensive study was undertaken to establish degree of diagenetic alteration. Petrographic and cathodoluminescence characterization of the eggshells were used to assess diagenetic alteration. An empirical 1-5 point scale was used to assign each sample an alteration level, and the observations were then compared with the geochemical results. Specimens displayed a wide range of alteration states. Some of which were well preserved and others highly altered. Another group seemed to be structural intact and only under cathodoluminescence was alteration clearly observed. In the majority of samples, alteration level was found to be predictably related to geochemical results. From specimens with little evidence for diagenesis, carbonate clumped isotope signatures support high (37-40°C) body temperature for Titanosaurid dinosaurs, but potentially lower body temperatures for other taxa. If these data do, in fact, represent original eggshell growth temperatures, these results support variability in body temperature amongst Cretaceous dinosaurs and potentially are consistent with variations between adult body temperature and size — a characteristic of 'gigantothermy'.

  14. Terrestrial ecosystem collapse associated to the K-Pg boundary and dinosaur extinction: palynological evidences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bercovici, A.; Vajda, V.; Lyson, T. R.; Chester, S. G. B.; Sargis, E. J.; Pearson, D. A.; Joyce, W. G.

    2012-04-01

    We report here the discovery of the stratigraphically youngest in situ dinosaur specimen. This ceratopsian brow horn was found in southeastern Montana, in the Western Interior of the United States in a poorly rooted, silty mudstone floodplain deposit and only 13 centimeters below the palynologically defined K-Pg boundary. The boundary is identified using three criteria: 1) substantial decrease in diversity and abundance of Cretaceous pollen and spore taxa that completely disappear from the palynological record a few meters above the boundary, 2) the presence of a "fern spike", and 3) palynostratigraphical correlation to a nearby section where primary extraterrestrial impact markers are present (e.g., iridium anomaly, spherules and shocked quartz). The palynological record in the rock sequence immediately following the K-Pg boundary consistently indicates a sudden and major loss of the Cretaceous components across the North American record. During this rapid decline, the palynological assemblages are dominated by freshwater ferns (Azolla) and algae (usually Pediastrum sp. and Penetetrapites sp.) indicating generalized flooding in the area. The onset of the Paleocene sedimentation is subsequently announced by the presence of variegated beds, multiple lignite seams and small scale meandering river systems, starting with palynological associations that attest for reworking and erosion. The destabilization of terrestrial ecosystems is coincident with the markers of the K-Pg boundary, supporting a catastrophic event taking place over a very short duration. The in situ ceratopsian brow horn demonstrates that a gap devoid of non-avian dinosaur fossils in the last meters of the Cretaceous is artificial and thus inconsistent with the hypothesis that non-avian dinosaurs were extinct prior to the K-Pg boundary asteroid impact event.

  15. 2014 Summer Series - Rusty Schweickart - Dinosaur Syndrome Avoidance Project: How Gozit?

    2014-07-17

    The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor demonstrated that grave uncertainties exist pertaining to near-Earth objects (NEOs). Although the impact rate for dangerous asteroids is relatively low, the consequences of such an event are severe. Apollo Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, will talk about our prospects of avoiding the same fate as the dinosaurs. He will review the status of the global efforts to protect life on the planet from the devastation of large asteroid impacts. He will also discuss both the technical and geopolitical components of the challenge of preventing future asteroid impacts.

  16. Middle Jurassic (Bajocian and Bathonian) dinosaur megatracksites, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, USA

    Kvale, E.P.; Johnson, G.D.; Mickelson, Debra 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

  17. Tithonian age of dinosaur fossils in central Patagonian, Chile: U-Pb SHRIMP geochronology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suárez, Manuel; De La Cruz, Rita; Fanning, Mark; Novas, Fernando; Salgado, Leonardo

    2016-11-01

    Three Tithonian concordant U-Pb SHRIMP zircon ages of 148.7 ± 1.4, 147.9 ± 1.5 and 147.0 ± 1.0 from tuffs intercalated in a clastic sedimentary succession with exceptional dinosaur bones including the new taxon Chilesaurus diegosuarezi gen. et sp. nov. exposed in central Chilean Patagonia (ca. 46°30'S) are reported herein. The fossiliferous beds accumulated in a synvolcanic fan delta reaching a shallow marine basin as indicated by glauconite present in some of the beds, and coeval with the beginning of the transgression of the Aysén Basin.

  18. Plate motions, Gondwana dinosaurs, Noah's arks, beached Viking funeral ships, ghost ships, and landspans.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Louis L; Strganac, Christopher; Scotese, Christopher

    2011-03-01

    Gondwana landmasses have served as large-scale biogeographic Noah's Arks and Beached Viking Funeral Ships, as defined by McKenna. The latitudinal trajectories of selected Gondwana dinosaur localities were traced through time in order to evaluate their movement through climate zones relative to those in which they originally formed. The dispersal of fauna during the breakup of Gondwana may have been facilitated by the presence of offshelf islands forming landspans (sensu Iturralde-Vinent and MacPhee) in the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway and elsewhere.

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-02

    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.

