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Early Dinosaur Evolution Symposium Volume



Hi All -

This is now officially out as _Historical Biology_ 19(1) -- some of these were mentioned earlier, but some weren't, and some that were initially listed aren't in the volume (but are still in the journal's "on-line early" stuff):

Bonaparte, J.F., Brea, G., Schultz, C.L., and Martinelli, A.G. 2006. A new specimen of Guaibasaurus candelariensis (basal Saurischia) from the Late Triassic Caturrita Formation of southern Brazil. Historical Biology 19(1):73-82. doi: 10.1080/08912960600866862.

ABSTRACT: The comparison of the anatomy of a second incomplete skeleton of Guaibasaurus candelariensis to that of basal Saurischia suggests that the origin of the "Prosauropoda" was from unknown basal saurischians, after separating from theropods (except herrerasaurids). Guaibasaurus and Saturnalia are part of this early dichotomy, and they bear mixed characters-states of basal theropods and "prosauropods" type. The Late Triassic age of both Guaibasaurus and Saturnalia (the latter is older) predates the 'dominance' of basal sauropodomorphs as well as the appearance of the basal theropod Zupaysaurus, both recorded from the upper Los Colorados Formation of Argentina.


Ezcurra, M.D., and Novas, F.E. 2006. Phylogenetic relationships of the Triassic theropod Zupaysaurus rougieri from NW Argentina. Historical Biology 19(1):35-72. doi: 10.1080/08912960600845791.


ABSTRACT: The anatomy and phylogenetic relationships of the Upper Triassic theropod Zupaysaurus rougieri are reviewed. This taxon is represented by a nearly complete skull and fragmentary postcranial remains recovered from the Los Colorados Formation (Norian), NW Argentina. Originally, Zupaysaurus rougieri was considered a basal member of the Tetanurae, but its anatomy closely resembles that of the Coelophysoidea, supporting its nesting within this theropodan subclade. Thus reinterpreted, Zupaysaurus represents the first record of coelophysoids in South America. Phylogenetic analyses perfomed in this study depict Zupaysaurus as a non-coelophysid coelophysoid. Autopomorphic traits of Zupaysaurus include: maxillary-jugal ventral margin forming an obtuse angle in lateral view, tibia with a very deep and caudally open caudal fossa for the reception of an astragalar caudal process. Within the phylogenetic context outlined here, the derived features shared with Tetanurae (e.g. maxillary fenestra, caudally forked ascending ramus of the maxilla) are better interpreted as homoplasies rather than tetanuran derived features.


Ferigolo, J., and Langer, M.C. 2006. A Late Triassic dinosauriform from south Brazil and the origin of the ornithischian predentary bone. Historical Biology 19(1):23-33. doi: 10.1080/08912960600845767.


ABSTRACT: The South American Late Triassic offers the most comprehensive window to the early radiation of dinosaurs. This is enhanced by the discovery of Sacisaurus agudoensis, a new dinosauriform from the Caturrita Formation of Brazil. Various morphological features suggest its close phylogenetic affinity to Silesaurus, and both may be basal ornithischian dinosaurs. Sacisaurus has a pair of elements forming the tip of its lower jaw, hypothesized to be equivalent to the ornithischian predentary. This suggests that during an initial stage of their evolution, those dinosaurs had a paired predentary, which later fused into a single structure. As an originally paired bone, the predentary is comparable to elements that more often form the vertebrate mandible, such as the mentomeckelian bone. Although synapomorphic for ornithischians, the predentary does not seem neomorphic for the group, but primarily homologous to parts of the symphyseal region of the lower jaw of other vertebrates.


Irmis, R.B., Parker, W.G., Nesbitt, S.J., and Liu, J. 2006. Early ornithischian dinosaurs: the Triassic record. Historical Biology 19(1):3-22. doi: 10.1080/08912960600719988.


ABSTRACT: Ornithischian dinosaurs are one of the most taxonomically diverse dinosaur clades during the Mesozoic, yet their origin and early diversification remain virtually unknown. In recent years, several new Triassic ornithischian taxa have been proposed, mostly based upon isolated teeth. New discoveries of skeletal material of some of these tooth taxa indicate that these teeth can no longer be assigned to the Ornithischia using unambiguous synapomorphies. The Triassic record of ornithischian dinosaurs now comprises only three probable occurrences: Pisanosaurus and an unnamed heterodontosaurid from Argentina, and an unnamed specimen from the uppermost Triassic of South Africa. This revised Triassic record suggests that ornithischians were not very diverse or abundant through the Triassic, and there are large gaps in the Triassic ornithischian fossil record. Moreover, traditional living analogues for interpreting the feeding ecology of early ornithischians from their tooth morphology are generally inappropriate, and "herbivorous" archosaur teeth such as those found in early ornithischians are not necessarily diagnostic of herbivorous feeding.


Marsicano, C.A., Domnanovich, N.S., and Mancuso, A.C. 2006. Dinosaur origins: evidence from the footprint record. Historical Biology 19(1):83-91. doi: 10.1080/08912960600866920.


