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1.
Naturwissenschaften ; 111(3): 29, 2024 May 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38713269

RESUMO

The vast majority of pterosaurs are characterized by relatively large, elongate heads that are often adorned with large, elaborate crests. Projecting out in front of the body, these large heads and any crests must have had an aerodynamic effect. The working hypothesis of the present study is that these oversized heads were used to control the left-right motions of the body during flight. Using digital models of eight non-pterodactyloids ("rhamphorhyncoids") and ten pterodactyloids, the turning moments associated with the head + neck show a close and consistent correspondence with the rotational inertia of the whole body about a vertical axis in both groups, supporting the idea of a functional relationship. Turning moments come from calculating the lateral area of the head (plus any crests) and determining the associated lift (aerodynamic force) as a function of flight speed, with flight speeds being based on body mass. Rotational inertias were calculated from the three-dimensional mass distribution of the axial body, the limbs, and the flight membranes. The close correlation between turning moment and rotational inertia was used to revise the life restorations of two pterosaurs and to infer relatively lower flight speeds in another two.


Assuntos
Cabeça , Crânio , Animais , Fenômenos Biomecânicos/fisiologia , Crânio/anatomia & histologia , Crânio/fisiologia , Cabeça/anatomia & histologia , Cabeça/fisiologia , Voo Animal/fisiologia , Dinossauros/fisiologia , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Fósseis
2.
Proc Biol Sci ; 291(2023): 20240537, 2024 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38747705

RESUMO

The noasaurid ceratosaur Kiyacursor longipes gen. et sp. nov. is described based on a fragmentary skeleton including cervical vertebra, pectoral girdle, humerus and hind limbs from the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) Ilek Formation at Shestakovo 1 locality in Western Siberia, Russia. This is the first ceratosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Asia, extending the stratigraphic range of Ceratosauria by 40 Myr on that continent. Kiyacursor shares unique hind limb proportions with Elaphrosaurus and Limusaurus, suggesting improved cursorial ability. These taxa show an ostrich-like specialization of the pes, with a large third metatarsal and greatly reduced second metatarsal. By contrast, all other fast running non-avian theropod dinosaurs have an arctometatarsalian pes, with the third metatarsal strongly reduced proximally. The new taxon lived in the Early Cretaceous ecosystem containing a number of other Jurassic relics, such as stem salamanders, protosuchian and shartegosuchid crocodyliforms, tritylodontid synapsids and docodontan mammaliaforms.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Fósseis , Animais , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Dinossauros/classificação , Fósseis/anatomia & histologia , Sibéria , Evolução Biológica
3.
PeerJ ; 12: e16541, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38774542

RESUMO

In the Western Scheldt Estuary near the Belgian-Dutch border, middle to late Eocene strata crop out at the current seafloor. Most vertebrae of large Eocene basilosaurid taxa from this area were previously described in several papers. They represent three morphotypes: elongated vertebrae of a large species of Pachycetus (Morphotype 1b), a not-elongated vertebra of a large 'dorudontid' basilosaurid (Morphotype 2) and 'shortened' vertebrae of a new, unnamed taxon (Morphotype 3). This article deals with a still undescribed, smaller vertebra, NMR-16642, from this site. Our first aim was to date it by dinoflagellate cysts in adhering sediments. Yielding an age of about 38 Ma, it is one of the very few remains of basilosaurids from Europe, of which the age could be assessed with reasonable certainty. The vertebra, Morphotype 1a, is assigned to a small species of Pachycetus. High-quality CT scans are used to differentiate between NMR-16642, Morphotype 1a, and the large species of Pachycetus, Morphotype 1b. Another aim of this paper is to investigate the inner structure and vascularity of the study vertebra and that of the other morphotypes (1b, 2, 3) from this area by using high-quality CT scans. Notwithstanding differences in size, shape and compactness, the vertebral inner structure with a multi-layered cortex of periosteal bone, surrounding two cones of endosteal bone appears to be basically similar in all morphotypes. Apparently, this inner structure reflects the ontogenetic vertebral growth. An attempt to reconstruct the vascularity of the vertebrae reveals a remarkable pattern of interconnected vascular systems. From the dorsal and, if present, ventral foramina, vascular canals are running to a central vascular node. From this node a system of vascular canals goes to the epiphyseal ends, giving rise to separate systems for cortex and cones. It is the first time that the vascularity of vertebrae of archaeocetes is investigated.


