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Symposium on Stegosauria Proceedings

Dear All

An international conference on Stegosaur finds of the world was organized by the Sauriermuseum Aathal (Switzerland) on 8th & 9th June 2009, (http://www.sauriermuseum.ch/Dstegosymp.htm) and 8 proceedings articles (edited by Jean-Paul Billon-Bruyat & Daniel Marty) are now published in the second issue 2010 of the Swiss Journal of Geosciences. Articles can be downloaded at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/n3531615224k/

Hereafter, citations and abstracts (without italics and small caps!):

Billon-Bruyat, J.-P. & Marty, D. 2010: Preface: Symposium on Stegosauria proceedings An international conference on stegosaur finds of the world organized by the Sauriermuseum Aathal (8th and 9th June 2009, Aathal, Switzerland). Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 131-141. DOI: 10.1007/s00015-010-0027-z

Billon-Bruyat, J.-P., Mazin, J.-M., Pouech, J. 2010: A stegosaur tooth (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Early Cretaceous of southwestern France. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 143-153. DOI: 10.1007/ s00015-010-0028-y

"The spotty nature of the terrestrial fossil record for the Mesozoic hinders a more complete understanding of dinosaur diversity. For stegosaurs (Ornithischia), the plated dinosaurs, only a few and fragmentary remains are reported from the Early Cretaceous of Europe. A recent revision concluded that only a partial vertebra of the nomen dubium Craterosaurus (?Aptian, England) could be considered as stegosaurian. Here we report on a stegosaur tooth from the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) Purbeckian deposits of Cherves-de-Cognac (Charente), southwestern France. This tiny tooth was examined in detail using microtomography. Comparisons being limited by the rarity of stegosaur tooth rows material (e.g., from the skull of the holotype of Stegosaurus stenops) and dental material, notably from Europe, we observed new material of cf. Stegosaurus armatus and Hesperosaurus mjosi from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming (USA). The tooth shows the most similarities to the Late Jurassic generaStegosaurus and Hesperosaurus, but differs in having a distinctive downwardly arched (V-shaped) cingulum on the ?lingual face (maxillary tooth hypothesis). It is referred to as Stegosauria indeterminate, a medium-sized quadrupedal herbivore that inhabited an emerged land between the Armorican Massif and the Massif Central. This finding is the first evidence of a stegosaur from the Early Cretaceous of France and a welcome addition to the meagre European record of that time. In addition, it is the second stegosaurian tooth crown reported from Europe. The assemblage of ornithischians of Cherves-de-Cognac shares some similarities with that of the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) of the Purbeck Limestone Group, southern England. The relative rarity of ornithischian osteological remains in both Purbeckian environments suggests that most of these dinosaurs were mainly inhabitants of inland terrestrial palaeoenvironments."

Carpenter, K. 2010: Species concept in North American stegosaurs. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 155-162. DOI: 10.1007/ s00015-010-0020-6

"The plated thyreophoran or stegosaurian dinosaur Stegosaurus armatus was named in 1877 by Marsh for fragmentary remains from the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Colorado, USA. Subsequent discoveries from the same formation in Wyoming and Colorado (USA) have been assigned to separate stegosaurian genera and species, but most of these are no longer considered valid. More recently, a partial stegosaurian skeleton from Wyoming was named Hesperosaurus mjosi. However, the validity of this genus has been questioned recently, raising the question: how much osteological difference among stegosaur taxa is needed to separate genera from species? The question is examined vis-à-vis species and genus recognition in other dinosaurs, including iguanodonts, lambeosaurine iguanodontids, chasmosaurine ceratopsians, tyrannosaurid theropods, and diplodocid sauropods. The basis for taxonomic distinction is largely philosophical: if the species are morphologically distinct enough, they should be treated as separate genera. Based on these criteria, Hesperosaurus mjosi is a distinct taxon."