ABSTRACT: Triassic tracks and trackways assigned to dinosaur trackmakers or closest relatives have been mentioned from several Middle to the latest Triassic successions from both northern and southern Pangea. At present, the earliest gondwanan records are those from the Middle Triassic Los Rastros Formation in west-central Argentina. A reanalysis of Los Rastros ichnites at the Ischichuca area, including new material, has revealed the presence of a more diverse ichnofauna than previously suspected. The ichnocoenosis includes several tracks and trackways of bipeds with functionally tridactyl digitigrade pes, well developed claws, and a parasagittal posture of the hindlimbs. Previously, some large tridactyl footprints from the Ischichuca area were allied to theropod dinosaurs, although no synapomophies are preserved in the three-toed footprints that might discriminate among theropods, basal saurischians and basal ornithischian groups as their possible trackmakers. If the Ischichuca trackmakers are referred to a dinosaur taxon and/or to a close dinosaur sister-taxon, their presence in the Los Rastros levels suggests that derived dinosauriforms (including dinosaurs) had diverged and acquired their characteristic functionally tridactyl pes by at least the Middle Triassic, something that the body-fossil record has failed to document to date.


Pol, D., and Powell, J.E. 2006. Skull anatomy of Mussaurus patagonicus (Dinosauria: Sauropodomorpha) from the Late Triassic of Patagonia. Historical Biology 19(1):125-144. doi: 10.1080/08912960601140085.


ABSTRACT: The skull anatomy of Mussaurus patagonicus from the Upper Triassic Laguna Colorada Formation is described based on a revision of the type material and several recently found specimens. The studied material include two distinct size classes of individuals. The type material consists of extremely young individuals whereas the new specimens are interpreted as juvenile or subadult individuals. The latter are significantly larger, having a skull approximately three times longer than the type material. The skull anatomy of this taxon shows derived characters shared with some basal sauropodomorphs and eusauropods, which are absent in other basal sauropodomorphs (e.g. Thecodontosaurus, Plateosaurus). These include the presence of an extension of the infratemporal fenestra ventral to the orbit, dorsal and anterior rami of quadratojugal subperpendicular to each other, dorsoventral expansion of dentary at mandibular symphysis, slightly procumbent teeth with broad serrations restricted to the apical region (absent in some teeth). Differences among the studied specimens helps to understand the early ontogenetic changes occurring in this basal sauropodomorph, revealing major changes in the rostral and temporal regions.


Sereno, P.C. 2006. The phylogenetic relationships of early dinosaurs: a comparative report. Historical Biology 19(1):145-155. doi: 10.1080/08912960601167435.


ABSTRACT: Surprising new anatomical information has come to light for the early dinosaurs Eoraptor lunensis and Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis. Eoraptor has a mid mandibular jaw joint, and Herrerasaurus has a promaxillary fenestra at the anterior end of the antorbital fossa. Initial cladistic interpretation placed Herrerasaurus outside Dinosauria. Since then, Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus have been placed at the base of Saurischia or within Theropoda in two large-scale quantitative analyses. A comparative approach is taken here to show, first, that character choice is a major factor behind differing results; only half of the character data critical for each interpretation is incorporated into the opposing analysis. In that shared portion of data, furthermore, nearly 40 percent of character state scores vary for identical, or comparable, ingroup taxa. Resolving these conflictive interpretations is clearly where future progress will be made in understanding early dinosaur phylogenesis.


Yates, A.M. 2006. Solving a dinosaurian puzzle: the identity of Aliwalia rex Galton. Historical Biology 19(1):92-123. doi: 10.1080/08912960600866953.


ABSTRACT: Eucnemesaurus fortis Van Hoepen 1920 from the Late Triassic of South Africa is demonstrated to be the senior synonym of the puzzling dinosaur taxon Aliwalia rex Galton 1985. A new specimen of this poorly-known taxon is described. Eucnemesaurus is clearly a sauropodomorph and increases the diversity of sauropodomorph taxa in the South African Late Triassic to six. It shares a number of femoral synapomorphies with Riojasaurus from the Late Triassic of Argentina and Riojasauridae tax. nov. is erected to accommodate them. These conclusions are supported by a comprehensive cladistic analysis of 46 sauropodomorph and other basal dinosauriform taxa using 353 osteological characters. This analysis also supports the paraphyletic nature of the traditional 'prosauropod' assemblage.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jerry D. Harris
Director of Paleontology
Dixie State College
Science Building
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT  84770   USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu
and     dinogami@gmail.com
http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/

"Trying to estimate the divergence times
of fungal, algal or prokaryotic groups on
the basis of a partial reptilian fossil and
protein sequences from mice and humans
is like trying to decipher Demotic Egyptian with
the help of an odometer and the Oxford
English Dictionary."
-- D. Graur & W. Martin (_Trends
in Genetics_ 20[2], 2004)