  1. Treating Conduct Problems and Strengthening Social and Emotional Competence in Young Children: The Dina Dinosaur Treatment Program.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Webster-Stratton, Carolyn; Reid, M. Jamila

    2003-01-01

    This article describes the Dina Dinosaur Social, Emotional and Problem Solving Child Training Program for young children with conduct problems. The program emphasizes training children in skills such as emotional literacy, empathy or perspective taking, friendship and communication skills, anger management, interpersonal problem solving, and…

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-10

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  4. The World of Coelophysis - A New York Dinosaur of 200 Million Years Ago. Geological Survey: Circular 49.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fisher, Donald W.

    Coelophysis was an ostrich-like, meat-eating dinosaur that inhabitated southwestern New York State approximately 200 million years ago. At that time the region was semi-tropical and hosted a bizarre array of amphibians, reptiles, and plants while experiencing unrest in the form of basin settling, earthquakes, faults, and intrusions and outpourings…

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26133245

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27831542

  7. The Evolution of an Undergraduate Service Course--How To Cope with Success of an Age of Dinosaurs Class.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Montgomery, Homer

    2003-01-01

    Discusses how to address the issue of a course becoming too popular. Uses as an example the Age of Dinosaurs course at the University of Texas at Dallas. Describes some issues that can arise such as classroom overflow, overwhelmed labs, cheating, testing methods, and asynchronous instruction. Recommends looking to web-based course management…

  8. Findings from an Independent Evaluation of the AMNH's Online Seminars on Science Course: "The Link between Dinosaurs and Birds"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Inverness Research, 2008

    2008-01-01

    Inverness Research studied the American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) Seminars on Science program for eight years, from its inception in 1998 to 2006. This paper presents teacher survey ratings for "The Link between Dinosaurs and Birds", along with profiles of three teachers who took the course. Course takers report on the annual…

  9. Taxonomy, morphology, masticatory function and phylogeny of heterodontosaurid dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Sereno, Paul C.

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Heterodontosaurids comprise an important early radiation of small-bodied herbivores that persisted for approximately 100 My from Late Triassic to Early Cretaceous time. Review of available fossils unequivocally establishes Echinodon as a very small-bodied, late-surviving northern heterodontosaurid similar to the other northern genera Fruitadens and Tianyulong. Tianyulong from northern China has unusual skeletal proportions, including a relatively large skull, short forelimb, and long manual digit II. The southern African heterodontosaurid genus Lycorhinus is established as valid, and a new taxon from the same formation is named Pegomastax africanus gen. n., sp. n. Tooth replacement and tooth-to-tooth wear is more common than previously thought among heterodontosaurids, and in Heterodontosaurus the angle of tooth-to-tooth shear is shown to increase markedly during maturation. Long-axis rotation of the lower jaw during occlusion is identified here as the most likely functional mechanism underlying marked tooth wear in mature specimens of Heterodontosaurus. Extensive tooth wear and other evidence suggests that all heterodontosaurids were predominantly or exclusively herbivores. Basal genera such as Echinodon, Fruitadens and Tianyulong with primitive, subtriangular crowns currently are known only from northern landmasses. All other genera except the enigmatic Pisanosaurus have deeper crown proportions and currently are known only from southern landmasses. PMID:23166462

  10. A gigantic new dinosaur from Argentina and the evolution of the sauropod hind foot.

    PubMed

    González Riga, Bernardo J; Lamanna, Matthew C; Ortiz David, Leonardo D; Calvo, Jorge O; Coria, Juan P

    2016-01-18

    Titanosauria is an exceptionally diverse, globally-distributed clade of sauropod dinosaurs that includes the largest known land animals. Knowledge of titanosaurian pedal structure is critical to understanding the stance and locomotion of these enormous herbivores and, by extension, gigantic terrestrial vertebrates as a whole. However, completely preserved pedes are extremely rare among Titanosauria, especially as regards the truly giant members of the group. Here we describe Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous of Mendoza Province, Argentina. With a powerfully-constructed humerus 1.76 m in length, Notocolossus is one of the largest known dinosaurs. Furthermore, the complete pes of the new taxon exhibits a strikingly compact, homogeneous metatarsus--seemingly adapted for bearing extraordinary weight--and truncated unguals, morphologies that are otherwise unknown in Sauropoda. The pes underwent a near-progressive reduction in the number of phalanges along the line to derived titanosaurs, eventually resulting in the reduced hind foot of these sauropods.

  11. Walking Like Dinosaurs: Chickens with Artificial Tails Provide Clues about Non-Avian Theropod Locomotion

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24505491

  12. Bone histology indicates insular dwarfism in a new Late Jurassic sauropod dinosaur.

    PubMed

    Sander, P Martin; Mateus, Octávio; Laven, Thomas; Knötschke, Nils

    2006-06-08

    Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to inhabit the land, with truly gigantic forms in at least three lineages. Small species with an adult body mass less than five tonnes are very rare, and small sauropod bones generally represent juveniles. Here we describe a new diminutive species of basal macronarian sauropod, Europasaurus holgeri gen. et sp. nov., and on the basis of bone histology we show it to have been a dwarf species. The fossils, including excellent skull material, come from Kimmeridgian marine beds of northern Germany, and record more than 11 individuals of sauropods 1.7 to 6.2 m in total body length. Morphological overlap between partial skeletons and isolated bones links all material to the same new taxon. Cortical histology of femora and tibiae indicates that size differences within the specimens are due to different ontogenetic stages, from juveniles to fully grown individuals. The little dinosaurs must have lived on one of the large islands around the Lower Saxony basin. Comparison with the long-bone histology of large-bodied sauropods suggests that the island dwarf species evolved through a decrease in growth rate from its larger ancestor.