Christiansen, N.A., Tschopp, E. 2010: Exceptional stegosaur integument impressions from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 163-171. DOI: 10.1007/ s00015-010-0026-0

"Dinosaur skin impressions are rare in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, but different sites on the Howe Ranch in Wyoming (USA), comprising specimens from diplodocid, camarasaurid, allosaurid and stegosaurian dinosaurs, have proven to be a treasure-trove for these soft-tissue remains. Here we describe stegosaurian skin impressions from North America for the first time, as well as the first case of preservation of an impression of the integument that covered the dorsal plates of stegosaurian dinosaurs in life. Both have been found closely associated with bones of a specimen of the stegosaurianHesperosaurus mjosi Carpenter, Miles and Cloward 2001. The scales of the skin impression of H. mjosi are very similar in shape and arrangement to those of Gigantspinosaurus sichuanensis Ouyang 1992, the only other stegosaurian dinosaur from which skin impressions have been described. Both taxa show a ground pattern of small polygonal scales, which in some places is interrupted by larger oval tubercles surrounded by the small scales, resulting in rosette-like structures. The respective phylogenetic positions of G.sichuanensis as a basal stegosaurian and H. mjosi as a derived form suggest that most stegosaurians had very similar skin structures, which also match the most common textures known in dinosaurs. The integumentary impression from the dorsal plate brings new data to the long-lasting debate concerning the function of dorsal plates in stegosaurian dinosaurs. Unlike usual dinosaur skin impressions, the integument covering the dorsal plates does not show any scale-like texture. It is smooth with long and parallel, shallow grooves, a structure that is interpreted as representing a keratinous covering of the plates. The presence of such a keratinous covering has affects on all the existing theories concerning the function of stegosaurian plates, including defense, thermoregulation, and display, but does not permit to rule out any of them."

Farlow, J.O., Hayashi, S., Tattersall, G.J. 2010: Internal vascularity of the dermal plates of Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Thyreophora). Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 173-185. DOI: 10.1007/s00015-010-0021-5

"X-ray computed tomography and petrographic thin sectioning were used to study internal features of the plates of the thyreophoran dinosaur Stegosaurus and the osteoderms of Alligator. Infrared thermographic imaging of basking caimans was used to examine possible differential blood flow to osteoderms and other parts of the skin. Multiple large openings in the Stegosaurus plate base lead to a linear, mesiodistally oriented vestibule, which in turn apically sends off multiply branching “pipes”. The pipes are best developed in the basal half of the plate, and communicate with cancellous regions (some of which presumably were vascular spaces) throughout the plate interior. Some internal vascular features also connect with vascular pits and grooves on the plate surface. Alligator osteoderms show a similar internal vascularity. In crocodylians, the osteoderms serve as armor and help to stiffen the back for terrestrial locomotion, but their vascularity enables them to be used as sources of calcium for egg shelling, as sites of lactate sequestration, and possibly for heat exchange with the external environment, as suggested by our infrared thermographic imaging of basking caimans. Thyreophoran osteoderms presumably had multiple functions as well. In Stegosaurus the potential thermoregulatory role of the plates may have been greater than in other thyreophorans, by virtue of their extensive external and internal vascularity, their large size, thin cross-sections above the plate base, dorsal position, and alternating arrangement."

Galton, P.M. 2010: Species of plated dinosaur Stegosaurus (Morrison Formation, Late Jurassic) of western USA: new type species designation needed. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 187-198. DOI: 10.1007/ s00015-010-0022-4

