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Dryptosaurus anatomy described in detail



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

This new paper is not yet posted on the AMNH site for free download. It's
available through Bioone:

Stephen L. Brusatte, Roger B. J. Benson, and Mark A. Norell (2011)
The Anatomy of Dryptosaurus aquilunguis (Dinosauria: Theropoda) and a
Review of Its Tyrannosauroid Affinities.
American Museum Novitates Number 3717:1-53. 
http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1206/3717.2

Although among the first theropod dinosaurs known to science, and an iconic
taxon in the history of dinosaur paleontology, the large carnivore
Dryptosaurus aquilunguis from the Late Cretaceous of New Jersey remains
poorly understood. Its anatomy has been described only in brief and its
phylogenetic relationships have long been the subject of debate, although
recent work proposes Dryptosaurus as a member of the tyrannosauroid clade.
Here we present a thorough osteological description of the holotype of
Dryptosaurus aquilunguis, supplemented with photographs of all the
material, and provide extensive comparisons with other theropods,
especially tyrannosauroids. In concert with recent phylogenetic analyses,
our description confirms the tyrannosauroid affinities of Dryptosaurus and
supports its placement as an ?intermediate? taxon bracketed between small,
basal forms (e.g., Guanlong, Dilong) and the derived, Late Cretaceous
tyrannosaurids (e.g., Albertosaurus, Tyrannosaurus). We identify several
autapomorphies of Dryptosaurus, including the combination of a reduced
humerus and an enlarged hand. These forelimb proportions, which differ from
the uniformly large arms of basal tyrannosauroids and uniformly atrophied
arms of tyrannosaurids, suggest that forelimb reduction in tyrannosauroids
may not have proceeded in a uniform fashion. Functionally, Dryptosaurus may
have used both its skull and arms as weapons for prey acquisition and
processing.



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