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Cricosaurus sense of smell



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


To be honest, I hesitate to post new refs on the first of April, as
anybody checking the many paleo-blogs and news sources today will be
aware. Just to be clear, the following paper is legit. .



Yanina Herrera, Marta S. Fernández & Zulma Gasparini (2013)
The snout of Cricosaurus araucanensis: a case study in novel anatomy
of the nasal region of metriorhynchids.
Lethaia (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/let.12011
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/let.12011/abstract

Metriorhynchids are the only crocodyliforms adapted to pelagic marine
life. Snout natural endocasts of the Tithonian (Late Jurassic)
metriorhynchid Cricosaurus araucanensis indicated that skeletal
changes defining the peculiar metriorhynchid body plan were coupled
with changes of the soft cephalic anatomy such as the enlarged salt
glands and restructuring of the paranasal sinus system. Seven new
natural endocasts of the snout and a 3-D reconstruction of C.
araucanensis are described. Data from these casts and the
reconstruction are congruent, and they are combined into an accurate
reconstruction that improves our knowledge of the pre-orbital anatomy.
The olfactory tract, bulbs, olfactory nasal region and the anterior
extension of the antorbital sinus within the maxilla are recognized.
Osteological correlates of the salt gland body are also proposed.
Palaeobiological inferences are erected based on the integration of
natural endocasts and 3-D reconstruction data. It is proposed that C.
araucanensis nasal salt glands were highly vascularized with a blood
supply comparable with those of extant marine birds. Reduced olfactory
bulbs and olfactory nasal region indicate that the aerial olfaction,
differing from extant crocodilians, was not well developed.