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Hitchhiker's New Papers to the Galaxy

Hi All -

  Before we get to the juicy stuff, here's some new things:

Rinehart, L.F., Lucas, S.G., and Hunt, A.P. 2007. Furculae in the Late Triassic theropod dinosaur Coelophysis bauri. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 81(2):174-180.

ABSTRACT: Furculae have been identified in many dinosaurs and are synapomorphic in some clades (e.g., dromaeosaurids). All coelophysid dinosaurs except Coelophysis bauri have been shown to possess furculae. To date, the oldest well-docunlented furculae have been those of the Early Jurassic coelophysids, Coelophysis kayentakatae and Coelophysis rhodesiensis. The confirmation of furculae in Apachean-aged C. bauri further documents appearance of these elements in the Late Triassic and shows that furculae are synapomorphic in the Coelophysidae. A total of five furculae have been found in New Mexico Museum of Natural History's (NMMNH) Ghost Ranch, New Mexico Whitaker Quarry block C-8-82. We describe three furculae in articulated juvenile skeletons; two that are missing fragments but are nearly complete, and one apparently complete, a small fragment of a furcula associated with an adult C. bauri, and one complete but isolated furcula. We access the morphology and allometry of the scapulocoracoid and furcula and show that they grow, at least in juveniles, in isometry with the humerus. The furcula of C. bauri has a widely opened U shape that subtends an angle of ~120° . All the furculae have groove-like epicleidial facets at the distal ends of the rami and some possess a small centrally located hypocleideal process. We reconstruct the conlplete shoulder girdle of C. bauri with proper spacing and angles between the elements and find that the coracoids are very close together under the center of the furcula.

Zhou, C.-F., Gao, K.-Q., Fox, R.C., and Du, X.-K. 2007. Endocranial morphology of psittacosaurs (Dinosauria: Ceratopsia) based on CT scans of new fossils from the Lower Cretaceous, China. Palaeoworld. doi: 10.1016/j.palwor.2007.07.0.

ABSTRACT: Psittacosaurs, small basal ceratopsians with a parrot-like beak, are among the most abundant dinosaurs, but occur only in the Early Cretaceous of East Asia. Although the general morphology of psittacosaurs is fairly well understood, the endocranial anatomy of the group has never been described. New discoveries of well-preserved skulls from the celebrated Liaoning beds in northeastern China provide the material for conducting research on psittacosaur endocranial morphology. Using computed tomography scans of three-dimensionally preserved skulls, this study reveals basic endocranial anatomy of psittacosaurs and provides the first palaeoneurological evidence of psittacosaurs in relation to their behaviour. Although commonly believed to have had a small brain and small eyes, psittacosaurs had relatively high brain/body size ratios that are comparable to those in the large theropod Tyrannosaurus, and probably had a keen sense of smell and acute vision, as evidenced by their enlarged olfactory lobes and bulbous optic lobes. The configuration of the semicircular canals agrees with limb proportions to suggest that psittacosaurs were agile animals, perhaps better able to escape predation by carnivorous dinosaurs on that account. The behavioural adaptations implied by this study may have been crucial for the successful radiation of psittacosaurs during the Early Cretaceous of East Asia.

Missell, C.A. 2004. Thermoregulatory adaptations of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis - evidence from oxygen isotopes. Masters thesis thesis/dissertation, Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 82 pp.

(available free at http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/theses/available/etd-12312003-115912/unrestricted/etd.pdf)

OK, now onto the continuing saga of Pakistani dinosaurs: a new paper -- I freely admit I only just learned of this (thanks, Rob!) and haven't read it yet, but it's available free at http://usindh.edu.pk/surj/vol_39_01_2007.pdf:

Malkani, M.S. 2007. Trackways evidence of sauropod dinosaurs confronted by a theropod found from Middle Jurassic Samana Suk Limestone of Pakistan. Sindh University Research Journal (Science Series) 39(1):1-14.

ABSTRACT: The temporal distribution of sauropod trackways generally parallels the record of sauropod body fossils. The oldest sauropod trackways are found in Lower Jurassic deposits of Africa, North America, and Asia; trackways are abundant throughout the rest of the Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous, but fewer are recorded in the Upper Cretaceous rocks. The foot structures of the various dinosaur groups are usually fairly conservative within those groups. Trackways are particularly promising records of dinosaur locomotion because they represent the trace of an act-a moment in time- and therefore can provide information that is usually unavailable from skeletal morphology alone.
Remains of a diversified paleobiota are found in the middle Indus basin, which includes plants (gymnosperm), mollusks, reptiles (cranial and post cranial bones). The commonest vertebrate fossils belong to sauropod and theropod dinosaurs, and mesoeucrocodilian fauna that occur a wide geographic area. Recently the author have found footprints of sauropod confronted with a theropod, in the middle Jurassic Samana Suk Limestone of Surghar Range, Mianwali district, Punjab Province, Pakistan. Five species of Late Cretaceous and one species of Late Jurassic titanosaurian sauropod, and one species of Late Cretaceous Abelisauran theropod dinosaur from Pakistan have already been established. But one new genus and species Malasaurus mianwali of middle Jurassic sauropod and one new genus and species Samanadrinda surghari of large bodied theropod based on only ichnofossils, are tentatively erected. Large pes foot print having length/width about 1 metre are diagnosed only for a large bodied sauropod. The manus footprints are totally overlapped by the pes prints. These tracks suggest the gregarious behavior of narrow gauge locomotors defending the attack of predatory theropod. This is the reason these are not referred to previously erected species of titanosaurs from Pakistan, because they may belongs to wide gauge trackways. These footprints are surely assigned to sauropod, but its assignment to lower level is difficult.
Three slender toed foot prints having maximum length about 2 feet and width about 1.5 feet are diagnosed only for a large bodied theropod. These footprints are surely assigned to Theropod, but its assignment to lower level is difficult. Both the sauropod and theropod genera erected are named only to refer for future research work regarding locomotion, behavior, soft and hard tissues. This ichnotype reveal the scenario of confrontation among a carnivorous Samanadrinda surghari theropod and the groups of herbivorous Malasaurus Mianwali sauropods.
This ichnocoenosis consists of exposed about 15 footprints, and 4 short trackways. Three trackways are interpreted as mainly produced by sauropods which are obliquely confronted by a track of large Theropod. They are indicative of a sauropod herd, composed of 3 or more individuals and furnish evidence of gregariousness (herd). The ichnofossils are usually deep footprints probably due to good granolometric sorting and the high plasticity of the limy substrate. In the vicinity, some foot prints of possibly birds/ small body theropod/coelorusaurs are also present. The ichnofossils of sauropod dinosaurs confronting a theropod of upper Indus Basin are a unique record of a middle Jurassic dinosaurian fauna which inhabited the north western margin of Indo-Pakistan subcontinental plate.

Note that there are two taxa named there...sort of. They're standard taxon-type names, but they're actually ichnotaxa (footprint names), not the names of actual organisms. I'm interested in reading it if for no other reason than because it purports to document ichnological evidence of a theropod-sauropod interaction...that would be very cool if correct. Another new paper cited in the biblio (as in review) discusses other evidence of theropod-on-theropod interaction...not unheard of, of course. Perhaps more interestingly, though, its bibliography seems to indicate that the publication that may well formally erect the previous names (_Vitakridrinda_, _Balochisaurus_, etc.) seems to have been published, although I've not yet been able to get a hold of it. For reasons I won't get into here, the direct route didn't work, so I'm attempting an alternative route. As before, if I'm ever successful in getting hold of any of the cited papers that aren't available on-line, I will happily let everyone know!