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Mapusaurus (Theropoda) bonebed pathology survey

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Phil R. Bell & Rodolfo A. Coria (2013)
Palaeopathological Survey of a Population of Mapusaurus (Theropoda:
Carcharodontosauridae) from the Late Cretaceous Huincul Formation,
PLoS ONE 8(5): e63409.

Paleoepidemiology (the study of disease and trauma in prehistoric
populations) provides insight into the distribution of disease and can
have implications for interpreting behavior in extinct organisms. A
monospecific bonebed of the giant carcharodontosaurid Mapusaurus
(minimum number of individuals = 9) from the Cañadón del Gato site,
Neuquén Province, Argentina (Cenomanian) provides a rare opportunity
to investigate disease within a single population of this important
apex predator. Visual inspection of 176 skeletal elements belonging to
a minimum of nine individuals yielded a small number of abnormalities
on a cervical vertebra, two ribs, pedal phalanx, and an ilium. These
are attributed to traumatic (two cases), infectious (two cases) and
anomalous (one case) conditions in a minimum of one individual. The
emerging picture for large theropod (abelisaurids, allosaurids,
carcharodontosaurids, tyrannosaurids) populations suggests that 1)
osseous abnormalities were relatively rare (7–19% of individuals) but
consistently present, and 2) trauma was a leading factor in the
frequency of pathological occurrences, evidence of an active, often
perilous lifestyle.