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Richter A.,Niedersachsisches Landesmuseum Hanover | Wings O.,University of Tubingen | Wings O.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Pfretzschner H.-U.,University of Tubingen | Martin T.,University of Bonn
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Year: 2010

Screen washing at the Liuhuanggou locality, a fossiliferous bone bed within the early Late Jurassic Qigu Formation, 40 km southwest of the city of Urumqi, yielded two lizard jaw fragments with teeth and two lizard osteoderm fragments, which together reveal the presence of Paramacellodidae. The same locality also yielded four tentative choristoderan jaw and tooth fragments. This find is the first record of Mesozoic lizards and probable choristoderes from the Junggar Basin and Northwest China and expands the palaeobiodiversity known from the Qigu Formation. © Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2010. Source

Background: Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki is a small ornithopod dinosaur known from thousands of bones and several ontogenetic stages. It was found in a single locality within the Tendaguru Formation of southeastern Tanzania, possibly representing a single herd. Dysalotosaurus provides an excellent case study for examining variation in bone microstructure and life history and helps to unravel the still mysterious growth pattern of small ornithopods. Methodology/Principal Findings: Five different skeletal elements were sampled, revealing microstructural variation between individuals, skeletal elements, cross sectional units, and ontogenetic stages. The bone wall consists of fibrolamellar bone with strong variability in vascularization and development of growth cycles. Larger bones with a high degree of utilization have high relative growth rates and seldom annuli/LAGs, whereas small and less intensively used bones have lower growth rates and a higher number of these resting lines. Due to the scarcity of annuli/LAGs, the reconstruction of the life history of Dysalotosaurus was carried out using regularly developed and alternating slow and fast growing zones. Dysalotosaurus was a precocial dinosaur, which experienced sexual maturity at ten years, had an indeterminate growth pattern, and maximum growth rates comparable to a large kangaroo. Conclusions/Significance: The variation in the bone histology of Dysalotosaurus demonstrates the influence of size, utilization, and shape of bones on relative growth rates. Annuli/LAGs are not the only type of annual growth cycles that can be used to reconstruct the life history of fossil vertebrates, but the degree of development of these lines may be of importance for the reconstruction of paleobehavior. The regular development of annuli/LAGs in subadults and adults of large ornithopods therefore reflects higher seasonal stress due to higher food demands, migration, and altricial breeding behavior. Small ornithopods often lack regularly developed annuli/LAGs due to lower food demands, no need for migration, and precocial behavior. © 2012 Tom R. Hübner. Source

Redelstorff R.,University of Cape Town | Hubner T.R.,Niedersachsisches Landesmuseum Hanover | Chinsamy A.,University of Cape Town | Sander P.M.,University of Bonn
Anatomical Record | Year: 2013

Using bone histology, a slow growth rate, uncommon for most dinosaurs, has been interpreted for the highly derived stegosaur Stegosaurus (Ornithischia: Thyreophora) and the basal thyreophoran Scutellosaurus. In this study, we examine whether this slow growth rate also occurs in the more basal stegosaur Kentrosaurus from the Tendaguru beds of Tanzania. The bone histology of six femora of Kentrosaurus representing an ontogenetic series from subadult to adult was studied, as well as one scapula. The primary bone is mainly highly vascularized fibro-lamellar bone with some reticular organization of the vascular canals. In addition to LAGs and annuli, distinctive shifts in the pattern of vascularization occur, which have been interpreted as potential growth marks. The variation in the development of growth marks may reflect annual climatic fluctuations. The overall bone depositional rate, and hence growth rate in Kentrosaurus appears to be higher than in Stegosaurus and Scutellosaurus. Considering that Stegosaurus is the larger-sized of the two stegosaurs, this would be contrary to an earlier supposition that small-bodied dinosaurs have slower growth rates than larger ones. Our finding of rapid rates of bone deposition in Kentrosaurus suggests that slow growth rates previously reported in Scutellosaurus and Stegosaurus are not a phylogenetic characteristic of the Thyreophora. Thus, slow growth rates are not plesiomorphic for the Thyreophora. We propose that the slow growth rates documented in the highly derived Stegosaurus could have been secondarily derived or alternatively that Kentrosaurus is the exception having increased growth rates. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Tschopp E.,New University of Lisbon | Tschopp E.,University of Turin | Wings O.,Niedersachsisches Landesmuseum Hanover | Frauenfelder T.,University of Zurich | And 3 more authors.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica | Year: 2016

Several types of pathological bony overgrowth are known from various dinosaur taxa but, except for stress fractures, are rarely reported from appendicular elements. Herein we describe pathological manual and pedal phalanges of a camarasaurid sauropod (SMA 0002), which show features rarely recognised in non-avian dinosaurs. They include lateral osteophytes and smoothing of phalangeal articular surfaces, a deep pit, proximal enthesophytes in pedal unguals, distal overgrowth associated with a fracture, and a knob-like overgrowth lateral to the distal condyles of a pedal phalanx. Their causes were assessed by means of visual examination, CT scans, and bone histology, where possible. The lateral osteophytes are interpreted as symptoms of osteoarthritis. The ossified tendon insertions in the unguals are most probably the result of prolonged, heavy use of the pedal claws, possibly for scratch-digging. The distal overgrowth is interpreted to have developed due to changed stress regimes, and to be the cause for the fracture. The deep pit represents most likely a case of osteochondrosis, whereas the knob-like overgrowth likely represents a post-traumatic phenomenon not previously reported in dinosaurs. The study confirms that a rigorous assessment of pathologies can yield information about behaviour in long-extinct animals. Copyright © 2016 E. Tschopp et al. Source

Occurrences of suspected sauropod geogastroliths and “exoliths” (exotic clasts) are compared with authentic finds of stomach stones in the sauropods Diplodocus, Cedarosaurus, and Camarasaurus. Sedimentological and taphonomical evidence from classic sauropod dinosaur localities in the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation (Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, Dry Mesa Dinosaur Quarry, Carnegie Quarry/Dinosaur National Monument, Howe Quarry, Como Bluff, and Bone Cabin Quarry) reveals very few sauropod finds with unambiguous gastroliths. The scarcity of clasts in the fine-grained sediments of most of the localities suggests that only a small number of sauropods possessed gastroliths. The occurrence of a hypothetical avian-style gastric mill in sauropods is not supported by taphonomical evidence. Exoliths that are abundant in the Early Cretaceous of the western USA are nearly absent in Late Jurassic sediments. Without an association with fossil bone, there is no convincing evidence that such clasts represent former gastroliths. It is more plausible that most exoliths have been transported in hyperclastic flows or that surface-collected stones are weathering relicts of former conglomerate layers. © Author(s) 2015. Source

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