Assuntos
Fósseis , Coluna Vertebral , Animais , Coluna Vertebral/anatomia & histologia , Coluna Vertebral/irrigação sanguínea , Mar do Norte , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Dinossauros/classificação , Tomografia Computadorizada por Raios X
4.
Cladistics ; 40(3): 307-356, 2024 Jun.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38771085

RESUMO

Gondwanan dinosaur faunae during the 20 Myr preceding the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K/Pg) extinction included several lineages that were absent or poorly represented in Laurasian landmasses. Among these, the South American fossil record contains diverse abelisaurids, arguably the most successful groups of carnivorous dinosaurs from Gondwana in the Cretaceous, reaching their highest diversity towards the end of this period. Here we describe Koleken inakayali gen. et sp. n., a new abelisaurid from the La Colonia Formation (Maastrichtian, Upper Cretaceous) of Patagonia. Koleken inakayali is known from several skull bones, an almost complete dorsal series, complete sacrum, several caudal vertebrae, pelvic girdle and almost complete hind limbs. The new abelisaurid shows a unique set of features in the skull and several anatomical differences from Carnotaurus sastrei (the only other abelisaurid known from the La Colonia Formation). Koleken inakayali is retrieved as a brachyrostran abelisaurid, clustered with other South American abelisaurids from the latest Cretaceous (Campanian-Maastrichtian), such as Aucasaurus, Niebla and Carnotaurus. Leveraging our phylogeny estimates, we explore rates of morphological evolution across ceratosaurian lineages, finding them to be particularly high for elaphrosaurine noasaurids and around the base of Abelisauridae, before the Early Cretaceous radiation of the latter clade. The Noasauridae and their sister clade show contrasting patterns of morphological evolution, with noasaurids undergoing an early phase of accelerated evolution of the axial and hind limb skeleton in the Jurassic, and the abelisaurids exhibiting sustained high rates of cranial evolution during the Early Cretaceous. These results provide much needed context for the evolutionary dynamics of ceratosaurian theropods, contributing to broader understanding of macroevolutionary patterns across dinosaurs.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Dinossauros , Fósseis , Filogenia , Animais , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Dinossauros/classificação , Crânio/anatomia & histologia , Argentina
5.
Nat Ecol Evol ; 8(5): 1048, 2024 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38741008
6.
Nat Commun ; 15(1): 4063, 2024 May 21.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38773066

RESUMO

Fossil feathers have transformed our understanding of integumentary evolution in vertebrates. The evolution of feathers is associated with novel skin ultrastructures, but the fossil record of these changes is poor and thus the critical transition from scaled to feathered skin is poorly understood. Here we shed light on this issue using preserved skin in the non-avian feathered dinosaur Psittacosaurus. Skin in the non-feathered, scaled torso is three-dimensionally replicated in silica and preserves epidermal layers, corneocytes and melanosomes. The morphology of the preserved stratum corneum is consistent with an original composition rich in corneous beta proteins, rather than (alpha-) keratins as in the feathered skin of birds. The stratum corneum is relatively thin in the ventral torso compared to extant quadrupedal reptiles, reflecting a reduced demand for mechanical protection in an elevated bipedal stance. The distribution of the melanosomes in the fossil skin is consistent with melanin-based colouration in extant crocodilians. Collectively, the fossil evidence supports partitioning of skin development in Psittacosaurus: a reptile-type condition in non-feathered regions and an avian-like condition in feathered regions. Retention of reptile-type skin in non-feathered regions would have ensured essential skin functions during the early, experimental stages of feather evolution.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Dinossauros , Plumas , Fósseis , Melanossomas , Répteis , Pele , Animais , Plumas/anatomia & histologia , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Pele/anatomia & histologia , Pele/metabolismo , Répteis/anatomia & histologia , Melanossomas/metabolismo , Melanossomas/ultraestrutura , Escamas de Animais/anatomia & histologia , Epiderme/anatomia & histologia , Epiderme/metabolismo , Epiderme/ultraestrutura , beta-Queratinas/metabolismo
7.
Commun Biol ; 7(1): 436, 2024 Apr 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38600295

