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Re: Most cervical vertebrae in a theropod



No probs, Mike. Note that, if you're looking at Phosphatodraco, it may be of 
interest that Alex Kellner (2010) reckons that the alleged fifth cervical is 
actually two separate vertebrae compressed together. His claim is not supported 
by significant discussion or photographic evidence, but Pereda Suberbiola et 
al.'s photos suggest it's not out of the question. If Alex is right, 
Phosphatodraco may be represented by cervicals 3-8 (assuming the longest is 
five, as it always seems to be in pterosaurs), not 4-9. To my mind, a more 
detailed argument for Alex's case is needed before his idea can be fully 
accepted, but it's probably a good idea to consider both interpretations until 
suggested otherwise.

Mark

Full ref: Kellner, A. W. A. 2010. Comments on the Pteranodontidae (Pterosauria, 
Pterodactyloidea) with the description of two new species. Anais da Academia 
Brasileira de Ciências, 82, 1063-1084. (Available free online)



--

Dr. Mark Witton
www.markwitton.com
Palaeobiology Research Group
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road
Portsmouth
PO1 3QL

Tel: (44)2392 842418
E-mail: Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk

If pterosaurs are your thing, be sure to pop by:

- Pterosaur.Net: www.pterosaur.net
- The Pterosaur.Net blog: http://pterosaur-net.blogspot.com/
- My pterosaur artwork: www.flickr.com/photos/markwitton 


>>> Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com> 13/10/2011 09:19 >>>
On 13 October 2011 08:57, Mark Witton <Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk> wrote:
> Can't speak for the dinos, but all pterosaurs have seven 'functional'
> cervicals, with cervicals eight and nine 'dorsalised'. The anteriormost
> dorsal is marked by its rib contacting the sternum. See Bennett (2004)
> for more details.

Thanks, Mark this is exactly what I needed.  I'd been thrown by Pereda
Suberbiola's (2003) description of Phosphatodraco, which describes and
figures cervicals 5-9; evidently those last two were Cervicals In Name
Only (hereafter, CINOs).

-- Mike.


P.S. Here is the Bennet abstract that Mark mentioned, for anyone who
doesn't have it.

--


Bennett, S. C.: NEW INFORMATION ON THE PTEROSAUR SCAPHOGNATHUS
CRASSIROSTRIS AND THE PTEROSAURIAN CERVICAL SERIES

BENNETT, S. Christopher, Univ. of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT

A third specimen of Scaphognathus crassirostris from the Upper
Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone of southern Germany adds new information
about the rare taxon. The specimen is a juvenile with unfused girdles,
carpals, and tarsals, and is slightly smaller than the Maxberg
specimen. It is complete, fully articulated, and less crushed than is
typical of Solnhofen specimens. The specimen, along with a
reexamination of the holotype specimen, provides information leading
to a new reconstruction of the skull that shows that the snout was
broader than previously thought. Reinterpretation of the dentition
shows that there were only 2 premaxillary teeth, 6 maxillary teeth,
and 5 mandibular teeth; additional small teeth are replacement teeth.
The bone of the skull has a dense, convoluted pattern of grain
suggesting that the bone was thicker and heavier than is seen in other
similarly sized Solnhofen pterosaurs. Taken together the skull shape,
dentition, and robust bone suggest that the pterosaur was adapted for
preying on larger fishes than other Solnhofen pterosaurs. Adjacent to
the skull is an articulated partial vertebral column of a relatively
large fish, which probably was regurgitated around the time of death.
The tail is slightly shorter than that of the Maxberg specimen, but it
appears that the tip was lost and healed sometime before death.

The cervical series of the specimen consists of 9 vertebrae if the
first vertebra that bears a large rib that articulates with the
sternum is interpreted as the first dorsal vertebra. Traditionally, it
has been thought that rhamphorhynchoids had 8 cervicals, Jurassic
pterodactyloids such as Pterodactylus had 7 cervicals, and large
pterodactyloids had 9 cervicals, the latter resulting from the
cervicalization of the anterior two dorsal vertebrae. However, if the
above definition is used, then Scaphognathus and other
rhamphorhynchoids and all pterodactyloids had 9 cervicals. Thus, the
number of cervicals remained constant throughout the evolution of
pterosaurs.




>
> Full ref: Bennett, S. C. (2004). "New information on the pterosaur
> Scaphognathus crassirostris and the pterosaurian cervical series",
> Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 24: 38A
>
> --
>
> Dr. Mark Witton
> www.markwitton.com 
> Palaeobiology Research Group
> School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
> University of Portsmouth
> Burnaby Building
> Burnaby Road
> Portsmouth
> PO1 3QL
>
> Tel: (44)2392 842418
> E-mail: Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk 
>
> If pterosaurs are your thing, be sure to pop by:
>
> - Pterosaur.Net: www.pterosaur.net 
> - The Pterosaur.Net blog: http://pterosaur-net.blogspot.com/ 
> - My pterosaur artwork: www.flickr.com/photos/markwitton 
>
>
>>>> Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com> 12/10/2011 22:18 >>>
> We all know that Mamenchisaurus had the most cervical vertebrae (19)
> of any known sauropod.  But can anyone tell me what is the
> record-holder among theropods?  What about ornithischians?
> Pterosaurs?
>
>