  13. A New Saurolophine Dinosaur from the Latest Cretaceous of Far Eastern Russia

    PubMed Central

    Godefroit, Pascal; Bolotsky, Yuri L.; Lauters, Pascaline

    2012-01-01

    Background Four main dinosaur sites have been investigated in latest Cretaceous deposits from the Amur/Heilongjiang Region: Jiayin and Wulaga in China (Yuliangze Formation), Blagoveschensk and Kundur in Russia (Udurchukan Formation). More than 90% of the bones discovered in these localities belong to hollow-crested lambeosaurine saurolophids, but flat-headed saurolophines are also represented: Kerberosaurus manakini at Blagoveschensk and Wulagasaurus dongi at Wulaga. Methodology/Principal Findings Herein we describe a new saurolophine dinosaur, Kundurosaurus nagornyi gen. et sp. nov., from the Udurchukan Formation (Maastrichtian) of Kundur, represented by disarticulated cranial and postcranial material. This new taxon is diagnosed by four autapomorphies. Conclusions/Significance A phylogenetic analysis of saurolophines indicates that Kundurosaurus nagornyi is nested within a rather robust clade including Edmontosaurus spp., Saurolophus spp., and Prosaurolophus maximus, possibly as a sister-taxon for Kerberosaurus manakini also from the Udurchukan Formation of Far Eastern Russia. The high diversity and mosaic distribution of Maastrichtian hadrosaurid faunas in the Amur-Heilongjiang region are the result of a complex palaeogeographical history and imply that many independent hadrosaurid lineages dispersed without any problem between western America and eastern Asia at the end of the Cretaceous. PMID:22666331

  14. Unexpected Convergent Evolution of Nasal Domes between Pleistocene Bovids and Cretaceous Hadrosaur Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, Haley D; Faith, J Tyler; Jenkins, Kirsten E; Peppe, Daniel J; Plummer, Thomas W; Jacobs, Zenobia L; Li, Bo; Joannes-Boyau, Renaud; Price, Gilbert; Feng, Yue-Xing; Tryon, Christian A

    2016-02-22

    The fossil record provides tangible, historical evidence for the mode and operation of evolution across deep time. Striking patterns of convergence are some of the strongest examples of these operations, whereby, over time, similar environmental and/or behavioral pressures precipitate similarity in form and function between disparately related taxa. Here we present fossil evidence for an unexpected convergence between gregarious plant-eating mammals and dinosaurs. Recent excavations of Late Pleistocene deposits on Rusinga Island, Kenya, have uncovered a catastrophic assemblage of the wildebeest-like bovid Rusingoryx atopocranion. Previously known from fragmentary material, these new specimens reveal large, hollow, osseous nasal crests: a craniofacial novelty for mammals that is remarkably comparable to the nasal crests of lambeosaurine hadrosaur dinosaurs. Using adult and juvenile material from this assemblage, as well as computed tomographic imaging, we investigate this convergence from morphological, developmental, functional, and paleoenvironmental perspectives. Our detailed analyses reveal broad parallels between R. atopocranion and basal Lambeosaurinae, suggesting that osseous nasal crests may require a highly specific combination of ontogeny, evolution, and environmental pressures in order to develop. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Turning semicircular canal function on its head: dinosaurs and a novel vestibular analysis.

    PubMed

    Georgi, Justin A; Sipla, Justin S; Forster, Catherine A

    2013-01-01

    Previous investigations have correlated vestibular function to locomotion in vertebrates by scaling semicircular duct radius of curvature to body mass. However, this method fails to discriminate bipedal from quadrupedal non-avian dinosaurs. Because they exhibit a broad range of relative head sizes, we use dinosaurs to test the hypothesis that semicircular ducts scale more closely with head size. Comparing the area enclosed by each semicircular canal to estimated body mass and to two different measures of head size, skull length and estimated head mass, reveals significant patterns that corroborate a connection between physical parameters of the head and semicircular canal morphology. Head mass more strongly correlates with anterior semicircular canal size than does body mass and statistically separates bipedal from quadrupedal taxa, with bipeds exhibiting relatively larger canals. This morphologic dichotomy likely reflects adaptations of the vestibular system to stability demands associated with terrestrial locomotion on two, versus four, feet. This new method has implications for reinterpreting previous studies and informing future studies on the connection between locomotion type and vestibular function.

  16. Turning Semicircular Canal Function on Its Head: Dinosaurs and a Novel Vestibular Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Georgi, Justin A.; Sipla, Justin S.; Forster, Catherine A.