RESUMO

Oviraptorosaurians were a theropod dinosaur group that reached high diversity in the Late Cretaceous. Within oviraptorosaurians, the later diverging oviraptorids evolved distinctive crania which were extensively pneumatised, short and tall, and had a robust toothless beak, interpreted as providing a powerful bite for their herbivorous to omnivorous diet. The present study explores the ability of oviraptorid crania to resist large mechanical stresses compared with other theropods and where this adaptation originated within oviraptorosaurians. Digital 3D cranial models were constructed for the earliest diverging oviraptorosaurian, Incisivosaurus gauthieri, and three oviraptorids, Citipati osmolskae, Conchoraptor gracilis, and Khaan mckennai. Finite element analyses indicate oviraptorosaurian crania were stronger than those of other herbivorous theropods (Erlikosaurus and Ornithomimus) and were more comparable to the large, carnivorous Allosaurus. The cranial biomechanics of Incisivosaurus align with oviraptorids, indicating an early establishment of distinctive strengthened cranial biomechanics in Oviraptorosauria, even before the highly modified oviraptorid cranial morphology. Bite modelling, using estimated muscle forces, suggests oviraptorid crania may have functioned closer to structural safety limits. Low mechanical stresses around the beaks of oviraptorids suggest a convergently evolved, functionally distinct rhamphotheca, serving as a cropping/feeding tool rather than for stress reduction, when compared with other herbivorous theropods.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Fósseis , Animais , Crânio/anatomia & histologia , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Herbivoria , Dieta
8.
PeerJ ; 12: e17180, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38618562

RESUMO

Skeletal remains of sauropod dinosaurs have been known from Australia for over 100 years. Unfortunately, the classification of the majority of these specimens to species level has historically been impeded by their incompleteness. This has begun to change in the last 15 years, primarily through the discovery and description of several partial skeletons from the Cenomanian-lower Turonian (lower Upper Cretaceous) Winton Formation in central Queensland, with four species erected to date: Australotitan cooperensis, Diamantinasaurus matildae, Savannasaurus elliottorum, and Wintonotitan wattsi. The first three of these appear to form a clade (Diamantinasauria) of early diverging titanosaurs (or close relatives of titanosaurs), whereas Wintonotitan wattsi is typically recovered as a distantly related non-titanosaurian somphospondylan. Through the use of 3D scanning, we digitised numerous specimens of Winton Formation sauropods, facilitating enhanced comparison between type and referred specimens, and heretofore undescribed specimens. We present new anatomical information on the holotype specimen of Diamantinasaurus matildae, and describe new remains pertaining to twelve sauropod individuals. Firsthand observations and digital analysis enabled previously proposed autapomorphic features of all four named Winton Formation sauropod species to be identified in the newly described specimens, with some specimens exhibiting putative autapomorphies of more than one species, prompting a reassessment of their taxonomic validity. Supported by a specimen-level phylogenetic analysis, we suggest that Australotitan cooperensis is probably a junior synonym of Diamantinasaurus matildae, but conservatively regard it herein as an indeterminate diamantinasaurian, meaning that the Winton Formation sauropod fauna now comprises three (rather than four) valid diamantinasaurian species: Diamantinasaurus matildae, Savannasaurus elliottorum, and Wintonotitan wattsi, with the latter robustly supported as a member of the clade for the first time. We refer some of the newly described specimens to these three species and provide revised diagnoses, with some previously proposed autapomorphies now regarded as diamantinasaurian synapomorphies. Our newly presented anatomical data and critical reappraisal of the Winton Formation sauropods facilitates a more comprehensive understanding of the mid-Cretaceous sauropod palaeobiota of central Queensland.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Humanos , Animais , Queensland , Filogenia , Austrália , Restos Mortais
9.
PeerJ ; 12: e17060, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38618574