"Stegosaurus armatus Marsh 1877, based on a partial tail and a very large dermal plate from the Morrison Formation (Late Jurassic) of Morrison, Wyoming, USA, is a nomen dubium. Valid Morrison stegosaur species (with possible autapomorphies, dermal “armor” considered if present), with most holotypes consisting of a disarticulated partial postcranial skeleton at most, include: Hypsirhophus discurus Cope 1878 (characters of incomplete vertebrae, a dorsal and a caudal; Garden Park near Cañon City, Colorado); Stegosaurus ungulatus Marsh 1879 (half skeleton with partial skull; three pairs of small flat dermal spines adjacent to terminal tail spikes; Quarry 12, Como Bluff near Como station, Wyoming; syntype is holotype of S. duplexMarsh 1887, half skeleton lacking armor; Quarry 11, Como Bluff); Diracodon laticeps Marsh 1881b (just partial dentaries with few teeth, diastema between predentary and tooth 1; Quarry 13, Como Bluff); Stegosaurus sulcatus Marsh 1887 (pair of ?tail spikes with greatly enlarged base; Quarry 13, Como Bluff); S. longispinusGilmore 1914 (characters of distal caudal vertebrae, tail spikes: two pairs, sub-equal bases, transversely flattened, very elongate; Alcova, Wyoming); and Hesperosaurus mjosi Carpenter, Miles & Cloward, 2001 (?Stegosaurus mjosi; partial articulated skeleton with skull, no limbs, several plesiomorphic and autapomorphic characters, dorsal plates longer than tall; Wyoming). However, the well known valid nominal species, S. stenops Marsh 1887 (12 autapomorphies, three alternating flat plates adjacent to terminal tail spikes; Garden Park), is based on a virtually complete articulated skeleton lacking only the terminal caudal vertebrae and first pair of tail spikes. It includes 17 dermal plates, is still exposed as preserved on the block, and is the current basis for Stegosaurus. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) will be petitioned to designate S. stenops Marsh 1887 as the new type species of Stegosaurus Marsh 1877 in order to conserve Stegosauria Marsh 1877 and Stegosauridae Marsh1880 (also Stegosauroidea, Stegosaurinae)."

Maidment, S.C.R. 2010: Stegosauria: A historical review of the body fossil record and phylogenetic relationships. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 199-210. DOI: 10.1007/s00015-010-0023-3

"The first partial skeleton of a stegosaurian dinosaur was discovered in a brick pit in Swindon, UK in 1874. Since then, numerous stegosaurian remains have been discovered from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, and continue to be discovered regularly. Stegosaurs are known from the Middle Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous; no definitive evidence of the clade is known from younger deposits. New discoveries are improving our understanding of stegosaur biology and showing that stegosaurs were more morphologically diverse than was previously realized. A new phylogeny, which includes all valid stegosaurian taxa, largely agrees with previous studies and shows the European Dacentrurinae was sister taxon to Stegosaurus. Poor resolution at the base of Stegosauria is probably due to the fragmentary nature of many of the Chinese taxa."

Mallison, H. 2010: CAD assessment of the posture and range of motion of Kentrosaurus aethiopicus Hennig 1915. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 211-233. DOI: 10.1007/s00015-010-0024-2

"A computer aided design analysis using high-resolution laser scans of the bones of the stegosaurKentrosaurus aethiopicus Hennig 1915 from the Late Jurassic Tendaguru Formation indicates that in the habitual walking pose the forelimbs were probably held erect, and that strong humeral flexion and abduction mainly occurred in a defensive stance. Rapid gaits with unsupported phases could not be used. The neck allowed sufficient lateral flexion to guarantee good sight in all directions including posteriorly. The tail covered an arch of roughly 180° and had sufficient range to be used as a weapon. Possibly, the animal could accomplish tail blows against specific targets in sight. Also, a tripodal pose is suggested to have been possible, roughly doubling the maximum vertical feeding height of Kentrosaurus."

Reichel, M. 2010: A model for the bite mechanics in the herbivorous dinosaur Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Stegosauridae). Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103/2, 235-240. DOI: 10.1007/s00015-010-0025-1

"Although the herbivorous dinosaur Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Stegosauridae) is a well-described Late Jurassic taxon, little is known about the feeding habits and biomechanics of its homodont dentition. The presence of a rhamphotheca has been suggested, but it is still unknown how much such structure would have participated in the foraging behaviour of Stegosaurus. To better understand the feeding mechanism of this taxon, three-dimensional models of a Stegosaurus tooth were created, using the software ZBrush®. One model was simple and lacked serrations, whereas the other model included serrations. Those models were then transferred to the software Strand7®, where finite element analyses took place. The models were given material properties of enamel, based on studies done with crocodilian and mammalian teeth. In addition to that, bite forces were calculated for Stegosaurus, based on skull proportions. The results show little difference between the force distributions on the serrated and non-serrated models, indicating an efficient mechanism of stress dissipation that avoids high stresses being transferred to the jaw bones during biting. Digital plant models were also created to test the calculated bite forces inStegosaurus, which suggests this animal was capable of biting through smaller branches. Computer modelling and analyses provide additional information about feeding habits and plant preferences forStegosaurus, and can be adapted for studying other comparable herbivorous taxa."

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