    2013-01-01

    Previous investigations have correlated vestibular function to locomotion in vertebrates by scaling semicircular duct radius of curvature to body mass. However, this method fails to discriminate bipedal from quadrupedal non-avian dinosaurs. Because they exhibit a broad range of relative head sizes, we use dinosaurs to test the hypothesis that semicircular ducts scale more closely with head size. Comparing the area enclosed by each semicircular canal to estimated body mass and to two different measures of head size, skull length and estimated head mass, reveals significant patterns that corroborate a connection between physical parameters of the head and semicircular canal morphology. Head mass more strongly correlates with anterior semicircular canal size than does body mass and statistically separates bipedal from quadrupedal taxa, with bipeds exhibiting relatively larger canals. This morphologic dichotomy likely reflects adaptations of the vestibular system to stability demands associated with terrestrial locomotion on two, versus four, feet. This new method has implications for reinterpreting previous studies and informing future studies on the connection between locomotion type and vestibular function. PMID:23516495

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Eagle, Robert A; Enriquez, Marcus; Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Pérez-Huerta, Alberto; Hu, David; Tütken, Thomas; Montanari, Shaena; Loyd, Sean J; Ramirez, Pedro; Tripati, Aradhna K; Kohn, Matthew J; Cerling, Thure E; Chiappe, Luis M; Eiler, John M

    2015-10-13

    Our understanding of the evolutionary transitions leading to the modern endothermic state of birds and mammals is incomplete, partly because tools available to study the thermophysiology of extinct vertebrates are limited. Here we show that clumped isotope analysis of eggshells can be used to determine body temperatures of females during periods of ovulation. Late Cretaceous titanosaurid eggshells yield temperatures similar to large modern endotherms. In contrast, oviraptorid eggshells yield temperatures lower than most modern endotherms but ∼ 6 °C higher than co-occurring abiogenic carbonates, implying that this taxon did not have thermoregulation comparable to modern birds, but was able to elevate its body temperature above environmental temperatures. Therefore, we observe no strong evidence for end-member ectothermy or endothermy in the species examined. Body temperatures for these two species indicate that variable thermoregulation likely existed among the non-avian dinosaurs and that not all dinosaurs had body temperatures in the range of that seen in modern birds.

  19. A New Large-Bodied Oviraptorosaurian Theropod Dinosaur from the Latest Cretaceous of Western North America

    PubMed Central

    Lamanna, Matthew C.; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Schachner, Emma R.; Lyson, Tyler R.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24647078

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

    PubMed

    Fricke, Henry C; Hencecroth, Justin; Hoerner, Marie E

    2011-10-26

    Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest vertebrates ever to walk the Earth, and as mega-herbivores they were important parts of terrestrial ecosystems. In the Late Jurassic-aged Morrison depositional basin of western North America, these animals occupied lowland river-floodplain settings characterized by a seasonally dry climate. Massive herbivores with high nutritional and water needs could periodically experience nutritional and water stress under these conditions, and thus the common occurrence of sauropods in this basin has remained a paradox. Energetic arguments and mammalian analogues have been used to suggest that migration allowed sauropods access to food and water resources over a wide region or during times of drought or both, but there has been no direct support for these hypotheses. Here we compare oxygen isotope ratios (δ(18)O) of tooth-enamel carbonate from the sauropod Camarasaurus with those of ancient soil, lake and wetland (that is, 'authigenic') carbonates that formed in lowland settings. We demonstrate that certain populations of these animals did in fact undertake seasonal migrations of several hundred kilometres from lowland to upland environments. This ability to describe patterns of sauropod movement will help to elucidate the role that migration played in the ecology and evolution of gigantism of these and associated dinosaurs.

  1. A gigantic new dinosaur from Argentina and the evolution of the sauropod hind foot

    PubMed Central

    González Riga, Bernardo J.; Lamanna, Matthew C.; Ortiz David, Leonardo D.; Calvo, Jorge O.; Coria, Juan P.

    2016-01-01

    Titanosauria is an exceptionally diverse, globally-distributed clade of sauropod dinosaurs that includes the largest known land animals. Knowledge of titanosaurian pedal structure is critical to understanding the stance and locomotion of these enormous herbivores and, by extension, gigantic terrestrial vertebrates as a whole. However, completely preserved pedes are extremely rare among Titanosauria, especially as regards the truly giant members of the group. Here we describe Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous of Mendoza Province, Argentina. With a powerfully-constructed humerus 1.76 m in length, Notocolossus is one of the largest known dinosaurs. Furthermore, the complete pes of the new taxon exhibits a strikingly compact, homogeneous metatarsus—seemingly adapted for bearing extraordinary weight—and truncated unguals, morphologies that are otherwise unknown in Sauropoda. The pes underwent a near-progressive reduction in the number of phalanges along the line to derived titanosaurs, eventually resulting in the reduced hind foot of these sauropods. PMID:26777391

  2. Fluvial architecture of dinosaur bonebeds in the Cretaceous Judith River Formation, south-central Montana

    SciT

    Wilson, K.M.; Dodson, P.; Fiorillo, A.R.