RESUMO

Very large unidentified elongate and rounded fossil bone segments of uncertain origin recovered from different Rhaetian (Late Triassic) fossil localities across Europe have been puzzling the paleontological community since the second half of the 19th century. Different hypotheses have been proposed regarding the nature of these fossils: (1) giant amphibian bones, (2) dinosaurian or other archosaurian long bone shafts, and (3) giant ichthyosaurian jaw bone segments. We call the latter proposal the 'Giant Ichthyosaur Hypothesis' and test it using bone histology. In presumable ichthyosaur specimens from SW England (Lilstock), France (Autun), and indeterminate cortical fragments from Germany (Bonenburg), we found a combination of shared histological features in the periosteal cortex: an unusual woven-parallel complex of strictly longitudinal primary osteons set in a novel woven-fibered matrix type with intrinsic coarse collagen fibers (IFM), and a distinctive pattern of Haversian substitution in which secondary osteons often form within primary ones. The splenial and surangular of the holotype of the giant ichthyosaur Shastasaurus sikanniensis from Canada were sampled for comparison. The results of the sampling indicate a common osteohistology with the European specimens. A broad histological comparison is provided to reject alternative taxonomic affinities aside from ichthyosaurs of the very large bone segment. Most importantly, we highlight the occurrence of shared peculiar osteogenic processes in Late Triassic giant ichthyosaurs, reflecting special ossification strategies enabling fast growth and achievement of giant size and/or related to biomechanical properties akin to ossified tendons.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Animais , Osteogênese , Diáfises , Canadá , Inglaterra
10.
BMC Ecol Evol ; 24(1): 46, 2024 Apr 16.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38627692

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: Tooth replacement patterns of early-diverging ornithischians, which are important for understanding the evolution of the highly specialized dental systems in hadrosaurid and ceratopsid dinosaurs, are poorly known. The early-diverging neornithischian Jeholosaurus, a small, bipedal herbivorous dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota, is an important taxon for understanding ornithischian dental evolution, but its dental morphology was only briefly described previously and its tooth replacement is poorly known. RESULTS: CT scanning of six specimens representing different ontogenetic stages of Jeholosaurus reveals significant new information regarding the dental system of Jeholosaurus, including one or two replacement teeth in nearly all alveoli, relatively complete tooth resorption, and an increase in the numbers of alveoli and replacement teeth during ontogeny. Reconstructions of Zahnreihen indicate that the replacement pattern of the maxillary dentition is similar to that of the dentary dentition but with a cyclical difference. The maxillary tooth replacement rate in Jeholosaurus is probably 46 days, which is faster than that of most other early-diverging ornithischians. During the ontogeny of Jeholosaurus, the premaxillary tooth replacement rate slows from 25 days to 33 days with similar daily dentine formation. CONCLUSIONS: The tooth replacement rate exhibits a decreasing trend with ontogeny, as in Alligator. In a phylogenetic context, fast tooth replacement and multi-generation replacement teeth have evolved at least twice independently in Ornithopoda, and our analyses suggest that the early-diverging members of the major ornithischian clades exhibit different tooth replacement patterns as an adaption to herbivory.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Dente , Animais , Filogenia , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Herbivoria , Fósseis , Dente/diagnóstico por imagem , Dente/cirurgia , Dente/anatomia & histologia
11.
J Comp Neurol ; 532(3): e25597, 2024 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38588163

RESUMO

Although the brain fills nearly the entire cranial cavity in birds, it can occupy a small portion of it in crocodilians. The lack of data regarding the volumetric correspondence between the brain and the cranial cavity hampers thorough assessments of the degree of encephalization in non-neornithean dinosaurs and other extinct archosaurs and, consequently, informed inferences regarding their cognitive capacities. Existing data suggest that, across extant archosaurs, the degree of endocranial doming and the volume of intracranial nonneural components are inversely related. We build upon this information to develop an equation relating these two anatomical features in non-neornithean dinosaurs and other extinct archosaurs. We rely on measurements of the endocast doming and brain-to-endocranial cavity (BEC) index in extant relatives of non-neornithean dinosaurs, namely, the crurotarsans Caiman crocodilus, Crocodylus niloticus, and Crocodylus porosus; the paleognaths Struthio camelus and Apteryx mantelli; and the fowl Macrocephalon maleo, Gallus gallus, Meleagris gallopavo, Phasianus colchicus, and Anas platyrhynchos. Applying the equation to representative endocasts from major clades of dinosaurs, we found that BEC varies from about 0.6 in ceratopsians and thyreophorans to around 0.7 in ornithopods, pachycephalosaurians, sauropods, and theropods. We, therefore, warn against the use of a catch-all value, like 0.5, and instead encourage refinement in the adoption of BEC across archosaurs.


