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Hedrick B.P.,University of Pennsylvania | Chunling G.,Dalian Museum of Natural History | Omar G.I.,University of Pennsylvania | Fengjiao Z.,Dalian Museum of Natural History | And 2 more authors.
Cretaceous Research | Year: 2014

We present the first detailed description of the osteology and mineralogy of an assemblage of Psittacosaurus juveniles (DMNH D2156) associated with a larger specimen from the Lujiatun beds of the Yixian Formation in Liaoning, China. We fully describe all of the material as well as discuss intraspecific variation in the sample set of twenty-four juveniles with associated postcranial material and compare with previously described ceratopsian juvenile material. Based on the development of the ends of long bones, it is suggested that the juveniles are not embryonic, but are post-hatchlings. In comparison with previous histologic analyses on P.lujiatunensis, it is shown that the large specimen associated with the juveniles is likely not yet an adult and that this assemblage is not an exemplar of parental care, but may be an example of post-hatching cooperation. The large specimen is however, shown to be positively associated with the assemblage and was not added on after excavation. Additionally, an allometric analysis of Psittacosaurus bone lengths is performed in order to determine ontogenetic trajectories and allometry using femur length as a proxy. This demonstrates that the vast majority of long bones and girdle elements in Psittacosaurus are isometric with body size, but supports previous analyses that the forelimb grew slower than the hindlimb. Finally, a mineralogical analysis using X-ray diffraction and petrographic thin sections of the block where DMNH D2156 is preserved shows that the animals were preserved in a volcanic-lithic arenite. The statistically significant alignment of specimens and preservation in a volcanic rock suggests that the taphonomic setting and reasoning for the exceptional preservation of the specimen is due to burial by a volcaniclastic debris flow. The vast majority of specimens in the Yixian Formation are found in lacustrine strata, recently suggested to be carried into lakes by pyroclastic debris flows. The preservation of DMNH D2156 in a clastic flow further supports the volcaniclastic flow preservation model for the fauna of the Yixian Formation, but we prefer a lahar flow interpretation for DMNH D2156 since there is no evidence of the bone microstructure being affected by intense heat associated with pyroclastic debris flows. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

PubMed | Dalian Museum of Natural History, University of Science and Arts of Iran and Temple University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007) | Year: 2016

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

Gao C.-L.,Dalian Museum of Natural History | Wilson G.P.,University of Washington | Luo Z.-X.,Section of Vertebrate Paleontology | Maga A.M.,University of Washington | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

We report the discovery of Juchilestes liaoningensis, a new genus and species of eutriconodont mammal from the Lujiatun Site of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation (123.2 ± 1.0 Ma; Lower Aptian). The holotype preserves a partial skull and full dentition. Among eutriconodonts, its lower dentition is similar to taxa formerly assigned to the paraphyletic group of'amphilestids'. Some have considered 'amphilestid' molars to represent the structural intermediate between the lower molars of the 'triconodont' pattern of cusps in alignment and the fully triangulate and more derived therian molars. However, 'amphilestid' taxa were previously represented only by the lower dentition. Our study reveals, for the first time, the upper dentition and skull structure of an 'amphilestid', and shows that at least some eutriconodonts have an obtuse-angled cusp pattern on molars in middle positions of the long molar series. Its petrosal is similar to those of other eutriconodonts and spalacotheroid 'symmetrodonts'. Our phylogenetic analyses suggest that (i) Juchilestes is most closely related to the Early Cretaceous Hakusanodon from Japan, in the same Eastern Asiatic geographic region; (ii) 'amphilestids' are not monophyletic; and (iii) eutriconodonts might not be a monophyletic group, although this hypothesis must be further tested. © 2009 The Royal Society.

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