    1991-03-01

    Fluvial architecture of dinosaur bonebeds in the Cretaceous Judith River Formation, south-central Montana, has been the subject of intensive paleontological study for many years. However, little has been published on the sedimentology of the formation in this area. The authors have completed a preliminary field study of fluvial facies, with a view towards correcting this omission. Initial results include detailed facies descriptions and maps for five quarries along a line of transect stretching some 40 km parallel to depositional dip. Facies identified are predominantly overbank splays and levees, with common point bar/alluvial channel units and occasional small, possibly estuarine sandmore » bodies in parts of the section. Shell beds (mainly oysters) and bedded, 1 m thick coals are also significant in some sections. Preliminary attempts at paleohydrology suggest river channels in some parts of the section were about 100 m wide and 2 m deep; however, other parts of the section exhibit much larger channel widths. Channel stacking is common. Preliminary results suggest a strong correlation between the occurrence of reddish brown carbonaceous silty shales, and dinosaur bone deposits.« less

  3. The physiology of dinosaurs: circulatory and respiratory function in the largest animals ever to walk the earth.

    PubMed

    Pierson, David J

    2009-07-01

    The cardiopulmonary physiology of dinosaurs-and especially of the long-necked sauropods, which grew much larger than any land animals before or since-should be inherently fascinating to anyone involved in respiratory care. What would the blood pressure be in an animal 12 m (40 ft) tall? How could airway resistance and dead space be overcome while breathing through a trachea 9 m (30 ft) long? The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in evidence bearing on these questions. Insight has come not only from new fossil discoveries but also from comparative studies of living species, clarification of evolutionary relationships, new evaluation techniques, computer modeling, and discoveries about the earth's ancient atmosphere. Pumping a vertical column of blood 8 m (26 ft) above the heart would probably require an arterial blood pressure > 600 mm Hg, and the implications of this for cardiac size and function have led to the proposal of several alternative cardiopulmonary designs. Diverse lines of evidence suggest that the giant sauropods were probably warm-blooded and metabolically active when young, but slowed their metabolism as they approached adult size, which diminished the load on the circulatory system. Circulatory considerations leave little doubt that the dinosaurs had 4-chambered hearts. Birds evolved from dinosaurs, and the avian-type air-sac respiratory system, which is more efficient than its mammalian counterpart, may hold the answer to the breathing problems posed by the sauropods' very long necks. Geochemical and other data indicate that, at the time the dinosaurs first appeared, the atmospheric oxygen concentration was only about half of what it is today, and development of the avian-type respiratory system may have been key in the dinosaurs' evolutionary success, enabling them to out-compete the mammals and dominate the land for 150 million years.

  4. A New Mass Mortality of Juvenile Protoceratops and Size-Segregated Aggregation Behaviour in Juvenile Non-Avian Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Background Monodominant bonebeds are a relatively common occurrence for non-avian dinosaurs, and have been used to infer associative, and potentially genuinely social, behavior. Previously known assemblages are characterized as either mixed size-classes (juvenile and adult-sized specimens together) or single size-classes of individuals (only juveniles or only adult-sized individuals within the assemblage). In the latter case, it is generally unknown if these kinds of size-segregated aggregations characterize only a particular size stage or represent aggregations that happened at all size stages. Ceratopsians (“horned dinosaurs”) are known from both types of assemblages. Methods/Principal Findings Here we describe a new specimen of the ceratopsian dinosaur Protoceratops andrewsi, Granger and Gregory 1923 from Mongolia representing an aggregation of four mid-sized juvenile animals. In conjunction with existing specimens of groups of P. andrewsi that includes size-clustered aggregations of young juveniles and adult-sized specimens, this new material provides evidence for some degree of size-clustered aggregation behaviour in Protoceratops throughout ontogeny. This continuity of size-segregated (and presumably age-clustered) aggregation is previously undocumented in non-avian dinosaurs. Conclusions The juvenile group fills a key gap in the available information on aggregations in younger ceratopsians. Although we support the general hypothesis that many non-avian dinosaurs were gregarious and even social animals, we caution that evidence for sociality has been overstated and advocate a more conservative interpretation of some data of ‘sociality’ in dinosaurs. PMID:25426957

  5. Herbivorous ecomorphology and specialization patterns in theropod dinosaur evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zanno, Lindsay E.; Makovicky, Peter J.

    2011-01-01

    Interpreting key ecological parameters, such as diet, of extinct organisms without the benefit of direct observation or explicit fossil evidence poses a formidable challenge for paleobiological studies. To date, dietary categorizations of extinct taxa are largely generated by means of modern analogs; however, for many species the method is subject to considerable ambiguity. Here we present a refined approach for assessing trophic habits in fossil taxa and apply the method to coelurosaurian dinosaurs—a clade for which diet is particularly controversial. Our findings detect 21 morphological features that exhibit statistically significant correlations with extrinsic fossil evidence of coelurosaurian herbivory, such as stomach contents and a gastric mill. These traits represent quantitative, extrinsically founded proxies for identifying herbivorous ecomorphology in fossils and are robust despite uncertainty in phylogenetic relationships among major coelurosaurian subclades. The distribution of these features suggests that herbivory was widespread among coelurosaurians, with six major subclades displaying morphological evidence of the diet, and that contrary to previous thought, hypercarnivory was relatively rare and potentially secondarily derived. Given the potential for repeated, independent evolution of herbivory in Coelurosauria, we also test for repetitive patterns in the appearance of herbivorous traits within sublineages using rank concordance analysis. We find evidence for a common succession of increasing specialization to herbivory in the subclades Ornithomimosauria and Oviraptorosauria, perhaps underlain by intrinsic functional and/or developmental constraints, as well as evidence indicating that the early evolution of a beak in coelurosaurians correlates with an herbivorous diet. PMID:21173263

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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

  7. Geology and taphonomy of the L'Espinau dinosaur bonebed, a singular lagoonal site from the Maastrichtian of South-Central Pyrenees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fondevilla, V.; Vicente, A.; Battista, F.; Sellés, A. G.; Dinarès-Turell, J.; Martín-Closas, C.; Anadón, P.; Vila, B.; Razzolini, N. L.; Galobart, À.; Oms, O.

