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Protoceratopsoid tails adapted for swimming



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A recent paper not yet mentioned on the DML:

V. S. Tereschenko & T. Singer (2013)
Structural features of neural spines of the caudal vertebrae of
protoceratopoids (Ornithischia: Neoceratopsia).
Paleontological Journal 47(6): 618-630
DOI: 10.1134/S0031030113060105
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S0031030113060105



The structure of caudal neural spines of protoceratopoids displays
adaptation for aquatic and terrestrial mode of life. The increasing
height of caudal neural spines in the series Leptoceratops,
Udanoceratops, Protoceratops, Bagaceratops is connected with the
extent of adaptation for swimming and changes in inclination of neural
spines are connected with the mechanical balance of the lever. Thus,
the anterior caudal vertebrae (1cd–15cd) of Protoceratops and
Bagaceratops show an anticliny, which promotes extension (rise) of a
heavy tail in terrestrial conditions. In the middle part of the tail
(16cd–23cd), with the greatest height of neural spines, a decrease in
width and increase in thickness counteract transverse loads
accompanying movements on land. At the same time, the supraspinal
ligament prevents divergence of neural spines caused by curvature of
the tail as it is raised above the ground.