ResearchPad - dinosaurs https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The fast and the frugal: Divergent locomotory strategies drive limb lengthening in theropod dinosaurs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14509 Limb length, cursoriality and speed have long been areas of significant interest in theropod paleobiology, since locomotory capacity, especially running ability, is critical in the pursuit of prey and to avoid becoming prey. The impact of allometry on running ability, and the limiting effect of large body size, are aspects that are traditionally overlooked. Since several different non-avian theropod lineages have each independently evolved body sizes greater than any known terrestrial carnivorous mammal, ~1000kg or more, the effect that such large mass has on movement ability and energetics is an area with significant implications for Mesozoic paleoecology. Here, using expansive datasets that incorporate several different metrics to estimate body size, limb length and running speed, we calculate the effects of allometry on running ability. We test traditional metrics used to evaluate cursoriality in non-avian theropods such as distal limb length, relative hindlimb length, and compare the energetic cost savings of relative hindlimb elongation between members of the Tyrannosauridae and more basal megacarnivores such as Allosauroidea or Ceratosauridae. We find that once the limiting effects of body size increase is incorporated there is no significant correlation to top speed between any of the commonly used metrics, including the newly suggested distal limb index (Tibia + Metatarsus/ Femur length). The data also shows a significant split between large and small bodied theropods in terms of maximizing running potential suggesting two distinct strategies for promoting limb elongation based on the organisms’ size. For small and medium sized theropods increased leg length seems to correlate with a desire to increase top speed while amongst larger taxa it corresponds more closely to energetic efficiency and reducing foraging costs. We also find, using 3D volumetric mass estimates, that the Tyrannosauridae show significant cost of transport savings compared to more basal clades, indicating reduced energy expenditures during foraging and likely reduced need for hunting forays. This suggests that amongst theropods, hindlimb evolution was not dictated by one particular strategy. Amongst smaller bodied taxa the competing pressures of being both a predator and a prey item dominant while larger ones, freed from predation pressure, seek to maximize foraging ability. We also discuss the implications both for interactions amongst specific clades and Mesozoic paleobiology and paleoecological reconstructions as a whole.

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<![CDATA[Anatomy of the dinosaur Pampadromaeus barberenai (Saurischia—Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic Santa Maria Formation of southern Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe1bd5eed0c484e5b4e9

Sauropodomorphs are the most abundant and diverse clade of Triassic dinosaurs, but the taxonomy of their earliest (Carnian) representatives is still poorly understood. One such taxon is Pampadromaeus barberenai, represented by a nearly complete disarticulated skeleton recovered from the upper part of the Santa Maria Formation of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Here, the osteology of Pam. barberenai is fully described for the first time. Detailed comparisons with other Carnian sauropodomorphs reveal a unique anatomy, corroborating its status as a valid species. Potential autapomorphies of Pam. barberenai can be seen in the articulation of the sacral zygapophyses, the length of the pectoral epipodium, the shape of the distal articulation of the femur and the proximal articulation of metatarsal 1. A novel phylogenetic study shows that relationships among the Carnian sauropodomorphs are poorly constrained, possibly because they belong to a “zone of variability”, where homoplasy abounds. Yet, there is some evidence that Pam. barberenai may nest within Saturnaliidae, along with Saturnalia tupiniquim and Chromogisaurus novasi, which represents the sister group to the larger sauropodomorphs, i.e. Bagualosauria.

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<![CDATA[The braincase of Malawisaurus dixeyi (Sauropoda: Titanosauria): A 3D reconstruction of the brain endocast and inner ear]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca27d5eed0c48452a84d

A braincase of the Cretaceous titanosaurian sauropod Malawisaurus dixeyi, complete except for the olfactory region, was CT scanned and a 3D rendering of the endocast and inner ear was generated. Cranial nerves appear in the same configuration as in other sauropods, including derived features that appear to characterize titanosaurians, specifically, an abducens nerve canal that passes lateral to the pituitary fossa rather than entering it. Furthermore, the hypoglossal nerve exits the skull via a single foramen, consistent with most titanosaurians, while other saurischians, including the basal titanosauriform, Giraffatitan, contain multiple rootlets. The size of the vestibular labyrinth is smaller than in Giraffatitan, but larger than in most derived titanosaurians. Similar to the condition found in Giraffatitan, the anterior semicircular canal is larger than the posterior semicircular canal. This contrasts with more derived titanosaurians that contain similarly sized anterior and posterior semicircular canals, congruent with the interpretation of Malawisaurus as a basal titanosaurian. Measurements of the humerus of Malawisaurus provide a body mass estimate of 4.7 metric tons. Comparison of body mass to radius of the semicircular canals of the vestibular labyrinth reveals that Malawisaurus fits the allometric relationship found in previous studies of extant mammals and Giraffatitan brancai. As in Giraffatitan, the anterior semicircular canal is significantly larger than is predicted by the allometric relationship suggesting greater sensitivity and slower movement of the head in the sagittal plane.