Assuntos
Jacarés e Crocodilos , Dinossauros , Animais , Filogenia , Crânio/anatomia & histologia , Galinhas , Encéfalo , Evolução Biológica , Fósseis
12.
Nat Commun ; 15(1): 2864, 2024 Apr 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38580657

RESUMO

Global climate patterns fundamentally shape the distribution of species and ecosystems. For example, Bergmann's rule predicts that homeothermic animals, including birds and mammals, inhabiting cooler climates are generally larger than close relatives from warmer climates. The modern world, however, lacks the comparative data needed to evaluate such macroecological rules rigorously. Here, we test for Bergmann's rule in Mesozoic dinosaurs and mammaliaforms that radiated within relatively temperate global climate regimes. We develop a phylogenetic model that accounts for biases in the fossil record and allows for variable evolutionary dispersal rates. Our analysis also includes new fossil data from the extreme high-latitude Late Cretaceous Arctic Prince Creek Formation. We find no evidence for Bergmann's rule in Mesozoic dinosaurs or mammaliaforms, the ancestors of extant homeothermic birds and mammals. When our model is applied to thousands of extant dinosaur (bird) and mammal species, we find that body size evolution remains independent of latitude. A modest temperature effect is found in extant, but not in Mesozoic, birds, suggesting that body size evolution in modern birds was influenced by Bergmann's rule during Cenozoic climatic change. Our study provides a general approach for studying macroecological rules, highlighting the fossil record's power to address longstanding ecological principles.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Animais , Filogenia , Ecossistema , Modelos Biológicos , Tamanho Corporal , Mamíferos , Evolução Biológica
13.
PLoS One ; 19(4): e0298242, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38568908

RESUMO

Dinosauria debuted on Earth's stage in the aftermath of the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction Event, and survived two other Triassic extinction intervals to eventually dominate terrestrial ecosystems. More than 231 million years ago, in the Upper Triassic Ischigualasto Formation of west-central Argentina, dinosaurs were just getting warmed up. At this time, dinosaurs represented a minor fraction of ecosystem diversity. Members of other tetrapod clades, including synapsids and pseudosuchians, shared convergently evolved features related to locomotion, feeding, respiration, and metabolism and could have risen to later dominance. However, it was Dinosauria that radiated in the later Mesozoic most significantly in terms of body size, diversity, and global distribution. Elevated growth rates are one of the adaptations that set later Mesozoic dinosaurs apart, particularly from their contemporary crocodilian and mammalian compatriots. When did the elevated growth rates of dinosaurs first evolve? How did the growth strategies of the earliest known dinosaurs compare with those of other tetrapods in their ecosystems? We studied femoral bone histology of an array of early dinosaurs alongside that of non-dinosaurian contemporaries from the Ischigualasto Formation in order to test whether the oldest known dinosaurs exhibited novel growth strategies. Our results indicate that the Ischigualasto vertebrate fauna collectively exhibits relatively high growth rates. Dinosaurs are among the fastest growing taxa in the sample, but they occupied this niche alongside crocodylomorphs, archosauriformes, and large-bodied pseudosuchians. Interestingly, these dinosaurs grew at least as quickly, but more continuously than sauropodomorph and theropod dinosaurs of the later Mesozoic. These data suggest that, while elevated growth rates were ancestral for Dinosauria and likely played a significant role in dinosaurs' ascent within Mesozoic ecosystems, they did not set them apart from their contemporaries.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Animais , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Evolução Biológica , Ecossistema , Fósseis , Osso e Ossos , Filogenia , Mamíferos
14.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 121(12): e2401482121, 2024 Mar 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38466860
15.
Sci Rep ; 14(1): 6528, 2024 03 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38499621