    2017-06-01

    The L'Espinau site is a dinosaur bonebed from the Upper Cretaceous of the South-Central Pyrenees (north-eastern Spain) that have provided hundreds of bone remains attributed to hadrosauroids, together with a rich assemblage of herpetofauna, fish and microflora. Magnetostratigraphy calibrated the site with the early late Maastrichtian, and the combined sedimentology, stable isotope geochemistry and palaeoecology revealed that this fossil site formed in a lagoon, in which a mixed freshwater-brackish palaeoenvironment was developed. This setting displays a south-north charophyte zonation from freshwater (Clavator brachycerus-dominated assemblage) to brackish or eurihaline conditions (Feistiella malladae-dominated assemblage), revealing a palaeoenvironment change towards the coast. Sedimentology and taphonomy (bidirectional arrangement of long bones, abrasion and disarticulation) indicate that the L'Espinau site is the result of a cohesive mass flow event originated very close to the sea. This process entrained and mixed fauna from both the terrestrial and the brackish/marine environment of a lagoon. An increasing of the water runoff (e.g. by intense rainfall) reworking poorly consolidated sediments is considered here as the most probable triggering mechanism. Mass flow-hosted bonebeds are commonly linked to fluvial palaeoenvironments, so our study case is a rare example of bones accumulating near the sea. This study adds evidence that hadrosauroids inhabited littoral environments during the Maastrichtian in the southern Pyrenean area.

  8. A hyper-robust sauropodomorph dinosaur ilium from the Upper Triassic-Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa: Implications for the functional diversity of basal Sauropodomorpha

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McPhee, Blair W.; Choiniere, Jonah N.

    2016-11-01

    It has generally been held that the locomotory habits of sauropodomorph dinosaurs moved in a relatively linear evolutionary progression from bipedal through "semi-bipedal" to the fully quadrupedal gait of Sauropoda. However, there is now a growing appreciation of the range of locomotory strategies practiced amongst contemporaneous taxa of the latest Triassic and earliest Jurassic. Here we present on the anatomy of a hyper-robust basal sauropodomorph ilium from the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa. This element, in addition to highlighting the unexpected range of bauplan diversity throughout basal Sauropodomorpha, also has implications for our understanding of the relevance of "robusticity" to sauropodomorph evolution beyond generalized limb scaling relationships. Possibly representing a unique form of hindlimb stabilization during phases of bipedal locomotion, the autapomorphic morphology of this newly rediscovered ilium provides additional insight into the myriad ways in which basal Sauropodomorpha managed the inherited behavioural and biomechanical challenges of increasing body-size, hyper-herbivory, and a forelimb primarily adapted for use in a bipedal context.

  9. The chronostratigraphic framework of the South-Pyrenean Maastrichtian succession reappraised: Implications for basin development and end-Cretaceous dinosaur faunal turnover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fondevilla, Víctor; Dinarès-Turell, Jaume; Oms, Oriol

    2016-05-01

    The evolution of the end-Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems and faunas outside of North America is largely restricted to the European Archipelago. The information scattered in this last area can only be integrated in a chronostratigraphic framework on the basis of robust age constraints and stratigraphy. Therefore, we have revisited the puzzling age calibration of the sedimentary infilling from the Isona sector in the Tremp syncline (South-Central Pyrenees), an area renowned for its rich Maastrichtian dinosaur fossil record. Aiming to shed light to existing controversial age determinations, we carried out a new magnetostratigraphic study along the ~ 420 m long Orcau and Nerets sections of that area. Our results reveal that most of the succession correlates to the early Maastrichtian (mostly chron C31r) in accordance to ages proposed by recent planktonic foraminifera biostratigraphy. The resulting chronostratigraphic framework of the entire Maastrichtian basin recorded in the Tremp syncline shows that a significant sedimentary hiatus of about 3 My characterizes most of the late Maastrichtian in the study area. This hiatus, related to an abrupt migration of the basin depocenter, is temporally close to similar hiatuses, decreases in sedimentary rates and facies shifts recorded in other southwestern European areas. The present chronologic framework sets the basis for a thorough assessment of end-Cretaceous terrestrial faunal turnover and extinction patterns, and the establishment of a more rigorous Pyrenean basin evolution analysis.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. Tyrant Dinosaur Evolution Tracks the Rise and Fall of Late Cretaceous Oceans

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24223179

  12. A new name for the oviraptorid dinosaur "Ingenia" yanshini (Barsbold, 1981; preoccupied by Gerlach, 1957).

    PubMed

    Easter, Jesse

    2013-11-19

    The genus name of the small oviraptorid dinosaur Ingenia yanshini is preoccupied by the tripyloidid nematode Ingenia mirabilis, thus making the former a junior homonym of the latter.  Although "Ingenia" yanshini is sympatric with Conchoraptor gracilis, it is distinguished from Conchoraptor by proportions of the manus.  It also differs appreciably from the ingeniines Heyuannia huangi and Nemegtomaia barsboldi in manual and pelvic proportions.  "Ingenia" yanshini is not referable to any other taxon, and is renamed Ajancingenia yanshini gen. nov.  Several specimens originally referred to this species have subsequently been transferred to new genera, and the taxonomic assignment of material referred to Ajancingenia yanshini gen. nov. is reassessed.