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<![CDATA[A new African Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from the middle Cretaceous Galula Formation (Mtuka Member), Rukwa Rift Basin, Southwestern Tanzania]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca2ad5eed0c48452a874

The African terrestrial fossil record has been limited in its contribution to our understanding of both regional and global Cretaceous paleobiogeography, an interval of significant geologic and macroevolutionary change. A common component in Cretaceous African faunas, titanosaurian sauropods diversified into one of the most specious groups of dinosaurs worldwide. Here we describe the new titanosaurian Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia gen. et sp. nov. from the Mtuka Member of the Galula Formation in southwest Tanzania. The new specimen preserves teeth, elements from all regions of the postcranial axial skeleton, parts of both appendicular girdles, and portions of both limbs including a complete metatarsus. Unique traits of M. moyowamkia include the lack of an interpostzygapophyseal lamina in posterior dorsal vertebrae, pronounced posterolateral expansion of middle caudal centra, and an unusually small sternal plate. Phylogenetic analyses consistently place M. moyowamkia as either a close relative to lithostrotian titanosaurians (e.g., parsimony, uncalibrated Bayesian analyses) or as a lithostrotian and sister taxon to Malawisaurus dixeyi from the nearby Aptian? Dinosaur Beds of Malawi (e.g., tip-dating Bayesian analyses). M. moyowamkia shares a few features with M. dixeyi, including semi-spatulate teeth and a median lamina between the neural canal and interpostzygapophyseal lamina in anterior dorsal vertebrae. Both comparative morphology and phylogenetic analyses support Mnyamawamtuka as a distinct and distant relative to Rukwatitan bisepultus and Shingopana songwensis from the younger Namba Member of the Galula Formation with these results largely congruent with newly constrained ages for the Mtuka Member (Aptian–Cenomanian) and Namba Member (Campanian). Coupled with recent discoveries from the Dahkla Oasis, Egypt (e.g., Mansourasaurus shahinae) and other parts of continental Afro-Arabia, the Tanzania titanosaurians refine perspectives on the development of African terrestrial faunas throughout the Cretaceous—a critical step in understanding non-marine paleobiogeographic patterns of Africa that have remained elusive until the past few years.

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<![CDATA[A new baby oviraptorid dinosaur (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation of Mongolia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cf4d5eed0c484c81b9d

Recent discoveries of new oviraptorosaurs revealed their high diversity from the Cretaceous Period in Asia and North America. Particularly, at the family level, oviraptorids are among the most diverse theropod dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia and China. A new oviraptorid dinosaur Gobiraptor minutus gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation is described here based on a single holotype specimen that includes incomplete cranial and postcranial elements. The most prominent characters of Gobiraptor are its thickened rostrodorsal end of the mandibular symphysis and a rudimentary lingual shelf on each side of the dentary. Each lingual shelf is lined with small occlusal foramina and demarcated by a weakly developed lingual ridge. This mandibular morphology of Gobiraptor is unique among oviraptorids and likely to be linked to a specialized diet that probably included hard materials, such as seeds or bivalves. The osteohistology of the femur of the holotype specimen indicates that the individual was fairly young at the time of its death. Phylogenetic analysis recovers Gobiraptor as a derived oviraptorid close to three taxa from the Ganzhou region in southern China, but rather distantly related to other Nemegt oviraptorids which, as the results of recent studies, are also not closely related to each other. Gobiraptor increases diversity of oviraptorids in the Nemegt Formation and its presence confirms the successful adaptation of oviraptorids to a mesic environment.

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<![CDATA[Cranial Anatomy and Palaeoneurology of the Archosaur Riojasuchus tenuisceps from the Los Colorados Formation, La Rioja, Argentina]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3bab0ee8fa60bd4fa9

Riojasuchus tenuisceps Bonaparte 1967 is currently known from four specimens, including two complete skulls, collected in the late 1960s from the upper levels of the Los Colorados Formation (Late Triassic), La Rioja, Argentina. Computed tomography (CT) scans of the skulls of the holotype and a referred specimen of Riojasuchus tenuisceps and the repreparation of the latter allows recognition of new features for a detailed analysis of its cranial anatomy and its comparison with a wide variety of other archosauriform taxa. The diagnosis of Riojasuchus tenuisceps is emended and two autapomorphies are identified on the skull: (1) a deep antorbital fossa with its anterior and ventral edges almost coinciding with the same edges of the maxilla itself and (2) a suborbital fenestra equal in size to the palatine-pterygoid fenestra. Also, the first digital 3D reconstruction of the encephalon of Riojasuchus tenuisceps was carried out to study its neuroanatomy, showing a shape and cranial nerve disposition consistent to that of other pseudosuchians.