RESUMO

The Serrote do Letreiro Site, found on the northwest periphery of the Sousa Basin, Brazil, presents a remarkable convergence of paleontological and archaeological elements. It is constituted of sub-horizontal "lajeiros", or rock outcrops, intermingled with endemic Caatinga vegetation. The three prominent outcrops feature fossilized footprints of theropod, sauropod, and iguanodontian dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous Period. Adjacent to these dinosaur tracks, indigenous petroglyphs adorn the surface. The petroglyphs, mainly characterized by circular motifs, maintain a striking resemblance to other petroglyphs found in the states of Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte. This study primarily endeavors to delineate the site's major characteristics while concentrating on the relationship between the dinosaur footprints and the petroglyphs. It concurrently assesses the preservation status of this invaluable record, shedding light on its implications for the realms of paleontology, archaeology, and cultural heritage studies.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Golfinhos , Animais , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Brasil , Paleontologia , Arqueologia , Fósseis
16.
PLoS One ; 19(3): e0298957, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38446841

RESUMO

The lifestyle of spinosaurid dinosaurs has been a topic of lively debate ever since the unveiling of important new skeletal parts for Spinosaurus aegyptiacus in 2014 and 2020. Disparate lifestyles for this taxon have been proposed in the literature; some have argued that it was semiaquatic to varying degrees, hunting fish from the margins of water bodies, or perhaps while wading or swimming on the surface; others suggest that it was a fully aquatic underwater pursuit predator. The various proposals are based on equally disparate lines of evidence. A recent study by Fabbri and coworkers sought to resolve this matter by applying the statistical method of phylogenetic flexible discriminant analysis to femur and rib bone diameters and a bone microanatomy metric called global bone compactness. From their statistical analyses of datasets based on a wide range of extant and extinct taxa, they concluded that two spinosaurid dinosaurs (S. aegyptiacus, Baryonyx walkeri) were fully submerged "subaqueous foragers," whereas a third spinosaurid (Suchomimus tenerensis) remained a terrestrial predator. We performed a thorough reexamination of the datasets, analyses, and methodological assumptions on which those conclusions were based, which reveals substantial problems in each of these areas. In the datasets of exemplar taxa, we found unsupported categorization of taxon lifestyle, inconsistent inclusion and exclusion of taxa, and inappropriate choice of taxa and independent variables. We also explored the effects of uncontrolled sources of variation in estimates of bone compactness that arise from biological factors and measurement error. We found that the ability to draw quantitative conclusions is limited when taxa are represented by single data points with potentially large intrinsic variability. The results of our analysis of the statistical method show that it has low accuracy when applied to these datasets and that the data distributions do not meet fundamental assumptions of the method. These findings not only invalidate the conclusions of the particular analysis of Fabbri et al. but also have important implications for future quantitative uses of bone compactness and discriminant analysis in paleontology.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Mergulho , Animais , Filogenia , Natação , Água Corporal
17.
PeerJ ; 12: e16978, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38436015

RESUMO

Extremes in organismal size have broad interest in ecology and evolution because organismal size dictates many traits of an organism's biology. There is particular fascination with identifying upper size extremes in the largest vertebrates, given the challenges and difficulties of measuring extant and extinct candidates for the largest animal of all time, such as whales, terrestrial non-avian dinosaurs, and extinct marine reptiles. The discovery of Perucetus colossus, a giant basilosaurid whale from the Eocene of Peru, challenged many assumptions about organismal extremes based on reconstructions of its body weight that exceeded reported values for blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus). Here we present an examination of a series of factors and methodological approaches to assess reconstructing body weight in Perucetus, including: data sources from large extant cetaceans; fitting published body mass estimates to body outlines; testing the assumption of isometry between skeletal and body masses, even with extrapolation; examining the role of pachyostosis in body mass reconstructions; addressing method-dependent error rates; and comparing Perucetus with known physiological and ecological limits for living whales, and Eocene oceanic productivity. We conclude that Perucetus did not exceed the body mass of today's blue whales. Depending on assumptions and methods, we estimate that Perucetus weighed 60-70 tons assuming a length 17 m. We calculated larger estimates potentially as much as 98-114 tons at 20 m in length, which is far less than the direct records of blue whale weights, or the 270 ton estimates that we calculated for body weights of the largest blue whales measured by length.