  13. Diets of giants: the nutritional value of herbivorous dinosaur diet during the Mesozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gill, Fiona; Hummel, Juergen; Sharifi, Reza; Lee, Alexandra; Lomax, Barry

    2017-04-01

    A major uncertainty in estimating energy budgets and population densities of extinct animals is the carrying capacity of their ecosystems, constrained by net primary productivity (NPP) and digestible energy content of that NPP. The hypothesis that increases in NPP of land plants due to elevated atmospheric CO2 contributed to the unparalleled size of the sauropods, the largest ever land animals, has recently been rejected, based on modern studies on herbivorous insects. However, the nutritional value of plants grown under elevated CO2 levels might be very different for vertebrate megaherbivores with more complex digestive systems and different protein:energy requirements than insects. Here we show that the metabolisable energy (ME) value of five species of potential dinosaur food plants does not decline consistently with increasing CO2 growth concentrations, with maxima observed at 1200 ppm CO2. Our data potentially rebut the hypothesis of constraints on herbivore diet quality in the Mesozoic due to CO2 levels.

  14. Disparities in correlating microstructural to nanostructural preservation of dinosaur femoral bones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jung-Kyun; Kwon, Yong-Eun; Lee, Sang-Gil; Lee, Ji-Hyun; Kim, Jin-Gyu; Huh, Min; Lee, Eunji; Kim, Youn-Joong

    2017-03-01

    Osteohistological researches on dinosaurs are well documented, but descriptions of direct correlations between the bone microstructure and corresponding nanostructure are currently lacking. By applying correlative microscopy, we aimed to verify that well-preserved osteohistological features correlate with pristine fossil bone nanostructures from the femoral bones of Koreanosaurus boseongensis. The quality of nanostructural preservation was evaluated based on the preferred orientation level of apatite crystals obtained from selected area electron diffraction (SAED) patterns and by measuring the “arcs” from the {100} and {002} diffraction rings. Unlike our expectations, our results revealed that well-preserved microstructures do not guarantee pristine nanostructures and vice versa. Structural preservation of bone from macro- to nanoscale primarily depends on original bioapatite density, and subsequent taphonomical factors such as effects from burial, pressure, influx of external elements and the rate of diagenetic alteration of apatite crystals. Our findings suggest that the efficient application of SAED analysis opens the opportunity for comprehensive nanostructural investigations of bone.

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

    PubMed

    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. Two astroblems in Ukraine - witnesses of the last days of dinosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vidmachenko, A. P.

    2017-05-01

    Moor then 65 million years ago an asteroid with a few kilometers in size with mass of 1 trillion tons created a crater Chicxulub with a diameter of 170 km on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Then the dinosaurs died out. The largest of Ukrainian astroblems is Manevichska, located in Volyn region. It has a diameter of 45 km and occurred about 65 million years ago too. In the central part of Ukraine on the border of Kirovograd and Cherkassy regions, there is Boltyshka astrobleme. The crater has diameter 25 km and depth of more than 1 km. Boltyshka crater also appeared more than 65 million years ago. These dating of the occurrence of astroblems indicates the close age of these two craters with formation of Chicxulub. If almost coinciding formation time of two or more impact structures, it is significantly increases the effect of impact on the environment and living beings.

  17. Elemental investigation on Spanish dinosaur bones by x-ray fluorescence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brunetti, Antonio; Piga, Giampaolo; Lasio, Barbara; Golosio, Bruno; Oliva, Piernicola; Stegel, Giovanni; Enzo, Stefano

    2013-07-01

    In this paper we examine the chemical composition results obtained on a collection of 18 dinosaur fossil bones from Spain studied using a portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometer together with a reverse Monte Carlo numerical technique of data analysis. This approach is applied to the hypothesis of arbitrarily rough surfaces in order to account for the influence of the surface state of specimens on the chemical content evaluation. It is confirmed that the chemical content of elements is essential for understanding the changes brought about by diagenetic and taphonomic processes. However, for precise knowledge of what changes fossil bones have undergone after animal life and burial, it is necessary to use a multi-technique approach making use of other instruments like x-ray diffraction in order to describe accurately the transformations undergone by the mineralogical and bioinorganic phases and the properties of specific molecular groups.

  18. A Gigantic, Exceptionally Complete Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from Southern Patagonia, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Lacovara, Kenneth J.; Lamanna, Matthew C.; Ibiricu, Lucio M.; Poole, Jason C.; Schroeter, Elena R.; Ullmann, Paul V.; Voegele, Kristyn K.; Boles, Zachary M.; Carter, Aja M.; Fowler, Emma K.; Egerton, Victoria M.; Moyer, Alison E.; Coughenour, Christopher L.; Schein, Jason P.; Harris, Jerald D.; Martínez, Rubén D.; Novas, Fernando E.