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<![CDATA[If Dung Beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) Arose in Association with Dinosaurs, Did They Also Suffer a Mass Co-Extinction at the K-Pg Boundary?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f0ab0ee8fa60b6e0f4

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 scarabaeine dung beetles and provide examples.

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<![CDATA[PLoS Biology Issue Image | Vol. 16(3) March 2018]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ae424c4463d7e02f65f0b93

Late Maastrichtian pterosaurs from North Africa and mass extinction of Pterosauria at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary

Pterosaurs were winged cousins of the dinosaurs and lived from around 200 million years ago to 66 million years ago, when the last pterosaurs disappeared during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. The pterosaurs are thought to have declined in diversity before their final extinction, suggesting that gradual processes played a major role in their demise. However, this study by Longrich et al. describes hundreds of new pterosaur fossils from the end of the Cretaceous in Morocco, including as many as seven species. These represent three different families and show substantial variation in size and skeletal proportions, suggesting that they occupied a wide range of ecological niches. The image shows an artist's impression of diverse pterosaurs flying over the Moroccan coast 66 million years ago.

Image Credit: John Conway

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<![CDATA[Novel insight into the origin of the growth dynamics of sauropod dinosaurs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be1254

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.

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<![CDATA[A New Centrosaurine Ceratopsid, Machairoceratops cronusi gen et sp. nov., from the Upper Sand Member of the Wahweap Formation (Middle Campanian), Southern Utah]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3dab0ee8fa60bd586a

The Upper Cretaceous (middle-late Campanian) Wahweap Formation of southern Utah contains the oldest diagnostic evidence of ceratopsids (to date, all centrosaurines) in North America, with a number of specimens recovered from throughout a unit that spans between 81 and 77 Ma. Only a single specimen has been formally named, Diabloceratops eatoni, from the lower middle member of the formation. Machairoceratops cronusi gen. et sp. nov., a new centrosaurine ceratopsid from the upper member of the Wahweap Formation, is here described based on cranial material representing a single individual recovered from a calcareous mudstone. The specimen consists of two curved and elongate orbital horncores, a left jugal, a nearly complete, slightly deformed braincase, the left squamosal, and a mostly complete parietal ornamented by posteriorly projected, anterodorsally curved, elongate spikes on either side of a midline embayment. The fan-shaped, stepped-squamosal is diagnostic of Centrosaurinae, however, this element differs from the rectangular squamosal in Diabloceratops. Machairoceratops also differs in the possession of two anterodorsally (rather than laterally) curved epiparietal ornamentations on either side of a midline embayment that are distinguished by a posteromedially-oriented sulcus along the entire length of the epiparietal. Additionally, the parietosquamosal frill is lacking any other epiossifications along its periphery. Machairoceratops shares a triangular (rather than round) frill and spike-like epiparietal loci (p1) ornamentation with the stratigraphically lower Diabloceratops. Both parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses place Machairoceratops as an early-branching centrosaurine. However, the parsimony-based analysis provides little resolution for the position of the new taxon, placing it in an unresolved polytomy with Diabloceratops. The resultant Bayesian topology yielded better resolution, aligning Machairoceratops as the definitive sister taxon to a clade formed by Diabloceratops and Albertaceratops. Considered together, both phylogenetic methods unequivocally place Machairoceratops as an early-branching centrosaurine, and given the biostratigraphic position of Machairoceratops, these details increase the known ceratopsid diversity from both the Wahweap Formation and the southern portion of Laramidia. Finally, the unique morphology of the parietal ornamentation highlights the evolutionary disparity of frill ornamentation near the base of Centrosaurinae.

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<![CDATA[The “χ” of the Matter: Testing the Relationship between Paleoenvironments and Three Theropod Clades]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da40ab0ee8fa60b89d6c

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

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<![CDATA[A New Specimen of the Controversial Chasmosaurine Torosaurus latus (Dinosauria: Ceratopsidae) from the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of Montana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da24ab0ee8fa60b8022e

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

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<![CDATA[Nomenclature of Vertebral Laminae in Lizards, with Comments on Ontogenetic and Serial Variation in Lacertini (Squamata, Lacertidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da60ab0ee8fa60b90e6f

Vertebral laminae are bony ridges or sheets that connect important morphological landmarks on the vertebrae, like diapophyses or zygapophyses. They usually exhibit some serial variation throughout the column. A consistent terminology facilitates the morphological description of this variation, and the recognition of patterns that could be taxonomically significant and could serve as phylogenetic characters. Such a terminology was designed for saurischian dinosaurs, and has also been applied to other members of Archosauriformes. Herein, this terminology is applied for the first time to lizards (Squamata). Probably due to their generally smaller size compared to saurischian dinosaurs, lizards have less developed vertebral laminae. Some laminae could not be recognized in this group and others require new names to account for differences in basic vertebral morphology. For instance, the fusion of diapophysis and parapophysis in lacertids into a structure called synapophysis necessitates the creation of the new term synapophyseal laminae for both diapophyseal and parapophyseal laminae. An assessment of occurrence and serial variation in a number of lacertid species shows that some laminae develop throughout ontogeny or only occur in large-sized species, whereas the distribution of other laminae might prove to be taxonomically significant in future.