Assuntos
Balaenoptera , Dinossauros , Animais , Fósseis , Cetáceos , Peso Corporal
18.
PeerJ ; 12: e16960, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38436017

RESUMO

Important transformations of the pectoral girdle are related to the appearance of flight capabilities in the Dinosauria. Previous studies on this topic focused mainly on paravians yet recent data suggests flight evolved in dinosaurs several times, including at least once among non-avialan paravians. Thus, to fully explore the evolution of flight-related avian shoulder girdle characteristics, it is necessary to compare morphology more broadly. Here, we present information from pennaraptoran specimens preserving pectoral girdle elements, including all purportedly volant taxa, and extensively compare aspects of the shoulder joint. The results show that many pectoral girdle modifications appear during the evolution from basal pennaraptorans to paravians, including changes in the orientation of the coracoid body and the location of the articulation between the furcula and scapula. These modifications suggest a change in forelimb range of motion preceded the origin of flight in paravians. During the evolution of early avialans, additional flight adaptive transformations occur, such as the separation of the scapula and coracoid and reduction of the articular surface between these two bones, reduction in the angle between these two elements, and elongation of the coracoid. The diversity of coracoid morphologies and types of articulations joining the scapula-coracoid suggest that each early avialan lineage evolved these features in parallel as they independently evolved more refined flight capabilities. In early ornithothoracines, the orientation of the glenoid fossa and location of the acrocoracoid approaches the condition in extant birds, suggesting a greater range of motion in the flight stroke, which may represent the acquisition of improved powered flight capabilities, such as ground take-off. The formation of a new articulation between the coracoid and furcula in the Ornithuromorpha is the last step in the formation of an osseous triosseal canal, which may indicate the complete acquisition of the modern flight apparatus. These morphological transitions equipped birds with a greater range of motion, increased and more efficient muscular output and while at the same time transmitting the increased pressure being generated by ever more powerful flapping movements in such a way as to protect the organs. The driving factors and functional adaptations of many of these transitional morphologies are as yet unclear although ontogenetic transitions in forelimb function observed in extant birds provide an excellent framework through which we can explore the behavior of Mesozoic pennaraptorans.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Articulação do Ombro , Animais , Extremidade Superior , Membro Anterior , Aves , Escápula
19.
BMC Ecol Evol ; 24(1): 20, 2024 Feb 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38336630

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: Living birds comprise the most speciose and anatomically diverse clade of flying vertebrates, but their poor early fossil record and the lack of resolution around the relationships of the major clades have greatly obscured extant avian origins. RESULTS: Here, I describe a Late Cretaceous bird from North America based on a fragmentary skeleton that includes cranial material and portions of the forelimb, hindlimb, and foot and is identified as a juvenile based on bone surface texture. Several features unite this specimen with crown Aves, but its juvenile status precludes the recognition of a distinct taxon. The North American provenance of the specimen supports a cosmopolitan distribution of early crown birds, clashes with the hypothesized southern hemisphere origins of living birds, and demonstrates that crown birds and their closest relatives coexisted with non-avian dinosaurs that independently converged on avian skeletal anatomy, such as the alvarezsaurids and dromaeosaurids. CONCLUSIONS: By revealing the ecological and biogeographic context of Cretaceous birds within or near the crown clade, the Lance Formation specimen provides new insights into the contingent nature of crown avian survival through the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction and the subsequent origins of living bird diversity.


Assuntos
Dinossauros , Animais , Dinossauros/anatomia & histologia , Filogenia , Ecossistema , Aves/anatomia & histologia , América do Norte , Crânio/anatomia & histologia
20.
Nat Ecol Evol ; 8(3): 591, 2024 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38378805
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