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Moser on Plateosaurus



The following just came out..

Naish, D. & Martill, D. M. 2003. Pterosaurs - a successful 
invasion of prehistoric skies. _Biologist_ 50 (5), 213-216.

Also, I mentioned the following in a recent email but didn't 
have time to talk about it...

Moser, M. 2003. _Plateosaurus engelhardti_ Meyer, 1837 
(Dinosauria: Sauropodomorpha) aus dem Feuerletten 
(Mittelkeuper; Obertrias) von Bayern. _Zitteliana_ B 24, 3-
186.

This impressive monograph describes the plateosaur bones 
(and accompanying fauna) discovered in 1962 in Ellingen 
(Bavaria) and covers the taphonomy and preservation, 
morphology, systematics and phylogenetic implications of 
_Plateosaurus_. There is too much information here for an 
easy summary but some of the main points of interest are as 
follows...

-- The accompanying fauna includes a proganochelyid and 
some cf. _Liliensternus_ material (proximal end of a left mt 
II). 

-- In view of the controversy over the origins of the sacral 
vertebrae in plateosaurs, Marcus looked in detail at the 
sacral vertebrae of assorted sauropodomorphs and other 
archosauromorphs. The resulting discussion is heavy going 
and I haven't gotten through it all yet. Contra Galton (2000, 
2001), Marcus argues that none of the prosauropods 
incorporated a dorsal into the sacrum: the reasons this 
conclusion was reached are erroneous. Note however that 
Yates (2003) agrees with Galton's identification of a 
dorsosacral in plateosaurs and apparently regards the 
presence of a dorsosacral as a synapomorphy for all 
sauropodomorphs more derived than thecodontosaurs. 
_Vulcanodon_ is argued to exhibit a prosauropod-like 
sacrum.

-- Diagenetic influence is responsible for the morphological 
variation seen in _Plateosaurus_ and, contra Galton and 
Weishampel & Chapman 1990, there is no evidence for 
biological variability within the genus. _Sellosaurus_ is also 
not found to differ from _Plateosaurus_ (so, like Yates 
2003, Marcus advocates referral of _Sellosaurus_ to 
_Plateosaurus_). 

-- There is also an extensive discussion of plateosaur 
posture, and lots more. The work is in German but there's a 
long English summary at the back. A few papers by Galton 
and Yates on plateosaurs came out after the work went to 
press, so unfortunately could not be discussed.

-- 
Darren Naish
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth UK, PO1 3QL

email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
tel: 023 92846045