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<![CDATA[Testing the Hypothesis of Biofilm as a Source for Soft Tissue and Cell-Like Structures Preserved in Dinosaur Bone]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d2ab0ee8fa60b6489e

Recovery of still-soft tissue structures, including blood vessels and osteocytes, from dinosaur bone after demineralization was reported in 2005 and in subsequent publications. Despite multiple lines of evidence supporting an endogenous source, it was proposed that these structures arose from contamination from biofilm-forming organisms. To test the hypothesis that soft tissue structures result from microbial invasion of the fossil bone, we used two different biofilm-forming microorganisms to inoculate modern bone fragments from which organic components had been removed. We show fundamental morphological, chemical and textural differences between the resultant biofilm structures and those derived from dinosaur bone. The data do not support the hypothesis that biofilm-forming microorganisms are the source of these structures.

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<![CDATA[Endocranial Morphology of the Primitive Nodosaurid Dinosaur Pawpawsaurus campbelli from the Early Cretaceous of North America]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da86ab0ee8fa60b9c2a6

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.

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<![CDATA[A Centrosaurine (Dinosauria: Ceratopsia) from the Aguja Formation (Late Campanian) of Northern Coahuila, Mexico]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeeab0ee8fa60bc02ca

While centrosaurines and ceratopsids in general are abundant in the Late Campanian of northern Laramidia, they are much less commonly found in southern Laramidia. This has supported hypotheses of dinosaur provinciality and endemism in the Late Cretaceous with the delineation of at least two separate faunal zones, north and south Laramidia. There have been 12 genera of centrosaurines recognized from northern Laramidia while two genera, Diabloceratops and Nasutoceratops, have been named from southern Laramidia. We present an osteological description and taphonomic outline for a new centrosaurine ceratopsid from the Aguja Formation of northern Coahuila, Mexico that is not currently diagnosable to the generic level, but likely represents a new taxon. Further, we have included three-dimensional surface scans of all material attributed to this animal. Considering the large number of centrosaurines from northern Laramidia, it is likely that cladistic analyses are biased towards this faunal zone. New findings of southern centrosaurines are needed to correct this bias. This discovery expands the range of centrosaurines south to Coahuila, Mexico and adds new information to better characterize the morphology and taxonomy of centrosaurines from southern Laramidia and their evolution in comparison to their northern counterparts.

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<![CDATA[Record-Breaking Pain: The Largest Number and Variety of Forelimb Bone Maladies in a Theropod Dinosaur]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da96ab0ee8fa60ba1cd1

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

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<![CDATA[Dinosaur Metabolism and the Allometry of Maximum Growth Rate]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e5ab0ee8fa60b6ad7a

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.

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<![CDATA[Volume of the crocodilian brain and endocast during ontogeny]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be10ad

Understanding complex situations and planning difficult actions require a brain of appropriate size. Animal encephalisation provides an indirect information about these abilities. The brain is entirely composed of soft tissue and, as such, rarely fossilises. As a consequence, the brain proportions and morphology of some extinct vertebrates are usually only inferred from their neurocranial endocasts. However, because the morphological configuration of the brain is not fully reflected in the endocast, knowledge of the brain/endocast relationship is essential (especially the ratio of brain volume to endocast volume or the equivalent proportion of interstitial tissue) for studying the endocasts of extinct animals. Here we assess the encephalic volume and structure of modern crocodilians. The results we obtained using ex vivo magnetic resonance imaging reveal how the endoneurocranial cavity and brain compartments of crocodilians change configuration during ontogeny. We conclude that the endocasts of adult crocodilians are elongated and expanded while their brains are more linearly organised. The highest proportion of brain tissue to endocast volume is in the prosencephalon at over 50% in all but the largest animals, whereas the proportion in other brain segments is under 50% in all but the smallest animals and embryos. Our results may enrich the field of palaeontological study by offering more precise phylogenetic interpretations of the neuroanatomic characteristics of extinct vertebrates at various ontogenetic stages.

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<![CDATA[A New Giant Titanosauria (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) from the Late Cretaceous Bauru Group, Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da34ab0ee8fa60b858db

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

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