    2014-01-01

    Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs were the most diverse and abundant large-bodied herbivores in the southern continents during the final 30 million years of the Mesozoic Era. Several titanosaur species are regarded as the most massive land-living animals yet discovered; nevertheless, nearly all of these giant titanosaurs are known only from very incomplete fossils, hindering a detailed understanding of their anatomy. Here we describe a new and gigantic titanosaur, Dreadnoughtus schrani, from Upper Cretaceous sediments in southern Patagonia, Argentina. Represented by approximately 70% of the postcranial skeleton, plus craniodental remains, Dreadnoughtus is the most complete giant titanosaur yet discovered, and provides new insight into the morphology and evolutionary history of these colossal animals. Furthermore, despite its estimated mass of about 59.3 metric tons, the bone histology of the Dreadnoughtus type specimen reveals that this individual was still growing at the time of death. PMID:25186586

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26216577

  20. The first reported ceratopsid dinosaur from eastern North America (Owl Creek Formation, Upper Cretaceous, Mississippi, USA).

    PubMed

    Farke, Andrew A; Phillips, George E

    2017-01-01

    Ceratopsids ("horned dinosaurs") are known from western North America and Asia, a distribution reflecting an inferred subaerial link between the two landmasses during the Late Cretaceous. However, this clade was previously unknown from eastern North America, presumably due to limited outcrop of the appropriate age and depositional environment as well as the separation of eastern and western North America by the Western Interior Seaway during much of the Late Cretaceous. A dentary tooth from the Owl Creek Formation (late Maastrichtian) of Union County, Mississippi, represents the first reported occurrence of Ceratopsidae from eastern North America. This tooth shows a combination of features typical of Ceratopsidae, including a double root and a prominent, blade-like carina. Based on the age of the fossil, we hypothesize that it is consistent with a dispersal of ceratopsids into eastern North America during the very latest Cretaceous, presumably after the two halves of North America were reunited following the retreat of the Western Interior Seaway.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  2. Seasonal bone growth and physiology in endotherms shed light on dinosaur physiology.

    PubMed

    Köhler, Meike; Marín-Moratalla, Nekane; Jordana, Xavier; Aanes, Ronny

    2012-07-19

    Cyclical growth leaves marks in bone tissue that are in the forefront of discussions about physiologies of extinct vertebrates. Ectotherms show pronounced annual cycles of growth arrest that correlate with a decrease in body temperature and metabolic rate; endotherms are assumed to grow continuously until they attain maturity because of their constant high body temperature and sustained metabolic rate. This apparent dichotomy has driven the argument that zonal bone denotes ectotherm-like physiologies, thus fuelling the controversy on dinosaur thermophysiology and the evolution of endothermy in birds and mammal-like reptiles. Here we show, from a comprehensive global study of wild ruminants from tropical to polar environments, that cyclical growth is a universal trait of homoeothermic endotherms. Growth is arrested during the unfavourable season concurrently with decreases in body temperature, metabolic rate and bone-growth-mediating plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, forming part of a plesiomorphic thermometabolic strategy for energy conservation. Conversely, bouts of intense tissue growth coincide with peak metabolic rates and correlated hormonal changes at the beginning of the favourable season, indicating an increased efficiency in acquiring and using seasonal resources. Our study supplies the strongest evidence so far that homeothermic endotherms arrest growth seasonally, which precludes the use of lines of arrested growth as an argument in support of ectothermy. However, high growth rates are a distinctive trait of mammals, suggesting the capacity for endogenous heat generation. The ruminant annual cycle provides an extant model on which to base inferences regarding the thermophysiology of dinosaurs and other extinct taxa.

  3. Dinosaur bone beds and mass mortality: Implications for the K-T extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carpenter, Kenneth

    1988-01-01

    Mass accumulations of fossilized large terrestrial vertebrate skeletons (bone beds: BB) provide a test for K-T catastrophic extinction hypotheses. The two major factors contributing to BB formation are mode of death and sedimentation rate. Catastrophic mass mortality (CMM) is the sudden death of numerous individuals where species, age, health, gender, or social ranking offer no survivorship advantage. Noncatastrophic mass mortality (NCMM) occurs over time and is strongly influenced by species, age, or gender. In addition to cause of death, sedimentation rate is also important in BB formation. Models of BBs can be made. The CMM drops all individuals in their tracks, therefore, the BB should reflect the living population with respect to species, age, or gender. The NCMM results in monospecific BBs skewed in the direction of the less fit, usually the very young or very old, or towards a specific gender. The NCMM and AM BBs may become more similar the more spread out over time NCMM deaths occur because carcasses are widely scattered requiring hydraulic accumulation, and the greater time allows for more disarticulation and weathering. The CMM and NCMM BB appear to be dominated by social animals. Applying this and the characteristics of mortality patterns to the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation indicates that only NCMM and AM BB occur. Furthermore, NCMM BB are rare in the upper third of the Hell Creek. Near the K-T boundary, only AM BB are known. The absence of CMM and NCMM BB appears to be real reflecting a decrease in population levels of some dinosaurs prior to the K-T event. The absence of CMM suggests that the K-T event did not lead to an instantaneous extinction of dinosaurs. Nor was ther